Here arepersonality sketches of some of the Pirates you are watching in the WorldSeries.
VERNON LAW. Oneof 10 children from an Idaho family, "Deacon" Law was recommended toPirate Stockholder Bing Crosby by the late Senator Herman Welker. A tall,angular man of 30 with a friendly smile and a drawling voice, Law is a Mormonelder (not a deacon) who preaches regularly at Sunday stops around the NationalLeague. He does not drink, smoke, curse or throw at batters—or try to imposehis religion on teammates. "A man is what he is," says Law. First namesof wife and three sons also begin with V. He once struck out a midget on threepitches in a high school game. Good hitter. Works as a cabinetmaker, coacheskids in winter.
BOB FRIEND.Husky, cigar-smoking National League player representative came up in '51 as20-year-old, got big chance in '55 over objections of Branch Rickey whenManager Fred Haney slipped him into starting rotation on Sundays whilereligious Rickey stayed away from park. A highly intelligent athlete, Friendfinished college in eight off-season semesters, joined father, five brothersand sisters as Purdue graduate (B.S., economics). Works as broker in winter,handling mutual funds. Was outstanding high school halfback, also studied pianofor eight years. Extremely nervous, he is a worrier on the mound, broods whenhe loses.
DON HOAK. CalledTiger by his teammates, this ex-trumpet player from Roulette, Pa. is the lashthat peels the skin off Pirate backs if they dare to let down. A fiery,belligerent competitor who believes that losing is man's greatest sin, Hoaksupplies the vocal leadership that meshes so perfectly with the quietinspiration of Groat, Skinner, Law and Friend. "If I'm not tired when Ileave the ball park," says Hoak, "then I haven't played a goodgame." Joined Marine Corps at age 17, fought at Okinawa, foughtprofessionally in the ring (27 victories in 39 fights), has been fighting eversince. Now 32, Hoak was married at home plate in Fort Worth in 1950. He is adangerous hitter who excels in the clutch.
ROBERTO CLEMENTE.One of the most exciting of ballplayers, this trim, beautifully built athletefrom Puerto Rico goes on batting rampages when no one can get him out. Heswings viciously at any pitch within reach, loses his cap, runs through stopsigns at third base, slides like an avalanche. Opposing ballplayers call him ahot-dog, say he can be intimidated by fast balls buzzing around his head—butpitchers have been throwing at him all year and he has hit .314, driven inalmost 100 runs. Off the field Roberto is quiet, friendly, intelligent.Attended college briefly in Puerto Rico, where he threw the javelin. Somethingof a hypochondriac, Clemente once threatened to quit baseball because of anaching back, but has had few ailments this year. Only 26, he has been a bigleaguer for six seasons, supports his father, mother, six other relatives.
EL ROY FACE. Insome ways most talented of the Pirates: can remove his teeth, yodel his ownlyrics to popular songs and accompany himself on the guitar. Face comes from along line of carpenters, looks like Buster Keaton, pitches like a manager'sdream. Barely 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing but 155 pounds, he was onceconsidered too small to be a big leaguer. Won 22 straight victories in reliefover two seasons, once pitched in nine consecutive games, has made the tripfrom bullpen 305 times in last five years. His famous "fork" ball is aslow, breaking pitch which veers in or out or down.
BOB SKINNER.Baseball players rate him one of the truly fine hitters, also one of the game'snicest guys. Smart, self-effacing, good natured, with a pleasant sense ofhumor, Skinner is even amused by his locker room nickname (Dog, because of hislong, often sad-looking face). Spends winters in circulation department of theSan Diego Union-Tribune. A left-hand hitter who is not bothered by left-handpitching, Skinner hits line drives to all fields with a smooth, picture swing.Has been over .300 twice, and although his average dropped this year his clutchperformance has been deadly, leading to personal records in home runs and runsbatted in. Very tall (6 feet 4½ inches), he runs bases with deceptive speed, isone of few Pirates who will steal.
WILMER MIZELL.Born "out in the country a piece"—between Vinegar Bend, Ala. andLeaksville, Miss.—Mizell has finally solved some of the control problems whichblunted his great promise for years. Came to Pirates from Cardinals in lateMay, has since won 13, lost only five. Was called "the left-handed DizzyDean" early in career ("That's a perty heavy load for a boy totote," says Vinegar Bend), but more closely resembles Preacher Roe: veryfriendly, with a warm smile. Scrambled out of a swimming hole to sign firstbaseball contract, insisted on throwing a few pitches, dripping wet, to showstartled Card scout he hadn't lost his fast ball. Walks with what farm folkscall "a two-furrow stride," found his greatest problem in Army was tomarch in ranks without stepping on somebody's heels up ahead. No longer hasblazing fast ball but still throws hard with exaggerated motion in which hesticks big right foot into batter's face, brushes ground with knuckles of lefthand; best pitch now, however, is slow curve which he can get over plate.