CLEVELAND INDIANS

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
April 14, 1958

THE MANAGER

Bobby Bragan (2) is short, chunky, dark-haired, dark-eyed, swarthy, surprisingly soft-spoken for a man with his reputation as a stirrer up of hornets' nests. An ordinary player in his major league days, Bobby proved an exceptionally gifted manager in the high minor leagues. But he lost his first major league job last year when Pittsburgh fired him in midseason. He looks upon the Cleveland post as a second and possibly crucial test of his ability as a big league team leader. He's a theorist and a planner off the field, a sharp tactician on it. He had an eight-man faculty in spring training, but his regular-season coaches are: Red Kress (42), Mel Harder (43) and Eddie Stanky (44).

ANALYSIS OF THIS YEAR'S INDIANS

STRONG POINTS: Herb Score appears to have recovered completely from the terrible eye injury he suffered last May when he was hit by a batted ball. This is great news for the Indians, because the team that was once rich, rich, rich in pitching has gone full circle and is desperate for a completely dependable starter. Score is that solid man, the star of the team. The Indians still hold title to Ray Narleski and Don Mossi, who started 37 games between them last year, but who were more effective and more valuable when they were the best one-two relief pitching team in the majors. With the speed and slashing bat of ex-White Soxer Minnie Minoso added to the long-distance bats of Larry Doby and Rocky Colavito (and Vic Wertz, if he doesn't use up too much of the season recovering from his broken ankle), the Indians have a fairly good run-producing batting order.

WEAK SPOTS: The Indians need dependable starting pitchers to support Score and release Mossi and Narleski for bullpen work. But none of the starters behind Score (Lemon, Garcia, McLish and the rookies) can be considered safe and dependable at the moment. There is still a bad fielding situation on this team. Young Billy Moran is being given a good chance to make it at second base, but he's a green rookie and, therefore, a long shot. Carrasquel looked better this spring than he has in some years, but he is a shortstop on the downgrade. Avila never was a topflight fielder at second, and he hasn't shown too well at third. Hatfield and Harrell, the other leading infield candidates, have not impressed as thoroughly solid ballplayers. The likely starting outfield of Minoso, Doby and either Maris or Colavito has good hitting but only fair fielding. Minoso is erratic, Colavito slow and Maris really untested. Uncertain defense could aggravate the shaky pitching situation.

ROOKIES AND NEW FACES: Most important new faces are Doby, who returns to solve the center field problem that was created when he was traded away two seasons ago, and the redoubtable Minoso, the most exciting player (excepting pitchers) that Cleveland has had since Lou Boudreau. One of the oldest new faces in baseball belongs to 40-year-old Mickey Vernon, who is a heaven-sent replacement for Vic Wertz at first base. Then there's In-fielder Fred Hatfield from Chicago and Catcher J. W. Porter from Detroit. Of the rookies and young players of scant major league experience, Second Baseman Billy Moran is the most interesting. He came into camp weighted down with a dismal .211 Pacific Coast League batting average, but he jumped into the infield and played with a fire, spark and skill that made the Cleveland brass sit up and take notice. No one on the Indians wants to jinx Moran by coming out flatly and saying, "He's the second baseman we've been waiting for," but his spring training performance certainly indicates that he is. Outfielder Gary Geiger, Cleveland's draft choice, runs well, fields beautifully, throws hard and swings a bat with grace and power. He also pitches and so may prove quite useful. Infielder Billy Harrell may stick this year, but Outfielder Carroll Hardy looks as though he'd be better off with one more year of minor league ball. Of the young pitchers, Jim (Mudcat) Grant and Hal Woodeshick were impressive in training.

THE BIG IFS: Indian eyes are focused on two players. One is Bob Lemon, who averaged 20 victories a year for nine straight years before his elbow went bad last season. The other is Billy Moran, the rookie second baseman. The Indians need starting pitchers behind Score. The Indians need a sound, skillful second baseman. The Indians need Lemon and Moran.

