SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

Talented young players with great arms, blazing speed, sure instincts in the field and powerful bats in their hands are the trademark of the 1959 Giants. Sophisticated San Franciscans are in for excitement if the pitching holds up
April 13, 1959

STRONG POINTS
This is an extremely exciting team. Everyone in the lineup can hit with power. The infield is pretty good and the outfield may develop into one of the best ever seen. There are swift runners all over the field, and strong arms are a dime a dozen. And, nicest of all, the Giants are so very, very young. Only Willie Mays and Daryl Spencer, of the regulars, are over 25. What more can be said about the incomparable Mays in center? He does everything, and all of it with a boyish enthusiasm that is a joy to watch. Last season he led the league in stolen bases and runs scored and was second in batting (.347) and total bases. The Giants have other young outfielders who can run throw and hit. Speedster Jackie Brandt (24) hit .298 three years ago as a rookie and then disappeared into the service. He's back at last and will be the regular left fielder. Twenty-three-year-old Felipe Alou, a sprinter from the Dominican Republic, is supposed to have an even better arm than Mays. When he's playing in right, the Giant outfield will be impenetrable. Waiting for either Brandt or Alou to falter are two fine left-handed power hitters, Willie Kirkland (25) and 24-year-old Leon Wagner (.317 in 74 games for the Giants last year). And on the bench is that venerable home run hitter, Hank Sauer, now a sprightly 40. Of the many fine Giant rookies last season, powerful Orlando Cepeda was the best—not only on the team but in the league as well. A good fielder at first base, he hits with emphatic power (25 homers, 96 RBIs, .312 batting average) and is only a baby—albeit a baby bull—at 21. Spencer tailed off in his hitting after midseason last year but still ended up with 17 home runs and 74 RBIs; he'll play second now that the graceful-fielding Andre Rodgers has taken over at short. Jim Davenport may or may not be a better hitter than his .256 average would indicate but it really doesn't matter on this team. He's a topflight-fielding third baseman. Rugged Bob Schmidt (25), who looks like a catcher, hits with pretty good power and is learning fast behind the plate.

WEAK SPOTS
That prized youth, which means a certain lack of experience. None of the regulars has played more than one season in the majors except Mays and Spencer. This hurt last year: too many mistakes were made, and much of that great speed was nullified by careless base running. Kirkland is not too good an outfielder, and Wagner can't field at all. Other than that, all the Giant weaknesses are concentrated in the pitching staff. Left-hander Johnny Antonelli, the golden-armed wonder of the 1954 World Champion Giants, is the only pitcher on the staff with a genuine winning big-league record. Newcomers Sam Jones and Jack Sanford could erase the pitching weak spot but, don't forget, they each lost 13 games last year. Twenty-year-old Mike McCormick has a blazing fast ball and should become a big winner someday. But he hasn't yet. Slow-ball pitcher Stu Miller is really remarkable, but the fact remains that despite his league-leading ERA he won only six while losing nine. And that is about it. The Giants must have a good relief pitcher, and they don't have one at the moment. Allan Worthington, the strong right-hander, was a dependable long-relief man last season, but now he has a bad knee. Billy Muffett was good in relief for the Cards in 1957 and no good at all in 1958. Curt Barclay recovered from the sore arm that stopped him last year; he could help if he's back in shape.

ROOKIES AND NEW FACES
Toothpick-chewing Sam Jones, of the wicked fast ball and mean hook, is the big man here. With the punchless Cards last year he had the second-best ERA in the league and only a 14-13 record to show for it. Twenty-nine-year-old Jack Sanford is a fast-ball pitcher, who two years ago was a late-blooming Rookie of the Year with the Phils. He had trouble most of 1958, but pitched very well the last month or so, and this spring his fast ball seemed as good as ever. Andre Rodgers, the 6-foot-3 shortstop from the Bahamas, is back after an abortive trial two seasons ago. Now, as batting champ of the Pacific Coast League, he has the confidence to go with his great range and powerful arm.

THE BIG IFS
It's all up to the pitching staff. Can Sanford and Muffett regain their 1957 form? If so, the Giants have a strong starter in Sanford and the answer to their relief woes in Muffett. Has McCormick matured enough physically to become a steady starter? And so on down the pitching line. If Rodgers is finally ready, there will be no second-base problem with Spencer there. If Andre isn't, Spencer has to move back to short, and second base will revert once again to .232 hitter Danny O'Connell.

