This Series will pit the home run against the single to the opposite field. TheYankees have the power (and the glory): three of them—Roger Maris, MickeyMantle and Bill Skowron—hit more home runs this season than the entire Piratestarting lineup. But the Pirates hit so many singles they equaled the Yankeesin run production. The Pirates are masters at what Broadcaster Mel Allen likesto call "riding the curve to right": right-handed batters Don Hoak,Roberto Clemente, Gino Cimoli and Dick Groat (if his recently broken wrist issufficiently healed) do it well. There are some Yankees who can do it too, ofcourse, just as there are Pirates who can hit home runs. Bobby Richardson,Hector Lopez and Gil McDougald are good right-field hitters; Pittsburgh's DickStuart can hit a baseball as far as anyone. And the Pirate left-handedhitters—Rocky Nelson, Smoky Burgess and Bob Skinner—may make use of the shortright field at Yankee Stadium. Certainly the Yankees themselves do, and notjust the left-handed ones. A majority of the Yankee right-hand hitters canreach those seats as well—Skowron, Mantle (when he is switched that way),Lopez, Elston Howard and even Clete Boyer. Yankee pinch-hitting is powerfultoo. If the Yankees fall behind, Casey Stengel will insert a barrage of heavyhitters: Bob Cerv, Howard (or Yogi Berra, if Howard is the starting catcherthat day), John Blanchard and Dale Long, once the toast of Pittsburgh. DannyMurtaugh cannot do this. If he starts his right-handed lineup (Stuart, Cimoliand Smith) he can use Nelson, Bill Virdon and Burgess as pinch hitters, or viceversa, but the rest of his reserves are weak.
SLIGHT EDGE TOYANKEES
The two off-dayswill permit Pittsburgh's strong right-handers, Vernon Law and Bob Friend, tostart five and perhaps even six games between them, just as the Burdette-Spahncombo did for Milwaukee three autumns ago. Both men have pitched magnificentlythis season. A left-hander, either Wilmer Mizell or Harvey Haddix, will startgame three, the first one in Yankee Stadium. Left-handers have been effectiveagainst the Yankees this season, so it is possible that if Mizell, say, beatsthe Yankees in the third game, Haddix will pitch the fourth. When any of thesestarters gets in trouble, Elroy Face will appear from the bullpen. Alsoavailable for relief will be Fred Green and Joe Gibbon, left-handers, and aface very familiar to old Yankees, Clem Labine.
Left-handerWhitey Ford is still the Yankees' best, but he is no longer the game's best. Herequires four days rest between starts, so it is doubtful if he can pitch morethan twice during the Series. Art Ditmar has been the Yankees' big winner thisseason and he will probably start the second game. After Ditmar come problems.Stengel has a parade of pitchers as inconsistent as butterflies. Ralph Terrypitched two straight shutouts recently, but earlier, in one spectacularlyineffective stretch, he gave up 11 hits to 13 batters. Bob Turley seems toocareful these days and is not the man who beat the Braves two years ago. BillStafford was pitching for Richmond in August. He has shown confidence and agood fast ball. Stengel also has Jim Coates, Eli Grba, Ryne Duren and DukeMaas, righties, and Left-handers Bobby Shantz and Luis Arroyo. The way Stengelwheels and deals, all will probably see action.
DEFINITE EDGE TOPIRATES
Position byposition, the Yankees and Pirates are as similar as any two teams in themajors. Stuart, on his good days, is only an adequate first baseman. Nelson ismore polished. Skowron falls somewhere in between. Richardson and Mazeroski areas good a pair of second basemen as ever made a pivot. Perhaps Kubek is not assure at shortstop as Groat is, but in seven games the difference should not beimportant. If Groat cannot play, Schofield will not hurt a bit, mechanically,though the Pirates will miss Groat's leadership on the field. New York fansbelieve Clete Boyer can play third base as well as anybody—which is the wayPittsburgh feels about Hoak. Both are excellent. If Gil McDougald, a veteran ofseven Series, plays third, the Yankees will lose a little defensively.
Neither Lopez norSkinner makes his manager happy with his fielding. Skinner will have theunhappy experience of playing Yankee Stadium's eerie left-field shadows for thefirst time. Lopez is familiar with the shadows, but that still doesn't seem tohelp him much. If the Yankees are leading by a couple of runs in the lateinnings, Stengel will remove Lopez and switch Kubek to left, thereby starting achain reaction that often puts Boyer at short, Richardson at third andMcDougald at second. Casey loves to juggle. The other outfielders, Mantleagainst Virdon (or Cimoli) in center, Maris against Clemente in right, are allgood. Clemente is the best, with speed and a powerful arm.
The Yankees, withBerra and Howard, have stronger catching than the Pirates, with Burgess andSmith. Neither team steals many bases, so the catchers will not be under greatpressure.
Groat is thequestion mark, the Pirate escape clause. When a man hitting .325 breaks awrist, can he pick up where he left off just four weeks later? Though Schofieldhas proved a capable substitute, the Pirates' chances will diminish if Groat'sleadership is lost for the Series or if his wrist causes him to playpoorly.
Some things arecertain. The number 37 on Stengel's back will be more in evidence thanMurtaugh's 40. It is a good bet that he will trudge out to the mound abouttwice as often as Murtaugh. Yankee pitchers, about to be relieved, will glancetoward heaven as Casey approaches. One can guess what they are thinking, butStengel doesn't care. He wants to win, and if he feels that the left-hander inthe bullpen is the man he needs to get the next batter out, the lefthander inthe bullpen will come in.
One reason whyMurtaugh will be comparatively quiet (though any manager who opposes Stengelautomatically becomes comparatively quiet) is that he has more confidence inhis top pitchers, Law and Friend, and rightly so. But he also has fewer benchmen to juggle about. Murtaugh is more likely to go through an entire game withone of his two set lineups. That is the way he won the pennant.
Anyone who hasfollowed the adventures of the Pirates knows the miracles they can brew late inthe game. They are fighters—Hoak, Skinner, Groat, all of them. They havebalance, a happy blend of hitting, pitching, and fielding, and this isimportant. Even more important is the Pirates' spirit, the confidence theplayers have in one another. It helped them win the pennant and it should helpthem beat the Yankees.
PIRATES TO BEATYANKEES
THIRD BASEMAN HOAK
FIRST BASEMAN SKOWRON
SECOND BASEMAN MAZEROSKI
SECOND BASEMAN RICHARDSON