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Los Angeles DODGERS

April 11, 1960
April 11, 1960

Table of Contents
April 11, 1960

Toothpick
Cards
1960 Olympic Basketball Team U.S.
Bally Ache
Scouting Reports
  • Two full major league teams could be fielded from the Los Angeles roster, and there'd still be fine players on the bench. Yet this club will have to be lucky to win the pennant again

  • Red Schoendienst was out last year but even so the Braves were heavily favored to win the pennant. They failed. Now Red is back, there's a fiery new manager and Milwaukee is favored

  • The San Francisco Giants are hungry. Last year they were just about to eat the cake when it was stolen away. Now they are smarter and tougher, as the National League will soon discover

  • Friend, Mazeroski and Skinner are back inform, and the Pirates are dangerous once more. But without real power, they must play near-perfect baseball to rise above fourth this year

  • Slipping steadily since their third-place finish in 1956, the Reds have frantically plugged first one deficiency and then another. Now, at last, they seem to have a sound, solid team

  • Tied for seventh in 1957, tied for fifth in 1958, tied for fifth again last year, the Cubs have been improving. It would seem that this year...but no. The higher you go the tougher it gets

  • The Cardinals have gained in power and the pitching should be improved. But in 154 games an awful lot of baseballs are destined to find their way safely through that leaky defense

  • The Phillies have junked an old, losing club to give their youngsters a chance. This will be no miracle of 1950, but at least the Phils will lose in a younger, more interesting way

  • The Sox won in a weakened league and no one knows it better than Bill Veeck. He has strengthened the attack and made them the team to beat for the first time since 1920

  • A group of pawns on Frank Lane's chessboard came surprisingly close to capturing last year's pennant. Now, having exchanged a few key men, Lane feels he has a winner

  • The old Yankees are dead, and their replacements are not in the same class. This is a sound team but it is far from being a great one and it will need lots of luck to rise above third place

  • Tactical troubles—at shortstop and first base—still plague the Tigers. But the main problem is strategic: how to stir contented also-rans and give the faithful something really to shout about

  • The Red Sox finished in the second division last season for the first time since 1952. Now Jensen is gone and Williams is going, going. It may be a while before the Sox climb back up

  • After several halfway seasons, the Orioles are now fully committed to their youth program. Youngsters have taken over as the old names fade. It will all pay off...someday

  • There's a new optimism in Kansas City. The outfield is solid, the infield and pitching are better, and Hank Bauer has pepped up the whole ball club. Fifth place could be the result

  • A few years ago Washington was a one-man ball club and a last-place team. Things are brighter now. The Senators are still a cellar team but now they have some players people have heard of

Track
Tennis
Motor Sports
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over
Pat On The Back

Los Angeles DODGERS

Two full major league teams could be fielded from the Los Angeles roster, and there'd still be fine players on the bench. Yet this club will have to be lucky to win the pennant again

The Dodgers this year are as solid as an O'Malley investment. There isn't a soft spot in the lineup, and there are precious few among the reserves. Bunyanesque Frank Howard, who stomped out of the sticks to a chorus of Ruthian hosannas, will have to stomp right back again. There's no room for him. There may be none for Tommy Davis, the best-looking rookie in Florida this spring. There is certainly none for anyone else. Not only are veterans like Don Drysdale (left), Johnny Podres, Gil Hodges, Duke Snider, Wally Moon and Charlie Neal blocking the way; a jumble of lesser names (nimble .270 hitters and steely-armed young pitchers) are cluttering up the roster.

This is an article from the April 11, 1960 issue Original Layout

•OTHER TEAMS' TALENTS
Yet the Dodgers are no cinch to win the pennant again. Why? Because both the Giants and Braves, weaker in spots than the Dodgers, can bury their deficiencies in an avalanche of specialized talent. Their hitting can explode, their pitching can turn unbeatable and either can run away with the pennant. The Dodgers, as they did last year, will have to play the waiting game. They will lose a few, win a few more, hover near the top and hope that not one but both their rivals fold. It could happen again, but Los Angeles will have to be lucky.

•ALL THIS AND SHERRY

If the Dodgers have a single strongest point, it is their pitching. Manager Walt Alston can tick off six strong starters and three reputable relievers without even mentioning Larry Sherry. This takes some doing for, as all Little Leaguers know, Sherry won two World Series games last fall and saved two more. Larry was a relief pitcher then and happy to be one. This year, though, he wants to be a starter on a club well-endowed with starters. Top man on the staff is Drysdale, the sidearming fast-baller who won 17 games last year and led the league in strikeouts. Then come right-hander Roger Craig and left-hander Johnny Podres. Craig—like Sherry, a late-season tonic—won a succession of crucial ball games, and was one inning short of qualifying for the lowest official ERA in either league (2.06). Podres is troubled by a nagging back but has worked more and won more in Los Angeles than he ever did in Brooklyn. He needs several days' rest between starts and has no trouble getting it on this staff. Rounding out the starting alignment are Sandy Koufax and Stan Williams, who have overpowering speed but trouble controlling it, and chunky Danny McDevitt, a small southpaw with excellent stuff.

