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BOSTON RED SOX

No one has spent more money for more disappointment than the owner of the Red Sox, Tom Yawkey. Ten years ago he had the team everyone wanted: Williams, Doerr, Stephens, Pesky and DiMaggio. But it won no pennant. Now all that remains is Williams. But for some, that is enough
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THE MANAGER

Like most Texans, Mike Higgins, once known as Pinky, says little and lets his record speak for him. And a fine record it is. Higgins spent 13 years as a third baseman for three American League clubs...Philadelphia, Detroit and, on two different occasions, Boston. He made 1,941 hits, appeared in two World Series and had a lifetime batting average of .292. He began managing in 1947, moved up through the ranks and reached Boston in 1955. Higgins has one belief with which all umpires will agree...a manager's place is on the bench. Higgins' coaches are Del Baker (32) at first base, Jack Burns (31) at third base, former pitching star Dave Ferris (33) and Paul Schreiber (34).

ANALYSIS OF THIS YEAR'S RED SOX

STRONG POINTS: The outfield is solid, one of the best in baseball. As ever, there is Ted Williams in left. He is the greatest hitter since Babe Ruth, and last year was in many ways his finest. Because of him, Boston finished third. Without him, it is hard to say how low they could sink. In right is Jackie Jensen, a strong right-handed batter who loves that short left field wall at Fenway Park. Jensen drives home 100 runs every summer the way other men mow their lawns. Both Williams and Jensen leave the defensive hi-jinks to Jimmy Piersall, who never ceases to amaze young and old alike with his daring catches. New England's happiest surprise package last summer was Frank Malzone. Playing third base, he fielded in glittering style and hit close to .300, driving home 103 runs. He won a position on the All-Star team and a place in Boston's heart. Two good right-handed pitchers—Tom Brewer and gangling (6 feet 7) Frank Sullivan-provide Higgins with the bedrock for a good staff. They have won a total of 63 games in two years. Willard Nixon, Dave Sisler and Mike Fornieles will also start.

WEAK SPOTS: Samuel Charles White and Peter Harvey Daley Jr. are perfectly proper names for a couple of lawyers. But they are not lawyers, they are catchers, and last year neither one hit well enough to pass a bar exam. White drove home 31 runs, Daley 25 and because of it, both will probably give way to 6-foot-4, 210-pound Haywood Sullivan. If nothing else, this man looks like a catcher. The Boston infield, excepting Malzone at third, includes a lot of names, some old, some new, all unimpressive. Don Buddin, who as a rookie in 1956 fielded well, is back again after a year in khaki. Perhaps the Army taught him, in addition to marching and shooting, how to hit. If so, the Red Sox will have a strong left side of the infield. First base belongs to Dick Gernert if he can hit .250. Last year he couldn't. Gernert is a massive man who bats right-handed, always a delightful combination in Fenway Park. From Washington during the winter came Pete Runnels, a sort of second-carbon Billy Goodman in that he plays many positions inadequately and hits his singles left-handed. He may play first or second. Billy Consolo, onetime bonus boy who has been seen in Boston circles since 1953, seems ready, at 23, to make a strong bid for the second-base job. Still hanging around are Billy Klaus and Ted Lepcio, and if things get really desperate, they are available. Anybody passing by the Red Sox camp who happens to throw a ball left-handed is likely to be enlisted as a pitcher. The roster lists four lefties: Frank Baumann, for whom Owner Tom Yawkey emptied his wallet and has yet to receive a dividend, Dean Stone, Leo Kiely and Jack Spring. Kiely was 21-6 with San Francisco last year and may help as a reliever.

ROOKIES AND NEW FACES: Ken Aspromonte, 25, could solve the Red Sox second-base problem. He is a good fielder and the only problem is a familiar one: Can he hit in the majors? Last year, he hit .334 on the Coast, which earned him a most valuable player award. Haywood Sullivan has been waiting four years for a chance to catch. This looks like his year, and the big ex-quarterback (for Florida U.) can hardly do worse than his predecessors. He hit .293 last year.

THE BIG IFS: When any ballplayer, even Ted Williams, approaches the age of 40, the end may be a year or a day away. If for some reason he should be unable to play...but it is better not to think about that. Optimistically, if Buddin, Aspromonte, Gernert and Sullivan can hit, or any two of them for that matter, summer in New England could be pleasant indeed. And if just one of those lefties could blossom, say Frank Baumann, the Sox could soar.

THE VOICES

Curt Gowdy (38, dispassionate) was an All-Rocky Mountain Conference basketball hotshot until a back injury ended his career. After a stint with the Army Air Corps during the war, Gowdy began announcing sports in Cheyenne. He moved on to Oklahoma and then, in 1949, reached the majors as assistant to Mel Allen in New York. Two years later he became the Red Sox' head announcer. Gowdy enjoys great popularity in his listening area, mainly because he rarely fights for descriptive words. Folks like his relaxed delivery, forgive the absence of a New England accent. But there are moments when he tests sophisticated listeners with old bones like "three and two and the big one due." BOB MURPHY (33, sprightly) lacks Gowdy's savvy but reports the game simply and has one of the better deliveries in the business. Murphy began broadcasting in his native Oklahoma after serving in Marines. He became Gowdy's replacement in Oklahoma City when the latter moved to New York, then joined the Red Sox in 1954.

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TED WILLIAMS

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JACKIE JENSEN

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FRANK MALZONE

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JIMMY PIERSALL

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DON BUDDIN

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SAMMY WHITE

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DICK GERNERT

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PETE RUNNELS

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TOM BREWER

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FRANK SULLIVAN

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DAVE SISLER

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WILLARD NIXON

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CURT GOWDY

ILLUSTRATION

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THE OUTLOOK: The Red Sox last, won a pennant in 1946, came heartbreakingly close in 1948 and 1949 and have been treading water ever since. There is this hope: two years ago Ted Williams hit .345 and the Sox finished fourth. Last year he hit .388, and they finished third. If he happens to hit .474 then perhaps...but no, even if he did, this team could not win. There are too many weaknesses: the infield, the catching and the lack of left-handed pitching. It would be folly to imagine much improvement. Once again the Sox will tread water, and this year they may go under.