The virtual 1958-68 Giants, Reds, and Cardinals (Part 1: 1957-58)

Across the decade of the 1960s, the San Francisco Giants, Cincinnati Reds, and St. Louis Cardinals hotly competed as three of the most successful teams in the National League. The Giants (1962) and Reds (1961) captured one pennant apiece, while the Cards nabbed three (1964, 1967, 1968). Even when they weren’t winning, these clubs were perennial contenders, as they accounted for either second- or third-place finishes 12 times in the eleven seasons from 1958 through 1968. We’ve explored the journeys of each of these franchises in this period, and how the Giants and Reds might have been better than they were.

A particularly interesting fact is that these three clubs engaged one another in significant player transactions multiple times in this period, deals that would have lasting impact on the standings. Going from Cincinnati to St. Louis was Curt Flood, from Cincinnati to San Francisco was Ed Bailey, from St. Louis to San Francisco were Sam Jones and Ray Sadecki, from St. Louis to Cincinnati were Eddie Kasko, Jim Brosnan, and Alex Johnson, and from San Francisco to St. Louis were Ernie Broglio, Bill White, Daryl Spencer, and Orlando Cepeda. Don Blasingame went from St. Louis to San Francisco to Cincinnati.

Many of these deals were highly questionable from one standpoint or another. What if some of them hadn’t been made? What if, instead, each of these ball clubs had made different decisions with these and other key talents in these years?

Why don’t we find out. This is going to be a long and somewhat winding road, but hang on, because we’ll be viewing some very intriguing scenery over the next eleven seasons.

The 1957-58 offseason: Actual deals we will make

For the most part, we’ll have all three of our ball clubs swing the same deals they actually did during this offseason. Most, in fact, were marginal transactions we won’t even bother to list here.

The key moves we’ll allow are the following:

Dec. 9, 1957: The Cincinnati Reds traded pitcher Don Gross to the Pittsburgh Pirates for pitcher Bob Purkey.

Perhaps you’ll recall, when considering this trade from the Pittsburgh perspective in a virtual 1950s Pirates exercise a while back, that we said the following:

We can’t make this deal, because we traded Purkey to St. Louis back in early 1956. But if we could make this one, we would.

That’s the case even though Purkey would develop into a star, and Gross would disappear from the major leagues within a few years, because at this point Purkey didn’t appear to be a star in the making; he was a soft-tossing 27-year-old journeyman. Gross wasn’t anything special either, but he was a year younger than Purkey, was a southpaw (a commodity almost alway in short supply), and his walk-to-strikeout ratio was a lot better than Purkey’s.

We’d make this trade in a heartbeat. But we can’t.

Why, then, if we think it was a good trade for the Pirates, are we willing now to make it from the Reds’ perspective?

The reason is that it’s one thing to assess a trade from the standpoint of strict talent-for-talent exchange, and another to bring the situational needs of the teams into consideration. And while Gross is a more impressive pitcher than Purkey on a rate-stat basis, one way in which Purkey is superior is in durability: whatever else he is, Purkey’s a horse for work, while Gross is more fragile.

If it were a manner of choosing which pitcher to deploy in a bullpen-and-spot-starting role, Gross would be the logical choice. But the Reds at this point are long on bullpen candidates and short on rotation heavy-lifters. Cincinnati has a need for which Purkey, despite his shortcomings, projects as a better fit than Gross.

Moreover, the Reds (both the actual version and ours) are about to land a replacement for the left-handed Gross.

Dec. 16, 1957: The Cincinnati Reds traded outfielder Wally Post to the Philadelphia Phillies for pitcher Harvey Haddix.

The muscular Post had fleetingly been a big-slugging star, but even though still a few years shy of 30, he’s dramatically regressed. The southpaw Haddix, in his early 30s, is no longer a star either, but still capable of a solid contribution if spotted properly.

Dec. 28, 1957: The Cincinnati Reds traded first baseman Ted Kluszewski to the Pittsburgh Pirates for first baseman Dee Fondy.

