The Value Production Standings:  1971-1975

In earlier chapters, we’ve explored comparative farm system production for 1946-1950, 1951-1955, 1956-1960, 1961-1965, and 1966-1970. We’re ready now to lauch into the leisure suit era.

For a review of our methodology, please see the References and Resources section below.

Here’s the key to the figures we’re examining:

WSP = Win Shares Produced: the total of major league Win Shares produced that season by all players credited to the organization
Lg. WSP = League Win Shares Produced: the percentage of the league total of WSP credited to the organization
MLB WSP = Major League Baseball Win Shares Produced: the percentage of the MLB-wide total of WSP credited to the organization
W = Wins: the actual win total of the team that season
Lg. W = League Wins: the percentage of the league win total won by the team
W% – WSP% = League Wins minus League Win Shares Produced: a measure of how much better or worse a team actually performed than the league-wide value produced by their organization

The 1971 Value Production Standings

AL Organization   WSP  Lg. WSP  MLB WSP        W    Lg. W   W% - WSP%

Yankees           294    11.1%     5.1%       82     8.5%       -2.6%
Orioles           285    10.8%     4.9%      101    10.5%       -0.3%
Tigers            273    10.3%     4.7%       91     9.4%       -0.9%
Red Sox           257     9.7%     4.5%       85     8.8%       -0.9%
Indians           241     9.1%     4.2%       60     6.2%       -2.9%
Senators          113     4.3%     2.0%       63     6.5%        2.3%
East Division    1463    55.2%    25.4%      482    49.9%       -5.3%

Athletics         361    13.6%     6.3%      101    10.5%       -3.2%
Angels            266    10.0%     4.6%       76     7.9%       -2.2%
Twins             259     9.8%     4.5%       74     7.7%       -2.1%
White Sox         251     9.5%     4.4%       79     8.2%       -1.3%
Brewers            28     1.1%     0.5%       69     7.1%        6.1%
Royals             21     0.8%     0.4%       85     8.8%        8.0%
West Division    1186    44.8%    20.6%      484    50.1%        5.3%

AL Total         2649   100.0%    46.0%      966   100.0%        0.0%

NL Organization   WSP  Lg. WSP  MLB WSP        W    Lg. W   W% - WSP%

Pirates           384    12.3%     6.7%       97    10.0%       -2.3%
Mets              273     8.8%     4.7%       83     8.5%       -0.2%
Cardinals         270     8.7%     4.7%       90     9.3%        0.6%
Phillies          241     7.7%     4.2%       67     6.9%       -0.8%
Cubs              211     6.8%     3.7%       83     8.5%        1.8%
Expos               0     0.0%     0.0%       71     7.3%        7.3%
East Division    1379    44.3%    23.9%      491    50.6%        6.3%

Giants            424    13.6%     7.4%       90     9.3%       -4.3%
Reds              373    12.0%     6.5%       79     8.1%       -3.8%
Braves            356    11.4%     6.2%       82     8.4%       -3.0%
Dodgers           313    10.1%     5.4%       89     9.2%       -0.9%
Astros            266     8.5%     4.6%       79     8.1%       -0.4%
Padres              3     0.1%     0.1%       61     6.3%        6.2%
West Division    1735    55.7%    30.1%      480    49.4%       -6.3%

NL Total         3114   100.0%    54.0%      971   100.0%        0.0%

MLB Total        5763     n/a    100.0%     1937     n/a         n/a

The Giants led the major leagues in WSP for the eighth consecutive year, and this time at last they captured a championship—albeit just the division flag, and that by the slimmest of margins. Their winning roster was almost entirely home-grown. Young star outfielders Bobby Bonds and Ken Henderson, catcher Dick Dietz, infielders Tito Fuentes, Chris Speier and Alan Gallagher and first baseman Dave Kingman joined the great veteran core of center fielder Willie Mays, first baseman Willie McCovey, and pitchers Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry. Winning something, for once, somewhat eased the Giants’ frustration that so many of their alumni were standing out elsewhere: outfielders Matty Alou (Cardinals), Dave May (Brewers), Felipe Alou (Yankees), Ollie Brown (Padres), Jose Cardenal (Cardinals-Brewers), George Foster (Reds) and Manny Mota (Dodgers), catchers Tom Haller (Dodgers) and Bob Barton (Padres) and pitchers Bill Hands (Cubs) and Eddie Fisher (Angels).

