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CINCINNATI REDLEGS

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

CINCINNATI REDLEGS

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

THE MANAGEMENT
Shrewd, genial Gabe Paul is the soundest front office man in the league, if not in all baseball. One of his best moves was hiring as manager talented, talkative Birdie Tebbetts, who combines natural genius for good public relations with tough, analytical baseball mind. James J. Dykes, the humorist, is Birdie's third-base coach and assistant professor of philosophy. Likable Frank McCormick handles first base chores, and quiet, hard-working Tom Ferrick does wonders with the weak Cincinnati pitching staff.

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

ANALYSIS OF THIS YEAR'S REDLEGS

STRONG POINTS
Birdie Tebbetts likes to protest that Redleg hitting isn't as powerful as it looks, but try to get one of his sluggers away from him in a trade and his red face turns pale. This is a club built presently on two things: big bats and sure gloves. Four Redlegs—Ted Kluszewski, Wally Post, Gus Bell and Ed Bailey—hit more home runs last season than the entire St. Louis Cardinal squad, even though Cards led league in team batting average. And this muscular quartet doesn't even include the great rookie Frank Robinson, whose 38 homers were high for Cincinnati. Perhaps this explains why club scored nearly 100 runs more than Cardinals in 1956 and led league in that important item. Redlegs are not flat-footed muscle-bound sluggers (though some cynics look doubtfully upon massive Ted Kluszewski). Post and Bell are very good fielding outfielders and Robinson seems to be developing into an extraordinary one. Bailey is an excellent catcher. Klu is immobile at first, but usually sure-handed when he gets near a ball. Nonslugging members—Shortstop Roy McMillan, Second Baseman Johnny Temple and either Don Hoak or Alex Grammas at third—are masters of their trade, which is primarily fielding of baseballs. Scrawny, bespectacled McMillan is by far the greatest fielding shortstop in game today, and this is said with full knowledge of the skills of such as Luis Aparicio, Gil McDougald, Pee Wee Reese and Willie Miranda.

WEAK SPOTS
With characteristic forensic maneuverability, Tebbetts praises his poor pitching while finding fault with his great hitting. This may be part of a massive scheme to hypnotize his in-and-outers into believing that any one of them could throw a baseball through a concrete wall. It may work at that, because Redleg pitchers turned in some surprising figures for such a mediocre group. Best of them (Joe Nuxhall) was lowly 17th in earned run averages among starting pitchers, and staff as a group allowed three runs or more per game more often than any other pitching staff in league. But they seldom let a game fall completely apart; despite their bandbox home park, Crosley Field, Birdie's pitchers gave up fewer home runs than any staff except Milwaukee's gilt-edged crew. A great deal of credit for this goes to tremendously effective relief pitching of Hershell Freeman (14-5, even though he didn't start a game). Hersh allowed home runs at the rate of one every 55 innings (for comparison, Robin Roberts allowed one every six innings). Keeping enemy's score to a moderate, if not modest, total gave the cocky Cincinnati sluggers an incentive to unleash their huge bats and catch up. Nevertheless, neither Nuxhall nor Johnny Klippstein nor Art Fowler nor even 19-game-winner Brooks Lawrence has proved to be a real stopper on the pitching staff, which is a most serious weakness in a team with pennant ambitions.

ROOKIES AND NEW FACES
Don Hoak, an abject failure with Cubs last year, has been a joy in spring training and may beat out Grammas for third base. Another ex-Cub, Warren Hacker, has been working on a sidearm delivery that Tebbetts hopes will revive Warren as starting pitcher. There is good rookie crop, but Redlegs aren't rushing them.

THE BIG IFS
Since slugging is still the key to Cincinnati success, major worry is Ted Kluszewski's ailing hip—because Big Klu remains the big man on this team. Last season, having a "bad" year, he was their best in batting percentage and runs batted in. Unless a brilliant starting pitcher rises out of nowhere, the Redlegs simply must have a healthy Kluszewski.

