KANSAS CITY ATHLETICS

The fury of mass trading is just about over, and the Athletics are a lot closer to that glorious day when they will be able to boast 25 major leaguers on the roster. Nevertheless, a .500 season for Kansas City is still a remote possibility
April 13, 1959

STRONG POINTS
It was bound to happen some day. At long last Kansas City fans can point to an authentic star. In Bob Cerv they have a hero in the classical mold who can bust up any ball game with one swing of his bat. But Cerv's contribution to Kansas City is incalculably more than his .305 batting average, 38 home runs and 104 runs batted in would suggest. By having the year he did, despite broken jaw, broken hand, two busted toes and an injured knee and ankle, much of the defeatist cloud which enveloped the A's has been dispelled. A healthy Cerv could have an even bigger year, theoretically. For the first time the Athletics can put a team of good ballplayers on the field. Roger Maris in right is a talented young man with unlimited potential. He hits with power (28 home runs, 88 RBIs) and could be one of the future stars. And throw out Bill Tuttle's .231 batting average. He has developed into a valuable team man who can hit behind the runner, sacrifice, draw walks and run the bases well. Tuttle and Maris more than make up for Cerv's fielding shortcomings in left. Bulky Harry Chiti has become an adept handler of the many knuckle-ball pitchers on the A's staff and is always a threat to crush a ball out of the park. With Frank House backing him up and Hal Smith available in an emergency, the catching staff has plenty of depth. The pitching still has a long way to go but there are indications that it will be improved some this season. Ray Herbert has finally matured into a capable starter. Although young Ralph Terry has yet to fulfill his annual promise, he could become one of the best around. With the dependable Ned Garver and ex-Yankee Bob Grim, the Athletics have a fairly steady starting foursome-something that couldn't be said before. The infield's strength lies in its hitting ability. With Hal Smith making the change to third, Hector Lopez playing second and Harry Simpson at first, the A's will get a lot of run production. Joe De Maestri, a light hitter and the only survivor from the Philadelphia days of the Athletics, adds fielding class at short.

WEAK SPOTS
Needing the batting punch of such as Smith, Lopez and Simpson somewhere in his lineup forces Manager Harry Craft to forgo defense in his infield. Smith may develop into a topnotch third baseman, since he fights everything hit down to him and can rectify a few mistakes with his shotgun arm, but Lopez and Simpson will never be more than adequate at their positions. Until there is a tighter defense in the infield, the pitching just has to suffer. And the Kansas City staff isn't strong enough to afford a sloppy defense. After all, only the Senators had weaker pitching last year, and look where they finished. Until more class and depth are added to the pitching staff, most of that extra hitting is going to be wasted.

ROOKIES AND NEW FACES
Versatile newcomers like Dick Williams, Wayne Terwilliger and Zeke Bella will strengthen the A's this season. Their presence on the bench gives Craft a chance to make varied moves during a game—an unfamiliar luxury. Terwilliger, a good-fielding second baseman, returns to the majors after a three-year absence, with a new choked-bat hitting style. One of the handiest men in baseball is Dick Williams, who can fill in at first, third, the outfield and even behind the plate. At the tail end of one of those complicated Yankee trades, the A's acquired muscular Zeke Bella. A good hitter in the minors, he will get plenty of chance to fill in at first or the outfield. An unexpected bonus could develop from the comeback attempts of Russ Meyer and Art Houtteman, both good ones a few years back. A cause for future optimism in the A's camp this spring was the good-looking group of youngsters fresh from the farm teams. One who is ready to help out this season is 24-year-old First Baseman Kent Hadley. A trimly built left-hander, Hadley hits with power and is a smooth fielder. Down South, he was the team's best-looking first baseman.

THE BIG IFS
It may be too much to expect a repeat performance from Bob Cerv. After all, before last year's explosive performance, Cerv was just another Yankee castoff, with a 1957 record of only 11 home runs and 44 runs batted in. The Athletics need another 1958 from the big Nebraskan, but they may get a 1957. The continued burgeoning of Roger Maris and a big year for Ralph Terry would help enormously. If Harry Simpson's loose batting stance gets to "feeling like an old shoe" once again, and Terwilliger hits enough to force Hector Lopez back to his best position, third base, the A's will be stronger. If only more pitching, both starting and relieving, were uncovered, Kansas City could have a lot of fun this summer.

