Thursday, November 2, 2017

Hodges & Snider Red Hot, But Braves Still On Top

Campy is there for ballast.
Gil Hodges and Duke Snider decided to get scorching hot at the same time, leading Brooklyn to 20 wins in 30 games in July, but they only gained half a game on the pitching-rich Braves. Meanwhile, the Phillies saw their pitching implode, and the Cardinals began to fade, though they are still within striking distance if they get hot again.

MIL  62-37  ---  (3-0 in extra innings)
BRK  60-39  2  (most shutouts 16, best July record 20-10)
CIN  57-43  5.5  (best 1-run record 20-13, 5-1 in extras)
STL  54-45  8  (worst in extras, 5-9)
PHI  45-55  17.5  (worst July record, 9-20)
NY  44-55  18  (worst 1-run record 11-17)
CHI  40-62  23.5
PIT  38-64  25.5  (blanked the most times, 18)

TEAM CAPSULES (with July record)

"We got this!"
MIL (20-11) The Braves just keep on rockin' thanks to their stellar moundsmen. Lew Burdette maintained his incredible 1.52 e.r.a. from last month, and the "Big Three" of Spahn, Burdette and Conley continue to mow down NL batters. They place 1st, 2nd and 4th in the league in e.r.a.  Eddie Mathews (15, 64, .260) hit over .300 for July with a boatload of rbi. Joe Adcock (31, 73, .301) hit just 4 homers in the month but cranked 10 doubles. Chuck Tanner was finally retired (twice!) to ruin his bid for a 1.000 batting average off the end of the bench. He's now 4-for-6. 

What a ballpark. Wish I could time travel and see a game there.
BRK (20-10) Them Bums were riding high, as Duke Snider (24, 72, .282) and Gil "Gill Man" Hodges (17, 72, .288) both decided to get crazy hot at the same time. Both hit well over .300 in July, and were over .400 together for quite a while. Duke finally faded, but Gil never did. Sandy Amoros (10, 44, .285) lacked just 14 ab's from making the top ten batters list, and drove home 18. Charlie Neal (.330) and Jackie Robinson (.311) continue to turn in fine seasons in reserve. Not participating in the Dodgers' block party was Roy Campanella, who hit under .100 (!) for the month with just one x-base hit and 2 rbi. He finally collapsed in a heap, clutching his dismal .175 batting average, and was replaced by Rube Walker (1, 11, .286) who did surprisingly well back of the dish and at the plate. 

The god-like Mr. Freeman, who did not surrender an earned run all month.
CIN (19-11) Reds skipper whoever-he-is finally grew disgusted with Wally Post (8, 30, .213) who did not drive in a run all month, though he scored 10, and demoted him to the short half of a left-right platoon with Bob Thurman (9, 32, .294) who went off. Thurman, along with the catching tandem of Ed Bailey (20, 53, .302) and the rejuvenated Smokey Burgess (4, 16, .242) carried the team all month. Big Klu (7, 43, .302) was a midget, hitting just 1 HR and driving in only 5 all month, though he did maintain his .300 batting average. "I choke up and just try to slap a single somewhere!" he crowed. Indeed, 80 of his 99 hits have been singles. Brooks Lawrence (13-7) won 4 games in July, and is 13-4 since starting 0-3 in April. But the big story was the bullpen tandem of Tom Acker (9-1, 2.77) and Hersch Freeman ( 0.68, 30 saves) who combined to save the bacon of many a starting pitcher. Freeman had 15 saves in July alone! It's an unofficial statistic in 1956, but because of Freeman's crazy season, I am going to include it now. 

