Friday, September 28, 2018

Superstars of the Sandlot (Part 2)

Here are more players from the National Sandlot League, a project that I have been doing via Out of the Park Baseball 19.

Phil Brubaker (1945-1956)
Outfielder / Retired

The Idaho farm boy was predestined by his father to be a long-life fixture in the family's farming business (Brubaker Farms) until his father one day watched his son play baseball in a local league tournament game, in which he had a change of heart. After the game, he approached his son and said,"Son, I have the farm under control, you just play ball."

Brubaker is a quiet-mannered leader on-and-off the field, who would become a fixture in the Detroit committee, while becoming a huge hit with the fans as well.

Brubaker, age 26, was drafted 11th overall by the Detroit Motors in 1945's Inaugural NSL Draft, in which he would play for the Motors during his entire 12-year career.

During that first 1945 NSL season, Brubaker established himself as one of the league's earliest superstars, leading the A.L. in home runs (35), slugging (.562) & runs (109). He would finish 2nd in the MVP voting that season, while his 35 HR mark would be the single-season record mark for a few years actually.

Brubaker's career RBI numbers (919) may have been bigger if it were not for the fact that he played for many losing teams during his career. He only got to see the post-season 3 times during his career, while winning a World Series ring back in 1947.

1947 would prove to be Phil's best all-around season, batting .306 with 28 HR, while winning his only RBI title with 117 ribbies... He also drew a career-high 127 walks, while he owned a .997 OPS that season (a single-season league record at the time).

Brubaker owns a career batting average of .299, while reaching base just short of 40% (.399) of the time. Brubaker had a great blend of power (225 career HR) and hitting (.880 OPS) that was difficult to ignore by any opposing NSL pitcher.

Brubaker at a glance
  • 9-time All-Star
  • 6 Platinum Stick Awards
  • Career .299 batting average
  • Career .880 OPS
  • Career 152 OPS+
  • 48.5 WAR
Brubaker retired after the 1956 NSL Season to help his ailing father get the farm in order. Some baseball critics and fans would argue if he had retired too early, but many don't argue that his career is definitely hall-worthy.

Teams: Detroit Motors (A) (1945-1956)

Manuel Arroyos (1945-Current)
Second Baseman / Pittsburgh Arsenal / Age 33

Arroyos was born in Red Bank, New Jersey, while his family's roots hail from Puerto Rico. His family, some years after the crash, moved from New Jersey to New York City to live with other family members. It would be in the streets of New York and on the sandlot that people realized young Manny had a gift... It was also his early skinny-frame, that he earned the nickname 'Skinny'.

Manuel was drafted 4th overall by the Pittsburgh Arsenal (at age 22) during the 1945 NSL Draft, he was the league's first big prospect, as he was labeled the league's #1 NSL Prospect entering that season.

Arroyos' career numbers have been scary consistent, as they don't vary much, his 162-game average is as follows...
  • .312 AVG, 13 HR, 78 RBI, 100 R & 18 SB / .397 OBP / .852 OPS / 6.0 WAR (158 games)
He doesn't own any red-ink on the year-to-year stat sheets, but he is among the top players all-time in hits (2,138), runs (1,108), stolen bases (201) & WAR (65.8)... with a real good chance (considering his year-to-year averages) to become the first player to collect 3,000 hits.

He did suffer his first injury-plagued season of his career, last season (1956), playing in only 89 games.... prior to 1955, Arroyos never played less than 156 games in a single-season. During his injury-plagued 1956 season, he was on pace to have the best year of his career, as he hit 12 home runs & 51 RBI in limited duty compared to his career-high of 17 HR during a healthy 1949 season. 

Arroyos has been blessed to be playing for a competing franchise that has reached the post-season 9 times in 12 years, while winning the World Series in 1949.

Arroyos at a glance
  • 9-time All-Star
  • 8 Platinum Stick Awards
  • 2,138 Career Hits
  • Career .312 batting average
  • Career .852 OPS
  • 201 career stolen bases
  • 65.8 WAR
Hopefully Arroyos' 1956 season is behind him, so we can watch him chase after career milestones such as his 3,000th hit... he is only 33 & has time on his side if the injuries are behind him.

Teams: Pittsburgh Arsenal (N) (1945-current)

Waki Kubo (1946-Current)
Outfielder / Cleveland Warriors / Age 39

Kubo is hands-down considered the NSL's first Japanese superstar. Kubo signed a four-year deal with the Brooklyn Atlantics as an international free agent in 1946. Much like players like Konstantin Boden (German-native), Kubo suffered a little backlash for his Japanese background as well, due to the recent World War II (that just ended) -- It must have not phased him, as he would go on to win the 1946 N.L. Rookie of the Year.

Nicknamed 'Killer', he would establish himself and one of the league's premier sluggers, while he would go on to lead the National League in home runs, four times between 1946 & 1953. He has also toppled the century mark in RBIs (a presumed record 9 times), while collecting no less than 93 RBI for a single season -- winning 2 RBI titles in 1950 & 1953. His single-season RBI record of 151 RBI has recently been broken by another Japanese superstar named Shigeo Takasugi.

Loved by the fans in Brooklyn, he would help the team finally win a World Series in 1953.

Kubo ranks near the top lifetime in many career categories including hits, RBI, runs, OPS & WAR, while he currently owns the title as 'All-Time Home Run Champ' with 327 dingers.

Kubo at a glance
  • All-Time HR Champ (327)
  • 1948 N.L. Most Valuable Player Award
  • 1946 N.L. Rookie of the Year Award
  • 9-time All-Star
  • 5 Platinum Stick Awards
  • 4 Post-Season MVP Awards
  • 4 Home Run crowns
  • 2-time RBI champ
  • 1954 N.L. Batting Champ (.336)
  • Career .298 batting average
  • Career .891 OPS
  • 1,185 Career RBI
  • 51.7 WAR
Waki is coming off a season in which he hit 26 HR & 100 RBI for the Buffalo Blues at age 39. He signed a one-year deal with the Cleveland Warriors in which he has transitioned into a full-time designated hitters. Waki's age says that he's in his final years, his bat meanwhile keeps saying he could stick around a bit.

Teams: Brooklyn Atlantics (N) (1946-1954), Buffalo Blues (N) (1955-1956) & Cleveland Warriors (N) (1957-current)

Shigeo Takasugi (1950-Current)
Second Baseman / California Seals / Age 27

Maybe one of the biggest minor-league free agents in some time, the California Seals found a gem on the Pacific League's Colorado Sky Sox roster back in November 1948.

The scouts from 1948-1952 praised Shigeo as a top prospect, but it took some time for Takasugi to get significant playing time, starting in 1952. His 1952 & 1953 NSL Seasons were modestly productive with stat lines of .255-23-74 (.794 OPS) & .272-29-92 (.889 OPS), but his best was yet to come...

He finally busted out in 1954, batting .317 with 25 HR & 75 RBI (1.019 OPS) in only 94 games, until a hamstring injury finished his season.

His breakout in 1954 was just a preview of what was to come, as he would go on to smack 53 HR with 141 RBI for the Seals in 1955, while batting .283. He would follow with an encore 1956 season in which he would set single-season NSL records in HR (63), RBI (160), Slugging Pct (.672) & Total Bases (394), while he currently ranks 1st all-time in career slugging pct (.595).

