The virtual 1958-68 Giants, Reds, and Cardinals (Part 6: 1962-63)

We’re now five years in, just about the half-way point:

1957-58
1958-59
1959-60
1960-61
1961-62

Neither our Giants nor our Reds have been able to sustain individual superiority, but between them they’re dominating the National League. They tied for first place in ’59, and have traded pennants back and forth in 1960, ’61, and ’62. Our Cardinals, meanwhile, have been in building-and-rebuilding mode and are still stuck in the middle of the pack.

          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
 1959    83   71   3    705  613      74   80  5T   764  738      71   83  7    641  725
 1960    79   75   5    671  631      67   87  6    640  692      86   68  3    639  616
 1961    85   69   3    773  655      93   61  1    710  653      80   74  5    703  668
 1962   103   62   1    878  690      98   64  3    802  685      84   78  6    774  664

          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
 1959    87   67   1T   737  615      87   67  1T   802  662      84   70  4    725  685
 1960    93   61   1    709  561      76   78  6    705  666      86   68  4    661  632
 1961    88   66   2    787  648     106   48  1    813  629      72   82  6    689  724
 1962   103   59   1    800  632     101   61  2T   779  663      84   78  6    809  703

What will we see in ’63?

The 1962-63 offseason: Actual deals we will make

Nov. 24, 1962: The Cincinnati Reds traded first baseman Rogelio Alvarez to the Washington Senators for infielder-catcher Harry Bright.

The versatile Bright has delivered a splendid year for Washington in 1962. It makes sense that the cellar-dwelling Senators would be looking to leverage the veteran in the trade market, and the modest prospect Alvarez is inexpensive payment. Our Reds, as in reality, will eagerly take them up on the offer.

Nov. 26, 1962: The Cincinnati Reds drafted pitcher Al Worthington from the Chicago White Sox in the 1962 Rule 5 draft.

For the second year in a row, the Reds are plucking an unusually useful commodity out of the Rule 5 grab-bag of odds and ends.

April 2, 1963: The St. Louis Cardinals sold outfielder Minnie Miñoso to the Washington Senators.

It just didn’t work out in St. Lous for the ever-smiling Cuban veteran.

April 5, 1963: The Cincinnati Reds purchased infielder-outfielder Deron Johnson from the Kansas City Athletics.

He’s flopped in K.C., but is still months shy of his 25th birthday. Like the actual Reds, our version will be happy to give this powerful prospect a triple-A chance to show what he can do.

The 1962-63 offseason: Actual deals we will not make

Oct. 17, 1962: The St. Louis Cardinals traded pitchers Larry Jackson and Lindy McDaniel and catcher Jimmie Schaffer to the Chicago Cubs for outfielder George Altman, pitcher Don Cardwell, and catcher Moe Thacker.

This one is nothing if not bold. But here’s how we assessed it in the Blockbusters series:

It’s easy to see why the Cardinals were hot for Altman: Big George and his big bat would fill their right field hole perfectly. But good grief, GM Bing Devine surrendered a lot of pitching talent to get him; filling one hole by creating a deeper one someplace else doesn’t generally accomplish much.

Fortunately for our Cardinals, we don’t have a hole in right field, so we aren’t tempted to do something like this.

Nov. 19, 1962: The St. Louis Cardinals traded pitcher Don Cardwell and infielder Julio Gotay to the Pittsburgh Pirates for shortstop Dick Groat and pitcher Diomedes Olivo.

And since we don’t have Cardwell, we can’t do this one either. Even if we could, we don’t think we would, as we don’t see Groat as all that much an upgrade over our bland-but-steady incumbent shortstop Dick Schofield (whom the Pirates would in fact use as their replacement for Groat), and moreover we don’t yet see ourselves as far enough into the success cycle to be trading for a 32-year-old shortstop. (Obviously we don’t anticipate the terrific year Groat will deliver in 1963.)

But given what the Cubs and Pirates are seeking to accomplish, we think we can help them while helping ourselves. We’ll explain below.

Dec . 15, 1962: The San Francisco Giants traded pitchers Stu Miller and Mike McCormick and catcher John Orsino to the Baltimore Orioles for pitchers Billy Hoeft and Jack Fisher and catcher Jimmie Coker.

