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KANSAS CITY ATHLETICS

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

KANSAS CITY ATHLETICS

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

THE MANAGEMENT
Parke Carroll ran the minor league Kansas City ball club for the New York Yankees; when Arnold Johnson brought the major league Athletics to town, he retained Carroll as his general manager. Lou Boudreau was a Boy Manager at 24 with the Cleveland Indians, won a world's championship and later managed the Boston Red Sox. He's intelligent, articulate, occasionally irritable. His coaches are Harry Craft (the old outfielder), Bob Swift (the old catcher) and Spud Chandler (the old pitcher).

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

ANALYSIS OF THIS YEAR'S ATHLETICS

STRONG POINTS
Willingness to trade (spurred by unwillingness to stand still with eighth-place club) has brought Athletics cluster of players who could combine to move team to top of American League's lowly triumvirate (Washington, Kansas City, Baltimore). From Tigers have come Ned Garver and Virgil Trucks, once 20-game winners, and Gene Host, bizarre rookie with erratic fast ball and fine move to first base. From Yankees have come Outfielders Irv Noren and Bob Cerv, Shortstop Billy Hunter and Second Baseman Milt Graff, Pitchers Tom Morgan, Rip Coleman, Mickey McDermott. These 10 weren't what teams eying the pennant needed, but for team eying sixth place they might be just the ticket. Oldtimers on A's (which means those who were there last year) include Vic Power, Harry Simpson and Hector Lopez, three very capable ballplayers, and superstitious Lou Skizas, the Chicago Strong Boy, who hit .314. Gus Zernial, onetime American League home run champion, is also around, and so are two fairly good catchers in Charley Thompson and Hal Smith. And despite trades, two best pitchers on staff may prove to be two who were best last year (according to earned run averages): Tom Gorman and Wally Burnette. Alex Kellner, big left-hander, and other faintly familiar names still decorate pitching roster.

WEAK SPOTS
Lack of power hitting to support Harry Simpson hurt A's badly last year: they couldn't score runs. To illustrate, team batting average was a big eight points higher than second-place Indians, but run total nearly 100 less. Addition of Cerv, who hit better than .300 for past two years in part-time role with Yankees, may help here. Of course, along with being second to last in scoring runs, A's were second best in giving them up. In a word, pitching was terrible but, again, winter trading appears to have helped. Infield is very fluid. Power and Lopez, at first and third, are good anchors, but Hunter—while always a bright hope—has never really come through for anyone at shortstop, and A's may continue with weak-hitting Veteran Joe DeMaestri. Graff and Curt Roberts (a second baseman who had a fling at Pittsburgh) are both good fielders but puny hitters. Worst thing about team is that it is not a team at present, but merely a collection of players. If Manager Boudreau could find sparkplug (such as he himself was in his playing days) chances are things would be lot rosier for Kansas City fans.

ROOKIES AND NEW FACES
In most training camps new faces are usually a novelty of sorts, but in West Palm Beach this spring it was the old faces that stood out in relatively lonely splendor. More than two-thirds of likeliest-looking pitchers, two-thirds of the catchers, a quarter of the infielders and about half the outfielders were someplace else a year earlier. Some of new faces came in during season last year. Of others—the very new faces—hope rides most heavily on pitchers, notably ex-Yankee Morgan, the Plowboy, and on large Robert Cerv.

THE BIG IFS
Mob of players obtained from the Yankees have got to produce, or there'll be trouble in Kansas City. But if either Graff or Roberts can play major league ball at second, Boudreau will have gem of an infield, and this in turn will help shaky pitching (for pitching, while improved, is still aspen). Yankee pitching cast-offs' must do well, and so must Bob Cerv, who is 31 now and has been giving promise of becoming big, big hitter for half a dozen years. He'd better fulfill that promise, because A's need runs-batted-in power badly.

OUTLOOK
If team plays way it did year ago, it will stay in last place, and the love Cowtown folk have had for A's will turn to loathing. Carroll and Boudreau gambled this year when they gave up their name pitchers, Art Ditmar and Bobby Shantz, for big parcel of players from New York. If Ditmar and Shantz star for New York and big parcel turns out to be bust, Carroll and Boudreau will be left holding the remnants of the bag. But, in truth, team seems greatly strengthened by all the players they've garnered from the various deals.

SPECTATOR'S GUIDE

Rebuilt two years ago, Municipal Stadium is one of the cleanest, most attractive parks in baseball. Seats are bright turquoise color instead of usual dark green; ushers are courteous, and tipping, although accepted, is not required. Rest rooms (14 of them) are clean and un-crowded; concession stands are handy, serve excellent food (including grilled hot dogs) at average prices. Park permits a car or two containing invalids to park inside the stadium outside the low wall that runs along the left-field foul line.

Stadium is located at 22nd St. and Brooklyn Ave. only 1½ miles from downtown area; it can be reached by express bus (35¢), taxi or car in about 15 minutes, although 30 may be needed when Yankees are in town. Parking space for 3,800 cars within two blocks ($1); traffic flow is smooth and no special police are required. Suggestion: many fans drive their cars to an originating point for an express bus, park there and take a bus to the park. Because of crowds taxi service after games can be inadequate.

Most of the 30,611 seats are good, but watch out for first five rows of field boxes (lower deck) during midsummer days; it is quite possible to be baked alive. Only customers with 20-20 vision should occupy seats in upper deck. All others good and choice depends only on personal preference.

View this article in the original magazine

PHOTOFRONT OFFICE: Parke CarrollPHOTOMANAGER: Lou BoudreauPHOTOBOB CERVPHOTOBILLY HUNTERPHOTOVIC POWERPHOTOHARRY SIMPSONPHOTOIRV NORENPHOTOMICKEY McDERMOTTPHOTORIP COLEMANPHOTOTOM MORGANPHOTOHECTOR LOPEZPHOTOALEX KELLNERPHOTOCHARLEY THOMPSONPHOTOGUS ZERNIALILLUSTRATIONMUNICIPAL STADIUM
Capacity 30,611
Ticket information: HUmboldt 3-9911
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ILLUSTRATION

BASIC ROSTER

no.

player

position

1956 record

2

Joe DeMaestri

SS

.233

7

Vic Power

1B

.309

9

Billy Hunter

SS

.280

10

Hector Lopez

3B

.273

19

Irv Noren

OF

.216

21

Milt Graff

2B

minors

22

Charley Thompson

C

.272

30

Gus Zernial

OF

.224

32

Hal Smith

C

.267

35

Lou Skizas

OF

.314

36

Bob Cerv

OF

.304

38

Harry Simpson

OF

.293

3

Rip Coleman

P

3-5

14

Mickey McDermott

P

2-6

20

Alex Kellner

P

7-4

23

Wally Burnette

P

6-8

24

Ned Garver

P

0-2

28

Tom Morgan

P

6-7

34

Virgil Trucks

P

6-5

37

Tom Gorman

P

9-10

PAST PERFORMANCE CHART

TEAM

year

finished

won

lost

games behind

1956

8

52

102

45

1955

6

63

91

33

1954

8

51

103

60

1953

7

59

95

41½

1952

4

79

75

16

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

batting

pitching

1956

Power

.309

Ditmar

12-22

1955

Power

.319

Kellner

11-8

1954

Finigan

.302

Port'ro

9-18

1953

Philley

.303

Kellner

11-12

1952

Fain

.327

Shantz

24-7

home runs

runs batted in

1956

Simpson

21

Simpson

105

1955

Zernial

30

Zernial

84

1954

Wilson

17

Zernial

62

1953

Zernial

42

Zernial

108

1952

Zernial

29

Zernial

100