"Whew, is he fast!" Cox murmured at one point. Someone then told him that Turley, disgusted with his performance, had said, "I didn't have anything. I wasn't near as fast as I was against the Indians last week."
Cox looked at his informant in momentary disbelief and then turned slowly away, whistling thoughtfully.
Both Turley and Score depend primarily on the fast ball which, for both of them, is a pitch that not only approaches the batter with blinding velocity but which also "moves" a little as it does, lifting up or falling away in a slight deviation from a true straight line. It is their big pitch, their meat-and-potatoes pitch, the one you can expect them to throw in times of duress when success or failure depends on one pitch. It gets each of them a lot of strikeouts.
Which of the two is faster is a subject of casual debate around the American League, but there is little question that either one of them is much faster than anyone else in the league. Dave Ferriss, pitching coach of the Boston Red Sox, was talking about Billy Hoeft of the Detroit Tigers, a highly promising young left-hander. "His best pitch is his fast ball," Ferriss said. "Is it as fast as Turley's or Score's?" he was asked. "Oh, no!" Ferriss exclaimed. Pie seemed startled by the question. "Right now nobody in the league is near either of them in speed."
Turley gets his speed from his bulk. He's big and burly, with a broad, meaty back, huge shoulders and strong arms. Although he and Score are the same height, 6 feet 2 inches, Turley, at 215, is 30 pounds heavier. He throws the ball in a three-quarter overhand delivery. Most of the effort seems to come from his upper arm and shoulder and from the muscles around the shoulder blade.
Score, on the other hand, is comparatively lean. He throws the ball with a long, whiplike overhand motion that seems to lack the violence of Turley's delivery. His curve ball is considered generally to be a little more effective than Turley's, but Turley's fast ball moves a little more. Both of them throw a great many bad pitches and frequently fall behind the batter at three balls and no strikes or three and one. Score seems better able to recover in such instances. He doesn't walk as many batters as Turley. He seems more confident, less inclined to worry and fret. Turley, who will be 25 on September 19, came up to the majors originally at the tail end of the 1951 campaign but this is only his second full season in the majors. He seems very serious and intense. Score, 22 on June 7 and in his first major-league year, is easygoing, casual, unexcited, though he is unable to sleep the night after he pitches.
Of course, Turley is under greater pressure than Score. He is one of Stengel's Big Three and he has to come through if the Yankees are to be a vital factor in the pennant race. Score is a sort of bonus for Al Lopez, whose pitching staff without Score was considered one of the finest in major league history. Lopez has been able to work Score into starting assignments slowly.
When either of the two is hot, on his game, throwing his fast ball the way he wants to throw it and occasionally getting in a fast, sharp-breaking curve, he is tremendously exciting to watch. Baseball becomes in the purest sense a contest between pitcher and batter. With strikeout after strikeout the excitement mounts. And front offices become increasingly aware that attendance figures show significant increases whenever Score or Turley pitches.
Some day this season, perhaps on Sunday, June 12, in Cleveland's huge Municipal Stadium, or Tuesday night, August 2, in Yankee Stadium; perhaps later, perhaps not until next year, but sometime, the pregame announcement will say: Probable Pitchers—for Cleveland, Score; for New York, Turley.
Then joy will be unconfined. And The Duel will begin.