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CINCINNATI REDLEGS

April 14, 1958
April 14, 1958

Table of Contents
April 14, 1958

Acknowledgments
Baseball '58
  • East and West will clash in a season made exciting by new cities, fans, faces and champions. All this, and a whale of a pennant race—or two

  • 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

  • Here is a ball club with leadership and spirit, a great hitter, a tight infield, good run production—and the memory of how tough they made it on the Braves last year. There are weaknesses, but if the fine young pitching staff produces with real consistency, the Cardinals could go all the way

  • Here are your Dodgers, Los Angeles. Once they were magnificent, but now they are playing on a memory. They have lost the flash of Robinson on the base paths, the boom of Campanella's bat. Applaud them anyway and perhaps in time they will reward you with a pennant. But not for a while

  • Speed, power, catching and a sharp defense can carry a club a long way—or just as far as the pitching will allow. The Reds have made some trades and they have some new pitchers who should produce. With a little help from the old ones, this is a team that could win a pennant

  • Philadelphians have known dark days. Between the two wars, the Phillies finished in last place 16 times. Then in 1950, after 35 years of ridicule, the Phillies won a pennant. Happy days, it seemed, had come at last. But they have not come close since, and fans are wondering if they must wait another 35 years

  • The Giants arrive at the Pacific brimming with hope. A new era demands a new team, and with smart looking rookies augmenting the wonderful reality of Willie Mays, the Giants believe they might have that new team. The question marks are many, however, and time, as they say, will tell

  • People tend to mock the Cubs. In Chicago the newspapermen like to call them the Cubbies, to demonstrate how ineffectual they are. Possibly it's true. Possibly the Cubs this year are just as bad as ever. But do not forget that there are some very fine ballplayers on this otherwise weak team

  • The Pirates were supposed to start their climb last year—and didn't. Now, a year wiser, they realize that half a dozen fine young players can't do it alone. But if Kluszewski can only deliver those big hits and the pitching staff somehow comes around...well, 1958 could be different

  • It is a new year but the Yankees of '58 are an old story. As in the past, they have power, pride and the winning habit. Some critics may argue that this team is not to be compared with the great Yankee teams of '27 or '36, but what does it really matter? They are good enough to win...and easily

  • Without a home run hitter worthy of the name, the White Sox are all set to make their annual run at the Yankees—and the elusive pennant. If they succeed, it will be because they can pitch and run and field much better than anyone else. They still can't hit the baseball out of the park

  • No one has spent more money for more disappointment than the owner of the Red Sox, Tom Yawkey. Ten years ago he had the team everyone wanted: Williams, Doerr, Stephens, Pesky and DiMaggio. But it won no pennant. Now all that remains is Williams. But for some, that is enough

  • Everybody's glamour club last spring and a bitter disappointment in the summer, the Tigers don't intend to be either this year. They think they can win and, who knows, they might—if the Yankees were in another league. At least, they should be closer at the finish this season

  • People have just about forgotten that the Baltimore Orioles used to be the St. Louis Browns, so far up the ladder of respectability have the Orioles climbed. They finished within a half game of the first division last season, and they have hopes of reaching that promised land this year

  • Last season was disastrous for the Indians. Herb Score was hit in the eye, Bob Lemon hurt his arm, the pitching fell apart, and after 10 years in the first division they collapsed into sixth place. Now, with a new manager and a new general manager, the Indians start the long road back

  • Once Lou Boudreau left the scene last season and Harry Craft succeeded him, Kansas City started to play more spirited ball. But the final result was about the same since there isn't that much difference between last and seventh places. By now, Cowtown fans must be resigned to what they have

  • Summers are generally long in Washington. This year should prove no exception as far as the Senators are concerned. Charley Dressen tired of the team last year, and now it's up to Cookie Lavagetto to inspire it for another long summer. But inspiration is a weak substitute for talented young baseball players

  • Three baseball-loving artists put their palettes together and whipped up a brand-new baseball game. It's fun and as easy to play as choosing sides

  • By Robert Boyle

    Chicago's seldom-interviewed boss, Phil Wrigley, wants everybody to have a good time at Cubs Park. And everybody does—except the Cubs and Wrigley himself

CINCINNATI REDLEGS

Speed, power, catching and a sharp defense can carry a club a long way—or just as far as the pitching will allow. The Reds have made some trades and they have some new pitchers who should produce. With a little help from the old ones, this is a team that could win a pennant

THE MANAGER
Praised to the sky when he almost won a pennant in 1956, reviled last year when he came in so far behind, Birdie Tebbetts (1) remains just what he is: a shrewd big league manager with a college degree in philosophy, a flair for handling ballplayers and a wonderfully glib Irish tongue. He was a smart, competent big league catcher for 13 years and in 1956, his third as a manager, was named the National League Manager of the Year. His coaches are the colorful veteran Jimmy Dykes (4), a big league manager himself for 17 years, who coaches first base, John Riddle (2), who was with the Milwaukee Braves last year, at third, and Tom Ferrick (3), who handles the pitchers.