The Athletics had been a rising organization for several years, and in 1971 they broke through in a big way, leading the American League in WSP by a wide margin, winning 101 games and running away with the AL West. Virtually every key Oakland player was a product of the remarkable farm system owner Charlie Finley had built from scratch in the 1960s: MVP and Cy Young ace Vida Blue along with pitchers Catfish Hunter, Rollie Fingers, Chuck Dobson and Johnny “Blue Moon” Odom, outfielders Reggie Jackson, Rick Monday and Joe Rudi, third baseman Sal Bando, shortstop Campy Campaneris, second baseman Dick Green and catchers Dave Duncan and Gene Tenace.

In stark contrast, the team that finished second to the A’s in the AL West was in just its third season of existence, and already succeeding despite having had time to produce nothing from the farm except pitchers Paul Splittorff and Jim York. Instead, GM Cedric Tallis’ Royals (as we examined here) were reaping the benefits of several exceptionally wise trade acquisitions, including center fielder Amos Otis, shortstop Freddie Patek, second baseman Cookie Rojas, left fielder Lou Piniella, catcher Ed Kirkpatrick and pitcher Ted Abernathy. The Royals also had made shrewd expansion draft picks in third baseman Paul Schaal and pitchers Dick Drago, Mike Hedlund and Tom Burgmeier.

The 1972 Value Production Standings

AL Organization   WSP  Lg. WSP  MLB WSP        W    Lg. W   W% - WSP%

Orioles           290    12.2%     5.3%       80     8.6%       -3.6%
Red Sox           283    11.9%     5.1%       85     9.1%       -2.8%
Indians           275    11.6%     5.0%       72     7.8%       -3.8%
Yankees           223     9.4%     4.0%       79     8.5%       -0.9%
Tigers            222     9.3%     4.0%       86     9.3%       -0.1%
Brewers            23     1.0%     0.4%       65     7.0%        6.0%
East Division    1316    55.4%    23.9%      467    50.3%       -5.1%

Athletics         287    12.1%     5.2%       93    10.0%       -2.1%
Twins             250    10.5%     4.5%       77     8.3%       -2.2%
White Sox         214     9.0%     3.9%       87     9.4%        0.4%
Angels            189     8.0%     3.4%       75     8.1%        0.1%
Rangers            99     4.2%     1.8%       54     5.8%        1.6%
Royals             20     0.8%     0.4%       76     8.2%        7.3%
West Division    1059    44.6%    19.2%      462    49.7%        5.1%

AL Total         2375   100.0%    43.0%      929   100.0%        0.0%

NL Organization   WSP  Lg. WSP  MLB WSP        W    Lg. W   W% - WSP%

Pirates           344    10.9%     6.2%       96    10.3%       -0.6%
Cardinals         331    10.5%     6.0%       75     8.1%       -2.5%
Mets              308     9.8%     5.6%       83     8.9%       -0.9%
Cubs              243     7.7%     4.4%       85     9.1%        1.4%
Phillies          226     7.2%     4.1%       59     6.4%       -0.8%
Expos              12     0.4%     0.2%       70     7.5%        7.2%
East Division    1464    46.6%    26.5%      468    50.4%        3.8%

Reds              398    12.7%     7.2%       95    10.2%       -2.4%
Giants            384    12.2%     7.0%       69     7.4%       -4.8%
Astros            317    10.1%     5.7%       84     9.0%       -1.0%
Braves            293     9.3%     5.3%       70     7.5%       -1.8%
Dodgers           273     8.7%     4.9%       85     9.1%        0.5%
Padres             13     0.4%     0.2%       58     6.2%        5.8%
West Division    1678    53.4%    30.4%      461    49.6%       -3.8%

