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Many good things that will make a difference. We have a new shortstop, John Kennedy, the first Negro in club history; bonus baby Harry Anderson; and a new first baseman, Ed Bouchee. Our three star pitchers, Roberts, Simmons and Haddix, will have the help of talented youngsters.
We have the power, stronger pitching, better balance and we've had the experience as a pennant contender. Pitching wasn't too strong last year. The acquisition of Warren Hacker, plus Don Gross and Tom Acker, who show great promise, gives us a lot more pitching strength.
The experience gained from last year's close race is bound to help. The club has more spirit and desire than ever. Fred Haney has placed great stress on fundamentals, which he feels cost the Braves the pennant last year. The same personnel, with Haney and added experience, should do it in '57.
Bill Virdon in the lineup from the start will be a major change for the better. His acquisition last year ranks ahead of the Brink's job as a steal. Other factors which should put us in the first division are Frank Thomas starting at third and Bill Mazeroski in his first full season at second.
The supposedly fading veterans—Campanella, Hodges, Reese, Furillo and Snider—are all driving hard to prove they have what is expected of champions. The youngsters—Zimmer, Neal and Cimoli—are pushing to play regularly. Podres answers Alston's need for a top left-hander.
The root of our woes during the past decade—too many chiefs and not enough Indians—is remedied with the acquisition of Vice-president John Holland. With his sound baseball knowledge, plus the attitude Manager Bob Scheffing has instilled, we have taken a tremendous stride in rebuilding.
St. Louis Cardinals
One of our best pitchers during last season ranks ninth on the current staff. That's the tip-off. Frank Lane has added pitchers like Murry Dickson, Herm Wehmeier, Jim Davis, Sam Jones and Hoyt Wilhelm. With Del Ennis, we now have the home run punch we need. We are also improved through the added experience gained by Ken Boyer, Don Blasingame, Hal Smith, Larry Jackson and Vinegar Bend Mizell during last season's race.
New York Giants
The Giants had the misfortune of losing three of their finest young players to the service—Willie Kirkland, Bill White and Jackie Brandt. So this year they've taken a good look at Andre Rodgers, a shortstop who has a chance for stardom in the National League, and a determined older outfielder, Hank Sauer. We won't be the door mats that the general public thinks we will be. We can finish fifth or fourth, with a little bit of luck.
The new team manager, Kerby Farrell, is a hustler who has been stressing speeds and better base running throughout spring training. We'll be a much faster ball club this year than we were last. With Herb Score physically well and the entire pitching staff obviously deeper, our pitching should be stronger than ever. If Roger Maris can make the grade in center field and Larry Raines can make a good showing at third, look out Yankees.
Boston Red Sox
A year makes a big difference. Last year, youngsters like Brewer, Delock, Sisler, Gernert, Lepcio reached major league maturity. This year, all five may star. The real difference could rest on the success of surgery to Mel Parnell's elbow. With baseball's best outfield, the outlook seems brighter.
The Tigers have more depth. The trade for Finigan and Robinson gives Manager Tighe more flexibility for changes. Boiling at second from the start of the season helps the infield. Last year, injuries to Kuenn, Boone and Kaline hurt our strength and morale. That's unlikely to happen again.
Kansas City Athletics
New Faces was a smash on Broadway. A new team spirit and new faces mean a sixth-place finish. The new faces of Cerv, Noren, Hunter, Graff and Pisoni give the A's depth they never had before. And McDermott, Morgan, Coleman, Garver and Trucks are forming a pitching staff with authority.
Chicago White Sox
My colleague has answered for the Cubs, so I'll answer for the White Sox. Last year, key injuries or sickness cost the Sox the full effectiveness of Doby, Donovan, Howell, Keegan and a few others. This year Al Lopez has a healthy squad, making the White Sox the biggest problem for the Yankees.
We have the finest catching depth in the league, plus a year's experience for two of the league's finest-young pitchers, Pascual and Ramos. Brodowski may prove to be a pleasant sleeper, Runnels has upped his average. Also, Yost's sickness and Snyder's broken wrist won't plague us any more.
The 1957 Orioles have more confidence and optimism because of Paul Richards' know-how and magic touch. His "think—win with fewer mistakes" adds a fourth dimension to baseball's big three—run, hit and throw. Player-developing is paying off with Rookies Robinson, Beamon, Powis, Durham.
New York Yankees
It's hard to point to anything in a young team that won the World Series, but the presence of so many outstanding rookies has given Stengel the problem of cutting down. Kubek and Richardson are youngsters who should stay, with Kubek having a chance of being the Rookie of the Year.
What was your closest call? (Asked of explorers and adventurers)