The virtual 1955-62 Kansas City A’s (Part 3:  1959-60)

We’ve completed two episodes so far, covering four years in our intended eight-year scenario, of imagining the Kansas City Athletics operating without the cozy relationship enjoyed between owner Arnold Johnson and his New York Yankees counterparts, Del Webb and Dan Topping. Our performance to this point has been only marginally better than that of the actual A’s:

     Actual Athletics               Virtual Athletics

      W        L  Pos       Year       W       L  Pos
      63      91   6        1955      54     100   8
      52     102   8        1956      55      99   8
      59      94   7        1957      70      83   7
      73      81   7        1958      74      80   6

We’re ready now to embark on seasons five and six, and something tells us it’s going to be now-or-never if we expect to put some real daylight between our version and the real thing.

1958-59 offseason: Actual Athletics deals we will make

March, 1959: Traded pitcher Walt Craddock to the Cincinnati Redlegs for pitcher Marty Kutyna.

An exchange of secondary talents that we see no reason to cancel.

1958-59 offseason: Athletics deals we will invoke

Dec. 1, 1958: Outfielder Lou Skizas drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 1958 Rule 5 draft.

The White Sox actually drafted Skizas from the Tigers. He’d looked like something special for us, but rapidly regressed, and we’ll be fine with letting “The Nervous Greek” go.

1958-59 offseason: Actual Athletics deals we will not make

Oct. 2, 1958: Traded shortstop Chico Carrasquel to the Baltimore Orioles for outfielder-infielder Dick Williams.

We don’t have Carrasquel, and we already have Williams.

Dec. 1, 1958: Drafted infielder Wayne Terwilliger from the Detroit Tigers in the 1958 Rule 5 draft.

We’re past the point where we need to be importing a soon-to-be 34-year-old utility infielder.

April 4, 1959: Signed pitcher Russ Meyer as a free agent.

Nor do we need to be messing around with a 35-year-old who hadn’t pitched effectively in the major leagues since 1954, and had been out of Organized Baseball altogether in 1958.

1959 season: Actual Athletics deals we will make

April 12, 1959: Traded outfielder Bob Martyn and infielder Mike Baxes to the New York Yankees for outfielder Russ Snyder and infielder Tommy Carroll.

No reason not to make this one, which got the A’s younger in both the outfield and the infield.

1959 season: Actual Athletics deals we will modify

The actual Athletics did this:

May 26, 1959: Traded infielder Hector Lopez and pitcher Ralph Terry to the New York Yankees for infielder Jerry Lumpe and pitchers Johnny Kucks and Tom Sturdivant.

Here’s what we had to say about this one in our Blockbusters series:

The interesting thing about the long sequence of scandalous trades between the Yankees and A’s in the 1955-60 period… is that they weren’t complete giveaways; the A’s generally got a decent player or two in each deal. The problem was that they gave up just a bit more, nearly every time, so while no single deal smelled all that fishy, the cumulative effect reeked like last week’s mackerel.

This one is a good example: Lumpe was a fine young infielder, who would do very well in Kansas City. But Kucks and Sturdivant had both seen better days. Meanwhile Lopez was an excellent, multi-talented player, and Terry was one of the better young pitchers in baseball, just about to enter his prime—and most jarringly, had been traded by the Yankees to the A’s a couple of years earlier, when it was apparent he could use some seasoning.

We won’t let the Yanks take Terry back after we’d conveniently developed him. But we will do this:

May 26, 1959: Traded infielder Hector Lopez to the New York Yankees for infielder Jerry Lumpe.

The position-player portion was fair and sensible for both sides. We sacrifice offense, but improve the defense and get younger at second base.

1959 season: Athletics deals we will invoke

April 13, 1959: Purchased outfielder Bobby Del Greco from the New York Yankees.

Actually on this date it was the Phillies buying Del Greco, but we won’t let him pass through American League waivers. His inability to hit for a good average had inhibited Del Greco from sticking in the majors, but he did everything else well: he had some power, drew lots of walks, and played an outstanding defensive center field. His presence will allow us to slide Roger Maris over to right field on a full-time basis.

