Countermanding the Colavito Curse:  Part 2 (1962-63)

Last time, we began an exploration of the question: what if the Cleveland Indians hadn’t traded Rocky Colavito and Norm Cash on the eve of Opening Day in 1960?

Through our first two seasons, our version of the Indians has done better than their actual counterparts, particularly in 1961.

    Actual Indians        Virtual Indians

    W     L  Pos   Year     W     L  Pos
    76    78  4    1960     80    74  4
    78    83  5    1961     91    70  3

We’re thinking 1962 might be the year we regain the status Cleveland held for most of the 1950s, as a very serious contender.

1961-62 offseason: Actual Indians’ deals we will make

Oct., 1961: Purchased pitcher-outfielder Vic Davalillo from the Cincinnati Reds.

Yes, that’s right, the 25-year-old Davalillo had been deployed primarily as a pitcher in his four years in the Reds’ system. But it was now clear he wasn’t going to make the majors in that capacity, and Cincinnati gave up on him. Our Indians, as in reality, will opt to give the abundantly athletic little southpaw a full-time shot as an outfielder in Triple-A and see what happens.

Nov. 27, 1961: Drafted pitcher Don Rudolph from the Cincinnati Reds in the 1961 Rule 5 draft.

A soft-tossing career minor league left-hander, Rudolph was worth a shot.

Nov. 27, 1961: Traded pitcher Bobby Locke to the Chicago Cubs for infielder Jerry Kindall.

The Cubs had run out of patience waiting for Kindall, the former Bonus Baby, to grasp the fundamentals of the strike zone. But he did everything else well, including fielding at either second base or shortstop, as well as driving the ball with authority on the rare occasions when he did make contact.

Given that Kindall was still just 26 years old, to cash him in for the run-of-the-mill secondary reliever Locke was quite imprudent. We’ll be happy to accommodate this Chicago overreaction.

April 2, 1962: Traded infielder Vic Power and pitcher Dick Stigman to the Minnesota Twins for pitcher Pedro Ramos.

The 27-year-old workhorse Ramos had gamely toiled for the Senators/Twins since the age of 20. Unlike his teammate and fellow Cuban right-hander Camilo Pascual, Ramos had been unable to break through as a star, but he was nonetheless widely recognized as a fine pitcher, as even in those days pretty much everyone understood that Ramos’s poor won-lost records were mostly a reflection of the losing teams behind him.

But that toil had been mighty, as Ramos had faced nearly 5,400 opposing batters over the past five seasons, so there was good reason to be concerned about forthcoming consequences of that wear and tear. All things considered, this was a fair price for Ramos to command in the trade marketplace, and a sensible deal for both teams.

1961-62 offseason: Actual Indians’ deals we will modify

The actual Indians did this:

Oct. 5, 1961: Traded outfielder Jimmy Piersall to the Washington Senators for pitcher Dick Donovan, catcher-outfielder Gene Green and infielder Jim Mahoney.

Here was our take on this one in Blockbusters:

It’s exceedingly rare to see a first-year expansion team indulging in a 3-for-1, especially in pursuit of a veteran. Yet that’s what Senators’ GM Ed Doherty conceived to be the right thing to do in their circumstance.

It wasn’t a bad idea for the Senators to put Donovan and Green on the trading block; they were veteran talents with clear market value. (Mahoney was a marginal throw-in.) But the notion that Washington should be expending precious trade-market assets on a player such as Piersall was laughable.

Piersall was a good ballplayer. But he was hardly a great one: He was better than Jim Busby, but not hugely so, a top-notch defensive center fielder with a bat that really wouldn’t cut it as a corner outfielder. And Piersall would be 32 years old for the 1962 season, and had been prone to nagging injuries for the past few years; all in all he was hardly a building block for a team just getting off the ground.

Unsurprisingly, Piersall would rapidly decline. Meanwhile, in Cleveland, Donovan would win 20 games, and Green would hit a ton in a utility role. For Cleveland GM Gabe Paul, who in his long career was always an eager trader but often not a wise one, score this as a big win.

So, why don’t we just happily accept this Washington offer?

One reason is that our Indians don’t have a role for Green to fill. And a second reason is that in our scenario, the Detroit Tigers have neither Norm Cash nor Rocky Colavito, so they’d likely be willing to deal some pitching, which we need, in exchange for a couple of bats (including Green’s), which they need.