We’ve considered this interesting move before:

Miller and McCormick had been stars for the Giants prior to 1962, but both had delivered disappointing contributions to that pennant-winning campaign. Miller, the best relief ace in the league in 1961, had seen his ERA+ plunge from 144 to 92. McCormick, one of the better starters in the league in 1960 and 1961, came up lame-armed in ’62, and pitched just 99 ineffective innings, few of them in the second half.

So it was sensible for the Giants to be concerned about Miller and McCormick going forward. But the return they netted for them here is the essence of “selling low.” Hoeft was a veteran who’d rebounded from arm trouble to find some success in the bullpen, but not the sustained excellence as a reliever that Miller had shown, and in 1962 Hoeft had been no more effective than Miller. Similarly, Fisher had been a highly regarded young pitcher with the Orioles (part of Paul Richards’ “Kiddie Corps”), but he’d never been nearly as good as McCormick, and had struggled mightily himself in ’62.

Nor even did the throw-in exchange of backup catchers make any sense: Orsino was a young player with questionable defensive skill, but a highly impressive bat, while Coker was two years older and pretty much a proven mediocrity.

So it’s a three-for-three in which in each and every one of the three direct comparisons, the Giants come out on the short end. That’s not something you see every day.

Our Giants will channel their inner Nancy Reagan, and just say, “No.”

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

Our Cardinals already traded Whitfield a year ago. So no Ron Taylor for us.

Feb. 14, 1963: The St. Louis Cardinals traded outfielder-first baseman Bob Burda to the Pittsburgh Pirates for catcher Cal Neeman.

Why exactly Devine felt it necessary to trade at all for a 34-year-old backup catcher, whose batting averages over the past four years had been .162, .179, .226, and .180, is the first question. And the second is why surrender the not-yet-25-year-old Burda, who doesn’t project as a star, but looks to be a serviceable left-handed utility bat?

Not seeing any answers, our Cardinals will decline to take part.

March 25, 1963: St. Louis Cardinals purchased infielder-outfielder Leo Burke from the Los Angeles Angels.

March 25, 1963: The St. Louis Cardinals purchased pitcher Bob Humphreys from the Detroit Tigers.

Our Cards have no room for either this handyman or this reliever.

The 1962-63 offseason: Deals we will invoke

Nov. 19, 1962: In a three-club deal, the St. Louis Cardinals traded infielder Julio Gotay and catcher Jimmie Schaffer to the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs sent pitcher Don Cardwell to the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Pirates sent pitcher Bill Henry to the Cardinals and pitcher Bob Priddy to the Cubs.

This ties together, at least somewhat, the two actual trades listed above which our Cardinals don’t make with Chicago and Pittsburgh. We’re making two assumptions:

{exp:list_maker}Since in our scenario the Cubs don’t have Andre Rodgers manning shortstop, they’re interested in Gotay.
In our scenario the Pirates have Henry, having acquired him (from the Cubs, as a matter of fact) along with Lee Walls in exchange for Frank Thomas back in 1959—the deal the Cubs actually swung with the Reds, who’d acquired Thomas from Pittsburgh a year earlier. {/exp:list_maker}Our Cardinals will let the Cubs keep George Altman, and the Pirates keep Dick Groat. The Cubs, in exchange for Cardwell, get some help at shortstop, behind the plate, and in the bullpen. The Pirates, in exchange for the 35-year-old Henry (bear in mind that getting younger is the overriding theme in Pittsburgh’s deals this off-season) and the reliever prospect Priddy, will get Cardwell.

It’s sensible and plausible, and it allows our Cards to convert a couple of replaceable bench assets into another southpaw in the bullpen.

Nov. 28, 1962: The Cincinnati Reds traded third baseman Don Hoak to the Philadelphia Phillies for outfielder Ted Savage and first baseman Pancho Herrera.

Actually, on this date it was Pittsburgh making this deal with Philadelphia (the Pirates getting younger, again). It’s a generous offer for the declining Hoak, and our Reds will readily take it.

Dec. 15, 1962: The Cincinnati Reds traded catcher Gene Oliver to the Baltimore Orioles for pitcher Billy Hoeft and catcher Jimmie Coker.

