There is Ted Welliams, of course, but the greatest batter in baseball is by no means the whole Red Sox story. They have impressive hitting with Williams, Jackie Jensen, Norm Zauchin, Jim Piersall, Sammy White, Billy Goodman and Mickey Vernon and an exciting group of young infielders with Billy Klaus, Milt Boiling, Billy Consolo, Dick Gernert, Don Buddin, Ted Lepcio and Frank Malzone. With the addition of Bob Porterfield, their pitching—Frank Sullivan, Willard Nixon, Tom Brewer, Tom Hurd, Ike Delock and Leo Kiely—looks as strong as the State Street Trust. If Manager Mike Higgins can put together a smooth combination at short and second out of his wealth of young talent, then the team will have strength down the middle—the classic requirement of a pennant contender. In that case, couldn't the Red Sox go all the way? Boston is sure of it.
This is an article from the April 9, 1956 issue
4 JACK JENSEN, RIGHT FIELD: The California football hero finally rewarded expectations last year as the Red Sox cleanup hitter, slamming 26 home runs, driving in 116 runs.
9 TED WILLIAMS, LEFT FIELD: At 210 pounds, the Splendid Splinter is no longer a splinter, but last year he hit .356, eight points over his lifetime average, collected 28 home runs and 83 RBIs in 98 incomplete games following a late start. He will not be recorded in baseball history as a great left fielder, but as a batter he is in baseball history already.
18 FRANK SULLIVAN, PITCHER: The 6-foot-6 giant from Hollywood finished his third and greatest big league season last year with an 18-13 record and a 2.91 ERA. Now the lead dog of the Red Sox staff, it seems he can do everything but beat the Yankees against whom he was 0-5.
22 SAMMY WHITE, CATCHER: A former basketballer, he looks too reedlike for his duties as he towers over the batters, but Sammy handles his pitchers with authority, has a great throwing arm and is definitely one of the spark plugs of the team on defense. He won't bat .300, but he can get the big hit when you need it most.
Fenway Park would be happy with last year's combination of Billy Goodman at second and Billy Klaus, the surprise sensation, at short, but both must fight off the huge crop of youngsters to keep their jobs. Jim Piersall will be a fixture again in center field, but slugging Norm Zauchin (27 home runs) will have to beat out Mickey Vernon at first. The big pitching question is Mel Parnell, whose once-great left arm has now recovered from its break of two years ago. With Ellis Kinder gone, the chief bullpen chores will now belong to Ike Delock and Leo Kiely, who handled them well last year.
NEWCOMERS TO WATCH
6 MICKEY VERNON, FIRST BASE: The old war horse and twice AL batting champ, now with his third club in 18 years, hit .301 for Washington last year, will probably alternate with Zauchin starting against right-handed pitchers.
16 BOB PORTERFIELD, PITCHER: Was only 10-17 with Washington but may be just the added starter the Red Sox need.
49 DON BUDDIN, INFIELDER: Hit .292 and 18 homers as Louisville shortstop last year. Definitely a comer.
The Sox's wealth of youngsters is deep, but two who bear particular watching are Third Baseman Frank Malzone and Outfielder Marty Keough, both of whom hit better than .300 for Louisville last year.
BOARD OF STRATEGY
5 MIKE HIGGINS, MANAGER: A big silent man who was once a slugging third baseman for the A's, Tigers and Red Sox, he seldom leaves the dugout. He distinguished himself as a freshman manager last year by getting along well with Ted Williams and showing a fine, understanding hand with all the Red Sox's young players.
Coaches are MICKEY OWEN (30), JACK BURNS (31), DEL BAKER (32), and DAVE FERRISS (33).
22 SAMMY WHITE, C
THE BASIC ROSTER
1 Grady Hatton, 3b
3 Norm Zauchin, 1b
4 Jack Jensen, rf
6 Mickey Vernon, 1b
9 Ted Williams, lf
10 Billy Goodman, 2b
22 Sammy White, c
26 F. Throneberry, of
35 Billy Klaus, ss
36 Dick Gernert, of
37 Jim Piersall, cf
38 Gene Stephens, of
49 Don Buddin. if
14 Ivan Delock, right
15 W. Nixon, right
16 R. Porterfield, right
17 Mel Parnell, left
18 F. Sullivan, right
19 Leo Kiely, left
23 Tom Brewer, right