May 22, 1959: Purchased outfielder Jim Greengrass from the Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League.

This would be in response to an attack of appendicitis that struck Maris, sidelining him for a month. Greengrass had briefly been a star in the early ‘50s, then flopped.

1959 season: Actual Athletics deals we will not make

April 8, 1959: Traded pitcher Jack Urban to the New York Yankees for pitcher Mark Freeman.

May 2, 1959: Traded outfielder-first baseman Harry Simpson to the Chicago White Sox for first baseman Ray Boone.

Aug. 20, 1959: Sold first basman Ray Boone on waivers to the Milwaukee Braves.

We don’t have any of these guys.

May 9, 1959: Purchased pitcher Murry Dickson from the New York Yankees.

Aug. 20, 1959: Selected third baseman Ray Jablonski off waivers from the St. Louis Cardinals.

Aug. 20, 1959: Purchased infielder Joe Morgan from the Milwaukee Braves.

Nor do we want any of these.

Sep. 6, 1959: Sold pitcher Rip Coleman on waivers to the Baltimore Orioles.

Coleman is pretty marginal, but we don’t see the purpose in dumping this 27-year-old left-hander at this point.

1959 season results

Maris’s appendectomy won’t be the only unexpected problem we’ll have to deal with in 1959. Relief ace Bobby Tiefenauer will spend the entire season on the Voluntarily Retired List.

Any explanation for the 29-year-old Tiefenauer’s absence is lost in the mists of history. It had to have been a very serious personal issue, because there was no baseball-related reason for Tiefenauer to quit, given that he’d been the relief pitching sensation of the minor leagues in 1958, going a spectacular 17-5 for the Toronto Maple Leafs, leading the International League in appearances (64), relief innings (157), and ERA (1.89).

Whatever the reason, it presents an extra challenge to our depth this year.

  Pos   Player         Age    G  AB   R    H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
   1B   K. Hadley*      24   76 259  31   67  11   1   9  32  23  66 .259 .317 .413 .730   98
 2B-SS  J. Lumpe*       26  108 403  52   98  11   5   3  25  41  32 .243 .308 .318 .626   71
   SS   J. DeMaestri    30  106 282  25   69  13   4   5  24  22  52 .245 .304 .372 .677   84
 3-1-O  D. Williams     30  130 488  62  130  33   1  16  70  28  60 .266 .303 .436 .739  100
   RF   R. Maris*       24  122 433  69  118  21   7  16  67  58  53 .273 .359 .464 .824  123
   CF   B. Del Greco    26  101 271  39   66  18   0   8  26  33  57 .244 .345 .399 .743  103
   LF   B. Cerv         33  125 463  61  132  22   4  20  82  35  87 .285 .331 .479 .811  119
   C    F. House*       29   88 278  26   66  11   2   1  21  16  18 .237 .282 .302 .584   60

   OF   R. Snyder*      25  122 378  56  114  19   2   3  25  24  37 .302 .343 .386 .729   99
  3B-C  H. Smith        28  108 292  36   84  12   0   5  28  34  39 .288 .364 .380 .745  104
 1B-OF  P. Ward*        31   99 243  21   61   9   1   5  27  20  30 .251 .300 .358 .658   79
   SS   C. Boyer        22   68 190  12   34   4   0   4  11  11  40 .179 .221 .263 .484   32
   IF   F. Brickell     24   75 193  15   42   7   0   4  16  10  37 .218 .251 .316 .567   54
   UT   E. Averill      27   74 186  22   42  10   0  10  29  17  37 .226 .295 .441 .736   98
   C    H. Chiti        26   55 162  20   44  11   1   5  22  17  26 .272 .344 .444 .789  114
   2B   H. Lopez        29   35 135  22   38  10   3   6  21   8  23 .281 .322 .533 .855  129
   OF   W. Herzog*      27   25  62  12   18   3   1   1   4  16  12 .290 .430 .419 .850  133
   RF   J. Greengrass   31   25  71   7   16   3   1   3   9   5  12 .225 .273 .423 .695   87
   SS   J. Littrell     30   29  46   5    9   1   0   2   5   3  12 .196 .245 .348 .593   60