OUTLOOK
Paul and Tebbetts were more surprised than the fans when the Redlegs finished a scant two games behind pennant-winning Dodgers last year. They were elated, naturally, but now this year—with more and more enthusiasts jumping on Cincinnati bandwagon—they are growing apprehensive. Club is still building for future: pitching must be developed, bright minor leaguers carefully nurtured, soft spots in lineup and bench strengthened. Gabe and Birdie will not be elated by repeat of last year's record, but they'll be plenty satisfied.

SPECTATOR'S GUIDE

Cincinnati wants a new ball park, but until one comes along will have to put up with Crosley Field, smallest in majors. Partly because of size, however, there are really no bad seats; only sun area is in Sun Deck bleachers (called Moon Deck for night games). Ticket prices are below average ($2.50 box, $2 reserved seat) and ushers are efficient and polite, expect only moderate tip. Refreshment stands are adequate, prices reasonable, food good.

There are problems, however. Rest rooms, although clean, are frequently overcrowded on big days. The streets leading to the park are narrow and crowded with parked cars. There just aren't adequate parking facilities for any sort of crowd. For out-of-towners, however, park is within easy walking distance of Union Terminal. (The Redlegs get more out-of-town spectators than any other major league club.) The best and easiest way to go to a game is by special buses called Baseball Arrows. They run from specified places downtown and cost 70¢ round trip.

Improvements this year include an extensive repainting of park, better lights and colossal new scoreboard. New board will be 55 feet high and 65 feet wide and is designed so that it will be visible from any seat in park. A feature will be the flashing of a player's batting average as of that morning each time he goes to bat.

View this article in the original magazine

PHOTOFRONT OFFICE: Gabe PaulPHOTOMANAGER: Birdie TebbettsPHOTOTED KLUSZEWSKIPHOTOJOE NUXHALLPHOTOGUS BELLPHOTOED BAILEYPHOTOROY McMILLANPHOTOALEX GRAMMASPHOTOJOHNNY KLIPPSTEINPHOTOJOHNNY TEMPLEPHOTOBROOKS LAWRENCEPHOTOHERSHELL FREEMANPHOTOFRANK ROBINSONPHOTOWALLY POSTILLUSTRATIONCROSLEY FIELD
Capacity 29,584
Ticket information: MAin 1-1248
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ILLUSTRATION

BASIC ROSTER

no.

player

Position

1956
record

6

Ed Bailey

C

.300

7

Smoky Burgess

C

.275

10

Alex Grammas

3B

.243

11

Roy McMillan

SS

.263

12

Don Hoak

3B

.215

14

Rocky Bridges

IF

.211

15

George Crowe

1B

.250

16

Johnny Temple

2B

.285

18

Ted Kluszewski

1B

.302

20

Frank Robinson

LF

.290

22

Bob Thurman

OF

.295

25

GusBell

CF

.292

28

Wally Post

RF

.249

30

Hershell Freeman

P

14-5

34

Russ Meyer

P

1-6

36

Warren Hacker

P

3-13

39

Joe Nuxhall

P

13-11

40

Tom Acker

P

4-3

42

Hal Jeffcoat

P

8-2

46

Brooks Lawrence

P

19-10

PAST PERFORMANCE CHART

TEAM

year

finished

won

lost

games
behind

1956

3

91

63

2

1955

5

75

79

23½

1954

5

74

80

23

1953

6

68

86

37

1952

6

69

85

27½

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

batting

Pitching

1956

Kluszewski

.302

Lawrence

19-10

1955

Kluszewski

.314

Nuxhall

17-12

1954

Kluszewski

.326

Nuxhall

12-5

1953

Kluszewski

.316

Perkowski

12-11

1952

Kluszewski

.320

Raff'b'ger

17 -13

home runs

runs batted in

1956

Robinson

38

Kluszewski

102

1955

Kluszewski

47

Kluszewski

113

1954

Kluszewski

49

Kluszewski

141

1953

Kluszewski

40

Kluszewski

108

1952

Kluszewski

16

Kluszewski

86