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
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over
Pat On The Back


Being of reasonably sound mind and body, I predict the Yankee dynasty is at an end this year and the Red Sox are going to win the pennant. With Ted batting a solid .360, Jensen .340, Piersall .325, Goodman .320 and Vernon .315, we are bound to get more than our share of runs. Brewer and Sullivan will win 20 apiece. Parnell, Baumann, Susce, Delock and Porterfield will win about 70 games between them. The rest of the pitching staff will win at least 25 games, thus giving the Sox 135 victories this season. For the past 10 seasons the Sox have taken it from the Yankees. This year the only thing we would like to take from the Yankees is Mickey Mantle.
Syracuse, N.Y.

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

•With a 154-game season this should certainly give the Red Sox a comfortable margin of victory.—ED.

I wish only to set forth a few observations and predictions concerning the demise of the 1957 Brooklyn Dodgers.

Jackie Robinson: Without his steadying influence, competitive spirit, know-how and clutch playing, the Bums will be like a ship without a rudder.

Pee Wee Reese: Old soldiers never die, they just fade away; 1957 could be it.

Sal Maglie: Our hat is off to this guy. To expect a repeat is just asking too much.

Carl Furillo: Used to be a fine outfielder.

Don Newcombe: To the other members of the Brooks we suggest that they hark back to those 1956 World Series checks and thank this guy. A master craftsman, but to achieve more than 20 wins with the 1957 version of the Bums would require superhuman effort.

Roy Campanella: His was a notable career.

Emmett Kelly: Ironically, this guy's sad-pan expression expresses perfectly the Dodger "new look."
Hatboro, Pa.

Mr. O'Malley and Mr. Bavasi have pointed to the various improbables in the Brooklyn situation in looking for a new home for the Dodgers. I lived in Los Angeles for five years while I was a student at UCLA and offer the following commentaries about Los Angeles as a baseball town.

The public transportation system of the city is nothing compared with that of New York, and so the city depends almost completely upon automobiles. The stadium and parking lot will have to be reasonably close to the centers of population and to areas where the people can quickly and easily get there by car and away again after the games. And that kind of location will not be easily or cheaply obtained.

It has been my experience that Los Angeles is not a daytime sports town during the week. Else why does the Pacific Coast League play its weekday games at night and play double-headers on Sunday?

The owners of the Dodgers point to the Braves in Milwaukee and how their moving has helped not only the city but all of baseball. But they forget that this is an optimum situation that probably could not be repeated for a long time. In going to Los Angeles, they would have to start absolutely from scratch, whereas in Milwaukee the stadium had already been built and the parking space already available.

I agree with Councilman Kenneth Hahn of Los Angeles that the Dodgers are putting the squeeze on New York to get what they want by threatening to move out to Los Angeles. And I'll put it in my own best Brooklynese by saying that "the Dodgers ain't goin' nowhere."

This is the year the Yanks get the ax from the revitalized Tigers. They have three solid, potential 20-game winners in Lary, Hoeft and Foytack, plus good hitting in Kuenn, Kaline and Company. My choices: A.L.—Detroit, New York, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Kansas City, Baltimore and Washington; N.L.—Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Brooklyn, Chicago, St. Louis, New York, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

I would like to go out on the limb and make a prediction on the National League.

1. Milwaukee (this year it's their turn).

2. Brooklyn (lack of youth).

3. Cincinnati (still need pitching).

4. St. Louis (they won't be far from the top).

5. Chicago (trades helped; need center fielder).

6. Pittsburgh (not much change).

7. Philadelphia (no infield).

8. New York (weak all around).
Wheaton, Ill.

Here is my opinion on the outcome of the N.L. race.

