An appraisal and comparison of the 1957 World Series teams: how they throw, hit, field and run—and which of the two should emerge as World Champion
September 29, 1957


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The outcome of a World Series frequently depends upon two factors: which team can better produce three dependable starters backed up by a good relief man or two, and which pitching staff has the balance to take advantage of its opponents' relative strengths and weaknesses. Both of this year's teams are splendidly equipped to handle the first. The Braves have Buhl, Burdette and the incomparable Spahn, who between them have won almost 60 games, plus the solid support of Trowbridge, Conley and McMahon. The Yankees have Ford, Sturdivant, Shantz and Turley, backed up by Grim, Kucks, Ditmar and, perhaps, Larsen. If the Yankees cannot match the Braves with big individual winners, it must be noted that their ERA is much more impressive. At this point the two teams would appear virtually equal. But in the matter of tactical versatility the Yankees have the edge. Evenly-proportioned County Stadium presents no problem, but in Yankee Stadium, site of the first two games (and the last two of a seven-game Series), the short right-field line and vast expanse in left virtually dictate that both teams use left-handers. The Yankees have two, Ford and Shantz, while the Braves have only Spahn. In addition, Buhl, Conley and McMahon are primarily fast-ball pitchers, a species the Yankees usually devour alive. The Braves like the fast ball, too, but all Yankee starters except Turley, who has the speed to overpower anyone, use breaking stuff as their big weapon.



The Braves lead both major leagues in home runs (50 more than the Yankees) and have four truly big sluggers in Aaron, Mathews, Adcock and Covington. The Yankees have only two--Mantle and Berra. Skowron and Bauer are power hitters, yet Rookie Bob Hazle has hit more home runs per times at bat than either one. And not McDougald or Simpson or Slaughter or any of the other Yankees has hit as many home runs as Red Schoendienst, who is not really a distance hitter at all, or Del Crandall. The Braves have also hit more doubles and triples and the batting average of their starting team is definitely superior. The one advantage held by the Yankees lies in the depth and ability and strategic value of that great bench. Where Haney has less than a handful of dependable pinch-hitters (Sawatski, Pafko or Hazle depending upon the lineup, Torre and perhaps Rice and Nippy Jones), Stengel can call upon Slaughter, Howard, Simpson, Collins, Carey, Kubek, Richardson, Coleman and Lumpe. Three or four of these will be in the lineup but the rest will be on the bench, waiting to grab a bat.



There is one basic difference between these two clubs in the field: the Yankees almost never beat themselves, the Braves frequently do. Both teams have fine catching, but around the infield only Schoendienst, for the Braves, is a really gifted glove man, while the Yankees have McDougald, Richardson, Coleman, Kubek and Carey. And the Milwaukee outfield of Aaron, Covington and Pafko or Hazle is markedly inferior to Mantle, Bauer and whomever Stengel plays opposite Covington any particular day in left field.



The Yankees use unusual team speed all through the lineup to stretch their hits, take the extra base and, when the occasion arises, to steal. Bauer, Mantle, Kubek, Richardson, McDougald, Carey and Lumpe can all move; none of the others are really slow. The Braves, on the other hand, do not run well at all. Only Bruton, who may not even play, and Mantilla, a reserve, have exceptional speed. Among the others, Mathews is considered the best. Logan, Schoendienst, Aaron, Covington, Pafko and Hazle have fair speed but no real flair for running the bases. The others are definitely slow.



Near-equal strength in pitching and hitting--the two big factors in any baseball game--should make this an even, interesting Series. But the marked Yankee advantage in speed and skill, both on the bases and in the field; the inexperience of the Braves in World Series play; and the very tangible presence of the deep and versatile Yankee bench would appear to give the World Champions once again a very definite edge.