The Cleveland Indians, irrespective of and no matter what anybody—including SPORTS ILLUSTRATED—has told you in the past, are the best collection of baseball players in the whole blue-eyed United States of America. They are, for the time being anyway, because they have won more games and lost fewer than any other team, they have beaten the seventh-place (snicker) New York Yankees in their first two meetings and they have made hash of our March 30 remarks, to wit: "We have seen [the] ball club this spring and we are not impressed. . . . The Indians are not going to bother the Yankees one bit." Understand, nobody is saying here the Indians will stay on top of the American League. But to find some of the reasons why they were enjoying a red-letter week, direct your attention to the primer lesson here, as well as Roy Terrell's report on page 70.
is for Trades, by Boss Man Frank Lane; his barterings made some folks worry, but right now they look good.
is for Held—Woody, that is—who began hitting home runs at the right time—on Opening Day in Cleveland.
is for Effort, epitomized here by Vic Power, who steals catchers blind, has been hitting the baseball at .400 clip.
is for Irrepressibility, as in Billy Martion; he brought along his chatter from poor old Detroit.
is for the New effectiveness of Pitcher Herb Score, who made all of Cleveland happy by striking out 13 Yanks last week.
is for Devotion, as in the glances cast by Ohio schoolgirls whenever Rocky Colavito hits another homer.
is for Intensity, as in Minnie Minoso poised to bat in Martin waiting on third.
is for Arm work of Pitcher Cal McLish, who beat New York and has 3-0 record.
is for Nutrition, ball park style, sustaining the .350 average of George Strickland.
is for Sliding Jimmy Piersall, dandy center-fielder, late of Boston.
is for Influx of 191,493 fans who have given the Indians the best attendance in the whole league.
is for Nixon (Russ), the catcher who calls the pitches for Score & Co. and runs when he must.
is for Francona (Tito), a .750 pinch hitter who beat Yankees with a two-out, three-run homer.
is for Infield; it got some fresh punch when Gene Leek came from Arizona U.
is for Rhubarbs to defend Cleveland's honor, as interpreted here by Colavito.
is for Strategy (and also for Score)—sufficient to win 13 out of the first 18 games.
is for Top Banana Joe Gordon, most secure manager of the week.