"I found out a long time ago," says Del, "that I could make up for some of my defects by maybe working just a little harder than anyone else. It's a good life and I want to stay up here."
"Crandall is the best there is," says Spahn, "and he gets better every year."
"He always knew the hitters," says Burdette. "The thing which has made him even better in the last few years is that he knows his own pitchers so well now. He knows what we should throw to each batter and when."
"I just do what he tells me," says Jay, who is only 23 although he has been in the big leagues for six years. "He's always thinking out ahead. And he's the best target you ever saw. I don't know what he does that other catchers don't do, but he sure helps you. And, boy, he stays on top of the play all the time. He keeps you working out there. You let down for a minute and out he comes. Having Del back there has meant a lot to the young pitchers on this ball club. It's meant a lot to the entire team. Nobody else has a catcher like him in this league."
So Del Crandall, who still looks like Jack Armstrong, or maybe like his older brother, has finally arrived, although not in the way he was supposed to in the beginning. And, like Crandall, the other Braves have arrived, too. It's going to be pretty tough getting them down from up there. They don't really need a leader any more. They just follow each other these days.