April 15, 1957
April 15, 1957

Table of Contents
April 15, 1957

Doug Ford And The Masters
Events & Discoveries
Scouting Reports
American League
  • Seven times in the past eight years the Yankees have won the pennant; in '56 they could have started to print their World Series tickets in July. Yet Casey Stengel now comes up with a ball club he says is better than any of the others. Unless you are a Yankee fan, it looks like a long season ahead

  • The Indians have been in a second-place rut for five of the past six years. Although most major league cities would happily settle for much less, in Cleveland the frustration of always being the runner-up has come to a head. A new manager has been added, but once again it looks like second best

  • For five straight years the Sox have finished third. Now they have a new manager and some promising rookies but all else is the same: with one hand they must claw their way up toward the Yankees and Indians, with the other hold off the Tigers and Red Sox from below. That's asking too much of two hands

  • The Boston Red Sox are New England's pride and despair. Annually hope rises that this year the Sox will finally unseat those top-dog New York Yankees, and annually there is frustration. But, even so, hope rides high again on such as Ted Williams, Jim Piersail, Tom Brewer and a dozen bright young men

  • This is the team they said last winter might shake up the Yankees—but that was last winter and now no one is quite so sure. The Tigers are good, only there aren't enough of them; where Casey Stengel experiments to find out which player is best, Jack Tighe must experiment to find a player good enough

  • The Baltimore Orioles have improved steadily in their three seasons in the American League. There has been a continuous flow of ballplayers, coming and going, as Manager Paul Richards has tried to field a winning club. This year the team has a more permanent look, but there is still a lot to be done

  • The Senators finished seventh a year ago which, on the record, may have been an even greater miracle than the pennant triumphs of the 1914 Braves and the 1951 Giants. They had the worst fielding in the league and by far the worst pitching. Only a couple of big sluggers saved them from the bottom

  • This will be Kansas City's third season in the major leagues. The first year was one grand party: a lively, eager team fought for victories all year long. But last season was quite different: the team was listless, as well as bad, and finished a dull, dreary last. Kansas City fans expect something a good deal better in 1957

National League
  • The old, old Dodgers have been the class team of the National League for a decade. Cracks have appeared in their armor, but it is fondly hoped in Brooklyn (and Los Angeles) that bright young players will fill such gaps. In the most unlikely event that they do there'll be yet another Yankee-Dodger World Series

  • Now it is next year. With a superb pitching staff built around the great trio of Spahn, Burdette and Buhl, and boasting some of the league's best ballplayers in Aaron, Mathews, Adcock and Logan, the Braves are prepared to make a strong bid for the pennant they missed by the narrowest of margins last September

  • The personable, colorful, lively Redlegs are the most popular ball club in the National League. Last season strong hitting, brilliant fielding, shrewd managing and an astute front office combined to lift them to third place after 11 dismal years buried in the second division. Now they have their eyes on the pennant

  • Improved by trades and boasting one of the most impressive starting lineups in the league, the Cardinals are hungry for a pennant. Yet the bench is weak, their pitching can hardly equal the Dodgers or Braves, and the Redlegs have more power. It may be a long, tough climb from fourth place first

  • It's seven years now since the youthful Philadelphia "Whiz Kids" stole the National League pennant. They have grown old in the interval, and none too gracefully at that. A slowly dwindling band of truly topflight players has heretofore saved the club from utter disgrace, but who knows if they can do it again

  • The Giants looked better toward the end of 1956, moving from the cellar to sixth in the last five weeks of the season. Then the armed forces took regulars Jackie Brandt and Bill White, and regular Catcher Bill Sarni had a heart attack during spring training. Yet despite all the team still shows plenty of spirit

  • Last year the Pirates spent nine glorious and dizzy days atop the National League. This, however, was in June, and at season's end they were seventh. They may not spend even one day in first place in '57, but the Pirates are a young ball club on the way up and they aren't going to finish seventh either

  • After 10 years of bitter frustration in the depths of the second division, Owner Phil Wrigley swept the club clean during the winter and reorganized from front office down. Despite this broom treatment of last year's cellar team, the Cubs' tenure in the bleak second division is assured for another year

Sport In Art
Fame Is For Winners
Figuring It Out
Fisherman's Calendar
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over
Pat On The Back


He is a man of a thousand moods and sides, but with one universal quality: a deep knowledge of his game

Of all the games played in the world, baseball is most completely a fan's game. Other sports have spectators, but a spectator is not the same thing as a fan. A fan is a student, a critic, an appraiser of performances; he knows values and appreciates them. Now and then you'll find, say, a football fan who can discourse for hours on the intricacies of line play, or a track fan who can analyze the variations in baton-passing in relay races. But most of the loyal followers of such sports follow them primarily for pure emotion, to glory in victory or suffer in defeat. Baseball fans glory and suffer too but, at the same time, they can appreciate the fine points of play that cause the emotional reaction.

This is an article from the April 15, 1957 issue Original Layout

The faces of a baseball crowd are gay, happy, ecstatic, sad, glum, disgusted. There are women in the crowd, old men with cigars, kids with gloves. They vary tremendously from person to person, but they have a common denominator: a detailed and constantly growing knowledge of the game.

Take the lady in Clearwater, Fla., watching the Philadelphia Phillies day after day in practice, watching her favorite team develop as another lady would watch her garden grow. She's a fan. Take Casey Stengel or Branch Rickey, men of exceptional (though differing) intelligence, almost all of which is dedicated to a continuing study of the never-ending complexities that vary the basic simplicity of baseball. They're fans.

Take Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States. He would rather play golf than watch a baseball game but he's still a fan, and he proved it unconsciously last fall after watching Sal Maglie beat the New York Yankees in the first game of the World Series. Ike told Maglie's boss, Walter O'Malley: "Please tell Sal I thought he pitched a hell of a game."

Take the boy pictured above, watching the catcher come back for a foul fly ball. He's a fan too, and a student of the game. He, as well as the catcher, is judging the flight of the ball and its relation to the speed and position of the catcher and the location of the fence. He probably knows as much baseball right now as you do, but he's learning, too, every time he sees a pop fly or a ground ball.

And when he's middle-aged and gray and a success in the world—like United Steel Workers President David McDonald (second picture from left)—you'll find him at the ball park in a good seat with his score card handy. He'll still know what's going on. Because he's a baseball fan.



As the 16 major league teams moved into the final week of spring training and set their course north, the Yankees, despite a puzzling—and surely temporary—ineptness at the plate, and the Indians, despite several major problems, seemed to remain the big teams of the American League. In the National, although the exhibition standings revealed those early-blooming Pirates still on top, the Braves were hot on their track. And what about the Dodgers? Well, maybe they were just resting their aging bones until winning ball games really became important.

Although every team had its last-minute problems, none loomed larger than the gaping hole at shortstop on the Philadelphia Phillies (see page 77). In an attempt to do something about it, the Phils finally quit talking and made a trade. To the Dodgers (who were looking for a reliable pinch-hitter), they sent steady old Elmer Valo, four lesser players and a bundle of cash for a 25-year-old Cuban named Chico Fernandez. Never able to make the Brooklyn lineup because of Pee Wee Reese, the slick-fielding Fernandez was almost certain to help shore up the porous Phillies.