Down at the Cleveland Indian spring training camp in Tucson last February, before there was much of anybody around except a groundskeeper and a stray burro or two, the townspeople used to go out to the park each day just to watch a young man throw a baseball. His name—and it is fashionable to mention it in the same breath with Walter Johnson and Bob Feller—was Herbert Jude Score. That so much interest should be shown in one baseball player trying to get a bit of a head start on the season is easily explained. In all the years that men have been playing the game, there have been only a very few who could throw a baseball as hard as Herb Score. Added to this were the elements of drama and suspense: At the age of 24, could this tremendously gifted young man come back from the near-tragic event of last summer, when he was struck in the right eye and temporarily blinded by a hard-hit baseball, to regain the supreme skills he possessed before?
Now enough returns are in to predict a happy ending to the story, and even American League hitters, who do not count themselves among Herb's biggest fans, are glad that this is so, because they, too, admit that he is one of the world's nicest young men.
Despite injuries which have caused him to miss several recent pitching turns, Score looks like the Score of old. He has struck out 33 batters in 30 innings, a feat which keeps pace with his never-before-matched record of averaging a strikeout an inning (580 in 542) throughout his career.
For the edification of those who have wondered what it is like to stand at the plate with a bat in one's hands and face this big, powerful left-hander and his humming fast ball, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is happy to present on the next four pages John Zimmerman's rare color photographs of Herb Score in action.