THE VOICES

Jimmy Dudley (45, drawling) worked as a lifeguard one summer when he was 20 and as a gag shaved all the hair off his head. It never grew back. Short and trim, he wears sporty clothes, flies his own plane and owns a small radio station. A chemical engineer for DuPont before breaking into radio in home-town Charlottesville, Va., he has been with Cleveland since 1948, is noted for his Virginia drawl and homely clichés, BOB NEAL (37, pleasant) shares radio broadcasts with Dudley. A Columbia journalism major, Neal also studied music with the hope of becoming a musical comedy star, but after the war he became involved in radio in Michigan, started covering the Indians soon thereafter. He spent a couple of seasons doing nationwide broadcasts of the Game of the Day. KEN COLEMAN (32, thorough) handles telecasts. A New England native, he came to Cleveland in 1952 to cover the football Browns, and he has been enlivening Indian telecasts with authority and dry humor since 1954.

[originallink:10482846:45777]

PHOTOVIC WERTZ PHOTOLARRY DOBY PHOTOROCKY COLAVITO PHOTOMINNIE MINOSO PHOTOROGER MARIS PHOTOCHICO CARRASQUEL PHOTOBOBBY AVILA PHOTORUSS NIXON PHOTOJIMMY DUDLEY PHOTOHERB SCORE PHOTOBOB LEMON PHOTORAY NARLESKI PHOTODON MOSSI PHOTO ILLUSTRATION

THE OUTLOOK: Though the Indians were sixth last Season, they were only a game under an even .500 percentage for the season and only a game and a half behind the fourth-place Tigers. With a healthy Herb Score ii is reasonable to expect the Indians to improve enough to recapture first-division status. But with the infield in a state of flux and a shaky pitching staff and big slugger Wertz out for possibly half the season, it is not a good bet to pick the Indians to go much higher than fourth. But be warned: if Moran blossoms and Lemon comes back, the Indians will prove surprisingly good.

BASIC ROSTER

no.

player

position

1957 record

1

Bobby Avila

IF

.268

4

J.W. Porter

C

.250

6

Rocky Colavho

OF

.252

7

Fred Hatfield

IF

.202

8

Mickey Vernon

1B

.241

9

Minnie Minoso

OF

.310

14

Larry Doby

OF

.288

15

Russ Nixon

C

.281

16

Billy Moran

2B

minors

17

Chico Carrasquel

SS

.276

18

Hal Naragon

C

.256

23

Vic Wertz

1B

.282

32

Roger Maris

OF

.235

38

Billy Harrell

IF

minors

12

Don Mossi

P

11-10

20

Ray Narleski

P

11-5

21

Bob Lemon

P

6-11

22

Cal McLish

P

9-7

25

Mike Garcia

P

12-8

27

Herb Score

P

2-1

PAST PERFORMANCE CHART TEAM

year

finished

won

lost

games behind

1957

6

76

77

21½

1956

2

88

66

9

1955

2

93

61

3

1954

1

111

43

1953

2

92

62

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

batting

pitching

1957

Woodling

.321

Narleski

11-5

1956

Smith

.274

Score, Wynn

20-9

1955

Smith

.306

Lemon

18-11

1954

Avila

.341

Lemon

23-7

1953

Rosen

.336

Lemon

21-15

home runs

runs batted in

1957

Wertz

28

Wertz

105

1956

Wertz

32

Wertz

106

1955

Doby

26

Rosen

81

1954

Doby

32

Doby

126

1953

Rosen

43

Rosen

145

HOME SCHEDULE

APRIL

KANSAS CITY

15, 16, 17

CHICAGO

23, 24

DETROIT

25*, 26, 27, 27

MAY

CHICAGO

16*, 17, 18, 18

BOSTON

20*, 21

WASHINGTON

22*, 23*, 24

NEW YORK

25, 25

BALTIMORE

27*, 28

JUNE

NEW YORK

17*, 18*, 19

WASHINGTON

20*, 21, 22, 22

BOSTON

24*, 25*, 26

BALTIMORE

27*, 28, 29, 29

JULY

DETROIT

4, 4

KANSAS CITY

5*, 6

WASHINGTON

22*, 23*, 24

NEW YORK

25*, 26, 27, 27

BALTIMORE

29*, 30*, 31

AUGUST

BOSTON

1*, 2, 3, 3

KANSAS CITY

8*, 9, 10, 10

CHICAGO

11*, 12

DETROIT

13*, 14

SEPTEMBER

KANSAS CITY

3*, 4

CHICAGO

5*, 6*, 7

NEW YORK

9*, 10*

BOSTON

12*, 13

BALTIMORE

14, 14

WASHINGTON

16*

DETROIT

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)