44 HANK AARON,
Bats R, .332, 29 HR, 90 RBI
Man who excites the experts is Henry Aaron, of the loose, free swing. Called
"best wrist hitter in baseball," he's actually an arm hitter, lashing
pitch with masterful coordination of forearms, biceps, wrists and bat. Slumped
through June but has had best record in league since then. No set way to fix
defenses against him, since he hits to all fields, bunts beautifully, is fast
enough to beat out infield hits. He's also a good, if lackadaisical,
outfielder, with a fine arm. The team's big man.
1 DEL CRANDALL,
Bats R, .277, 18 HR, 61 RBI
The best catcher in the National League is having one of his best years.
Healthy this time out, he's hitting about 30 points above lifetime average,
while keeping his homers and runs batted in up there. A power hitter who pulls
pretty well, he's a dangerous man in his customary spot low in the batting
order. Superb defensive player, with a fine arm, he's made solid contribution
to success of young Milwaukee pitchers. Not an Olympic sprinter, but he's a
pretty fair base runner for a catcher.
14 FRANK TORRE,
Bats L, .307, 5 HR, 55 RBI
Some say this big, sad-looking fellow from Brooklyn is the most improved player
in the Braves' lineup. Certainly he shows added confidence now that he's a
full-fledged platoon first baseman with Joe Ad-cock. Torre, a left-handed
thrower, is a topflight fielding first baseman, often subs in late innings on
clays Adcock starts. Good base runner, though not terribly fast. Despite his
size (6 feet 3, 205), he's not a power hitter. He meets ball, sprays hits to
all fields. Hurt Yanks last year.
Bats L, .253, 30 HR, 73 RBI
Having a slumpy year at plate, though still propelling plenty of home runs over
far fences with strong level swing (in contrast to Aaron, Mathews makes great
use of his massive back muscles). Once had reputation of being moody, sullen,
childish, but teammates now respect him as one of hardest-working players on
team. Example of this is his fielding, which has improved from bad to very good
(his play at third base in '57 Series was remarkable). Despite his bulk, he is
a very fast runner.
23 JOHNNY LOGAN,
Bats R, .232, 11 HR, 53 RBI
Logan is not having a good year. Batting average sloughed 40 points off
lifetime level to the dismal .230s. Even so, he's still a great fast-ball
hitter who's apt to drop a homer in the seats any time. A scrapper who won't
quit but, unhappily, he seems to have let his hitting slump bother his fielding
just a bit, which is something he really can't afford to do, since his long
suit in the field is steadiness, not brilliance. He's an artful bunter, a good
hit-and-run man. Fair runner, nothing spectacular.
9 JOE ADCOCK,
Bats R, .283, 19 HR, 53 RBI
Adcock is a big, awkward, powerful man who can break a careless pitcher's heart
with his bat. He's a right-handed long-ball hitter whose strength is to left
center, which means that he can be contained in spacious Yankee Stadium. Still,
his single to right won a key game last Series. Has reputation as a weak
fielder, but now and then he'll make a surprisingly good play. Has been used in
left field on occasion this season, may see action there if Covington is
grounded. A heavy-footed runner.
Bats L, .333, 24 HR, 75 RBI
Ailing legs kept him on the bench almost half the time this season, but
Covington nonetheless has almost as many home runs and runs batted in as does
Aaron, who has played in nearly every game. Wes likes to crouch at plate,
waving bat menacingly. Loves the dramatics of it all and is occasionally
accused of "showboating." But he hits, and hard, not so much down line
to right as to right center, center, left center. Slow because of injured leg,
and not a topflight fielder. But what a hitter!
Bats L-R, .261, 0 HR, 20 RBI
Red, ailing most of the season, has played fewer games this year than at any
other time in his major league career. In September, however, he has looked in
fine shape and is back in the lineup. He's still a superb ballplayer: a
magnificent fielder and a sharp, smart switch hitter who's content to chop
singles and doubles (though batting lefty he's capable of popping homers into
those near right-field seats in Yankee Stadium). Heavier around the hips, he's
not the speedy runner he used to be.
38 BILL BRUTON,
Bats L, .273, 3 HR, 25 RBI
Suffered ruinous knee injury last year, which some thought meant end of his
career. Got back in lineup in May this season and resumed his center fielding
duties, sharing them through latter part of campaign with surprising Felix
Mantilla. Bill's forte was blinding speed, and unfortunately his injury has
slowed him down—both in the matter of his outfield range and in the matter of
beating out hits, racing around the bases to score. He's still pretty fast,
though. No power to worry about.