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BROOKLYN DODGERS

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

BROOKLYN DODGERS

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

THE MANAGEMENT
Vice-President Emil J. (Buzzie) Bavasi moved up through the front offices in the Brooklyn farm system, took over administration of parent team with Fresco Thompson (who directs farm system) when Walter O'Malley acquired control of Dodgers in 1950. Walter Alston had parallel career in farm system dugouts before his appointment as Dodger manager in fall of 1953. His first lieutenant, Billy Herman, coaches third, Jake Pitler first. Underpublicized Joe Becker does a fine job with the pitching staff.

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

ANALYSIS OF THIS YEAR'S DODGERS

STRONG POINTS
Brooklyn's pitching lacks glitter of Milwaukee's, but some insist it is actually strongest in league, especially in light of fact it has to pitch half its games in tiny Ebbets Field, a hitter's paradise. Sal Maglie, assuming that he continues to thrive, is toughest pitcher in baseball in a money game. Big Don Newcombe is not, but over a season his tremendous consistency racks up game after game. Talkative Clem Labine and taciturn Don Bessent provide strongest bullpen in league; Labine throws wicked sinking curve, and Bessent's fast ball is a wisp of smoke. Other starters (Carl Erskine, Johnny Podres, Roger Craig, Don Drysdale) are not up to same standards as "Barber" Maglie and Newk, but then there's the relief pitching. Brooklyn's strength lies also in superb fielding (though Catcher Campanella, Shortstop Reese, Outfielders Snider and Furillo have all fallen off a little from their peak in that respect), fast and skillful base running, and the not inconsiderable remnants of the once powerful hitting. Duke Snider, for instance, is still one of the greatest sluggers in baseball. Probably most valuable player on club last year, aside from pitchers, was relatively obscure Jim Gilliam, who played second base, left field, hit .300, stole 21 bases (second in league) and scored 102 runs (fourth straight year over 100).

WEAK SPOTS
Age and its infirmities are biggest worries Dodgers have. So much depends on ability of veterans like Reese and Campanella, Furillo and Hodges, Maglie and Erskine to play up to the hilt for yet another year. The club boasts about its farm system and all the brilliant prospects produced therein, but in last seven seasons only Gilliam has come off farms to become fulltime regular, if you exclude Relievers Labine and Bessent. A few (like Joe Black) flared briefly, and a few others (like Podres, Neal and Craig) give promise to assume full major league stature this year. Yet many more (names stick in the memory: Morgan, Bridges, Hoak, Palica, Abrams, Loes, Belardi, Podbielan...) arrived in a fanfare of publicity only to fade quietly from Brooklyn scene. Doubts about reliability of Dodger rookie crop constitute continuing major weakness.

ROOKIES AND NEW FACES
The most interesting rookie in Dodgertown this spring was a tall, skinny Cuban named Rene Valdes, who calls himself The Whip and whose pitching motion resembles one. His brilliant work in training games moved him ahead of more orthodox Dodger rookies like the lefthander Fred Kipp. Perhaps Johnny Podres, returned after a year in the Navy, could be termed a new face. John has a trick back; when it's O.K. he's O.K., but when it goes bad for a week or two then so does he.

THE BIG IFS
Don Newcombe is on the spot after his dismal World Series performance, but the real worry in pitching is Sal Maglie. Dodgers say they expect full season of outstanding work from the masterful Barber, and Sal feels the same way. But he passes 40 this month, and at 40...well, there's always that doubt. Another worry is Roy Campanella, three times Most Valuable Player in the National League. Last year Campy's batting average dropped 99 points to a miserable .219. Of course, the Dodgers won the pennant anyway, and presumably could do it again. But if Roy's injured hand is really well again he could give waning Dodger punch tremendous lift. And a tremendous lift may be what the team will need, now that the fiercely competitive Jackie Robinson is no longer around to needle his teammates to victory.