So we’ll combine the interests of the Senators and Tigers with ours, and thus we’ll do this:

Oct., 1961: In a three-club deal, traded outfielder-first baseman Tito Francona to the Detroit Tigers and outfielder Jimmy Piersall and first baseman Hal Jones to the Washington Senators. The Tigers sent pitcher Don Mossi to the Indians and first baseman-third baseman Bobo Osborne to the Senators. The Senators sent pitcher Dick Donovan and outfielder Willie Tasby to the Indians, and catcher-outfielder Gene Green to the Tigers.

Breaking it down:

Tigers: Mossi and Osborne for Francona and Green.

Senators: Donovan, Tasby, and Green for Piersall, Osborne, and Jones.

Indians: Francona, Piersall and Jones for Mossi, Donovan, and Tasby.

Detroit meaningfully beefs up its offense, and the Senators do essentially what they actually did, with the addition of exchanging their now-surplus center fielder Tasby for the first base candidates Osborne and Jones.

For our part, we meaningfully beef up our starting pitching, while introducing Tasby as a partial replacement for Piersall. The major cost is Francona’s bat, which we don’t like to surrender, but we have several intriguing candidates to compete for left field at-bats.

The actual Indians did this:

Nov. 16, 1961: Traded second baseman Johnny Temple to the Baltimore Orioles for catcher Harry Chiti, first baseman-third baseman Ray Barker, and pitcher Art Kay.

Temple was clearly in decline, but we think he’s got enough left to be helpful in a part-time role.

So instead, we’ll do this:

Nov. 16, 1961: Traded infielder Ken Aspromonte to the Baltimore Orioles for first baseman-third baseman Ray Barker.

Aspromonte had disappointed in 1961, but it’s plausible that the Orioles would be satisfied with him to take on the utility role they envisioned for Temple, while expending less in trade. We see Barker as triple-A injury insurance.

1962 season: Actual Indians’ deals we will not make

April 26, 1962: Sold catcher Harry Chiti to the New York Mets.

April 29, 1962: Sold outfielder Bob Nieman to the San Francisco Giants.

We don’t have either of these fellows.

June 24, 1962: Traded infielder Ken Aspromonte and cash to the Milwaukee Braves for pitcher Bob Hartman.

We already dispensed with this fellow.

July 2, 1962: Purchased infielder Marlan Coughtry from the Kansas City Athletics.

No room for this fellow.

1962 season: Actual Indians’ deals we will modify

The actual Indians did this:

May 3, 1962: Traded pitchers Steve Hamilton and Don Rudolph to the Washington Senators for outfielder Willie Tasby.

We’ve already acquired Tasby, and we’re certainly not ready to cast aside the long, tall 26-year-old southpaw Hamilton.

But as with the actual Indians, it doesn’t look as though we’ll have room on our staff at cut-down time for the 30-year-old knockabout southpaw Rudolph.

So we’ll just do this:

May 3, 1962: Sold pitcher Don Rudolph to the Washington Senators.

1962 season: Indians deals we will invoke

May, 1962: Sold pitcher Bobby Tiefenauer to the Houston Colt .45s.

The knuckleballer had done all right for us in ’60 and ’61, but he’s another guy who’ll be squeezed out as we trim the roster to 25.

1962 season results

Our primary goal in the off-season was to shore up the pitching, and we believe we’ve succeeded significantly. The presence of the dependable veterans Ramos, Mossi, and Donovan in the starting rotation will allow us to place far less demand on the younger arms of Mudcat Grant, Gary Bell, Jim Perry, and Barry Latman; indeed we’ll be able to focus Bell (probably the hardest thrower among the quartet) as a relief specialist.

Meanwhile we’ve gotten younger at several positions. In left field, rookie Al Luplow and sophomore Don Dillard will compete for at-bats with journeyman Chuck Essegian, and rookie Ty Cline will platoon in center field. Extremely-promising rookie Max Alvis will be given the chance to win the third base job, and at second base, the veteran Temple faces competition from the 27-year-old Kindall.

