ROBBY ON THE WARPATH
This is an article from the Sept. 10, 1956 issue
Brooklyn's odd pros can still come up with flashes of magnificent baseball, as witness Jackie Robinson (above), ignoring his aches and creaks to score from first on a single to beat the Braves in Milwaukee. But last week, despite such occasional flashes of brilliance, they may have lost the 1956 pennant race. It appeared that they were fighting themselves into utter exhaustion against the weakest competition (the lowly Giants and Pirates) their league could offer. For another Dodger, whose talents are their last hope, turn page
BIG NEWK ON FIREBALL HILL
This colossus of determination, whose overpowering fast ball is now far more effective than ever because he has a deceptive changeup pitch to go with it, is what National League batters will have to face in the season's decisive closing weeks. Baseball's biggest winner (22) so far, Big Newk must win most of his eight remaining probable starts if the Dodgers are to catch the league-leading Milwaukee Braves or even finish ahead of the Cincinnati Red legs. And he will have to win them on this very mound, since the Dodgers play 18 of their last 22 games at Ebbets Field
IKE ON THE COACHING LINE
Dwight Eisenhower, a promising young center fielder himself before he broke a knee playing football at West Point, goes out to Griffith Stadium to watch another fair center fielder (named Mantle) hit a home run, tells him (left), "I'd like to see you hit one tonight, Mickey," sees him walk and strike out before he slams his 47th, trots around bases (right)
Ike watches from box behind first as Mantle tees off on pitch from Senators' Pascual in seventh for homer. A loyal Washington rooter, Ike stayed on to bitter end of Yankee victory, 6-4.
YOUNGSTERS IMITATE THE STARS
Babe Ruth teen-agers show the results of following their heroes on television
The scene is Portland, Oregon's Multnomah Stadium and the cast consists exclusively of teen-agers, but a quick glance could lead many to believe they were looking into a dugout of big-league bench jockeys (opposite) and at a lineup of such stars as Robin Roberts, Al Rosen, Stan Musial and Gil Hodges (below). For these youngsters playing in the Babe Ruth World Series—and thousands like them around the U.S.—have mastered more than the techniques of first-rate baseball. They have done their best to become action carbons of their major league heroes.
They fill their cheeks with chewing gum to simulate tobacco, spit on hands, hitch trousers, tug at caps and dig in at the plate like the real item. Studying his hero, Duke Snider, on a TV screen in Portland, made 14-year-old Outfielder Merton White a regular on his regional championship team. "The best thing I learned from watching him," says Merton, "was to keep my back elbow up high [a Snider trademark]. It lets me level into the pitch better." Last week, as baseball's junior leagues ended their seasons with world-title playoffs, other youngsters had the same explanation as Merton for their remarkable skills (see below).
In Williamsport, Pa. the team representing Roswell, N. Mex. defeated Delaware Township, N.J. to win the championship of the Little League (boys 12 and under), with Tom Jordan Jr., son of a former major league catcher, pitching a two-hitter and hitting a homer to clinch the victory 3-1. In the Pony League (boys 13 and 14) playoff at Washington, Pa., Joliet of Illinois beat Hamtramck, Mich. 9-1 for the title after Hamtramck's Jim Bradley had pitched a no-hitter to put his team in the finals. Gloucester City, N.J. became the new champion of the V.F.W. Teener League at Hershey, Pa., while Evanston, Ill. took the Colt League title at Comiskey Park, Chicago. In the Babe Ruth League (boys 13 to 15), Trenton, N.J. beat Huntington Park, Calif. (in dugout, left) 1-0 for the championship. All in all, more than a half million boys in the U.S. and Canada participated in the tournaments. For a Hall of Fame member's views on baseball's future stars, turn the page.
Al Rosen is hero, model of Trenton's 15-year-old Jerry Krecicki. "I watched Rosen on television and then went out and practiced just the same way. It worked."
Stan Musial's coiled stance inspired fine batting style of Tulsa's first baseman, Charley Apperson. Charley's comment is: "Yeah, I notice he bats just like I do."
Robin Roberts' two specialties, superb control and a sharp curve, are duplicated by Pensacola's Dennis Aust, whose delivery is a dead ringer for Philly pitcher's.
Bench-Jockeying big-league style comes from the Huntington bench in game with Chicago. Sample: "Hear you've got a stockyard in Chicago—sure can smell it!"
Bob Feller's style is copied by Huntington Park's Jim Wolfsberger. "I studied slow-motion pictures of Feller," he says, "to pick up his kick and follow-through."
Marty Marion was seldom still, constantly shifted position and pawed at the dirt. Pensacola's Donald Gates plays infield the same way, resembles Marion physically.
Del Ennis' batting style is model for Pensacola's Charles Williams. At first, he resembles Gil Hodges, not purposely. "We're both right-handed—maybe that's why."