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Duke: Dodgers Won’t Flop Again

July 29, 1963 - If it will put Walter O’Malley’s mind at ease, the Dodgers need not worry about the Mets, whom they entertain tomorrow, or any other team in the National League. They’re not going to buckle and fold, as they did in late September of ’62. That’s a promise, courtesy of Duke Snider (pictured with Ron Hunt). “Things are entirely different this year than last,” pointed out the graying outfielder, who saw the ’62 collapse at close range. “For one thing, this is only July. Why should the Dodgers get scared because they lose half their lead now? They’re still five games ahead on the losing side. They were due for a bit of a slump. After all, did they have one all year? They also had the misfortune to run into the hottest club in baseball. The way the Phillies have been going, they could spot anyone runs and beat them.” Pitching and nothing else should keep the Dodgers out in front through the rest of the pennant race, Duke feels. “Last year, we lost Sandy Koufax, and that wound up killing us,” he declared. “Our other pitchers got overworked, so late in September when we needed them the most, they weren’t very effective. This year, the Dodgers have the best pitching in baseball. Koufax, Podres, Drysdale — who beats them very often? There’s Sherry and Roebuck for long relief and Perranoski to mop up. Ronnie is just about the most valuable player on the club, the way he ends games. I don’t think the other contenders have the pitching to stand up to Los Angeles. The Cards go good and bad and, somehow, I’m not impressed by the Giants’ staff. Marichal, yes. But not the others.” Because of their collapse last year, won’t the Dodgers be at a psychological disadvantage in the event of a close pennant race? “I don’t think so,” said the Duke. “Of course, psychology is the manager’s department. Walt Alston could tell you if he has a problem.”


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