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CRASH-Red Meets Brave
The National League race became almost unbearably tense in its closing days. Last week, to catch the heady Joy of victory or the bitterness of every defeat which professional phlegm can never quite conceal, Sports Illustrated sent a writer with each of the three clubs now straining so desperately: Baseball Editor Robert Creamer with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Reporters Les Woodcock and Jack Olsen with the Cincinnati Redlegs and Milwaukee Braves. Their dispatches from dugout and clubhouse are on opposite and succeeding pages
Braves began drifting into their clubhouse three hours before the big Labor Day double-header with Cincinnati. The radio blared. Earl Hersh and Bob Trowbridge played cards on a trunk in the middle of the floor. When someone mentioned the Dodgers, fiery Johnny Logan spoke up: "They keep calling 'em the old pros. Well, we're the young pros."
The hill to the stadium was black with fans. Ten minutes before gametime the largest crowd (47,604) ever to pay its way into Milwaukee's County Stadium had assembled. More than 12,000 cars were parked outside.
Hank Aaron was the hero of the first game. After hitting two home runs he doubled in the ninth, and Joe Adcock brought him home with the winning run. The crowd went mad, and the whole Milwaukee team rushed out to engulf Hank as he crossed the plate.
The exhilaration quickly died when the Reds went into a fast 2-0 lead in the second game, which they won. But Coach Bob Keely echoed the general sentiment: "The split didn't hurt us any."
Cincinnati fans erupted onto Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee's main thoroughfare, at 9:30 that morning. They had spent most of the night singing and dancing in the train, and now they were wearing red derbies, brandishing cowbells and tooting whistles.
Around the batting cage Ed Bailey talked about the strain of a pennant stretch run: "You're tired but you can't afford to be with all that money at stake." He walked away singing, "Clang, clang, clang goes the trolley." All through that first game, Birdie Tebbetts sat on a towel on the rim of the dugout and carefully watched for Lew Burdette to throw any spitballs. When Adcock broke up the game, Birdie bowed his head. "It was real quiet in the dressing room," Gus Bell reported later.
There wasn't too much elation after winning the second game, mostly just the weariness of a long day of ball. Three-quarters of the Red infield ( Temple, McMillan and Grammas) hurried out to catch a movie.