Unable to get the action they were looking for from our Giants, the Orioles turn to our Reds. Baltimore gets one element of the deal they wanted from San Francisco, a power-hitting catcher. Our Reds are able to part with Oliver because we have Don Pavletich coming along, who brings a comparable skillset while being four years younger.

Hoeft can address the bullpen concerns we have in Cincinnati, while Coker can be stashed in triple-A as injury insurance.

Dec. 15, 1962: The San Francisco Giants traded outfielder Willie Kirkland to the Cleveland Indians for outfielder Walt Bond and cash.

The enigmatic Kirkland’s batting average took a serious dive in 1962. Perhaps our Giants can be accused of overreacting to that, but we’ve kind of run out of patience with him, and like the idea of turning his job over to someone younger.

Bond is four years younger, and while he’s yet to become established in the majors, he’s certainly shown flashes of being something special. Even though he’s enormous (6-foot-7, 230), Bond runs fairly well, and he impresses us enough to decide that if Cleveland isn’t ready to find out what he can do, we are.

March, 1963: The Cincinnati Reds traded infielder Cookie Rojas to the Philadelphia Phillies for pitcher Jim Owens and cash.

March, 1963: The Cincinnati Reds traded infielder Don Zimmer to the Los Angeles Dodgers for pitcher Scott Breeden.

Actually, the Reds made both of these deals over the winter, but our Reds wanted to allow the rookie Rojas and the veteran Zimmer the chance to make the roster in spring training. It isn’t happening, so we’ll stock up the triple-A staff instead.

March, 1963: The Cincinnati Reds sold second baseman Johnny Temple to the Houston Colt .45s.

Nor will we have room for this longtime standout, so we’ll let him get some playing time down in Houston.

April 4, 1963: The St. Louis Cardinals traded outfielder Manny Mota to the Pittsburgh Pirates for outfielder Howie Goss and cash.

Speaking of Houston, in reality, it was on this date that the Colt .45s made this trade with Pittsburgh. Mota didn’t hit well in the utility role in which we deployed him in as a rookie in 1962, and we see the defensive specialist Goss as a better fit for our bench in ’63.

The 1963 season: Actual deals we will make

April 21, 1963: The Cincinnati Reds sold infielder-catcher Harry Bright to the New York Yankees.

Much as we like this scrub, we won’t be able to fit him on the regular season roster.

Aug. 8, 1963: The San Francisco Giants purchased first baseman Norm Larker from the Milwaukee Braves.

No matter which universe you’re in, Larker is useful for the stretch run.

The 1963 season: Actual deals we will not make

May 15, 1963: The Cincinnati Reds signed infielder Daryl Spencer as a free agent.

Our Reds don’t have a spot for this veteran, cut loose by the Dodgers the previous day.

May 23, 1963: The Cincinnati Reds traded outfielder Jerry Lynch to the Pittsburgh Pirates for outfielder Bob Skinner.

A curious challenge trade, a simple swap of early-30s lefty-swinging left fielders. Skinner had always been a better fielder and baserunner than Lynch, and had thus become a full-time starter for several years, a status that had always eluded Lynch. Though Skinner was a fine hitter, his bat was never the equal of Lynch’s wicked instrument.

If a team was in need of a regular left fielder for an extended stretch, Skinner (a year younger than Lynch, for what that’s worth) would be preferable. But the real Reds didn’t have such a need. Nor do ours, and if the need is instead for a backup player being called upon to pinch hit quite a bit, then it has to be Lynch all the way.

June 15, 1963: The St. Louis Cardinals traded catcher Gene Oliver and pitcher Bob Sadowski to the Milwaukee Braves for pitcher Lew Burdette.

Our Cards have already dealt away both Oliver and Sadowski (you know, this Bob Sadowski), so we can’t make this trade. Not that we would be interested anyway, as that’s quite a price to pay for a 36-year-old, already-well-into-his-decline-phase Burdette.

June 24, 1963: The St. Louis Cardinals traded infielder-outfielder Leo Burke to the Chicago Cubs for pitcher Barney Schultz.

Nor, since we don’t have Burke, will we acquire this journeyman knuckleballer.

