MILWAUKEE BRAVES

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
April 15, 1957

THE MANAGEMENT
General Manager John Quinn, an Irishman from Boston, handles front office, oversees one of most productive farm systems in baseball. Fred Haney, an Irishman from New Mexico, who has been in baseball as player, manager, coach and sportscaster since 1918, begins his first full year as Milwaukee manager. He likes to play for a few runs behind great pitching, wants to field fiery team this year. Coaches are Charley Root (pitchers), John Riddle (first), Connie Ryan (third), Bob Keely (bullpen).

ANALYSIS OF THIS YEAR'S BRAVES

STRONG POINTS
Milwaukee pitching is like Milwaukee beer: first class. There is no team in the National League—and with possible exception of the Cleveland Indians, no team in all baseball—that can match the Braves' starting array of Warren Spahn (20-11), Lew Burdette (19-10), Bob Buhl (18-8), Ray Crone (11-10), Gene Conley (8-9), plus the 1956 rookies, Taylor Phillips (6-5) and Bob Trowbridge (3-2). Ernie Johnson, Dave Jolly, Lou Sleater and Red Murff are capable relievers and helped staff compile 3.11 earned run average, best by far in either league. Now—in case they need him—Braves also have Juan Pizarro, a 20-year-old rookie from Puerto Rico who won 23 games, struck out 318 and had ERA of 1.77 last year at Jacksonville. Joe Adcock (38 home runs, 103 runs batted in) at first, Eddie Mathews (37 homers, 95 RBIs) at third and either Bobby Thomson or Wes Covington in left field will hit with real power, and young Henry Aaron, league batting champion (.328, 26 home runs, 92 RBIs), is just beginning to produce. Aaron in right and Bill Bruton in center are above-average defensive outfielders, and Johnny Logan, both with the glove and the bat, is one of the best shortstops in the league. Catching staff, led by Veterans Del Crandall and Del Rice, may not hit for a big average but will do top-grade job behind plate.

WEAK SPOTS
Aside from Logan, Braves' infield is weak defensively, although Adcock has slick replacement in Frank Torre, and Mathews' fine arm helps make up for frequently slow reactions on hard-hit balls around third base. Danny O'Connell, a definite liability at second in 1956, must improve his work in the field and at the plate (.239) to help team win pennant. Young Felix Mantilla, a smooth fielder, needs experience in his move from shortstop to second and no one knows for sure how he will hit. Ex-Pirate Dick Cole can field but not hit. Left field remains a question mark: Thomson is 33 and no ball of fire, Covington has shown deficiencies on defense. Haney is still looking for lead-off man, a spot at which he tried Logan, Bruton and O'Connell without a great deal of success last year. And entire team must improve its bunting, show more speed, daring on bases to make Haney's particular brand of tactics pay off.

ROOKIES AND NEW FACES
Because of their pitching depth Braves may not even keep their best-looking rookie around for start of season—but they know they can recall Pizarro from the farm system anytime they need him. Chet Nichols, now attempting comeback after once leading league in ERA, faces same problem. Carl Sawatski comes back to majors again after two good years in Triple-A to add catching depth and help old Andy Pafko with pinch-hitting assignments. Ev Joyner, a consistent .300 hitter for five years in the high minors, can provide extra punch, too, but has little chance to play regularly because of weak arm.

THE BIG IFS
Club lacked spark and desire last year and everyone in baseball knew it. This still remains their biggest question mark; if cleared up, team appears to be so good that other ifs may not be too important. However, improved all-round play by O'Connell at second or emergence of Mantilla as big league infielder, better hitting by the perennially promising Crandall, and a good year by one or a combination of left fielders would leave team in top shape. Even without this, should Mathews get back into stride for typical Mathews year (a .300 average, over 40 home runs and about 130 runs batted in), Milwaukee's task would be immeasurably easier.

