The virtual 1969-76 Phillies, Cardinals, and Mets (Part 3:  1970-71)

In our first two seasons of this counterfactual, our franchises have departed slightly from the paths taken by their real-life counterparts, but not significantly. Amos Otis staying with the Mets, and the duo of Bobby Tolan and Wayne Granger remaining within the St. Louis fold, have been the biggest alterations so far.

          Phillies:  Actual         Cardinals:  Actual        Mets:  Actual
 Year     W    L  Pos   RS   RA     W    L  Pos   RS   RA     W    L  Pos   RS   RA
 1969    63   99  5    645  745    87   75  4    595  540   100   62  1    632  541
 1970    73   88  5    594  730    76   86  4    744  747    83   79  3    695  630

          Phillies:  Virtual        Cardinals:  Virtual       Mets:  Virtual
 Year     W    L  Pos   RS   RA     W    L  Pos   RS   RA     W    L  Pos   RS   RA
 1969    64   98  5    611  691    98   64  2    659  528   101   61  1    638  550
 1970    77   84  5    596  691    80   82  4    742  703    84   78  3    687  619

We have a feeling the plot will now be entering a more dynamic phase.

The 1970-71 offseason: Actual deals we will make

Nov. 30, 1970: The St. Louis Cardinals traded infielder Jerry DaVanon to the Baltimore Orioles for pitcher Moe Drabowsky.

The 35-year-old Drabowsky doesn’t throw as hard as he once did, but he’s still performing effectively. We ‘re confident he can make a better contribution in our bullpen than DaVanon will in our infield.

The 1970-71 offseason: Actual deals we will not make

Oct. 5, 1970: The St. Louis Cardinals traded first baseman-third baseman Richie Allen to the Los Angeles Dodgers for second baseman Ted Sizemore and catcher Bob Stinson.

What, are they kidding? No way.

Oct. 21, 1970: The St. Louis Cardinals traded first baseman Jim Campbell to the Boston Red Sox for infielder Dick Schofield.

We’ve always liked Ducky, but he’s coming up on 36 years old, so we’ll pass.

Dec. 1, 1970: The New York Mets traded pitcher Ron Herbel to the Atlanta Braves for third baseman Bob Aspromonte.

Our Mets have Herbel (a low-cost September pickup), but have no interest in the veteran Aspromonte. We’ll just sell Herbel to the Braves instead.

Dec. 16, 1970: The Philadelphia Phillies traded pitcher Grant Jackson, outfielder-infielder Jim Hutto, and outfielder Sam Parrilla to the Baltimore Orioles for outfielder Roger Freed.

While we’re surely frustrated by the southpaw Jackson’s 1970 struggles, we still think he has more to offer us than a slow-footed right-handed-batting minor league corner outfield slugger in his mid-20s, who offers no capability not already being provided to us at the major league level by Joe Lis.

Jan. 14, 1971: The Philadelphia Phillies purchased pitcher Darrell Brandon from the Chicago White Sox.

We don’t have an interest in this journeyman.

Jan. 29, 1971: The St. Louis Cardinals traded pitcher Nelson Briles and outfielder-first baseman Vic Davalillo to the Pittsburgh Pirates for outfielder Matty Alou and pitcher George Brunet.

As we’ve observed:

This was questionable wisdom on the part of Cardinals GM Bing Devine, from two perspectives. First, he was dealing Briles when his market value was at a low; Briles had been a fine pitcher for several years but was coming off a dreadful, injury-wracked 1970 season. And Devine was expending Briles along with the useful role player Davalillo for the underwhelming package of Alou, who’d enjoyed a nice run as the Pirates’ center fielder but was now in his early 30s, and Brunet, who looked to be over the hill.

Our Cardinals won’t go there.

Feb. 2, 1971: The St. Louis Cardinals traded pitcher Fred Reahm to the Milwaukee Brewers for first baseman-outfielder Bob Burda.

Burda’s a serviceable spare part, but we don’t have a need for him.

March 31, 1971: The New York Mets traded outfielder Ron Swoboda and infielder Rich Hacker to the Montreal Expos for outfielder Don Hahn.

It was our Phillies, not our Mets, who already traded Swoboda to the Expos in exchange for Hahn, a year ago.

The 1970-71 offseason: Deals we will invoke

Oct. 5, 1970: The St. Louis Cardinals traded pitcher Pete Mikkelsen and outfielder Byron Browne to the Los Angeles Dodgers for infielder Jim Lefebvre.

