The virtual 1969-76 Phillies, Cardinals, and Mets (Part 4: 1971-72)

We’re three years inside this counterfactual. So far our Cardinals, with Joe Hoerner, Nelson Briles, and Richie Allen (among others) not traded away, have achieved a division title in 1971 that the actual franchise didn’t. But perhaps more interesting is that our Phillies, for reasons less obvious, finished 19 games better in ’71 than their real-life counterparts.

          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

The trading activity that took place in the 1971-72 offseason was as energetically high-rolling as any in history. What might our imaginary wheelers and dealers achieve?

The 1971-72 offseason: Actual deals we will make

Oct. 20, 1971: The New York Mets sold pitcher Ron Taylor to the Montreal Expos.

Taylor has had a nice run in New York, but he’s now in his mid-30s and it’s time to say, “so long.”

Dec. 13, 1971: The Philadelphia Phillies traded catcher Jerry Rodriguez to the Chicago White Sox for outfielder Bill Robinson.

He’s been a toolsy flop in the majors so far, but Robinson is worth a token-priced chance.

April 9, 1972: The St. Louis Cardinals released first baseman-outfielder Art Shamsky.

Back trouble has wrecked this fine hitter’s career.

The 1971-72 offseason: Actual deals we will not make

Nov. 3, 1971: The St. Louis Cardinals traded infielder Ted Kubiak to the Texas Rangers for pitcher Joe Grzenda.

Our Cards don’t have Kubiak.

Dec. 9, 1971: The St. Louis Cardinals signed first baseman Donn Clendenon as a free agent.

Nor do we want Clendenon.

Dec. 10, 1971: The New York Mets traded pitchers Nolan Ryan and Don Rose, outfielder Leroy Stanton, and catcher Frank Estrada to the California Angels for shortstop Jim Fregosi.

We observed here the similarity between this Mets’ trade and their 1969 surrender of Amos Otis in exchange for Joe Foy:

The 1969 deal was executed by [General Manager Johnny] Murphy, and the ’71 trade by Bob Scheffing, but they were similar in concept, and of course disastrously similar in outcome. The Mets were fixated on resolving what they perceived to be a major third base problem, although if they’d just shown some patience with Wayne Garrett he’d probably have been fine. And not only did the Mets fail to comprehend what kind of raw talent they had in both Otis and Ryan, their scouts failed to perform due diligence in assessing what they were getting in Foy (who apparently never met a drug he didn’t like) and Fregosi (whose knees were beyond repair).

By not letting go of Otis in the first place, our Mets have had third base well-covered in 1970 and ’71, so aren’t motivated to perceive Fregosi’s future as brighter than Ryan’s.

Feb. 25, 1972: The St. Louis Cardinals traded pitcher Steve Carlton to the Philadelphia Phillies for pitcher Rick Wise.

Carlton was about 10 months older than Wise, and:

At this point Carlton and Wise were nearly exact equals in career innings, at 1,265 to 1,243, but that’s where the equalities ended, as Carlton’s won-lost record was 77-62 while Wise’s was 75-76, Carlton’s ERA was 3.10 while Wise’s was 3.61, and Carlton had 951 strikeouts while Wise had 717.

So, as everyone understood, this deal was entirely a function of Busch’s pique against Carlton regarding salary negotiations. So Busch “won” by saving a few thousand dollars. Boy, that showed ‘em.

Our Cards won’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Our Phillies won’t be allowed to invest in this upgrade.

March 24, 1972: The St. Louis Cardinals traded second baseman Julian Javier to the Cincinnati Reds for pitcher Tony Cloninger.

Clearly The Phantom is getting near the end, but he’s still more useful than Cloninger.

March 27, 1972: The New York Mets selected catcher-infielder Bill Sudakis off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Our Phillies (see below) will have already acquired Sudakis.

April 5, 1972: The New York Mets traded outfielder Ken Singleton, infielder Tim Foli, and first baseman-outfielder Mike Jorgensen to the Montreal Expos for outfielder Rusty Staub.

As much as we like Le Grande Orange, it’s important to understand that just because he’s been far and away the best player on the expansion Expos doesn’t mean he’s an elite-caliber talent. He’s a wonderfully pure hitter, but he’s never run well or distinguished himself defensively. This is a boatload of talent to exchange for a sweet-hitting corner outfielder, particularly when Singleton, who’s three years younger than Staub, has only to develop a bit further to become a pretty sweet-swinging corner outfielder himself. Non, merci.

The 1971-72 offseason: Deals we will invoke

Oct. 18, 1971: The New York Mets traded first baseman Art Shamsky to the St. Louis Cardinals for infielder Chip Coulter and cash.

Actually this was the core of a trade that included three additional players on each side, though only one of them (pitcher Jim Bibby, going from the Mets to the Cardinals) would have much of a future. Our Mets and Cards will just boil it down to this essence: dumping off the ailing Shamsky for a bargain price.