1. Milwaukee (they should finally live up to what is expected of them).

2. New York (the "say hey" kid should come back).

3. Brooklyn (dropping slightly but are still strong).

4. Cincinnati (lack of pitching should tell).

5. St. Louis (Stan the Man isn't going to be enough to pull them through).

6. Philadelphia (Roberts only pitching, also not much hitting).

7. Chicago (not much either way).
Ukiah, Calif.

I am acting as spokesman for an enthusiastic group of civil engineers, and, I might add, reluctantly so, to obtain a highly regarded opinion from your baseball staff to answer the following disagreement. We have found ourselves with dissimilar views as to the worth of a pitcher, available for a trade, in his earned run average as compared to his games-won record. We ask the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED baseball experts if, in their opinion, a pitcher with a low earned run average and a poor win record is more desirable than a pitcher with a fairly high earned run average yet a substantial 20-game winner?

This question has become overwhelmingly important during our coffee breaks, drowning out all customary discussions of toll roads vs. freeways.
Marblehead, Mass.

•The consensus here is that ERA is the better indicator of a pitcher's individual talents, but that no manager is likely to turn down a 20-game winner.—ED.

I am one of those women who need the information which you describe in "Baseball Made Plain" (E&D, Feb. 11).

Can you tell me how to secure Commissioner Frick's primer for women?
Winona, Minn.

•Mass distribution of the booklet will be handled by the ball clubs, but individuals may obtain it through Commissioner Frick's office, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York 20, N.Y.—ED.

For nearly three decades we have heard the constantly repeated chorus that if the great hitters of the early days of baseball had had an opportunity to belt the modern "rabbit" ball, their performances would have been astronomical.

Obviously, there was no rebuttal possible, so the heroic defenders of other years always manage to earn at least a draw.

Mrs. Sam Crawford recently remarked that this question had been asked her often and her only reply was that Sam (aged 76) is in no condition to prove what he could have done 40 years ago with the "rabbit," so why don't they wind a small supply of the old balls and see what the present-day Mantles, Mathewses, Mayses, et al. could do with it?

Of course, the suggestion is so logical and simple that no one connected with the administration of baseball would ever stoop so low as to do anything about it. Nevertheless, I am convinced that for an exhibition game or even an All-Star Game it would be an exciting and interesting experiment and one would ensure a packed house.

I would like your opinion and proof of what major leaguer is the fastest from the batter's box to first base.

I have had an argument with a school friend as to who is. I say Mickey Mantle.
Pennsburg, Pa.

•Last year in The Sporting News, Lou Miller conscientiously clocked 158 major league players in the batter's box-to-first dash, a distance of 90 feet. The 10 fastest: Mickey Mantle, batting left-handed, 3.3 seconds; Mantle, batting right-handed, 3.4 seconds; Bill White (Giants) 3.4; Willie Mays (Giants), Richie Ashburn (Phillies), Don Blasingame (Cards), Larry Doby (White Sox), Solly Drake (Cubs), Junior Gilliam (Dodgers), Al Pilarcik (Athletics) and Bill Virdon (Pirates) all made it in 3.5 seconds.—ED.

Here are a couple of knotty problems which were encountered at a baseball clinic and after much discussion still remained problems.

Problem No. 1: Runner on third with less than two out. Batter hits to first baseman, and then interferes with first baseman's attempted play on the runner trying to score from third.

Problem No. 2: With runner on second, batter hits ball between third and short, the third baseman deflects the ball toward the shortstop, but ball strikes the runner going from second to third. Is the runner out? Under what conditions may he be called out? I trust you can solve both questions handily.
East Riverdale, Md.

•Problem No. 1: The batter is called out for interference. The runner goes back to third. Problem No. 2: The runner is not out. He may only be called out if the ball strikes him before a fielder has touched it.—ED.

You can certainly have your Mickey Mantle, red-blooded American boy, and your Stan (The Man) Musial, idol of fans and sportswriters alike. And that dash man from Texas—take him too. I'll take Ted Williams—the villain, the bad guy, like in wrestling. Probably the reason I like Ted is the same reason so many good citizens, including so-called sportswriters, dislike him. He is so independent, free like a boid.

It's fascinating to me how a man doing what he wants to do can gripe so many people. Every time Ted fails to observe the little niceties, neglects to bow and scrape when "his" fans expect it and just plain hurts people's feelings—man, that's the greatest.

I get a bigger charge out of watching Williams in batting practice than I do from an entire game, say between the Cubs and Phillies.
Fort Polk, La.