Each month Pepsi hands out $2,500 worth of these awards—$1,500 for the most hustling team, $200 apiece to each of five players who show various kinds of energy and improvement. At first, most of the eligibles were as nonplused over the prospect as Oakland Manager Lefty O'Doul, who said: "I'm not against it." Meaning the money.
When the first month's awards were announced recently no one was surprised to learn that first-place Seattle had taken the team award; or that Chesty Chester Johnson, a Sacramento pitcher who had been the league's comic relief for years, would split a prize for "contributing the most on and off the field"; or that San Francisco's hard-hitting young third baseman Joe Kirrene took the rookie award. These boys were trying. The ones who were having trouble were those lardy baseline coaches. Moving toward the dugout at their time-honored somnambulant gait, they would suddenly break into what World War II soldiers used to call a "Dixie two-step." Then some big voice in the stands was sure to say: "What's the matter, Fatty? Do you think Goodwin's watching you?"
Around the league, however, the opinion is growing that the hustle is beginning to pay off. In a recent series for instance, San Francisco and Sacramento played three consecutive games in 1:22, 1:52 and 1:31. Optimistic Claire Goodwin believes it won't be long before the Coast League's absent fans will return to the ball parks and discover that you can now watch a night game and get home in time for breakfast.
THE (TOUGH) SPORTING LIFE
Questioned recently as to the reason for his quick getaway in the slugging department this season, Brooklyn's Carl Furillo explained that he had adopted golf principles to improve his hitting technique.
"I've done two things. I've stiffened my neck so I keep my eye on the ball, and I've changed my grip. Now I hold my neck rigid..."
As the Dodgers were beating the Chicago Cubs last week, Carl Furillo was benched by a stiff neck.
ETIQUETTE OF HOME RUNS
Cross the plate
'Midst the noise
And swagger with
Shake all hands,
Pull cap's button;
Convey the thought—