NL Total         3142   100.0%    57.0%      929   100.0%        0.0%

MLB Total        5517     n/a    100.0%     1858     n/a         n/a

The Reds snapped the Giants’ long reign as major league WSP leaders, and won division and league titles in the bargain. As in Cincinnati’s previous pennant-winning year of 1970, the core of “The Big Red Machine” was densely packed with home-grown talent: MVP catcher Johnny Bench, left fielder Pete Rose, first baseman Tony Perez, shortstop Dave Concepcion and pitchers Gary Nolan, Ross Grimsley and Don Gullett. But this Cincinnati edition was deeply enriched by imports in second baseman Joe Morgan, outfielders Bobby Tolan and Cesar Geronimo, third baseman Denis Menke and pitchers Jack Billingham, Clay Carroll and Tom Hall. This offset the extraordinary list of Cincinnati products excelling in other uniforms in 1972: outfielders Tommy Harper (Red Sox), Jim Wynn (Astros), Vada Pinson (Angels), Cesar Tovar (Twins), Frank Robinson (Dodgers), Vic Davalillo (Pirates) and Bernie Carbo (Cardinals), pitchers Claude Osteen (Dodgers) and Mike Cuellar (Orioles), first baseman Lee May (Astros), second basemen Tommy Helms (Astros) and Cookie Rojas (Royals) and catcher Johnny Edwards (Astros).

In his GM stints in Baltimore and Houston, Paul Richards had achieved remarkable success at creating productive farm systems, developing a foundation of young talent. Taking over the Braves in mid-1966, Richards encountered his first opportunity to build on an established organization with a history of success. Nevertheless, by 1972 Richards’ Braves had managed just one strong season (albeit a division-winning season in 1969). With the team struggling again (and festering in acrimony between players and management), Richards was fired in mid-year. His Atlanta system had produced a few outstanding young talents in outfielders Dusty Baker and Ralph Garr and catcher Earl Williams, as well as developing third baseman Darrell Evans, a draft pick from the Oakland organization, but they lacked for company.

Richards’ primary legacy in Atlanta, along with years of Hank Aaron heroics amidst sour frustration, was a pair of questionable and unsuccessful major trades: Denis Menke for Sonny Jackson in 1967 and Joe Torre for Orlando Cepeda in 1969.

The 1973 Value Production Standings

AL Organization   WSP  Lg. WSP  MLB WSP        W    Lg. W   W% - WSP%

Orioles           298    12.3%     5.2%       97    10.0%       -2.4%
Red Sox           273    11.3%     4.8%       89     9.2%       -2.2%
Indians           236     9.8%     4.1%       71     7.3%       -2.5%
Yankees           232     9.6%     4.0%       80     8.2%       -1.4%
Tigers            205     8.5%     3.6%       85     8.7%        0.2%
Brewers            70     2.9%     1.2%       74     7.6%        4.7%
East Division    1314    54.5%    22.9%      496    51.0%       -3.4%

Athletics         346    14.3%     6.0%       94     9.7%       -4.7%
Twins             230     9.5%     4.0%       81     8.3%       -1.2%
White Sox         198     8.2%     3.4%       77     7.9%       -0.3%
Angels            160     6.6%     2.8%       79     8.1%        1.5%
Rangers           110     4.6%     1.9%       57     5.9%        1.3%
Royals             55     2.3%     1.0%       88     9.1%        6.8%
West Division    1099    45.5%    19.1%      476    49.0%        3.4%

AL Total         2413   100.0%    42.0%      972   100.0%        0.0%

NL Organization   WSP  Lg. WSP  MLB WSP        W    Lg. W   W% - WSP%

Pirates           325     9.8%     5.7%       80     8.2%       -1.5%
Mets              304     9.1%     5.3%       82     8.5%       -0.7%
Cardinals         267     8.0%     4.6%       81     8.4%        0.3%
Phillies          258     7.7%     4.5%       71     7.3%       -0.4%
Cubs              251     7.5%     4.4%       77     7.9%        0.4%
Expos              27     0.8%     0.5%       79     8.1%        7.3%
East Division    1432    43.0%    24.9%      470    48.5%        5.5%

Giants            450    13.5%     7.8%       88     9.1%       -4.4%
Reds              392    11.8%     6.8%       99    10.2%       -1.6%
Dodgers           367    11.0%     6.4%       95     9.8%       -1.2%
Astros            325     9.8%     5.7%       82     8.5%       -1.3%
Braves            302     9.1%     5.3%       76     7.8%       -1.2%
Padres             63     1.9%     1.1%       60     6.2%        4.3%
West Division    1899    57.0%    33.1%      500    51.5%       -5.5%