OUTLOOK
Milwaukee's chances to win pennant are very good. They almost pulled it off last year, finishing one game behind Brooklyn after leading most of season, and while Dodgers are beginning to show their age, the Braves are still young and improving team. The tough pennant race of 1956 proved once again that there is no substitute for experience; now that it is under their belt, Braves should be a more confident ball club. Only a major calamity can keep them out of contention; only a very good team can keep them out of first place.

SPECTATOR'S GUIDE

From downtown Milwaukee, drive out West Wisconsin Ave. to stadium. Time: half an hour. Parking is no problem, for lots hold 14,000 cars (25¢). (For $45 a season ardent Brave fans can park in special stadium lot.) If you are without car, buses make round trip from downtown for 50¢.

Stadium holds 45,000; bad seats are almost nonexistent but best are in lower grandstand along first or third ($1.85). Rush for tickets to Braves' games is rivaled only by My Fair Lady. Over a million have already been sold for 1957 season, so better hurry. Interior of ball park is very neat, rest rooms spacious and heated, concession counters easily available and popular. Best seller: delicious bratwurst (a big German sausage) on large rye buns, plus beer. Ushers eager to please, surprised when tipped. One complaint: Braves' management is slow to call off games in doubtful weather; fans are kept on tenterhooks. Around County Stadium, downpour is called "Perini dew," after Owner Lou Perini.

Scoreboard has been widened 12 feet this year to provide more detailed information on other games. Since Braves average 30,093 fans a game, a certain amount of slow-moving traffic is unavoidable when game is over. Recommended procedure, therefore, is to stay put for a while in stands, enjoy another bratwurst and beer and appreciate a beautiful ball park.

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PHOTOFRONT OFFICE: John Quinn PHOTOMANAGER: Fred Haney PHOTODEL CRANDALL PHOTOBOBBY THOMSON PHOTOHENRY AARON PHOTOWES COVINGTON PHOTOEDDIE MATHEWS PHOTOJOHNNY LOGAN PHOTOJOE ADCOCK PHOTOBOB BUHL PHOTODANNY O'CONNELL PHOTOWARREN SPAHN PHOTOBILL BRUTON PHOTOLEW BURDETTE ILLUSTRATIONCOUNTY STADIUM
Capacity 43,768
Ticket information: WEst 3-8650
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ILLUSTRATION

BASIC ROSTER

no.

player

position

1956 record

1

Del Crandall

C

.238

4

Danny O'Connell

2B

.239

5

Felix Mantilla

IF

.283

7

Del Rice

C

.213

9

Joe Adcock

1B

.291

14

Frank Torre

1B

.258

23

Johnny Logan

SS

.281

25

Bobby Thomson

LF

.235

38

Bill Bruton

CF

.272

41

Eddie Mathews

3B

.272

43

Wes Covington

OF

.283

44

Henry Aaron

RF

.328

48

Andy Pafko

OF

.258

10

Bob Buhl

P

18-8

17

Taylor Phillips

P

5-3

20

Ray Crone

P

11-10

21

Warren Spahn

P

20-11

22

Gene Conley

P

8-9

30

Bob Trowbridge

P

3-2

33

Lew Burdette

P

19-10

PAST PERFORMANCE CHART

TEAM

year

finished

won

lost

games behind

1956

2

92

62

1

1955

2

85

69

13½

1954

3

89

65

8

1953

2

92

62

13

1952

7

64

89

32

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

batting

pitching

1956

Aaron

.328

Spahn

20-11

1955

Aaron

.314

Spahn

17-14

1954

Adcock

.308

Spahn

21-12

1953

Mathews

.302

Spahn

23-7

1952

Gordon

.289

Spahn

14-19

home runs

runs batted in

1956

Adcock

38

Adcock

103

1955

Mathews

41

Aaron

106

1954

Mathews

40

Mathews

103

1953

Mathews

47

Mathews

135

1952

Gordon
Mathews

25

Gordon

75

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)