was benched a few days after the race started. It seemed that Ott was
interested in seeing how his rookies could play, for with a cellar team in 1946, he was
anxious to discover new talent. But soon he returned Gordon to the outfield. Sid was
ostensibly filling in for Whitey Lockman, a highly-touted rookie at the time, who had
broken a leg in spring training and was due back in July. Lockman did not make it; but
even if he had, it was doubtful if he could have displaced Gordon, for Sid had become a
master at outfield play in the Polo Grounds, having learned to play the rebounds like Mel
Ott himself. He hit .272 and hit thirteen home runs, an immense improvement over the five
he hit the previous year.
It was in 1948, however, that Gordon really bloomed, and thanks were
due to a Giant coach named Red Kress. Kress noticed, in spring training, that Gordon, who
was powerfully built, could improve himself by pulling the ball to left field. This was
how Gordon related the change that led him from a total of thirteen home runs to thirty in
"Before 1948 I could hit a fairly long ball but it always went to
right or right-center. At the Polo Grounds right-center is just a big out. Red Kress, a
coach on the Giants, used to get me to pull the ball to left. He started out by moving my
right-hand grip on the bat around a little and he opened up my stance - I now put my left
foot toward third when I hit. I learned to roll my wrists more and to step into the ball.
Pretty soon I was dropping them in left. Red spent hours working with me on it. I can't
give him enough credit."
But when the 1948 season began, Gordon had a tough time breaking into
the Giant starting lineup. But after the