The 1963 season: Deals we will invoke

May 5, 1963: The St. Louis Cardinals traded pitcher Jim Brosnan to the Chicago White Sox for pitcher Dom Zanni.

The Reds actually made this deal with the White Sox. We’ll decide as well that the wire-rimmed-glasses-wearin’ book-readin’-and-writin’ Professor Brosnan is looking a bit long in the tooth, and give a shot to the hard-throwing journeyman Zanni.

May, 1963: The San Francisco Giants sold pitcher Frank Funk to the Milwaukee Braves.

May, 1963: The San Francisco Giants sold pitcher Jim Duffalo to the Baltimore Orioles.

May, 1963: The San Francisco Giants traded pitcher Julio Navarro and first baseman Charlie Dees to the Los Angeles Angels for outfielder Jacke Davis and cash.

It’s cut-down time, and our Giants don’t have room in the inventory for these spare parts. Davis will be parked in the minors.

May, 1963: The San Francisco Giants signed first baseman Vic Wertz as a free agent.

But we will make space for this 38-year-old longballer, just released by Detroit. His reunion with Willie Mays should be amusing.

May, 1963: The Cincinnati Reds sold pitcher Moe Drabowsky to the Kansas City Athletics.

Last August, our Reds weren’t ready to let go of the best native Polish pitcher in baseball history, but at this point we’re forced by the roster squeeze to let Charlie Finley have him.

June 25, 1963: The Cincinnati Reds sold pitcher Billy Hoeft off waivers to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Hoeft has turned up lame-armed, and spent all spring on the DL. Now that he’s ready to go to work, we’ve come up with better alternatives, and so we’ll waive him.

July 1, 1963: The St. Louis Cardinals traded catcher Jesse Gonder to the New York Mets for infielder Charlie Neal and catcher Sammy Taylor.

The Reds actually made this deal with the Mets. Our Cards will make it for the same reasons: we love Gonder’s bat, but he’s a pinch-hitting specialist at this point, and we think that the 32-year-old Neal probably has enough left in the tank to make contribute in the infield. (We’ll be just as wrong.)

July 6, 1963: The San Francisco Giants sold outfielder Bob Perry to the Los Angeles Angels.

To make room for a powerful young hitter named Jim Ray Hart, whom we’re ready to call up and put to use in right field.

Aug. 8, 1963: The San Francisco Giants released first baseman Vic Wertz.

Wertz doesn’t hit, so we’ll let him go to make room for Larker.

1963 season results

Giants

Our modifications to the pennant-winning roster of 1962 are minor indeed: Bond replacing Kirkland in right field is the only one of significance.

1963 San Francisco Giants     Won 97    Lost 65    Finished 3rd

 Pos  Player        Age    G  AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
  1B  W. McCovey*    25  152 564 102 158  19   5  44 103  50 119 .280 .349 .566 .915  161
  2B  C. Hiller*     28   94 288  33  65   7   2   4  25  14  14 .226 .253 .306 .559   61
  SS  A. Rodgers     28  150 516  56 115  17   4   5  36  64  89 .223 .313 .300 .614   79
  3B  K. Boyer       32  159 638  94 174  27   2  23  69  72  93 .273 .346 .429 .776  124
  RF  W. Bond*       25  121 421  42 101  14   1  17  62  25  43 .240 .290 .399 .689   98
  CF  W. Mays        32  157 596 114 187  32   7  38 104  66  83 .314 .380 .582 .962  175
  LF  O. Cepeda      25  156 579  99 183  33   4  34  98  37  70 .316 .366 .563 .929  165
  C   T. Haller*     26   98 298  31  76   8   1  14  44  34  45 .255 .329 .430 .759  118

