|Preseason review of the management and baseball players: |
Keep in mind some of the players who once were stars, were by he time 1954 rolled around - aging veterans no longer capable of playing up to their younger days. And some of the ballplayers were in their first few seasons in the majors and hadn't as yet played up to their potential.
From our old copy of the "1954 Street and Smith's Yearbook"
Actual Wording of article as follows:
"The Cardinals, who in other years have been far ahead of their rivals on the mound, entered the campaign with grave doubts in the center of the diamond. But they were not too worried, because they're geared to an aggressive policy under August Busch, the millionaire beer baron.
With the major league field to themselves in St. Louis after the departure of the Browns to Baltimore, the Cards lost no time building toward a championship, and with cold cash. They expended an estimated $350,000 for new talent. The spending spree included $100,000 and four players for Tom Alston, the 6-5 first baseman from San Diego (minor league team during this era), who becomes the first Negro on their roster. In another $100,000 deal, which included players, the Redbirds bought Alex Grammas, rookie shortstop, from Cincinnati.
"We may have the best bench of any Cardinal team since 1942," caroled Eddie Stanky, the pugnacious little pilot. "But pitching is still our big problem."
The Cardinals, excluded from the king row since 1946, finished 22 games behind Brooklyn, in a tie for third place.
The Redbirds from the banks of the Mississippi River still have two of the finest players in baseball - Stan (The Man) and Red Schoendienst. The redhead lost the bat title by two points to the Brooklyn's Carl Furillo. Musial, almost perennially the plate champion, hit .337, only seven points off the pace. And Enos Slaughter, baseball's hustlingest player at 38, remains a vital asset.
Pitching? The Cardinals are paced by strong-armed Gerald Staley, 18-9 last year. He's backed up by Harvey Haddix, 20-9, a lefty who was runner-up to Brooklyn's Junior Gilliam as Rookie of the Year. After that, all is confusion in the pitching ranks. Stu Miller, Joe Presko, and 39-year old Alpha Brazle were considerably less than glitter boys. Eddie Yuhas and Cloyd Boyer had arm miseries and their recovery could have dramatic results.
Two freshman southpaws could participate in the Cardinals renaissance. They are Memo Luna, who led the Pacific Coast League in earned run average, 2.69, and Royce Lint, who won 22 and lost 10 for Portland, top percentage in the same circuit. Tom Poholsky, a seasoned right-hander, returns from military service. Floyd Woolridge, 15-13 at Houston, and Ellis Deal, 16-9 at Rochester, are other pitching hopefuls.
Grammas, a rangy 26-year-old of Greek parentage, is the exciting Cardinal rookie. A great defensive shortstop he hit .307 for the Kansas City Blues (minor league).
"I'm a Hemus man," said Stanky in support of Solly, the little man who has been the Cards' shortstop. "Grammas will have to show me he can beat out Solly."
In the event Grammas accomplishes this feat, Hemus may move to third base to supplant the 1953 incumbent, Ray 'Jabbo' Jablonski, who would move to the outfield. The Cards gave Pitcher Jack Crimian and a bundle of cash for Grammas. Lou Ortiz, who batted .298 at Rochester, may add to the infield bench strength.
Alston and Rocky Nelson, purchased from Montreal (minors), will make an onslaught against Steve Bilko and his first base job. The ponderous Bilko batted only .251, but he slammed 21 homers and knocked in 84 runs.
Among the new outfielders are Joe Frazier, a 31-year-old southpaw slugger who batted .332 for Oklahoma City in leading the Texas League; Tom Burgess, another lefty swinger who hit .345 at Rochester; and Harry Elliott, who complied a .323 average at Houston.
Del Rice, a competent catcher, will be backed up by Dick Rand, who hit .283 for Houston (minors), and Sal Yvars. Baseballhistoian.com - Archives
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