NL Total         3331   100.0%    58.0%      970   100.0%        0.0%

MLB Total        5744     n/a    100.0%     1942     n/a         n/a

For more than a decade, the Orioles consistently had been at or near the top of the AL in value production. Their 1973 edition bounced back from an off-year to regain the East Division title, and in so doing displayed a new generation of organization-produced talent. Second baseman Bobby Grich and outfielders Don Baylor, Al Bumbry, Rich Coggins and Merv Rettenmund joined the familiar home-grown core of pitchers Jim Palmer and Dave McNally, center fielder Paul Blair, first baseman Boog Powell, third baseman Brooks Robinson and shortstop Mark Belanger.

In the National League, the Mets won the pennant in unlikely, hard-fought fashion, and then battled all the way to the seventh game of the World Series. The Mets succeeded with much the same farm-raised cast they’d featured in their breakthrough season of 1969: Cy Young-winning ace Tom Seaver, pitchers Jerry Koosman and Tug McGraw, shortstop Bud Harrelson and left fielder Cleon Jones. To this in ’73 they’d added young home-grown standouts in pitcher Jon Matlack and first baseman John Milner, plus key imports in right fielder Rusty Staub, third baseman Wayne Garrett and second baseman Felix Millan.

But even with their success, there was a deep sense of “what might have been” about the ’73 Mets. A series of trades in preceding years had sent away a remarkable bounty of organizational output, including pitchers Nolan Ryan (Angels), Steve Renko (Expos) and Jim Bibby (Rangers), outfielders Amos Otis (Royals) and Leroy Stanton (Angels) and the three players they surrendered to Montreal in exchange for Staub: outfielder Ken Singleton, first baseman Mike Jorgensen and shortstop Tim Foli.

For the 23rd consecutive year, in 1973 the National League outproduced the American in overall value, and this time it was by the widest margin ever recorded: 58.0% to 42.0%. As in past seasons, largely this was a function of the far greater development of players of color by NL organizations—39.3% of NL WSP as opposed to 23.6% in the AL—but the WSP gap between the leagues of more than 900 Win Shares was greater even than the gap in non-white WSP. National League organizations in 1973 had developed much more talent, period.

The broad inequality between the leagues was perceived and acknowledged during this period, at least by the sport’s sharper and more candid observers. Roger Angell wrote the following in The New Yorker in June 1972:

Among the … hovering anxieties is the deepening disparity in quality and attendance between the two major leagues. Last year’s record total attendance did not conceal the fact that the National League outdrew the American by nearly five and a half million customers: 17,324,857 to 11,858,560. The gap is widening this year, with the NL running ahead of last season’s comparable attendance figures, and the AL behind. The difference between the leagues in quality and attractiveness of play is harder to prove, but it can be suggested … fans would respond with pleasure and alacrity to a … solution to the American League’s problems: better ball teams.

The 1974 Value Production Standings

AL Organization   WSP  Lg. WSP  MLB WSP        W    Lg. W   W% - WSP%

Red Sox           345    13.8%     6.1%       84     8.7%       -5.2%
Orioles           250    10.0%     4.4%       91     9.4%       -0.6%
Tigers            223     8.9%     3.9%       72     7.4%       -1.5%
Yankees           199     8.0%     3.5%       89     9.2%        1.2%
Indians           191     7.7%     3.4%       77     7.9%        0.3%
Brewers            80     3.2%     1.4%       76     7.8%        4.6%
East Division    1288    51.6%    22.6%      489    50.4%       -1.2%

Athletics         329    13.2%     5.8%       90     9.3%       -3.9%
Twins             239     9.6%     4.2%       82     8.5%       -1.1%
Rangers           200     8.0%     3.5%       84     8.7%        0.6%
Angels            190     7.6%     3.3%       68     7.0%       -0.6%
White Sox         179     7.2%     3.1%       80     8.2%        1.1%
Royals             69     2.8%     1.2%       77     7.9%        5.2%
West Division    1206    48.4%    21.2%      481    49.6%        1.2%