Hal slowed down when Katt stole some of his parts.
STL (14-14)  The Redbirds muddled through a middling month and fell 8 games off the pace with three teams ahead of them. Surprisingly, their pitching improved. However, the rash of trades that decimated their supply of table setters came back to bite them. In the end, Rip Repulski (5, 36, .271) was tabbed as the lead-off man. Musial saw his average dip a bit, but he had mad power, and Boyer hit everything he saw, same as always. But overachieving backstop Hal "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that" Smith (6, 50, .345) hit only .250 in the month and lost ten games to injury. Ray Katt (2, 3, .177 as a Cardinal) wasn't much of a replacement. Ancient Yankee cast-off and former Phils star Jim Konstanty (4 saves, 2.00) took over as the head fireman after Lindy McDaniel (1-5, 4.82) repeatedly failed.

Stan seems adversely affected by his team's ineptitude. "I'm killing myself," he chirped.
PHI (9-20)  The Quakers, on the heels of their hot June, saw the wheels come off the pitching staff in July, adding a half a run to the team e.r.a. Injuries exacerbated the problem, with Larry, Curly and Moe tabbed as starters during the month. Basically, anybody with a pulse was thrown out there to be routinely battered and then sent to the showers in ignominy. Stan Lopata (16, 60, 260) continued to hit, though he missed a series with the Braves in which the Phils were swept, but Del Ennis (9, 47, .241) returned to earth. Formerly dependable Marv Blaylock (4, 31, .254) hit below the Mendoza line while mooning about his halcyon days among the batting leaders in the first half. Mid-season pick-up Elmer Valo (7, 35, .296) continued to hit, but he could not save the Good Ship Phillie from taking on water.  

Leon Czolgosz assassinating Daryl Spencer
NY (12-17) The Giants are last in the league in both batting average and e.r.a., and yet they are only a half game out of fifth place. How can this be? They do have 91 homers, but I still can't explain it. They aren't winning close ones, either. Willie Mays (20, 55, .276) hit a lusty .220 during July and was booed at the Polo Grounds for his apparent give-a-shit attitude. Injuries to both Hank Thompson (14, 49, .278) and Foster Castleman (4, 24, .231) left the Giants scrambling for a third baseman. Daryl Spencer (4, 21, .181) was inserted there, and rookie Eddie Bressoud (0, 1, .167) was obliged to pretend to play shortstop. When Spencer went down for a game after being assassinated by an anarchist, pinch hitting specialist Bobby Hofman (0, 1, .147) had to play third. Despite all of this, the Giants spent only one day in 7th place before rising back past the Cubs into 6th.

Sad Sam loses or gets a no-decision, then murders everyone.
CHI (12-20)  The Cubs. Who really cares? Dee "Snider" Fondy (2, 38, .294), Ernie Banks (14, 56, .266) and Walt Moryn (15, 55, .265) provide what offense the Cubs get, along with 2-month wonder Jim "Kingly Visage" King (8, 34, .292). But the baby bears have now been blanked 16 times, just two fewer than Pittsburgh. Since the Bucs have only put up a zero 4 times in the past two months, the Cubbies seem like a cinch to lead the league in this dubious category. Hurler Moe Drabowsky has 82 K's in 100 innings, but is only 5-6 with an e.r.a. in excess of four. Sad Sam Jones (4-9, 3.82) took over the league strikeout lead with 120, but it hasn't translated into W's. 

PIT (13-16) It's not all bad in Pittsburgh anymore. They are 5th in the league in both batting average and e.r.a., but they are still sadly last in runs scored. Frank Thomas (17, 62, .263) rode a late month rush to 21 rbi in July. Bill Virdon is at .308 since being shamelessly stolen from St. Louis. Bob Friend (8-10) is on the upswing, and the Buccos may yet get out of last place, especially if the Cubs continue to play like special needs orphans from some former Communist bloc country. Hank Foiles (4, 23, .250) swatted 10 doubles when handed the catching job. If Roberto Clemente (2, 32, .248) and Dale Long (12, 39, .212) ever get it in gear, the Pirates could enjoy a dollop of success before it's all over. "We'll win the World Series within 4 years!" crowed the team owner while doing window panes.


