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DETROIT TIGERS

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

DETROIT TIGERS

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

THE MANAGER

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

Jack Tighe (35) is starting his second season as Detroit manager. Learned his craft well in 13 years as minor league manager in Detroit farm system and two seasons as Tiger coach. Never played in majors but spent 10 seasons as good minor league catcher. Bald-headed, and a high-quantity cigar smoker, the personable Tighe, at 44, has kept himself trim enough (5 feet 9, 185 pounds) to catch his batting practice pitchers before games. Tighe manages mostly by the book but at times may play hunches. His aides are Tommy Henrich (31), who will help the batters and coach first base; Billy Hitchcock (34), third-base coach; Willis Hudlin (33) in charge of pitchers; Don Lund (32).

ANALYSIS OF THIS YEAR'S TIGERS

STRONG POINTS: The strength of the Tigers lies in a number of proven major leaguers who did their best to disclaim that honor last season. Normally, they should reverse last year's dive in batting averages. In 23-year-old Al Kaline, the Tigers have one of the most accomplished players in baseball: a man who runs well, fields well, throws well, hits well and who does everything a truly great player should do. Last year's slump to .295 (after he had won the American League batting title with .340 in 1955) should sting Kaline to greater efforts. Harvey Kuenn, whose .300-plus batting average had been a routine annual event, fell off that charmed plateau last year for the first time in six seasons. But one bad season isn't enough to say that he won't hit .300 again. With slugger Ray Boone's knees in good shape, the Tigers can count on him to get the big runs home once again. Second Baseman Frank Bolling is a steady, dependable performer in the field, who seems to be a better hitter than last year's .259 would suggest. Charley Maxwell has proved he is a topflight major league left fielder. Jim Bunning, the 1957 All-Star Game's winning pitcher, is the big man on the pitching staff. Frank Lary and Billy Hoeft were 20-game winners just two seasons ago. These three and 14-game winner Paul Foytack could give the Tigers as strong a starting quartet as any team in the league. With veteran Catcher Jim Hegan to guide them, the first-line pitching could be outstanding.

WEAK SPOTS: As Casey Stengel has so admirably demonstrated, you can't win a pennant without the reserves. The Tigers just don't have them. There are a number of pitchers behind the big four, but no one knows whether the second-line pitching can come through. There is quantity in the relief corps but so far no quality. Until they prove themselves, Harvey Kuenn in center field and Billy Martin at short have to be considered weak links in the vital middle of the team's defenses. Beyond the starters in the infield, there are no capable replacements beyond newly arrived Milt Boiling. Fans shudder to think of Gus Zernial and Bill Taylor playing together in the outfield. Catching is in capable but weak-hitting hands.

ROOKIES AND NEW FACES: The man they say can make the Tigers is former longtime Yankee and shortorder Athletic, Billy Martin. Tagging along with him in the famous 13-player trade were Outfielder Gus Zernial of the big bat and slow feet; Outfielder Lou Skizas, who wants to play third; reserve Catcher Tim Thompson; and two veteran pitchers, Tom Morgan and Mickey McDermott. Added pinch-hitting strength is provided by ex-Giant Bill Taylor, a slugger. Gail Harris came from the Giants to relieve Boone at first; longtime Indian Jim Hegan gives the catching staff a lift. Hank Aguirre, a lefthander the Indians didn't want, has been impressive this spring. Another ex-Indian, Milt Bolling (Frank's brother), will relieve in infield. Only rookie with a real chance is Bob Shaw, a big right-hander with lots of stuff.

THE BIG IFS: Rarely has a spring training camp created such anguished question marks of its own choice. All-Star Shortstop Harvey Kuenn has been moved to center field and only time will tell whether he will make it. Pennant-winning Second Baseman Billy Martin has taken over shortstop; if the Tigers are going to move, he will have to supply the spark. No one wins without a first-class shortstop. Lack of depth means the Tigers need season-long performances from their starting lineup, including .300 hitting from those who have shown themselves capable of it. Bunning, Lary, Hoeft and Foytack may be on their own as the starting pitching staff. Ray Boone's knees must hold up.