Takasugi at a glance
  • Back-to-Back N.L. Most Valuable Player Awards (1955-1956)
  • Back-to-Back HR crowns (116 HR combined)
  • Back-to-Back RBI Titles (301 RBI combined)
  • Last 5 Seasons: 194 HR
  • 2-time All-Star
  • 3 Platinum Stick Awards
  • Three consecutive seasons with 1.000+ OPS (1954-1956)
  • Career .960 OPS
  • 25.4 WAR
Takasugi has impressive power that has never been seen by the second base position or any position to this point. He would sign a go on to sign a 7-year extension worth $506,000.

Teams: California Seals (N) (1950-current)

Fernando Garcia (1945-1954)
Starting Pitcher / Retired 

The right-handed Mexican Garcia was one of the best pitchers in the entire NSL between 1945-1950, and to this day still owns the single-season ERA mark at 1.87, set in 1946 as a member of the Denver Miners.

The Miners drafted Garcia & his mean cutter in the 5th Round of the league's inaugural draft in 1945.

Garcia was compile 106 wins during the first 6 NSL seasons, while he had only one season with an ERA over 3.00 during that period (3.59 ERA in 1949).

1946 was the best season of his career, which he went 18-13, 1.87 ERA, 148 K & a league-leading 1.05 WHIP in 288.2 innings of excellent work. His next best achievement that season, besides his 1.87 ERA mark, was his no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Arsenal on August 13th.

Garcia at a glance
  • Owns Single-Season ERA mark (1.87)
  • 4-time All-Star
  • 131 Career Wins
  • Career 3.19 ERA
  • 38.5 WAR
Garcia's career started going south in 1951 due to a torn rotator cuff & numerous injuries that followed. From 1951-1953, he posted season ERAs of 4.84, 4.82 & 4.22.

Teams: Denver Miners (N) (1945-1946), Brooklyn Atlantics (N) (1947), Washington Capitols (N) (1947-1952, 1954) & the Chicago Union (1953).

Gerardo Garcia (1945-1956)
Closer / Retired

Gerardo 'Cool Papa' Garcia, a Dominican native, was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 3rd Round of the 1945 NSL Draft. For opponents, Garcia was probably the most feared closer in his day, as he would compile 182 career saves.

He only had two seasons with season ERAs over 3.00, and that was during 1950 (3.58) and his final season in 1956 (4.41 over 13 games).

He owns a few career records in ERA (1.98), Winning percentage (.677 / 63-30 record) & Opponent's OPS (.566).

Garcia played for numerous teams over his career, while he owned a career 1.11 WHIP.

Gerardo at a glance
  • 9-time All-Star
  • 2 A.L. Reliever of the Year Awards (1945 & 1949)
  • 182 career Saves
  • Career 1.98 ERA (NSL Career Record)
  • Career 221 ERA+
  • 32.8 WAR

Teams: Toronto Maple Leafs (A) (1945-1946), Louisville Sluggers (N) (1947), Atlanta Generals (N) (1948), Kansas City Athletics (A/1949, N/1956), St. Paul Saints (A) (1950), Ohio Buckeyes (A) (1951), Boston Shamrocks (A) (1952), Seattle Pilots (N) (1953, 1955) & Brooklyn Atlantics (N) (1954).

and finally...

Victor Gonzales (1945-1955)
First Baseman / Retired

The 6'2", 230 lb Cuban star nicknamed 'Grizzly' or 'El Oso Grizzly' was one of the most feared, polished hitters during the early years of the National Sandlot League.

He had an excellent eye at the plate, batting a lifetime .305, while reaching base 43.5% of the time -- leading the NSL in Bases on Balls, the first 5 years of the league's existence, while striking out very little (267 times over 1,393 games).

Gonzales would average 22 HR and 99 RBI per 162 games during his solid career, he would reach the 100 RBI mark in 5 of his first 7 seasons, while he had a lifetime .918 OPS.

The one crying shame is that we did not get to see more of Gonzales in the post-season, only appearing one year (1945) for 7 games... which he batted .310 with a .929 OPS & HR in 7 games.

Gonzales at a glance

  • 7-time All-Star
  • 5 Platinum Stick Awards
  • 1949 A.L. Batting Title (.345)
  • Led A.L. in On-Base Percentage (3x)
  • Led A.L. in OPS (3x), topping 1.000 twice.
  • Career .918 OPS
  • 47.7 WAR
Gonzales career was cut short due to a ruptured finger tendon that would plague his final 1953, 1954 & 1955 seasons, in which he played a combined 111 games, while only batting .235 with 7 HR & 44 RBI in 336 at-bats. 

Teams: Los Angeles Knights (A) (1945-1950), Seattle Pilots (N) (1951-1953), Toronto Maple Leafs (A) (1954) & Washington Capitols (N) (1955)

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Superstars of the Sandlot (Part 1)

When I first started the National Sandlot League, I was skeptical if I would truly embrace the fictional players playing for all of the teams. The league would suck me in immediately, in which I found myself becoming huge fans of these fictional players.

The league started on the heels of World War II in April 1945 with 24 total teams, 12 teams in the American League and 12 teams in the National League, while the leagues featured 3 divisions each (containing 4 teams in each of those divisions).

The league is about to enter its 1957 NSL Season, while the league prepares for expansion coming up in 1960, with two teams being added to the National League. The Brooklyn Atlantics have announced prior to the 1955 NSL Season that the franchise will be relocating to Montreal in 1958, which they will be known as the Montreal Royals; The Brooklyn club has renamed themselves the Brooklyn Royals from 1955-1957 in anticipation of the franchise move.

While teams have changed their color schemes, logos, relocated, and names... the players keep coming-and-going, so here (below) are the superstars of the sandlot that have made the league that it is today.

Jose Pena (1945-current)
First Baseman / Los Angeles Angels / Age 34

Pena was a 6th Round Draft Pick (131st overall) of the New York Titans in the league's inaugural draft (1945)... For such a great talent, it's a bit mind-blowing that he was drafted so late. While his 1945 season was nothing special (.273, 6 HR, 66 RBI & .764 OPS), the Dominican native would make his huge impact on the league, starting in 1946 as he would win his first (of four batting titles) for the Titans (.336).

His power would start coming to fruition during the 1947 NSL Season, as he put up career highs in home runs (25), RBI (110) & OPS (.988), while he collected a career high 209 hits (and a 2nd batting title). His previous two full seasons combined saw only 17 home runs... and he was just getting started.

Pena's 4 batting titles all came with the New York Titans (of the American League)...
  • 1946 (.338)
  • 1947 (.352)
  • 1948 (.338)
  • 1950 (.345)
The 6'2", 275 lb slugger's numbers are similar to the Major League's Albert Pujols, while his frame is actually 35 lbs heavier in muscles... and just like Pujols he would spend his 2nd half of his career with the Los Angeles Angels. His numbers were not as impressive as Pujols' Cardinals run, but Pena's career numbers overall are actually better in batting average (.332), OBP (.438), SLG (.524) & OPS (.963).

Although Pena would have his best hitting numbers in a Titans' uniform, he was often on playoff teams that would fall short. He would later reject New York's qualifying offer in November 1950, becoming a free agent, in which he would sign a 7-year deal worth $539,000 ($77,000 per season, nearly doubling his $39,200 salary with N.Y.). It would all be worth it, eventually winning 2 World Series rings (1952 & 1955) with the Angels.

