THE DODGERS, ETC.
Courtesy of the Milwaukee Braves, who accepted a 10-2 defeat on their home grounds, the Brooklyn Dodgers clinched their 11th National League pennant on the earliest date (Sept. 8) in league history. Thus was completed a runaway race that began with the Dodgers winning 10 straight at the start of the season. They were 17 full games ahead when they nailed the championship at Milwaukee.
On the very day the Dodgers were making it official, representatives of four American League teams assembled in the Chicago office of Will Harridge, league president, and began flipping coins like crazy against the possibilities of two-, three- and four-way ties that conceivably (at that time) could snarl up the frantic stretch drive of the Cleveland Indians, the New York Yankees, the Chicago White Sox and the Boston Red Sox. The coin flipping was in accord with an Einsteinian formula worked out by Ford C. Frick, commissioner of baseball. The significant point of Mr. Frick's calculations was that the World Series would open on Sept. 28 in the park of the American League winner if one had been determined at the conclusion of the regular schedule. If a playoff was necessary, the Series would start Sept. 29.
The Brooklyn front office was frankly hopeful that the Yanks would win. Otherwise, the Dodgers would be then required to face the tremendous New York demand for tickets all alone—with only 31,443 salable seats for each game at Ebbets Field. Yankee Stadium, with seats for 67,000, would take the pressure off.
Joe DiMaggio, interviewed in Rome, had some reassuring words for the front office, but could give Walt Alston and his nine nothing more than his condolences. The Yanks would win, said Joe (thereby settling the ticket problem), but the Dodgers would be licked before they started. It's kind of a psychological whammy the Yanks have on the Dodgers, according to Joe. Brooklyn might take Boston, Chicago or Cleveland, Joe said, but never the Yanks.
"They can't even say Yankees," Joe said. "It's always those blank lucky Yankees. To put it politely."
Meanwhile, the rest of the American League, in a purely inadvertent way, was doing its best to relieve Brooklyn of all need to meet the Yankees. Would it be Cleveland? Chicago? Ford Frick was reassuring: There will be a World Series.
International Tennis is a game seldom taken lightly by those who excel at it. One has only to backtrack two weeks for a recollection of the nervous tension in the air over Forest Hills, N.Y. while the young Australian Davis Cup team soundly whacked the defending Americans, 5-0. "Now that we've regained the Cup," said Australia's Lew Hoad, "we'll have to try not to let down during your Nationals." Said America's Tony Trabert, who lost to Hoad after a competitive lay-off: "I know that I need steady competition to be at my best."
Last week the two internationalists, along with their fellow travelers, Ken Rosewall and Vic Seixas, returned to the worn turf of Forest Hills to battle for what turned out to be just the consolation prize this year: the historic U.S. singles title. The competition Trabert wanted was there, but somehow the Australian Davis Cup spirit had spirited itself out of sight.