This is a good fielding ball club with only a few weaknesses. Gilliam and Zimmer are both slow on double-play pivot; Gilliam sometimes has trouble on routine ground balls and Zimmer lacks experience. In left field, Amoros has weak arm and doesn't get good jump on ball; other three used out there—-Robinson, Gilliam and Hodges—are all infielders. Otherwise, they're solid. CAMPANELLA does everything a catcher is supposed to do: the best you'll see stopping pitches in the dirt, death on pop flies, good arm. HODGES is an artist at first base and death on the sacrifice bunt; Reese, after 16 years, can still do everything at shortstop; Hoak and Robinson are both good third basemen and make all the plays. Don't try to run on SNIDER or FURILLO—both have great arms and Snider catches anything hit to center.
ON THE BASES
Good team speed and they like to run. However, only Reese, Gilliam, Robinson and Hoak will steal. Reese is one of the best; although not lightning fast he has good reactions and gets big jump on the pitcher. HOAK fastest man on team and very quick; he's liable to go anytime. GILLIAM ranks next in speed while Robinson, although older and heavier, is still daring and you have to watch him. SNIDER is fast and will take the extra base. Hodges and Zimmer run well, take fewer chances. Campanella, Furillo, Amoros are less dangerous.
THE BOARD OF STRATEGY
Manager Walter Alston is soft-spoken, but he runs the ball club. Criticized for ultraconservative tactics last year, this year kept his fast-stepping power hitters on toes with bunt, steal, hit-and-run. Alston usually coaches at third, is a gambler, sends runner in on close plays. Veteran JAKE PITLER coaches at first, but former Pirate Manager BILLY HERMAN is Alston's first lieutenant. Onetime Cleveland Catcher JOE BECKER handles pitchers.