Pena is also a 4-time Most Valuable Players (3-time A.L. with NY & 1 N.L. MVP) with 297 career homers & 1147 career RBI, while leading the N.L. in HR (43) in 1954 & one A.L. RBI title (115) in 1950.

Pena at a glance
  • 4 MVP Awards
  • 10-time All-Star
  • 8 Platinum Stick Awards
  • 3 Post-Season MVP Awards (including 1952 World Series MVP)
  • 66.5 WAR
Currently at age 34, he is coming off a season (1956) in which he hit .333, 37 HR, 109 RBI, while sporting a 1.008 OPS -- He will likely keep padding his first-ballot Hall-of-Fame resume, especially with the Angels (who continue to be a consistent post-season power).

Teams: New York Titans (A) (1945-1950), Los Angeles Angels (N) (1951-current)

Konstantin Boden (1945-Current)
First Baseman / Baltimore Terrapins / Age 40

The 5'7", 210-pound stocky German would take a couple seasons to win over teammates and fans, who were suspicious of his German heritage. Boden's family in no way (as many Germans did not as well) ever supported the Nazi National Party. Boden, by the way is well-educated, while being fluent in German, Dutch & English... so his nickname 'Ape' may be a bit misleading.

He made an immediate impact (statistically though) in the inaugural 1945 NSL Season for the Brooklyn Atlantics, by leading the National League in both home runs (28) and Runs Batted In (120). 

You would think this would mean a long-and-prosperous career with the Atlantics, but both parties never seemed to be on the same page, making Boden a free agent prior to the 1946 NLS Season. Boden would eventually sign a lucrative 7-year deal with the Denver Miners for $321,000, where he would eventually play 10 full seasons, while winning the hearts of Denver's faithful.

It was not easy at first... his first season as a Miner, saw a rough first-half, while he would eventually end the 1946 season with a .287-11-96 (.773 OPS) line... a far-cry from his 1945 season, while some fans and writers at the time, feared that the 7-year deal was quickly looking like a bust.

Boden would eventually bounce back (in 1947) and go ape with his numbers -- batting .297 with a .901 OPS (.401 OBP/.501 SLG) in a Denver uniform over the 10-year span, while slugging 279 home runs and 1,141 ribbies.

He would become the league's first (and only) Triple Crown winner (.321, 38 HR & 125 RBI) during the 1952 NLS Season (at age 35) & has 8 seasons which his single-season RBI totals reached the century mark. 

Boden at a glance
  • Triple Crown winner (1952)
  • 2-Time National League MVP (1952-1953)
  • 9-time All-Star
  • 6 Platinum Stick Awards
  • One of a few to have 300+ Career HR (317)
  • Current All-Time RBI Leader (1,309 RBI)
  • Current All-Time Games played leader (1,901 games)
  • 52.4 WAR
Coming off a disappointing season with his new team, the Baltimore Terrapins, in which he batted .221, 8 HR, 48 RBI & .658 OPS, while he's at the end of his brilliance... He did though collect his 2,000th career hit in a Terrapins' uniform though, and should still be a first-ballot HOFer when it is all said and done.

Teams: Brooklyn Atlantics (N) (1945), Denver Miners (N) (1946-1955), Baltimore Terrapins (A) (1956-current)

Justin McClean (1945-1953)
Outfielder / Retired

The 27-year-old left-handed rightfielder was drafted 13th overall in the inaugural draft by the California Seals, and was a league superstar from the word go.

Much like Boden, his original team balked at extending a bigger deal, and McClean would end up being the Denver Miners' other big free agent splash in 1946 -- signing him to a bigger 7-year deal worth $446,200 deal.

McClean's career from 1945-1950 was solid, with plenty of red (leading categories) in the year-to-year stat sheets, which featured 3 consecutive N.L. batting titles from 1947-1949, five straight years leading the league in on-base percentage (1946-1950), and 3 consecutive years leading OPS (1947-1949). He also led the league in walks (5 times) and Runs (3 times). He would lead the league in back-to-back seasons (1948-1949) in WAR (7.0 & 8.1), while many will argue there has never been a player with a better eye at the plate during that time or maybe even since.

McClean, not one to make excuses, would later (after his career) mention that he was having vision issues with his eyes, that caused his down numbers for the entire one-season with the Oil City Oilers (.198 BA/.380 OBP/.670 OPS) & the first-half of 1953 (primarily with the Baltimore Terrapins) which he only batted .206.

He would rebound a bit with the Boston Shamrocks (after mid-season trade), in which he batted .301 with a .836 OPS the rest of the way during that 1953 NLS Season, which would be his final year.

McClean at a glance
  • N.L. Most Valuable Player Award (1949)
  • 3 consecutive N.L. Batting Titles (1947-1949)
  • 6-time All-Star
  • 4 Platinum Stick Awards
  • Career .311 hitter.
  • Current All-time On-Base Percentage Leader (.450)
  • 45.6 WAR
Teams: California Seals (N) (1945), Denver Miners (N) (1946-1951), Oil City Oilers (A) (1952), Baltimore Terrapins (A) (1953) & Boston Shamrocks (A) (1953).

Tom Bouffard (1945-Current)
Third Baseman / New York Titans / Age 36

The left-handed Texan was drafted by the now-defunct Louisville Sluggers 26th overall in the inaugural 1945 NSL Draft.

Bouffard was often overlooked in the early years due to playing for a futile franchise like Louisville from 1945-1947, while he was overshadowed by a star-stacked New York Titans roster, during his first time around on the team from 1948-1949. It was not until he joined the Los Angeles Angels in 1950 that he started getting more national recognition, while his higher home run season totals also helped that cause.. Bouffard has averaged 20.3 HR per season from 1950 to current, while he only hit a combined 54 HR during his first 5 NSL seasons.

Bouffard is one of the league's all-time hits leaders (2,270 hits), which he trails the Milwaukee Braves' Jon Hulke by only 42 hits for the all-time lead. Bouffard has led the league in hits (twice) while he passed the 200+ hits mark in 5 different seasons.

In 1956 (last season), he won his 3rd N.L. Most Valuable Player Award, along with his 2nd N.L. Batting Title (.338), as he helped the New York Titans win their 2nd World Championship... It would be Bouffard's 2nd World Series ring, although he won his 1st as a member of the Angels back in 1952.

Bouffard at a glance
  • 3 Most Valuable Player Awards (1951 Angels, 1954 & 1956 Titans)
  • 10-time All-Star
  • 8 Platinum Stick Awards
  • 2 Post-Season MVP Awards in 1956 (Division Series & World Series)
  • 2,270 career hits (averaging 199 per season)
  • Career .320 hitter
  • All-Time Doubles Leader (405).
  • 63.0 WAR
Bouffard appears to be playing better-than-ever at age 36, while he is also one of the league's highest paid stars ($74,000 salary) -- while he should have no problem making the Hall on his first shot.

Teams: Louisville Sluggers (N) (1945-1947), Los Angeles Angels (N) (1950-1952) & New York Titans (A) (1948-1949, 1953-current)

Tony Luera (1945-Current)
Starting Pitcher / Brooklyn Royals / Age 38

The smooth Curacaoan-born right-hander, known as 'The Blessed One' or 'The Blessed Arm from Curacas', has certainly been blessed with great health throughout his NSL career. Luera, currently ranks as the league's all-time wins leader (215), while helping the storied Brooklyn franchise make the playoffs in all 12 of the league's seasons -- reaching the ultimate pinnacle (finally) as World Champions in 1953. 