Dec. 2, 1971: In a three-club deal, the Philadelphia Phillies traded first baseman-third baseman Deron Johnson and pitcher Archie Reynolds to the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox sent pitcher Tommy John to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Dodgers sent second baseman Ted Sizemore and catcher-infielder Bill Sudakis to the Phillies.

The White Sox actually traded John (along with Steve Huntz) to the Dodgers for Richie Allen, of course. In our scenario, the Cardinals have Allen, and aren’t giving him up.

So our Phillies will accommodate Chicago’s desire for a right-handed power-hitting first baseman. Granted, Johnson’s no Allen (who is?), but John-for-Allen was quite a bargain. Even with Jim Lefebvre traded last year in our scenario, the Dodgers still have surplus second base talent, and we know they actually parlayed Sizemore into John, so we’ll let them do that here.

Our Phils upgrade the offensive production at second base, while opening up first base for highly-touted rookie Greg Luzinski.

Dec. 3, 1971: The St. Louis Cardinals traded pitcher Wayne Granger to the Minnesota Twins for pitcher Tom Hall.

Actually it was the Reds making this trade with Minnesota. Our Cards will eagerly do it instead, as Hall’s strikeout-per-inning numbers are dazzling.

Dec. 10, 1971: The New York Mets traded pitcher Jim McAndrew to the California Angels for catcher Joe Azcue and cash.

We won’t let the Angels get Ryan, but will satisfy their need for a right-handed starting pitcher with the journeyman McAndrew. The veteran Azcue provides organizational catching depth.

Jan. 19, 1972: The New York Mets traded pitcher Fred Beene to the New York Yankees for a player to be named later. (On April 10, 1972, the Yankees sent pitcher Dale Spier to the Mets, completing the deal.)

Jan. 20, 1972: The New York Mets traded outfielder Johnny Callison to the New York Yankees for a player to be named later. (On May 17, 1972, the Yankees sent pitcher Jack Aker to the Mets, completing the deal.)

Actually it was the Orioles and the Cubs, respectively, making these two deals with the Yankees. Our Mets will accept the offers instead.

Feb. 8, 1972: The St. Louis Cardinals traded infielder Bobby Pfeil to the Milwaukee Brewers for a player to be named later. (On March 25, 1972, the Brewers sent outfielder-infielder Chico Vaughns to the Cardinals, completing the deal.)

And actually it was the Phillies making this one, but our Cards have Pfeil.

March, 1972: In a three-club deal, the St. Louis Cardinals traded outfielder Jorge Roque to the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies sent outfielder Larry Hisle to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Dodgers sent first baseman Tom Hutton to the Cardinals.

The actual trade was Hisle from the Phillies to the Dodgers straight up for Hutton. Our Phils don’t see a need for Hutton, but our Cardinals do, so Philadelphia will get the toolsy prospect Roque, and everybody’s happy.

March, 1972: The St. Louis Cardinals sold outfielder-first baseman Vic Davalillo to the Cincinnati Reds.

He’s been a handy guy to have around, but we just can’t squeeze the soon-to-be-36-year-old Davalillo on to the roster this time.

The 1972 season: Actual deals we will make

May 11, 1972: The New York Mets traded pitcher Charlie Williams and $50,000 cash to the San Francisco Giants for outfielder-first baseman Willie Mays.

Oh, why not? (By the way, in Charles Einstein’s marvelous book Willie’s Time, he quotes financially-strapped Giants’ owner Horace Stoneham as admitting, years later, that there actually was no cash in this deal, that was just reported to the press to save face for Mays. Make of that whatever you will.)

June 7, 1972: The St. Louis Cardinals purchased pitcher Diego Segui from the Oakland Athletics as part of a conditional deal.

No idea why the A’s are giving away this rock-solid veteran, but we’ll take the gift.

The 1972 season: Actual deals we will not make

April 15, 1972: The St. Louis Cardinals traded pitcher Jerry Reuss to the Houston Astros for pitchers Scipio Spinks and Lance Clemons.

In addition to having one of the all-time great names, Spinks is an intriguing prospect, a very hard thrower. But a prospect is all he is; at the age of 24 he’s made just 11 major league appearances, because he’s still struggling mightily with his control in triple-A. And Clemons is a grade-B prospect at best.

Meanwhile, Reuss, not yet 23 years old, is already firmly established as a major league starter. He’s still got some development to go, but he’s far ahead of Spinks.

In short, there’s no valid baseball reason for St. Louis to make this trade. It was one of several examples in this period of Cardinals’ owner Gussie Busch forcing a poor trade because of his petulance over a player’s personality. We won’t go there.

May 15, 1972: The St. Louis Cardinals traded pitcher Don Shaw to the Oakland Athletics for infielder Dwain Anderson.

We don’t have Shaw, and don’t want Anderson.

June 14, 1972: The Philadelphia Phillies traded catcher Tim McCarver to the Montreal Expos for catcher John Bateman.

June 15, 1972: The Philadelphia Phillies traded pitcher Joe Hoerner and first baseman Andre Thornton to the Atlanta Braves for pitchers Jim Nash and Gary Neibauer.

