Our annual Baseball Issue package, which begins on page 50 with William Leggett's appraisal of the season ahead, includes a detailed analysis of each of the 20 major league teams, presents two dozen full-color photographs of key players and exciting moments in the season past and concludes with a report from the other side of the fence—the first of two articles by Sal (The Barber) Maglie, onetime pitching star for the Giants and Dodgers and, until last fall, the pitching coach of 1967's sensational Boston Red Sox.
After Maglie was fired by the Red Sox, we surmised that he might have some interesting things to say, not just about the Boston situation but about his own rather turbulent career as a pitcher. Writer Mark Mulvoy, a Boston boy who is acquainted with Maglie, got in touch with Sal at his home in Niagara Falls. "I had a little trouble tracking him down," Mulvoy says. "Then I remembered eating with him in Kansas City one night last August. I figured we'd go to the Stockyards for some steak, but Sal gave the cabbie some crazy address, and after a 15-minute ride through dark streets and down little alleys we got to a place called Gaetano's. Sal knew the owner, the bartender and half the people in the place, and we had a superb Italian dinner with a marvelous red wine. Sal loves good Italian food. So I checked around and found that in Niagara Falls, Sal eats at the Como Restaurant. I called him there and told him about the idea, and he was so much for it he almost jumped through the phone."
Senior Editor Robert H. Boyle went to Maglie's home to work with him. "Niagara Falls in the winter is not my idea of a junket," Boyle says. "I kept suggesting to Sal that we go to Florida to get that spring-training mood, but he said he had all his scrap-books right there at home. Actually, our sessions were very pleasant. I used to be a fanatic Dodger fan, and I dreaded the days when Maglie pitched for the Giants against us, but when he eventually came over to the Dodgers I was overjoyed. The first time I ever saw Maglie pitch was in 1950 at the Polo Grounds. He had pitched four straight shutouts and had something like 45 consecutive scoreless innings—very close to Carl Hubbell's National League record—when Gus Bell of the Pirates hit a cheap home run down that phony right-field line. It didn't go 270 feet. I mentioned that to Sal, and he not only remembered the day and the score and the batter, he remembered the pitch he threw, a curveball inside. Sal has extraordinary recall, and working with him is merely a matter of guiding him chronologically. The words are all his. He was great to listen to. I'm only sorry that the assignment is finished, because I could have listened to him for weeks. Except that next time I'd like it to be in Florida."
Margaret Millar, the noted mystery writer whose story on bird watching begins on page 104, was the first of her family to take up bird watching, but she was not the first to have an article on the subject in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. That honor goes to her equally noted mystery-writer husband, Ken (pen name: Ross Macdonald), who wrote for us (SI, April 6, 1964) on the plight of the vanishing California condor. We were gently reminded of this by Mr. Millar when we phoned to talk to his wife about excerpting her book, The Birds and the Beasts Were There. "I've been told," he said, "that the story I did for you is going to be read into the Congressional Record in support of a conservation bill." Being a bird watcher, he was obviously pleased. Being author watchers, so are we.