Search

CLEVELAND INDIANS

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
Acknowledgments
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over
Pat On The Back

CLEVELAND INDIANS

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

THE MANAGEMENT
Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg has found the transition from player to front-office executive rocky. Rookie Manager Kerby Farrell started in organized ball 25 years ago, began managing 16 years ago, has been directing Indian farm teams for the past 10. A worrier who can't stay in one place long, Farrell is excellent handler of young ballplayers. A subdued Eddie Stanky will coach third, white-haired Red Kress first and former Indian Pitching Star Mel Harder will handle the pitchers.

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

ANALYSIS OF THIS YEAR'S INDIANS

STRONG POINTS
Pitching, pitching and more pitching. Indian staff has been best in baseball since end of war (led league in earned run averages six times and accounted for nearly half the 20-game winners). When Bob Feller slipped slowly from the heights, burly Mike Garcia came along to take his place. Two years ago Garcia lost his effectiveness and the brilliant left-hander Herb Score moved right in to pick up the slack. In the meantime, 36-year-old Bob Lemon and 37-year-old Early Wynn—nucleus of staff—keep rolling along as if they were ageless. If Garcia, at 33, can come back strong, pitching this year will be even more overpowering. The two relief specialists, righthander Ray Narleski and left-hander Don Mossi, had less work to do last season, but that's understandable when you have three 20-game winners on the staff. They still are best one-two bullpen punch in league. At first base, bald-headed Vic Wertz gives team most of its power, and in Outfielder Al Smith, Indians have one of best all-round players in game. Jim Hegan, despite his 36 years and low batting average, remains one of outstanding receivers in league. A coach as well as player, part of pitching success is undoubtedly due to his presence.

WEAK SPOTS
Hitting is weak, defense porous, speed lacking. Last year team tied with Orioles as worst-hitting club in league. Only Wertz knocked in more than 100 runs, and he was just a .264 batter. Second Baseman Bobby A Vila's average plummeted 117 points from league-leading figure of three seasons ago. In center field, Jim Busby slumped 77 points in four years to anemic .235. Catcher Jim Hegan is consistent .220 hitter, Shortstop Chico Carrasquel averaged only .250 for past three seasons. With figures like these, team can't afford to play .211 infielder George Strickland, the man who could tighten up inner defense. Carrasquel could have been one of great shortstops but never set his mind to it. At second, Avila, never a great fielder, has slowed up, and Wertz is still a converted outfielder playing first. Third base is in a state of flux with Al Rosen gone from the scene.

ROOKIES AND NEW FACES
Indians desperately need new faces who can run, throw and hit. They may have them in seven graduates of 1956 American Association pennant winners, Indianapolis. Best of crew is Roger Maris, a strong-armed, speedy outfielder who hits with power. Sore arm has hampered Larry Raines, a polished infielder and an outstanding base runner. Catcher Russ Nixon is rangy 22-year-old who never hit below .319 in the minors. Billy Harrell hit .421 in 19 at-bats in his one look at major league pitching two years ago and has been thrown into third-base derby. Three outstanding prospects, Hank Aguirre, Bud Daley and Stan Pitula have been waiting patiently in minors for room to appear in Indians' pitching staff. This year one or more of them might make it.

THE BIG IFS
Despite Avila's tailspin, his lifetime average is still a healthy .289. At 30, it's not unreasonable to expect him to reverse his downward trend this year. If Smith could get back over .300 where he belongs, and Strickland hits as he has been this spring, team's batting attack will be back up where it should be. Carrasquel has shown in brief flashes of brilliance that he could play shortstop as well as anyone in the league. A Carrasquel going at full speed and the ability of some of the flashy fielding rookies to hit major league pitching would tighten up the defense. If Garcia comes back strong and some of the rookie pitchers develop into major league winners, the team will be ready to challenge anybody.

