PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

The good old days for the Phillies were in 1950, when Manager Eddie Sawyer led the club to its first pennant in 35 years. Those days are gone, and the Phillies are back in eighth place. Once again it's Sawyer's job to take them on and up
April 13, 1959

STRONG POINTS
When a team allows its opponents to score 100 more runs than it does, it's got bad trouble. The pitching, defense and power all fell down badly in 1958. Fortunately, Sawyer has some good material to maneuver with, right on hand. One old friend from his 1950 team, Robin Roberts, stoutly maintained—while losing 40 games in two seasons—that he didn't need to change his style. Last year he came back and won 17, so it looks as if he was right. Maybe Roberts is primed to start off on another string of 20-game seasons. Curt Simmons, the left-hander with all the good stuff and all the bad luck, looked good in training but then was bothered again by his old elbow trouble. Behind these two longtime mainstays is a wealth of pretty good pitchers: Ruben Gomez, the ex-Giant; Ray Semproch, who looked like the Rookie of the Year for half a season; Jack Meyer, with his rediscovered fast ball; Jim Owens, another hard thrower back from two years in the service; promising Don Cardwell, lefty Seth Morehead and lanky Gene Conley, late of the Braves. Dick Farrell, the National League's answer to Ryne Duren, still projects rockets and will be ready for anything in the bullpen. Another familiar face Sawyer is glad to see is that of Center Fielder Richie Ashburn, the Whiz Kid who grew older gracefully—and not too noticeably. A genius with the bat, Ashburn led the National League in hitting, was second only to Willie Mays in stealing bases and caught his usual quota of close to 500 fly balls in the outfield. Smooth-swinging Left Fielder Harry Anderson, in only his third year in the majors, is one of the fine young power hitters around (.301 batting average, 23 home runs, 97 RBIs). Right Fielder Wally Post, who can hit a baseball as far as anyone, is strong again. This is good news for the Phils since Pest averaged 33 homers a season the three years previous to 1958. With Ed Bouchee around from the start of the season, the Phils have yet another good power hitter and no first-base problem. The reserve outfielders, young Bob Bowman and old Dave Philley, came off the bench and made 31 pinch hits between them. Moody Chico Fernandez, the sometimes smooth-fielding shortstop who has the talent to do better, can hit higher than .230. Aging Willie Jones found his batting eye last year when he hit .271; he might do it again this season if he's needed at third.

WEAK SPOTS
Off last year's averages, they are defense, pitching, power and speed—just about everything a ball club needs. No one could make the double play at second, and this helped to make the pitching go from fair to bad. Only the championship Braves had a better team batting average, but everyone in the lineup except Harry Anderson hit singles only, and it takes too many of them to win ball games, especially if your base runners can't move around. The Phillies seem to have partially corrected some of these flaws.

ROOKIES AND NEW FACES
The player who may make the big difference in the Phils this season is rookie George Anderson, a smart, hard-working little second baseman who can make the double play. His hitting is dubious (so they talk about his intangibles, a la Eddie Stanky), but his fielding should make up for it. Gene Freese, who played part-time for the Pirates and Cards last year, is another who could plug up the infield sieve. He hit sharply in spring training and makes the plays at third that Willie Jones used to a few years back. Both add speed to the team. Gene Conley, who got in shape by playing a full season of basketball with the Boston Celtics, could help if his arm is all right. The Phils obtained Valmy Thomas and Gomez in the same trade with the Giants. Thomas, a steady, dependable catcher, won the No. 1 spot in spring training. Ruben Gomez is, well, Ruben Gomez. When he wants to pitch, he's tough to beat. The Phils feel he likes Philadelphia, and that he'll want to pitch.

THE BIG IFS
They are many in Philadelphia, but that's a good sign in a last-place ball club: at least there's something here worth speculating about. George Anderson and Gene Freese are the biggest question marks. Both need to hit well enough to make the team, or it's back again to the same old infield problems. Bouchee and Post have to regain the home-run habit; if not, the bases will be cluttered with Phillies with no home to go to (more runners were left on base last year by the Phils than any other team in the league). Another big year by Roberts, a return to last season's early form by Semproch and Farrell and good health for Simmons are not too much to ask, especially if the defense is better and the power more frequent.