2B-SS J. Pagan       28  125 321  31  79  10   1   4  28  17  44 .246 .285 .321 .606   75
  C   J. Orsino      25  102 284  34  77  14   1  13  47  25  38 .271 .342 .465 .806  131
  OF  M. Alou*       24   88 208  16  48   5   1   3  15  13  24 .231 .280 .308 .588   70
  OF  B. Perry       28   34  83   8  22   3   0   2   7   4  14 .265 .300 .373 .673   94
  UT  C. Peterson    20   27  66   8  17   2   0   1   3   3  15 .258 .286 .333 .619   79
SS-2B G. Garrido     22   31  64   7  14   1   0   0   2   3   8 .219 .250 .234 .484   41
  1B  V. Wertz*      38   35  44   3   6   0   0   3   7   5   6 .136 .224 .341 .565   61
  C   J. Pignatano   33   29  40   5   8   2   0   0   3   5   9 .200 .283 .250 .533   56
2B-SS E. Bowman      27   27  42   3   8   1   0   0   1   0   5 .190 .182 .214 .396   14
  RF  J. Hart        21    7  20   1   4   1   0   0   2   3   6 .200 .360 .250 .610   80
  1B  N. Larker*     32   19  14   0   1   0   0   0   0   2   2 .071 .188 .071 .259  -22

      Others                  36   5   9   2   0   0   7   2   6 .250 .308 .306 .613   79

      Pitchers               438  34  71  10   2   2  18  24 140 .163 .194 .210 .404   17

      Total                 5560 726 1423 208 31 207 681 468 873 .256 .315 .416 .732  110

      *  Bats left

      Pitcher       Age    G  GS  CG   W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
      J. Marichal    25   41  40  18  25   8   0 321 259 102  86   27   61  248 2.41  133
      J. Sanford     34   38  38  10  15  11   0 255 244 110  99   19   68  143 3.49   92
      E. Broglio     27   39  35  11  18   9   0 250 190  86  74   22   90  145 2.66  120
      B. O'Dell*     30   39  16   5  11   6   1 148 142  57  49    8   47   80 2.98  108
      M. McCormick*  24   21  10   1   5   4   0  77  73  37  34    8   33   44 3.97   81

      S. Miller      35   71   0   0   8   7  22 112  93  34  27    4   48  117 2.17  148
      B. Bolin       24   38  10   1   8   5   2 110 101  57  39   10   46  108 3.19  101
      B. Pierce*     36   34   9   2   3   9   5  75  81  36  34    9   14   39 4.08   79
      G. Perry       24   28   4   0   2   5   1  68  76  37  31    9   26   47 4.10   78
      A. Stanek*     19   11   0   0   0   0   0  13  10   7   7    1   12    5 4.85   66

      Others                   0   0   2   1   2  40  32  15  12    1   17   25 2.70  119

      Total                  162  48  97  65 33 1469 1301 578 492 118  462 1001 3.01  106

      * Throws left

All of the big boys we’re counting on deliver big time. Every one of them, as Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, Ken Boyer, and Ernie Broglio are all in peak form. Twenty-five-year-old Juan Marichal does them one better, vaulting from star into superstar status with a spectacular campaign, bagging the most wins by any Giants’ pitcher since Carl Hubbell nearly 30 years earlier.

The good news continues as ace reliever Miller rebounds from his mediocre 1962 to deliver another terrific year, and our young catching duo of Orsino and Tom Haller prove that their bodacious platoon performance of ’62 was no fluke.

But we do have small issues. Bond isn’t bad, but he isn’t good either, and our attempt to bypass him with the mid-season call-up of Hart goes awry, as the 21-year-old rookie is sidelined, not once, but twice when hit by pitches. None among our crew of middle infielders hits as well as expected, and in general neither our bench nor the back end of our pitching staff makes much of a contribution.

Still, our strengths carry us a long way. Our hitting, surpassing the 200-homer mark for a record third straight year, is the best there is, and our pitching is close to it. It adds up to a 97-win season, good enough to win in most leagues.

But not this one. We’re very close, but this time it’s our Giants being nosed out at the wire.

Reds

At third base, in place of the departed Hoak, we’ll go with speedy youngster Tommy Harper, whom we called up down the stretch in 1962. At first base, we’ll keep a close eye on Wally Moon, who slumped in ’62, and be ready to supplement him with the rookie Pavletich, and also with longtime catcher Ed Bailey, who’ll give up some backstop innings to better-fielding sophomore Johnny Edwards and rookie Joe Azcue.

We’ll try several new arms in our bullpen, including Rule 5 pickup Worthington, retread Joe Nuxhall, who did remarkably well last year after we picked him off the scrap heap, and veteran minor leaguer John Tsitouris, whom, interestingly enough, we acquired in exchange for Nuxhall a couple of years ago.