Such an exchange would have been laughable before 1957, but Kluszewski’s back trouble is severe enough to be career-threatening. Like the actual Reds, we’re ready to conclude that Big Klu’s days as a front-line contributor are gone, and will opt to go with the slick-fielding, light-hitting Fondy in a utility role instead.

April 3, 1958: The San Francisco Giants traded outfielder Bobby Thomson to the Chicago Cubs for outfielder-first baseman Bob Speake and cash.

Thomson had, of course, been a terrific all-around player in his prime, but was never close to the same following his 1954 broken ankle. Now at the age of 34, he seems to be just playing out the string. Like the actual Giants, we’ll be happy to receive the much younger Speake in return; he’s nothing special, but offers a left-handed bat with home run pop to be deployed off the bench.

(Thomson would defy the odds and bounce back with one final excellent season as the Cubs’ center fielder in 1958. Oh well.)

The 1957-58 offseason: Actual deals we will not make

Dec. 5, 1957: The Cincinnati Reds traded infielder-outfielder Curt Flood and outfielder Joe Taylor to the St. Louis Cardinals for pitchers Willard Schmidt, Ted Wieand, and Marty Kutyna.

The Reds can use some pitching help, but come on. Flood is not yet 20 years old, and has hit for both average and power in both of his low-minor league seasons, while demonstrating the capacity to play both third base and center field. He’s not the sort of prospect one casually swaps for roster-filler pitchers.

Our Cardinals would be all over this one, but our Reds will politely decline.

Jan. 28, 1958: The San Francisco Giants traded first baseman Gail Harris and infielder-outfielder Ozzie Virgil to the Detroit Tigers for infielder Jim Finigan and $25,000 cash.

This was effectively just a sale of the young talents Harris and Virgil, since the Giants had no particular need for the utility infielder Finigan. Our Giants will pass up the opportunity for quick cash and give Harris and Virgil a chance to compete for roster spots in spring training.

April 2, 1958: The St. Louis Cardinals traded outfielder Jim King to the San Francisco Giants for catcher Ray Katt.

This swap of second-stringers wasn’t exactly a blockbuster, but our Cardinals will conclude that the 25-year-old King is a more useful commodity than the 31-year-old Katt. Sorry, Giants.

The 1957-58 offseason: Deals we will invoke

Dec. 5, 1957: The St. Louis Cardinals traded pitcher Willard Schmidt and shortstop Ruben Amaro to the Philadelphia Phillies for outfielder Don Landrum.

Rebuffed by the Reds in the attempt to convert the journeyman Schmidt into the center field prospect Curt Flood, our Cardinals will instead turn to Philadelphia.

Landrum is no Flood, but he’s a speedy youngster who’d presented a good year in triple-A in 1957. However, the Phillies, with Richie Ashburn patrolling center field, have no need for Landrum. It’s quite plausible they’d accept this offer from St. Louis, which would shore up the Philadelphia bullpen as well as provide a slick-fielding middle infield prospect.

April 2, 1958: The San Francisco Giants sold infielder-outfielder Ozzie Virgil to the Detroit Tigers.

Virgil won’t make our Giants’ roster, so now we’ll let the Tigers have him.

The 1958 season: Actual deals we will make

Again, there’s a long list of secondary deals undertaken by these ball clubs during this season that seem reasonable enough to us, and we’ll let them apply without listing them all here. Those worth noting are as follows:

May 8, 1958: The Cincinnati Reds traded pitcher Hersh Freeman to the Chicago Cubs for pitcher Turk Lown.

A swap of bullpen aces of modest accomplishment and contrasting styles. The 29-year-old Freeman is a soft tosser with dubious stuff but pinpoint control, while the 34-year-old Lown is a hard thrower with good stuff but dubious control. Like the actual Reds, we like Lown a bit more, despite his advanced age.