AL Total         2494   100.0%    43.8%      970   100.0%        0.0%

NL Organization   WSP  Lg. WSP  MLB WSP        W    Lg. W   W% - WSP%

Pirates           363    11.3%     6.4%       88     9.1%       -2.3%
Phillies          318     9.9%     5.6%       80     8.2%       -1.7%
Mets              305     9.5%     5.4%       71     7.3%       -2.2%
Cardinals         267     8.3%     4.7%       86     8.9%        0.5%
Cubs              189     5.9%     3.3%       66     6.8%        0.9%
Expos              51     1.6%     0.9%       79     8.1%        6.5%
East Division    1493    46.6%    26.2%      470    48.4%        1.8%

Reds              384    12.0%     6.7%       98    10.1%       -1.9%
Giants            353    11.0%     6.2%       72     7.4%       -3.6%
Dodgers           322    10.1%     5.7%      102    10.5%        0.4%
Astros            308     9.6%     5.4%       81     8.3%       -1.3%
Braves            273     8.5%     4.8%       88     9.1%        0.5%
Padres             68     2.1%     1.2%       60     6.2%        4.1%
West Division    1708    53.4%    30.0%      501    51.6%       -1.8%

NL Total         3201   100.0%    56.2%      971   100.0%        0.0%

MLB Total        5695     n/a    100.0%     1941     n/a         n/a

Back in 1967, the Red Sox had leapt to success on the strength of a bumper crop of farm talent. Further championships had eluded them, but the organization remained a consistently robust producer. In 1974 Boston led the AL in WSP. Veteran star left fielder Carl Yastrzemski and third baseman Rico Petrocelli were joined by younger home-grown standouts in pitcher Bill Lee, outfielder Dwight Evans, catcher Carlton Fisk, shortstop Rick Burleson and first baseman Cecil Cooper, as well as a couple of highly impressive September call-ups: outfielders Fred Lynn and Jim Rice.

Still, the Red Sox weren’t a strong contender. Too many high-quality Boston products had gotten away: pitchers Wilbur Wood (White Sox), Sparky Lyle (Yankees), Jim Lonborg (Phillies), Ken Brett (Pirates) and Lynn McGlothen and John Curtis (Cardinals), outfielders Reggie Smith (Cardinals) and Amos Otis (co-produced by the Mets, now with the Royals) and first baseman George Scott (Brewers).

The Yankees, with 146 fewer WSP, finished five games ahead of the Red Sox. No longer the dominant AL value producer they’d been in prior decades, the Yanks’ only home-grown stars in 1974 were outfielders Bobby Murcer and Roy White, catcher Thurman Munson and pitcher Doc Medich. But general managers Lee MacPhail and Gabe Paul had over the past several years in turn engineered sound acquisitions that yielded, along with relief ace Lyle, third baseman Graig Nettles, first baseman Chris Chambliss, center fielder Elliott Maddox and pitchers Pat Dobson, Dick Tidrow and Rudy May.

An organization making a breakthrough in 1974 was the Rangers. Through its tenure in Washington, the franchise never had developed more than a rudimentary farm system, and arrived in Texas as the lowliest of cellar-dwellers. But though he had enraged Washington fans with his abrupt relocation of the team, owner Bob Short did invest in the farm.

By 1974, results were forthcoming in the form of MVP outfielder Jeff Burroughs, first baseman Mike Hargrove, catcher Jim Sundberg, infielders Toby Harrah and Lenny Randle and pitcher Steve Foucault. Along with the stout contributions of imported Cy Young-winning ace Ferguson Jenkins, outfielder Cesar Tovar and pitchers Jackie Brown and Jim Bibby, under firebrand manager Billy Martin the Rangers improved by 27 wins and finished in second place, the best showing in franchise history.

From 1953 through 1963, the Dodgers had led the National League in WSP every year, and they’d captured 10 pennants in the 20-season span of ’47 through ’66. Then their farm system production had faded, and the Dodgers dropped out of contention for a few years, but in 1974 they were back in the post-season, winning the division and the pennant. This Dodger team led the majors in wins despite finishing fourth in the NL in value production.

They blended the contributions of home-grown stars in MVP first baseman Steve Garvey, third baseman Ron Cey, second baseman Davey Lopes, left fielder Bill Buckner, right fielder Willie Crawford, catchers Joe Ferguson and Steve Yeager, shortstop Bill Russell and pitcher Don Sutton with imports in center fielder Jim Wynn and pitchers Mike Marshall (the NL Cy Young Award winner), Andy Messersmith and Tommy John.