We aren’t giving the Dodgers Richie Allen, but our Cards can still do some business with them. Los Angeles has a crowd at second base, so instead of Ted Sizemore, we’ll take Lefebvre off their hands. He was a fleeting star in the mid-‘60s, since reduced to a utility role by nagging injuries.

In exchange we’ll let the Dodgers have Mikkelsen, whom they actually acquired two years earlier, and Browne, who’s by no means an Allen (who is?), but is a right-handed corner outfielder with power.

Oct. 20, 1970: In a three-club deal, the Philadelphia Phillies traded pitcher Jerry Johnson to the Pittsburgh Pirates and pitcher Jim Ellis to the Milwaukee Brewers. The Pirates sent outfielder-catcher Carl Taylor to the Brewers, and the Brewers sent catcher Jerry McNertney and pitchers George Lauzerique and Jesse Huggins to the Phillies.

The actual trade on this date was the Cardinals sending Taylor and Ellis to Milwaukee for McNertney, Lauzerique, and Huggins. We’ll substitute the Phillies and Pirates for St. Louis. What our Phils get out of it is depth at catcher, which was a problem in 1970.

Nov. 3, 1970: The Philadelphia Phillies traded outfielder Curt Flood to the Washington Senators for outfielder Gene Martin and cash.

This is a slightly simplified version of the actual deal in which the Phillies surrendered the rights to the crusading Flood.

Jan. 29, 1971: The St. Louis Cardinals traded pitcher Chuck Taylor to the Pittsburgh Pirates for pitcher Fred Cambria and cash.

Our Cards won’t give up Briles to the Pirates, so instead Pittsburgh will offer this more modest price for the more modestly-talented Taylor.

March, 1971: The St. Louis Cardinals sold infielder Jim Driscoll to the Washington Senators.

March, 1971: The St. Louis Cardinals traded pitcher George Culver to the Houston Astros for infielder-outfielder Leon McFadden and cash.

Trimming up the roster at the close of spring training.

The 1971 season: Actual deals we will make

June 15, 1971: The St. Louis Cardinals traded pitcher Mike Torrez to the Montreal Expos for pitcher Bob Reynolds.

Like the actual Cardinals, the implosion of the 24-year-old Torrez is just too much for us to tolerate. We’ll take our chances with the hard-throwing prospect Reynolds instead.

The 1971 season: Actual deals we will not make

April 22, 1971: The Philadelphia Phillies traded outfielder Johnny Briggs to the Milwaukee Brewers for outfielder Pete Koegel and pitcher Ray Peters.

It’s never been clear what the heck this was about. At the age of 27, Briggs hadn’t developed into the star the Phillies once thought he would, but he’d been a highly useful platoon player. General Manager John Quinn essentially dumping him off in this manner made no sense. Our version of the Phils will do no such thing.

June 11, 1971: The St. Louis Cardinals traded outfielder Leron Lee and pitcher Fred Norman to the San Diego Padres for pitcher Al Santorini.

The only way this one adds up for St. Louis is if one believes the 23-year-old right-hander Santorini is a top prospect, a diamond in the rough. But there’s nothing in his track record to suggest that: he’s been rushed to the majors by the expansion Padres, and spent two-plus seasons performing somewhere between so-so and lousy.

There’s no reason to see Santorini as a better prospect than the 23-year-old left-handed-batting Lee. And tossing the curveballing journeyman southpaw Norman in on top makes it even less sensible. Our Cards will stick with Lee and Norman.

June 12, 1971: The Philadelphia Phillies traded infielder Tony Taylor to the Detroit Tigers for pitchers Carl Cavanaugh and Mike Fremuth.

Our Phillies no longer have Taylor. Our Mets do, and aren’t motivated to cash in the veteran for token payment.

July 29, 1971: The St. Louis Cardinals traded outfielder Jose Cardenal, pitcher Bob Reynolds, and infielder Dick Schofield to the Milwaukee Brewers for infielder Ted Kubiak and pitcher Charlie Loseth.

Our Cardinals are Cardenal-less, so we won’t need to contemplate executing this head-scratcher.

1971 season results

Phillies

We take it as a sign of progress in our rebuilding effort that over this off-season we’ve seen the need for little adjustment to the roster. By and large we think that improvement from our young talent is enough to take us up the next step.