Paul Owens had very recently been named GM of the Phillies, and these two deadline deals were strategically pointless, just trades-for-trades’-sake, apparently to “shake things up.”

June 16, 1972: The St. Louis Cardinals traded infielder Jeff Mason to the San Francisco Giants for pitcher John Cumberland.

Our Cards don’t need to mess around with the horribly-struggling southpaw Cumberland.

Aug. 2, 1972: The Philadelphia Phillies sold pitcher Woodie Fryman off waivers to the Detroit Tigers.

Our Phillies don’t have Fryman. Our Mets do, and aren’t inclined to dump the veteran lefty.

Aug. 27, 1972: The St. Louis Cardinals traded outfielder-first baseman Matty Alou to the Oakland Athletics for outfielder Bill Voss and pitcher Steve Easton.

Aug. 30, 1972: The St. Louis Cardinals traded infielder Dal Maxvill to the Oakland Athletics for third baseman Joe Lindsey and a player to be named later. (On Oct. 27, 1972, the Athletics sent catcher Gene Dusan to the Cardinals, completing the deal.)

Our Cardinals don’t have Alou, and don’t want to dump Maxvill.

The 1972 season: Deals we will invoke

May 19, 1972: The Philadelphia Phillies traded outfielder-first baseman Joe Hague and cash to the Cincinnati Reds for outfielder Bernie Carbo.

In reality it was the Cardinals swapping Hague for Carbo. The Reds are frustrated with Carbo, and understandably so, but he’s three-and-a-half years younger than Hague, and with an obviously far higher ceiling. Our Phillies will happily take on this high-maintenance project.

June 7, 1972: The St. Louis Cardinals released pitcher Moe Drabowsky.

We love the loveable Moe, but we have to make room for Segui.

July 11, 1972: The Philadelphia Phillies sold catcher-outfielder Adrian Garrett to the Oakland Athletics.

He’s getting squeezed off the roster as Bill Sudakis returns from the DL.

1972 season results

Phillies

We’re giving first-sting opportunities to two right-handed power-hitting 21-year-old rookies with impressive minor league resumés: Luzinski at first base, and Mike Anderson in center field. Willie Montañez will move over to right. Sizemore should shore up second base.

1972 Philadelphia Phillies     Won 68    Lost 88    Finished 5th

 Pos  Player        Age    G  AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
  1B  G. Luzinski    21  150 563  68 158  33   5  18  72  42 114 .281 .331 .453 .784  120
  2B  T. Sizemore    27  120 439  53 117  17   4   3  39  37  36 .267 .324 .344 .667   89
  SS  L. Bowa#       26  137 463  56 115   9  10   1  26  25  42 .248 .287 .317 .604   71
  3B  D. Money       25  152 536  56 119  16   2  15  55  41  92 .222 .277 .343 .621   75
  RF  B. Carbo*      24   89 272  38  69  11   1   8  32  50  51 .254 .370 .390 .759  115
  CF  M. Anderson    21   80 258  31  59  11   2   8  26  41  96 .229 .334 .380 .714  102
  LF  J. Briggs*     28  135 418  61 114  14   2  24  68  56  69 .273 .359 .488 .847  137
  C   T. McCarver*   30  122 391  35  96  13   1   7  37  37  29 .246 .311 .338 .648   83

OF-1B W. Montanez*   24  140 478  56 117  35   3  12  61  52  97 .245 .319 .406 .725  104
  LF  J. Lis         25   94 193  26  48   8   0  10  31  40  44 .249 .378 .446 .823  132
  IF  T. Harmon      28   64 164  27  46   6   1   2  11  22  21 .280 .366 .366 .731  108
  2B  D. Doyle*      28   62 147  12  35   5   1   0  10  10  12 .238 .287 .286 .572   62
  OF  D. Hahn        23   63 117  10  24   2   0   1   7  12  36 .205 .279 .248 .527   50
  OF  B. Robinson    29   55 125  14  29   6   1   5  15   3  20 .232 .250 .416 .666   85
  C   J. McNertney   35   52  91   8  20   6   1   1  15  12  29 .220 .311 .341 .651   84
  UT  B. Sudakis#    26   18  49   3   7   0   0   1   8   6  15 .143 .236 .204 .440   26
  UT  A. Garrett*    29   26  33   3   5   1   0   1   2   3  10 .152 .222 .273 .495   39
1B-OF J. Hague*      28   14  25   3   5   2   0   1   4   5   7 .200 .333 .400 .733  107

      Others                 100   6  24   2   0   2   7  11  24 .240 .319 .320 .639   81

      Pitchers               356  19  51   5   0   2  19   8 138 .143 .155 .174 .329   -7

      Total                5218 585 1258 202  34 122 545 513 982 .241 .307 .363 .669   89

