Nothing is certain in April but baseball and taxes—and both involve D-days for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED readers between now and next Wednesday. This magazine will not undertake to help you with April 15 tax calculations (though from independent readership studies we estimate the 3.7 million U.S. families that read SI will pay the Feds more than $5 billion on personal income of $37 billion). But as the major league baseball season opens next week we are ready with some guidelines to a perennial April question: How are the (fill in the name of your favorite club) going to do this year?
Our baseball staff has watched all 20 major league teams in spring training and has produced 32 pages of Scouting Reports on the subject in this issue. Our assessment of each club concludes with an "outlook" passage. Some outlooks will surprise baseball fans; some will not.
Can you guess which teams are referred to in these samples?
OUTLOOK: Once more pitching must pull the———-along, and strange things often happen to pitchers.
OUTLOOK: The———-are solid in every way. The pennant should be a breeze.
OUTLOOK: The same as in Mudville.
OUTLOOK: Excellent fielding, strong hitting, better than average pitching give the——-a good chance to win.
You can check your guesses by glancing at pages 52, 53, 73 and 84.
Outlooks aside, the fine April fact is that baseball is back, whether in Pennantville or Mudville, and its color and movement are here for all to see. To catch some of this in advance of Opening Day 1964, Artist Bernard Fuchs toured Midwest cities last year, lugging his camera. Back at his West-port, Conn. studio this winter, Bernie Fuchs translated his film and his recollections into a series of dramatically compressed instants in paint; one of them is shown on our cover and others on pages 43 to 48. The unifying element that Fuchs selected for his series was one of baseball's classic situations: the count is three balls and two strikes.
Fuchs has appeared before in SI, notably with his portfolios on the Masters (SI, April 3, 1961) and the Indianapolis "500" (SI, May 28, 1962). This is his first appearance as an articulator of baseball. A southern Illinois boy from O'Fallon, near St. Louis, Bernie was a rooter for the Cardinals until 1940—the year they traded Ducky Med-wick to Brooklyn. That made him a Dodger fan. Since his assignment for SI, Bernie has become a Detroit rooter. Why? Al Kaline. "He is so great he deserves to get into a World Series." There is more than a little of Kaline in the idealized outfielder on page 48.