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
April 15, 1957

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.

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.

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PHOTOSAL MAGLIE PHOTOROY CAMPANELLA PHOTODON NEWCOMBE PHOTOCLEM LABINE PHOTOFRONT OFFICE: Buzzie Bavasi PHOTOMANAGER: Walter Alston PHOTOJOHNNY PODRES PHOTOGIL HODGES PHOTOJIM GILLIAM PHOTOCARL FURILLO PHOTODUKE SNIDER PHOTOPEE WEE REESE PHOTOCARL ERSKINE PHOTORANDY JACKSON ILLUSTRATION ILLUSTRATIONEBBETS 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

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)