      * Bats left
      # Bats both

      Pitcher       Age    G  GS  CG   W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
      R. Wise        26   35  35  20  16  16   0 269 260 109  99   18   70  139 3.31  110
      B. Johnson     29   31  23   3   7   9   1 174 178  73  68   25   62  105 3.52  103
      B. Lersch      27   36  20   5   9  10   0 161 155  67  61   14   46   67 3.41  107
      K. Reynolds*   25   33  23   2   4  12   0 154 149  76  73   17   60   87 4.27   85
      R. Sadecki*    31   34  14   1   5   6   0 137 144  68  54    7   53   62 3.55  103
      W. Twitchell   24   22  15   1   4   5   0  93  94  50  44    5   36   73 4.26   85
      B. Champion    24   18  13   1   3   7   0  80  93  48  45    7   32   32 5.06   72
      S. Renko       27   12   8   0   2   4   0  49  53  34  31    6   33   32 5.69   64

      D. Giusti      32   59   0   0   6   6  19  90  79  24  21    4   22   62 2.10  173
      D. Frisella    26   43   0   0   6   8   6  80  83  42  34   10   26   55 3.83   95
      G. Jackson*    29   36   1   0   2   3   5  55  54  23  21    2   11   45 3.44  106
      C. Short*      34   19   0   0   2   0   1  23  24  12  10    3    8   20 3.91   93

      Others                   4   1   2   2   1  35  35  12  12    3   10   18 3.09  118

      Total                  156  34  68  88 33 1400 1401 638 573 121  469  797 3.68   99

      * Throws left

Luzinski blossoms nicely, but Anderson encounters some struggles, and Montañez sees his sophomore-year home run production plummet. The left field platoon of Johnny Briggs and Joe Lis is terrific, but third baseman Don Money again can’t get his batting average above the .220s. All in all the offense is a mixed bag: not exactly bad, but certainly not good.

And our pitching isn’t as strong as it was in 1971. Rick Wise is still solid at the top, and Dave Giusti turns in another fine year as the ace reliever. But the back end of the starting rotation is problematic, as Steve Renko flops, and youngsters Ken Reynolds, Wayne Twitchell, and Billy Champion all have a hard time.

So it’s a one-step-forward, two-steps-back kind of a year. We take solace in the fact that we’re still a young team, but the lesson about how difficult it is to become a contender is plain and harsh.

Cardinals

Coming off a great 1971, we’ve made few changes. We’re welcoming Achilles-healed Bobby Tolan back to center field, and will shift Jose Cruz to right, squeezing Leron Lee into a utility role. Rookie Ed Crosby will get a middle infield opportunity, and Hall replaces Granger in the bullpen.

1972 St. Louis Cardinals     Won 105    Lost 51    Finished 1st

 Pos  Player        Age    G  AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
  1B  D. Allen       30  148 506  96 160  27   6  35 120  92 131 .316 .420 .601 1.021 189
2B-SS S. Huntz#      26  116 318  33  69   7   2   9  31  43  60 .217 .307 .336 .644   84
SS-2B E. Crosby*     23  101 276  30  60   9   1   0  19  18  27 .217 .267 .257 .524   51
  3B  J. Torre       31  149 544  84 157  26   6  11  80  54  64 .289 .357 .419 .776  122
RF-CF J. Cruz*       24  117 332  40  78  14   4   2  23  36  54 .235 .307 .319 .627   80
  CF  B. Tolan*      26  149 604  91 176  28   6   8  52  43  86 .291 .338 .397 .735  110
  LF  L. Brock*      33  153 621  91 193  26   8   3  42  47  93 .311 .357 .393 .750  115
  C   T. Simmons#    22  148 564  68 172  34   6  15  94  28  54 .305 .338 .466 .804  128

RF-LF L. Lee*        24   84 247  38  75  16   5   8  42  20  40 .304 .358 .506 .864  145
  SS  D. Maxvill     33  115 220  17  49   5   1   1  16  21  43 .223 .283 .268 .552   59
2B-3B J. Lefebvre#   30   70 169  15  35   8   0   5  24  16  29 .207 .273 .343 .616   75
  OF  L. Melendez    22   79 166  16  38   5   2   3  14  11  18 .229 .274 .337 .611   74
1B-OF T. Hutton*     26   67  95  10  23   4   1   1   7  12   7 .242 .321 .337 .658   89
  2B  J. Javier      35   44  91   3  20   2   0   2  10   6  11 .220 .260 .308 .568   62
  C   M. Ryan        30   40  80   5  15   3   0   1   8   7  20 .188 .250 .263 .513   47
  UT  B. Stein       25   14  35   2  11   0   1   2   3   0   7 .314 .289 .543 .832  134

      Others                  66   3  16   3   0   0   3   2  13 .242 .261 .288 .549   57

      Pitchers               399  33  67  11   1   6  28  17 129 .168 .194 .244 .439   25

      Total                5333 675 1414 228  50 112 616 473 886 .265 .323 .390 .712  103

      * Bats left
      # Bats both

      Pitcher       Age    G  GS  CG   W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
      S. Carlton*    27   37  37  27  28   5   0 311 226  71  63   15   75  281 1.82  188
      B. Gibson      36   34  34  23  21   9   0 278 226  83  76   14   88  208 2.46  139
      R. Cleveland   24   22  22   3  10   7   0 136 131  64  55   12   35   93 3.64   94
      F. Norman*     29   26  21   3   9   5   1 128 120  50  45   11   51  105 3.16  108
      J. Reuss*      23   22  20   2   7   7   0 112 102  53  49    7   48  104 3.94   87