        Others                   74  11   19   1   0   4  12   1   7 .257 .263 .432 .696   87

        Pitchers                405  27   76   7   0   2  34  12  91 .188 .202 .220 .422   15

        Total                  5314 631 1343 237  33 132 590 434 828 .253 .308 .384 .692   88

        * Bats left

        Pitcher        Age    G  GS  CG    W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
        B. Daley*       26   39  29  12   15  13   1 216 212  90  76   24   62  125 3.17  127
        A. Ditmar       30   34  27   7   11  12   1 202 166  86  72   20   51   95 3.21  125
        R. Herbert      29   33  28  10    9  11   1 184 198 109 100   25   61   98 4.89   82
        R. Terry        23   29  25   7    5  11   0 174 193  91  81   18   48   89 4.19   96
        D. Maas         30   34  23   3   11  10   3 138 157  91  75   17   52   66 4.89   82

        B. Henry*       31   65   0   0    8   9  12 134 109  43  40   19   29  109 2.69  149
        H. Aguirre*     28   38   4   0    2   3   0  62  67  30  26    3   26   49 3.77  106
        K. Johnson      26   35   5   1    3   4   1  77  70  31  25    6   19   48 2.92  137
        M. Kutyna       26   34   3   0    3   3   1  64  57  27  22    6   17   24 3.09  130
        R. Coleman*     27   18   6   1    1   5   1  45  47  23  21    4   19   31 4.20   95
        D. Tomanek*     28   16   0   0    0   1   2  21  27  15  15    6   12   13 6.43   62

        Others                    4   0    1   3   0  46  55  40  32    5   29   28 6.26   64

        Total                   154  41   69  85 23 1363 1358 676 585 153  425  775 3.86  104

        * Throws left

The good news is that Bill Henry steps up to take over from Tiefenauer in the workhorse fireman role, and performs brilliantly. Rookie relievers Ken Johnson and Marty Kutyna both contribute nicely as well. All in all ours is a deep and well-balanced staff, demonstrating that the effective Kansas City pitching of 1958 was no fluke.

The bad news is that the offense fails to step forward. Bob Cerv is still good, but not the force he’d been in ’58. Maris’s missed time hurts, and especially with the trade of Lopez, while there are some pretty good bats on hand, there aren’t enough to compensate for the weak ones. Among the weakest is that of 22-year-old Clete Boyer, back after a couple of years in the minors and given a chance to take over at shortstop, but struggling mightily at the plate.

The result is a team presenting essentially the same profile as in 1958: good (though not great) pitching, but a below-average hitting attack. Our 69-85 record* is slightly worse than we’d achieved in ’58, and in the tightly-bunched American League of 1959, that will see us drop back to seventh place. We’re a better team than the actual seventh-place A’s, but only very slightly.

In our fifth year, we fail to move ahead. It’s a frustrating season.

1959-60 offseason: Actual Athletics deals we will make

Nov. 21, 1959: Traded catcher Frank House to the Cincinnati Redlegs for pitcher Tom Acker.

House had a poor year with the bat in 1959, and Acker was a decent-enough relief pitcher to give a try instead.

Nov. 30, 1959: Drafted infielder Bob Johnson from the Detroit Tigers in the 1959 Rule 5 draft.

In six years in the minors, Johnson had only intermittently reached Triple-A, but his hitting below that level had been quite impressive for an infielder.

Nov. 30, 1959: Drafted pitcher Dave Wickersham from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1959 minor league draft.

Grade-A prospects aren’t available in the draft, of course. But as Grade-B prospects go, Wickersham looked pretty good.