THE OUTLOOK
The A's improved 14 games last season, an achievement which entitles them to be looked at with respect. With only a fair percentage of breaks, they should improve again this year. But not enough talent abounds and too many mistakes are made for the Athletics to improve very much this year.

[originallink:10490236:43241]

PHOTOSEVENTH LAST YEAR, THE KANSAS CITY ATHLETICS ARE APT TO BE SEVENTH AGAIN, BUT FANS WILL WATCH THEM JUST TO SEE BOB CERV HIT HOME RUNS PHOTODeMAESTRI PHOTOMARIS PHOTOLOPEZ PHOTOTUTTLE PHOTOSIMPSON PHOTOCHITI PHOTOH. SMITH PHOTOHOUSE PHOTOGARVER PHOTOHERBERT PHOTOGRIM PHOTOTERRY ILLUSTRATION

BASIC ROSTER

NO.

NAME

POSITION

1958 RECORD

1

WAYNE TERWILLGER

2B

(minors)

2

JOE DE MAESTRI

SS

219

3

ROGER MARIS

RF

.240

5

HARRY SIMPSON

1B

.255

7

PRESTON WARD

1B

.284

8

HARRY CHITI

C

.268

9

HAL SMITH

3B

.273

10

HECTOR LOPEZ

IF

.261

12

FRANK HOUSE

C

252

13

BILL TUTTLE

CF

.231

33

BOH CERV

LF

.305

35

DICK WILLIAMS

IF-OF

.276

49

ZEKE BELLA

1B-OF

(minors)

15

DICK TOMANEK

P

7-8

21

JACK URBAN

P

8-11

26

RALPH TERRY

P

11-13

31

NED CARVER

P

12-11

34

BOB GRIM

P

7-7

37

TOM GORMAN

P

4-4

38

RAY HERBERT

P

8-8

PAST PERFORMANCE CHART

YEAR

FINISHED

WON

LOST

GAMES BEHIND

1958

7

73

81

19

1957

7

59

94

38½

1956

8

52

102

45

1955

6

63

91

33

1954

8

51

103

60

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

BATTING

PITCHING

1958

CERV

.305

CARVER

12-11

1957

LOPEZ

.294

TRUCKS
MORGAN

9-7

1956

POWER

.309

DITMAR

12-22

1955

POWER

.319

KELLNER

11-8

1954

FINIGAN

.302

P'CARRERO

9-18

HOME RUNS

RUNS BATTED IN

1958

CERV

38

CERV

104

1957

ZERNIAL

27

ZERNIAL

69

1956

SIMPSON

21

SIMPSON

105

1955

ZERNIAL

30

ZERNIAL

84

1954

WILSON

17

ZERNIAL

62

HOME SCHEDULE

*Night game

APRIL

CLEVELAND

10,11,12

CHICAGO

21*, 22*

DETROIT

24*,25*,26

WASHINGTON

28*,29

BALTIMORE

30*

MAY

BALTIMORE

1*,2

BOSTON

3,4

NEW YORK

5*,6*

CHICAGO

22*,23*,24

DETROIT

25*,26*,27*

JUNE

BOSTON

2*,3*,4

BALTIMORE

5*,6*,7

NEW YORK

22*,23*,24*,25*

WASHINGTON

26*,27*,28

JULY

CLEVELAND

2*,3

CHICAGO

4,4,5

DETROIT

9*,10*

BALTIMORE

21*,22*,23*

BOSTON

24*,25*,26

WASHINGTON

27*,28*,29*,30*

NEW YORK

31*

AUGUST

NEW YORK

1*,2

CLEVELAND

11*,12*,13*

CHICAGO

14*,15*,16

BOSTON

18*,19*,20

NEW YORK

21*,22

WASHINGTON

23,23

BALTIMORE

25*,26*

DETROIT

28*,29*,30

SEPTEMBER

CLEVELAND

18*,19*,20

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)