      T. Hall*       24   47   7   1  10   1   8 124  82  43  38   13   58  137 2.76  124
      N. Briles      28   42  11   3   9   7   4 131 118  50  42    8   30   83 2.89  119
      B. Reynolds    25   42   2   0   4   3   3  56  42  14  13    2   35   48 2.09  164
      J. Hoerner*    35   40   0   0   3   4   5  45  53  22  20    5   14   32 4.00   86
      D. Segui       34   33   0   0   2   1   5  45  36  17  14    1   26   44 2.80  123
      M. Drabowsky   36   13   0   0   1   1   1  10  13   3   3    2    5    5 2.70  127

      Others                   2   0   1   1   1  24  17   8   6    1    9   18 2.25  152

      Total                  156  62 105  51 28 1400 1166 478 424  91  474 1158 2.73  126

      * Throws left

There are a couple of disappointments. Cruz catches a nasty case of Sophomore Jinx. Joe Torre’s production sharply cools off from his sizzling ’71 pace.

But the positive news overwhelms any problems. Dick Allen (as he has now requested to be called) lays out a career year with the bat. Steve Carlton bursts into superstardom with a monster performance that compares with Bob Gibson’s epic 1968 for sheer dominance. The now-36-year-old Gibson is still mighty good, and he and Carlton head up the best pitching staff in baseball.

Tolan picks up where he left off before his injury. Thirty-three-year-old Lou Brock relentlessly continues to get on base, steal bags, and score runs. Twenty-two-year-old Ted Simmons matures into a genuine star.

With the game’s best hitter and the game’s best pitcher leading a terrific supporting cast, the 1972 Cardinals steamroll the competition, and are hailed as one of the greatest teams of the era.

Mets

Despite frustrating third-place finishes in both 1970 and ’71, we haven’t undertaken significant alterations to the roster. We’re confident that continued improvement by many of our young players will make us a serious contender.

We think it’s time to move Amos Otis from third base to take over as the full-time center fielder, and slide Tommie Agee over to right. At third, young Wayne Garrett will platoon with veteran Tony Taylor. When Mays arrives, he’ll serve primarily as a platoon/spot starter at first base, supporting young Mike Jorgensen.

We’ll give rookie left-hander Jon Matlack an opportunity as a starter, and move veteran southpaw Woodie Fryman to the bullpen.

1972 New York Mets     Won 93    Lost 63    Finished 2nd

 Pos  Player        Age    G  AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
1B-OF M. Jorgensen*  23  113 372  46  84  12   3  13  50  55  72 .226 .325 .379 .704  103
  2B  K. Boswell*    26   95 320  30  68   8   1   8  32  29  31 .213 .269 .319 .587   69
  SS  B. Harrelson#  28  115 418  48  90  10   4   1  26  58  57 .215 .308 .266 .574   67
  3B  W. Garrett*    24  111 298  39  69  13   3   2  31  70  58 .232 .369 .315 .684   99
RF-CF T. Agee        29  108 380  45  86  21   0  12  44  48  83 .226 .315 .376 .691   99
  CF  A. Otis        25  143 540  72 160  28   3  12  54  52  61 .296 .354 .426 .780  124
LF-1B C. Jones       29  101 340  33  83  13   1   5  49  27  75 .244 .301 .332 .633   82
  C   D. Dyer        26   94 325  31  75  17   3   8  38  28  71 .231 .298 .375 .673   93

RF-LF K. Singleton#  25  118 338  47  89  15   1   9  36  47  65 .263 .351 .393 .745  115
  IF  T. Foli        21  119 324  23  77   7   1   1  23  14  27 .238 .268 .275 .542   57
LF-1B J. Milner*     22   94 217  29  51   7   1  10  25  31  44 .235 .335 .415 .749  115
3B-2B T. Taylor      36   78 228  28  68  12   5   1  22  15  35 .298 .343 .408 .751  116
1B-RF W. Mays        41   69 195  25  52   9   1   8  21  43  43 .267 .397 .446 .843  143
  C   J. Grote       29   64 205  14  43   5   1   3  22  26  27 .210 .299 .288 .587   70
  OF  L. Stanton     26   64 134  14  33   5   1   5  15   7  36 .246 .285 .410 .695   98
  IF  T. Martinez    24   34  83   4  18   1   1   0   4   3  13 .217 .241 .253 .494   43

      Others                  57   3   7   0   1   2   4   4  19 .123 .180 .263 .443   27

      Pitchers               392  20  51  10   2   3  15  27 186 .131 .176 .190 .365    5

      Total                5166 551 1204 193 33 103 511 584 1003 .233 .308 .343 .651   88

