WHITEY FORD (No. 16), Left-hander
Had brilliant early season, wobbled through July and August, now looking great; good bet to pitch opening game. Control is his only problem; when he has it he's very tough. Good fast ball, curve and slider. Played in 1950 and 1953 World Series, has 1-1 record. Fair hitter for a pitcher; fields position well.
BOB TURLEY (No. 19), Right-hander
Like Ford, had sizzling start, wobbly midseason, strong finish. Big, powerful, hard thrower; fast ball ranks with Score's and Narleski's as best in American League. Has over 200 strikeouts. Curve improving but still weak; needs another pitch. Big problem is control; wait him out, wait for curve.
BOB GRIM (No. 55), Right-hander
Won 20 games in 1954, was league's rookie of the year, but has spent most of this season on disabled list or bench. Now ready to pitch, he's team's No. 1 reliefer and might be used as starter in World Series. Throws very hard. Very live fast ball is best pitch; has very good control, keeps cool.
TOMMY BYRNE (No. 23), Left-hander
Once wildest pitcher in baseball, made amazing comeback last year at Seattle to get another crack at majors; has had really outstanding year. Slider his big pitch, blends it well with fast ball and curve. Control no longer problem. One of best hitting pitchers in either league, sometimes bats eighth.
DON LARSEN (No. 18), Right-hander
Recalled from Denver in midseason, has been great help to sub-par pitching staff. His first World Series. Another big fast-baller who likes to overpower the batter; breaking stuff improving but still the pitch to hit. Now developing change of pace. Won't tire but may blow up. Good hitter for a pitcher.
TOM MORGAN (No. 28), Right-hander
Brilliant relief pitcher in first two months of season, ran into control trouble, now used less often. Depends on low breaking stuff and changeup with pinpoint control; wait to see if he's going to be over the plate. Only Series experience two innings in relief (1951). Good hitter for a pitcher.
Johnny Kucks, young right-hander with good curve, earned job as starter in early season, failed to last, now rides bench. His lack of experience (one previous year in organized ball with Norfolk of Class B Piedmont League) is typical of weak Yankee bullpen which includes four rookies...TOM STURDIVANT, another right-hander, was only one of the four on roster before spring training, has shown good sinker and control, is a battler...Left-hander BOB WIESLER had unimpressive season with Kansas City and Toronto last year, earned chance in spring with very good stuff, has pitched irregularly because of wildness...Left-hander RIP COLEMAN was called up from Denver with impressive minor league strikeout record, has tremendous speed but lacks control.
MICKEY MANTLE, CF (No. 7), Bats L-R
League's leading home-run hitter but will also bunt for hit. Switch-hitter. Great speed on bases, terrific range in field, strong arm. Hit bases-loaded home run in 1953 Series. Pulled leg muscle last week, may be slowed down. Pitch him fast balls high, slip in occasional curve and change of pace but be careful.
HANK BAUER, RF (No. 9), Bats R
Best hitter on team since end of August; before this year played only against left-handers, will now stay in all the way. Has power and speed, hits fast ball hard, is often fooled by curve. Right-handers can sidearm him. Runs bases well, will steal. Superb outfielder with very strong arm; don't try to run on him.
BILL SKOWRON, IB (No. 14), Bats R
Tremendously strong, hit over .400 in early-season spree but hasn't found range since leg injury benched him for several weeks in May and June. Plays against lefties, pinch-hits. Doesn't give an inch at plate, hits curve well, murders fast ball over outside edge; pitch him tight. Will chase low curve in dirt.
YOGI BERRA, C (No. 8), Bats L
Best late-inning hitter in baseball; ranks with Campanella as catcher. This is seventh World Series, hit .429 in 1953, hit first pinch homer in Series history in '47. Pulls everything with power; pitch him high and tight, save fast ball on outside for tight situation in late innings—it will work only once.
