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Dodger Manager States Qualified Optimism on ‘64

Apr. 4, 1964 - Los Angeles manager Walter Alston gave a qualified “yes” today when asked whether his world champion Dodgers would be stronger than last season’s club, which captured the National League pennant by six games.

“For my club to be better, Willie Davis will have to hit like he did down the stretch last year, Frank Howard will have to have a big year, and one of the kids — Ken McMullen or Johnny Werhas — will have to come through,” Alston said.

The apple of Alston’s eye at the moment is a youngster named Wes Parker.

“The kid is almost too good to be true,” Alston enthused. “He plays the outfield and first base and has been hitting the ball like mad and with power. But he could be a year away. We’ll see.”

Alston, the quiet man who keeps winning, feels 99 victories will be enough to win the pennant this years, just as last season.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles speedster shortstop Maury Wills (pictured) says he’ll be off and running again this season without the excess baggage and series of injuries that cut his stolen bases to 40 last year from his record-breaking 104 in 1962.

“When people compare last year with the year before, they look at only the stolen bases,” said the Dodger all-star. “But I think I had a good year in spite of the injuries. I was among the top 10 hitters with a .302 average. Last year, I came to camp eight pounds heavier than usual. That is about like 15 extra for a normal person because I do not have big bones.”

The Dodgers, who have drawn better than 2 million fans in each of the last four years, are assured of at least another 2 million paid admissions because of an advance sale that disposed of more than 15,000 season tickets. Some clubs in the league won’t draw a million with advance and daily ticket sales combined. In other National League news, the New York Mets, who will be moving into their new stadium later this month, already have doubled last season’s advance sale.

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