      * Bats left
      # Bats both

      Pitcher       Age    G  GS  CG   W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
      T. Seaver      27   35  35  13  22  11   0 262 215  92  85   23   77  249 2.92  115
      N. Ryan        25   35  35  18  18  12   0 256 171  82  76   14  147  307 2.67  126
      J. Matlack*    22   34  32   8  16   9   0 244 215  79  63   14   71  169 2.32  145
      G. Gentry      25   29  23   3   6   8   0 148 137  73  65   17   68  109 3.95   85
      J. Koosman*    29   31  22   4  10  10   1 147 138  72  66   12   47  133 4.04   83

      T. McGraw*     27   54   0   0   9   5  27 106  71  26  20    3   40   92 1.70  198
      T. Abernathy   39   41   0   0   3   2   4  52  43  14  12    2   18   26 2.08  162
      J. Aker        31   32   0   0   3   2   7  45  41  17  13    3   15   23 2.60  129
      W. Fryman*     32   31   3   0   3   2   1  62  55  21  20    4   18   40 2.90  116
      J. Bibby       27   15   3   0   1   2   0  35  24  15  13    4   17   27 3.34  101
      B. Capra       24   14   3   0   2   0   0  31  28  16  16    4   16   28 4.65   72
      D. Rose        25    6   0   0   0   0   0  11  14   6   6    2    5   10 4.91   68

      Others                   0   0   0   0   0  16  16  10   9    2    9   13 5.06   66

      Total                  156  46  93  63 40 1415 1168 523 464 104  548 1226 2.95  114

      * Throws left

We’re greeted with a couple of wonderful developments on the pitching front. Matlack is superb, settling in as a star right away. And Nolan Ryan rewards our patience by finally blossoming as a star in his fifth big league season. Anchored by Tom Seaver in the rotation and Tug McGraw in the bullpen, our staff is again outstanding.

But our hitting is another story. Otis is fine, and Mays contributes wonderfully in his limited role. But we’re nagged by injuries (to Agee, to Cleon Jones, to Jerry Grote, and to Bud Harrelson), and unable to shake a general offensive malaise.

We’re bailed out by exceptionally good Pythagorean fortune, coming in at 11 wins above our projection. But even at 93-63 (in the strike-shortened season), we’re still far behind St. Louis, and we have to acknowledge that the 93 wins overstates how good we are. The Miracle of 1969 is getting ever-more lonely and distant in the rear-view mirror.

Next time

Can our Phils get back on track? And can our Mets (or anyone else) get anywhere close to these runaway Cardinals?

          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
 1972    59   97  6    503  625    75   81  4    568  600    83   73  3    528  578

          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
 1972    68   88  5    585  638   105   51  1    675  478    93   63  2    551  523

Note: The upcoming installments in this series will be posted on Mondays beginning next Monday, 24 December.

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Comments

  1. Paul G. said...

    Ah, 1973 and the “does anyone want to win this division, or at least a few games” NL East.  With the revised teams I sense it will take more than 82 wins this time, especially since the Mets should be significantly better than they really were.  This is going to be good.

  2. JohnA said...

    Yes, 82 wins won’t cut it this time.  The virtual Mets need to do something abouth thier anemic infield.  As a side benefit of not making the Singleton or Ryan trades, the Mets have several young players on the bench who could start for other teams.  Rumor has it that an American League team is shopping thier power hitting thirdbaseman for prospects.

  3. art kyriazis said...

    If you remove Carlton for Wise, and ignore the utter stupidity of the St Louis organization during the early 1970s, which began with trading players like Curt Flood to the Phillies for salary reasons, and ended with the trades of Carlton to the Phillies for salary reasons and Simmons to the Brewers for salary reasons, then you are ignoring the utter reality that Busch was unable or unwilling to pay his players, a fact highlighted in the recent documentary on Curt Flood. 

    It is sheer phantasm to think that this owner could have properly run the Cards or hung onto his talent, or kept players like Allen, Carlton and Torre together and actually paid them their salary demands.  Busch always traded such players because he had the view that players were fungible and were not unique.  He really thought Rick Wise was just as good as Steve Carlton, and that was the limit of his intellect. 

    This is a useless counterfactual exercise.

    Art Kyriazis, Philly

    PS The Phillies PUMMELED the Cards throughout the 1970s.  The Cards stunk in those years, and Bill James is right in criticizing how St. Louis threw away all that talent due to incompetence and ineptitude, but mostly due to cheapness.

  4. Paul E said...

    art kyriazis:
        Well, Wise was as good as Carlton in 1973 grin
    Wise had a fantastic quote for a friend at one of those “dream week” get-togethers: “If they like you, they’ll give you every chance to succeed. If they don’t like you, they’ll give you one chance to fail.”
      Re Allen in 1972, he had an OPS+ of 198 with the CWS. At Busch Stadium, per baseball-reference, this would translate to .319/.432/.625 with 39 HR’s and 122 RBI
        Where have you gone Heity Cruz?