1959-60 offseason: Actual Athletics deals we will modify

The actual Athletics did this:

Dec. 9, 1959: Traded catcher-third baseman Hal Smith to the Pittsburgh Pirates for pitcher Dick Hall, infielder Ken Hamlin, and a player to be named later. (On Dec. 15, 1959, the Pirates sent catcher Hank Foiles to the Athletics, completing the deal.)

This was a perfectly fine trade. Smith has been good for us, but Hamlin is a fairly promising young shortstop, and the right-hander Hall is a particularly intriguing guy. A 6-foot-6 converted outfielder, he’d had ups and downs with the Pirates, but in 1959, in Triple-A at the age of 28, he was stunning: 18-5 with a league-leading 1.87 ERA (with his home games at high-scoring Salt Lake City), allowing just 162 hits and 28 walks in 217 innings, earning the Pacific Coast League MVP.

So we’ll make this deal, but we’d like to extend it a bit further. We’ll make it this way instead:

Dec. 9, 1959: Traded catcher-third baseman Hal Smith and pitcher Marty Kutyna to the Pittsburgh Pirates for pitcher Dick Hall, infielder Ken Hamlin, first baseman R.C. Stevens, and a player to be named later. (On Dec. 15, 1959, the Pirates sent catcher Danny Kravitz to the Athletics, completing the deal.)

Stevens was a great big (6-5, 220) right-handed batting first baseman with serious power, who was blocked in the Pittsburgh organization behind Dick Stuart. It was plausible that the Pirates would swap him for Kutyna, who could help in their bullpen. And we’ll take the left-handed batting Kravitz instead of the right-handed batting Foiles; it seems likely the Pirates wouldn’t have a problem with that, given that they would trade Kravitz for Foiles in mid-1960.

1959-60 offseason: Athletics deals we will invoke

March, 1960: Sold pitcher Rip Coleman to the Baltimore Orioles.

We weren’t ready to dump Coleman last fall, but after giving him a chance in spring training, we’ll decide now’s the dumping time.

April, 1960: Traded shortstop Joe DeMaestri and pitcher Duke Maas to the New York Yankees for first baseman Frank Leja, outfielder Jim Pisoni, and cash.

How about this! For our first time, we’re reaching the end of spring training as exporters of excess talent. And finding the Yankees to take if off our hands, no less!

The good-field, no-hit DeMaestri has enjoyed a long run as our primary shortstop, but we think Boyer is now ready to replace him, and with Hamlin and Johnson on hand as backups, we don’t have a spot for DeMaestri. And the 31-year-old Maas had a couple of good years for us, but wasn’t so effective in 1959, and now Hall is taking over his spot on the staff.

Leja and Pisoni are spare parts we’ll park in triple-A.

1959-60 offseason: Actual Athletics deals we will not make

Oct. 12, 1959: Purchased pitcher Bob Trowbridge from the Milwaukee Braves.

Our A’s won’t have room for this 29-year-old journeyman.

Dec. 3, 1959: Traded pitcher Tom Sturdivant to the Boston Red Sox for catcher Pete Daley.

We don’t have Sturdivant, and have no interest in Daley.

And then there was this little bit of business.

Dec. 11, 1959: Traded outfielder Roger Maris, shortstop Joe DeMaestri, and first baseman Kent Hadley to the New York Yankees for outfielders Norm Siebern and Hank Bauer, pitcher Don Larsen, and first baseman-outfielder Marv Throneberry.

This was our take on it in the Blockbusters series:

It was bad enough for the A’s to send Maris, already widely recognized as one of the most exciting young left-handed power hitters in the game, along to the Yankees and their short right field porch. But it was far worse that they did it for no defensible reason.

Yes, Siebern was a fine young left-handed-hitting outfielder. But so was Maris; exchanging one for the other accomplished nothing for the A’s, and moreover Maris was younger than Siebern, more powerful, quicker on the bases, and a far better fielder. And yes, Throneberry was an impressive young long-balling first baseman, but so was Hadley; Throneberry as well provided nothing the Athletics didn’t already have.