Sherry's chances as a starter depend largely on the ability of relievers Clem Labine, Johnny Klippstein and Ed Roebuck to get along without him. Roebuck, a throwback to the Brooklyn days, is the key figure. He pitched 28 games—all starts—in St. Paul last year and emerged with a 13-10, 2.98 record and a shot at the Los Angeles bullpen. He showed up well in spring training and figures to rank just behind the veteran Labine (and, of course, behind Sherry if things turn out that way).

•NO BIG BAT

Frank Howard may hit 85 home runs for Los Angeles next year or in 1965 or 1970. But for the present the Dodgers are without a slugger in a class with Mays, Mathews or Aaron, and will have to rely on team effort to produce the runs (last year five men hit between 18 and 25 homers and three drove in between 80 and 88 runs). Snider and Hodges, who rank third and fifth among the league's alltime home-run hitters, have been slowly fading as power men and can never regain their former supremacy. But they are still good for 20 homers and 80 RBIs apiece, near the top for any club. Slender Charlie Neal has hit 41 homers and driven in 148 runs over the last two seasons. Wally Moon regained his long-ball touch in 1959, while spindly Don Demeter racked up 18 homers, 70 RBIs. John Roseboro, Norm Larker and Don Zimmer all hit for occasional distance.

The failure of Howard to stick this year doesn't bother the Dodgers, who consider him a superstar of the future. His power with the bat is almost frightening, and any second-division team would make sure he was somewhere in the lineup right now. But the Dodgers, destined to be involved in another pennant fight, can't risk late throws from the outfield or bob-bled grounders at first base just on the chance that Howard might club a dozen balls over the left-field screen. Huge Frank has little comprehension of his own mammoth strike zone and but slight control over his all-or-nothing uppercut swing. Until he develops a modicum of finesse, Los Angeles will string along with its present quota of mere mortals.

•CLEVER SWIFTIES

Lacking awesome power, the Dodgers rely on speed and versatility to complement their steady pitching. Virtually all the regulars can wangle their way to first base (the club's 591 walks led both leagues last year) and then steal or take the extra base. The Dodgers are so versatile these days it is almost impossible to make the club without playing more than one position; young Davis, for instance, abandoned the outfield last month to take a crack at unfamiliar third base. The presence of so many infielder-outfielders gives Los Angeles a flexibility unknown to other teams. Vital handy men this year will be First Baseman-Outfielder Larker, All-round Infielder Zimmer and Third Baseman-Outfielder Jim Gilliam.

Defensively, the team is on a par with the slick Chicago White Sox. Neal at second base is an outstanding fielder. Wispy Shortstop Maury Wills has quick hands and good lateral range, but will have to outhit Zimmer and Bob Lillis (both of whom have even better arms) for the regular shortstop job. Ability to play third as well as short will determine the No. 2 man. Hodges has no peer at first, and Gilliam's agility at third more than overcomes his mediocre arm. The outfield is good, though unspectacular. Snider, graying but still sprightly, is in right, and Moon, skilled at handling that awful screen, in left. Demeter, a fine outfielder with good speed and a first-class arm, will play center most of the time.

•A VIGOROUS BENCH
Last season the Giants and Braves wilted under the strain of weak reserves (pitching for the Giants, infield for the Braves) and neither bench seems much better this year (the Giants strengthened their pitching, but at the cost of trading pinch hitters). The Dodger reserves, on the other hand, are well above average. Joe Pignatano is a heady catcher, a superlative handler of pitchers and a pretty good base runner. The team is well fortified at second and third, with the standby shortstops, plus Gilliam, available for both positions. In the outfield, Carl Furillo, Larker and maybe Davis form a solid second line. Furillo, 38 now, hit .290 last season and is a perfect pinch hitter. Ron Fairly, who played in 118 games last year, will probably be sent down for added experience, leaving Rip Repulski, Sandy Amoros and Chuck Essegian to fight it out for the remaining positions.

View this article in the original magazine

PHOTOPHOTONealPHOTOSniderPHOTOMoonPHOTOHodgesPHOTOSherryPHOTOPodres

BASIC ROSTER

NO.

NAME

POSITION

1959 RECORD

2

DON DEMETER

CF

.256

4

DUKE SNIDER

RF

.308

5

NORM LARKER

1B-OF

.289

6

CARL FURILLO

OF

.290

9

WALLY MOON

LF

.302

14

GIL HODGES

1B

.276

19

JIM GILLIAM

3B

.282

23

DON ZIMMER

SS

.165

30

MAURY WILLS

SS

.260

43

CHARLIE NEAL

2B

.287

44

JOHN ROSEBORO

C

.232

16

DANNY McDEVITT

P

10-8

17

ROGER CRAIG

P

11-5

22

JOHNNY PODRES

P

14-9

32

SANDY KOUFAX

P

8-6

35

JOHNNY KLIPPSTEIN

P

4-0

40

STAN WILLIAMS

P

5-5

41

CLEM LABINE

P

5-10

51

LARRY SHERRY

P

7-2

53

DON DRYSDALE

P

17-13

1959 TEAM PERFORMANCE

FINISHED

WON

LOST

GAMES BEHIND

1

88

68

--

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

BATTING

PITCHING

SNIDER

.308

DRYSDALE

17-13

MOON

.302

PODRES

14-9

NEAL

.287

CRAIG

11-5

HOME RUNS

RUNS BATTED IN

HODGES

25

SNIDER

88

SNIDER

23

NEAL

83

MOON, NEAL

19

HODGES

80