Luera has pitched over 300+ innings in a single-season on 6 separate occasions, while logging 3,319 innings during his stellar career. Before 1956, he has never logged less than 16 victories in a single-season, while leading the league in wins (twice).

His very best season may be his 1947 season in which he won both the N.L. Pitcher of the Year Award (for the 2nd consecutive year) & Most Valuable Player Award in the same season... Luera went 21-9 with a 2.36 ERA with 152 K & only 66 walks (1.12 WHIP) in 300.2 innings (9.1 WAR).

Luera ranks tops all-time in Wins, WAR (85.8), Innings pitched, complete games (260) & shutouts (42) -- while ranking near the top in many other lifetime pitching categories.

Much of Luera's hard-work ethic comes from him being raised by his Catholic grandfather. Luera lost both of his parents at a very young age, while they were on a shipping expedition in the Carribean Sea.

Luera at a glance
  • 1947 National League MVP Award
  • Back-to-Back N.L. Pitcher of the Year Awards (1946-1947)
  • 9-time All-Star
  • Career 3.02 ERA
  • All-Time Leader in Wins (215)
  • All-Time Leader in Complete Games (260)
  • All-Time Leader in Shutouts (42)
  • All-Time Leader in Innings Pitched (3,319)
  • 85.8 WAR
Luera in recent years has shown a few chinks in the armor... suffering 3.90 ERA and 3.58 ERA's in back-to-back years (1953-1954), which bumped career ERA to 3.02 -- while he also suffered his first injury-plagued season in 1956 with only 108.2 innings pitched for the Royals.

A quick note on the Brooklyn franchise, the team was always using the phrase 'Next year is our year', due to its consistent playoff presence. The team has been to the World Series, a NSL record 5 times, while only winning one title in 1953. The franchise has an all-time record of 1186-758 (.610 winning pct). 

The team was known as the Brooklyn Atlantics from 1945-1954, and has been known as the Brooklyn Royals from 1955-to-current, while the team will be relocating next season (1958) to Montreal.

Another thing that is impressive about Luera's career is the extra mileage his arm put on with the post-season totals (34 games started & 294.2 innings).

Teams: Brooklyn Atlantics (N) (1945-1954), Brooklyn Royals (1955-current)

Josh Phillips (1946-1955)
Starting Pitcher / Retired

The calm & mature New Jersey-native was a well-established veteran & team leader that decided to call it quits after the 1955 NSL Season.

'Calm' and 'Mature' was not always the case for Phillips. Prior to the establishment of the National Sandlot League, Phillips had a reputation in his Pacific Coast League days as a rowdy, instigating, prankster in the clubhouse... this reputation unfortunately followed him to the NSL.

He would have a huge season for the Oil City Oilers during his NSL debut - 1946 season, in which he led the league in wins (22), innings pitched (327), while setting a single-season complete games mark (32) which still stands today; He also had a 2.78 ERA and 131 strikeouts that season.

The Detroit Motors' starting pitcher Kevin Gaylor wanted out of Detroit, so much to General Manager Shawn Summers' surprise, the Oilers came a calling, offering Phillips in return. Fans in Detroit were delighted, while the clubhouse on the other hand sent a message to the GM about their concerns of acquiring the 'trouble maker' Phillips.

Little did they know at the time, they just acquired the biggest piece in their eventual 1947 World Championship title. Phillips was almost as equally masterful for the Motors that season, he would go 21-9 with a 3.08 ERA in 269 innings that season; His 5.7 season WAR matched his 1946 WAR, while his WHIP (1.07) was better than its prior year, while he completed 27 games for the Motors in 47'.

During that 1947 post-season, he came up big every time the Motors needed him -- going 5-0 with a 1.96 ERA (1.09 WHIP) in 46 innings. 

Phillips would unfortunately become the first of many pieces moved from the Detroit Motors, when the Motors' franchise was dealing with debt issues. The Motors would trade him late July 1948, while he was sporting a 14-5 record and 2.78 ERA to the New York Titans -- finishing the season with 20+ wins for the 3rd consecutive season.

Phillips was evolving and had a better reputation as a 'Gun for Hire', as his career would watch him pitch for numerous franchises.

Just when writers and teams were thinking he was over-the-hill at age 39, he would put together the best season of his career for the Kansas City Athletics, by leading the league in wins (23), Earner Run Average (2.16), WHIP (1.04) & BB/9 ratio (1.9) in 296 innings of work -- earning him N.L. Pitcher of the Year in 1951, while leading his team into the playoffs. Two years later, he would lead the American League in ERA (2.44 ERA) for the Cincinnati Buckeyes, at age 41.

He would go on to pitch 225 complete games in his NSL career. 

Phillips at a glance
  • 1951 N.L. Pitcher of the Year Award
  • 3-time All-Star
  • Owns Single-Season Complete Games mark (32)
  • Career 158-110 record & 3.23 ERA
  • 225 Career Complete Games
  • Career 1.24 WHIP
  • 46.0 WAR
When asked what changed him over the years, he replied 'My wife'. Phillips met his wife, a preacher's daughter in late 1945, prior to his 1946 breakout year with Oil City. Phillips noted that she was his biggest career achievement, which goes to show behind every great man there is a great woman. Phillips now donates much of his time in the church community back in his native New Jersey, while working with underprivileged children.

Teams: Oil City Oilers (A) (1946), Detroit Motors (A) (1947-1948), New York Titans (A) (1948-1949), Atlanta Generals (N) (1950), Kansas City Athletics (A) (1950-1951), Ohio Buckeyes (A) (1952), Cincinnati Buckeyes (A) (1953), Los Angeles Angels (N) (1954) & the Washington Capitols (N) (1955).

Nate Patten (1945-1956)
Starting Pitcher / Retired

Maryland's Nate 'The Great' Patten established himself quickly in the National Sandlot League, as he won the A.L. Pitcher of the Year Award and the A.L. Most Valuable Player Award in the same season for the Los Angeles Knights in 1945.

Also known as 'General Patten' (obviously a shout-out to the WWII hero, although different spelling), Nate was a general on the mound, winning 181 games in his big league career while turning out a 3.14 career ERA.

Although he did not win any major awards playing for the Detroit Motors during his playing time there from 1947-1949, it was probably his best stretch of his career... He would win his 2nd ERA title (2.40) in 1949, while leading the league in WHIP twice & BB/9 ratio all three of those years.

His biggest accomplishment in Motown would be helping the Detroit Motors win their lone 1945 World Series title over the Brooklyn Atlantics. Patten sported a 3-3 record, 2.60 ERA & 1.04 WHIP in 6 starts (7 games) & 46 innings.

Patten, twice led the league in wins (23 with the Knights in 45' & 21 with the Pittsburgh Arsenal in 1952), while having four 20+ wins seasons between 1945-1952.

Patten at a glance
  • 1945 A.L. Most Valuable Player Award
  • 1945 A.L. Pitcher of the Year Award
  • 4-time All-Star
  • 1947 World Championship (Detroit)
  • 350 career starts
  • Career 3.14 ERA & 1.16 WHIP
  • Career 181-120 record (.601 winning pct)
  • 56.6 WAR
Teams: Los Angeles Knights (A) (1945), Philadelphia Veterans (N) (1946), Detroit Motors (A) (1947-1949) & Pittsburgh Arsenal (N) (1950-1956).

