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Yankees and Dodgers Picked to Repeat as Pennant Winners

Feb. 15, 1964 - It’s the Yankees again against the field in the American League. In the National League, the outlook is for a torrid three-team contest among the Dodgers, Giants, and Cardinals. On the best available information and advice, that’s how the pennant races shape up as the 20 teams of baseball’s two major leagues square away for the seven to eight weeks of spring training that set the stage for the 1964 season. The campaign opens officially on April 13 in Washington and Cincinnati and on April 14 elsewhere.

Yogi Berra manages the Yankees now instead of Ralph Houk. Otherwise, there’s little change in the basic Bombers. They’re much the same devastating crew — at bat, in the field, on the mound, and on the bench — that has captured the A.L. pennant in 14 of the last 17 years.

Behind the Yankees, the pack may be more tightly bunched. The White Sox, Twins, Orioles, Indians, and Tigers all breathe defiance. But it is sadly significant that no rival made so much as a pass at the Yankees in 1963, when injuries to Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and other key players left them vulnerable.

On overwhelming pitching, with Sandy Koufax the chief supplier, the Dodgers carried off the 1963 National League flag, but the N.L. has a deep-rooted turnover tradition. There have been five different pennant-winners in the past six years, with no repeaters in that span.

The Giants can’t quite match the Dodgers’ pitching, but their own is mighty good too. San Francisco, which won in 1962, packs greater punch at bat and promises to have stronger infield and outfield defense.

The Cardinals, last on top in 1946, also have legitimate pennant hopes. They have top-grade pitching, and their infield — Bill White at first, Julian Javier at second, Dick Groat at short, and Ken Boyer at third — is unsurpassed in the league.

The Phillies, Reds, and Braves also could be competitive. And there could be added pressure from underneath. The Colts and the Mets are gradually working out of the doormat class, as are the Senators in the American League.


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