This is an article from the April 14, 1958 issue Original Layout

ANALYSIS OF THIS YEAR'S REDLEGS

STRONG POINTS: Gone, along with' Kluszewski and Post, is the great power team of two years ago, but this does not concern the Reds too much. Frank Robinson, Ed Bailey, Gus Bell, George Crowe, Steve Bilko, Smoky Burgess and occasionally Don Hoak can still hit the long ball. And now the Redlegs feel they have the balance they lacked before in added defense and speed. The infield is perhaps the sharpest in all baseball with Johnny Temple at second, the incomparable Roy McMillan at short and Hoak at third. Robinson in left is one of the great young players of the game and Bell, in center or in right, is always steady. No team has a better catcher than big, strong, young Ed Bailey, and no reserve catcher around can hit like Burgess. Team speed is above average and the bench is loaded, with Burgess, Alex Grammas, who can fill in superbly around the infield and also do a good job at the plate, Crowe (batting left) and Bilko (right) to platoon at first base as well as supply pinch hitting along with Bob Thurman and Pete Whisenant.

WEAK SPOTS: The Redlegs, having traded Post, must find someone to fill his vacant right field spot. Tebbetts can platoon and get by with last year's cast (Jerry Lynch, Whisenant, Thurman), but this, while satisfactory perhaps, is not likely to produce anything sensational. The other solution is to give the job to one of the rookies, Don Morejon, or the 19-year-old Vada Pinson—who might indeed turn out to be sensational—at the spot. But the outfield problem is nothing compared to the big question mark hanging over the pitching staff. Brooks Lawrence is a winning pitcher and a very good one, and everyone knows what Harvey Haddix can do. Bob Purkey should also become a winner with a contending club. But last year's records show that Joe Nuxhall, Hal Jeffcoat, Tom Acker, John Klippstein and Hersh Freeman must perform an abrupt about-face. While the pitching could be quite good, as Tebbetts believes, no one is going to be convinced until they see it happen.

ROOKIES AND NEW FACES: Although the Reds would prefer to send Pinson out for some high minor league experience, this flashy youngster's blazing speed and formidable hitting may keep him on the big league roster. If so, he could settle the outfield problem for years to come. Stan Palys, despite his sensational year at Nashville (.359), has been up before and failed to make the grade. Out of a good-looking crop of rookie pitchers, the one who might help this year is a left-hander named Charley Rabe. Aside from rookies, there are plenty of new faces brought in by purchases and trades: Bilko, the former Card failure and Coast League hero who has had a great spring; Fondy, who may be considered surplus as a third first baseman; and the four pitchers, Haddix, Purkey, Bill Wight and Willard Schmidt.

THE BIG IFS: If the Reds are to win a pennant, Bailey must regain his heavy-hitting form of 1956 when he batted .300 and hit 28 home runs; Hoak must continue to hit as hard and as often as last year when he startled everyone with a 78-point boost in his average to .293; Crowe must recover completely from the leg injury which has hobbled him this spring, and Bilko prove that he can hit big league pitching with the authority he displayed in the minors. But most of all, the pitching staff must come through. If Freeman can again become the topflight relief man he was in '56 (he should) and either Willard Schmidt or Bill Wight give him some assistance in the bullpen, where the Reds were hurting so badly last year, this team could be very tough. Then should a couple of the other veterans—Nuxhall, Klippstein, Jeffcoat, Acker—prove capable of filling out the rotation, the Reds could go all the way. It is quite a bit to ask, but at least the potential is there.