  5. John A said...

    “It is sheer phantasm to think that this owner could have properly run the Cards or hung onto his talent, or kept players like Allen, Carlton and Torre together and actually paid them their salary demands.  Busch always traded such players because he had the view that players were fungible and were not unique.  He really thought Rick Wise was just as good as Steve Carlton, and that was the limit of his intellect. 

    This is a useless counterfactual exercise.”

    I imagine that is the entire point of this exercise, and all of the similar analyses that the author has done previously.  A whimsical look at what if the inept owner or GM of the day wasn’t so inept.

  6. Paul E said...

    Steve:
      In lieu of “the virtual”, why don’t you retitle the articles, “all the right moves”? Just sayin’…..
      Great series. I can’t recall if you’ve done anything regarding late ‘70’s / early ‘80’s, but the Phillies traded a ton of youth (Sandberg, Franco, Moreland,Lonnie Smith, Dernier) and talent (Willie Hernandez)with little return. There’s an awful lotta WAR in dem dere prospects. The Phillies really “Mined” the Dominican quite quite well in the late 70’s… Looking forward to that series

  7. Steve Treder said...

    “Re Allen in 1972, he had an OPS+ of 198 with the CWS. At Busch Stadium, per baseball-reference, this would translate to .319/.432/.625 with 39 HR’s and 122 RBI”

    Indeed, but that translator doesn’t take league strength into account.  Given that the NL was almost certainly housing a higher quality of play than the AL in this period, in these exercises I back off the stats a bit of players being portrayed in the NL instead of the AL, and vice-versa.

  8. Steve Treder said...

    “I attended Broglio’s baseball camp in the late 1970s.”

    Ernie’s a good man.  He was the pitching coach for the Santa Clara University baseball team in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s, under head coach Sal Taormina.  I was the batboy.

  9. Philip said...

    I remember a Baseball Research Journal article about 20 years ago, ‘‘If God Owned the Angels.’‘

    Baseball fans have speculated about ‘What Ifs’ for over a century.

    As John A said, the whole point of articles like these are to show what could have been with reasonable and competent management. Perhaps Art is just worried the Phillies aren’t going to be playoff bound come the mid-to-late 70s.

    So the Dodgers get T.J. after all. And Sizemore moves to eventually make way for Lopes. And the Dodgers will trade Claude Osteen for Jimmy Wynn.

    The only downside is we won’t have

    Of course, I’m a bit concerned about the impending Rick Wise trade that will either get revoked (since he’s no longer with the Cards) or altered.

    With youngsters Jim Rice, Fred Lynn and Dwight Evans all being primed for stardom, the Red Sox wouldn’t need Reggie Smith’s bat in the coming years. They did, however, need Rick Wise’s arm. Will the Phillies made a deal with Boston, shipping Smith and Bernie Carbo to Fenway?

    Nice to see the Singleton deal to Montreal was nixed. The butterfly effect for that one hopefully means the switch-hitting slugger won’t be hitting any three-run homers for Earl Weaver in the 70s. Might make things a little easier for Boston in the AL East.

    As expected, Nolan Ryan remains a Met and likely gives Yogi Berra a rotation of Ryan, Seaver, Koosman & Matlack into the early 1980s. And with Otis and Singleton patrolling the outfield instead of the likes of Del Unser and Mike Vail, it looks like Joe Torre’s managerial debut in 1977 will be delayed.

    Steve, re: Ernie Broglio. That discussion got me digging around and found this:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/columns/story?id=6053505

    Broglio said he thinks the Cardinals pulled one over on the Cubs, that St. Louis knew his arm injury was more serious than even he was aware. (Incidentally, I attended Broglio’s baseball camp in the late 1970s.)

  10. Philip said...

    cutoff:

    The only downside is we won’t have those stories about Dick Allen belatedly running out a ground ball after an infielder booted it, getting thrown out at first on a close play, slamming his helmet to the ground in disgust – and getting back to the Dodgers dugout only to have manager Walt Alston order him to go back out there and retrieve the helmet.

  11. Philip said...

    Yes, Ernie Broglio’s a classy guy. It’s a shame that he is best remembered only for being part of the Brock trade. If it wasn’t for his arm problems things might have been different.

    I found a Milwaukee Sentinel article from May 17, 1962 that said the Cardinals, due to an injury to outfielder Minnie Minoso, had offered Broglio and outfielder Charlie James to the Cubs for George Altman (who had hit .303 with 27 homeruns and 96 RBIs in 1961).

    The article goes on to say that Broglio ‘‘was hampered by a sore arm a portion of the [1961] season.’‘

    And a Gettysburg Times piece from April 17, 1962 quotes manager Johnny Keane as saying, ‘‘We’ve been going slow with him because of his bad arm last year.’‘

    But the Cubs turned down that offer.

    In looking up his minor league stats, it’s no wonder Broglio developed a sore arm.

    He appeared in 11 games (47 IP) in the PCL in 1953 – as a 17-year old.

    He threw 170 innings in 25 starts and 39 games the next year in Class C ball. Then 255 innings after that as a 19-year old (20-10 record) before struggling a bit in Class A ball the following year (6-12, 153 IP).