The Phillies hadn’t won anything since 1950, and they didn’t in 1974, either, going 80-82. But that performance was their best in nearly a decade, and they did it with a roster that included some impressive young talent: at 318, their WSP was a franchise record, superior by a margin of 60 win shares over their previous best, in 1973. Organization-developed standouts among the ’74 Phils included young superstar third baseman Mike Schmidt, left fielder Greg Luzinski, shortstop Larry Bowa, catcher Bob Boone and pitcher Dick Ruthven.

The 1975 Value Production Standings

AL Organization   WSP  Lg. WSP  MLB WSP        W    Lg. W   W% - WSP%

Red Sox           324    12.8%     5.7%       95     9.9%       -3.0%
Orioles           226     8.9%     4.0%       90     9.3%        0.4%
Yankees           177     7.0%     3.1%       83     8.6%        1.6%
Tigers            164     6.5%     2.9%       57     5.9%       -0.6%
Indians           161     6.4%     2.8%       79     8.2%        1.8%
Brewers           107     4.2%     1.9%       68     7.1%        2.8%
East Division    1159    45.9%    20.4%      472    49.0%        3.1%

Athletics         355    14.1%     6.2%       98    10.2%       -3.9%
Twins             258    10.2%     4.5%       76     7.9%       -2.3%
Angels            236     9.3%     4.2%       72     7.5%       -1.9%
Rangers           232     9.2%     4.1%       79     8.2%       -1.0%
White Sox         172     6.8%     3.0%       75     7.8%        1.0%
Royals            114     4.5%     2.0%       91     9.4%        4.9%
West Division    1367    54.1%    24.1%      491    51.0%       -3.1%

AL Total         2526   100.0%    44.4%      963   100.0%        0.0%

NL Organization   WSP  Lg. WSP  MLB WSP        W    Lg. W   W% - WSP%

Pirates           315    10.0%     5.5%       92     9.5%       -0.5%
Cardinals         303     9.6%     5.3%       82     8.5%       -1.1%
Mets              286     9.1%     5.0%       82     8.5%       -0.6%
Phillies          277     8.8%     4.9%       86     8.9%        0.1%
Cubs              197     6.2%     3.5%       75     7.7%        1.5%
Expos             103     3.3%     1.8%       75     7.7%        4.5%
East Division    1481    46.9%    26.1%      492    50.7%        3.8%

Giants            403    12.8%     7.1%       80     8.2%       -4.5%
Reds              347    11.0%     6.1%      108    11.1%        0.1%
Astros            316    10.0%     5.6%       64     6.6%       -3.4%
Dodgers           281     8.9%     4.9%       88     9.1%        0.2%
Braves            251     8.0%     4.4%       67     6.9%       -1.0%
Padres             78     2.5%     1.4%       71     7.3%        4.8%
West Division    1676    53.1%    29.5%      478    49.3%       -3.8%

NL Total         3157   100.0%    55.6%      970   100.0%        0.0%

MLB Total        5683     n/a    100.0%     1933     n/a         n/a

Through the 1960s, the Pirates hadn’t been an especially competitive value production organization. But with the implementation of divisional play beginning in 1969, the Pittsburgh system stepped forward and stayed there, leading the NL East in WSP every season from ’69 through ’75. Not coincidentally, they were a consistent winner: Their 1975 division flag was their fifth in six years.

The ’75 lineup was keyed by home-grown stars in right fielder Dave Parker, catcher Manny Sanguillen, first baseman Willie Stargell, left fielder Richie Zisk, center fielder Al Oliver, second baseman Rennie Stennett and rookie pitcher John Candelaria.

Meanwhile, the Giants in 1975 led the majors in WSP while going 80-81. It was the 10th time in 12 seasons San Francisco had topped the league in value production, and through that period the Giants had but a single division title to show for it. The ’75 Giants had a few outstanding products on hand, in pitchers John Montefusco and Jim Barr, shortstop Chris Speier and left fielder Gary Matthews. However, the long, long list of ex-Giants included outfielders Jose Cardenal (Cubs), Bobby Bonds (Yankees), George Foster (Reds), Garry Maddox (Phillies), Dave Kingman (Mets) and Ken Henderson (White Sox), first baseman Willie McCovey (Padres), second baseman Tito Fuentes (Padres) and pitchers Gaylord Perry (Indians-Rangers) and Ed Figueroa (Angels).

