May 20, 2013
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About Steve TrederSteve Treder has presented papers to the Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture, and to the SABR Annual Convention. His articles have been published in Nine: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture, as well as in The National Pastime. A lifelong San Francisco Giants’ fan, he is Vice President for Strategic Development for Western Management Group, a compensation consulting firm headquartered in Los Gatos, California.
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The menagerie includes the requisite Panda, Baby Giraffe, and Freak.
We learn that there must be 50 ways to leave your lover. Is there any way for our Phillies or Mets to get our Cardinals to take leave of first place?
Love will keep The Captain and Tennille together. Can anything come between our Cardinals and first place?
Can it be that it was all so simple then, or has time rewritten every line? Let's look at the way our counterfactual friends were.
Eddie Kendricks got to keep on truckin'. How will our three franchises roll?
Your mama don't dance, and your daddy don't rock and roll. Will our heroes do better than that?
Don McLean drove his Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry. What will our franchises discover this year?
Let's swing into the '70s with our latest fictional fun.
Join Steve as he launches another virtual scenario, triple-franchise style.
Spilled Melky, deeper Dodgers, and a raging race
Recent weeks in this less-than-highest-quality division have brought an innovation, a swoon, and a challenge.
It's the nation's one and only Bicentennial. Will any of our many prove beneficiarial?
Jaws is showing at the drive-in. On the radio, Billy Swan is singing, "I Can Help." Get your leisure suit on and check out the scene in the American League East.
The Watergate scandal is swirling into such a force that it drives the President to resign from office. Will any of our American League East franchises be flashing the "V" sign?
For our franchises three, what will it be in '73?
The Winter Games are in Sapporo, and the Summer Games are in Munich. Will any of our three ball clubs perform Olympian feats?
Not quite one-third of the way into the season, so far it's been a runaway.
The Beatles are going their separate ways. All in the Family and Soul Train are debuting on the tube. Will our ball clubs be having fun in '71?
In season one, our Yankees got Tommy D., our Red Sox kept The Hawk, and our Indians got The Boomer. What might be in store this time around?
It's time for another virtual-franchise triple-header. This time it's the Yankees in the Roy White era, the Red Sox in the Rico Petrocelli era, and the Indians in the, um, Eddie Leon era.
Will the 2012 Giants escape the lousy hitting that doomed them in 2011?
Nixon is squaring off against Humphrey in what will turn out to be a squeaker, with Wallace in as a third-party spoiler. Our final race makes that one look like a snoozer.
And remember, if you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.
Batman and The Monkees are on TV. In Cold Blood and Valley of the Dolls top the bestseller lists. How might our contenders gain notice?
In Washington DC, marchers are protesting the Vietnam War. In San Francisco, the term "hippie" is being coined. In Los Angeles, Watts erupts into riot. What will our counterfactual trio be doing?
The Beatles are invading, it's all the way with LBJ, and we understand that Brock kid might be available.
In a world in which Boyer is a Giant, Flood is a Red, and Alou is a Cardinal, who will reach The Fall Classic?
Cue Wolfman Jack, baby. Our American Graffiti-era competitors are ready to deliver quite a show.
In the fourth off-season of this scenario, let's just say the trading action gets quite serious.
As Nixon and Kennedy seek the highest office in the nation, our three competitors seek the highest office in the National League.
It's round two for the virtual triple-header. Are the Redlegs and Redbirds ready to keep pace with the orange and black?
Steve adds a new twist to the "Virtual Team" series, promising some epic competition.
What might Brian Sabean be doing to get more runs on the board in 2012?
Being overlooked and underestimated is the 2011 Arizona Diamondbacks specialty. Perhaps it's time for that to stop.
Our Tribe bagged a flag in 1965. Can they repeat those tricks in '66? Keep the fans in heaven in '67?
The British are invading the pop music charts. The long struggle for American civil rights is taking decisive forward strides. Are our Indians ready to make this their moment too?
Is our re-Rockified Tribe ready to make Chief Wahoo say, "Yahoo!"?
Did you just see that? Did you see that rattler strike that bumbling oaf?
What if Frantic Frankie didn't fumble the Rock and misspend the Cash?
As July turns to August, the clarity of the NL West finish is sharpening, and some emerging images are distinctly more flattering than others.