But the most interesting addition will be a 22-year-old rookie second baseman named Pete Rose, who blows away our development timetable to make the club in spring training.

1963 Cincinnati Reds     Won 100    Lost 62    Finished 1st

 Pos  Player        Age    G  AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
  1B  W. Moon*       33  122 343  42  93  14   2  10  48  45  43 .271 .349 .411 .760  116
  2B  P. Rose#       22  129 415  62 112  17   6   4  27  36  49 .270 .327 .369 .696   98
  SS  L. Cardenas    24  150 509  39 120  20   4   6  42  21  91 .236 .268 .326 .594   68
  3B  T. Harper      22  129 449  75 119  14   3  11  41  49  78 .265 .334 .383 .717  104
  RF  F. Robinson    27  140 482  81 125  19   3  21  91  81  69 .259 .379 .442 .821  133
  CF  V. Pinson*     24  162 652  98 204  37  14  22 106  36  80 .313 .347 .514 .861  142
LF-RF T. Gonzalez*   26  139 444  63 140  29   7   4  51  44  54 .315 .379 .439 .818  133
  C   J. Edwards*    25   99 249  24  63   9   2   6  30  21  49 .253 .312 .378 .689   95

O-2-3 C. Flood       25  130 397  59 116  21   5   3  38  26  33 .292 .333 .393 .726  106
 C-1B E. Bailey*     32  105 308  39  82   8   0  22  65  51  63 .266 .370 .506 .877  147
OF-1B M. Keough*     29   95 172  22  39   8   2   6  21  25  37 .227 .332 .401 .733  108
 1B-C D. Pavletich   24   71 183  19  38  11   0   5  18  17  12 .208 .270 .350 .619   75
  C   J. Azcue       23   64 162  13  44   8   0   6  22   6  24 .272 .294 .432 .726  104
  LF  J. Lynch*      32   88 151  18  39   6   1   8  25  11  19 .258 .313 .470 .783  120
  IF  C. Ruiz#       24   72 123  14  30   3   1   1   7   3  17 .244 .260 .309 .568   61

      Others                  22   3   5   0   0   1   1   1   5 .227 .261 .364 .625   76

      Pitchers               433  33  68   7   0   3  28  16 153 .157 .176 .195 .372    6

      Total                 5494 704 1437 231 50 139 661 489 876 .262 .321 .398 .719  104

      *  Bats left
      #  Bats both

      Pitcher       Age    G  GS  CG   W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
      J. Maloney     23   33  33  13  24   6   0 250 183  84  77   17   88  265 2.77  121
      J. O'Toole*    26   33  32  12  18  13   0 234 208  85  75   13   57  146 2.88  116
      J. Pizarro*    26   32  28  10  17   7   1 215 180  66  57   12   57  167 2.39  141
      C. Osteen*     23   36  21   5  11   6   3 166 172  70  56   14   41   88 3.04  111
      J. Jay         27   30  19   4   7  13   2 153 154  80  72   17   66  106 4.24   79
      B. Purkey      33   21  18   4   6   6   0 123 128  52  48   11   30   51 3.51   96

      J. Nuxhall*    34   47   3   1   5   2  13  72  55  19  17    3   13   61 2.13  158
      H. Haddix*     37   44   1   0   3   2  12  63  57  24  23    9   18   64 3.29  102
      A. Worthington 34   40   0   0   3   3  10  65  59  26  21    5   25   45 2.91  116
      J. Tsitouris   27   30   6   2   5   3   3  76  62  26  24    7   16   48 2.84  118

      Others                   1   0   1   1   0  21  18   8   6    2    9   17 2.57  131

      Total                  162  51 100  62 44 1438 1276 540 476 110  420 1058 2.98  113

      * Throws left

When our Reds enjoyed their spectacular runaway pennant in 1961, it was one of those magical seasons in which every significant thing goes right. This time, our Reds have a season in which some big things don’t go right at all—and yet they still go 100-62 and win the pennant. In its way, that’s an achievement even more impressive than the 106-48 cakewalk of ’61.

