|1902 Pirates would have won 120 in today's game!|
1902 Pittsburgh Pirates (3)
2002 Oakland Athletics (14)
It's "Dead-ball" (Pirates) vs. "Moneyball" (Athletics), two teams separated by a century of baseball history, changes in the game -- two different eras, and two different perspectives when we now look at the game, and it's heroes.
The 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates happened a year before the birth of the World Series, the Pirates managed by player/manager Fred Clarke went on to win the National League with an astounding 103-36 record (.741 winning percentage), that would be the equivalent of a 120-win season in today's 162 game format! The team is led by Clarke with the famous Honus Wagner, as well as Ginger Beaumont. Beaumont went on to win the N.L. Batting Title with a .357 clip & led the league with 193 hits (He would lead the league three other times in the future). To be honest, never heard of the guy (Beaumont)-- another interesting thing of the Pirates' lineup is Tommy Leach (Third Baseman) has 22 triples!
The rotation is stellar with a young Jack Chesbro (28-6, 2.17 ERA & 136 K's), Deacon Phillippe (20-9, 2.05 ERA & 122 K's), Jesse Tannehill (20-6, 1.95 ERA & 100 K's), Sam Leever (who is on the All-Time PIRATES franchise APBA set) is the #4 starter with a record of 15-7 & 2.39 ERA, and their #5 starter is Ed Doheny (16-4, 2.53 ERA). Are you kidding me? I'm not sure if too many teams rotations will be able to stack-up against this staff, the one problem is there is virtually no bullpen -- So chances are Leever & Doheny will probably work in relief. The top three worked a combined 789.1 innings!
Looking at their team, I start to question if I should have had them higher than three. I had the 1912 New York Giants at #1 in the bracket, and the 1906 Chicago Cubs as #2 -- So it's pretty tough to say who is the best out of these three teams, because any one of these teams could be a legit #1.
The 2002 Oakland Athletics were not expected to keep up their success after the departures of Jason Giambi, Johnny Damon & Jason Isringhausen -- but they were not expected to be horrible (even if it seems the movie made them out to be almost as bad as Charlie Sheen's "Major League" movie Indians at times). They still had three young studs in the rotation in Barry Zito (who went on to become the 2002 A.L. Cy Young), Tim Hudson & Mark Mulder. Zito would go on to win 23 games, with a 2.75 ERA & 182 K's (not to mention a nasty curveball!), while Hudson (15-9, 2.89 ERA & 152 K's) and Mulder (19-7, 3.47 ERA & 159 K's) went on to very respectable seasons. Not to mention, the team had Miguel Tejada (who won the A.L. MVP in 2002) with a monster season of .308, 34 HR & 131 RBI's! Of course, for movie-selling purposes -- Tejada and Zito's performances were never mentioned in even a sneeze-worth of information; the more and more I think about this and the fact that the team also had Eric Chavez at the height of his powers makes me a bit frustrated now. But anyways... this is not Hollywood.
PREDICTION: The Pittsburgh Pirates will be a bit too much for the Athletics, 3-1.
|The Cubs' "Four Horsemen" - Hornsby, Hack, Kiki & Stephenson.|
1929 Chicago Cubs (6)
1968 Detroit Tigers (11)
This is a match-up of polar opposites. The 1929 Chicago Cubs have a loaded lineup with three players (almost four) with over a 1.000 OPS (On-Base Pct + Slugging), but their pitching is not so great with 3 B starters in the rotation and a 4.16 Team ERA (The highest in the entire tournament); while the 1968 Detroit Tigers have a relatively weak lineup of a .697 OPS (Only 8 teams have a lower OPS, most are from the "Dead-Ball Era"), yet a terrific pitching staff with a 2.71 Team ERA (Only 8 teams are better than that)!
The Cubs are led by 1929 N.L. Most Valuable Player - Rogers Hornsby, who batted a whopping .380, while smacking in 39 HR's & 149 RBI. Hack Wilson tied with Hornsby with 39 HR's, led the team with 159 RBI -- while batting .345. Oh it gets better, Riggs Stephenson batted .362 with 17 HR & 110 RBI's & Kiki Cuyler (led the league with 43 stolen bases) while batting .360, with 15 HR & 102 RBI's. That is four players with over 100 RBI's each, while Cuyler's .970 OPS missed out on being the fourth over 1.000, while Hornsby (1.138), Wilson (1.043) & Stephenson (1.007) all made the mark.
The problem is the team has no bullpen, their best being Hal Carlson (a APBA grade C-YZ) with a 5.16 ERA!
