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Cardinals GM Optimistic on ’64 Pennant Chances

Apr. 6, 1964 - Bing Devine, general manager of the Cardinals, today named the Dodgers and the Giants as the teams to beat in the National League and said he believed the Redbirds had an excellent chance of making 1964 a pennant year.

“I like our club. It’s an impressive one,” Devine said. “Of course, there are at least six other clubs in the league that can say the same thing. But I would be a real pessimist not to believe that the Cardinals will contend for the pennant and that they have an excellent chance.”

Devine said he classed the Giants on even terms with the Dodgers for several reasons, one being that it is so difficult for a pennant-winning club to repeat in the National League.

“Certainly the Dodgers are good,” Bing continued. “But the Giants, too, have improved and they have pitching.”

When spring training opened, the outfield was something of a problem for the Cards. But at this stage of training, Devine considers the problem solved.

“In Charley James, Johnny Lewis, Doug Clemens, and Carl Warwick, I believe we have ample manpower to give us a better than adequate outfield,” he said.

Devine hesitated to rank the “teams to beat” after Los Angeles and San Francisco.

“They’re all good enough to make it if things break right,” he said. “The Felipe Alou trade helped Milwaukee. I don’t eliminate Cincinnati, but they have some question marks. The Pirates still have pitching and could win. Counting us decidedly in the race, that leaves only Chicago, Houston, and New York as not likely to be in hot contention.”

Devine said he was disappointed in the spring performance of pitchers Lew Burdette and Ray Sadecki, but emphasized he hadn’t given up on Burdette.

“A veteran like that follows his own long-established spring training routine,” Devine explained. “What happens in these spring games is unimportant as far as winning or losing is concerned. I won’t give up on Burdette until he is hit hard in National League games.”

Sadecki, pitching without much rhythm in early games, looked his best today as he pitched two fine innings against the Orioles in a game the Redbirds lost, 1-0, in the ninth on an unearned run.

Roger Craig, a new arrival from the Mets, was even more impressive. He hurled six innings, fanned six, and gave up only three hits, all singles.

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