  Pos   Player         Age    G  AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
   1B   N. Cash*        27  148 507  92 121  16   2  37  86 101  84 .239 .375 .497 .872  136
   2B   J. Kindall      27  146 477  46 111  19   1  12  50  41  96 .233 .287 .352 .639   74
   SS   W. Held         30  139 466  55 116  12   2  19  58  73 107 .249 .360 .406 .766  109
   3B   M. Alvis        24  146 525  69 140  23   6  15  57  35 103 .267 .314 .419 .733   98
   RF   R. Colavito     28  161 601  90 159  30   2  36 102  93  70 .265 .361 .501 .862  133
   CF   T. Cline*       23  112 338  48  84  14   5   2  25  25  45 .249 .305 .337 .643   76
   LF   C. Essegian     30  106 336  54  92  12   0  21  55  42  68 .274 .361 .497 .858  132
   C    J. Romano       27  135 459  71 120  19   3  25  83  73  64 .261 .361 .479 .841  128

   OF   A. Luplow*      23   97 318  54  88  15   3  14  45  36  44 .277 .359 .475 .834  126
 2B-3B  J. Temple       34   92 243  30  65   8   1   1  19  30  22 .267 .339 .321 .660   82
   CF   W. Tasby        29   82 210  26  49   6   0   4  15  24  42 .233 .311 .319 .630   73
   OF   D. Dillard*     25   95 174  22  40   5   1   5  14  11  25 .230 .276 .356 .632   71
   IF   M. de la Hoz    23   76 154  13  34   4   1   3  13  11  24 .221 .265 .318 .583   59
   C    R. Nixon*       27   54 101   7  26   5   1   1  13   5   9 .257 .290 .356 .646   76
   C    D. Edwards      25   27  48   4  12   2   0   1   3   3   5 .250 .308 .354 .662   81

        Others                   94  12  27   4   0   7  20   7  17 .287 .333 .553 .887  138

        Pitchers                423  40  69   9   1  *9  34  29 147 .163 .214 .253 .467   27

        Total                 5474 733 1353 203  29 212 692 639 972 .247 .327 .411 .738  101

        *  Bats left

        Pitcher        Age    G  GS  CG   W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
        D. Donovan      34   34  34  14  21   8   0 226 228  97  89   21   42   85 3.54  109
        P. Ramos        27   37  27   7  11  10   1 201 189 104  83   28   85   96 3.72  104
        D. Mossi*       33   35  27   8  11  13   1 180 189  86  79   23   39  121 3.95   97
        B. Latman       26   33  21   7   8  10   3 156 156  85  74   19   61   98 4.27   90
        M. Grant        26   26  23   6   8   8   0 150 128  75  71   24   81   90 4.26   90
        J. Perry        26   35  15   4   9   6   0 129 136  60  56   13   41   51 3.91   99

        G. Bell         25   57   6   1  11   7  16 108 104  56  51   14   52   80 4.25   91
        F. Funk         26   47   0   0   2   1   8  81  62  35  29   11   32   49 3.22  119
        D. Ferrarese*   33   43   0   0   2   3   1  64  62  26  22    4   36   49 3.09  124
        S. Hamilton*    26   33   5   0   4   2   3  71  67  29  26    6   27   56 3.30  117
        B. Dailey       27   14   0   0   1   1   1  22  22   9   9    0    9   12 3.68  105

        Others                    4   0   3   2   1  52  55  35  30    9   27   35 5.19   74

        Total                   162  47  91  71 35 1440 1398 697 619 172  532  822 3.87  100

        *  Throws left

The most prominent development of 1962 is a negative one: the suddenly plummeting batting average of Stormin’ Norman Cash, the batting champ of 1961, now struggling to hit .240. Though his production of long balls and walks remains superior, Cash’s performance is a dramatic disappointment.

And his sudden low-average, high-power profile is emblematic of our entire lineup. Across the board we see declining batting averages, indeed our team average drops all the way from the league’s best to the league’s worst, but this year our delivery of home runs is the best in the majors. The odd juxtaposition adds up to a good offense, but not a great one, not nearly as outstanding as that which we featured in 1961.

The addition of the veteran starting pitchers is a great help. Indeed we wonder where we would have been without them, because generally the rest of our pitchers are less than impressive. On balance our staff is precisely league-average.

Pythagoras is kind to us: our run differential yields a record of 85-77, but we outperform that and finish at 91-71. This is good enough to have us in the thick of the pennant race, but we’ll wind up tied for second place with the up-and-coming Twins, but still five games behind the yet-again pennant-winning Yankees.

It’s a good performance, but a frustrating one. We’re eager to take that next step.

1962-63 offseason: Actual Indians’ deals we will make

Nov. 26, 1962: Drafted catcher Bob Lipski from the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1962 Rule 5 draft.

Lefty-hitting catchers are pretty much always worth auditioning.

Nov. 27, 1962: Sold pitcher Wynn Hawkins to the New York Mets.