May 20, 1958: The St. Louis Cardinals traded infielder Alvin Dark to the Chicago Cubs for pitcher Jim Brosnan.

At the age of 36, Dark can still hit for average, but is no longer up to the challenge of handling shortstop. So, like the actual Cardinals, we’ll conclude that the 28-year-old pretty-good right-hander Brosnan can be of more use going forward.

June 15, 1958: The Cincinnati Reds traded first baseman Steve Bilko, pitcher Johnny Klippstein, and players to be named later to the Los Angeles Dodgers for pitcher Don Newcombe. (On June 23, 1958, the Reds sent pitchers Art Fowler and Charlie Rabe to the Dodgers, completing the deal.)

Newcombe had been a superstar for the Dodgers as recently as 1956, but though he’s just 32, his hard-drinking habits appear to have gotten the best of him: he’s 0-6 with a 7.86 ERA at the time of this trade.

But like the actual Reds, we see Newcombe as a project worth taking on, especially since the trade-market price is just a bunch of journeymen.

June 23, 1958: The Cincinnati Reds sold pitcher Turk Lown off waivers to the Chicago White Sox.

June 24, 1958: The Cincinnati Reds purchased first baseman Walt Dropo off waivers from the Chicago White Sox.

Lown hasn’t impressed, and like the actual Reds, with the departure of Bilko our Reds can use a right-handed-batting first baseman to complete the platoon. So we’ll undertake this waiver-wire parlay.

July 9, 1958: The St. Louis Cardinals purchased pitcher Chuck Stobbs off waivers from the Washington Senators.

The left-hander Stobbs has been worked quite hard in Washington, and seen his effectiveness tailspin. But he’s still only 28, and worth a shot.

The 1958 season: Actual deals we will not make

June 15, 1958: The St. Louis Cardinals traded shortstop Dick Schofield and cash to the Pittsburgh Pirates for infielders Gene Freese and Johnny O’Brien.

Freese is an intriguing young player, a 24-year-old infielder with serious pop in his bat. But he doesn’t have the defensive aptitude to handle shortstop, and that’s where the Cardinals have the need. So our Cards will stick with the 23-year-old former Bonus Baby Schofield, who doesn’t look as though he’ll ever hit much, but plays solid defense and is pretty good at working walks.

The 1958 season: Deals we will invoke

May, 1958: The St. Louis Cardinals sold outfielder-first baseman Irv Noren to the Milwaukee Braves.

May, 1958: The Cincinnati Reds sold outfielder Joe Taylor to the Baltimore Orioles.

Roster cut-down time prunings.

May, 1958: The San Francisco Giants purchased catcher Tim Thompson off waivers from the Detroit Tigers.

May, 1958: The San Francisco Giants sold catcher Ray Katt to the Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League.

In actuality at this point, the Tigers let the left-handed-batting Thompson go to Toronto. But we like him more than Katt, and our Giants will take Thompson off the waiver wire.

June 23, 1958: The St. Louis Cardinals purchased pitcher Alex Kellner off waivers from the Kansas City Athletics.

June 23, 1958: The Cincinnati Reds purchased pitcher Bob Kuzava off waivers from the St. Louis Cardinals.

Actually on this date, it was the Reds plucking Kellner off the waiver wire. But our Cardinals will be trailing Cincinnati in the standings at this point, and so it will be St. Louis nabbing the 33-year-old southpaw instead. As a consolation prize, our Reds will get the 35-year-old southpaw Kuzava.

July 9, 1958: The St. Louis Cardinals sold pitcher Morrie Martin off waivers to the San Francisco Giants.

July 9, 1958: The San Francisco Giants sold pitcher Jim Constable off waivers to the Washington Senators.

More shuffling about of secondary left-handers. In reality, the Cardinals let the 35-year-old relief specialist Martin go on waivers to the American League, but our Giants will claim him instead, and let the marginal talent Constable go instead.

July 27, 1958: The San Francisco Giants sold first baseman-outfielder Whitey Lockman off waivers to the Detroit Tigers.

