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Newspaper Page Text
'BASEBALLS-SPORTS OF ALL SORTS--BOXING
CUB CHANCES DEPENDENT ON
-DEVELOPMENT OF CATCHERS
By Mark Shields
A chain is no stronger than its
weakest link, and a ball club is no
stronger than Its weakest position.
Which is another way of saying
the Cubs are in bad straits for catch
ing material, and will have to limp
filpng in the National league proces
sion, unless unexpected marvels de
velop during the Bpring training trip.
Art Wilson is the only backstop
with experience. He reached camp
yesterday, but it will be a few days
before he is able to undertake hard
work. He ia behind In his condition
ing and must catch up with the peo
ple who- have been trying out since
the iirst day.
To help Wilson with the work
Manager Mitchell has Dilhpefer and
Elliott Benton, the University of
Michigan man -Is not ready for big
league companyj or even for-a job in
the higher clas minor leagues. El
liott had a little experience in the Na
tional last season. Dilhoefer, with
Milwaukee, worked comparatively
With the exception of Wilson the
staff is green, probably the greenest
combination that ver started the
season with a big league club. Of
course, these youngsters may de
velop into phenoms, but that is a
Ray Schalk, now hailed as the
crack catcher of baseball, was not a
regular during his first season on the
South Side, and it Is a long time since'
such a fine prospect came to the ma-
jors. Playing in the big leagues is
far different from the minors, and
the catching" department is the most
responsible of the entire works.
It is a job that requires high me
chanical ability and mental agility.
catcher must know opposing bats-
n in order fo-call forthe proper
brand of pitching. He must have
steadiness and a spark or two of in
spiration in order to keep the re
mainder of the team on its toes.
It is ioo much to expect a green
catcher to have all these requisite's.
It is Impossible for him to "know he .
weakness of batters ' he ftas never '
Dilhoefer is out temporarily be
cause of an injured wrist He hurt it
last year playing ball, and again this
winter. The bones are not broken,
but -are badly jammed.
Mitchell's present plan for the out
field is to start Mann, Williams and
Wolter as regulars, with Max Flack
as first relief man. Wolter has been
hitting a trifle better than Max so
far. But this plan is subject to re
vision and is apt to be upset Cy Wil
liams had trouble with his "batting
eye during the latter part of the 1916
season, and was practically helpless
before a good left-handed pitcher.
Flack was considerably more effec
tive. There is no longer a low wall
on the North Side for lunging hitters
to aim at
Douglass and Perry tried to pitch. .
against George Stovall's club and
were sadly bumped. That is to' be
expected at this time. On the other"
hand, the Cub clouters connected ac
curately with the Vernon pitchers.
Vic Saier hit a home run.
If Swede Risberg, the California
infield recruit, lands a regular job'
with the. White Sox it will probably
be at third base and Buck Weaver
will return to his old post at short
If Risberg lands it will be because
more batting power can be put forth.
The new combination could 'notd
maintain a stronger defense. '
Weaver is a remarkable infielder,
no matter where he Is played. In the
time he worked at short he was -ar'
sensation In his ability to cover
ground and throw from Impossible
positions. But Terry is his equal at
that job, and a trifle steadier. He