DON NEWCOMBE (No. 36), Right-hander
Club's big winner. Had slow start and wobbly finish but in between was best pitcher in National League. If he's ready, he'll be tough. Has tight control and two "big" pitches—a fast ball that takes off and a slider that breaks down. Will use either in tight spot but look for slider in double-play setup. A ninth hitter in the lineup.
BILLY LOES (No. 30), Right-hander
Erratic temperament but very good equipment. Has also been bothered with arm trouble but looks okay now. Primarily a fast-ball pitcher with fine control but his curve ranks almost with Erskine's and is very quick; he likes to use it with men on base. Mixes in changeup effectively. Has 1-1 World Series record.
KARL SPOONER (No. 48), Left-hander
Unable to throw hard most of year after spring training injury, now appears back to class shown in 1954 double shutout debut. Deceptively smooth motion masks terrific speed when he's right; some National Leaguers say he's faster than Score or Turley. Sticks mostly to fast ball. Doesn't hit often but has power.
CARL ERSKINE (No. 17), Right-hander
Holds one-game World Series strikeout record of 14, is tough under pressure. Has been bothered this year by bad elbow, pitched only half a dozen complete games. Looking better now, he'll show you one of best curves in business; uses it constantly along with changeup and in tough spot you can expect one or the other.
JOHNNY PODRES (No. 45), Left-hander
Expected to be one of team's "big four" but an even worse sore arm victim this year than Erskine or Loes. Tremendous natural stuff; his fast ball is very lively and he throws hard. Doesn't pace himself, tends to tire in the late innings. Not used as pinch-hitter but ranks almost with Newcombe at the plate.
CLEM LABINE (No. 41), Right-hander
Has appeared in more games than any other pitcher on staff and, since midseason, has been No. 1 reliefer. Did great job keeping Dodgers winning after Roebuck lost his stuff. Throws fast ball that sinks sharply and has good curve which he'll use with men on base in double-play situation. Beaten twice in '53 Series.
Don Bessent was called up from St. Paul to help patch up aching staff in midseason, won eight straight and has continued to do fine job for a rookie. Has excellent control and fast ball which is always over the plate and always moving...SANDY KOUFAX, 19-year-old bonus rookie, spent most of season on bench, finally got chance to work and struck out 14 in second start, highest in league this season. A lefthander, he's very fast but has trouble with control. Could be surprise starter...ROGER CRAIG came up with Bessent. has been used mostly in relief. Lacks experience and isn't too swift but has good curve ball and throws with easy, loose motion...ED ROEBUCK was star reliefer of early-season drive, then lost his touch and has been hit hard since midseason. Throws some sidearm but big pitch is a sinker...RUSS MEYER was used only in spots during year, mostly against the Cubs, missed part of season with broken collarbone. No longer has his old speed and relies primarily on big, sweeping curve ball.
JUNIOR GILLIAM, 2B-LF (No. 19), Bats L-R
Having bad year at plate but can do a lot of things to hurt you. Best bunter on team next to Reese, has good speed, runs bases well and will steal. Has home-run power in Ebbets Field. Hits curve and changeup well; pitch these outside to set him up, then come into strike zone with fast ball. Don't give him a curve ball to hit.
ROY CAMPANELLA, C (No. 39), Bats R
Probably baseball's best catcher with no defensive weakness. Key man on ball club. Has great power (over 100 RBIs) and leads team in hitting for the season. Particularly tough at Ebbets Field in previous Series. Keep ball away from him, out on corners and mix 'em up. He seldom chases a bad pitch and likes high ball he can pull.
JACKIE ROBINSON, 3B-LF (No. 42), Bats R
Older, slower, still the kind of player who can be tough in a short series. Played four different positions in four World Series. No longer a big threat on bases but will probably worry young pitchers. Can either pull with power or hit to opposite field. Likes the outside pitch so work him inside, using changeup.
PEE WEE REESE, SS (No. 1), Bats R
A real old pro—there's nothing he doesn't do well. Has power for a little man, gets good jump on the bases and competitive spirit is shown by Series record: played in five, led team at bat in three of them. His power is a high fast ball; pitch him curves breaking down and use change-up. Pitch to him carefully in clutch.
