ALSTON IN CLOUDLAND
Nobody, but nobody, was in a more natural position to enjoy the broiling American League pennant race than Walter Alston, the quiet fellow who manages the Brooklyn Dodgers.
If the Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox utterly exhaust themselves in the next six weeks, Alston will not even have to look regretful. With his Brooklyn Dodgers perched on an Olympian cloud, 16 or so games ahead of any National League rival, Alston even had time to enjoy some American League baseball on TV. Ted Williams of the Red Sox? Alston thought he seemed a bit "nervous." Casey Stengel's fireballing right-hander Bob Turley? "Wild," among other things.
Floating 16 games in front last week, Alston ordered out his World Series scouts. Mission: to study all four American League scramblers until the end of the season or until one beats all the rest—whichever is sooner.
The wonderful football game which the College All-Stars won (30-27) from the awesome Cleveland Browns (see page 41) dramatized one inescapable aspect of the annual All-America selections: some mighty effective talent gets overlooked.
Not that some of 1955's All-Americas failed to cover themselves with glory in the big game at Chicago's Soldier Field; Notre Dame's Ralph Guglielmi, for instance, played all four quarters at offensive quarterback and definitely outshone his professional rival, George Ratterman. But none of the men who scored touchdowns in the All-Stars' first victory since 1950—Henry Hair of Georgia Tech, Frank Eidom of Southern Methodist and Mel Triplett of Toledo—got any All-America mention at all last year.
Neither did Baylor's L. G. (Long Gone) Dupre, who disproved that old axiom "you can't run against the pros" by sifting through their defense all night almost at will. Neither did Marquette's Ron Drzewiecki who executed a dazzling 48-yard kickoff return in the first quarter. Neither did Penn State's outsized tackle, Roosevelt Grier—by all odds the most effective lineman on the field. Neither did Ohio State's amazing little (139 lbs.) place-kicker Tad Weed, who booted three field goals (one for 34 yards) and two conversions to account for 11 of his team's points. A startlingly long list—and one which might set a football fan groping for some hard, fast, solidly based fact on which to cling as college press agents begin composing their odes to the 1955 season. Well, sir—neither Harvard, Princeton nor Yale, the fortresses of Walter Camp's old football world, placed a man on last year's All-America teams. Nobody from Harvard, Princeton or Yale played in the All-Star Game either.
UNDERHAND? YES, UNDERHAND
Few human institutions have demonstrated so case-hardened a resistance to change as baseball. The ball has gotten a bit livelier during the dizzy 20th century and bats have changed shape in infinitesimal ways but the game has been played, year after year, exactly as it was in the day of the gas lamp, the walrus mustache and the bustle. Last week, however—at 7 o'clock, Wednesday night, Aug. 10, 1955, to be exact—innovation reared its bedizened head in professional baseball like a stripper jumping out of a paper cake at a DAR convention.