No matter which National League team wins the pennant, the White Sox hitters are going to be a bunch of splinters among the oaks. Nothing Chicago has can match the power of Aaron (right), Mathews and Adcock, of Mays, Cepeda and McCovey, or even of Snider, Hodges and Moon. Indeed, Aaron and Mathews together hit almost as many home runs as the entire Sox team. Only Sherm Lollar hit as many as 20 home runs for Chicago this year. Of course, the National League sluggers may have a harder time reaching the seats at Comiskey Park than they do at home, for the outfield at Chicago is deeper than it is at the other three parks. And should Los Angeles win, some of the White Sox right-handed hitters, like Lollar, Landis, Smith, and even little Aparicio, might knock a ball or two over that left-field screen. The Sox, too, are somewhat weaker than their National League rivals in pinch hitters. The Braves are strongest here, with three seasoned swingers in Boone, Vernon and Lopata. The Giants have Alou, Brandt and the renowed Dusty Rhodes, who has been touched with magic again this year. The Dodgers seem to have an endless supply of material in the same lode. Where the White Sox do stand out above the rest is on the bases. Nearly everybody can steal, save Lollar and big Klu. Aparicio is the master, with over 50 stolen bases, and it is reasonable to expect he will run a lot in the Series. Landis is as fast as anybody in baseball going from first around to home, and Smith, Rivera, Torgeson, McAnany and Phillips can all take the extra base on a single. Two National League clubs, San Francisco and Los Angeles, have good speed, with Mays, Alou, Davenport, Kirkland; Gilliam, Moon, Wills and Neal. Milwaukee, by contrast, is slow, having stolen far fewer bases this season as a team than Aparicio did all by himself. But when you have as much power as the Braves, who has to run?
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Travel days, or lack of them, will be an important factor in the Series. If a California team wins, there will be two days off, one after the second game, one after the fifth. If Milwaukee wins, the Series will be played on consecutive days. That means Spahn Burdette will not be able to pitch as often as they did against the Yankees (in two Series against New York, Spahn and Burdette between them started 11 of the 14 games played). The White Sox, with Wynn (right), the amazing young right-hander Bob Shaw, Southpaw Billy Pierce, once the best pitcher in the league, and the still crafty Dick Donovan, have more starting depth than Milwaukee. San Francisco has its two big winners, Sam Jones and Johnny Antonelli, and with the extra day for travel to and from the Coast, they could start as frequently as Spahn and Burdette did. The Dodgers have a curious staff, a lot of medium-talent pitchers who have had good years together. The exception is Don Drysdale, a pitcher of remarkable ability who has had a streaky, good-and-bad season. A trio of left-handers, Johnny Podres, Danny McDevitt and Sandy Koufax, are all capable of strong games. Roger Craig, the angular right-hander, returned from the minors to give them nine wins they never counted on. All this gives Los Angeles more depth than either of the other two National League clubs. It is true that Bob Buhl of the Braves is a strong No. 3 man, but behind him lies the great unknown, except for the relief pitcher, Don McMahon. San Francisco backs up its big two adequately with Jack Sanford and 20-year-old left-hander Mike McCormick. For relief, Stu Miller comes in and throws his soft stuff. But it is relief men who give the White Sox a clear pitching edge. Chicago has two good ones: Gerry Staley throws an assortment of knuckle balls and curves, and Turk Lown has a good fast ball for an inning. Al Lopez uses both effectively.
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If a team could score runs while in the field, the White Sox would do it. Theirs might be called an offensive defense. Since they have to work hard to score runs of their own, they make certain that opponents are regularly robbed of theirs. Fox and Aparicio--you've heard of them--do their sweet dance around second base. Bubba Phillips, when he plays third, plays it well. When Billy Goodman is there the defense loses a little. It loses at first base, too, when the powerful but virtually immobile Kluszewski is there, and that is why Earl Torgeson comes trotting in when the Sox are ahead late in the game. Of the National League infields, only the Dodgers' can be called good. Charley Neal and young Maury Wills, up from Seattle, form a smooth second-short combination. Hodges at first is still unbeatable in the field. Junior Gilliam has a weak arm, but gets by at third. The Giants have a gymnastic third baseman in Jim Davenport, the best in the league. But their double-play combination of Ed Bressoud and Daryl Spencer is far below that of Chicago's, and McCovey plays first only because he can hit. Milwaukee has never recovered from the loss of Red Schoendienst. And with Johnny Logan ailing, the Braves have been making do with Bobby Avila and Felix Mantilla at second and short. Eddie Mathews plays third base well; Joe Adcock plays first base. Of the four outfields, San Francisco's rates highest, with Mays (left, Cepeda and Willie Kirkland. When Jackie Brandt plays left field (with Cepeda moving to first), the outfield is the fastest in the majors and its arms are the strongest. Ranking the catchers is difficult. Del Crandall is regarded by most people as the best, but the Giants will swear by their Hobie Landrith. John Roseboro has improved immeasurably, the Dodgers say, while the White Sox know Sherm Lollar is the best in the American League.
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