So, we’ve just tinkered a bit: the veteran McNertney is on board as the backup catcher, rookie Willie Montañez—the Curt Flood replacement player—will get a chance to work his way into the outfield rotation, and rookies Archie Reynolds and Ken Reynolds (no relation) will compete for the spot vacated by Jerry Johnson in the bullpen.

1971 Philadelphia Phillies     Won 86    Lost 76    Finished 4th

 Pos  Player        Age    G  AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
1B-3B D. Johnson     32  145 498  65 133  26   0  30  89  62 123 .267 .349 .500 .849  139
  2B  D. Doyle*      27   95 342  36  79  12   1   3  24  19  31 .231 .280 .298 .578   64
  SS  L. Bowa#       25  155 585  50 145  16   5   0  33  32  55 .248 .289 .292 .581   66
3B-2B D. Money       24  121 439  42  98  22   8   7  43  31  80 .223 .274 .358 .631   78
RF-LF J. Lis         24   81 241  31  55  11   0  11  32  34  74 .228 .326 .411 .737  108
CF-RF W. Montanez*   23  146 544  78 142  24   5  28  83  64  95 .261 .334 .478 .812  128
  LF  J. Briggs*     27  135 397  68 103  12   2  20  52  73  82 .259 .370 .451 .821  132
  C   T. McCarver*   29  134 474  56 132  20   5   8  48  43  26 .278 .335 .392 .728  106

OF-1B J. Hague*      27  107 253  28  55   5   1  11  32  38  48 .217 .320 .375 .695   97
  OF  R. Gaspar#     25   87 186  20  41   3   1   0  11  28  20 .220 .321 .247 .568   64
3B-2B K. Collins*    24   89 198  18  44   9   3   4  21   8  51 .222 .248 .359 .606   70
2B-SS T. Harmon      27   79 166  19  33   3   2   0   9  14  35 .199 .270 .241 .511   46
  LF  L. Hisle       24   77 169  20  41  10   1   4  19  14  54 .243 .297 .385 .682   92
  CF  D. Hahn        22   86 134  13  31   3   1   1   9  15  25 .231 .309 .291 .600   71
  C   J. McNertney   34   56 128  13  36   4   1   5  21  13  15 .281 .333 .445 .779  119
  3B  J. Vukovich    23   37 109   6  18   3   0   0   7   6  17 .165 .205 .193 .398   14
  RF  A. Garrett*    28   27  44   5   8   1   0   3   6   8  13 .182 .308 .409 .717  102

      Others                 189  24  52  13   1   5  20  25  60 .275 .362 .434 .796  125

      Pitchers               383  37  65   6   1   8  29  27 138 .170 .214 .251 .465   32

      Total                5479 629 1311 203 38 148 588 554 1042 .239 .308 .371 .679   92

      * Bats left
      # Bats both

      Pitcher       Age    G  GS  CG   W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
      R. Wise        25   38  37  17  20  13   0 272 261 110  87   20   70  155 2.88  123
      B. Lersch      26   43  24   2   7  10   0 191 170  79  73   24   45  101 3.44  103
      B. Johnson     28   40  24   6   7  10   0 175 171  73  68   20   55  104 3.50  102
      C. Short*      33   43  23   4   9  11   3 175 174  82  72   20   65   94 3.70   96
      S. Renko       26   27  25   5  11   8   0 166 147  69  63   11   79   83 3.42  104
      R. Sadecki*    30   34  20   5  10   6   0 163 143  57  55   10   45  119 3.04  117

      D. Giusti      31   58   0   0   4   7  20  86  81  31  29    5   31   54 3.03  117
      D. Frisella    25   53   0   0  11   4  12  91  78  27  21    6   31   92 2.08  171
      G. Jackson*    28   36   3   0   3   2   0  64  62  27  24    6   18   43 3.38  105
      K. Reynolds*   24   23   3   0   2   2   0  41  38  20  18    2   20   23 3.95   90
      A. Reynolds    25   10   1   0   1   2   0  18  23  11  11    1   11   10 5.50   65

      Others                   2   0   1   1   0  29  20  12   7    2   17   21 2.17  163

      Total                  162  39  86  76 35 1471 1368 598 528 127  487  899 3.23  110

      * Throws left

We have one setback: Don Money regresses at the plate following what had appeared to be a breakthrough season in 1970. But beyond that, just about everything turns out well.

Montañez surprises with a power-hitting bat, and muscles his way into the first-string center field job. The veteran Deron Johnson delivers as a serious home run producer, as does Briggs (rewarding our decision to hang onto him). Our lineup still has holes, but on balance our league-average offense is a distinct improvement.