Making room for Bill White, returning from military service.

Aug. 25, 1958: The San Francisco Giants released outfielder Hank Sauer.

Making room for Jackie Brandt, also returning from military service.

1958 season results

Giants

Coinciding with their cross-country relocation, our Giants are undertaking a serious youth movement. San Francisco is introducing rookies in first-string roles at catcher, third base, right field, and left field.

1958 San Francisco Giants     Won 83    Lost 71    Finished 2nd (tied)

 Pos  Player        Age    G  AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
  1B  G. Harris*     26  134 451  64 121  17   8  18  73  35  63 .268 .322 .461 .783  106
  2B  D. O'Connell   31  107 306  45  71  12   2   3  23  51  35 .232 .332 .314 .645   74
  SS  D. Spencer     29  148 539  73 138  20   5  17  72  73  60 .256 .342 .406 .748   99
  3B  J. Davenport   24  134 434  70 111  22   3  12  41  33  64 .256 .306 .403 .710   88
  RF  W. Kirkland*   24  134 455  56 116  27   6  15  59  46  75 .255 .329 .440 .768  103
  CF  W. Mays        27  152 600 123 208  33  11  29  96  78  56 .347 .419 .583 1.002 165
LF-1B O. Cepeda      20  148 603  90 188  38   4  25  96  29  84 .312 .342 .512 .854  125
  C   B. Schmidt     25  124 373  46  92  19   2  13  51  32  55 .247 .309 .413 .722   91

  3B  R. Jablonski   31   82 230  29  53  15   1  12  46  17  50 .230 .287 .461 .748   96
  IF  E. Bressoud    26   87 200  27  52   8   3   2  13  20  33 .260 .321 .360 .681   82
  LF  H. Sauer       41   61 142  14  36   6   0   9  28  18  20 .254 .344 .486 .829  119
1B-OF B. White*      24   49 115  17  30   5   2   4  15  14  16 .261 .336 .443 .779  106
  OF  B. Speake*     27   81 109  15  23   4   1   5  15  17  23 .211 .323 .404 .727   93
  C   V. Thomas      32   53  95   9  24   3   0   2  11   8  17 .253 .314 .347 .662   77
  UT  W. Lockman*    31   62  70   7  18   3   0   1   6   8   3 .257 .317 .343 .660   77
  C   T. Thompson*   34   39  61   6  14   1   0   2   7   5   5 .230 .294 .344 .638   70
  OF  J. Brandt      24   18  35   5   9   1   0   0   2   4   3 .257 .325 .286 .611   65

      Others                 100  13  25   4   1   3  14   8  18 .250 .300 .400 .700   85

      Pitchers               416  38  76  13   1   2  33  17 115 .183 .204 .233 .437   17

      Total                 5334 747 1405 251 50 174 701 513 795 .263 .326 .427 .753   99

      * Bats left

      Pitcher       Age    G  GS  CG   W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
      J. Antonelli*  28   41  34  13  16  11   3 242 216 101  88   31   87  143 3.27  116
      R. Gomez       30   42  30   8  10  11   1 208 204 107 101   21   77  112 4.37   87
      S. Miller      30   41  20   4   7   9   0 182 160  60  50   16   49  119 2.47  154 
      P. Burnside*   27   28  20   4   7   7   0 126 133  75  65   26   45   72 4.64   82
      D. Zanni       26   27  10   2   8   5   0 105 109  56  48   13   59   70 4.11   93

      A. Worthington 29   54  12   1  11   7   7 151 152  72  61   17   57   76 3.64  105
      M. Grissom     40   51   0   0   7   5  11  65  71  34  29   11   26   46 4.02   95
      R. Monzant     25   37  10   3   5   6   1 101 104  61  50   11   38   65 4.46   86
      P. Giel        25   19   6   0   3   3   0  61  59  37  32    8   37   37 4.72   81
      C. Barclay     26   18   5   1   3   3   0  56  71  25  25    9   14   16 4.02   95
      J. Constable*  25   15   2   0   1   1   1  17  28  19  18    3    7    7 9.53   40
      R. Crone       26   14   1   0   1   2   0  24  35  18  18    5   13    7 6.75   56
      M. Martin*     35   14   0   0   2   0   2  19  21   7   6    0    8    5 2.84  134

