The virtual 1969-76 Phillies, Cardinals, and Mets (Part 6:  1973-74)

Through five seasons of this exercise, we encountered our most surprising turn of events in 1973, when an out-of-nowhere young Phillies ball club rudely interrupted a Cardinals mini-dynasty. Meanwhile our Mets are stuck in the bridesmaid role.

          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
 1973    71   91  6    642  717    81   81  2    643  603    82   79  1    608  588

          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
 1973    93   69  1    680  572    80   82  3    621  593    91   70  2    625  539

What’s in store for ’74?

The 1973-74 offseason: Actual deals we will make

Oct. 23, 1973: The St. Louis Cardinals sold infielder Mick Kelleher to the Houston Astros.

Oct. 25, 1973: The St. Louis Cardinals sold outfielder Matty Alou to the San Diego Padres.

Neither of these guys are making our 40-man winter roster.

Dec. 7, 1973: The St. Louis Cardinals traded pitchers Reggie Cleveland and Diego Segui and infielder Terry Hughes to the Boston Red Sox for pitchers John Curtis, Lynn McGlothen, and Mike Garman.

We have no problem with either Cleveland or Segui, but this is just too nice an offer to refuse. Curtis basically replaces Cleveland, and McGlothen and Garman are very worthwhile prospects.

The 1973-74 season: Actual deals we will not make

Nov. 7, 1973: The Philadelphia Phillies traded pitcher Billy Wilson to the Milwaukee Brewers for pitcher Frank Linzy.

Dec. 3, 1973: The Philadelphia Phillies traded pitcher Barry Lersch and infielder Craig Robinson to the Atlanta Braves for pitcher Ron Schueler.

Our Phils no longer have Wilson or Lersch, and aren’t especially interested in Linzy or Schueler.

Dec. 4, 1973: The Philadelphia Phillies traded first baseman-outfielder Bob Beall to the Atlanta Braves for infielder Gil Garrido.

We really don’t see the point in essentially giving away Beall, who’s demonstrated exceptional on-base ability in the minors.

Dec. 5, 1973: The St. Louis Cardinals traded outfielder Tommie Agee to the Los Angeles Dodgers for pitcher Pete Richert.

Dec. 7, 1973: The Philadelphia Phillies sold outfielder-infielder Cesar Tovar to the Texas Rangers.

Our Cards never acquired Agee, and our Phils never acquired Tovar.

Dec. 7, 1973: The Philadelphia Phillies purchased pitcher Eddie Watt from the Baltimore Orioles.

No need for him.

Dec. 19, 1973: The Philadelphia Phillies signed infielder Tony Taylor as a free agent.

Our Mets still have Taylor, and aren’t letting him go.

March 21, 1974: The Philadelphia Phillies purchased pitcher Ed Farmer from the New York Yankees.

Not interested.

March 23, 1974: The St. Louis Cardinals traded pitcher Scipio Spinks to the Chicago Cubs for first baseman-outfielder Jim Hickman.

We don’t have Spinks.

April 3, 1974: The Philadelphia Phillies signed outfielder Jay Johnstone as a free agent.

He isn’t available (see below).

The 1973-74 offseason: Deals we will invoke

Oct. 18, 1973: The St. Louis Cardinals traded pitcher Jerry Reuss to the Pittsburgh Pirates for second baseman Dave Cash.

Actually on this date, the Pirates traded Cash to the Phillies for Ken Brett. Our Phils aren’t shopping Brett, and aren’t in the market for a second baseman.

But our Cardinals are, and moreover the Pirates actually acquired Reuss from Houston this month (in a deal we’ll reference below). So we’ll let Pittsburgh get one of its southpaws this way.

Oct. 26, 1973: The New York Mets traded outfielder Dave Schneck to the Texas Rangers for pitcher Sonny Siebert.

In reality it was the Cardinals picking up the veteran Siebert in exchange for an outfield prospect. Our Mets will do it instead.

Oct. 26, 1973: The Philadelphia Phillies traded pitcher Rick Wise and outfielder Bernie Carbo to the Boston Red Sox for outfielder Reggie Smith and pitcher Ken Tatum.

It was actually the Cardinals executing this one with Boston. Our Phils will be happy to do it instead. No offense to Wise and Carbo, who are both fine players, but Smith is the kind of talent you grab when you can.