Led by 25-year-old Rick Wise stepping forward into the 20-game-winner ranks, our pitching staff is top-to-bottom rock solid, among the very best in the league.

Our 86-76 record is the best by a Phillies ball club since 1966. While we aren’t quite a contender, it’s clear that our rebuilding effort is emerging as a success.

Cardinals

We haven’t made a lot of changes, believing that things can’t possibly go as haywire for us this time around as they did in 1970. We think a full season of a healthy Richie Allen at first base, a comfortable Joe Torre at third, and a maturing Ted Simmons behind the plate will yield positive dividends.

Veteran second baseman Julian Javier really tailed off with the bat in 1970, so we’ve imported Lefebvre to help him out. Drabowsky replaces Mikkelsen in the bullpen, and rookies Reggie Cleveland and Jerry Reuss will compete for starting assignments in place of Chuck Taylor and George Culver.

But again we receive an unpleasant surprise, as star center fielder Bobby Tolan ruptures his Achilles tendon while playing basketball in the winter, and will be lost for the season. We had hoped to give toolsy 23-year-old rookie Jose Cruz a season in triple-A, but instead he’ll get the chance to win the big league center field job in Tolan’s absence.

1971 St. Louis Cardinals     Won 102    Lost 60    Finished 1st

 Pos  Player        Age    G  AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
  1B  R. Allen       29  155 549  90 172  26   3  23 120  89 112 .313 .406 .497 .903  151
  2B  J. Lefebvre#   29  113 349  43  90  14   3  11  55  33  49 .258 .320 .410 .729  102
  SS  S. Huntz#      25  126 380  44  94  15   2   4  37  50  44 .247 .330 .329 .658   85
  3B  J. Torre       30  161 634 116 230  34   8  24 123  63  70 .363 .420 .555 .975  170
  RF  L. Lee*        23  117 355  40  98  29   4   6  44  28  71 .276 .328 .431 .759  110
  CF  J. Cruz*       23  150 546  88 150  24   4  20  64  84  74 .275 .369 .443 .813  126
  LF  L. Brock*      32  157 640 126 200  37   7   7  61  76 107 .313 .385 .425 .810  126
  C   T. Simmons#    21  133 510  64 155  32   4   7  80  36  50 .304 .345 .424 .768  114

OF-1B V. Davalillo*  34   99 295  48  85  14   6   1  33  10  30 .288 .317 .386 .704   96
  2B  J. Javier      34   90 259  32  67   6   4   3  28   9  33 .259 .283 .347 .630   75
  SS  D. Maxvill     32   95 178  15  38   5   1   0  12  20  25 .213 .291 .253 .543   53
  OF  L. Melendez    21   88 173  25  39   3   1   0  11  24  29 .225 .315 .254 .569   61
  C   M. Ryan        29   49 153  12  27   6   1   3  11  11  35 .176 .232 .288 .519   44
  UT  B. Pfeil       27   50  88   8  25   3   0   2  10   8  13 .284 .340 .386 .727  103
  1B  J. Campbell*   28   48  55   6  12   2   0   1   5   4  10 .218 .267 .309 .576   60

      Others                  35   4   9   1   0   0   3   1   6 .257 .263 .286 .549   53

      Pitchers               415  26  75  13   1   5  34  23 139 .181 .210 .252 .462   29

      Total                5614 787 1566 264  49 117 731 569 897 .279 .342 .406 .748  108

      * Bats left
      # Bats both

      Pitcher       Age    G  GS  CG   W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
      S. Carlton*    26   37  36  18  21   8   0 273 275 120 108   23   98  172 3.56  102
      B. Gibson      35   31  31  20  17  12   0 246 215  96  83   14   76  185 3.04  119
      R. Cleveland   23   29  29   8  11   9   0 185 196  87  81   16   44  125 3.94   92
      J. Reuss*      22   31  30   6  13  11   0 176 188 102  91   12   91  111 4.65   78
      N. Briles      27   37  14   4   8   4   1 136 136  56  49   12   34   78 3.24  112
      F. Norman*     28   18  13   4   5   5   0  94  89  42  39    6   44   61 3.73   97
      M. Torrez      24    9   6   0   1   2   0  36  41  27  24    2   30    8 6.00   60

      W. Granger     27   56   0   0   8   3   9  80  80  33  31    6   22   44 3.49  104
      M. Drabowsky   35   51   0   0   6   1   8  60  45  23  23    2   33   49 3.45  105
      J. Hoerner*    34   49   0   0   6   3   9  73  58  20  16    6   20   60 1.97  184
      B. Reynolds    24   25   2   0   2   1   0  52  44  18  17    5   29   35 2.94  123
      T. Hilgendorf* 29   12   1   0   1   1   1  27  30  16  13    5    9   18 4.33   84

      Others                   1   0   3   0   0  30  27   7   6    2    6   25 1.80  201

      Total                  163  60 102  60 28 1468 1424 647 581 111  536  971 3.56  102

      * Throws left

“Splendid” would be an appropriate term.

