On paper, Yankee pitching stacks up better against patchwork Dodger staff and weak Redleg crew than it does against Braves' glittering array of fine starters, but, paradoxically, Yankee pitching would likely be more effective against Milwaukee. Major reason is that Yankee Ace Ford has to start in Ebbets Field or Crosley Field, the two smallest parks in the majors, where Dodger or Redleg power hitters have best chance of creaming him. In spacious County Stadium, Ford's control could be used to fox hitters to better advantage. Variety pitchers (Kucks, Sturdivant) might bother both Brooklyn and Cincinnati, but fast-ballers (Turley, Larsen) are looked on hungrily by muscular Dodgers and Reds (the Braves are easier to stifle with speed). Braves' Burdette, Buhl (if they regain mid-season effectiveness) and Spahn could stun Yanks. Redleg pitching is admittedly weak but Tebbetts' handling gets maximum out of it, and Birdie knows the AL. Dodgers gain from fact that Maglie and Newcombe start in Ebbets, where top pitching is must against Yanks. Secondary Dodger starters would be more apt to escape damage in Stadium. All three NL clubs have a definite edge over New York in relief pitching, which can be vital in Series.
3. NEW YORK
September 30, 1956
Mantle and Berra are the only Yankee batters who really worry opposition hurlers. Both can't be throttled through an entire Series, but it is possible to check the flood of Yankee runs by concentrating on the Martins, McDougalds, Bauers, et al., who poke the sacrifice flies and the run-scoring grounders and get themselves in scoring position for someone else's run-scoring grounder or sacrifice fly. The Yanks are good, but Cincinnati's power is the batting story of 1956: a murderer's row of home run sluggers, bounded by smart, skillful singles hitters and backed up by a muscular bench. Yank pitchers will be in unknown country against Reds and could be badly hurt. As for the Braves, sudden devastating slumps seem endemic to Milwaukee, but this is basically a soundly balanced hitting team built around three extremely formidable bats: Aaron, Mathews, Adcock. Dodger hitting this season has been operating in a slump economy but it's been far more timely really than Dodger hitting traditionally is supposed to be. It is still two-thirds raw muscle and still utilizes fast, smart base running (Jackie Robinson on base is an immediate deterrent to the fine art of pitching).
3. NEW YORK
The Yankees are beautifully trained; a stupid or careless play is rewarded with the rough edge of Stengel's sarcastic tongue, and the sinning player thereafter assiduously avoids a similar offense. Yank infield is brilliant at second, short, third down through the third string. Berra is agile as a middleweight behind the plate. And Mantle and Bauer are far-ranging, sure-handed, rifle-arm outfielders. First base (when it's Skowron) and left field fall off a little. Remarkable Redlegs (oh, how they could use Milwaukee's pitching) generally match Yanks in field (if Grammas and Bailey are at third and catch) with only immobile Kluszewski at first a weak spot. But brilliance of McMillan and Temple around second base gives Cincy the edge. Dodger defense is also very sound, but aging Dodger fielders (with very notable exceptions of Hodges and Reese) are obviously a little slower than of yore, a little less likely to make the great last-minute catch. (Still, there's always Sandy Amoros.) Yank, Cincy, Brooklyn defenses prevent by airtight play runs which Milwaukee's defense allows because of ordinary first-basing, below-par second-basing, uninspired third-basing and occasionally erratic left-fielding.
2. NEW YORK
THE SUM UP
The National League entry will have survived a close race in a tough league and should not find the Yankees as hard to beat as the power and pitching they had to overcome. Milwaukee's pitching superiority gives them a valuable plus, and the clever Milwaukee batting will not be easy for Yankee pitchers to solve the first time out. Nor would the Redlegs, whose prowess at bat (and in the field) should make up for deficiencies on the mound, be any easier. Brooklyn is not as good a bet on paper, but an impressive aura of confidence, the presence of Maglie, the revived Robinson and the fortuitous scheduling gives Brooklyn the edge too.
MILWAUKEE over NEW YORK
BROOKLYN over NEW YORK
CINCINNATI over NEW YORK