Oct. 31, 1973: The New York Mets traded pitchers Jim Bibby and Buzz Capra and catcher Ron Hodges to the Pittsburgh Pirates for catcher Milt May.

Our Mets’ acquisition of Siebert to fill the spot-starter role behind our big four allows us to expend the hard-throwing Bibby. May is the guy Pittsburgh actually traded for Reuss. Here the Pirates get Bibby effectively in place of Ken Brett, as well as a couple of decent young talents in Capra and Hodges. May is a fine-hitting young catcher, a real upgrade for us.

Nov. 9, 1973: The St. Louis Cardinals traded outfielder Bobby Tolan and pitcher Jim Kremmel and cash to the San Diego Padres for pitcher Clay Kirby.

Actually. the Padres swapped Kirby to the Reds in exchange for Tolan and a young lefty. Our Cardinals will oblige them this way.

November 1973: The New York Mets sold catcher Duffy Dyer to the Houston Astros.

The Astros’ consolation prize for not getting May.

Dec. 3, 1973: The Philadelphia Phillies sold infielder Terry Harmon to the Atlanta Braves.

We won’t let the Braves have Craig Robinson. Instead, we’ll have Robinson take over Harmon’s utility infielder role, and allow the Braves to take this journeyman.

Dec. 6, 1973: The St. Louis Cardinals traded second baseman Ken Boswell to the California Angels for infielder Billy Grabarkewitz, pitcher Aurelio Monteagudo, and outfielder Chris Coletta.

The Angels actually acquired Denny Doyle from the Phillies on this date. Our Phils aren’t giving up that left-handed-batting second baseman, so our Cardinals will provide the Angels with this left-handed-batting second baseman.

December 1973: The St. Louis Cardinals traded pitcher Harry Parker to the New York Mets for outfielder Leroy Stanton.

The departure of Bobby Tolan creates an opening in our Cardinals outfield. Parker can surely help our Mets bullpen.

December 1973: The New York Mets traded pitchers Hank Webb and Tommy Moore and outfielder-first baseman Bruce Boisclair to the Philadelphia Phillies for first baseman Andre Thornton.

With the retirement of Willie Mays, our Mets are seeking a right-handed bat for first base. Our Phillies, with Greg Luzinski on board at first, can afford to part with the impressive prospect Thornton in exchange for three so-so prospects.

Jan. 9, 1974: The New York Mets purchased outfielder Jay Johnstone from the Oakland Athletics.

Actually it was the Cardinals buying Johnstone on this date (before releasing him at the end of spring training), but our Mets have a greater need for a left-handed outfield bat. Johnstone’s career has skidded into a ditch, but he’s performed quite well in the past and is still a few years shy of 30.

March, 1974: The Philadelphia Phillies sold pitcher Ken Tatum to the Chicago White Sox.

March, 1974: The Philadelphia Phillies sold outfielder Joe Lis to the Minnesota Twins.

March 28, 1974: The St. Louis Cardinals sold outfielder Leron Lee to the Cleveland Indians.

March 1974: The New York Mets sold pitcher Bob Miller to the Cleveland Indians.

March 1974: The New York Mets sold pitcher George Culver to the California Angels.

March 1974: The New York Mets sold pitcher Mike Thompson to the Cincinnati Reds.

This year’s cut-down roster trimming.

The 1974 season: Actual deals we will make

July 12, 1974: The Philadelphia Phillies purchased pitcher Gene Garber from the Kansas City Royals.

He doesn’t throw hard, but Garber is a 26-year-old side-arming righty with real good control. We can make room for him in our bullpen.

The 1974 season: Actual deals we will not make

April 27, 1974: The St. Louis Cardinals traded pitcher Ken Tatum to the Chicago White Sox for infielder Luis Alvarado.

Don’t have Tatum, don’t want Alvarado.

May 3, 1974: The Philadelphia Phillies traded pitcher Mike Wallace to the New York Yankees for pitcher Ken Wright.

Do have Wallace, don’t want Wright.

June 1, 1974: The St. Louis Cardinals traded infielders Luis Alvarado and Ed Crosby to the Cleveland Indians for infielder Jack Heidemann.

We’ll give the Indians half of what they want (see below).

June 14, 1974: The New York Mets purchased pitcher Jack Aker from the Atlanta Braves.

June 21, 1974: The Philadelphia Phillies purchased pitcher Pete Richert from the St. Louis Cardinals.