Torre leads the way with a glittering MVP performance. Allen hits up a storm as well. Simmons blossoms at the age of 21.

Cruz rises to the occasion with a tremendous rookie year. Thirty-two-year-old Lou Brock turns in one of his best seasons. Bob Gibson, at 35, finally begins to show a hint of age, but remains excellent.

Steve Carlton isn’t at his sharpest, but is durable and dependable. Briles bounces back to contribute as a solid swingman.

Our 102 victories are the most by a Redbird ball club since 1944, and we outplay a very good Pittsburgh team to claim our first division title.

Mets

Like our Phillies and Cardinals, our Mets have opted for a quiet offseason. Last year’s roster is essentially back. A change we do anticipate, however, is seeing at least a couple of our younger players—such as 24-year-old outfielder Ken Singleton, 22-year-old first baseman-outfielder Mike Jorgensen, or 24-year-old pitchers Gary Gentry and Nolan Ryan—emerging in more prominent roles.

1971 New York Mets     Won 89    Lost 73    Finished 3rd

 Pos  Player        Age    G  AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
1B-OF M. Jorgensen*  22  125 346  54  89  10   2  16  44  43  65 .257 .344 .436 .781  122
  2B  K. Boswell*    25  116 392  49 107  20   1   5  43  36  31 .273 .333 .367 .700  100
  SS  B. Harrelson#  27  142 547  58 138  16   6   0  35  53  59 .252 .312 .303 .616   77
3B-CF A. Otis        24  147 555  82 164  26   5  14  81  38  75 .295 .337 .436 .773  120
RF-LF K. Singleton#  24  132 359  49  90   7   0  14  55  69  76 .251 .369 .387 .756  117
CF-RF T. Agee        28  113 425  61 121  19   0  14  53  50  84 .285 .359 .428 .787  125
LF-1B C. Jones       28  136 505  66 161  24   6  14  73  53  87 .319 .380 .473 .854  143
  C   J. Grote       28  125 403  37 109  25   0   2  37  40  47 .270 .336 .347 .683   96

2-3-1 T. Taylor      35   91 288  36  74  12   3   4  24  20  20 .257 .304 .361 .665   90
  RF  J. Callison*   32   93 232  22  46   9   1   6  30  27  42 .198 .283 .323 .606   73
  IF  T. Martinez    23   80 237  28  63   8   3   2  18   7  39 .266 .289 .350 .639   82
  1B  G. Goossen     25   74 166  20  42   7   3   5  22  22  35 .253 .335 .422 .757  116
  C   D. Dyer        25   59 169  13  39   7   1   2  20  14  45 .231 .292 .320 .611   75
  3B  W. Garrett*    23   47 135  13  29   1   0   1   8  19  21 .215 .312 .244 .557   61
  1B  A. Shamsky*    29   68 135  13  25   6   2   5  20  21  18 .185 .299 .370 .670   91
  IF  T. Foli        20   49  96  11  21   4   1   0   9   6  17 .219 .260 .281 .541   55
  OF  L. Stanton     25   19  46   5  11   2   0   1   6   3  11 .239 .280 .348 .628   79
1B-LF J. Milner*     21   22  43   4   9   2   0   1   4   2   7 .209 .244 .326 .570   62

      Others                   2   0   1   0   0   0   0   0   0 .500 .500 .5001.000  187

      Pitchers               401  22  57   6   1   2  15  16 169 .142 .162 .177 .339   -3

      Total                5482 643 1396 211  35 108 597 539 948 .255 .318 .365 .683   95