Our last entry for this segment...

Jordan Sowell (1945-Current)
Shortstop & First Baseman / Washington Capitols / Age 39

'Boxy' Sowell, hailing from Bullhead, Arizona, was drafted 3rd overall in the 1945 Inaugural Draft by the Seattle Pilots.

Sowell may not have been known for his glove, but at the plate he is known as an on-base machine, who ranks near the very top with a lifetime .442 On-Base Percentage... He led the league in Bases on Balls, five times, with as many as 169 BB in 1949 for the St. Louis Terriers. Last season (1956), was the first time Sowell dipped under the century mark, with 96 BB as a Capitol.

He was also a very consistent hitter, especially between 1945-1953, which he never batted lower than .284, while batting as high as .321... while flashing a lifetime .294 batting average.

The life-long shortstop moved over to first base full-time starting in 1951, due to his fielding woes and slower speed.

Sowell has developed more power in recent years, with back-to-back seasons of 17 home runs each, which are career-highs.

Sowell at a glance
  • 8-time All-Star
  • 3 Platinum Stick Awards
  • All-Time Career Leader in Walks (1,533)
  • Career .853 OPS [On Base + Slugging]
  • Career .442 On-Base Percentage
  • Career 141 OPS+
  • 59.4 WAR
Sowell has 1,675 career hits entering 1957 (161 hits per 162 games, lifetime), while he is currently the all-time walks champ. The one glaring absence in his Hall-of-Fame career is a championship ring & the fact that he did not win any major awards... these are all due to him playing on many losing teams.

Teams: Seattle Pilots (N) (1945-1946), St. Louis Terriers (1947-1950) (N), Boston Shamrocks (A) (1952-1955) & Washington Capitols (1951, 1956-current)

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Giancarlo Cools Off for T.C. (BoS Update)

Giancarlo Stanton at one point for the Traverse City Panthers of the Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League, was on pace for 66 home runs. He hit HR #52 on the 128th game of the season, but has now been without a HR for 18 consecutive games... He is not only in jeopardy of missing 60 home runs for the season, but he may miss out on passing the single-season HR mark (56) set by Chris Davis in 2013 for Chris Baier's San Diego Heroes.

16 games now remain for the season.

The good news is that his ball club, currently holds the BoS' best record at 97-49 (.664 pct), with a 13-game lead over 2nd place Holland Hitchhikers & a 7-game lead over the Portland Microbrewers in the National League for the first-round playoff bye & home-field advantage.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Sandlot League (Creating an Identity)

The great thing about Out of the Park 19 (and its previous editions) is that you can create many new and exciting projects. I decided to try my hand on a fictional creation with fictional players, I thought it would be difficult to fall into the imaginative world of fictional players compared to Major League players that you know.

It helped that I took my time on the inaugural draft, looked at the scouting reports on each player, while participating heavily on these first few seasons.

I have done many leagues recently starting off in 1901, and was frankly getting tired of the deadball era... I thought about starting in 1920, but thought it was still too far back, and I didn't want to wait 40 years until doing expansion.

I decided finally on 1945, coming off the heels of World War II. The 1940's and 1950's are heavily considered the golden age of baseball, and I would do expansion by 1960.

I named the league, The Sandlot League, because I really didn't have another name at the time, and it has slowly grown on me.

The league already consists of 24 teams, I based my team decisions on MLB's first 26 teams (1977 setup) and I am pretty satisfied with my choices. Here are the teams and divisions below...

A.L. East
Baltimore Terrapins
Boston Shamrocks
New York Titans
Toronto Maple Leafs

Maple Leafs' 1952 Road Jersey (Home Jerseys, above)
I have used the Baltimore Black Sox a lot recently & decided to switch it up with the Terrapins (The Baltimore Terrapins were a short-lived Federal League team). My go-to these days for Boston is the Shamrocks, I have used Pilgrims in an old APBA project in the early 2000's. Normally I have used the New York Knights for the American League New York-based team, and decided to use the Titans (which I usually base in the N.L,)... Another reason for that, is that this project will be featuring the Los Angeles Knights. I usually wait to add a Canadian team this early, due to the fact that Toronto, Montreal & Vancouver's populations were quite smaller in the early half of the century, but I really wanted to get the Maple Leafs in here.

For those that don't know, yes... Toronto had a Maple Leafs team for Baseball. In real life, the Maple Leafs were a minor league team (International League) that existed from 1896-1967, they had their best success in the 1950's as an unaffiliated team, and has 5 teams that are listed among the 100 greatest minor leagues of all-time.

I have also used the Baltimore Terrapins as a team using cards from the APBA Hall of Fame Set.

By the way, you can read about a Toronto fan's early memories of the Maple Leafs in the 50's in a very interesting blog named Mop Up Duty.

A.L. Central
Chicago Union
Detroit Motors
Milwaukee Braves
Ohio Buckeyes

In past projects, I have always had two Ohio teams, one in Cleveland and the other in Cincinnati. Both cities were in the top 10 U.S. populations during the first-half of the 20th Century, both have dramatically slid out of the Top 10 since. I have usually based many of my projects on the population in the past, the bigger the population, the most likeliness that they have a team, that's why I usually don't give Colorado a team, no earlier than 1960, when it started seeing a boom in its population.

I decide to go with one Ohio team, because I am trying to spread out the teams. I have used the Cincinnati Buckeyes in the past, while Cleveland featured the Cleveland Warriors.

This is the first time that I am using the Chicago Union logos, uniforms and franchise... they feature the black, red & gray elements associated with the Chicago White Sox of the 1950's & 1960's. I went with my go-to alternate of the Tigers, in the Detroit Motors, while also settling with the Milwaukee Braves. For the most part, I tried to avoid real team names, but how can you deny the Braves?

I am actually going with a 1940's/1950's edition of the Detroit Motors, instead of the ones pictured above... Here is the uniform get ups for them.

By the way, much of the uniforms that I have used should be credited towards TXRanger from the OOTP forums... His work is amazing.

A.L. West
Kansas City Athletics
Los Angeles Knights
Oil City Oilers
St Paul Saints

The Kansas City Athletics will not be using the kelly green colors often associated with those teams, but will be featuring the uniforms of the Kansas City Blues (of the 1950's). The Oil City Oilers will be team out of Dallas, which I only had one set of uniforms and logos for the Dallas Oilers, but found more in the Oil City department (created by a few OOTP players out there)... which featured a nice set of 70's & 80's uniforms that are reminiscent of the 1980's Mets.

The St. Paul / Minnesota team comes at the right time for 1945, considering that it was 1961 when the area was awarded the Minnesota Twins.

Now onto the National League...

N.L. East
Atlanta Generals
Brooklyn Atlantics
Philadelphia Veterans
Washington Capitols

I decided to use the Atlanta Generals, although I like the yellow color aspects of the Atlanta Thrashers' uniforms (I have used the Thrashers in the past). I have used the Philadelphia Patriots in numerous projects, and decided to go with the Veterans this time, their home 'V' uniform really sold me, plus their logo.

The Philadelphia Veterans' home 'V' alternate jersey that I use as their primary home jersey.

