"I don't mean you," said Herman. "I'm talking about that infield."
So, during the off season, Malzone was released, Bressoud was traded to the Mets, and Mantilla was sent to the Astros. To shortstop went Rico Petrocelli, who can amaze you with his inconsistency. But he is quick, and his very strong and very sore throwing arm is sound again. George Smith hit only five home runs with Syracuse and Detroit last year, but he too can move with speed and that is why Herman put him at second base. More in the old muscular tradition are First Baseman Tony Horton, a strapping 21-year-old, and the two rookie third basemen, Joe Foy and George Scott. The barrel-chested Foy was the minor league Player of the Year last season at Toronto (he hit .302, with 14 home runs and 73 runs batted in), and Scott had an even more glittering record (.319, 25 HRs, 94 RBIs) at Pittsfield in the Eastern League.
Before the Red Sox fans could recover from the shock of a young and sprightly infield, Ted Williams unnerved them completely. "You know what the strong suit of this team is going to be?" he asked. "Pitching." Good heavens, this from the vice-president in charge of hitting? Didn't he know the Red Sox had the worst staff in the American League last year? Before the little men in white could stuff Williams into a strait jacket, he quickly pointed to Bob Sadowski and Dan Osinski, two reputable relief pitchers who came from the Braves. As starters, Williams listed Wilson, Lonborg and Dave Morehead, who tossed a no-hitter last season, and then added Jerry Stephenson, a young man who was considered by some very shrewd observers to be the superior of Sam McDowell of the Indians when both were in the Pacific Coast League. Stephenson's weakness appears to be an overpowering urge to prove himself stark raving mad by 1) dyeing his hair green, 2) striking up a conversation with a downtown Denver lamppost and 3) demonstrating to Herman that his arm was sore by heaving a ball 400 feet. "I don't talk to lampposts anymore," Stephenson said this spring. Hallelujah.
Leopards don't change their spots, and the Red Sox don't seem likely to reform all that much. "Don't get caught" seems more the idea they are pushing this season. But they may get caught by the Athletics and finish 10th.