MILWAUKEE BRAVES

The Braves have finally won their pennant and they should be even better this year. The pitching is superb and very deep, the power unmatched in either league, the catching solid and the defense is at least adequate. The Braves are both good and young—and they are going to be hard to catch
April 14, 1958

THE MANAGER

A year ago Fred Haney (2) was in trouble; his ball club, which should have won the 1956 pennant, didn't. Today the tough little Irishman is sitting on top of the world, manager of the National League champions and conqueror of the mighty Yankees. Haney managed two perennial cellar teams, the Browns and the Pirates, before taking over the Braves in midseason of 1956 as replacement for Charlie Grimm. His all-new staff includes Billy Herman (8), once a great second baseman, who came from the Dodgers to coach at third; John Fitzpatrick (3), who rejoins Haney after an absence of two years, at first; and Whitlow Wyatt (31), the pitching coach who worked wonders with the Phillies.

ANALYSIS OF THIS YEAR'S BRAVES

STRONG POINTS: Two years ago the power teams of baseball were the Redlegs, the Dodgers and the Yankees. Today it is Milwaukee. Last year, with Joe Adcock out more than half the season and Wes Covington not even a regular until July, the Braves led both leagues in home runs. Henry Aaron, the major league homer champion, Eddie Mattews, Adcock and Covington furnish tremendous power, and backing them up are such sharp hitters as Red Schoendienst, Bill Bruton, Frank Torre and Johnny Logan. For that matter, despite the sneers aimed at his .403 batting average for 41 games, no one has yet proved that Bob Hazle can't hit, either. The pitching staff, headed by the big three of Warren Spahn, Bob Buhl and Lew Burdette, now has Bob Rush for a fourth starter and depth unmatched anywhere around the league: Gene Conley, Bob Trowbridge, Juan Pizarro, Don McMahon and Ernie Johnson. The catching is solid in the hands of Del Crandall and Del Rice, and the infield, while unspectacular, has no weak points. Adcock is adequate, and his replacement, Torre, is a superior glove man. Schoendienst may still be the best second baseman in the big leagues, Logan is one of the better shortstops and Mathews has become a really good infielder at third base. Felix Mantilla can sub at three positions and do a fine defensive job.

WEAK SPOTS: Unless Bruton, very slow to recover from his midsummer knee injury, is ready to play much sooner than it now appears, the Braves outfield is hurting defensively. Covington is not yet a good outfielder despite his World Series heroics, and Aaron, although he has great hands and speed and a fine arm, will never be mistaken for Joe DiMaggio. Old Andy Pafko can do a real job but he no longer has good speed and he cannot play every day. Hazle is something of a butcher with a glove, as is hard-hitting rookie Ray Shearer. Only young Al Spangler can approach Bruton defensively and he does not have a strong arm. Team speed is not too good; of the regulars only Bruton, Mathews, Aaron and Covington can really run, and even these are seldom much of a threat to steal. And unless Pizarro comes through big this year, the only dependable left-handed pitcher on the entire squad is Spahn.

ROOKIES AND NEW FACES: The four top rookies are the two outfielders, Spangler and Shearer, and the two pitchers, Carlton Willey and Joey Jay. If Bruton is able to play, there is probably little room for Spangler, while Shearer is not the defensive ballplayer the Braves need. Willey, a slender, hard-throwing right-hander with a great record in the American Association last year, could earn a spot on an already-loaded staff, but the Braves can always option him out for recall later. Jay, the ponderous ex-bonus baby who also had a good year at Wichita, can not be optioned again and therefore may have a better chance of sticking. The other three newcomers all came in the deal with the Cubs: Rush, young pitching hopeful Don Kaiser, who has failed to live up to his spectacular 1956 debut, and Casey Wise, a fine infielder at either side of second base but not yet a man to scare anyone with the bat.

THE BIG IFS: Bruton's knee and the groin muscle Schoendienst pulled in the World Series, which still bothers him, are the big question marks. If Red, now 35, misses too many games, the Braves are in trouble. Also, there is a certain amount of doubt throughout the league that Rush can be a big winner (the Braves are counting on him for 15 games) or that Pizarro, despite his tremendous promise, is yet ready. Otherwise, there is talk that Spahn has to slow down some day, and that Adcock never seems to escape injury for an entire season. Spahn, however, doesn't look like he is ready to slow down yet, and behind Adcock there is always Torre.