I had numerous options for Washington, but wanted to stay away from the usual Senators and Nationals due to trying to avoid real names, even if I am still use some names such as the Kansas City Athletics or the Los Angeles Angels (which will eventually switch to Dodger blue... more on that later in the post). I decided to go with the Capitols, the Washington Generals was an option, but obviously I decided to let Atlanta have the name instead.

The Atlanta Generals uniforms have a bit of 'shout out' element to the Atlanta Black Crackers' uniforms, I do love the fact that TX puts those element touches to his jerseys... which I do believe is not by mistake... you decide?

N.L. Central
Chicago Legends
Louisville Sluggers
Pittsburgh Arsenal
St Louis Terriers

The Chicago Legends came to be by accident, like most of these often do, the creation process itself takes on its own life or journey. You use a logo here, or a uniform there, a creation by someone else, while you add some of your own creation to the process. The league is forging its own identity, while you slowly put it together... it's a rather fun experience really.

The Legends uniforms came from someone's creation of the Cooperstown Legends, a team that they used as a minor league affiliate to one of their own projects. I have used the Chicago Nationals in the past, usually snagging the old Syracuse Nationals logo (right) from the old NBA days in basketball... while the team's look was always that of the Chicago Cubs.

The Legends reflect a look of their own, while I did borrow the Chicago White Sox' road jerseys from 1966, an often-overlooked beauty... without the caps, you would have thought they were intended for the Cubs.

They go well with the Legends' home jerseys above, seeing them in this format may not look like much, but with the caps and players sporting them, they have a simplistic, but straight-to-the-point look about them.

The Louisville Sluggers use a Cardinals approach with bird swinging bat, with the Cardinals colors featuring a bit of the Louisville Colonels' old uniforms.

Pittsburgh Arsenal features black and yellow.... with the Steelers, Pirates & Penguins... are you really surprised by this?

I had some cool uniforms for the St Louis Saints, but I really wanted to add Minnesota to the project, so I game them the St Paul Saints. I have numerous Browns uniforms and logos, but once again, I wanted something further from MLB history, so I went with the Federal League team.

N.L. West
California Seals
Denver Miners
Los Angeles Angels
Seattle Pilots

The California Seals will eventually evolve into darker colors to go along with their incarnation to become the San Francisco Seals (similar to Giants' color scheme), I have numerous colors for all, their 1945 look will feature 'sunshine' colors that are more equivalent to the Miami Dolphins. The Seals, of course, are one of the most popular Pacific Coast League teams of all-time, I do know that they are personal favorite of mine.

I have used the Denver Bears in previous projects, and was close to going with the Colorado Kings (which I love their look), but eventually I plan to add a Charlotte team named the Charlotte Imperials & the Monarchs or even Royals, so I thought there needed to be some balance, and not so much royalty early on. Plus I really loved the look of the Miners uniforms for Denver, while I also had numerous Miners uniforms for places like San Francisco, Pennsylvania, and even in smaller places like Scranton even.

Angels' home caps for the 1945 Sandlot League.

Check out the 'L' in Angeles, Angel wings, nice touch by TX.

The Los Angeles Angels (TX's creations above) will start off with a similar look to their expansion days, while they will evolve to more of a Dodgers-look, featuring the Dodgers' 'LA' look & Dodger blue to their uniforms, while sporting a halo. Once again, I can't take credit for the Dodger Blue look, these were inspired by SFGiants58 & his MLB: Project 32 series featured on Chris Creamer's Sports Logos.

I created the home version (like the one featured above, below) using my 3D Paint tool & by using my Jersey Maker template.

The Seattle Pilots will first feature their expansion look and will later evolve in a nice set of jerseys. I saw someone do a great job, using the moniker of the Metros (featured below), but have yet to find uniforms and logos alone out there.

The Seattle Metros were once a National Hockey Team, in fact they were the first American team to win a Stanley Cup back in 1917 & are often a very popular team name that fans keep hoping will be used in a possible future NHL team (a fan creation of their uniforms, below) and possible future NBA team, there are many, many cool logo designs along with other nicknames.

I believe I will have the eventual capability of putting together a Seattle Metros franchise, which could open the door for the Pilots or Aviators to come from another franchise location.

This concludes the creative concept scheme that became the Sandlot League.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Greatest Teams Debate (Vault #4)

Dave McNally & Jim Palmer of the Orioles.
From the BoS Blog Vault - Originally posted on June 14, 2015 - I decided to share this post in my 'Vault' series, due to a recent Facebook post that involved the 1961 New York Yankees. In this post, you will find very interesting debates, while you will find out exactly why the 61' Yankees are quite overrated. 

Now a few months back, I remember from time to time people bringing up best three-year period or five-year period from a MLB franchise. It had some of the usual suspects bouncing around there from the Baltimore Orioles (1969-1971), Oakland Athletics (1972-1974), The Chicago Cubs (early 20th Century), the two different Philadelphia A's franchises from Connie Mack, the WWII era St.Louis Cardinals, among others.

The wife and I went to the public library, in which I once again, rented out "The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract" (by Bill James) -- Another book, I like to rent from there is "The Biographical Encyclopedia of Negro League Baseball" (by James A. Riley) -- Both great books! This time, it was just Bill James' books with a handful of Walking Dead Graphic Novels.

Now when it comes to Bill James, I will say this much the guy's formulas and his Win Shares that pretty much (or did, depending on who you ask) created the WAR stat concept (Wins After Replacement) -- and many of his formulas really do finish many debates on comparing players, teams and what-not. He may not be a guy that remembers watching that player back in the day, in fact he kind of approaches that aspect of the game with a half-glance approach, he's more of mad scientist who loves the game, will take the criteria, make strong cases -- while at the same time, he may not watch the game as the average die-hard baseball fan does... he's most likely not going to play in any fantasy baseball league, but he's partly responsible in many of the stats that we find helpful in choosing our fantasy baseball teams, plus his findings are also helpful to any APBA Managers out there, who are evaluating their rosters, making certain trades & drafting certain players.

Is he always right? No. Do I like reading his theories, and watching many of them make sense? Most definitely! By the way, my right arm is all oiled up with Tiger Balm, since my whole right arm is really sore from doing computer work for my APBA League & rolling some dice games -- but after reading one of his sections in this book, I had to share, and discuss this.

So back to Greatest Teams debate, he made a simplistic 6-point system to measure a team, of course this does not take in an effect if a team is a great base-stealing team, has a great pitching staff, or great lineup -- it's just a simple system, to start with.

The 6-point system is like this, for each accomplishment by the team, it will make a check by each statistical accomplishment, and the team gets one point each.
  • Finishing over .500
  • Winning over 90 games.
  • Winning over 100 games.
  • Winning the Division.
  • Winning the League.
  • Winning the World Series.
These qualifications are definitely not going to paint an over-all picture of a franchise, but when you use this system, for certain criteria, let's say for a 5-year period debate, this is how the very top franchises ranked using these accomplishments & six-point system presented by James.
  • New York Yankees (1935-1939)          25 pts
  • New York Yankees (1949-1953)          25 pts
  • Chicago Cubs (1906-1910)                   24 pts
  • St. Louis Cardinals (1942-1946)           24 pts
  • New York Yankees (1960-1964)          24 pts
  • Philadelphia Athletics (1910-1914)      23 pts
  • Oakland Athletics (1971-1975)             22 pts
  • Atlanta Braves (1995-1999)                  22 pts
  • Cincinnati Reds (1972-1976)                21 pts
  • Baltimore Orioles (1969-1973)             20 pts
  • Boston Red Sox (1912-1916)                20 pts
  • Brooklyn Dodgers (1952-1956)            20 pts
It's impressive, while at the same time it all makes sense, these are the teams we usually are chatting about, and debating over. For pre-1969 teams, he counted League Championships (with an extra point, for the division they would have won, which makes sense). 