      * Bats left
      # Bats both

      Pitcher       Age    G  GS  CG   W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
      T. Seaver      26   36  35  21  21   9   0 286 210  61  56   18   61  289 1.76  194
      G. Gentry      24   32  31   8  13  10   0 203 167  84  73   16   82  155 3.24  105
      J. Koosman*    28   26  24   4   7  10   0 166 160  66  56   12   51   96 3.04  112
      W. Fryman*     31   36  21   4  12   7   1 166 149  69  62    8   49  113 3.36  101
      N. Ryan        24   30  26   3  10  13   0 152 125  78  67    8  116  137 3.97   86
      J. McAndrew    27   29  15   0   3   7   0 116 105  67  59   14   42   60 4.58   74
      D. Rose        24    7   5   1   2   3   0  37  39  18  16    3   17   24 3.89   88

      T. Abernathy   38   63   0   0   4   4  13  81  66  30  24    3   47   56 2.67  128
      T. McGraw*     26   51   1   0  11   4   8 111  73  22  21    4   41  109 1.70  200
      B. Wilson      28   38   0   0   4   2   2  59  37  20  19    4   21   41 2.90  118
      R. Taylor      33   34   0   0   2   1   2  52  52  20  20    5    8   25 3.46   99
      F. Beene       28    5   0   0   0   0   0   6  10   8   8    4    5    112.00   28

      Others                   4   0   0   3   0  30  24  18  16    1   15   22 4.80   71

      Total                  162  41  89  73 26 1465 1217 561 497 100  555 1128 3.05  112

      * Throws left

By and large, things go as expected. There are a few down years (Art Shamsky, Johnny Callison, Jim McAndrew) mixed in with the ups, but little that’s especially surprising. Tom Seaver is yet more brilliant than ever before, leading a tremendous pitching staff. The offense, though, is pretty good but nothing special.

The result is a ball club strong enough to closely contend in many divisions, but not in this one. In the wake of our glorious 1969, finding our way back to the winner’s circle is proving a challenge.

Next time

We’ll investigate those rumors that a couple of prominent hard-throwing young starting pitchers—one of them a lefty with a great slider, and the other a right-hander still battling his control—might be on the trading block.

          Phillies:  Actual         Cardinals:  Actual        Mets:  Actual
 Year     W    L  Pos   RS   RA     W    L  Pos   RS   RA     W    L  Pos   RS   RA
 1969    63   99  5    645  745    87   75  4    595  540   100   62  1    632  541
 1970    73   88  5    594  730    76   86  4    744  747    83   79  3    695  630
 1971    67   95  6    558  688    90   72  2    739  699    83   79  3    588  550

          Phillies:  Virtual        Cardinals:  Virtual       Mets:  Virtual
 Year     W    L  Pos   RS   RA     W    L  Pos   RS   RA     W    L  Pos   RS   RA
 1969    64   98  5    611  691    98   64  2    659  528   101   61  1    638  550
 1970    77   84  5    596  691    80   82  4    742  703    84   78  3    687  619
 1971    86   76  4    629  598   102   60  1    787  647    89   73  3    643  561
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Comments

  1. JohnA said...

    “Next time
    We’ll investigate those rumors that a couple of prominent hard-throwing young starting pitchers—one of them a lefty with a great slider, and the other a right-hander still battling his control—might be on the trading block.”

    Hmmmm, maybe Ryan gets traded after all.  But then last week there was a similar teaser regarding a key talent named Allen that didn’t come to pass.  In the real 71-72 offseason, Dick Allen was traded for Tommy John.  Perhaps the Mets have an alternate offer in mind?

  2. Paul E said...

    Steve:
        That 1971 Phillies team opened Veterans Stadium and they flat-out stank. Nice job by you (in lieu of GM John Quinn) to get them to 86 !!! wins.
        Regarding a “full season of a healthy Dick Allen” at 1B, he actually ran into a palm tree shagging fly balls, no kidding, and played through a nagging shoulder injury with the Dodgers. As of 5/31/71, he was at .242/.350/.386 with 5 HR’s in 45 games. Kind of beyond ironic and bizarre that he went to spring training early to play for his beloveed Dodgers and ran into a palm tree…

  3. Philip said...

    The Phillies’ 77 virtual wins in 1970 (instead of 73), vaults them over Atlanta in the National League overall standings. Though still with fewer wins than the Cardinals, Philadelphia will now draft 8th instead of 6th in each round of the June 1971 Amateur Draft.

    As the 2nd round commences, this will now give two teams, the Washington Senators and Atlanta Braves, a crack at drafting Mike Schmidt ahead of the Phillies.

