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Yogi Berra Speaks Out, Yankees Lose

May 24, 1964 - The toughest decision a manager faces, Yogi Berra told several hundred high school journalists at Yankee Stadium yesterday, is exactly when to take out a pitcher.

During the next few hours, in the course of which the Los Angeles Angels defeated Yogi’s Yankees, 9-5, the truth of Berra’s remark was demonstrated vividly. Yogi tackled this universal baseball problem from both directions, and neither way worked.

First, he decided to stay with Al Downing, who was wild enough to walk four men during the second inning, helping the Angels to a 3-2 lead. For a while, this seemed wise, because Downing did manage to get out of the inning and held his own for three more, while the Yanks moved ahead, 5-4.

Then, when Downing walked two more men in the sixth after a single with one out, Yogi decided to make the change. He brough in Bill Stafford, his most reliable right-handed reliever, to face Bobby Knoop, a right-handed rookie second baseman. Stafford’s best pitch is a sinker, and with the bases loaded and one out, that’s the delivery that can produce a double play.

What it produced this time, however, was the complete opposite: a grand slam. When the count got to 1-2, Knoop fouled off a couple of pitches and then socked a high fly that fell into the lower left-field stand, about four rows beyond Tom Tresh’s desperate reach.

That made the score 8-5, and that proved enough to end the four-game losing streak the Angels had put together in one-run defeats.

“I thought it would never end,” said a grinning Bill Rigney, Angels’ manager, referring to the losing streak. “You suffer a lot when you manage a baseball team, and you expect some of it. But I don’t think I ever suffered more than on this road trip (2-10). I said early this season we had a better team than last year, and I still say it. Beating the Yankees is always a big lift.”

Knoop, today’s hero, normally bats well down the lineup, but Rigney moved him to second yesterday “to get a little more speed up top.”

Knoop was drafted from Hawaii last winter and already is the talk of the American League because of his sensational fielding. Bobby’s bomb today tied him with Joe Adcock and Jim Fregosi for the team home run lead, each having four. It also tied him with Fregosi and Bob Rodgers for the runner-up spot to Lee Thomas in RBI’s with 16.

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