THE OUTLOOK
Rarely has a team rebuilt so quickly and so well as the Giants of 1958. The only knock against them was the lack of pitching. Everything else was there. Now they have added Sanford and Jones, and Manager Bill Rigney is ecstatic. If these two can win, the Giants have a good chance to win the pennant.

[originallink:10490261:43241]

PHOTOOVER THE LAST TWO YEARS, MANY NAMES AND NUMBERS ON THE GIANTS' ROSTER HAVE CHANGED, BUT NO. 24 REMAINS, AS ALWAYS, WILLIE MAYS PHOTOCEPEDA PHOTOSPENCER PHOTOSCHMIDT PHOTOALOU PHOTOBRANDT PHOTORODGERS PHOTODAVENPORT PHOTOKIRKLAND PHOTOANTONELLI PHOTOSANFORD PHOTOJONE PHOTOMcCORMICK ILLUSTRATION

BASIC ROSTER

NO.

NAME

POSITION

1958 RECORD

3

HOBIE LANDRITH

C

.215

6

HANK SAUER

OF

.250

12

JIM DAVENPORT

3B

.256

15

ANDRE RODGERS

SS

(minors)

19

DANNY O'CONNELL

2B

.232

20

DARYL SPENCER

2B

.256

22

JACKIE BRANDT

LF

(service)

24

WILLIE MAYS

CF

.347

27

BOB SCHMIDT

C

.244

29

WILLIE KIRKLAND

RF

.258

30

ORLANDO CEPEDA

1B

.312

38

LEON WAGNER

RF

.317

49

FELIPE ALOU

RF

.253

23

SAM JONES

P

14-13

32

ALLAN WORTHINGTON

P

11-7

33

JACK SANFORD

P

10-13

37

STU MILLER

P

6-9

39

CURT BARCLAY

p

(minors)

40

MIKE McCORMICK

P

11-8

43

JOHNNY ANTONELLI

P

16-13

PAST PERFORMANCE CHART

YEAR

FINISHED

WON

LOST

GAMES BEHIND

1958

3

80

74

12

1957

6

69

85

26

1956

6

67

87

26

1955

3

80

74

18½

1954

1

97

57

....

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

BATTING

PITCHING

1958

MAYS

.347

ANTONELLI

16-13

1957

MAYS

.333

GOMEZ

15-13

1956

SCHOEND'ST

.302

ANTONELLI

20-13

1955

MAYS

.319

ANTONELLI

14-16

1954

MAYS

.345

ANTONELLI

21-7

HOME RUNS

RUNS BATTED IN

1958

MAYS

29

MAYS, CEPEDA

96

1957

MAYS

35

MAYS

97

1956

MAYS

36

MAYS

84

1955

MAYS

51

MAYS

127

1954

MAYS

41

MAYS

110

HOME SCHEDULE

*Night games

APRIL

CHICAGO

14,15*,16

ST. LOUIS

17*,18,19

MAY

LOS ANGELES

7,8*,9,10

PITTSBURGH

11*,12

PHILADELPHIA

13,14

CINCINNATI

15*,16,17

MILWAUKEE

18,19*,20

LOS ANGELES

25,26*

ST. LOUIS

27,28,29*

CHICAGO

30,31

JUNE

CINCINNATI

16*,17,18

MILWAUKEE

19*,20,21

PITTSBURGH

22,23*,24,25

PHILADELPHIA

26*,27,28

JULY

LOS ANGELES

20,21

ST. LOUIS

22*,23

CHICAGO

24*,25,26

PHILADELPHIA

28*,29,30

PITTSBURGH

31*

AUGUST

PITTSBURGH

1,2

MILWAUKEE

4*,5,6

CINCINNATI

7*,8,9

SEPTEMBER

CHICAGO

2,3,4*

ST. LOUIS

5,6,7

PITTSBURGH

9,10

PHILADELPHIA

11*,12,13

CINCINNATI

14,15

MILWAUKEE

16,17

LOS ANGELES

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)