GIL HODGES, 1B (No. 14), Bats R
Was anemic hitter in first three World Series, a very good one in 1953. Has apparently lost some of ability to pull but is still one of team's big sluggers (over 100 RBIs for seventh straight year and nearly 30 home runs). His power is on the inside, particularly up high; pitch away from him. Curve him, don't use changeup.
DON ZIMMER, 2B (No. 23), Bats R
Will probably start at second. Has a low average but he's a streak hitter who can get very, very hot. This is his first Series. Lots of power for a little man, fast on bases, hustles hard. Not too sure on defense but tries for everything; has strong arm. Good high-ball hitter; pitch him down and outside and move ball around.
DUKE SNIDER, CF (No. 4), Bats L
League leader in RBIs, has over 40 home runs. Holds record for total bases (24) and tied for most home runs (4) in single Series. Very dangerous in Ebbets Field where he can reach the seats even on high outside pitch. Free swinger but hard to fool; pitch him high and tight or curve breaking down. Essentially low-ball hitter.
CARL FURILLO RF (No. 6), Bats R
Always a terrific late-season hitter, now up among leaders after mid-year slump. Has good power. No problem on bases but a great fielder. Twice hit over .300 in four World Series. Good highball hitter; pitch him inside and below waist. Mix up pitches; he hits the curve well but has a tendency to chase it on the outside.
DON HOAK, 3B (No. 43), Bats R
Only regular who isn't constant home-run threat but he's got just about everything else. Very fast with good reactions on base, makes all the plays at third; fine arm. Likes to hit to opposite field if given outside pitch; work on him inside and low. With men on base, throw changeup; he'll hit it on ground.
Sandy Amoros opened season in left, hit well until sidelined by thigh injury which still bothers him; Series status is doubtful. Hits both high and low pitches with surprising power from left side; throw him breaking stuff down, come inside occasionally to keep him honest...
Frank Kellert will play first if Hodges is hurt or goes to outfield; will pinch-hit. Up around .350 all year but has less than 100 at bats; good right-handed power...DON NEWCOMBE most dangerous hitting pitcher in baseball, has great power, hit seven home runs for league record; will probably pinch-hit, won't chase bad pitches...GEORGE SHUBA bats left, is a good low-ball hitter and likes the fast ball; hit pinch homer in '53...AL WALKER and DIXIE HOWELL almost sure to sit this one out unless Campanella is hurt; Walker may pinch-hit.
This is a good fielding ball club with only a few weaknesses. Gilliam and Zimmer are both slow on double-play pivot; Gilliam sometimes has trouble on routine ground balls and Zimmer lacks experience. In left field, Amoros has weak arm and doesn't get good jump on ball; other three used out there—-Robinson, Gilliam and Hodges—are all infielders. Otherwise, they're solid. CAMPANELLA does everything a catcher is supposed to do: the best you'll see stopping pitches in the dirt, death on pop flies, good arm. HODGES is an artist at first base and death on the sacrifice bunt; Reese, after 16 years, can still do everything at shortstop; Hoak and Robinson are both good third basemen and make all the plays. Don't try to run on SNIDER or FURILLO—both have great arms and Snider catches anything hit to center.
ON THE BASES
Good team speed and they like to run. However, only Reese, Gilliam, Robinson and Hoak will steal. Reese is one of the best; although not lightning fast he has good reactions and gets big jump on the pitcher. HOAK fastest man on team and very quick; he's liable to go anytime. GILLIAM ranks next in speed while Robinson, although older and heavier, is still daring and you have to watch him. SNIDER is fast and will take the extra base. Hodges and Zimmer run well, take fewer chances. Campanella, Furillo, Amoros are less dangerous.
THE BOARD OF STRATEGY
Manager Walter Alston is soft-spoken, but he runs the ball club. Criticized for ultraconservative tactics last year, this year kept his fast-stepping power hitters on toes with bunt, steal, hit-and-run. Alston usually coaches at third, is a gambler, sends runner in on close plays. Veteran JAKE PITLER coaches at first, but former Pirate Manager BILLY HERMAN is Alston's first lieutenant. Onetime Cleveland Catcher JOE BECKER handles pitchers.