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New York YANKEES

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

New York YANKEES

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

The day will come this spring when, with Roger Maris in left field, Hector Lopez in right field, Joe DeMaestri at short and Kent Hadley at first base, Duke Maas will walk in from the bullpen at Yankee Stadium to relieve Art Ditmar. "My goodness," someone will say, "those aren't the Yankees. That's Kansas City out there." That someone will be right. These aren't the Yankees, at least not the old Yankees, and that is the trouble with Casey Stengel's ball club; they have not been the old Yankees since the middle of the 1958 season. In 1960 they will still be a good ball club—because they have not slipped that far—but they no longer terrorize the league and they are going to have a heck of a time winning a pennant.

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

•STRAIGHT "A'S"
The fault lies not with the imports from Kansas City, for these were above-average Athletics, the best KC had to offer. It lies instead with the fact that the Yankees had to go to Kansas City for help in the first place, instead of to the once unrivaled farm system that used to produce a Mantle, a McDougald, a Ford, a Skowron and a Howard or two each year. If one is to discount the young pitchers, who might well contribute a few victories in 1960, the famed farm system has turned out nothing of importance in two seasons (SI, June 15). As a result, the quality of the Yankees, shorn of their redoubtable replacements, has dwindled. Today Chicago and Cleveland both have better ball clubs.

•YANKEE SICK CALL
It is true that in 1959 everything happened to New York at once. Moose Skowron was injured, Andy Carey was injured, Bob Turley had a pitiful season, Gil McDougald continued to fade, Mickey Mantle (left) played below his skills. Only one pitcher, Whitey Ford, was able to win 16 games, and only one batter, Bobby Richardson, could hit .300. But this does not entirely account for the tremendous gap of 15 games which separated the Yankees, in third place, from the White Sox, nor does it explain why New York, for the first time since 1925, was unable to win even 80 games. While the Yankees were tottering, the rest of the league was getting stronger, and now New York has lost not only its physical edge over the other clubs but its psychological advantage, too. No one is in awe of the magical pin-striped uniform any more.

•GEORGE'S NIGHTMARE

But General Manager George Weiss and the Yankee owners insist that 1959 was simply a bad dream. They feel that Stengel can bounce back to win the pennant this year with what he has on hand. If everything works out just right, maybe he will.

Yogi Berra and Elston Howard remain the two best catchers on any one club in the league, and they are capably backed up by John Blanchard. Skowron, when healthy, is a tremendous hitter; he has a lifetime big-league batting average of .303 and last year, in the 74 games before he was injured, had 15 home runs and 59 runs batted in. But his brittleness is legendary (SI, March 21) and his replacements at first—Howard, who doesn't like the position, and Hadley, who was a .253 hitter at Kansas City—are barely adequate.

Richardson is a marvel around second base and he does not have to hit .300 again to earn his way, but the rest of the infield presents problems. Carey can play third with anyone, but only twice in his seven seasons has he hit the ball with consistent authority. McDougald, once the best infielder in the American League, has had two poor seasons at bat and has slowed in the field. Tony Kubek, who in his three seasons has had one good year at the plate, one bad year and one in between, could still turn out to be a tremendous ballplayer, but right now his value lies more in his remarkable versatility than in the possibility that he might supplant Luis Aparicio as the best shortstop in the league. The other shortstops, DeMaestri and Cletis Boyer, averaged .244 and .175 last year. Except for Skowron, it is not an infield that is going to drive in very many runs.

•THE RBI BOYS

If run production is the weak spot in the Yankee infield, however, it is the one thing that Yankee outfielders do quite well. Mickey Mantle, playing with injuries, having his worst year at the plate since his rookie season, still managed to drive in 75 runs. Hector Lopez led the Yankees with 93. And young Roger Maris, despite an appendectomy which dropped him from the Kansas City lineup for more than three weeks, drove in 72. This year the three of them could, together, accumulate 300 runs batted in.

But it is not an outfield to sparkle on defense. Mantle's knee has been a very big problem this spring, and the once great arm is attached to a questionable shoulder. Maris, who was a good right fielder for Cleveland and Kansas City, is going to have trouble in Yankee Stadium's notorious left field; he may not have as much trouble as some of his predecessors, perhaps, but Roger has been shuddering all spring at the thought of going through an entire season there. As for Lopez, he was moved to right field because he was no Andy Carey at third base. In right field he is no Hank Bauer, either.

Behind the starters are old Elmer Valo, who replaced old Enos Slaughter, mainly for pinch hitting; Deron Johnson, who progressed remarkably at Richmond in 1959 but didn't get out of the Army until late in March; and possibly Ken Hunt, another young prospect, who hit .322 with 21 home runs at Shreveport last year and who has a very strong arm. Still, when Casey reaches for an outfielder to fill in, the chances are he'll turn to Kubek or Howard.

This sprinkling of weaknesses, at the plate and in the field, could be overcome by superlative pitching. But it is the pitching that worries Stengel most of all, despite its apparent depth. Ford, of course, is superb (although of his 16 victories, 12 were at the expense of second-division teams). Ditmar, by virtue of a fine 1959 performance, must be regarded as one of the league's better pitchers. Maas had his best year. Ryne Duren is still lethal in relief, and the Yankees can count on Bobby Shantz and Ralph Terry to contribute some wins. But without Bob Turley back at his magnificent best, it is not the kind of pitching staff that will win a pennant. And this spring Turley has hardly been at his best.

It is possible that Jim Coates is finally ready for a big year after winning six and losing only one for New York in 1959, and rookie Johnny James, who turned in a 2.06 earned run average for Richmond, was impressive in training. Young Bill Short, up from Richmond with a 17-6 record, is touted as another Whitey Ford. But the Yankee pitching rises or falls with Turley. If the big right-hander can approach 20 victories, New York can win another pennant. If he has really lost his great fast ball and also control of his curve, as now appears likely, the Yankees will finish third again.

View this article in the original magazine

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BASIC ROSTER

NO.

NAME

POSITION

1959
RECORD

1

BOBBY RICHARDSON

2B

.301

6

ANDY CAREY

3B

.257

7

MICKEY MANTLE

CF

.285

8

YOGI BERRA

C

.284

9

ROGER MARIS

LF

.273

10

TONY KUBEK

SS-OF

.279

11

HECTOR LOPEZ

RF

.283

12

GIL MCDOUGALD

IF

.251

14

BILL SKOWRON

1B

.298

17

ELMER VALO

OF

.292

20

JOE DEMAESTRI

SS

.244

32

ELSTON HOWARD

C-OF-1B

.273

16

WHITEY FORD

P

16-10

19

BOB TURLEY

P

8-11

23

RALPH TERRY

P

5-11

24

DUKE MAAS

P

14-8

26

RYNE DUREN

P

3-6

28

ART DITMAR

P

13-9

30

BOBBY SHANTZ

P

7-3

39

JIM COATES

P

6-1

1959 TEAM PERFORMANCE

FINISHED

WON

LOST

GAMES
BEHIND

3

79

75

15

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

BATTING

PITCHING

RICHARDSON

.301

FORD

16-10

SKOWRON

.298

MAAS

14-8

MANTLE

.285

DITMAR

13-9

HOME RUNS

RUNS BATTED IN

MANTLE

31

LOPEZ

93

LOPEZ

22

MANTLE

75

BERRA

19

HOWARD

73