And Bauer and Larsen had of course once been standouts, but at this point Bauer was obviously over the hill and the tender-armed Larsen had struggled in 1959. Acquiring them wasn’t close to worth surrendering DeMaestri, Kansas City’s light-hitting but slick-fielding first-string shortstop.

The deal worked out spectacularly for the Yankees, of course, as Maris immediately blossomed into a back-to-back MVP-winning superstar. But the discomfiting aspect of the trade was the manner in which it was so transparently designed to serve the Yankees’ purposes, and their purposes only: they achieved an upgrade from Siebern to Maris while costing themselves nothing (indeed, while converting the unneeded Bauer and Larsen into a useful backup shortstop in DeMaestri). Meanwhile the Athletics improved nowhere.

In short, if there was any good reason for the A’s to trade away Maris (not that there likely was), this deal didn’t provide it. We’ll politely decline this offer.

April 5, 1960: Traded pitcher Bob Grim to the Cleveland Indians for pitcher Leo Kiely.

We don’t have Grim, and have no interest in Kiely.

1960 season: Actual Athletics deals we will not make

May 11, 1960: Traded pitcher George Brunet to the Milwaukee Braves for pitcher Bob Giggie.

This one made no sense. The young southpaw Brunet had his flaws, but he was a distinctly better prospect than the right-hander Giggie.

May 19, 1960: Traded outfielder Bob Cerv to the New York Yankees for third baseman Andy Carey.

At 34, Cerv was clearly on the downside, but he was by no means through. And the once-promising Carey was obviously just a journeyman at this point. No thanks.

June 1, 1960: Traded catcher Hank Foiles and cash to the Pittsburgh Pirates for catcher Danny Kravitz.

Because we effectively already did it last December.

June 6, 1960: Purchased outfielder Jim Delsing from the Washington Senators.

No need for this bit player.

July 26, 1960: Sold catcher Harry Chiti to the Detroit Tigers.

Chiti had hit well for Kansas City in 1958 and ’59, but was slumping in 1960. But he was still only 27 years old, and it was premature to just give up on him in mid-season.

July 30, 1960: Purchased pitcher John Briggs from the Cleveland Indians.

We don’t have a spot on our staff for this journeyman.

1960 season results

It is, hopefully, a sign of progress that we enter this season with only moderate changes to the roster. Tiefenauer has returned to the bullpen. The new acquisitions include Stevens, set to platoon with returning sophomore Kent Hadley at first base, rookies Hamlin and Johnson in the infield, Kravitz as our lefty-hitting catcher, and on the pitching staff, Hall and the rookie Brunet.

  Pos   Player         Age    G  AB   R    H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
   1B   R. Stevens      25  118 323  36   75   8   0  17  45  31  66 .232 .305 .415 .720   94
   2B   J. Lumpe*       27  146 574  69  156  19   3   8  53  48  49 .272 .324 .357 .681   85
   SS   C. Boyer        23  124 393  44   96  18   1  17  45  24  86 .244 .285 .425 .710   90
   3B   D. Williams     31  142 514  58  145  36   0  14  70  46  80 .282 .338 .434 .772  108
   RF   R. Maris*       25  136 499  92  147  21   6  39  95  72  66 .295 .383 .595 .978  161
   CF   B. Del Greco    27  133 400  61   95  21   5  15  41  79  76 .238 .356 .428 .784  112
   LF   B. Cerv         34  110 294  39   74  11   2  16  40  41  54 .252 .348 .466 .814  119
   C    H. Chiti        27   88 273  23   56   7   0   7  32  24  45 .205 .266 .308 .573   55