THE VOICES

Earl Gillespie (35, taut) was good Class D first baseman (.283 in 1941) when World War II came along to spoil his chances for majors. After service as Marine fighter pilot, Gillespie quit baseball to sell real estate. He came back to baseball as sports director of Green Bay station in 1947 and has been announcing Milwaukee games since 1950. Now has chance to describe feats of old minor league teammate Andy Pafko. Because of his close kinship to ballplayers, Gillespie has little inclination to criticize or needle what he sees on the field. His "Holy Cow!" trademark has brought him about 50 china cows, complete with halo, from fans, admiring or otherwise, BLAINE WALSH (33, comfortable), young father of seven kids, started his announcing career as Green Bay fire department radio dispatcher. When his bell-toned voice made him a personality on the firehouse circuit,-the firemen insisted he turn to commercial radio work. Walsh responded and made it to Milwaukee a year before the Braves did.

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PHOTOHENRY AARON PHOTORED SCHOENDIENST PHOTOEDDIE MATHEWS PHOTOJOHNNY LOGAN PHOTODEL CRANDALL PHOTOWES COVINGTON PHOTOJOE ADCOCK PHOTOFRANK TORRE PHOTOWARREN SPAHN PHOTOLEW BURDETTE PHOTOBOB BUHL PHOTOBOB RUSH PHOTOEARL GILLESPIE PHOTO ILLUSTRATION

THE OUTLOOK: No one expects the Braves to run away and hide from the rest of the league; the competition is too strong and this team is not without problems. Yet the fact remains that Milwaukee is loaded with pitching and power and there are half a dozen outstanding ballplayers to back up young Aaron, who is certainly one of the game's great stars. Above all, remember that, harassed as they were all of last season by a rash of injuries, the Braves came through to win the pennant and beat the Yankees in the Series. They did it once; they should be able to do it again.

BASIC ROSTER

no.

player

position

1957 record

1

Del Crandall

C

.253

4

Red Schoendienst

2B

.309

5

Felix Mantilla

IF

.236

7

Del Rice

C

.229

9

Joe Adcock

1B

.287

12

Bob Hazle

OF

.403

14

Frank Torre

1B

.272

23

Johnny Logan

SS

.273

38

Bill Bruton

OF

.278

41

Eddie Mathews

3B

.292

43

Wes Covington

OF

.284

44

Henry Aaron

OF

.322

48

Andy Pafko

OF

.277

10

Bob Buhl

P

18-7

17

Bob Rush

P

6-16

20

Don McMahon

P

2-3

21

Warren Spahn

P

21-11

22

Gene Conley

P

9-9

30

Bob Trowbridge

P

7-5

33

Lew Burdette

P

17-9

PAST PERFORMANCE CHART TEAM

year

finished

won

lost

games behind

1957

1

95

59

1956

2

92

62

1

1955

2

85

69

13½

1954

3

89

65

8

1953

2

92

62

13

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

batting

pitching

1957

Aaron

.322

Spahn

21-11

1956

Aaron

.328

Spahn

20-11

1955

Aaron

.314

Spahn

17-14

1954

Adcock

.308

Spahn

21-12

1953

Mathews

.302

Spahn

23-7

home runs

runs batted in

1957

Aaron

44

Aaron

132

1956

Adcock

38

Adcock

103

1955

Mathews

41

Aaron

106

1954

Mathews

40

Mathews

103

1953

Mathews

47

Mathews

135

HOME SCHEDULE

APRIL

PITTSBURGH

15, 17

PHILADELPHIA

25*, 26, 27

MAY

CINCINNATI

9*, 10, 11

LOS ANGELES

20*, 21

SAN FRANCISCO

22*, 23*, 24

CHICAGO

25, 25, 26*

ST. LOUIS

27*, 28*

JUNE

CHICAGO

17*, 18*, 19*

ST. LOUIS

20*, 21, 22

SAN FRANCISCO

23*, 24*, 25*

LOS ANGELES

26*, 27*, 28, 29

CINCINNATI

30*

JULY

CINCINNATI

1*, 2*

PHILADELPHIA

3, 4, 4

PITTSBURGH

5, 6

ST. LOUIS

21*, 22*, 23*, 24

CHICAGO

25*, 26, 27

LOS ANGELES

29*, 30*, 31

AUGUST

SAN FRANCISCO

1*, 2, 3, 3

PITTSBURGH

4*, 5*, 6*, 7

PHILADELPHIA

15*, 16, 17, 17

PITTSBURGH

29*, 30, 31

SEPTEMBER

CHICAGO

1, 1

CINCINNATI

9*, 10*

ST. LOUIS

12*, 13

LOS ANGELES

14, 15

SAN FRANCISCO

16*

PHILADELPHIA

23*

CINCINNATI

26*, 27, 28

*Night game

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)