June 24, 1974: The Philadelphia Phillies selected outfielder Ollie Brown off waivers from the Houston Astros.

Aug. 5, 1974: The St. Louis Cardinals purchased outfielder Richie Scheinblum from the Kansas City Royals.

Aug. 15, 1974: The St. Louis Cardinals traded pitcher Ron Selak and a player to be named later to the Houston Astros for pitcher Claude Osteen. (On Oct. 14, 1974, the Cardinals sent pitcher Dan Larson to the Astros, completing the deal.)

Our ball clubs have no need for any of these veterans.

Sept. 1, 1974: The St. Louis Cardinals sold catcher Tim McCarver to the Boston Red Sox.

Our Phils have McCarver, and aren’t giving him up.

Sept. 5, 1974: The St. Louis Cardinals selected second baseman Ron Hunt off waivers from the Montreal Expos.

We don’t require this ultra-scrappy veteran.

The 1974 season: Deals we will invoke

June 1, 1974: The St. Louis Cardinals sold infielder Ed Crosby to the Cleveland Indians.

The Tribe wants him, and we don’t need him.

June 6, 1974: The Philadelphia Phillies purchased outfielder Jim Lyttle from the Montreal Expos.

It was actually the Mets purchasing Lyttle, but our Phillies have the need.

June 15, 1974: In a three-club deal, the St. Louis Cardinals traded pitcher Tom Hall to the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds sent pitcher Dave Tomlin to the San Diego Padres, and the Padres sent pitcher Steve Arlin to the Cardinals.

Actually on this date the Padres sent Arlin (who was highly regarded a couple of years ago, before encountering serious struggles) to the American League. Our Cardinals won’t let him clear waivers, not because we have a spot for Arlin (who’ll be placed in Triple-A), but because we want to move Hall (who’s declining rapidly) and make room for young Bob Forsch. And we know that the Reds liked Hall, and the Padres liked Tomlin.

July 13, 1974: The Philadelphia Phillies sold pitcher Bob Johnson to the Texas Rangers.

We think Garber is a better choice at this point.

1974 season results

Phillies

The big trade with the Red Sox is the only significant change we’ve made to our defending-champion roster. Smith becomes our new right fielder, and replacing Wise in the rotation will be rookie right-hander Dick Ruthven.

1974 Philadelphia Phillies     Won 86    Lost 76    Finished 2nd

 Pos  Player        Age    G  AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
  1B  G. Luzinski    23   85 302  29  82  14   1   7  48  29  76 .272 .330 .394 .724   99
  2B  T. Sizemore    29  123 428  61 111  15   0   3  38  60  31 .259 .337 .315 .653   81
  SS  L. Bowa#       28  142 502  52 137  14   8   1  32  16  40 .273 .287 .339 .625   72
  3B  M. Schmidt     24  162 568 108 160  28   7  36 116 106 138 .282 .394 .546 .939  157
  RF  R. Smith#      29  143 517 104 161  26   8  26  88  70  68 .311 .389 .544 .932  155
  CF  M. Anderson    23  145 395  34  99  22   2   5  34  37  75 .251 .313 .354 .667   84
  LF  J. Briggs*     30  135 416  69 107  23   6  15  45  60  76 .257 .349 .450 .799  119
  C   B. Boone       26  131 392  32  96  19   3   3  42  29  22 .245 .294 .332 .626   72

1B-OF W. Montanez*   26  129 422  43 127  26   1   6  63  26  46 .301 .338 .410 .748  106
  OF  B. Robinson    31  100 280  29  66  14   1   5  29  17  61 .236 .276 .346 .623   71
1B-OF B. Beall#      26   70 149  26  35   4   0   2  15  33  37 .235 .371 .302 .673   87
  2B  D. Doyle*      30   74 170  16  45   6   1   0  11   9  17 .265 .295 .312 .607   68
  C   T. McCarver*   32   85 134  16  30   1   0   1  12  26   7 .224 .347 .254 .601   68
  SS  C. Robinson    25   73 151  15  34   1   2   0  10   8  19 .225 .257 .258 .516   43
  UT  B. Sudakis#    28   67 130  12  28   4   1   4  20  13  25 .215 .284 .354 .638   75
 P-PH K. Brett*      25   43  87  12  29   4   1   2  15   4  19 .333 .347 .471 .819  124
  OF  J. Lyttle*     28   42  46   3   8   2   1   0   2   3  14 .174 .220 .261 .481   32

