Roy Sievers (bottom left) bore the Senators' burden in manful silence for what must have seemed an eternity. For five straight years he led the team in home runs, and in four of those he also led in runs batted in. Roy is still the team's most feared slugger, but now he's no longer the only one. Now the Senators have such trading-card favorites as Harmon Killebrew and Bob Allison (top left) and Jim Lemon.
•MUSCLES AND HOMERS
Killebrew tied for the league lead in home runs last year with 42, and Allison (30 homers, 85 RBIs) was named American League Rookie of the Year. Lemon hit 33 homers and had 100 RBIs. Of these big musclemen, only Allison is a really good baseball player. Killebrew and Lemon are below average as fielders, base runners and dependable hitters (Killebrew hit .242 last season and Lemon has a career average of .264). But their ability to drive a ball a good distance has attracted national attention and, more importantly, local fans.
Washington Owner Calvin Griffith gets a lot of promotional mileage out of his "murderers' row," and he'll need all he can muster. For, aside from the crumbling Boston Red Sox, Washington is the least improved club in the American League. Last year's infield problems remain unsolved and the catching situation has become nearly calamitous.
•MAC THE ROOKIE
Clint Courtney, a tough catcher who has a .271 batting average for nine seasons, is below par because of multiple injuries and declining ability; Hal Naragon, a .268 hitter for seven years, has never been anyone's first-string catcher and it is doubtful that he can be the Senators', either. Behind these two is Steve Korcheck, a former linebacker who borders on being muscle-bound. Korcheck is an able receiver with a good arm, but he can't hit. Looking around desperately for catching help this spring, Manager Cookie Lavagetto even used 43-year-old Clyde McCullough. A coach with the Senators' Charleston farm club, the gray-haired McCullough played his last major league game in 1956. At that, he may be the best defensive catcher within the Senators' grasp.
•A SAD SITUATION
Washington had the worst second-base situation in either league last year, and 1960 will be no different. The same men who were shuffled around last year (and had an aggregate batting average of .226) are back again. Billy Consolo, a seven-year bench warmer at the age of 25, looked good in training and outhustled flashy rookie Zorro Versalles for the shortstop job. Italian-born Reno Bertoia has the edge at second simply because he hits an occasional long ball. Ken Aspromonte is admittedly a better fielder. Backing up both positions is journeyman Ron Samford, who has hovered around the majors for years despite a .219 lifetime average.
Plans for moving Killebrew to left field have been abandoned, and the Senators hope his big bat will again overshadow his dubious play at third base. Sievers' outfielding days are over; he will now devote full time to first base, where his weak arm will not hurt the club defensively. Ready to spell Roy from time to time is Julio Becquer, an effective pinch hitter and capable fielder.
Lemon and Allison are set in the outfield, with the third spot still in question. Lavagetto hoped to move Allison to right and install swift Lenny Green or rookie Dan Dobbek (a powerful 190-pounder who hit 23 home runs at Chattanooga last year) in center. But Green and Dobbek both came up with sore arms, so Allison—the best all-round player on the club—will stay put. Green and Dobbek will have to unseat Faye Throne-berry, another distance hitter, for the right-field job.
Thin as it is, pitching is one of Washington's stronger points. Camilo Pascual's crackling curve and hopping fast ball produced startling results last year: a won-lost percentage of .630 (compared to .409 for the club); six shutouts (high for both leagues); 17 complete games (high for the American League); and 185 strikeouts, the most for a Senator pitcher since Walter Johnson. Pascual's buddy, Pedro Ramos, and lefty Jim Kaat, a rookie, are starters, with the fourth position going to Russ Kemmerer or Tex Clevenger. If Kaat, a lanky fast-baller, makes the grade, Washington will have its first good southpaw starter since Chuck Stobbs won 15 games in 1956. Stobbs is now the No. 1 reliever. He was 1-8 last season but had a 2.97 ERA, best of his 13-year career. Bullpen help is expected from Dick Hyde, who was hampered by back trouble in 1959 after a season as the league's leading relief pitcher, and from 6-foot-3 Hal Woodeshick, best reliever on the staff during July and August last year.
1959 TEAM PERFORMANCE
RUNS BATTED IN