It's Camelot in the White House, and Wagon Train on TV. Will there be joy in Kansas City?
It's out with the fifties, and in with the sixties. Will our version of the Athletics be entering a bold new era of competitiveness?
In years three and four, will Steve's alternative Athletics be able to climb the stairs out of the basement?
The season's still in its first half, but some late-season-style drama is unfolding in the Valley of the Sun.
Steve is going to Kansas City. Kansas City, here he comes. And he's asking: What if the Athletics hadn't been the "major league farm team"?
A month and change into the season, Steve inquires as to what sort of answers might be shaping up in response to pre-season questions regarding the National League West.
One of the very greatest went out with a thunderous bang, and then a whimper.
The Giants stunned everyone by running the table in 2010. With the element of surprise now eliminated, can they repeat in 2011?
Little Rock is being desegregated. The Edsel is being laughed at. Will our Pirates have their Sputnik moment?
James Dean is living fast and dying young. Elvis is causing an uproar on The Ed Sullivan Show. Can our Pirates get the heck out of seventh place?
Our alternative version of the I Love Lucy-era Bucs enters its third season. How might our heroes fare?
Is it really true that Branch Rickey's Pirates were a whole lot worse than they had to be? Steve decides to try to find out.
We've come a long way, and now we're ready to answer the big question: how brightly might our Mets shine in '69?
The good news for our virtual Mets is that we've been better than the actual Mets, but that's an awfully low bar. Can we get something going this time?
Our early Mets haven't been good, but neither have they been as terrible as the genuine article. In our third and fourth seasons, can we make the move to mediocrity?
Finished with our alternative scenario of the first-ever NL expansion draft, it's time to get our Mets roster ready and find out how well we can do in '62.
Let's revisit the creation of that most inept among the early expansion teams, and see how things might have gone differently.
When is the line crossed between prudence and foolishness?
You've got your process, and you've got your results... including the World Series championship.
We know all about who's playing. How about who might have been playing instead?
One word: It starts with "p," and it ends with "g," and it rhymes with "itching."
Steve considers a baseball novel that focuses on the hard stuff in the father-son relationship.
That's right: holding the Foxx-Cochrane-Grove nucleus together, and adding Cronin, Ferrell, and Newsom to it ... how good would they be?
Thus transforming the Depression's most desperate seller into its most prolific buyer.
In real life, first place was entirely beyond the Cardinals' reach in these years. Let's see how many St. Louis flags might have flown in our scenario.
What do you say we banish the Birds' Bing-and-Busch boo-boos?
Let's reminisce about those great Yankees teams of McGee and McGriff, and Drabek and Deshaies.
Let's see what might have happened if someone had managed to slip George Almighty some chill pills.
And we were blessed to know him.
Across half a century, the more things changed, the more they stayed the same. Two ambitious new volumes examine a couple of the more dramatic angles of baseball history.
You know, The Massive Scarlet Mechanical Apparatus would be great name for a 1960s psychedelic rock band. And if they were anything like this ball club, they'd be much more than a one-hit wonder.
The might-have-been prequel to that '70s classic, The Big Red Machine.
Careful! This octogenarian is so sharp, you gotta wear gloves.
The name is Stein ... Fred Stein.
Let's face it, the Giants are good. That said, they're also, well, special.
Steve considers a new book that examines an historic figure we tend to take for granted.
Matthew and Steve are back, this time with a passel of pitcher pairings, from Pennock-Pettitte to Dickson-Darwin.
It's time to get our kicks with the might-have-been Yankees of '56.
Think the Eisenhower-era Bronx Bombers couldn't have been much better? Think again.
In which we witness the unloading of some very big lumber near the Lake Erie shore.
What if Frankie hadn't been quite so frantic in Cleveland?
The 2009 Giants are a good ball club. Who knew?
Discover the distant-decade dopplegangers.
Let's catch up with this most congenial big fellow as he continues to chuck heaters past hitters well into his 40s.
Get acquainted with this most unusual breed of catchers, right up to the most current cohort.
We're ready for round two with this memorable heavyweight.
It's time for round two with the most peculiar of defensive hybrids.
Let's see, how to describe him ... the pitching equivalent of roast beef and potatoes. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated, but substantial, satisfying, and just doggone good.
Come along with Steve as he explores the most extraordinary of all defensive versatility.