THE VOICES
Waite Hoyt (58, knowledgeable), for 20 years one of the topflight pitchers in baseball (237 victories, 182 defeats with a 6-4 record in the World Series), turned naturally to radio work when his baseball career was over in 1938. While still pitching for the Yankees in the late '20s, Hoyt, the son of famed minstrel man Addison Hoyt, toured the Keith-Albee circuit as a singer with his own act. Now in his 16th season of broadcasting Redleg games, the popular Hoyt has become a Cincinnati institution. Using a slow, concise delivery, he adds a special player's touch to his objective reporting. GEORGE BRYSON (44, chattering), the No. 1 telecaster, was good enough semipro pitcher to be offered a Yankee contract when he was 23. But his arm went dead. He later had a screen test for a singing cowboy role but lost out to Roy Rogers. He jumped from Class D broadcasting to the Red-legs three seasons ago after only five games' experience on TV. Main criticism is over his extreme enthusiasm for the Reds.

View this article in the original magazine

PHOTOFRANK ROBINSONPHOTOGUS BELLPHOTOED BAILEYPHOTODON HOAKPHOTOROY McMILLANPHOTOJOHNNY TEMPLEPHOTOGEORGE CROWEPHOTOSMOKY BURGESSPHOTOWAITE HOYTPHOTOBROOKS LAWRENCEPHOTOHARVEY HADDIXPHOTOHERSH FREEMANPHOTOBOB PURKEYPHOTOILLUSTRATION

THE OUTLOOK: Cincinnati pitching has to be better—it could hardly get worse—and if it is enough better the Reds could be in the race this year all the way. This is a sound ball club with good hitting, power, speed and defensive strength from behind the plate to the far reaches of the outfield walls. Robinson is the type of hitter who can carry an entire club, and he is backed up by enough talent to keep the rest of the league from pitching around him. Yet the fact remains that a handful of pitchers must produce who didn't produce last year. This may be expecting too much.

BASIC ROSTER

no.

player

position

1957 record

6

Ed Bailey

C

.261

7

Smoky Burgess

C

.283

10

Alex Grammas

IF

.303

11

Roy McMillan

SS

.272

12

Don Hoak

3B

.293

15

George Crowe

1B

.271

16

Johnny Temple

2B

.284

18

Steve Bilko

1B

minors

20

Frank Robinson

OF

.322

25

Gus Bell

OF

.292

30

Hersh Freeman

P

7-2

32

Harvey Haddix

P

10-13

35

John Klippstein

P

8-11

37

Bob Purkey

P

11-14

39

Joe Nuxhall

P

10-10

40

Tom Acker

P

10-5

42

Hal Jeffcoat

P

12-13

43

Willard Schmidt

P

10-3

46

Brooks Lawrence

P

16-13

47

Bill Wight

P

6-6

PAST PERFORMANCE CHART

TEAM

year

finished

won

lost

games behind

1957

4

80

74

15

1956

3

91

63

2

1955

5

75

79

23½

1954

5

74

80

23

1953

6

68

86

37

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

batting

pitching

1957

Robinson

.322

Lawrence

16-13

1956

Klu'ski

.302

Lawrence

19-10

1955

Klu'ski

.314

Nuxhall

17-12

1954

Klu'ski

.326

Nuxhall

12-5

1953

Klu'ski

.316

Pork'ski

12-11

home runs

runs batted in

1957

Crowe

31

Crowe

92

1956

Robinson

38

Klu'ski

102

1955

Klu'ski

47

Klu'ski

113

1954

Klu'ski

49

Klu'ski

141

1953

Klu'ski

40

Klu'ski

108

HOME SCHEDULE

APRIL

PHILADELPHIA

15

MILWAUKEE

23*, 24*

PITTSBURGH

25*, 26, 27, 27

ST. LOUIS

29*, 30*

MAY

MILWAUKEE

16*, 17*, 18, 19*

SAN FRANCISCO

20*, 21*

LOS ANGELES

22*, 23*, 24

ST. LOUIS

25, 25

CHICAGO

27*, 28*

JUNE

ST. LOUIS

16*, 17*, 18*, 19*

CHICAGO

20*, 21, 22, 22

LOS ANGELES

23*, 24*, 25*

SAN FRANCISCO

26*, 27*, 28*, 29

JULY

PITTSBURGH

3*, 4

PHILADELPHIA

5, 6, 6

ST. LOUIS

18*, 19, 20

CHICAGO

21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

SAN FRANCISCO

29*, 30*, 31*

AUGUST

LOS ANGELES

1*, 2, 3, 3

PHILADELPHIA

5*, 6*, 7*

MILWAUKEE

13*, 14*

PITTSBURGH

15*, 16, 17, 17

PHILADELPHIA

29*, 30, 31, 31

SEPTEMBER

PITTSBURGH

3*

CHICAGO

13

SAN FRANCISCO

14, 14

LOS ANGELS

16*

MILWAUKEE

19*, 20, 21

*Night game