   1B   K. Hadley*      25  111 291  31   66  11   1  12  33  25  79 .227 .290 .395 .685   84
   OF   R. Snyder*      26  113 274  41   71   9   5   4  23  18  25 .259 .303 .372 .675   82
   OF   W. Herzog*      28   83 252  43   67  10   2   8  38  40  32 .266 .363 .417 .779  111
   SS   K. Hamlin       25   94 214  24   47   5   1   1  12  21  25 .220 .286 .266 .553   51
   C    D. Kravitz*     29   67 181  17   41   7   2   4  14  12  21 .227 .275 .354 .628   69
   IF   B. Johnson      24   76 146  12   30   4   0   1   9  19  23 .205 .301 .253 .555   52
   C    E. Averill      28   62 116  14   27   4   0   1  15  16  16 .233 .324 .293 .617   69

        Others                   68  10   19   0   2   1   4   4  11 .279 .320 .382 .702   90

        Pitchers                375  25   54  11   0   0  19  23 113 .144 .183 .175 .358   -2

        Total                  5187 639 1266 202  30 165 588 543 867 .244 .313 .390 .703   90

        * Bats left

        Pitcher        Age    G  GS  CG    W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
        R. Herbert      30   35  30  12   13  13   1 228 228  94  82   15   65  112 3.24  124
        A. Ditmar       31   33  28   7   11  10   0 190 190  81  71   25   53   65 3.36  119
        B. Daley*       27   34  28   9   13  13   0 187 181 100  91   21   77  103 4.38   92
        R. Terry        24   32  23   6    7   9   0 156 143  79  65   16   49   89 3.75  107
        D. Hall         29   29  22   6    7  10   0 146 143  75  64   21   30   65 3.95  102
        G. Brunet*      25   27  11   1    5   5   0  95  91  47  38    7   45   72 3.60  111

        B. Tiefenauer   30   51   0   0    5   5   6  85  94  46  35    5   31   41 3.71  108
        B. Henry*       32   51   0   0    1   5  15  68  62  26  25    8   22   51 3.31  121
        K. Johnson      27   38   6   1    5   8   1  96  94  52  44   12   36   68 4.13   97
        H. Aguirre*     29   37   6   1    4   4   3  95  75  31  30    7   32   80 2.84  141

        Others                    1   0    0   1   1  31  30  19  17    3   16   15 4.94   81

        Total                   155  43   71  83 27 1377 1331 650 562 140  456  761 3.67  109

        * Throws left

A big story emerges in Kansas City this year, and it’s a very positive one: at the age of 25, Maris breaks out as a first-rank all-around superstar, excellent in every phase of the game, but especially in power hitting, as he challenges for the league home run crown.

That’s the big news, but not the only good news. Boyer does prove ready this time around, and with Lumpe maturing into one of the best second basemen in the league, we have a first-rate young keystone combo on our hands. At third base, Dick Williams is the full-time regular for the first time, and he delivers a career-best year, tying for the league lead in doubles.

Our offense has its issues: none of the catchers hit, and overall while we produce lots of home runs, hitting for average is a distinct weakness. Our team OPS+ of 90 remains below league-average, but not all that far below, and it’s the best-hitting team we’ve yet presented.

And while pitching has been our strength for the past few years, the staff we feature in 1960 is not only our best yet, it’s among the best in the league. The ten pitchers we select for our Opening Day roster remain our ten pitchers all season long, as none get hurt, and none have a bad year. None is great, but all our various forms of good.

Yet we’re unfortunate with respect to Pythagorean performance, and despite scoring nearly as many runs as we allow, we end up with a record of 71-83. That’s good enough for sixth place, which represents progress, but of the exceedingly incremental kind.

Still, it must be noted that, at last, the contrast with the actual 1960 Athletics is stark: without Maris, that ball club fell back into last place at 58-96, their worst performance since 1956, their apparent progress of the late 1950s vaporized.

Six years into our scenario, while we haven’t achieved league-average status, we have now definitely embarked on a path very divergent from that of the actual Kansas City franchise.