      Others                  33   4   5   1   0   0   2   4   8 .152 .243 .182 .425   19

      Pitchers               293  14  42   5   0   1  17  11 116 .142 .157 .169 .326  -10

      Total                5415 679 1402 229  43 117 639 561 895 .259 .322 .382 .704   94

      * Bats left
      # Bats both

      Pitcher       Age    G  GS  CG   W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
      C. Morton      30   34  34   6  14  11   0 247 263  96  86    8   82  103 3.13  121
      J. Lonborg     32   31  31  13  14  10   0 226 221  88  79   18   56   99 3.15  120
      D. Ruthven     23   32  32   5   8  12   0 192 163  93  84   10  104  139 3.94   96
      K. Brett*      25   27  27  10  12   9   0 191 204  85  76   10   53   96 3.58  106
      W. Twitchell   26   25  18   2   6   9   0 112 122  71  65   11   65   72 5.22   73
      G. Stone*      27   15   7   1   1   5   0  51  70  36  29    7   15   20 5.12   74
      H. Webb        24    6   5   0   1   2   0  25  29  16  15    3   19   18 5.40   70

      D. Giusti      34   62   0   0   5   5  10  92  97  43  41    3   38   47 4.01   94
      G. Jackson*    31   49   0   0   6   4  10  67  53  22  22    7   25   56 2.96  128
      G. Garber      26   34   0   0   4   0   2  48  39  15  11    1   31   27 2.06  184
      R. Sadecki*    33   32   4   1   7   5   0  73  83  34  29    5   29   30 3.58  106
      M. Wallace*    23   23   1   0   6   0   0  52  43  18  16    3   40   34 2.77  137
      B. Johnson     31   21   0   0   1   1   0  36  36  18  17    5   21   20 4.25   89

      Others                   3   1   1   3   2  35  36  19  17    3   24   24 4.37   87

      Total                  162  39  86  76 24 1447 1459 654 587  94  602  785 3.65  104

      * Throws left

Smith comes through just as we’d hoped. Better still, sophomore Mike Schmidt suddenly blossoms into superstardom. Ruthven holds his own, and veteran starter Jim Lonborg bounces back from a poor 1973.

However, several problems materialize. Luzinski misses nearly half the season with a knee injury, and his power is sapped when he does play. Outfielder Bill Robinson and pitcher Wayne Twitchell both flop following their ’73 breakthroughs, and ace reliever Dave Giusti has an off-year.

So we’re good, but not good enough to repeat the division title.

Cardinals

Looking to rebound from a problematic season, we’re getting younger. Bake McBride, in his first full season, will get the opportunity to take center field. Clay Kirby, John Curtis, and Lynn McGlothen will get starts, and sophomore Mike Garman and rookie Al Hrabosky join the bullpen.

1974 St. Louis Cardinals     Won 100    Lost 61    Finished 1st

 Pos  Player        Age    G  AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
  1B  D. Allen       32  128 462  87 141  22   2  30  91  54  92 .305 .375 .556 .932  159
  2B  D. Cash        26  161 679  91 200  26  11   1  57  47  34 .295 .347 .370 .717  101
  SS  M. Tyson       24  101 211  18  45   6   3   1  19  10  36 .213 .251 .284 .535   50
3B-1B J. Torre       33  147 476  53 134  25   1  10  63  62  79 .282 .370 .401 .771  117
RF-CF L. Hisle       27  143 510  63 144  20   7  18  77  53 112 .282 .353 .455 .808  126
  CF  B. McBride*    25  135 478  75 154  18   5   5  52  39  44 .322 .379 .412 .792  122
  LF  L. Brock*      35  153 635 108 194  25   7   3  48  61  88 .306 .367 .381 .748  110
 C-1B T. Simmons#    24  152 599  66 163  33   6  20 101  47  35 .272 .326 .447 .774  116

