|Joss is very much alive in 2014.|
For Out of the Park 18, I have been starting an alternate reality that starts with the 1901 MLB Season. I have also placed the teams in a two-division format for each league. OOTP is also working its development engine, which will make nobodies into somebodies, while some stars of the past may not live up to their real-life counterparts.
I am currently about to start the 1914 MLB Season, the Boston Braves' Addie Joss just led the league with 36 games started...
It's just games started what's the big deal, you ask?
The answer is the simple fact that Addie Joss pitched another game, he passed away far too early in 1911, at the early age of 31 (just two days after his birthday) -- falling victim to Meningitis. Through this project, he has played three & a half full seasons beyond where he left off in 1910.
Addie's numbers are not as special in this project with a career ERA of 3.34 & 1.33 WHIP, while his 160 wins are even with his real-life career total... this is all due to play for a perennial loser like the Boston Beaneaters/Braves. This Boston franchise found itself in the cellar of the N.L. East for four years straight, finishing no better than 53-87 (1902).
Their forutunes briefly started changing in late 1904, landing the #1 overall pick while drafting "The Georgia Peach, Ty Cobb. Cobb joined a team that has been piling up picks, such as Sherry Magee (#1 Overall pick - 1903).
Cobb would go on to win the 1905 A.L. Rookie-of-the-Year Award, helping his Boston Beaneaters reach the 1905 World Series, only to lose to Jack Chesbro, Mike Donlin, Roger Bresnahan & the New York Highlanders. The Highlanders would become the league's real first dynasty, winning the American League Pennant five consecutive years from 1904-1908.... what is more impressive, is you have got to remember there is League Championship Series due to the two-division format in place... which means they had to play a series to get to the fall classic.
The Highlanders only won it all during those first two years of that five-year stretch (becoming the first team to ever repeat). During the 1906 season, the Yanks would run into another dynasty-on-the-rise, their city rivals in the New York Giants. The Giants led by Christy Mathewson, would become the first franchise to win three World Championships (1906, 1909 & 1913).
By the way, the Highlanders also owned the record for 7 consecutive postseason berths.
|Now that's a 'Monster Card'|
Lajoie in many ways was the league's first superstar, he would retire with 5 batting titles under his belt (winning 5 in a 6-year span) to go along with his three A.L. MVP Awards (1901, 1905 & 1906). He also finished his career with a .346 batting average & 2,828 hits to go with his 90 career HR.
The Milwaukee Brewers would win the first fall classic in 1901 by defeating the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals (led by Jesse Burkett, Bobby Wallace & Emmet Heidrick) had an impressive run from 1901-1904, reaching the playoffs three times during that span, those teams (and others like them) a decade later are now often overlooked.
The Pittsburgh Pirates who dominated the National League in real-life from 1901 to 1903, while also putting out strong teams throughout the 1900-1909 decade, have found themselves on the wrong side of history. The Pirates have not been able to succeed, yet have come close to so many times, possibly becoming this decade's biggest choke artist. The Pirates would lose their division in its last few days during the 1902 season, but the worst was yet to come...
Late in 1903, the Pirates had a 9-game lead with 9 games to go, and they would lose all of them, as the defending World Champion Cincinnati Reds would force a one-game playoff... the Reds would complete their amazing climb by winning the N.L. West the next day over Pittsburgh. The Reds' new found momentum would eventually fall short to the eventual 1904 N.L. Champion Philadelphia Phillies. The Pirates would only reach the postseason once (1906) between 1901-1913... a far cry from reality. The team often falls short of expectations, according the OOTP statistical engines, the team has lost 32 games more than it should have from 1901-1911.
The Philadelphia Phillies (79-61) won the 1902 World Series over the Detroit Tigers. The team was a memorable bunch led by Ed Delahanty (.371, 10 HR, 79 RBI / 1.022 OPS), Elmer Flick (.343, 6, 62, plus 33 steals), Hughie Jennings & Harry Wolverton (.306 BA & 177 hits), while the team is one of history's strongest champs to date.
