BASEBALL GETS THE GRADE A SEAL
Two surprises greeted the arrival of major league baseball in California last week: an unwontedly cordial San Francisco sun and an impressive turnout by the city's ruling society—without whom there would be no Red Cross drive, no opera, no museum, no important civic enterprise, no nothing. These are the merchant princes of San Francisco, with their wives and kinfolk, the men who run the banks and the real estate and the oil companies and the stores. Most of the people pictured on these two pages belong in this category. In a real sense, they are San Francisco, and several million people living in the Bay Area seem to accept the fact without resentment. Their presence in Seals Stadium underwrites major league ball in San Francisco as no mayor or other local official could.
Catered box lunches sustain fashionable Mesdames Emmet Whitaker and J. Gordon Knapp of Menlo Park, Mrs. A. T. Cook of Atherton and Mrs. LeBaron Bliss of Santa Cruz as they relax in the sun to watch Stoneham's Giants make their bow.
Banker, war hero and Harvardman Ferdinand Stent, left, peers over the shoulders of Mrs. William Taylor, Mrs. George Montgomery, his wife, whose brother publishes the Chronicle, and Mrs. Kenneth Monteagle whose husband heads symphony.
Grande dame of the elite is Steamship Heiress Lurline Matson Roth, shown with Clarissa Dyer and daughter Bernice.
Pretty Blonde Mrs. Edwin Wilson and husband are sports fans in the tradition of her father, Flyer Frank Fuller.
Suburban support is supplied the Giants by two attractive young Hillsborough matrons. On the left is Mrs. McGuire Moore accompanied by Dr. Walter Coulson. On her other side are Mr. and Mrs. Terrence Malarkey.
Gondolier-Hatted Mrs. Jackson Moffett takes a well-earned rest from rounds of charity committee meetings and welfare fund drives to watch with Bridge Pro Ray Schweizer as the home team launches a drive or two.
Sports goods king Robert Roos, a top U.S. amateur golfer, switches loyalties to introduce his eager son and wife Shirley to local big league ball.
White-suited Dick Gump enjoys double distinction as boss of his city's best-known objets d'art store and author of best-selling book on good taste.
Nob Hill, cradle of local aristocracy, is still home to parents of Mrs. Marian Miller Davis, here with Movie Star Joseph Cotten and Mrs. Alfred Ducato.
A chilly night replaced the balmy day, and a cruel fate gave the Dodgers a 13-1 victory in the Giants' second game as one San Francisco fan huddled disconsolately under a blanket and Wes Westrum, the ex-catcher who is now bullpen coach, protected himself against the unruly elements in an unusual but very necessary piece of Giant football-type equipment.
THEN...FARCE IN THE COLISEUM
Major league baseball's Los Angelesinaugural was, in most ways, an unqualified success. In three days 167,209 people poured into the vast Coliseum to see and be seen (page 22), including a record opening-day throng of 78,672 on Friday. The sun smiled through a haze and the Dodgers won. The baseball played, both good and bad, was nearly all exciting. But casting its dappled shadow over the field and the fans and the players, in fact threatening to cast a shadow over all baseball, was THE THING: a screen 42 feet high which is supposed to help nullify the absurdity of a 250-foot left field foul line. Viewed here from the chummy vantage point of those fans who will sit behind it (they are closer to home plate than the left fielder in most big league parks), the screen is built of woven wire mesh and is suspended from two poles 140 feet apart, resembling nothing quite so much as the Brooklyn Bridge. Perhaps this is fitting, but it is also a colossal farce. Pop flies to the outfield, as this one hit in a late inning on opening day by a Giant batsman, are in constant danger of suddenly becoming home runs. In the second game alone there were five homers hit over the monstrosity, and if Ruth's fabulous 60 dies because of the left field line in L.A., the Commissioner of Baseball—or maybe the President of the United States—should lift a staying hand. Conversely, well-hit line drives, which might really be home runs or at least doubles and conceivably triples in other parks, thud into the mesh and fall to become singles—or even outs, if the batter is foolish enough to test the fielder's arm on such a suicidally short throw by trying for second. The screen would be enough, but the screen is not all. Because the great stadium rises 79 rows into the sky, some 106 feet above street level, without an overhanging top, there is nothing but a bright glare of white shirts and summer dresses facing the fielders all day long. Balls streaking off the bat are only a blur until they rise above the stadium rim and, before the season is over, there may be as many errors as home runs. Baseball may be good for Los Angeles and Los Angeles may be good for baseball—but both will be better off when they get baseball out of the Coliseum.
Celebrities Galore, including Edward G. Robinson, Mr. and Mrs. Danny Kaye, Nat King Cole, Dinah Shore and Sam Goldwyn turned up on opening day and at a special banquet earlier to make the O'Malley boys from Brooklyn feel at home.