OUTLOOK
Some pessimists feel Dodgers will, at long last, fall apart this year (as Giants did after winning World Series in 1954), but depth of pitching Alston has assembled almost certainly will prevent that. However, even if team doesn't collapse, it has a tremendous task on its hands to repeat its narrow triumph over maturing and improving Braves and Redlegs. It's hard to forget how utterly weary club looked last September. This season it will be like an old king elk, fighting desperately to stave off insistent challenges of the young bulls.

SPECTATOR'S GUIDE

Because of "bandbox" structure of this stadium you can get a pretty good view of the game from almost any one of 32,111 seats—if you're not behind a post. If you would like a new point of view, you might enjoy the first few rows of the centerfield grandstand (Section 36-38, $1.25). You'll feel like you're playing shortstop.

Best way to ball park from Manhattan is by subway (BMT to Prospect Park or IRT to Franklin Ave.). By car, use Manhattan Bridge to Flatbush Ave., or Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to Prospect Ave. Expressway, but be pre pared for heavy traffic and inadequate parking facilities.

Park is certainly not beautiful, nor especially neat Rest rooms and concessions are too few and too far between to handle large crowds. Ushers growl if no tipped. Nevertheless, a visit to Ebbets Field is always entertaining. Before the game begins, there's Happy Felton and his Little Leaguers working out along right field line. Providing organ music before and after game is the estimable Miss Gladys Goodding, who's been a Dodger almost as long as Pee Wee Reese. And of course there's 'tween-innings cacophony of the Dodger Symphoney. This year Emmett Kelly, world-famous clown has been added to pregame lineup to provide chuckles No baseball park is more fun, for the Dodger fan show: his affections or his outspoken displeasure with a continuing riot of noise.

View this article in the original magazine

PHOTOSAL MAGLIEPHOTOROY CAMPANELLAPHOTODON NEWCOMBEPHOTOCLEM LABINEPHOTOFRONT OFFICE: Buzzie BavasiPHOTOMANAGER: Walter AlstonPHOTOJOHNNY PODRESPHOTOGIL HODGESPHOTOJIM GILLIAMPHOTOCARL FURILLOPHOTODUKE SNIDERPHOTOPEE WEE REESEPHOTOCARL ERSKINEPHOTORANDY JACKSONILLUSTRATIONILLUSTRATIONEBBETS FIELD
Capacity 32,111
Ticket information: MAin 4-7030
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BASIC ROSTER

no.

player

Position

1956
record

1

Pee Wee Reese

SS

.257

2

Randy Jackson

3B

.274

3

Chico Fernandez

SS

.227

4

Duke Snider

CF

.292

6

Carl Furillo

RF

.289

10

Rube Walker

C

.212

14

Gil Hodges

1B

.265

15

Sandy Amoros

LF

.260

19

Jim Gilliam

2B

.300

23

Don Zimmer

IF

.300

39

Roy Campanella

C

.219

43

Charlie Neal

2B

.287

17

Carl Erskine

P

13-11

35

Sal Maglie

P

13-5

36

Don Newcombe

P

27-7

40

Roger Craig

P

12-11

41

Clem Labine

P

10-6

45

John Podres

P

service

46

Don Bessent

P

4-3

53

Don Drysdale

P

5-5

PAST PERFORMANCE CHART

TEAM

year

finished

won

lost

games
behind

1956

1

93

61

..

1955

1

98

55

..

1954

2

92

62

5

1953

1

105

49

..

1952

1

96

47

..

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

batting

Pitching

1956

Gilliam

.300

Newcombe

27-7

1955

Cmpnlla

.318

Newcombe

20-5

1954

Snider

.341

Erskine

18-15

1953

Furillo

.344

Erskine

20-6

1952

Rbnsn

.308

Black

15-4

home runs

runs batted in

1956

Snider

43

Snider

101

1955

Snider

42

Snider

136

1954

Hodges

42

Snider, Hodges

130

1953

Snider

42

Campanella

142

1952

Hodges

32

Hodges

102