RF-LF L. Stanton     28   87 231  27  63  12   2   6  33  20  60 .273 .331 .420 .751  110
  OF  J. Cruz*       26  107 209  30  55   6   4   6  26  27  34 .263 .343 .416 .759  113
  3B  K. Reitz       23   77 193  16  50   9   1   2  17   7  23 .259 .284 .347 .631   77
  IF  Grabarkewitz   28   87 155  28  35   3   3   1  14  27  39 .226 .341 .303 .644   82
  SS  J. DaVanon     28   70 141  16  30   5   1   1  10  10  18 .213 .274 .284 .558   57
  1B  T. Hutton*     28   64 104  16  24   3   2   1  15  14   8 .231 .317 .327 .644   81
  C   S. Jutze       28   24  61   5  14   3   1   0   5   3  10 .230 .258 .311 .569   59
OF-1B J. Dwyer*      24   29  34   5  10   0   0   1   4   4   6 .294 .359 .382 .741  108

      Others                  70   7  18   3   2   0   5  13  16 .257 .373 .357 .731  106

      Pitchers               403  27  72   9   2   0  28  13 120 .179 .189 .210 .399   12

      Total                5651 738 1546 228  60 106 665 511 854 .274 .334 .391 .725  103

      * Bats left
      # Bats both

      Pitcher       Age    G  GS  CG   W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
      S. Carlton*    29   35  35  15  18  10   0 262 222 101  87   18  120  218 2.99  120
      B. Gibson      38   30  30   8  12  10   0 216 210  99  91   21   94  117 3.79   95
      C. Kirby       26   31  30   6  10   8   0 199 182  85  72   11   80  142 3.26  111
      F. Norman*     31   32  23   7  12  11   0 167 156  64  59   13   64  131 3.18  113
      L. McGlothen   24   29  21   5  12   6   1 158 137  51  45    7   59   98 2.56  140
      J. Curtis*     26   33  19   3   9   8   1 130 129  59  53    9   55   61 3.67   98

      A. Hrabosky*   24   65   0   0   9   1  11  88  71  34  29    3   38   82 2.97  121
      M. Garman      24   59   0   0   7   2   5  75  59  23  21    4   25   42 2.52  143
      B. Reynolds    27   54   0   0   7   3   7  69  79  26  23    4   16   43 3.00  120
      N. Briles      30   27   2   0   2   1   0  52  54  21  20    3   12   24 3.46  104
      T. Hall*       26   16   0   0   0   1   0  22  20  11  11    3   12   13 4.50   80
      B. Forsch      24   12   1   0   1   0   0  20  16   7   6    1    7    9 2.70  133

      Others                   0   0   1   0   0  14  15  10   7    1    5    5 4.50   80

      Total                  161  44 100  61 25 1472 1350 591 524  98  587  985 3.20  112

      * Throws left

Just about everything falls neatly into place. Dick Allen is healthy until early September, and provides consistent thunder in the middle of the order. Lou Brock, far from slowing down at age 35, sets a single-season stolen base record. Larry Hisle hits his way into the first-string right field job. Ted Simmons achieves career highs in home runs and RBIs, and Dave Cash delivers 200 hits.

Steve Carlton is in winning form again as the ace, fronting a deep and nearly flawless staff.

We run away with the division, reaching the century mark in wins for the third time in four years.

Mets

May will take over as the primary catcher, and Thornton will challenge Mike Jorgensen at first base. Harry Parker as well as rookies Bob Apodaca and Craig Swan will seek to shore up the bullpen, a key 1973 weakness.

1974 New York Mets     Won 83    Lost 79    Finished 4th

 Pos  Player        Age    G  AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
  1B  M. Jorgensen*  25  131 287  50  86  16   1  11  54  71  38 .300 .433 .477 .911  156
  2B  F. Millan      30  136 518  52 139  15   2   1  33  31  14 .268 .304 .311 .615   74
  SS  B. Harrelson#  30  106 331  38  75  10   0   1  18  71  39 .227 .359 .266 .625   78
  3B  W. Garrett*    26  151 522  60 117  14   3  13  53  89  96 .224 .336 .337 .673   90
  RF  K. Singleton#  27  148 511  68 136  20   2   9  73  94  82 .266 .376 .366 .742  110
  CF  A. Otis        27  146 552  87 153  31   8  12  72  65  67 .277 .344 .428 .772  116
  LF  J. Milner*     24  137 507  73 128  19   0  20  63  66  77 .252 .337 .408 .745  109
  C   M. May*        23  127 405  47 118  17   3   9  54  41  31 .291 .352 .415 .766  115