    Drafting 7th in the 2nd round is Washington, managed by Hall of Fame slugger Ted Williams. They already have one powerful homerun hitter, Frank Howard, in their lineup. Although they do have a promising young 3rd baseman in Aurelio Rodriguez, Schmidt at the time was a shortstop at Ohio University (although the Phillies projected him at the hot corner). Not hard for the Senators to see that Schmidt would certainly be an improvement over weak-hitting shortstop Ed Brinkman. All 24 teams passed over George Brett and Schmidt in the first round. The Royals, picking 5th in the 2nd round, draft Brett. The Senators will be the next in the Junior Circuit to pick.

    But, before them, drafting 6th, are the National League’s Atlanta Braves.

    In 1971, the Braves eventually gave the third base job to 24-year old rookie Darrell Evans, this after releasing veteran Clete Boyer who had gotten into a feud with Braves management. But the MLB draft was on June 8th. And up until then, Evans was hitting a very unimpressing .222 with only one extra base hit and four RBI’s in 36 at bats. Sure, Evans had excelled at AAA in Richmond. But remember. This was the pre-Bill James era where minor league stats were viewed with extreme skepticism.

    Not only that, but at shortstop, the Braves looked to be in even worse shape, with 25-year old rookie Marty Perez taking over that year for Sonny Jackson. Jackson had been moved to the outfield to fill in for the injured Rico Carty.

    But at least Evans had promising minor league stats. Perez was not only was a weak hitter but a poor fielder as well.

    So, let’s see. If you’re the Atlanta Braves, do you keep the faith with two unproven rookies on the left side of the infield, draft pitcher Jamie Easterly and be happy to finish in last place in the division the last four years in the decade? Or set the foundation for perhaps challenging the Dodgers, Giants and Reds in the West?

    Of course this is all mute. Because since Steve has taken over in place of general manager John Quinn, the Phillies select Schmidt as the 8th overall pick during the first round of the draft instead of passing on him to the disappointment of scout Tony Lucadello.

    Lucadello had urged the Phillies select Schmidt in round one because he was sure the California Angels were going to take him when the Phils passed. (The Angels ended up selecting pitcher Frank Tanana and the Phillies didn’t press their luck any further, grabbing Schmidt in round two.)

    But I think we can safely assume that Steve isn’t going to gamble like Quinn did.

  4. Philip said...

    1972 June Amateur Draft.

    The downside for the Phillies is that their 86 ‘virtual’ wins in 1971 means they pick no higher than 13th – and possibly as low as 17th – in the 1972 June Amateur Draft.

    Yes, the Giants and Dodgers finished with real-life wins of 90 and 89, respectively. But with the Phillies, Cardinals and Mets winning a combined 37 more games than they actually did, the nine other teams in the National League have 37 combined losses to make up. Even with an unbalanced schedule and the two worst teams (Expos & Padres) losing a lot more often to the improved Phillies, Cardinals and Mets than the others, there was still a good deal of parity in the league that year and the Giants and Dodgers are going to lose several more games than they did.

    But, for sake of argument, let’s say the top two teams in the West barely manage to stay ahead of Philadelphia’s 86 wins with 88 and 87 wins, respectively.

    Therefore, instead of drafting 3rd overall and selecting a mainstay of their rotation for the 1970s, Larry Christenson, Philadelphia will draft 13th. No way does Christenson go that long without being picked, with Cincinnati, Minnesota and Atlanta all drafting right-handed pitchers before the 13th pick after Christenson was selected.

    My guess would be that Christenson gets picked by Cincinnati, a revised 5th overall. They are going to be deprived of Fred Norman (yes, a lefty, but still a starter), who stays in St. Louis via a voided trade with San Diego. The high school year he was picked, Christenson had struck out 143 and walked just 12 batters in 72 IP with an ERA of 0.28.

    And that’s not all the bad news for the Phillies in the 1972 draft. They might see their 2nd round pick, lefty Tom Underwood, get picked ahead of their revised slot as well. So instead of drafting Christenson and Underwood, the Phillies get stuck with Larry Payne and George Lusic.

  5. Paul E said...

    Philip:
      Tony Lucadello commited suicide at a ballfield in Ohio when the Phillies told him the 1989 (?) draft was to be his last. Apparently, he had given the prior 50 years to the game he loved and couldn’t figure out what life would be without it.

  6. Andrew Reid said...

    Could it be that Bing Devine’s reputation as a trader was blown out of proportion by the success of the Lou Brock trade? A lot of the trades he made in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s didn’t seem to work out too well. I don’t include the Carlton/Wise deal, as it seemed that was more of Gussie Busch’s anger with Carlton than anything else.