The biggest thing that doesn’t go right for our ’63 Reds is that resident superstar Frank Robinson spends this year dinged up with nagging injuries, not severe enough to send him to the DL, but severe enough to drag his hitting, both for average and power, well below his normal rate. Now, he’s Frank Robinson, and so poor hitting for him would be good hitting for most anyone else, but still, his drop in production means a drop in our team production. His off-year hurts.

We also see off-years from two starting pitchers, Bob Purkey and Joey Jay, both big winners in previous years, but straggling in at 6-6 and 7-13 this year, and from shortstop Leo Cardenas, who sees his batting average plunge nearly 60 points. Pavletich, expected to fill Gene Oliver’s shoes, also struggles with the bat.

But the depth of talent on this ball club is amazing. Vada Pinson delivers his best year. Robust hitting is delivered by Bailey and by Tony Gonzalez, and Moon does fine. Both of the infield rookies, Harper and Rose, perform splendidly; Rose in fact does so well that over the course of the season he claims the second base job for himself, driving incumbent Curt Flood into an infield-outfield supersub role in which he thrives, heading up an outstanding bench.

But our key strength is our pitching, which despite the problems encountered by Purkey and Jay, is the league’s best. Young right-hander Jim Maloney bursts into stardom, heading up a rotation that includes not one, not two, but three excellent young left-handers. And our revamped bullpen emerges as a shining jewel.

The fight is extremely tough, once again pitting our Reds the Giants and the extremely formidable Los Angeles Dodgers and their amazing Sandy Koufax. But in exquisitely close fashion, our Reds prevail.

Cardinals

We’ve made only a few changes for this year. The most important is that, after patiently developing him in the minors for several years, we’re promoting sweet-swinging young Tim McCarver to take over as our primary catcher.

1963 St. Louis Cardinals     Won 80    Lost 82    Finished 6th

 Pos  Player        Age    G  AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
  1B  B. White*      29  162 636  89 194  25   8  26  92  57  97 .305 .358 .492 .850  133
  2B  J. Javier      26  161 579  68 152  26   9   9  54  23  82 .263 .291 .385 .676   86
SS-3B D. Schofield#  28  138 541  74 139  21   2   3  35  69  81 .257 .341 .320 .661   85
  3B  J. Davenport   29  147 460  42 122  21   3   5  38  32  87 .265 .303 .357 .659   82
  RF  L. Thomas*     27  121 401  49  93  12   6   8  44  33  60 .232 .296 .352 .648   79
CF-RF F. Alou        28  157 565  83 166  33  10  22  82  27  87 .294 .328 .504 .832  127
  LF  S. Musial*     42  124 337  32  86  10   2  12  55  35  43 .255 .325 .404 .728  101
  C   T. McCarver*   21  127 405  41 117  12   7   4  48  27  43 .289 .330 .383 .712   97

  OF  C. James       25  104 281  28  76  12   2   8  36   8  52 .270 .291 .413 .703   93
  OF  B. Burda*      24   77 184  27  41   5   0   7  27  24  30 .223 .313 .364 .677   87
  IF  E. Kasko       31   73 159  20  40   8   0   3   9  19  27 .252 .324 .358 .683   89
  C   G. Green       30   60 164  16  37   6   0   4  17   6  46 .226 .269 .335 .604   67
  OF  H. Goss        28   89 149  23  32   7   1   5  18  10  47 .215 .259 .376 .635   74
  3B  C. Neal        32   34  64   2  11   1   0   0   3   5  15 .172 .229 .188 .416   17
  SS  D. Maxvill     24   35  34   8   8   1   0   0   2   4   7 .235 .316 .265 .580   63
  C   J. Gonder*     27   31  32   5  10   2   0   3   5   1  12 .313 .333 .656 .990  167
  C   S. Taylor*     30   12  30   2   7   1   0   0   3   1   6 .233 .258 .267 .525   46

      Others                 132  17  33   1   3   3  12  14  34 .250 .322 .371 .693   92

      Pitchers               415  38  75  13   2   4  40  18 132 .181 .199 .251 .449   24

      Total                 5568 664 1439 217 55 126 620 413 988 .258 .307 .385 .692   91