      Others                   4   1   2   1   0  32  34  20  18    4   12   14 5.06   75

      Total                  154  37  83  71 26 1389 1397 692 609 175  529  789 3.95   97

      *  Throws left

Committing to the kids pays off wonderfully for the Giants. Twenty-year-old left fielder Orlando Cepeda is sensational, the Rookie of the Year, and Willie Kirkland in right, Jim Davenport at third, and Bob Schmidt behind the plate all hold their own just fine. Giving 26-year-old Gail Harris a crack at the first base job pays off for San Francisco as well, as he performs solidly in his first opportunity as a major league regular.

Willie Mays is as spectacular as ever in center field, and hard-hitting shortstop Daryl Spencer delivers his best year to date. It adds up to a quite productive offense.

But the pitching isn’t as impressive. Ace Johnny Antonelli is just fine, and 30-year-old journeyman Stu Miller comes out of nowhere with a terrific season in a swingman role. But that’s just about it for the good news, as the rest of the staff ranges from so-so to pretty bad.

Nonetheless our Giants have every reason to be delighted with this season’s developments. They bounce back from back-to-back sixth place disappointments to come in at 83-71, good enough to tie for second place behind the runaway champion Braves.

Reds

Cincinnati comes in having made a few tweaks to the ball club that fell from second to fourth place in 1957. We’ve shored up the starting rotation by adding Haddix and Purkey, and in mid-season we’ll bring in Newcombe as well. Right-hander Hal Jeffcoat had worked mostly as a starter in ’57, but this season we’re able to move him back to the bullpen full time.

The position-player lineup is essentially unchanged except for right field, where the departure of Post sets up a competition between erstwhile utilitymen Jerry Lynch and Pete Whisenant.

1958 Cincinnati Reds     Won 73    Lost 81    Finished 5th

 Pos  Player        Age    G  AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
  1B  G. Crowe*      37  111 345  31  95  12   5   7  59  41  51 .275 .347 .400 .747   93
  2B  J. Temple      30  141 542  82 166  31   6   3  45  91  41 .306 .394 .402 .796  107
  SS  R. McMillan    28  145 393  48  90  18   3   1  24  47  33 .229 .309 .298 .606   58
  3B  D. Hoak        30  114 417  51 109  30   0   6  48  43  36 .261 .330 .376 .707   83
  RF  J. Lynch*      27  122 420  58 131  20   5  16  66  18  54 .312 .336 .498 .834  112
  CF  G. Bell*       29  112 385  42  97  16   2  10  44  36  40 .252 .309 .382 .691   78
LF-CF F. Robinson    22  148 554  90 149  25   6  31  81  62  80 .269 .350 .504 .854  118
  C   E. Bailey*     27  112 360  39  90  23   1  11  57  47  61 .250 .333 .411 .744   92

  C   S. Burgess*    31   99 251  28  71  12   1   6  30  22  20 .283 .343 .410 .753   94
LF-RF B. Thurman*    41  107 228  30  53   9   5   6  26  25  47 .232 .320 .395 .715   84
  OF  P. Whisenant   28   85 203  30  48   9   2  11  39  18  37 .236 .288 .463 .751   90
  IF  A. Grammas     32   95 173  20  38   6   0   0  10  27  19 .220 .319 .254 .573   51
  1B  W. Dropo       35   63 162  18  47   7   2   7  30  12  31 .290 .335 .488 .823  110
1B-OF D. Fondy*      33   89 124  23  27   1   1   1  11   5  27 .218 .244 .266 .510   32
  1B  S. Bilko       29   31  87  12  23   4   2   4  17  10  20 .264 .330 .494 .824  110
 P-PH D. Newcombe*   32   39  60   9  21   1   0   1   9   8  10 .350 .420 .417 .837  118
  UT  E. Miksis      31   69  50  15   7   0   0   0   4   5   5 .140 .203 .140 .343   -9