Pitching  (league era 3.60)
MIL  2.61 (most cg's 43, least K's 397, least runs against, 287)
BRK  3.19  
CIN  3.50  (most saves 32, least HR against 69)
STL  3.58  (tied for most HR against 91)
PIT  3.73  (least saves 8, tied for most HR against 91)
PHI  3.91  
CHI  4.06  (most runs against 464, most K's 557)
NY  4.18 (tied for most HR against 91,  least cg's 19)

Batting (league avg .243)
STL  .262 (most runs 467, most doubles 173)
BRK .257  
CIN  .255  (least triples 22)
MIL  .242  (Most HR 106, least steals 6)
PIT  .239 (least runs 323, most CS 27)
PHI  .233  (least HR 61, most GIDP 79, tied for least CS 16)
CHI  .230  (least doubles 106, most triples 43, least GIDP 55)
NY  .225  (most steals 58, tied for least CS 16)

least errors--BRK 50
most errors--PIT 83
most DP's turned--PHI 96
least DP's turned PIT 72

ERA (99 ip): Burdette-mil 1.52, Spahn-mil 1.78, Newcombe-brk 2.14, Conley-mil 2.28, Dickson-stl 2.35, Craig-brk 2.39, Rush-chi 2.39, Friend-pit 2.40, Lawrence-cin 2.86, Simmons-phi 3.17

WINS: Newcombe-brk 15-5, Burdette-mil 14-3, Spahn-mil 14-8, Dickson-stl 13-4, Lawrence-cin 13-7, Conley-mil 12-4, Craig-brk 12-7

Losses: Roberts-phi 6-13, Kline-pit 6-12

K's: Jones-chi 120, Spahn-mil 118, Friend-pit 111, Haddix-phi 111, Antonelli-ny 102, Newcombe-brk 102, Dickson-stl 100

Saves (unofficial stat): Freeman-cin 30, Grissom-ny 20, Bessent-brk 15, Lown-chi 14

CG: Dickson-stl 14, Newcombe-brk 14, Spahn-mil 14, Burdette-mil 11, Conley-mil 10

SHO: Newcombe-brk 6, Craig-brk 5, Spahn-mil 5, Lawrence-cin 4

IP: Newcombe-brk 197.1, Spahn-mil 191.2, Dickson-stl 188, Friend-pit 179.2, Lawrence-cin 173, Rush-chi 169.1, Kline-pit 167.1, Antonelli-ny 165.2

HR: Adcock-mil 31, Robinson-cin 24, Snider-brk 24, Bailey-cin 20, Mays-ny 20, Musial-stl 18

RBI: Adcock-mil 73, Hodges-brk 72, Snider-brk 72, Musial-stl 71, Aaron-mil 67, Boyer-stl 65

AVG (267 ab): Aaron-mil .314, Boyer-stl .314, Bailey-cin .302, Klu-cin .302, Adcock-mil .301, Fondy-chi .294, Moon-stl .294, Hodges-brk .288, Musial-stl .287, Virdon-pit .284

Hits: Boyer-stl 128, Aaron-mil 125, Musial 115, Robinson-cin 111, Snider-brk 111

Runs: Snider-brk 70, Boyer-stl 68, Robinson-cin 68, Bell-cin 67, Musial-stl 67, Aaron-mil 66, Moon-stl 66

Doubles: Jablonski-cin 27, Robinson-cin 27, Hodges-brk 25, Aaron-mil 23, Boyer-stl 23, Lopata-phi  23, Snider-brk 23

Triples: Bruton-mil 12, Musial-stl 12

Steals: Mays-ny 37, Gilliam-brk 24, Moon-stl 14, Bell-cin 11, Robinson-brk 10, White-ny 10

GIDP: Musial-stl 14, Jones-phi 13, Snider-brk 13

Errors: Groat-pit 26, Banks-chi 23, Baker-chi 22

Gil "Gill Man" Hodges, outstanding player for July.
He scares opposing pitchers.


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