     Actual Athletics               Virtual Athletics

      W        L  Pos       Year       W       L  Pos
      63      91   6        1955      54     100   8
      52     102   8        1956      55      99   8
      59      94   7        1957      70      83   7
      73      81   7        1958      74      80   6
      66      88   7        1959      69      85   7
      58      96   8        1960      71      83   6

Next time

We’ll find out if we can become a winning team at last—or, hey, at least reach .500!.

References & Resources
* Three wins worse than the Pythagorean record of these virtual 1959 Athletics, which is 72-82. We’ve switched methodologies on determining the final won-lost record, and are now incorporating the deviation from Pythag presented by each season’s actual Athletics (the actual ’59 A’s were 66-88 against a Pythag of 69-85). For the explanation, please see the Comments section of last week’s installment.

A marvelous account of the perplexing relationship between Arnold Johnson, the Kansas City Athletics, and the New York Yankees—which all started with the circumstance that Johnson was, essentially, the Yankees’ landlord, but it was vastly more convoluted and intertwined than that term implies—is found in The Diamond in the Bronx: Yankee Stadium and the Politics of New York, by Neil J. Sullivan, New York: Oxford University Press, 2001, pp. 83-90.

Unlike current-day rules, which require each team to cut down to a 25-man active major league roster as of Opening Day, in this period the rules allowed teams to carry up to 28 players for the first 31 days following their first game. Thus the final “cut-down day” took place in mid-May, and is the explanation for countless releases, waiver claims, and other transactions that occurred in the early weeks of May in the 1940s/50s/60s.

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Comments

  1. Robert E. Armidon said...

    Another excellent series, Steve.  I’d be curious to see how the Yankees are being affected by the lack of Maris and the rest of the KC shuttle.  In 1960, the Yankees finished eight games ahead of Baltimore, although their Pythagorean record was only four games better than that of the Orioles.  Of course, the Yankees may have made some other trades to compensate.

  2. Steve Treder said...

    “I’d be curious to see how the Yankees are being affected by the lack of Maris and the rest of the KC shuttle.  In 1960, the Yankees finished eight games ahead of Baltimore, although their Pythagorean record was only four games better than that of the Orioles.  Of course, the Yankees may have made some other trades to compensate.”

    I think it’s only reasonable to assume they would have.

    Just by eyeballing it:  one can assume that the Yankees, instead of acquiring pitchers Ditmar and Maas and re-acquiring Terry from the A’s, would have picked up some of the veteran guys the A’s actually acquired, such as Virgil Trucks and Murry Dickson.  And we have our A’s trading Ned Garver to the Yankees.  So realistically the Yankees’ pitching would probably have been about as good as it was, at least through 1958 or so.  Following that it wouldn’t have been easy for them to compensate for not having Ditmar, and especially Terry.

    Instead of Maris from 1960 forward the Yankees would still have Norm Siebern, who though he wasn’t as good as Maris, was a fine ballplayer (and had a better offensive year than Maris in 1962).  But in 1960-61 for sure, the Yankees wouldn’t have scored as many runs as they did.

    And the Yankees would definitely have been hurt by not having Clete Boyer.  Presumably they would compensate for that by using Hector Lopez at third base instead of as a platoon outfielder.  Lopez was pretty good, but the Yankees would suffer defensively in that arrangement, as well as losing the flexibility of having Lopez to serve as their fourth outfielder.

    My guess is the Yankees would still win their four straight pennants in 1955-58, though not as easily as they did.  And in 1960, the Orioles might well have nipped them, and in ‘61 it might well have been the Tigers’ turn.

    As for ‘62, let’s just say we’ll wait and see what might happen next week.

  3. Cliff Blau said...

    According to the September 30, 1959, Sporting News, Tiefenauer sat out the season with a sore arm.

  4. Steve Treder said...

    “According to the September 30, 1959, Sporting News, Tiefenauer sat out the season with a sore arm.”

    That’s interesting.  I wonder why they placed him on the Voluntarily Retired List instead of the Disabled List.

  5. Cliff Blau said...

    They didn’t have the 60-day DL yet, so teams often put injured players on the retired list to free up a roster spot.

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