      Others                 182  21  50  11   0   3  17  16  29 .275 .335 .385 .720   86

      Pitchers               359  36  58   9   0   2  21  26 124 .162 .204 .203 .408    6

      Total                 5295 683 1370 244 41 126 638 559 765 .259 .326 .392 .717   85

      *  Bats left

      Pitcher       Age    G  GS  CG   W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
      B. Purkey      28   37  34  17  17  11   0 250 259 106 100   25   49   70 3.60  115
      H. Haddix*     32   29  26   8   8   7   0 184 191  79  72   28   43  110 3.52  118
      B. Lawrence    33   46  23   6   8  13   5 181 194  89  83   12   55   74 4.13  101
      J. Nuxhall*    29   36  26   5  12  11   0 176 169  78  74   15   63  111 3.78  110
      D. Newcombe    32   20  18   7   7   7   1 133 159  61  57   20   28   53 3.86  108

      H. Jeffcoat    33   49   0   0   6   8   9  75  76  34  31    8   26   35 3.72  112
      O. Peña        24   33   6   2   5   5   2  79  79  36  33    9   35   57 3.76  110
      T. Acker       28   30   2   1   1   1   1  80  71  35  34    4   29   57 3.83  108
      B. Kuzava*     35   28   7   1   4   5   0  82  81  39  35   10   24   43 3.84  108
      R. Sanchez     27   14   1   0   1   1   0  27  28  16  13    2   11   15 4.33   96
      J. Klippstein  30   12   4   0   3   2   1  33  37  20  18    5   14   22 4.91   85
      T. Lown        34   11   0   0   0   2   0  12  12   8   7    2   12    9 5.25   79
      C. Rabe*       26    9   1   0   0   3   0  19  25  10   9    3    9   10 4.26   97

      Others                   6   1   1   5   0  53  49  26  23    6   28   33 3.91  106

      Total                  154  48  73  81 19 1384 1430 637 589 149  426  699 3.83  108

      * Throws left

Our revamped pitching staff performs quite well. Purkey sets up residence as the staff workhorse and robustly surpasses expectations. Haddix does just fine, and Newcombe and Jeffcoat both do reasonably well. It isn’t a great staff, but it’s a good one, solid and deep.

Another piece of good news is that Lynch, with a line-drive-hitting flourish, convincingly wins the right field battle. However, on balance our offense is a significant disappointment, as the heavy-hitting Cincinnati powerhouse of the past few years goes AWOL. Among the holdover regulars, only OBP-wonder second baseman Johnny Temple delivers as expected.

Young star left fielder Frank Robinson sees his batting average dive more than 50 points. Injuries nag center fielder Gus Bell and third baseman Don Hoak. The left-handed bats of first baseman George Crowe, catchers Ed Bailey and Smoky Burgess, and outfielder/pinch hitter Bob Thurman all produce plummeting home run rates.

Pythagoras as well conspires against the Reds this season. The Cincinnati run differential suggests a record of 82-72, but we underperform against that by a whopping nine games, and limp in at 73-81, in fifth. It’s the fewest wins by a Cincinnati ball club since 1952, and a frustrating season all around.

Cardinals

St. Louis enters this season fresh off a surprising second-place performance in 1957, and our alterations to the roster have been minor. The only significant change is a position shift: young star Ken Boyer had been moved from third base to center field in ’57, and we’ll think better of that and bring him back to third (as did the actual Cardinals). We’re giving the rookie Landrum the opportunity to take over in center.

The incumbent shortstop from 1957, the veteran Dark, is shipped out early in ’58, and in his place we’ll hold a competition between the youngster Schofield and journeyman Eddie Kasko, the singles hitter who served as the regular third baseman in ’57.