  1B  A. Thornton    24  107 303  41  78  16   3  10  45  49  50 .257 .366 .429 .795  123
  OF  J. Johnstone*  28  113 306  46  86  17   3  11  42  38  53 .281 .360 .464 .824  131
  IF  T. Foli        23  101 294  27  72   7   2   0  26  18  18 .245 .280 .282 .563   59
  OF  L. Melendez    24   83 124  15  26   4   3   0   8  12   8 .210 .277 .290 .567   60
  C   J. Grote       31   49 106  10  26   3   0   2  12  10  12 .245 .308 .330 .639   80
  C   C. Sands*      26   54  83   6  16   2   0   4  13  25  18 .193 .382 .361 .743  110
  IF  T. Taylor      38   62  64   5  20   4   0   2  13   7   6 .313 .378 .469 .847  138

      Others                  37   3   5   0   0   1   4   3   9 .135 .190 .216 .407   14

      Pitchers               394  20  52   5   1   0  26  31 154 .132 .178 .149 .326   -7

      Total                5344 648 1333 200  31 106 609 721 772 .249 .333 .358 .691   95

      * Bats left
      # Bats both


      Pitcher       Age    G  GS  CG   W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
      N. Ryan        27   37  36  23  20  14   0 291 195 124 101   16  196  326 3.12  115
      J. Koosman*    31   35  35  13  16  10   0 265 258 115  99   16   85  188 3.36  107
      J. Matlack*    24   34  34  14  14  14   0 265 221  83  71    8   76  195 2.41  149
      T. Seaver      29   32  32  12  12  10   0 236 199  90  84   19   75  201 3.20  112
      S. Siebert     37   21  15   4   6   6   0 100 110  50  42    7   38   52 3.78   95

      W. Fryman*     34   50   2   0   3   5   4  78  61  37  32    7   36   55 3.69   98
      T. McGraw*     29   37   0   0   5   9   3  61  74  32  30    8   25   40 4.43   81
      H. Parker      26   30   2   0   2   3   4  57  70  27  24    3   22   23 3.79   95
      B. Apodaca     24   29   2   0   3   5   3  68  67  33  30    5   30   35 3.97   91
      C. Swan        23   14   3   0   1   3   0  30  27  18  14    1   21   11 4.20   86
      R. Sterling    23    5   1   0   1   0   0   9  13   8   5    0    3    2 5.00   72

      Others                   0   0   0   0   0  10  12   5   5    1    1    2 4.50   80

      Total                  162  66  83  79 14 1470 1307 622 537  91  608 1130 3.29  109

      * Throws left

Generally, things go well. May is very good, and Jorgensen and Thornton provide a superb platoon. Our offense is improved, and our starting rotation remains unmatched.

But though we have no major setbacks, a lot of little things are suboptimal. Tom Seaver misses a few starts with a hip injury, and is less than his sharpest. Tug McGraw has another poor year. The power production of Ken Singleton and Amos Otis is reduced.

We’re a remarkably talented ball club, but we don’t perform as well as we’re capable. Finishing miles behind the Cardinals, it’s a most frustrating season.

Next time

We understand that trouble may be afoot for the champion Cardinals, in the form of the sudden “retirement” of their cleanup-hitting slugger. Will the St. Louis juggernaut be stalled?

          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
 1973    71   91  6    642  717    81   81  2    643  603    82   79  1    608  588
 1974    80   82  3    676  701    86   75  2    677  643    71   91  5    572  646

          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
 1973    93   69  1    680  572    80   82  3    621  593    91   70  2    625  539
 1974    86   76  2    679  654   100   61  1    738  591    83   79  4    648  622
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Comments

  1. Buccos said...

    You have taken an awful lot of liberties with the Pirates roster in your unlikely fantasy world.  Oh yeah, of course, Jim Bibby is the same as Ken Brett in 1973.  Obviously the Pirates would jump on Rooker instead of trading Cash to the Phils.  Enjoy your fantasy, I guess, the Pirates still rule the 70s.

  2. John A said...

    The Mets are going to look interesting next week.  Thornton and Johnstone should fit in nicely.  With thier crowded outfield, will they still purchase Dave Kingman from the Giants?  He has played some third base and would be a huge offensive upgrade, but I imagine a lot of balls will skip past him into left field.

  3. Steve Treder said...

    “Does Allen “retire” before the playoffs?”

