The Press Box: Milwaukee Favored in N.L.
Clocker Spanielle, the CRIMSON'S sporting prognosticator, roused himself from his winter torpor and let out an anguished howl. An acute case of spring fever had caused him to miss the opening of the baseball season,
We hastened to assure him that there were at least 136 more games to go, and that if he would predict how the rest of the pennant race would go, we could assure him that our readers would not hold him culpable for the missing 18 or so.
Clocker thought a minute. "You know," he said, "I missed spring training, but then you can't go by the Grapefruit League standings, anyhow." We showed him the National League standings and he gave a grunt of satisfaction. "That's just about the way I would have figured it," he mused. "Milwaukee will win the whole thing, but not without a fight from Cincinnati, Brooklyn, and St. Louis, who will finish in that order. The second division teams should give the leaders a good deal of trouble, but won't be too much in the running. Philadelphia will take fifth, New York sixth, Pittsburgh, seventh, and Chicago will wind up in the cellar again." With that, he yawned and went back to sleep, leaving us to ponder his reasoning.
Milwaukee has too much pitching depth for the rest of the league, with Warren Spahn, Lew Burdette, Ray Crone, and Bob Buhl as starters. Ernie Johnson, Gene Conley, Taylor Phillips, et. al. give the Braves strong second-line pitching as well. With Joe Adcock, Henry Aaron and Eddie Matthews to carry the offensive burden, in addition to about the best defense in the league, the Braves bear a "Can't Miss" label.
Cincinnati's hitting is superior to that of any other team in the league, but it lacks pitching, which is Milwaukee's strong point. Brooks Lawrence stands out as the bellwether of the staff, with Hersh Freeman in an ace role as fireman. The Redlegs will miss the hitting of Ted Kluzewski, sidelined with a slipped disc, but the addition of Don Hoak to such sluggers as Wally Post, Gus Bell, Frank Robinson, and Ed Bailey give Cincinnati an attack which goes a long way toward making up for its pitching deficiencies.
This is Brooklyn's year--to lose. With the loss of Jackie Robinson and Carl Erskine, and the slowdown of Roy Campanella and Peewee Reese, the Bums are a shell of their former magnificent selves. The pitching of Don Newcombe, Don Drysdale, the aging Sal Maglie, and Clem Labine, plus the hitting of Junior Gilliam, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, and Carl Furillo will keep the Dodgers in contention.
St. Louis bolstered itself a good deal during the off-season with the addition of Sam Jones and Del Ennis, but the Cards still lack the pitching which would make them league champions. Stan Musial, Wally Moon, Al Dark and Ken Boyer lead a potent attack.
The Phillies are depending heavily on rookies such as Ed Bouches, Bob Bowman, and Jack Sanford, but outside of a pitching staff headed by Robin Roberts, Harvey Haddix, Bob Miller and Curt Simmons, the Phils offer little.
The Giants have Willie Mays, Johnny Antonelli, and the newly-acquired Hank Sauer, but little else.
The Pirates could be the surprise team of the season, although their pitching holds down an otherwise solid young team.
The Cubs lack a major league outfield, as well as pitching and hitting. Oblivion beckons