Another point made, is that with this system, there has only been 6 teams to have had back-to-back six-point seasons, they are...
  • Philadelphia Athletics (1910-1911)
  • New York Yankees (1927-1928)
  • Philadelphia Athletics (1929-1930)
  • New York Yankees (1936-1937)
  • Cincinnati Reds (1975-1976)
Once again, uncanny, looking at this list, all makes sense, and these 5 teams are always in the thick of the discussion.

Now this book is copyrighted in 2001, not sure if he has any more updated books, which this book was an update as well. So he did not add any more recent teams, so I decided to go do some research myself.

Now we all know how much San Francisco Giants fans love bragging about their pesky Giants, not to mention all their "dynasty" talk, which I often have to point out their two missed playoff years, that are wedged in between their 3 recent World Championships. Taking in this system, this is how what we ended up with...
  • 2010 Giants: 5 pts     (only failed to win 100+ games)
  • 2011 Giants: 1 pt     (Missed playoffs, finished over .500)
  • 2012 Giants: 4 pts     (only failed to reach 90+ & 100+ wins)
  • 2013 Giants: 0 pts     (76-86, failed to reach post-season - 2nd time in period)
  • 2014 Giants: 3 pts     (Wild-Card, wins 3rd World Title, fails to reach 90 wins) 
That's a grand total of 13 pts -- Hardly great when comparing to these teams that had more points, during a five-year period...
  • Detroit Tigers (1907-1911)                     14 pts
  • Kansas City Royals (1976-1980)            15 pts
  • Los Angeles Dodgers (1962-1966)         17 pts
  • New York Mets (1984-1988)                  16 pts
  • Philadelphia Phillies (1976-1980)           17 pts
  • Pittsburgh Pirates (1901-1905)                16 pts
The Giants have won 3 World Series in the last 5 years, but where do they fit in history?

Some people may look at these teams and say, you know those are some good solid teams --Of course they are not better than some of those! Granted that the 2010-2014 Giants can spin the debate, and note that they have more titles than each of these (above six) teams. But to put it into perspective, they barely edge their 1962 counterparts, the 62' Giants who scored 12 points from 1962-1966 -- let it be known though, that I am NOT saying the 62'-66' bunch of Giants are better than the current group, no way!

In the book, he brings up the 1919 Chicago White Sox ("Black Sox") squad of 1916-1920; He mentions there is no foundation to consider the White Sox among the all-time greats. They managed to score only 12 points, their multi-year accomplishments rank them lower than the...
  • Detroit Tigers (1907-1911)
  • Boston Red Sox (1901-1905)
  • The Tigers of the 1930's.
  • The Indians of the 1950's.
  • Baltimore Orioles (1979-1983)
  • Kansas City Royals (1976-1980)
  • Detroit Tigers (1983-1987)
...and dozens of other teams, and suggests that no one would list these teams above among the all-time greats. We do know if the Chicago White Sox didn't throw the 1919 series (and won the World Championship) & didn't have 8 players banned from the game in a close 1920 pennant race, that they may have even won, giving them another shot at a title, that those would add only a few more points to the system, and still would fall short of all the teams listed above. Once again, I am not going to imply that the 1979-1983 Orioles are better than the 1919 White Sox, or the period of the 1983-1987 Tigers are better; I will say that the Tigers' 1984 World Championship season alone succeeds over any one year accomplishment by those White Sox teams though.

Say it ain't so? Not one of the best teams ever?

By the way, good news Giants fans -- You can say that your 2010-2014 teams are at least better than a historical team in the "Black Sox"; The White Sox were a good, strong team, but not among the all-time greats -- their reputation for the scandal makes people consider them great. But the 1916-1910 White Sox or the 2010-2014 Giants, are not anywhere close to be overrated than say...

... possibly the most over-rated team of all-time, when we are talking about greatest team debates...

The 1961 New York Yankees

I'm so glad when I read this book that Bill James hammers on many key points when discussing this team. I often have to bite my lip on the APBA Facebook Group, when people often bring this team into the greatest teams of all-time discussion -- they are nowhere close! The 1976-1980 Yankees may be a stronger group even. Now let me point out that the six-point system is the only thing that helps the 1960-1964 New York Yankees bunch, they are tied for second-most with the 1906-1910 Chicago Cubs & 1942-1946 St. Louis Cardinals with 24 pts.

But at this point, James just wants to point out the 1961 season -- before we head on to the 1961 season, I would like to note the 1960-1964 period for the Yankees was really their twilight period from their dominant 1950's -- The 1960's teams are a far cry from that bunch.

The Yankees ended up choking in the 1960 World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates (even though they outscored the Pirates that series), they dominated a Cincinnati Reds team in the 1961 World Series, 4-1 -- a Reds team that really wasn't the best team from the National League, according to Pythagorean Records, the 93-win Reds were the equivalent of a 83-win team, and that the 3rd Place San Francisco Giants (a Pythagorean N.L. best 89 wins) would have been a much-better challenger to the somewhat declining Yankees. The Yankees would barely edge those Giants in 1962, 4-3 in the 1962 World Series. In 1963, the Los Angeles Dodgers would sweep the Yankees & they would lose the 64' Series to St. Louis.

Now I am not saying that their 1960-1964 period was not impressive, they went to the World Series all five years -- winning two World Championships.

But once again, we are focusing on the 1961 World Series team, so back to James' points. Three points he would put detail into...

1) Their offense is completely one-dimensional (Lots of HR's).
2) No bench (besides Johnny Blanchard).
3) Whitey Ford - Only quality arm on the team.

In MLB history (as of 2001) there have been 40 teams to lead the league both in runs, and to lead in fewest runs allowed; Many teams that have done this, are among the best ever...
  • 1927 New York Yankees (213)
  • 1936-1939 Yankees (averaging at least 143 runs per year more)
  • 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers (216)
  • "The Impossible Dream" - 1967 Boston Red Sox (123 runs)
The only thing Yankees did well in 1961 was hit many HR's, the only thing that they led their league in -- compare that to the 1976 Cincinnati Reds, who led nearly every offensive category; Reds had 212 more runs than the N.L. average.

The 61' Yankees pitchers, 6 out of their 11 pitchers on their staff, went on to win 35 games or fewer for the remainder of their careers. 

Another interesting note, their record was 7-2 at home against the expansion Washington Senators in their home run park; Against the Senators (in their pitching park), they went 4-5 against the Senators.

The M&M boys (Roger Maris & Mickey Mantle) paint this image of the 1961 Yankees as some great powerhouse of the past, when in reality we should be giving more credit to their 1962 team possibly, which beat a much tougher World Series contender.