Pitching was the primary strength of the ’57 St. Louis team, and we’ve pretty much left the staff alone.

1958 St. Louis Cardinals     Won 77    Lost 77    Finished 4th

 Pos  Player        Age    G  AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
  1B  S. Musial*     37  135 472  68 159  35   2  17  64  72  26 .337 .423 .528 .950  146
  2B  D. Blasingame* 26  143 547  75 150  19  10   2  37  57  47 .274 .342 .356 .699   83
  SS  D. Schofield#  23  111 315  41  71  10   2   2  22  49  49 .225 .326 .289 .615   62
  3B  K. Boyer       27  150 570 106 175  21   9  23  94  49  53 .307 .360 .496 .856  121
  RF  W. Moon*       28  108 290  39  69  10   3   7  39  47  30 .238 .341 .366 .707   85
  CF  D. Landrum*    22  126 353  40  84  13   3   3  26  32  59 .238 .301 .317 .618   62
  LF  D. Ennis       33  106 329  23  86  18   1   3  49  15  35 .261 .290 .350 .639   66
  C   H. Smith       27   77 220  14  50   4   1   1  25  14  14 .227 .269 .268 .537   41

OF-1B J. Cunningham* 26  131 337  65 105  20   3  12  59  82  23 .312 .448 .496 .944  146
 C-RF G. Green       25  111 373  34 107  15   3  12  49  33  39 .287 .341 .440 .780  102
  IF  E. Kasko       26  104 259  21  57   8   1   2  23  21  25 .220 .276 .282 .557   46
  CF  B. Smith       24   94 254  32  69   8   1   6  28   7  35 .272 .291 .382 .673   74
  OF  J. King*       25   91 167  22  33   5   2   5  23  20  29 .198 .289 .341 .631   64
  C   H. Landrith*   28   70 144  10  31   4   0   3  14  26  21 .215 .333 .306 .639   68
SS-2B L. Tate        26   56 106  13  25   4   1   0   5  10  10 .236 .303 .292 .595   56
SS-3B A. Dark        36   18  64   8  19   0   0   1   5   2   6 .297 .318 .344 .662   73

      Others                  53   6  12   1   1   2   5   5   9 .226 .305 .396 .701   81

      Pitchers               379  23  51   6   0   0  22  12 137 .135 .152 .150 .303  -21

      Total                 5232 640 1353 201 43 101 589 553 647 .259 .327 .371 .698   82

      *  Bats left
      #  Bats both

      Pitcher       Age    G  GS  CG   W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
      S. Jones       32   35  35  14  15  13   0 250 204  95  80   23  107  225 2.88  144
      L. Jackson     27   49  23  11  14  13   9 198 211  93  81   21   51  124 3.68  113
      W. Mizell*     27   30  29   8  11  14   0 190 178  81  72   17   91   80 3.41  122
      J. Brosnan     28   33  12   2   8   3   8 115 107  46  44   10   50   65 3.44  121
      B. Mabe        28   33  12   4   3   8   0 112 113  66  56   11   41   74 4.50   92
      L. McDaniel    22   28  16   2   5   6   0 109 139  76  70   17   31   47 5.78   72
      A. Kellner*    33   18   7   4   6   3   0  82  74  23  21    8   21   44 2.30  180
      S. Maglie      41   10  10   2   2   5   0  53  46  31  28   14   25   21 4.75   87

      P. Paine       28   46   0   0   5   1   2  73  70  33  29    7   31   45 3.58  116
      B. Muffett     27   20   2   0   2   2   4  42  54  26  23    6   21   21 4.93   84
      C. Stobbs*     28   17   0   0   1   3   1  40  40  16  16    4   14   25 3.60  115
      M. Martin*     35   17   0   0   3   1   0  25  19  13  13    3   12   16 4.68   89
      N. Chittum     25   13   2   0   1   1   0  29  31  21  21    5    7   13 6.52   64
      B. Wight*      36    8   0   0   0   0   1  12  16  12  11    1    8    4 8.25   50

