It was one of those days you run into sometimes in Arizona this time of the year that leaves you with the feeling you wish you hadn't. The sun boiled down from a cloudless sky and then bounced back up in shimmering waves that distorted the distant mountains and made the numbers dance on the scoreboard out in right field. Little puffs of dust arose from the red base paths where a young shortstop named Andre Rodgers and a no-longer-young second baseman named Schoendienst moved into position for the next hitter. A drop of sweat trickled off the nose of the third base coach, who in this case happened to be named Eddie Stanky, and he flung it impatiently to the ground. And the writers, sitting atop the uncovered press box behind home plate, took their shirts off, and cooked, and wished they were back in the cool green swimming pool at the Adams Hotel. It was not a day for great exertion or great deeds; although those friendly old enemies of the spring, the Cleveland Indians and the New York Giants, were playing a baseball game, it was still a month before opening day and this really didn't count.
Yet this is what happened.
A Cleveland rookie named Roger Maris drove a pitch down the line into right field, turned first base at top speed and slammed into second ahead of the throw. Another Cleveland rookie, Joe Caffe, singled into center. Willie Mays came in fast, took the ball on one hop and, seeing Maris take a threatening turn around third, heaved a magnificent strike into the catcher's hands. The throw was too magnificent; it went directly to the catcher, without a hop and out of reach of the cut-off man, and as Maris jogged back into third, Caffe raced into second base.
Joe Altobelli, who is also a Cleveland rookie, swung, and the ball went whistling right back at Pete Burnside on the mound; the young Giant left-hander scrambled over to pick it up, cast a worried look at Maris dancing off third, another glance toward Caffe leading off from second—and by then it was too late to catch the scurrying Altobelli. Chico Carrasquel looped a single into center, scoring Maris from third, scoring Caffe from second and sending Altobelli, who was gone with the pitch, racing all the way around to third to beat a perfect throw from perhaps the best arm in all baseball. Bob Lemon forced Carrasquel at second, but Altobelli scored. George Strickland singled, again to center, and now it was Lemon, 36 years old and pounding along like an angry and very determined rhinoceros, who turned second without breaking stride and bore down upon the frantically beckoning Stanky at third.
Mays fielded the ball but, perhaps remembering the play of a moment before, hurried a little too much; he juggled it for a second and then, although the throw once again was perfect, Lemon arose from the dust cloud safe. He grinned at Stanky and Stanky grinned back and down at second base stood Strickland, grinning too. Bobby Avila popped up but Jim Hegan singled into left and Lemon scored. So did Strickland; Stanky took one look at slow-moving Hank Sauer fielding the ball out in left field, calculated the short throw against Sauer's arm and sent Strickland on in, too. It wasn't even close.
The Indians had five runs without the benefit of a walk or a Giant error or a passed ball or a wild pitch and while they will never show up in the American League statistics this year, they were very important runs just the same. On a hot day in Phoenix, with nothing at stake, the 1957 Cleveland Indians had refused to stand around on the bases waiting for a Kiner or a Doby or a Rosen or a Wertz to hit a home run and bring them home. And over in the Cleveland dugout, a square-shouldered refugee from a cotton farm in Tennessee, a man with big ears and a broken nose and the wrinkles from 25 years of looking out across sun-baked ball parks pinching up his eyes, leaned back and smiled. He was the man who made the Indians run. His name was Kerby Farrell.
DON'T STOP AT SECOND
Major Kerby Farrell (the first is a name, not a title) is 43 years old and nobody's fool and he has been around long enough not to confuse the 1957 Cleveland Indians with the old Gashouse Gang of the St. Louis Cardinals. He also knows that there is no way of stealing first base and the biggest problem he must face as the new manager of the Indians is base hits. But if Kerby Farrell has a philosophy, it is this: "You do not win a baseball game by stopping at second." So he has the Cleveland Indians running as they have not run in years.
Despite these spring heroics, second is probably about as far as the Indians can go—but second place, not second base. Farrell knows this and so does General Manager Hank Greenberg; overconfidence is not likely to become very infectious in this league as long as the New York Yankees are around. Yet the important point is that although Cleveland fans have begun to show a contempt bordering upon scorn for second place (in 1956, as the Indians finished second for the fifth time in six years, the attendance dropped below one million for the first time since 1945), the Indian front office hopes that a different kind of second-place finish might bring the fans back. The man they have chosen to lead the way is Kerby Farrell.
Farrell does not have to catch the Yankees, at least not this year, but he must begin to rebuild a ball club which in the past has been good but not quite good enough; at the same time he must change its style of play. From a team which has depended upon the best pitching staff in the league and occasional bursts of great power to offset a leaky defense, lack of speed and erratic over-all hitting, Farrell must develop a club that can run and field and throw and somehow hitch up a batting average which last year shared with Baltimore the doubtful honor of being worst in the American League. Fortunately, the magnificent pitching is still there.