Sauer After N. L. Home Run Honors: Striving to Break Kiners Stronghold; Cubs Outfielder Hitting Better This Year Despite Switch in Batting Stance, Daily Racing Form, 1952-05-21


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Sauer After N. L Home Run Honors Striving to Break Kiners Stronghold Cubs Outfielder Hitting Better This Year Despite Switch in Batting Stance By FRED DOWN United Press Sports Writer NEW YORK, N. Y., May 20. — Hank Sauer, the Cubs big, likeable slugger, believes he may break Ralph Kiners stranglehold on the NationalLeagues home run title this year despite the fact that he purposely is slicing more hits toward right field than at any previous time in his career. Sauer, who has hit 30 or more home runs in each of the last four seasons, has gotten the "jump" on Kiner and Brooklyns Gil Hodges this year by hitting eight in games played through Monday. Kiner and Hodges had two each. "This much, I know," the powerful 33-year-old outfielder said. "Kiners a grand fellow. But hes not going to hit 60 with the. Pirates this year or next if they dont improve. Its impossible, because the pitch-ersll just walk him. He wont challenge 60 until theres another hitter in the line-up the pitchers have to worry about. "Ive got a good lead on both of them," Sauer continued. "And I think I can hold it although both have better shots in their home ball parks. Ralph has a good shot at the left field wall in Pittsburgh and Hodges has the best shot of all in Ebbets Field." Sauer picked up his war club and took a murderous cut at an imaginary ball, almost knocking his interviewers head off. Hitting to Right Field "Im a better hitter this year," he said, smiling at his white-faced interviewer. "Im guarding that outside corner by hitting toward right field and Im still hitting the home run when I get the inside pitcT ." Sauer revealed that manager Phil Cava-retta had suggested hitting to right field to prevent the good right handed pitchers from sweeping the outside corner as they have done to Hank the last four years. Charley Dressen tried to get Hodges to do the same thing but Gil couldnt seem to master it. "He swings too hard," Sauer said. "He swings so hard he hits the breaking ball way out in front of him and doesnt get a good piece of it. Hes got to learn to wait another split second and hit it late. "Id sure like to win the home run crown this year," Hank continued after a pause. "Only place I ever won a homer title was at Syracuse in the International League and that dont count. They only count when you hit em in the big leagues. "The ball park you play in can count a lot," he said. "Take the Polo Grounds; You can hit 450 feet to left center and be a big out. In Cincinnati, the deepest part of the field is in left center, where I get my best power. "Ive got a fair shot at Wrigley Field," he went on. "Of course, its nothing like Ebbets Field." "Kiner would hit 60 in Ebbets Field," catcher Toby Atwell, sitting alongside Sauer, said. He said it simply, as if he had stated merely that he was going to a movie that night. "Why, Hank might hit 50 or 55 there," a newsman said; Sauer picked up his bat again and gripped, it until his knuckles turned white, as if trying to grind it into sawdustv "I dont know how many Id hit there," he said. "But, boy, how Id just like the chance to find out."

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