      Others                   6   0   1   4   1  55  71  45  43    9   34   30 7.04   59

      Total                  154  47  77  77 26 1385 1373 677 608 156  544  834 3.95  105

      * Throws left

It’s a peculiar season for St. Louis. A few players perform wonderfully: Boyer is superb, Stan Musial, at 37, is clearly slowing down but still hitting up a storm, and The Man’s caddy, Joe Cunningham, hits astonishingly well. Toothpick Sam Jones, at the age of 32, finally masters his control enough to blossom as a flamethrowing ace, racking up the most strikeouts of any National Leaguer since 1936.

But these lofty achievements stand out starkly against a broad plain of disappointments. Lindy and Von McDaniel, the barely-old-enough-to-shave-pitching-sensation-brothers of 1957, both flop hard this year. Landrum does not hit well at all. Egregiously slumping hitters include outfielders Wally Moon and Del Ennis, infielder Kasko, and catcher Hal Smith.

Our offense overall is distinctly weak, and thus the still-strong pitching staff carries a heavy burden. These Cardinals sink from 87 wins and second place in ’57 to 77 wins and fourth in ’58, and it’s only by outperforming Pythag by four games that we’re able to come in at .500. It isn’t a good year in St. Louis.

Next time

We’ll find out if we can get our Reds and Cards on the beam, as our Giants seem to be.

           Giants:  Actual             Reds:  Actual               Cardinals:  Actual
 Year    W    L  Pos   RS   RA       W    L  Pos   RS   RA       W    L  Pos   RS   RA
 1958    80   74  3    727  698      76   78  4    695  623      72   82  5T   619  704

           Giants:  Virtual            Reds:  Virtual              Cardinals:  Virtual
 Year    W    L  Pos   RS   RA       W    L  Pos   RS   RA       W    L  Pos   RS   RA
 1958    83   71  2T   747  692      73   81  5    683  637      77   77  4    640  677

References & Resources
Officially, the Cincinnati Reds were called the “Cincinnati Redlegs” from 1954 through 1959, as a means of distinguishing this major league ball club from the global Communist menace. It isn’t clear who was confused about this, but they made the name change anyway. At any rate, the new nickname never caught on among the fans or media, and was thus finally dropped. In this series, we’ll dispense with worrying about that, and just call them the Reds.

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Comments

  1. DrBGiantsfan said...

    I didn’t know that the Cardinals got Ernie Broglio from the Giants.  They later flipped him to the Cubs for Lou Brock in one of the more lopsided deals in history.  That’s getting ahead of the story, huh?

  2. Mr.Fox said...

    The Giants were loaded at 1st base in 1958.  Rookie of the year Orlando Cepeda, as the article notes Bill White added to the roster after military service, and in the minors was a young player who would be rookie of the year in 1959, Willie McCovey

  3. Steve Treder said...

    Big time.  As we’ll explore next week, it’s likely that the Giants in 1958-59 held the greatest concentration of very young first base talent ever seen, with two eventual Hall of Famers and one HOVG guy.

    And though Gail Harris wasn’t a star, while vastly and understandably overshadowed, he could play a little bit.

  4. LVW said...

    Noone at the time of the Brock/Broglio thought it was a lopsided trade in favor of the Cards. Brock had an OPS+ of 77, had struck out 3 times as much as he walked and he was never a good defensive LFer.

  5. Steve Treder said...

    Absolutely right.  No one thought that at the time, because the evidence at the time didn’t hint that it would be.  The outcome of the Brock/Broglio trade was the absolute, positive worst case scenario for the Cubs:  the key player acquired immediately launched into a career-finishing crash-and-burn death spiral, and the key player surrendered immediately blossomed overnight into Hall-of-Fame-bound stardom.

    The odds against it happening just that way were exceedingly long.  So much so that no one expected it.

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