The time had come at last. As millions feared, the annual and inevitable march of the New York Yankees to the American League pennant was in full stride.
The team was by no means an exact replica of the 1956 champions. Billy Martin, long the club's self-appointed hair shirt, had been dealt off to Kansas City. In his place at second base was Rookie Bobby Richardson, who was showing all the zip and sparkle that were once Martin's. Bill Skowron was hitting like a Yankee first baseman (.330, 12 home runs), and the victorious pitching names were Shantz, Sturdivant and Grim instead of Ford, Kucks and Larsen. But the Yankees who made the difference were still Berra and Mantle.
Detroit was first into the Yankee Stadium slaughterhouse last week. Three defeats later, thoroughly mauled and humiliated, the Tigers gave way to the White Sox, who then led the Yankees by an uneasy game and a half. The Yankees disdainfully won three out of four. As Cleveland appeared, the Yankees had built a half-game lead and the American League race was looking a lot more logical—and far duller. Were it not for the good old National League and its customary surprises (see page 12), the baseball fan would have nothing more to think about until spring training started again, when he could begin the futile and frustrating game of figuring who might beat the Yankees in 1958.