    An interesting question … in actuality, Allen “retired” from the White Sox on Sept. 14.  He was genuinely hurt that month with one of his recurrent leg injuries.  I don’t know whether the injury was severe enough to have kept him out for all of the month of October, and of course with his team in the post-season it’s worth pondering whether he would have been motivated to undertake an aggressive rehab.  The only thing one can say with certainty about Mr. Allen is that one never knows.

  4. Steve Treder said...

    “You have taken an awful lot of liberties with the Pirates roster in your unlikely fantasy world.  Oh yeah, of course, Jim Bibby is the same as Ken Brett in 1973.  Obviously the Pirates would jump on Rooker instead of trading Cash to the Phils.”

    Every counterfactual implies related counterfactuals, unavoidably.  Bibby wasn’t the same as Brett, but every team requires a willing partner to swing a deal.  In our scenario, Brett wasn’t available to the Pirates.  (And in our scenario there is no reason to believe the Pirates wouldn’t have already acquired Rooker in 1972, as they actually did.)

  5. fred said...

    i heventread ina whilei likeyore stuff im not ure howyou chane the stats and excepttrdes when where thevlst oones keep up thegood work
    t

  6. Philip said...

    One thing’s for sure:

    With a World Series title in 1967, a pennant in 1968 and with whatever additional flags the three 100+ division-winning seasons in 1971, 1972, and 1974 has brought, Cardinals skipper Red Schoendienst is well on his way to Cooperstown.

    I expected the Phillies to jump at the chance to put the switching-hitting Reggie Smith into their lineup. But it will be Boston who gets the best of that trade in the long run as injuries in the late 70s take their toll on Reggie’s production.

    With hot prospects Jim Rice and Fred Lynn looking to join Dwight Evans in the outfield in 1975 (and with Carl Yastrzemski and Cecil Cooper filling in at first and DH duties), the Red Sox will appreciate Rick Wise in the rotation and Bernie Carbo’s clutch bat.

    I do wonder about the Phils not moving Denny Doyle. If they in the real time-line thought they needed to upgrade at 2nd from Doyle, it’s not unreasonable to assume they would have thought the same re: Sizemore. (Although, granted, winning sometimes leads to an over-valuation of your players).

    In 1973, Doyle was the Phils’ regular 2nd baseman and hit .273/.327/.338 (avg,obp,slg) with an OPS of .665. Sizemore, the Cards’ real-life 2nd baseman hit .282/.365/.334 with an OPS of .699.

    Neither had much power. Sizemore’s league-leading 25 SH had more to do with him hitting second behind Lou Brock than being a better bunter than Doyle. Likewise, Sizemore getting more walks than Doyle might have had more to do with first base being open a lot for him once Lou Brock swiped second.

    But, perhaps being the defending division champs in this alternative reality and also not having lefty Steve Carlton makes the Phillies reluctant to move lefty Ken Brett to acquire Cash.

    Still, if the Phillies moved Doyle to upgrade their starting 2nd baseman, they might have been even more likely to have moved him if he was merely Sizemore’s backup. In fact, maybe the Angels would have even offered more to get him.

    But if the Phillies do hold firm and don’t send Doyle to the West Coast, the Angels cannot then afford to sell Sandy Alomar to the Yankees on July 8, 1974.

    At the time of the trade, the Yankees were in last in the AL East at 39-43, 6 1/2 behind division-leading Cleveland. (They would end up just 2 games short of the division-winning O’s.)

    That means New York continues using Gene Michael and Fernando González (and his .215 average) at 2nd for the rest of the 1974 season.

    Without the improved bat in the lineup (Alomar had 22 multiple-hit games the rest of the season after joining the club), the Yankees never make a late season run and finish a disappointing third behind the O’s and Red Sox.

    When the season ends, George Steinbrenner fires manager Bill Virdon and in the off-season settles on recently fired Cleveland skipper Ken Aspromonte (who was hired there by Gabe Paul when the new Yankees president was in Cleveland).

    Aspromonte lasts the full 1975 season in the Bronx, the Yankees missing a chance to get dismissed Rangers manager Billy Martin, who replaces Al Dark in Oakland at season’s end.

    (perhaps all this even gives the Pirates a chance to bring in Chuck Tanner a year earlier.)

    The Red Sox still win the 1975 pennant (as the O’s are weaker without Singleton). But Doug Griffin just isn’t the answer to their 2nd base problem.

    So does Pirates GM Joe Brown swing a deal with the Red Sox, sending pitchers Doc Ellis and Bruce Kison and infield prospect Willie Randolph up north for Rick Wise?

