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How are you going to beat them? Other managers worry about finding a ballplayer to fill a certain position; canny old Casey Stengel worries only about which one of two—or three or four—of almost equal ability he is going to play that day. Berra is the best catcher in the league. Mantle is so good they say he has a disappointing season if he doesn't hit .400. In the infield are such players as Martin and McDougald and Skowron and Carey and Rizzuto and Collins and a dozen others who keep them fighting for their jobs. Hank Bauer is a winning ballplayer in right and Elston Howard can catch or play the outfield. They can all hit and run and field and throw. The pitching staff is weak? Well, there is Whitey Ford, consistently one of the best in the league; there are Byrne and Turley and Larsen and Grim. And some others. Weak? How are you going to beat them?
1 BILLY MARTIN, SECOND BASE: He's the peppery spark of the Yankee infield, a good glove man who seems to improve each year. At the plate, Martin hits hard for a little man, is hard to fool, gets on base.
7 MICKEY MANTLE, CENTER FIELD: With his tremendous power and speed, one of baseball's most exciting players—at the plate, on the bases, in the field. At 24 appears ready for his biggest year, if injuries don't hold him back.
8 YOGI BERRA, CATCHER: This three-time winner of the Most Valuable Player award is the best late-inning hitter in the game. Short, squat and strong, he's always in there, always working hard, a great team man.
16 WHITEY FORD, PITCHER: A chunky, blond left-hander with all the pitches, he won 18, 16 and 18 games in the last three years. This could be the season he hits 20.
Gil McDougald does everything well, has now taken over short after previous season at second and third. Bill Skowron bulges with muscles, could outslug everybody in the league but may give way against right-handers to Old Pros Joe Collins and Eddie Robinson. Hank Bauer is a fixture in right field, but left, because of injuries, is a day-by-day proposition between Irv Noren (bad knees), Elston Howard (broken thumb), Rookie Norm Siebern (bruised knee), or even Collins. Andy Carey is back in top form at third, and behind McDougald are Veteran Jerry Coleman, young Bill Hunter, two promising rookies and the best part-time shortstop in the history of baseball—Phil Rizzuto. Pitchers Don Larsen and Tommy Byrne have had good springs and Bob Turley a poor one—but no one is too worried. Bob Grim again looks like the 20-victory rookie of 1954.
NEWCOMERS TO WATCH
22 MAURICE MCDERMOTT, PITCHER: At 25, starting seventh big league season as regular, apparently ready to fulfill expectations after just missing with Red Sox, Senators. Tall lefthander has had an impressive spring.
26 NORM SIEBERN, LEFT FIELD: Was going great until knee injury stopped spring streak. Hits hard, fields well, arm only fair. Could become only rookie starter.