The Detroit Tigers (for a team with a .697 OPS) has a surprising four batters over 20+ HR's, led by Willie Horton's 36. Bill Freehan (25), Norm Cash (25) & Jim Northrup (21) provide the rest of the pop. Al Kaline's time and game has been decreasing by 1968, but still had a respectable .820 OPS, while batting .287 with 10 HR & 53 RBI in 327 at-bats.
|31 Wins in 1968 for McLain, the pinnacle of his career.|
The team of course is anchored by the last 30-game winner in MLB history in Denny McLain (an APBA grade of a rare A&B-XZ)! McLain had 31-6 record, 1.96 ERA & 280 K's in a league-leading 336 Innings pitched. Follow that up with Mickey Lolich (17-9, 3.19 ERA, 197 K's -- and three WS wins that would forever win the hearts of Tigers fans) & Earl Wilson (13-12, 2.85 ERA & 168 K's). The bullpen may even be more stellar with 5 APBA Grade B & aboves (3 of the relievers being Grade A's!) -- Those men being John Hiller, Roy Face, Don McMahon, Pat Dobson & Daryl Patterson.
PREDICTION: After the top 4 studs + Charles Grimm in the Cubs lineup, the lineup drops off considerably, in where the Tigers in no way match up in OPS, have a bit more balance in the lineup, and level off well from #1 through #8, plus the much better pitcher staff by leaps and bounds -- I'm going to go with Detroit in five! The Detroit Tigers also have a nice piece on the bench in Gates Brown (.370, 6 HR & 15 RBI in 92 AB's -- a 1.127 OPS!).
1957 Milwaukee Braves (7)
1971 Pittsburgh Pirates (10)
1957, The pinnacle of the Braves success in their Milwaukee days, the team had a winning record each season during it's entire time from 1953 through 1965. The team is anchored by veteran ace Warren Spahn and two young stars in the lineup in Eddie Mathews and Hank Aaron. The 1957 Milwaukee Braves would go on to win the World Series over the New York Yankees, and fail to repeat against the same Yankees in 1958, falling short 4-3 in the series.
|Milwaukee's Best: Mathews & Aaron.|
The 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates are led by Latin superstar Roberto Clemente (who would unfortunately perish not long after this season - New Year's Eve 1972) and young star Willie Stargell (.295, 48 HR & 125 RBI).
- Pittsburgh: .274 BA, .333 OBP, .749 OPS & 154 HR's, with a team ERA of 3.31.
- Milwaukee: .269 BA, .329 OBP, .771 OPS & 199 HR's, with a team ERA of 3.47.
PREDICTION: I'm going to go with the rankings, and give the Braves the edge, 3-2. Pittsburgh appears to have a better 1-4 rotation & more depth in the bullpen... so it could go either way.
1906 Chicago Cubs (2)
1915 Philadelphia Phillies (15)
Considered one of the greatest teams of all-time, The 1906 Chicago Cubs won 116-36 (A pace of 124 wins during a 162-game season)! The team of course featured the famous trio of Tinker-Evers-Chance, the famous early poem by Franklin Pierce Adams. The team also featured 3 20-game winners, a 19-game winner & 17-game winner; plus two 12-game winning pitchers as well!
Here is the rotation, with their APBA Grades:
- Mordecai "Three-Finger" Brown (A&C-XZ): 26-6, 1.06 ERA, 3 SV & 144 K's (277 IP).
- Jack Pfiester (A-X): 20-8, 1.51 ERA & 153 K's (250 IP).
- Jack Taylor (A-R): 20-12 & 1.99 ERA in 302 Innings.
- Ed Reulbach (A&C-YW) 19-4, 1.65 ERA, 3 SV (218 IP).
- Carl Lundgren (A-YW): 17-6, 2.21 ERA, 2 SV, 103 K's (207 IP).
- Orval Overall (B-X): 16-8, 2.74 ERA, SV, 127 K's (226 IP).
Good luck to anyone that has to go against that! The team ERA is the best in the entire tournament with a ridiculous 1.75 ERA! Unfortunately the 06' Cubs choked against the "Hitless Wonders" Chicago White Sox in the World Series.
|Grover "Pete" Alexander won't be enough for the Phillies.|
The 1915 Philadelphia Phillies are led by Gavvy Cravath and starting pitcher Grover "Pete" Alexander, but the team had 26 less victories than this Cubs team. The Phillies did have a team ERA of 2.17 (tied for 3rd best) though, that is certainly nothing to sneeze at! It's the team's .247 batting average that will be a concern against the Cubbies.
PREDICTION: The Phillies might get one victory, but the series will be all Cubs!