ANALYSIS OF THE CUBS
There are just three: Ernie Banks, one good starting pitcher, one good reliever. Banks has had more than 40 homers and 100 RBIs in five of last six seasons. No Aparicio in field, he nevertheless handles everything he gets to, throws well to first. Adequate fielding and superlative hitting add up to best shortstop in major league history after Honus Wagner. Rest of Cub power not what it was three years ago (when it was first in NL in homers, second in runs scored), but still a club asset. Frank Thomas, now a low-average batter, remains consistent home run hitter; Ron Santo hit nine homers as mid-season rookie, and Cubs expect many more. Right-hander Glen Hobbie ranked high in NL in complete games and shutouts, won 16 times. Don Elston has relieved 60 times three straight seasons, kept ERA around 3.40 mark.
Other pitchers, catching, lack of high-average hitters. Cub staff as whole gave up 80 runs more than any other in NL. There are no significant additions to staff this year, and gap in quality between Hobbie and other starters, Elston and other relievers, is likely to grow. Sam Taylor catches adequately, throws poorly, can't hit. Top Cub batting average last year was Richie Ashburn's .291; Banks was second at .271. Most averages were below .250.
THE BIG IFS
The novel coaching staff (see page 46). Everyone will be watching to see whether it makes sense or dissolves into a farce. Perennial question marks are Dick Drott and Moc Drabowsky, 1957 sensations who have been sore-armed ever since. Dodger discard Don Zimmer played well at second during last half of '60 and in spring training. New choked-up swing and first-string status may bring more improvement.
ROOKIES AND NEW FACES
Last spring's rookie sensation was Right Fielder Lou Johnson. This year it was Right Fielder Billy Williams, who Cubs hope will fare better than Johnson (.206 in 34 games). Al Heist, 33-year-old rookie who joined Cubs last July after six straight seasons with Sacramento, is fast runner, fine outfielder. Only new pitcher expected to make grade is Mel Wright, 31-year-old two-time loser with Cardinals. Wright had good year with Dallas, may beef up undermanned bullpen.
To improve, Cubs need much better pitching, more men on base ahead of sluggers. Despite admirable efforts of new coaching board, they figure to get neither, and will again battle Phils for seventh place.
EASYGOING ERNIE BANKS
While his teammates warmed up in conventional style, Ernie Banks got ready for the day's game in his own manner: a little pitching, a little jogging and a lot of standing. Banks and rookie Outfielder Billy Williams took one ball and no bat into deep center field. Williams played catcher while Banks played at pitching, especially pitching with men on base. First a long, languid stretch. Then a subtle peek over the shoulder at the imaginary base runners. Finally a slow, high kick and three-quarter turn, and a loose-armed delivery. Off Ernest Banks of Dallas, no one ever got a hit.
Banks has a special exercise which he does off and on throughout practice. He bends over at the waist and touches his fingertips half a dozen times to the grass in front of his toes. Then he straightens up, hands on the back of his hips and stretches chest and shoulders backward. The whole thing lasts about 10 seconds, and may be repeated 10 times in 10 different places. It is doubtless more reflex than conscious effort, like Berra's pendulum sweep of the bat or Colavito's shoulder contortions and constant checking of the back of the cap.
When Banks is in the dugout he is often apart and introspective, silently watching the activity on the field. One day a visitor asked him how the new American League teams would fare.
"I think they'll do very well," Banks said, turning toward the questioner. "Don't you?"
"Well, I...uh...well, no, I don't."
Banks's eyes widened a bit, and he said, "You don't? I don't see why they shouldn't be good. Look at the ballplayers they've got. There's some real good ones on both those clubs." He wagged his head and grimaced at the thought of all that talent on the Los Angeles Angels and the Washington Senators.
The visitor hesitated, then pushed on. "Come on, Ernie, those guys are the players the other clubs didn't want. How can they possibly be as good? Look at their records."
Banks smiled tolerantly. "Records," said the man with a set of the best, "don't mean much. These fellows can all play baseball. A lot of them just haven't had a chance. They might be just as good as the big names who get all the publicity."
The visitor sat silently for a minute thinking over what Banks had said, then wriggled on the bench and asked in desperation, "You don't really believe that, do you? I mean there's no comparison between the Angels and Senators and the other teams. Why, look at—look at the records. That's all you can go by in baseball."
Banks laughed and waggled his bat toward the diamond. "Baseball is a fascinating game," he said gently, "really fascinating. There's so much to it. And the records don't mean much at all."
"That's right, Ernie," someone said. "If you batted .210 and hit two home runs this year, people might forget about you."
Banks nodded placidly at this shocking hypothesis. "In baseball," he said, "it's not what did you do for me yesterday that counts. It's what are you doing for me today." He slid off the dugout bench and began doing his exercise, with lithe, absent-minded grace. Today, one felt, would be as good as yesterday, and so would tomorrow for Ernie Banks.
THE FRONT OFFICE
Gum and baseball enterprises are kept apart by Philip Knight Wrigley, president of the Cubs, who nevertheless keeps a firm hand on both. Wrigley busies himself with future planning, leaves immediate problems to Vice-President John Holland (Wrigley dislikes term "general manager"). Holland smiles easily, associates freely with players, often joins in card games on road trips. Banjo-playing Charlie Grimm, three times Cub manager (pennants in 1932 and 1935) and a member of this spring's novel coaching staff, is another VP, is regarded as closest of front-office men to Wrigley. Formerly sluggish farm network is improving under Gene Lawing. After years of resolutely scorning bonus players, Cubs have switched tactics, arc spending oodles for youngsters, are hopefully awaiting the rewards.
THE BALL PARK
Wrigley Field (36,755 capacity) is only big league park without night baseball. Red brick wall runs around playing field, and ivy grows on outfield walls (onetime Cub Outfielder Lou Novikoff thought it was poison ivy, but critics said he was just wall-shy). On Chicago's Near North Side, in neighborhood that is residential for most part, park is convenient to public transportation (10 minutes by el from Loop, 25 minutes by bus). Parking is poor; most drivers leave cars at least six to eight blocks away. Moving-belt speedwalks run from street level to grandstand and upper deck. Andy Frain ushers are capable, expect no tips. Park remodeled last year ($600,000 for new seats, new home dressing room, enlarged visitors' quarters). Unofficial attendance: undershirt crowd on top floors of neighboring four-story apartment buildings.
1960 TEAM PERFORMANCE
1960 INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCES
RUNS BATTED IN