PITTSBURGH PIRATES

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
April 15, 1957

THE MANAGEMENT
Known only as son of famed baseball-loving comedian when named to succeed Branch Rickey as general manager, Joe L. Brown is now considered one of the game's smart young men. Bobby Bragan, beginning his second year as big league manager, knows his players now as well as rest of league, feels he has most improved team around. Less combative than while managing in the minors, Bragan is still colorful, outspoken. Coaches are energetic Danny Murtaugh, Clyde Sukeforth, Leonard Levy, Sam Narron.

ANALYSIS OF THIS YEAR'S PIRATES

STRONG POINTS
Pirates plan to move up because of natural improvement one can expect from youngest team in baseball; a lineup which Bragan knows and which will be much more nearly set than at this time a year ago; two outstanding young pitchers; one of league's finest outfields; power hitting of Frank Thomas and Dale Long; speed, defensive ability and depth. With a better ball club to back them up, both Bob Friend and Ronnie Kline are potential 20-game winners and when in trouble can always depend on steady El Roy Face to back them up. Bill Virdon (.319) and Roberto Clemente (.311) finished two-three in batting race and combine with young Lee Walls (.274) to give Pirates sharp-hitting outfield that can run and throw. Thomas and Long, despite wobbly spring start, can be counted on to hit long ball and do adequate job at corners of infield, which is very tight up middle because of near-magical second base play of Bill Mazeroski and steady work of Dick Groat at short. Pirate system is bulging with good-looking young ballplayers and Bragan has wide choice in selecting who will back up his regulars. Among those with major league experience are several who can double in outfield or at one of infield spots: Gene Freese, Bob Skinner and service returnee Paul Smith, who had a .283 average in his last year with team. Utility infielders are Johnny O'Brien and the veteran Spook Jacobs, and another outfield prospect is Roman Mejias.

WEAK SPOTS
Catching is No. 1 problem. Danny Kravitz can hit—or at least looks like he should—but can't catch. Hank Foiles can catch but can't hit. Bragan will probably choose Kravitz' bat over Foiles's glove and hope that he really is another edition of the young Yogi Berra. Even more than most managers, Bragan is badly in need of another starting pitcher—or maybe two. Last year Pirates won 66 games and of these, Friend, Kline and Face accounted for 43. As a result, in last half of season they just ran out of gas. Vernon Law, who had 8-16 record in ailing year, looks healthy now and should help. But behind this there are only possibilities. Some of them: Luis Arroyo, who at the moment looks like the No. 4 man, Dick Hall, Laurin Pepper, Bob Purkey, Nelson King and a pair of elderly comebackers, Bob Kuzava and Paul Minner. It is also a club frankly lacking in power; the outfielders can all get on base but only Thomas and Long seem able to move anyone around.

ROOKIES AND NEW FACES
Pirates don't trade—they like to grow their own—and even most of players up from minor league system have been on Hollywood-to-Pittsburgh-and-back shuttle service before. However, there are a few new faces. Dick Rand, who can also catch but can't hit either, comes from Rochester to be No. 3 man behind Kravitz and Foiles. John Powers, who hit 39 home runs for New Orleans, is almost sure to stick as pinch-hitter, can play outfield or first base. And if Bragan should become too desperate for power hitters, he can always recall Dick Stuart; although this muscular young citizen was always in danger of being killed by a fly ball, those 66 home runs he hit at Lincoln and the handful he hit this spring present a pretty strong argument just in themselves.

THE BIG IFS
If Kravitz can do job behind plate, a couple of pitching hopefuls come through and Long regains batting pace anywhere near last June's rocketing display, Pirates will be in excellent shape. It would also be nice if Stuart would learn to catch a fly ball while at Hollywood, but this perhaps is asking too much.

OUTLOOK
Win or lose, Pirates are going to be fun to watch—and for first time since 1948 they might win more often than they lose. An improvement over seventh-place finish of '56 is almost certain, but Cards are sure to be better too, and Giants have surprised everyone with their play this spring. On top of that, of course, there are always the Braves and Dodgers and Redlegs. With unsettled catching and without more pitching and power, Pirates will need another year to reach the first division. At least they're now on their way.

SPECTATOR'S GUIDE

Loveliest setting of any major league field, with tree-filled Schenley Park and University of Pittsburgh's towering Cathedral of Learning out beyond 12-foot-high left-field wall. Fences are free of signs. Seats are painted blue (boxes), gray (reserved), and green or red (general admission). Stands are clean but girders and posts hamper view to some extent from majority of seats (along line near foul pole in right is particularly bad). Box seats directly behind home plate have limited vision because of flat-floor construction. Best spots are first-floor boxes behind first or third base, and also reserved seats beyond fourth row in same general area.

Ushers rate high in courtesy, but appreciate tip for same. Rest rooms, clean and recently modernized, are still too few in number (no ladies' room in lower stands on first base side, for example). Refreshment stands not really adequate for capacity crowds. Usual fare, except for ice cold Lemon Blend, a local favorite. No beer sold; fans bring own. Parking near field is inadequate, and traffic jams are inevitable on sellout days, so best to park at a distance and take trolley to and from field, unless you happen to find a cab handy. Park located four miles from downtown area and, if you're driving, heavy traffic may be avoided by taking Blvd. of Allies and swinging out through Schenley Park, or by using roundabout route along Bigelow Blvd.

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PHOTOVERNON LAW PHOTODALE LONG PHOTOFRANK THOMAS PHOTORON KLINE PHOTOFRONT OFFICE: Joe L. Brown PHOTOMANAGER: Bobby Bragan PHOTOBILL VIRDON PHOTOEL ROY FACE PHOTONELSON KING PHOTOBILL MAZEROSKI PHOTOROBERTO CLEMENTE PHOTODICK GROAT PHOTOLEE WALLS PHOTOBOB FRIEND ILLUSTRATIONFORBES FIELD
Capacity 34,249
Ticket information: MUseum 1-1600
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ILLUSTRATION

BASIC ROSTER

no.

player

Position

1956
record

3

Dale Long

1B

.263

4

Bob Skinner

OF

.202

6

Johnny O'Brien

2B

.173

8

Gene Freese

IF-OF

.208

9

Bill Mazeroski

2B

.243

11

Paul Smith

OF

service

14

John Powers

OF-1B

minors

15

Frank Thomas

3B

.282

16

Lee Walls

LF

.274

17

Danny Kravitz

C

.265

18

Bill Virdon

CF

.319

21

Rob. Clemente

RF

.311

24

Dick Groat

SS

.273

38

Hank Foiles

C

.212

19

Bob Friend

P

17-17

22

Ronnie Kline

P

14-18

26

El Roy Face

P

12-13

29

Nelson King

P

4-1

32

Vernon Law

P

8-16

39

Luis Arroyo

P

3-3

PAST PERFORMANCE CHART

TEAM

year

finished

won

lost

games
behind

1956

7

66

88

27

1955

8

60

94

38½

1954

8

53

101

44

1953

8

50

104

55

1952

8

42

112

54½

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

batting

pitching

1956

Virdon

.319

Friend

17-17

1955

Long

.291

Friend

14-9

1954

Thomas

.298

Lit'field

10-11

1953

O'Connell

.294

Dickson

10-19

1952

Groat

.284

Dickson

14-21

home runs

runs batted in

1956

Long

27

Long

91

1955

Thomas

25

Long

79

1954

Thomas

23

Thomas

94

1953

Kiner

35

Kiner

116

1952

Kiner

37

Kiner

87

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)