A grade-B prospect.

April 8, 1963: Sold pitcher Bill Dailey to the Minnesota Twins.

A veteran minor leaguer, more interesting than Hawkins, but like the actual Indians we just can’t justify a roster spot for him. And like the actual Indians, we’ll have to forlornly watch as Dailey breaks through with a terrific performance in the Minnesota bullpen in 1963.

1962-63 offseason: Actual Indians’ deals we will not make

Dec. 15, 1962: Traded pitcher Ron Taylor and infielder Jack Kubiszyn to the St. Louis Cardinals for first baseman Fred Whitfield.

Because we have Norm Cash, we have no interest in Whitfield, an impressive but one-dimensional young left-handed power hitter. We’ll keep the young right-hander Taylor with the impressive control.

Feb. 27, 1963: Traded outfielder Chuck Essegian to the Kansas City Athletics for pitcher Jerry Walker.

We’ll decline to share the assessment of the actual Indians that Walker, a once-promising youngster who was by now rather obviously not going to make it, was preferable to the power-producing role player Essegian.

April 2, 1963: Purchased outfielder Ellis Burton from the Houston Colt .45′s.

Burton isn’t a bad player, but we just have no need for him.

1962-63 offseason: Actual Indians’ deals we will modify

The actual Indians did this:

Nov. 27, 1962: Traded third baseman Bubba Phillips to the Detroit Tigers for pitchers Ron Nischwitz and Gordon Seyfried.

And this:

Nov. 27, 1962: Traded pitcher Frank Funk, outfielder Don Dillard, and a player to be named later to the Milwaukee Braves for first baseman Joe Adcock and pitcher Jack Curtis. (On March 18, 1963, the Indians sent outfielder Ty Cline to the Braves, completing the deal.)

Both were reasonable transactions for the Indians, but our situation doesn’t correspond to theirs, and our scenario continues to significantly alter the circumstances of the Tigers.

So we’ll do this:

Nov. 27, 1962:In a three-club deal, traded pitcher Frank Funk, outfielder Don Dillard, and a player to be named later to the Milwaukee Braves. The Braves sent pitcher Jack Curtis to the Indians, and first baseman Joe Adcock to the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers sent pitchers Ron Nischwitz, Gordon Seyfried, and Bob Humphreys to the Indians. (On March 18, 1963, the Indians sent outfielder Ty Cline to the Braves, completing the deal.)

Breaking it down:

Braves: Adcock and Curtis for Funk, Dillard, and Cline.

What the getting-younger Braves actually did.

Tigers: Nischwitz, Seyfried, and Humphreys for Adcock.

Adding veteran power at first base at the expense of second-tier pitching prospects.

Indians: Funk, Dillard, and Cline for Curtis, Nischwitz, Seyfried, and Humphreys.

Leveraging some outfield surplus to shore up the bullpen/triple-A pitching depth.

1963 season: Actual Indians’ deals we will make

May 2, 1963: Traded pitcher Jim Perry to the Minnesota Twins for pitcher Jack Kralick.

As did the actual Indians, we’ll run out of patience with Perry, who’d seemed headed for stardom in 1959-60, but had regressed and stalled since. Kralick was a pretty good lefty; I wouldn’t have made this trade if I were the Twins (and yet in the long run it would turn out brilliantly for Minnesota, one of the more lopsided exchanges in the history of either franchise).

May 8, 1963: Returned catcher Bob Lipski (earlier draft pick) to the Philadelphia Phillies.

No room on the roster at final cut-down time.

May 25, 1963: Traded catcher Doc Edwards and $100,000 cash to the Kansas City Athletics for shortstop Dick Howser and catcher Joe Azcue.

Charlie Finley must have been seriously hard up for operating capital, because there was nothing close to an on-field explanation for this one. We’ll gladly purchase the upgrade in the middle infield and behind the plate.

1963 season: Actual Indians’ deals we will not make

May 27, 1963: Sold outfielder Ellis Burton to the Chicago Cubs.

Don’t have him.

June 2, 1963: Purchased catcher Cal Neeman from the St. Louis Cardinals.

Don’t need him.

June 21, 1963: Signed pitcher Early Wynn as a free agent.

The quest for 300 wins is entertaining and all, but we just can’t justify it.

Aug. 1, 1963: Traded outfielder-catcher Gene Green to the Cincinnati Reds for catcher Sammy Taylor.

Aug. 10, 1963: Sold catcher Cal Neeman to the Washington Senators.