Another franchise creating a legacy of frustration was the Astros. In 1975, they were third in the National League in WSP, exceeding 300 win shares for the fourth straight year. Yet their won-lost record was a dreadful 64-97, dead last in the league. A series of ill-considered transactions had dismissed outstanding system-developed talents, including MVP second baseman Joe Morgan (Reds), first baseman John Mayberry (Royals), outfielders Rusty Staub (Mets), Jim Wynn (co-produced by the Reds, and now with the Dodgers) and Cesar Geronimo (Reds), catcher Jerry Grote (Mets) and infielder Derrel Thomas (Giants).

The Athletics lost ace pitcher Catfish Hunter to free agency through a defaulted contract, but still won a fifth consecutive division title. In WSP they remained the class of the league, topping the AL West for the seventh time in a row. Outside of Hunter, most of the terrific original flag-winning cast of farm-bred A’s was still on hand: Jackson, Bando, Rudi, Campaneris, Tenace, Blue and Fingers, joined now by younger organizational products in outfielder Claudell Washington and second baseman Phil Garner.

The National League in 1975 retained its distinct superiority in overall value production—for the 25th straight time—but at 55.6% to 44.4% the margin was reduced a bit from its 1973 peak. The difference between the leagues in the proportion of value produced by players of color closed somewhat as well: 38.6% from NL franchises compared to 27.0% from the AL. Were the leagues finally beginning to converge in the volume of talent production? We’ll find out next time.

The Value Production Standings Summary, 1946-1975

American League

  Year      NYY      DET      BOS      CLE      OAK      MIN      BAL      CHW      CAL      WAS   AL WSP
  1946        1        2        3        4        5        6        7        8        x        x    56.5%
  1947        1        2        4        3        5        6        8        7        x        x    55.3%
  1948        1        3        4        2        5        7        6        8        x        x    55.6%
  1949        1       3T       3T        2        5        7        6        8        x        x    51.9%
  1950        1        3        4        2        7        6        5        8        x        x    50.5%
  1951        2        4        3        1        5        6        8        7        x        x    49.0%
  1952        1        4        3        2        5        6        8        7        x        x    47.9%
  1953        2        4        3        1        7        6        8        5        x        x    46.2%
  1954       1T        4        3       1T        7        6        8        5        x        x    47.5%
  1955        1        4        2        3        5        6        8        7        x        x    46.7%
  1956        1        4        2        3        7        5        8        6        x        x    47.1%
  1957        1        4        2        3        6        8        7        5        x        x    46.3%
  1958        1        4        3        2        8        7        6        5        x        x    46.4%
  1959        1        4        3        2        8        7        5        6        x        x    46.5%
  1960        1        5        3        2        8        7        4        6        x        x    46.0%
  1961        1        4        3        2        8        7        5        6        9       10    48.3%
  1962        1        3        4        2        8        6        5        7       10        9    43.1%
  1963        1        5        4        2        8        7        3        6       10        9    43.6%
  1964        1        3        4        5        8        7        2        6        9       10    45.0%
  1965        1        2        7        4        8        6        3        5        9       10    44.5%
  1966        1        3        6        5        7        8        2        4        9       10    44.4%
  1967        7        4        1        6        8        3        2        5        9       10    45.5%
  1968        7        1        4        5        2        8        3        6        9       10    45.8%

American League East Division

  Year      BAL      DET      BOS      NYY      CLE      WAS  ALE WSP   AL WSP
  1969        1        2        3        4        5        6    27.1%    45.3%
  1970        2        4        1        3        5        6    27.1%    44.7%
  1971        2        3        4        1        5        6    25.4%    46.0%
            BAL      DET      BOS      NYY      CLE      MIL
  1972        1        5        2        4        3        6    23.9%    43.0%
  1973        1        5        2        4        3        6    22.9%    42.0%
  1974        2        3        1        4        5        6    22.6%    43.8%
  1975        2        4        1        3        5        6    20.4%    44.4%