    As a 21-year old, he went 17-6 for Dallas (AA ball) in 222 IP in 1957. At the AAA level, in 1958 he threw 212 innings (17-4).

    So in five years from age 18 to 22, Broglio had already pitched over 1,000 innings in the minors.

    As a 23-year old rookie for the Cardinals in 1959, he started 25 of 35 games (181 innings).

    In 1960, the year Broglio went 21-9 (leading the NL in wins), he started only 24 games. But St. Louis used him in 52 games (a total of 226 IP).

    At the start of that season, manager Solly Hemus used Broglio mostly as a reliever; he appeared in 30 games by July 1st. Broglio then started 19 games on the mound from that point on.

    On August 11th, Broglio beat Bob Friend of the Pirates, each pitcher getting complete game decision in a game that went 12 innings at Forbes Field, the Cardinals closing to just four back behind first-place Pittsburgh. By September 7th, Broglio had thrown another 47 2/3 innings in six additional starts (4 of them on 3 days rest). He went 4-2 in that stretch, beating Friend again and besting Sandy Koufax with a 2-0 shutout win.

    Broglio had arm problems in 1961, but came back strong in 1962, going 12-9 in 30 starts and 222 innings. In 1963, he was 18-8, pitching 250 innings.

    By the end of 1963, at the age of 27, he had pitched over 1,050 innings for St. Louis.

    In 1964, Broglio struggled. He went 3-3 in his first nine starts before throwing a complete game win over the Reds on May 30th. Then he didn’t pitch again until June 12th, when he went 6 2/3 in a loss at Dodger Stadium to Sandy Koufax.

    Three days later, Broglio was traded by St. Louis to the Cubs as part of the deal for Lou Brock.

    It’s curious that Broglio was in the rotation but then missed a start.

    So essentially the Cubs turned down a deal in 1962 that would have cost them only George Altman (who had a career-year as a 28-year old, hitting more homeruns than in his two previous big league seasons combined) for a starting pitcher with known arm trouble at the time, but then two years later traded a promising and future Hall of Fame outfield two years for that same pitcher!

    Cubs head coach Bob Kennedy was quoted as saying Chicago badly needed pitching help because of an upcoming string of double-headers. (They apparently really believed they could have competed for the pennant in 1964, being 5 games out at the time of the deal.)

    This makes it even harder to see how Cubs would make that deal unless they really believed (or were led to believe) that Broglio’s arm was sound.

    It’s interesting that in his memoirs, Cardinals GM Bing Devine claims he never knew Broglio had ‘‘a bad arm.’’ Thought his field manager, the Gettysburg Times and Milwaukee Sentinel all knew it.

    Even more incredible is that the Cubs may had heard the rumors about Broglio’s arm troubles.

    Cubs Head Coach at the time, Bob Kennedy, now claims that he and his assistants were against the deal:

    ‘‘We didn`t want Broglio. Lew Burdette (acquired two weeks earlier from the Cardinals) was on our club then and told us Broglio had been having arm problems; he’d been getting shots.’‘

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1989-06-15/sports/8902100268_1_doug-clemens-cubs-bleachers

    Devine wrote it was the Cubs who asked for Broglio off a list of player’s the Cardinals had previously offered for Brock.

    (Devine also defers the credit for acquiring Brock to manager Johnny Keane, saying if Keane wasn’t in favor of the deal it wouldn’t have been done.)

  12. Philip said...

    But what’s really comical is that on the day of the trade, the Cubs recalled outfielder Billy Ott from Salt Lake City (AAA ball).

    Devine claimed the Cubs were disappointed in Brock’s performance both at the plate and in the field and that’s why they were willing to move him.

    Cubs’ vice president John Holland is quoted in the St. Petersburg Times on June 16, 1964 as saying: ‘‘We think Ott is ready to step into a regular job in the majors and that was one of the big reasons we felt we could trade Brock.’‘

    After a decent season with San Antonio (AA ball), Ott in full-time duty at Salt Lake City in 1963 had hit only .234 with 5 homeruns and was caught stealing in 7 of 13 attempts.

    I couldn’t find Ott’s 1964 PCL stats at the time of the trade, but after getting only 4 hits in 22 at bats with the Cubs he was sent back down to the minors in late July. As Ott’s full-season AAA stats for that year include a .249 average with 7 homeruns it’s highly doubtful he was tearing up the PCL before the trade was made, making Holland’s statement that Ott was ‘‘ready’’ for a “regular job” on a club that thought they could compete for the pennant dubious at best.

    The Brock-Broglio trade is often cited by baseball historians as being one of the most lopsided in major league history.

    But perhaps it’s also time to look at the trade as not so much as the Cubs moving a would-be Hall of Famer for a proven starting pitcher who ‘‘developed’’ a sore arm later, but because…

    (a) Cubs management was confident they could move Lou Brock and replace him with a light-hitting minor league outfielder they thought was “ready” for a “regular job” in the big leagues.

    AND

    (b) the Cardinals may have known all along that Broglio had major arm trouble and concealed it from the Cubs.

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