JOE COLLINS, 1B (No. 15), Bats L
Another member of left-handed-hitting, slick-fielding platoon; real virtuoso with glove around first base. Lowest season batting average of any Yankee regular but one of most dangerous in clutch; hit two home runs in one game several times during year. Death on low balls; pitch him high, mix 'em up.
ELSTON HOWARD, C-LF (No. 32), Bats R
Power-hitting rookie and, like Skowron, platoons against lefty pitching. Came up as catcher after winning International League MVP award; as outfielder has speed and catches anything he gets to but doesn't get good jump on ball. Needs to learn to pull. Good curve-ball hitter, won't chase bad pitch.
GIL McDOUGALD, 2B-3B (No. 12), Bats R
One of best fast-ball hitters in league; never throw him fast ball over plate. Mix in curve, changeup, move ball around. Fine defensive infielder at either position, has good speed, runs bases well, will bunt and steal. Fair power. Along with Mantle, one of four players to hit grand-slam homer in Series.
IRV NOREN, LF (No. 25), Bats L
Fine defensive outfielder with good arm, good speed; will play against right-handers and in late innings as defensive move. May also be used in center if leg continues to bother Mantle. Hits fast ball with fair power; slow up on him, keep curve sinking. Hit .300 in 1952 Series, pinch-hit in '53.
PHIL RIZZUTO, SS (No. 10), Bats R
Used as reserve most of season, has now won back old job. Can still hurt you. Best bunter in league, guards plate well, terrific base runner, comes up with big play afield. Holds shortstop record for most World Series (eight), led Series hitters with .381 in '42, batted over .300 three other times.
Billy Martin was great performer in two World Series (1952-53) but may have to miss this one unless Army furlough extended. If available, will certainly play second. Lacks power but pesky right-hand hitter, produces in clutch...ANDY CAREY was regular until Martin returned and moved McDougald over to third. Doesn't pull, power only fair but hits sharply from right side; good stuff down low and away will get him out. Fine defensive infielder. Third year with Yankees but first World Series...EDDIE ROBINSON (bats left), BOB CERV (bats right), two big power hitters who will pinch-hit, may see some action in field. Robinson fair glove man at first; Cerv is slow and has weak arm in outfield...JERRY COLEMAN has failed to gain pre-Korean War form at plate, will help Rizzuto at shortstop if little veteran needs relief...CHARLEY SILVERA backs up Berra and Howard, sees very little action...Bonus Babies FRANK LEJA and TOM CARROLL will get World Series experience from bench.
Probably most solid defensive team in baseball; in a year in which their pitching has been weak and hitting erratic, good fielding has kept them in race, BERRA is good target, handles pitchers well, has strong arm and is very quick behind plate. COLLINS is superlative first baseman, Robinson and Skowron both adequate. McDOUGALD has good hands, covers ground, makes the throw from either second or third. Carey ranks with him as infielder, Martin only slightly behind. RIZZUTO hasn't slowed down enough to be worried, still makes plays most other shortstops in league will never make. Best defensive outfield of NOREN, MANTLE and BAUER ranks with White Sox as No. 1 in baseball with speed, knowledge of hitters, ability to catch the ball and three very strong arms.
ON THE BASES
Team has outstanding over-all speed but won't steal like Dodgers or White Sox, prefers to play for big inning. No one, however, will run bases better. RIZZUTO is one of best, gets biggest jump on pitcher of anyone in either league. Bauer, Mantle, McDougald, Noren, Martin and Carey steal occasionally, must be watched, will always take extra base. MANTLE has most speed, hasn't yet learned to get big jump; BAUER is more daring, runs bases viciously. Collins, Berra and rest all hustle but are less dangerous.
THE BOARD OF STRATEGY
Manager Casey Stengel is a salty, tough, wise old baseball man who has never lost World Series, won five straight in 1949-53. May be the game's greatest tactician, basically plays percentage baseball, but frequently gambles with remarkable success. Stays in dugout, directs operations from bench, exhibits less calm than Alston. Former Yankee greats BILL DICKEY, FRANK CROSETTI coach at first and third, while another, JIM TURNER, handles the pitchers.