OUTLOOK
As long as the old pitchers, Bob Lemon and Early Wynn, and the young one, Herb Score, stay healthy, the Indians will have a strong first-division team. Even with a miserable .244 team batting average and a lead-footed attack last year, the club was the best in the league outside of Yankees. This year it is hoped that a new manager, who will insist that the team keeps hustling, some new faces and more stress on fundamentals will bring the rest of the team somewhere near the level of the pitching. But a lot of big ifs would have to be resolved to win the pennant.

SPECTATOR'S GUIDE

Largest stadium in baseball. Located on downtown lake-front, a little over a quarter of a mile from the center of town. Continuous shuttle bus service before games from Public Square (10¢—five minutes). No buses after day games because pedestrians in streets kept them from moving. But there are round-trip express buses from 14 outlying points at night (60¢). Easy to walk to. Parking lots hold 6,000 cars (50¢ weekdays, 75¢ Sundays and holidays). Take Lake Shore Dr. to West Third St. if you're driving. Figure half to three-quarters of an hour to get away by car after game. With 55 exits, stadium can be cleared in 20 minutes.

City employees keep stands clean, with seats frequently dusted. Little waiting at the 46 rest rooms and 14 concession stands, even on capacity days. All are easily accessible from any spot in the stadium. Try the 65¢ pizza pie introduced last year. Ushers are well paid, and don't require tips. Watch out for beer-waving excursion parties in the stands or you're liable to get a shower before the game is over.

Best place to see the game is behind home plate and along first-and third-base lines in both upper and lower decks. Ramps to upper deck are very steep and it's a long climb for most people. If you sit in the center-field bleachers, bring along a pair of binoculars. You'll be a long way from home plate.

View this article in the original magazine

PHOTOFRONT OFFICE: Hank GreenbergPHOTOMANAGER: Kerby FarrellPHOTODON MOSSIPHOTOEARLY WYNNPHOTOHERB SCOREPHOTORAY NARLESKIPHOTOBOB LEMONPHOTOJIM BUSBYPHOTOBOBBY AVILAPHOTOJIM HEGANPHOTOAL SMITHPHOTOVIC WERTZPHOTOCHICO CARRASQUELPHOTOROCCO COLAVITOILLUSTRATIONMUNICIPAL STADIUM
Capacity 73,500
Ticket information:
TOwer 1-1200
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
ILLUSTRATION

BASIC ROSTER

no.

player

position

1956 record

1

Bobby Avila

2B

.224

3

George Strickland

IF

.211

4

Jim Hegan

C

.222

14

Gene Woodling

OF

.262

16

Al Smith

LF-3B

.274

17

Chico Carrasquel

SS

.243

18

Hal Naragon

C

.287

23

Vic Wertz

1B

.264

26

Preston Ward

1B

.253

31

Jim Busby

CF

.235

34

Dave Pope

OF

.225

38

Rocco Colavito

RF

.276

11

Art Houtteman

P

2-2

12

Don Mossi

P

6-5

20

Ray Narleski

P

3-2

21

Bob Lemon

P

20-14

22

Cal McLish

P

2-4

24

Early Wynn

P

20-9

25

Mike Garcia

P

11-12

27

Herb Score

P

20-9

PAST PERFORMANCE CHART

TEAM

year

finished

won

lost

games behind

1956

2

88

66

9

1955

2

93

61

3

1954

1

111

43

...

1953

2

92

62

1952

2

93

6l

2

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

batting

pitching

1956

Smith

.274

score
Wynn

20-9
20-9

1955

Smith

.306

Lemon

18-11

1954

Avila

.341

Lemon

23-7

1953

Rosen

.336

Lemon

21-15

1952

Mitchell

.323

Wynn

23-12

home runs

runs batted in

1956

Wertz

32

Wertz

106

1955

Doby

26

Rosen

81

1954

Doby

32

Doby

126

1953

Rosen

43

Rosen

145

1952

Rosen

28

Rosen

105