The Cincinnati Reds have reached the postseason five times. They had a strong period from 1901 to 1905, reaching the postseason twice & winning it all in 1903. They would go away for a few years until 1911, returning to the postseason for the first time since 1905, while they have been in the postseason now three years straight.
What has not changed all those years for Cincy is two consistent studs in outfielder Sam Crawford and starting pitcher Noodles Hahn. Crawford is a career .321 hitter with 2,030 hits and 103 homers, while posting a .867 OPS; Hahn has 272 wins & 2,148 strikeouts during his career, while sporting a lifetime 2.41 ERA. It should be noted that Hahn in real-life only reached 130 career wins.
It's odd to see Sam Crawford and Ty Cobb in different uniforms other than playing together while wearing the old english D... but it has not been bad for the Tigers.
The team was never loaded with superstars between 1901 and 1908. The team during that span would finish first (twice), second (four times) & third (twice)... this all before I officially was named General Manager & Manager in late 1908. Kid Elberfeld in the early years was the closest thing to a superstar for the team, with his best season being in 1902 as he won the A.L. MVP while leading the Detroit Tigers to the 1902 World Series; He batted .345 with 8 HR, 80 RBI, to go along with his .926 OPS & 27 stolen bases.
Other fan favorites included Kid Nance, Sport McAllister, Doc Smoot, Ed Siever & Jack Cronin. Cronin would overachieve and win the hearts of Tiger fans as he would set the franchise record for 141 career wins on the mound (winning nearly 100 games more than his 43 real-life victories); Cronin was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in June of 2011, marking the end of his career.
|Shoeless wearing different pair of Sox.|
Out of the 16 teams, you would never guess who has yet to make the playoffs thirteen years in... The Boston Red Sox, which is completely different from their real-life counterparts who did really well until selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees. In this realm, the Red Sox have a combined 853-967 record (.469), they reached 2nd only three times during this span, while their best record was a 75-65 season back in 1902. The team has had Shoeless Joe Jackson (Drafted #1 Overall / 1907) since the 1908 season & yet they still yearn for a playoff berth. Shoeless (.395, 1 HR, 97 RBI & 58 SB/1.024 OPS* & 210 hits*) would win the 2012 A.L. MVP Award while playing for a last place team.
Meanwhile, the other team in Boston, Cobb's days for the Beaneaters went from great to bad. Here is his accomplishments...
- Cobb was drafted #1 Overall by the Boston Beaneaters (1904 MLB Draft)
- Won the 1905 N.L. Rookie-of-the-Year Award (.309 BA, 2 HR, 60 RBI & 38 SB), while leading Boston to a National League Pennant.
- Won the 1906 N.L. Most Valuable Player Award.
- Won 1st Batting Title (1906 N.L.) with .377 batting average, while leading league with 188 hits, OBP, SLG & OPS (.948).
- Won the 1907 N.L. Most Valuable Player Award, while leading Boston to a World Championship over the Highlanders.
- Won 2nd Batting Title (1907 N.L.) with .373 batting average.
- Won the 1907 N.L. Triple Crown (.373, 8 HR & 80 RBI), he also lead the league in doubles, OBP, SLG & OPS (.967).
- Won a Gold Glove for CF (1907 N.L.)
... now the bad...
- Cobb was batting .320 with 3 HR & 39 RBI, while his OPS (.851) is down more than a point 66 games into the season. Cobb was dealing with some back issues early in the season, but would suffer a serious injury, diagnosed with a torn labrum on July 6th, 1908 & would miss 9 months (remainder of 1908 MLB Season).
- January 22, 1909 -- Suffered setback in recovery & will have to require surgery, missing an additional 12 months! Cobb would miss the entire 1909 MLB Season, the Beaneaters actually finished 2nd in both the 1908 & 1909 seasons.
Will Ty Cobb be the same in his return to Boston for the upcoming 2010 season?
You will have to wait and see.
By the way, I am making APBA cards for the league champions of each league, while eventually I will do a tournament with those teams...
I know, it's the mad-APBA scientist in me, I just can't help myself.