THE OUTLOOK
Last season everything fell apart at once, and there was no escaping deserved confinement in eighth place. This year the team should be better. It will not be a contender or even a first-division club, but it should be good enough to transfer to someone else occupancy of the National League cellar.

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PHOTOLEADING OFF FOR THE PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES IS RICHIE ASHBURN, NATIONAL LEAGUE BATTING CHAMPION AND A FAST MAN ON THE BASE PATHS PHOTOASHBURN PHOTOH. ANDERSON PHOTOPOST PHOTOBOUCHEE PHOTOFERNANDEZ PHOTOG. ANDERSON PHOTOTHOMAS PHOTOSIMMONS PHOTOROBERTS PHOTOGOMEZ PHOTOSEMPROCH PHOTOFARRELL ILLUSTRATION

BASIC ROSTER

NO.

NAME

POSITION

1958 RECORD

1

RICHIE ASHBURN

CF

.350

2

GRANNY HAMNER

IF

.301

4

GENE FREESE

3B

.249

5

ED BOUCHEE

1B

.257

6

WILLIE JONES

3B

.271

8

VALMY THOMAS

C

.259

9

HARRY ANDERSON

LF

.301

10

BOB BOWMAN

OF

.288

12

DAVE PHILLEY

OF

.309

14

WALLY POST

RF

.282

17

CHICO FERNANDEZ

SS

.230

38

JIM HEGAN

C

.201

45

OEORGE ANDERSON

2B

(minors)

28

CURT SIMMONS

P

7-14

36

ROBIN ROBERTS

P

17-14

40

RUBEN GOMEZ

P

10-12

42

JACK MEYER

P

3-6

43

DICK FARRELL

P

8-9

44

SETH MOREHEAD

P

1-6

48

RAY SEMPROCH

P

13-11

PAST PERFORMANCE CHART

YEAR

FINISHED

WON

LOST

GAMES BEHIND

1958

8

69

85

23

1957

5

77

77

18

1956

5

71

83

22

1955

4

77

77

21½

1954

4

75

79

22

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

BATTING

PITCHING

1958

ASHBURN

.350

ROBERTS

17-14

1957

ASHBURN

.297

SANFORD

19-8

1956

ASHBURN

.303

SIMMONS

15-10

1955

ASHBURN

.338

ROBERTS

23-14

1954

ASHBURN

.313

ROBERTS

23-15

HOME RUNS

RUNS BATTED IN

1958

ANDERSON

23

ANDERSON

97

1957

REPULSKI

20

BOUCHEE

76

1956

LOPATA

32

LOPATA

95

1955

ENNIS

29

ENNIS

120

1954

ENNIS

25

ENNIS

119

HOME SCHEDULE

*Night game

APRIL

CINCINNATI

10*,11,12,12

MILWAUKEE

22*,23*

PITTSBURGH

24*,25,26,26

SAN FRANCISCO

27*,28*

LOS ANGELES

29*,30*

MAY

CHICAGO

1*,2,3,3

ST. LOUIS

5*,6*

MILWAUKEE

22*,23,24,24,25*

JUNE

CHICAGO

2*3*4*

ST. LOUIS

5*,6,7,7

LOS ANGELES

9*,10*,11*

SAN FRANCISCO

12*,13*,14

PITTSBURGH

30*

JULY

PITTSBURGH

1*

CINCINNATI

2*,3*

MILWAUKEE

4*, 5

ST. LOUIS

9*,10*,11

CHICAGO

12,12

SAN FRANCISCO

14*,15*,16*

LOS ANGELES

17*,18,19,19

AUGUST

PITTSBURGH

11*,12*

CINCINNATI

14*,15,16,16

ST. LOUIS

17*, 18*

CHICAGO

19*,20*

SAN FRANCISCO

21*,22,23

LOS ANGELES

24*,25*

SEPTEMBER

PITTSBURGH

4*,5,6

MILWAUKEE

19*,20

CINCINNATI

22*

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)