In his 37th and final season as a big league GM, did The Mahatma go out with a bang, or a whimper?
Onto the fourth year of his five-year rebuilding plan, was Mr. Rickey ready to show any progress? Any?
How did The Mahatma go about cleaning up the mess of his own making?
As an art historian might say when discovering Michelangelo's unfortunate "Dogs Playing Poker" period ... what was that all about?
Maybe it's just that they got rid of the wrong Barry ...
It's year one for Mister Rickey in Pittsburgh. What kind of a start does he pull off?
Shining a light into the lone dark alley of The Mahatma's long and brilliant career.
If only changing one's luck were as easy as changing one's name.
Oh, yeah, they were bad enough in real life. But that performance may actually have been their best-case scenario.
Spanning a vast Southwest landscape, it was vibrantly colorful, fleeting but amazing.
It doesn't make any sense, but nobody seems to have explained that to this tiny band of rugged individualists. You can probably guess who's been the best. But who else is on the list?
The most exclusive club we've yet visited features tales of strikeouts, caught stealings, lawsuits and frostbite. It also includes some of the most underappreciated talent of all time.
That a population comprising, at most, about one second baseman in five should include both of the very best at the position is quite strange. But there it is.
The left turns at the hot corner include quite a few of the position's very best, and one in particular who's never been recognized as such.
Let's meet the best of the southpaw-swinging backstop minority.
It's a phenomenon with which we're all familiar, but as Steve admits, just how often do we really think about it? And—seriously—it is kind of weird.
Catch up with Steve and Matthew as they complete their virtual decade with the robust Red Sox.
When we left our virtual Bosox, they were just about to decide to keep that guy named Ruth. Let's find out if that would have had any impact.
Instead of "No, No, Nannette," let's play "No, No, Harry." Steve and Matthew team up to explore the most dramatic of virtual landscapes.
Joe the Plumber? Big deal. We've got not one but two Joe the Baptists, plus something wild, and, of course, the so-far-second-greatest Rule 5 pick ever.
Bob Kennedy's boy pays THT a visit, and shares stories of growing up around big leaguers and following his dad's footsteps to devote a lifetime to the game.
It was an unusually rich period for intriguing Rule 5 cases. We meet a Cy Young Award winner, a couple of MVPs, The Most Underrated Player in Baseball History and a space cadet.
See beyond their puny size, their insignificance in the sea of important achievements. Perceive instead their intrinsic beauty.
Steve's update of the draftee honor roll includes Fritz, Joe, Moe and Bo.
This obscure 1940s ballplayer with the funny name scaled a towering peak.
Steve's spotlight on swingmen features Donald Duck, Dr. Death and all the rest right up to the present day. And it raises the essential question: Did you love The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon?
Yes, that's right, the annual Rule 5 draft goes way-y back. And it's remarkable who some of its alumni have been.
Just how good would this offense be? Just good enough to establish the all-time National League record for team OPS+, that's all.
Everything's bigger in Texas, or so they say, and apparently that includes the talent-squanderings ...
Think swingmen are just a bunch of journeymen? Think again, my friend. This week's crew includes six ERA champions, three Cy Young Award winners and a Hall of Famer.
We've seen the worst of the best, but it was clear all along that we were heading toward the worst of the worst. And—oh, my.
Remember the logo, with that slightly deranged-looking friar gleefully and wildly swinging that big bat? Here's the one season in which it was a perfect fit.
The flexible flingers make their way through the era in which the model of relief pitcher deployment began to fundamentally change.
Or, how to make the worst of a bad situation.
Come on, relax. Get those ice cubes tinkling in that long tall glass, find a cool shady spot for that lawn chair, and give yourself over to the delight of the wonderfully written baseball word.
Steve shines the spotlight on the "Put me in, Coach!" class of pitchers.
You think you've seen some bad stuff on these lists before? Better put on that hazard suit and oxygen mask now; we're starting to get into the seriously deep muck.
Yes, it's a Ripken thing, but it's so much, much more than that.
The remarkably voluminous second act of a career that was a case study in doing well, but doing not quite well enough to find the spotlight.
Not every extraordinary career includes stardom ...
Who'll we find at the bottom of this foul barrel? Here's a hint: We've seen him in these parts before.