THE VOICES

Van Patrick (40, resonant) brings a well-nourished sports background to his TV and radio work. At TCU he played football and starred in baseball, basketball and track. After years of minor league announcing experience, he spent two seasons with the Indians before becoming the voice of the Tigers in 1949. He is considered a competent professional announcer with a generally pleasing commercial air manner, MEL OTT (49, deliberate), for 20 years a great Giant player, began his announcing career doing the Game of the Day in 1955. This will be his third season with the Tigers. His vocalizing comes off second best to Patrick's well-modulated style but he is better than Patrick between innings. Despite his long baseball background, Ott rarely reminisces about the "good old days" under John McGraw. Both Patrick and Ott are handicapped because games are done simultaneously on radio and TV. Hence TV viewers say they talk too much and radio listeners reply, not enough.

View this article in the original magazine

PHOTOAL KALINEPHOTOHARVEY KUENNPHOTOCHARLEY MAXWELLPHOTOFRANK BOLLINGPHOTORAY BOONEPHOTOBILLY MARTINPHOTORENO BERTOIAPHOTOJIM HEGANPHOTOVAN PATRICKPHOTOJIM BUNNINGPHOTOFRANK LARYPHOTOBILLY HOEFTPHOTOPAUL FOYTACKPHOTOILLUSTRATION

THE OUTLOOK: Glaring weaknesses showed up last season when proven .300 hitters didn't perform as expected. There was no one to pinch hit, the defense was shoddy and the pitching staff's big names failed to hold up their end of the team. Tigers feel they have plugged some of the holes by moving Kuenn to center and bringing in Billy Martin. The bench has been filled with long-ball hitters. So far, pitching and infield depth is thin. Billy Martin should help ignite what was a lackluster club. With any sort of a break, considering the talent on this team, Tigers could be rough.

BASIC ROSTER

no.

player

position

1957 record

1

Billy Martin

SS

.251

2

Frank Boiling

2B

.259

3

Johnny Groth

OF

.278

4

Charley Maxwell

LF

.276

5

Gail Harris

1B

.240

6

Al Kaline

RF

.295

7

Harvey Kuenn

CF

.277

8

Ray Boone

1B

.273

9

Gus Zernial

OF

.236

10

Red Wilson

C

.242

15

Jim Hegan

C

.216

16

Reno Bertoia

3B

.275

24

Lou Skizas

3B-OF

.245

11

Harry Byrd

P

4-3

14

Jim Bunning

P

20-8

17

Frank Lary

P

11-16

18

Tom Morgan

P

9-7

21

Paul Foytack

P

14-11

42

Hank Aguirre

P

minors

44

Billy Hoeft

P

9-11

PAST PERFORMANCE CHART TEAM

year

finished

won

lost

games behind

1957

4

78

76

20

1956

5

82

72

15

1955

5

79

75

17

1954

5

68

86

43

1953

6

60

94

40½

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

batting

pitching

1957

Kaline

.295

Bunning

20-8

1956

Kuenn

.332

Lary

21-13

1955

Kaline

.340

Hoeft

16-7

1954

Kuenn

.306

Gromek

18-16

1953

Kuenn

.308

Garver

11-11

home runs

runs batted in

1957

Maxwell

24

Kaline

90

1956

Maxwell

28

Kaline

128

1955

Kaline

11

Boone

116

1954

Boone

20

Boone

85

1953

Nieman

15

Nieman

69

HOME SCHEDULE

APRIL

CLEVELAND

18, 19, 20

CHICAGO

21,22

MAY

KANSAS CITY

9*, 10, 11

CLEVELAND

13*, 14, 15

BALTIMORE

20, 21

NEW YORK

22, 23*, 24

WASHINGTON

25, 25

BOSTON

27*, 28

CHICAGO

30, 30, 31*

JUNE

CHICAGO

1

WASHINGTON

17*, 18, 19

NEW YORK

20*, 21, 22

BALTIMORE

23, 24*, 25, 26

BOSTON

27*, 28, 29

KANSAS CITY

30

JULY

KANSAS CITY

1*, 2

NEW YORK

22*, 23*, 24

WASHINGTON

25*, 26, 27

BOSTON

28, 29*, 30, 31

AUGUST

BALTIMORE

1*, 2, 3

CLEVELAND

5*, 6

CHICAGO

8*, 9, 10

KANSAS CITY

11, 12*

SEPTEMBER

CHICAGO

3*, 4

KANSAS CITY

5, 6, 7

WASHINGTON

9*, 10, 11

BALTIMORE

12*, 13

BOSTON

14, 14

NEW YORK

16, 17

CLEVELAND

19, 20, 21

*Night game