      *  Bats left
      #  Bats both

      Pitcher       Age    G  GS  CG   W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
      L. Jackson     32   37  37  13  14  16   0 275 260 102  80   11   54  156 2.62  138
      B. Gibson      27   36  33  14  14  12   0 255 224 110  96   19   96  204 3.39  107
      A. Jackson*    27   37  34   9  13  11   1 216 227 113  94   23   80  139 3.92   92
      R. Sadecki*    22   36  28   4   8  12   1 193 198 100  88   25   78  136 4.10   88
      E. Fisher      26   35  12   2   7   9   0 115 114  57  53   14   24   67 4.15   87
      H. Fanok       23   18   6   1   2   5   1  68  62  35  32    7   45   66 4.24   85
      R. Washburn    25   11  11   4   4   3   0  64  50  25  22    5   14   47 3.09  117

      L. McDaniel    27   57   0   0  11   5  17  88  84  33  29    9   27   77 2.97  122
      B. Shantz*     37   55   0   0   5   4   4  79  55  28  23    6   17   70 2.62  138
      B. Henry*      35   47   0   0   1   3   4  52  58  32  26    4   11   46 4.50   80
      D. Zanni       31   31   1   0   1   1   1  43  41  23  21    2   21   41 4.40   82

      Others                   0   0   0   1   0  15  25  10  10    3    6   11 6.00   60

      Total                  162  47  80  82 29 1463 1398 668 574 128  473 1060 3.53  102

      * Throws left

We anticipated this might be the season in which we step forward into contention, but it doesn’t happen. Stan Musial, at 42, cools off from his stirring 1962 performance (and retires at the end of the year), but that isn’t surprising. What is surprising are the slumps that hit Lee Thomas and Jim Davenport.

Strong years from Bill White and Felipe Alou, as well as solid performances from McCarver, Schofield, and Julian Javier aren’t enough to lead our offense to improvement. We have, once again, basically a league-average attack.

And our pitching, while still a strength, isn’t as exceptional as it was in ’62. Ray Washburn misses much of the season with an arm injury, and the back end of our rotation gets knocked around a little bit.

It’s a one-step-forward, one-step-back kind of a year for our Cardinals. We’d given ourselves a three-to-five-year window to become a contender when we traded away Ken Boyer back in 1960. Next year will be year four in that window. It’s getting near put-up-or-shut-up time.

Next time

Will it again be the Giants’ “turn” to take the flag? Will the Cardinals finally have something to say about it?

          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
 1959    83   71  3    705  613      74   80  5T   764  738      71   83  7    641  725
 1960    79   75  5    671  631      67   87  6    640  692      86   68  3    639  616
 1961    85   69  3    773  655      93   61  1    710  653      80   74  5    703  668
 1962   103   62  1    878  690      98   64  3    802  685      84   78  6    774  664
 1963    88   74  3    725  641      86   76  5    648  594      93   69  2    747  628

          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
 1959    87   67  1T   737  615      87   67  1T   802  662      84   70  4    725  685
 1960    93   61  1    709  561      76   78  6    705  666      86   68  4    661  632
 1961    88   66  2    787  648     106   48  1    813  629      72   82  6    689  724
 1962   103   59  1    800  632     101   61  2T   779  663      84   78  6    809  703
 1963    97   65  3    726  578     100   62  1    704  540      80   82  6    664  668
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Comments

  1. ksw said...

    something that has always escaped me; why was jim davenport regarded as good?
    mediocre fielding numbers, and not a good hitter, for a short stop.
    and couldn’t some one have said, “that cepada, he’ll cost us forty runs a year at 3b, but the guy in left (anyone) will put 60 more on the board than the gang at third?”

  2. Steve Treder said...

    Davenport, correctly or not, was very highly regarded as a defensive third baseman.  He was awarded the NL Gold Glove at that position in 1962.  (Having watched him play, I can attest that he was an extraordinarily smooth-looking fielder.)

    He wasn’t a good hitter for a third baseman, but he was a pretty good hitter for a shortstop.  Thus the way the Giants deployed him from 1964 onward, as a 3B/SS/2B supersub rather than a regular third baseman, made good sense.  (It also better fit with Davenport’s injury-prone nature.  He was one of those guys who just couldn’t stay healthy for 162 games, he was always dealing with a sore this or a strained that.)

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