Don’t have ‘em.

1963 season: Indians’ deals we will invoke

May 5, 1963: Sold outfielder Willie Tasby to the Kansas City Athletics.

May 5, 1963: Sold pitcher Bob Allen to the Washington Senators.

Getting squeezed off the roster.

1963 season results

We haven’t made any significant trade acquisitions in the off-season, but still we open 1963 with some key new faces on board.

We’re looking to sharpen up the infield defense by giving rookie Tony Martinez a crack at the starting shortstop job. Incumbent shortstop Woodie Held will shift to center field (which he’s played before), where he will compete for playing time with another rookie, Vic Davalillo, who’s coming off a terrific season at triple-A in his first exposure as a full-time outfielder.

A third rookie, Ron Taylor, will be given a prominent role in our bullpen.

  Pos   Player         Age    G  AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
   1B   N. Cash*        28  147 493  64 132  19   1  25  77  89  75 .268 .383 .462 .845  136
 2B-1B  J. Temple       35   90 258  33  72  10   1   2  14  36  19 .279 .355 .349 .704   99
 SS-2B  L. Brown        23   74 247  25  63   6   0   5  18  22  27 .255 .306 .340 .646   81
   3B   M. Alvis        25  158 602  78 165  32   7  22  70  36 109 .274 .320 .460 .780  116
   RF   R. Colavito     29  160 597  88 160  29   2  21  89  84  77 .268 .354 .429 .783  119
   CF   V. Davalillo*   26   90 370  44 108  18   5   7  34  16  41 .292 .317 .424 .742  106
 LF-CF  A. Luplow*      24   95 265  31  62   5   2   6  23  30  56 .234 .317 .336 .653   84
  C-1B  J. Romano       28   89 255  28  55   5   2  10  34  38  49 .216 .317 .369 .685   92

 OF-2B  W. Held         31  133 416  61 103  19   4  17  61  61  96 .248 .349 .435 .784  119
   MI   J. Kindall      28   86 234  27  48   4   1   5  20  18  71 .205 .259 .295 .553   55
   LF   C. Essegian     31  101 231  24  51   9   0   5  25  19  46 .221 .280 .325 .604   69
 OF-1B  W. Bond*        25   85 216  20  51   8   0   9  28  12  24 .236 .281 .398 .679   88
   C    R. Nixon*       28   82 201  20  53  12   1   3  21  16  22 .264 .324 .378 .702   97
   SS   D. Howser       27   49 162  25  40   5   0   1  10  22  18 .247 .326 .296 .623   77
   C    J. Azcue        23   63 160  21  44   8   0   7  23   7  24 .275 .300 .456 .756  109
   IF   M. de la Hoz    24   67 150  15  40  10   0   5  25   9  29 .267 .311 .433 .744  106
   SS   T. Martinez     23   43 141  10  22   4   0   0   8   5  18 .156 .179 .184 .363    2
   
        Others                   98  10  23   6   1   3  10   3  26 .235 .255 .408 .663   83

        Pitchers                392  40  63   9   2 **7  29  20 159 .161 .187 .245 .432   20

        Total                 5488 664 1355 218  29 160 619 543 986 .247 .312 .384 .697   95

        *  Bats left

        Pitcher        Age    G  GS  CG   W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
        M. Grant        27   38  32  10  13  13   1 229 213 107  94   30   87  157 3.69   99
        J. Kralick*     28   28  27  10  13   8   0 197 187  70  64   19   41  116 2.92  125
        D. Donovan      35   30  27   6  11  10   0 185 189  94  86   24   25   77 4.18   87
        P. Ramos        28   36  22   5   9   8   0 185 156  74  64   29   41  169 3.11  117
        B. Latman       27   31  21   4   7  11   1 137 135  84  77   21   46  122 5.06   72
        D. Mossi*       34   24  16   3   6   7   2 123 110  58  50   19   18   67 3.66  100

        G. Bell         26   58   7   0   8   5   4 119  91  48  39   13   52   98 2.95  124
        R. Taylor       25   47   2   0   7   4   7  89  72  30  28    6   26   69 2.83  129
        T. Abernathy    30   39   0   0   6   2   9  53  49  22  17    3   26   42 2.89  126
        S. Hamilton*    27   37   0   0   4   2   2  64  55  24  22    3   26   62 3.09  118
        R. Nischwitz*   25   14   0   0   0   2   1  17  17  13  12    3    8   10 6.35   57

        Others                    8   1   1   5   0  71  80  45  37    4   34   47 4.69   78

        Total                   162  39  85  77 27 1469 1354 669 590 174  430 1036 3.61  101

        * Throws left

Some things go well. Alvis emerges as a star in his sophomore year. Kralick, the early-season acquisition, performs splendidly. A newly-effective Bell heads up a solid bullpen, alongside Taylor, nicely maturing southpaw Steve Hamilton, and a mid-season call-up from the minors, retread Ted Abernathy.