Anyways, when you take much of the statistical proof provided by Bill James, it's easy to see that the 1961 team was indeed overrated & do not belong with the absolute greats; Good team, and a Yankee fan favorite for sure, but a little too much ticker-tape if you ask me.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

1996 Off-Season in Full Swing

The Atlanta Braves have made numerous transactions after doing no major moves in 1995. The Braves just recently extended starting pitcher Greg Maddux' contract for another 10 years ($73.5 million), while acquiring OF Johnny Damon, OF Brian McRae, among others. The team also said goodbye to RF David Justice, 1B Fred McGriff and OF Tony Phillips.

Here are some of the other deals around the league...
  • Wade Boggs signs with the Minnesota Twins for two-year deal worth $8.4 million.
  • Kevin Brown signs 7-year deal with the Cincinnati Reds for a total of $44.8 million ($6.4 million per year). 
  • Barry Bonds shocked the baseball world by signing a 6-year deal with the Montreal Expos for $40.2 million ($6.7 million per year).
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers sign CF Devon White to a 5-year deal worth $21.2 million ($4.24 m per season).
  • Harold Baines announces retirement at age 36 (considerably earlier than his real-life counterpart which retired after the 2001 Season). He was last playing for the Houston Astros, and has only 370 at-bats combined during his last 3 seasons.
  • Orel Hershiser signed 2-year deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates ($1.88 million per year).
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired RP Doug Henry via trade with the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for OF Chris Singleton and minor league 3B Keith Johnson.
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers signed RP Mark Guthrie to a 2-year deal worth $6 million.
  • The Kansas City Royals traded closer Tony Castillo to the New York Yankees in exchange for LF Carl Everett, 1B Tom L Wilson & $95,000 in cash.
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers signed RP Lee Smith to a 2-year deal worth $2.24 million.
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers kept busy & signed 1B John Olerud to a 6-year deal worth $39 million ($6.5 million per year).
  • The California Angels trade OF Garret Anderson and RHP Miguel Fermin to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for SP John Burkett.
  • The Cincinnati Reds sign closer John Wetteland to 2-year deal worth $5.0 million.
  • The Dodgers stay aggressive as they sign SP Bret Saberhagen with 4-year deal worth a total of $4.1 million. Saberhagen has won 77 games so far in the 90's compared to his real-life counterpart that won 62 through 1995 -- while also having 169 career wins at the moment compared to his real-life 167 win career.
  • Marquis Grissom signs 4-year deal with the Texas Rangers worth $7.36 million ($1.86 million per year).
  • Dennis Eckersley resigns with the Montreal Expos on a one-year deal worth $1.82 million.
  • Chuck Finley will join 1996 N.L. Cy Young Winner - Al Leiter on the St. Louis Cardinals after signing 4-year deal worth $18.44 million (making $4.68 million for first three seasons, with team option for 4th.
  • The Atlanta Braves sign RP Dan Pleasac to a 4-year deal worth $9.6 million ($2.4 million per year).
The Braves fell asleep in negotiations with Eric Plunk, as Plunk signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, that's when Braves switched gears and went for Pleasac. The Braves momentarily signed SS Greg Gagne as well, but he was swooped up in the Rule 5 Draft by the Texas Rangers.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

The 'WHAT IF' 1984 World Series (Vault #3)

From the BoS Blog Vault - Originally posted on August 22, 2015 - I conducted a 'What if' World Series for 1984, involving the Chicago Cubs and Detroit Tigers. The results were rather surprising, you can check out each game, just below the logo, and then continue on this post to see the end results.

Here is a recap on the WHAT IF 1984 World Series...
(Click on game links to get a synopsis of each game)

Game 1 (at Chicago) - Detroit 5, Chicago 4
Game 2 (at Chicago) - Detroit 3, Chicago 2 (10 Innings)
Game 3 (at Detroit) - Chicago 4, Detroit 0
Game 4 (at Detroit) - Chicago 3, Detroit 2
Game 5 (at Detroit) - Chicago 2, Detroit 1

The Detroit Tigers won the first two games, while the Chicago Cubs won the next three at Tiger Stadium -- In fact, every game so far during this series has been won by the visiting team. 

(at Wrigley Field, Chicago)

Petry was the right call for Game 6.
The Detroit Tigers saved Dan Petry for Game 6, and pitched Juan Berenguer instead for Game 5. While the Chicago Cubs send Dennis Eckersley, who last time pitched got the Cubs back into this series with a shutout of the Tigers in Game 3.

The Tigers started Rupert Jones once again in left field, he went 2-for-3 (2 singles) in Game 5 -- The move paid off again with a solo HR to get the Tigers started with a 1-0 lead in the top of the second. The Tigers' Lou Whitaker would add to the lead, with a RBI single in the 5th inning.

It was all Dan Petry in this one, allowing only two hits in 8 shutout innings, with 5 K's & 3 BB's. Dennis Eckersley was good again, but couldn't get the support from his lineup in this one, he went 6 innings, allowing 5 hits & 2 runs (1 earned), he did allow 3 walks though.

Tigers win 2-0, Series tied 3-3

(at Wrigley Field, Chicago)

Once again, it's Jack Morris vs Rick Sutcliffe. Morris has not done so well the previous two, while Sutcliffe has been excellent.

Both pitchers kept the other team off the board the first three innings, until Leon Durham got things going with a solo HR in the bottom of the 4th. The Tigers' Dave Bergman would get the Tigers' first hit in the top of the 5th, a two-out double. It would not be until the top of the 6th, that the Tigers would score, and that would be a game-tying RBI triple by Kirk Gibson; Scoring in Lou Whitaker from second (who had a double). The Tigers would strand Gibson.

The Tigers also would hit into many force plays or double plays in this series, or so it seems, because they happen to happen at the most crucial times of the ball games.

The game would remain a 1-1 tie for the next couple innings, entering the 9th. Jack Morris had his best game of the series, even though it was a short five inning outing -- allowing 4 hits & a run, while striking out five Cubs. The Tigers' Aurelio Lopez pitched two scoreless innings, and Dave Rozema & Doug Bair shared the 8th Inning. Willie Hernandez would come in for a non-save situation, with the Tigers hoping for him to last at least three innings, if this goes extras.

Meanwhile, Rick Sutcliffe has been keeping the Tigers at bay, allowing only 5 hits, a run & walk through 8 innings, while racking up 8 K's.

The top of the 9th, the Tigers had their #3, #4 & #5 hitters coming up in Kirk GibsonChet Lemon & Darrell Evans. They couldn't do anything with fly-outs by Gibson & Evans, and Lemon grounding out. Bottom of the 9th, the Cubs had Ron CeyJody Davis Larry Bowa coming up. Cey would strike out a third time, and is 0-for-4 for the night. Jody Davis (1-for 18) entering the game, was 0-for-3 in this one with 2 K's (making him 1-for-21), appeared to be no threat to Willie Hernandez, until Willie accidentally hung one over the plate, Jody sent it deep over the Ivy in right, a walk-off series winner for the Cubbies!

The Chicago Cubs down 2-0, win the series, 4-3! Leon Durham has been a beast, it's been awhile since I have seen stats such as these in a dice series, but here they are...


11 H / 25 AB
.440 BA
2 HR
7 Doubles
2 Triples
4 walks (1 Int Walk)
All 11 hits were Extra-Base Hits!

.517 On-Base Percentage
1.120 Slugging Percentage
1.637 OPS (On-Base + Slugging)

Easy call, he is the MVP of the series, despite Sutcliffe & Eckersley's excellent performances.

Jody Davis: The unlikely series hero, ending 76 years of frustration.

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