    I could be completely wrong about this, but just thinkin’ out loud…

  7. Steve Treder said...

    “Could it be that Bing Devine’s reputation as a trader was blown out of proportion by the success of the Lou Brock trade? A lot of the trades he made in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s didn’t seem to work out too well.”

    Yes, I’ve speculated on that question in this article:

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/the-virtual-1971-1980-st.-louis-cardinals-part-1/

    It wasn’t just the Brock trade that worked out so well; the WS-winning Cardinals team of 1964 was largely built through a long sequence of very shrewd trades made by Devine, including the acquisitions of Curt Flood, Bill White, Ernie Broglio (who netted Brock), Julian Javier, and Dick Groat.  But then in Devine’s second tenure as St. Louis GM, he traded frequently but rarely well.

    How much the bad trades in the ‘70s were forced upon Devine by a reactionary and meddling Busch is a fair question.  But whatever the explanation, the Bing Devine of 1957-64 and the Bing Devine of 1967-78 are like two unrelated GMs.

  8. JohnA said...

    “Yes, the Giants and Dodgers finished with real-life wins of 90 and 89, respectively. But with the Phillies, Cardinals and Mets winning a combined 37 more games than they actually did, the nine other teams in the National League have 37 combined losses to make up. “

    Also, the Dodgers would be without Dick Allen at 3b.  Ron Cey tore up AAA that year and his MLE might be pretty good assuming he was the alternate 3b, but he probably wouldn’t match Dick Allen.

  9. Philip said...

    Good point, John, about Dick Allen.

    Allen actually started the 1971 season in left and then was eventually moved to third once Alston tired of Steve Garvey’s errant throws (Garvey wasn’t exactly hitting great, either).

    Cey would have probably stayed in Spokane; it was his first year at AAA. The Dodgers had depth to make up for the loss of Allen.

    But now in thinking about it, the whole Dick Allen scenario really causes major implications to a number of teams.

    Dodgers Second baseman Jim Lefebvre was done by 1972. But if Sizemore remains a Dodger at takes over for Lefebvre at second, what do the Dodgers do eventually to with Davey Lopes? Make him their everyday center fielder, his initial position in the minors in 1970 at Spokane?

    If Lopes becomes a mainstay in CF (with Sizemore at 2nd), do the Dodgers still trade Claude Osteen to the Astros for Jimmy Wynn? And Wynn was later traded to Atlanta as part of a deal to get Dusty Baker.

    And the Dodgers won’t have Allen to trade to the White Sox for Tommy John, the lefty who made Osteen expendable.

    Also, Lopes got injured in spring training in 1976. The Dodgers panicked and traded Willie Crawford to the Cardinals. For who? Ted Sizemore. Then, before the trading deadline in 1976, the Dodgers acquired Reggie Smith, who the Cardinals felt expendable after acquiring Crawford.

    Also, the reason why the Dodgers were willing to give up Crawford to get Sizemore was because they had traded their AAA 2nd baseman, Bob Randall, to Minnesota after the 1975 season. Randall filled in nicely at 2B, as the Twins wanted to move Rod Carew to 1B.

    So maybe the Twins never get Randall because the Dodgers deem him insurance for Sizemore.

    Since Steve is taking this fascinating scenario through 1976, it is going to be interested to see how this all works out.

  10. Philip said...

    Though the Lou Brock trade to St. Louis pre-dates the beginning of this scenario, can’t help but wonder if it was the Cubs who wanted Ernie Broglio or if another right-hander could have been shipped north instead: Bob Gibson.

    When you look at their stats up until the trade, it’s not inconceivable at all that if the Cardinals had wanted Brock so badly, they could have very easily have included Gibson in the trade instead of Broglio if the Cubs asked.

  11. Steve Treder said...

    “When you look at their stats up until the trade, it’s not inconceivable at all that if the Cardinals had wanted Brock so badly, they could have very easily have included Gibson in the trade instead of Broglio if the Cubs asked.”

    When you look at their stats through the end of 1963, I might agree.  But as of June 15, 1964, Gibson was 5-4 with a 2.41 ERA in 97 innings, and Broglio was 3-5 with a 3.50 ERA in 69 innings.  Gibson had rather clearly grabbed the role of staff ace for himself by that point.  The Cardinals were scuffling below .500, and Broglio’s mediocre 1964 performance was considered one of their issues.

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