But mostly things don’t go all that well. Cash sees his batting average rebound a little bit, but while he’s turning out to be an excellent player, at the age of 28 it’s becoming clear he won’t be the superstar he’d promised to be in 1961. Colavito, though still performing solidly in every other respect at the age of 29, inexplicably sees his home run production fall off to about half of what we’ve come to expect.

Martinez proves to be completely overmatched with the bat, and is sent back to the minors and replaced by Howser, who proceeds to get hurt. Injuries also shelve Davalillo and catcher John Romano for extended periods, and Romano’s broken finger severely impairs his hitting when he returns.

Our left field platoon which had been robustly productive in 1962, is a bust in ’63, as both Luplow and Essegian slump badly. Overall our run production, which had been great in 1961 and good in ’62, is only slightly better than league-average. Thus combined with our pretty-good pitching, we’re just a pretty-good team, coming in at 85-77, fifth place in the ten-team league.

It’s a better performance than that of the actual Indians, but not all that much better. We’re at the point where we’re going to have to ask ourselves: do we really have the nucleus of a pennant contender here, or is it time for us to break it apart and rebuild?

    Actual Indians        Virtual Indians

    W     L  Pos   Year     W     L  Pos
    76    78  4    1960     80    74  4
    78    83  5    1961     91    70  3
    80    82  6    1962     91    71  2T
    79    83  5T   1963     85    77  5

Next time

Is it a turning point for our Tribe?

References & Resources
* How about that? Nine home runs by the pitchers! This staff includes several guys who really love to swing the bat. The breakdown of our nine 1962 big flies: Donovan four, Ramos three, Latman one, and Don Ferrarese one.

** It isn’t quite nine, but seven pitcher homers ain’t chopped liver either. The 1963 tally: Ramos three, and Donovan, Grant, Kralick, and Latman one each.

Print Friendly
 Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Google+0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone
« Previous: Jason Vargas, the twist, and the intent to throw hard
Next: The Verdict: Don’t get too fancy »

Comments

  1. Professor Longnose said...

    Marvelously entertaining.

    Bill James, somewhere or other, remarks that the Indians and Tigers were oddly intertwined during the 50s. Frank Lane GM’ed both teams, Bill Veeck owned both of them, Al Lopez managed both, and a pile of players were traded back and forth. Through this, somehow, the perennial contendingness of the Indians got transferred to the White Sox.

    That’s what you need to concentrate on—get that contendingness back from the White Sox. Trade with them, or undo some of those 50s trades.

  2. Steve Treder said...

    Well, there was a lot of trading between the Indians and White Sox in the ‘50s.  But beyond Lane’s pilfering Minnie Minoso from Hank Greenberg’s Indians in 1951, it isn’t accurate to point to that trading traffic as being a major cause of the Indians’ decline in the late ‘50s/early ‘60s.  Most of the Cleveland-Chicago transactions in the ‘50s were pretty fair.  The White Sox didn’t steal the Indians’ mojo.

  3. Robby Bonfire said...

    I will take Larry Doby, near the end of his career, over Chico Carrasquel and Jim Busby on their respective career best days.

  4. Robby Bonfire said...

    White Sox picking up Nellie Fox, Sherm Lollar, and Billy Pierce a for pinch of table salt, vastly upgraded them, too.  Too bad about the Norm Cash screw-up.  Can’t win them all.

    White Sox picking up Al Lopez was the clincher. No manager I ever saw handled pitchers better than did Al Lopez. Cleveland sealed their own fate by letting Lopez’s brilliant managerial mind escape to Chicago.  His Pythagorean wins / actual team season wins comparison overall beat the impressive numbers Casey posted in New York.

  5. Robby Bonfire said...

    1959 A.L. race could well have gone to Cleveland, who, even without Herb Score, came within five games of Chicago – and that is with Al Lopez managing Chicago.  Keep Lopez in Cleveland, and I know which way I am betting, before the fact, on the outcome of that race.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>