The Giants and Cardinals were tied in the ninth inning. With runners on base, Durocher called upon Hoot Evers, an exile from the American League who hadn't made a hit of any description during the season, hadn't even got a single in spring exhibitions. Evers banged one into the seats. In a similar situation the little shepherd beckoned to Monte Irvin, whom he benched for failure to hit once in 26 times at bat. On the first pitch Irvin singled home the winning run.
In the winter the Giants traded the 1951 hero, Bobby Thomson, to Milwaukee and got two pitchers, Johnny Antonelli and Don Liddle. Thomson broke an ankle in training camp. For weeks the Braves weren't able to use him, even as a luncheon speaker, and they lost a lot of games for want of hits.
Antonelli has been the making of the pitching staff. With him as the big man, Durocher has made good use of a physically repaired Sal Maglie, of Ruben Gomez, Jim Hearn and two reliable relievers, Hoyt Wilhelm and Marvin ("The Wrong") Grissom.
Wilhelm's knuckle ball has been a priceless asset in the past. Grissom is an implausible phenomenon. A dozen years ago the Reds took him to camp because their fine left-hander, Lee Grissom, had spoken well of a kid brother. "Him?" Lee said when Marvin showed up in Tampa, Fla. "He's never played ball. I meant my other brother."
Marvin hadn't played ball, but he did enjoy those big-league sirloins. Somehow he hung on, learned to pitch in the minors. This year he has saved game after game.
Durocher has the right Grissom. A lot of handbook operators, it would appear, have the wrong handicappers.