Climb aboard the final car in the Superdupersub train, and meet everyone from Bobby Bo to Super Joe, from Bip to Cat, from F.P. to Jolbert, and of course both Loretta and DeRosa.
What might have happened with the best of young and old in green and gold?
How much talent took flight in the Oakland diaspora?
Who'll head the list of fizzling fifth-slot fiascos?
Rub-a-dub-dub! Here they are for the '70s and '80s, everyone up to and including the Psycho.
Don't touch that dial! Stay tuned for Treder's take on a tome about teams on the tube.
These guys couldn't tidy things up with a mop, a bucket, a gallon of Mr. Clean and a hundred rolls of Bounty.
He wasn't the greatest player of all time, but the Colorful Hall of Fame has him inner-circle.
It isn't just any sub, after all, who's dressed up like a million dollar trooper, trying hard to look like Gary Cooper.
If the heart of your order is looking like this, it's time to stock up on the digitalis.
The good-but-might-have-been-better batters have been away for a while. It's time we got caught up.
A sub is fine. A supersub is better. But to be the very best of subs is, yes, to be a superdupersub.
Sometimes, No. 2 really does kind of mean "No. 2" ...
He was a smart, strong bulldog of a man, and Steve finds his biography to be no less commanding of respect. Grrr!
Or, as one prominent Bay Area figure used to put it, cool is a rule, but sometimes bad is bad.
Steve rounds up the top training-season trades of recent decades, involving Sarge, Mr. Scoop, Slammin' Sammy and a tremendous Edmonds catch.
Think spring training over the years hasn't been much of a season for big trades? Think again, my friend.
Set the table? These guys couldn't find the dining room with a map, a compass, a GPS unit, and Rickey Henderson holding their hands.
Something about this month seems to get some of the very biggest stars packed off in trades. Hall of Famers Carlton and Carew are dealt here, along with more recent heavyweights named Clemens, Griffey, A-Rod and Santana.
This month's first batch of hot deals goes from Buck and Cy to a double shot of Mickey McD, and of course includes a visit with Jake Fournier—no, that's Jack Daubert—no ... wait ... whatever.
Aww ... weren't they cute?
So who was it whose writing survives in faded ink on yellowed brittle paper?
This menu offers an unhealthy portion of mistake moves, including the Staub and Sandberg dishes, as well as the super-sized screw-up otherwise known as the Glenn Davis trade. Amid all this, how does the Swisher sendoff stack up?
We're ready for the new year's first review of colossal shakeups from new years past, from Wee Willie to Rocky.
The adjusted view of the elite hitting stars of the mid-1960s yields five, count 'em, five 50-plus home run performances within a four-season span, including a new National League record.
Round two of Steve's reconsideration of the decade runs the gamut from The Toy Cannon and Little Looie to Dr. Strangeglove and Hondo.
What if they hadn't ordered up a super-sized strike zone in the 1960s?
Steve's tour of the dealin' days of December completes the circuit, from "Five for One" Hayes to Cabrera, Tejada and Haren
The latest batch of holiday-season humdingers features quite a few of the lopsided variety. The stolen property inventory includes the names Robinson, Otis, Ryan, Singleton, Randolph and Hendrick.
In this hefty batch of deals from holiday seasons past, big names abound, from Wagner to Maris, with appearances along the way by Big Six, Ol' Pete, The Rajah, The Beast, and The Big Cat.
You woulda thunk that the most powerful organization in the annals of the sport might not settle for ... well, some interesting choices ...
Steve's review of November deals arrives at the present day, and includes several likely Hall of Famers, including two Pedro appearances.
In an unusually busy era of November deals, we encounter two trades involving managers, plus the McDowell and Morgan bombshells detonating on the same day.
The opening chapter of notable November swaps takes us from Sliding Billy to Dr. Strangeglove.
It's November. Time to snuggle up and savor a few of the very finest nuggets of baseball writing from years past.
The 2007 season is complete (though way too soon for Rockies fans), and Steve brings his examination of farm system performance up to the moment.
We complete the parade of the most productive lefty-righty pairings, marching past the reviewing stand, and discover a startling trend amid the final ranks.
It's Round Two of the biggest October talent swaps, in which we encounter Tony C., Frantic Frankie, Willie Mac, Mr. Bonds the Elder, and Jack the Ripper.