American League West Division

  Year      OAK      MIN      CHW      CAL      KCR      MIL  ALW WSP   AL WSP
  1969        1        2        3        4       5T       5T    18.2%    45.3%
  1970        1        2        3        4        5        6    17.6%    44.7%
  1971        1        3        4        2        6        5    20.6%    46.0%
            OAK      MIN      CHW      CAL      KCR      TEX
  1972        1        2        3        4        6        5    19.2%    43.0%
  1973        1        2        3        4        6        5    19.1%    42.0%
  1974        1        2        5        4        6        3    21.2%    43.8%
  1975        1        2        5        3        6        4    24.0%    44.4%

National League

  Year      STL      LAD      CHC      CIN      PHI      PIT      ATL      SFG      HOU      NYM   NL WSP
  1946        1        2        3        4        5        6        7        8        x        x    43.5%
  1947        1        2        4        3        7        6        8        5        x        x    44.7%
  1948        1        2        3        4        6        7        8        5        x        x    44.4%
  1949        1        2        3        4        5        7        8        6        x        x    48.1%
  1950        1        2        5        6        4        7        8        3        x        x    49.5%
  1951        1        2        5        4        6        7        8        3        x        x    51.0%
  1952        1        2        5        4        6        8        7        3        x        x    52.1%
  1953        2        1        7        4        5        8        3        6        x        x    53.8%
  1954        2        1        7        5        6        8        3        4        x        x    52.5%
  1955        3        1        6        5        7        8        2        4        x        x    53.3%
  1956        2        1        8        4        6        7        3        5        x        x    52.9%
  1957        2        1        7        5        4        8        3        6        x        x    53.7%
  1958        4        1        8        6        7        5        2        3        x        x    53.6%
  1959        3        1        7        5        8        6        2        4        x        x    53.5%
  1960        3        1        8        6        7        5        4        2        x        x    54.0%
  1961        2        1        7        5        8        6        3        4        x        x    51.7%
  1962        4        1        7        5        8        6        2        3        9       10    56.9%
  1963        5        1        7        4        8        6        3        2        9       10    56.4%
  1964        6        3        7        4        8        5        2        1        9       10    55.0%
  1965        6        2        8        3        7        5        4        1        9       10    55.5%
  1966        6        4        7        2        8        5        3        1        9       10    55.6%
  1967        5        3        6        2        7        8        4        1        9       10    54.5%
  1968        5        4        6        2        8        7        3        1        9       10    54.2%

National League East Division

  Year      PIT      STL      CHC      NYM      PHI      MON  NLE WSP   NL WSP
  1969        1        2        3        4        5        6    22.8%    54.7%
  1970        1        2        4        5        3        6    23.0%    55.3%
  1971        1        3        5        2        4        6    23.9%    54.0%
  1972        1        2        4        3        5        6    26.5%    57.0%
  1973        1        3        5        2        4        6    24.9%    58.0%
  1974        1        4        5        3        2        6    26.2%    56.2%
  1975        1        2        5        3        4        6    26.1%    55.6%

National League West Division

  Year      SFG      CIN      ATL      LAD      HOU      SDP  NLW WSP   NL WSP
  1969        1        2        3        4        5        6    31.9%    54.7%
  1970        1        2        3        4        5        6    32.3%    55.3%
  1971        1        2        3        4        5        6    30.1%    54.0%
  1972        2        1        4        5        3        6    30.4%    57.0%
  1973        1        2        5        3        4        6    33.1%    58.0%
  1974        2        1        5        3        4        6    30.0%    56.2%
  1975        1        2        5        4        3        6    29.5%    55.6%

———

References & Resources

Methodology

First, we identify every player in the major leagues each season with a total of at least five career Win Shares. Then we identify which major league organization was responsible for originally signing and developing that player (or perhaps not originally signing him, but clearly being the organization most responsible for developing him). Finally, we credit every season’s production of major league Win Shares by that player to that organization, regardless of whether he actually played that season for that organization.

Sometimes it’s impossible to assign a player to one organization. Lots of players were signed by one team, but then acquired by another organization while still young minor leaguers. For such players, we assign half-credit to each of the two organizations (and in a few cases, we assign one-third-credit to each of three organizations).

In the early 1970s a handful of players weren’t the products of any major league team’s farm system, having been purchased from independent teams in the Mexican League. The Win Shares of such players aren’t counted in this analysis.

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