    No? Is that really much different than Doc Medich for Doc Ellis, Ken Brett and Randolph?

    Wise put up numbers similar to Medich. Although three years older, Wise would have now just won a pennant and his shutting down of the A’s offense in the final game of the ALCS sweep showed he could be the dominant right-hander the Bucs were looking for.

    Pittsburgh was also anxious to get rid of Ellis, wasn’t sure about Brett’s arm and badly under-rated Randolph.

    With Fisk-Burleson/Randolph-Lynn up the middle for the Bosox in 1976, can anyone say “repeat”?

    Heck, just in case the Yankees try to make the deal with Medich, Boston throws in Butch Hobson (simultaneously taking A’s owner Charlie Finley up on his straight-up offer of Sal Bando for Fergie Jenkins).

  7. Philip said...

    Post-Scenario:

    (Assuming the free agent era begins as it did)

    After the Yankees fire Aspromonte (or whoever might have replaced him for 1976, perhaps Yogi Berra), Steinbrenner finally gets the manager he wants and hires Dick Williams for the 1977 season, reuniting Reggie Jackson and Catfish Hunter with their former skipper in Oakland.

    In the N.L. West, the loss of Fred Norman hurt the Reds again in 1976. It already cost them the 1973 division crown. Dodgers’ skipper Walt Alston has now already won back-to-back division titles in 73-74 (possibly even pennants and World Series). Although 1975 was a disappointing year, another division title in 1976 might have him being given yet another one-year contract for 1977. Is third base coach Tom Lasorda going to remain patient? Especially that once again the Expos are calling?

    We can assume the Phillies have no interest in trading Ted Sizemore for Willie Crawford like St. Louis did when the Dodgers panicked when Davey Lopes had a 1976 spring training injury. With no hole in RF, the Dodgers also don’t go trading foe Ferguson for Reggie Smith (who also isn’t with the Cardinals).

    But if the Dodgers still want to move Bill Buckner, to get him and his bad knees a first base job someplace, they could still swing the trade with the Cubs for Rick Monday.

    However, the Dodgers had nearly made a deal with the Kansas City Royals after 1975: Buckner and shortstop Bill Russell for Amos Otis and Freddie Patek.

    If the Mets have another disappointing season in 1976, that deal might be re-visited/re-imagined.

    Mike Jorgenson had a disappointing season in 1976 and the Mets have Lee Mazzilli primed to take over someplace in the outfield.

    Otis and Buddy Harrelson for Buckner and Russell? Certainly the Dodgers would make that deal, as they then have Ivan DeJesus to take over at short (instead of him going to the Cubs in the Monday deal).

    And Buckner could take over first base nicely for the Mets for the next decade. Now, how ironic would that be?

  8. John C said...

    Buckner takes over first base for the Mets, and helps the New Yorkers reach the 1986 World Series.

    He was on the field when the Mets lost the ‘86 Series in heartbreaking fashion, after the Boston Red Sox’ Dwight Evans led off the top of the 11th inning of Game 6 with a home run that eventually gave his team a 6-5 win and its first World Championship in 68 years. The Mets had nearly won the game in the last of the 10th, tying the game up before a tough ground ball off the bat of Mookie Wilson was gobbled up by slick-fielding Boston first baseman Keith Hernandez. Hernandez, acquired in a lopsided trade with St. Louis in 1983, beat Wilson to the bag to keep the game alive for Boston.

    Buckner played four more seasons in the majors after that disappointment, but garnered over 2,700 hits in his major-league career and is a popular Hall of Fame candidate today, as a successful clean player just prior to the dawn of the Steroid Era.

  9. Kevin C said...

    Steve, great article once again. I do have a question about the Mets 1974 final results. How could Jay Johnstone get 306 at bats and 113 games played during this season? Singleton plays 148 games with 511 times up, Otis 146 and 552 and Milner 137 and 507. With Luis Melendez playing in 83 games with 124 at bats I don’t see how Johnstone could get to play as much as your final stats indicate. 162 game season offers a total of 486 game starts. Singleton, Otis and Milner use up 431 games, leaving 55 games available for Melendez and Johnstone. Your final tallies show Melendez in 83 games and 124 at bats. If I am missing something obvious please respond.

  10. Steve Treder said...

    “How could Jay Johnstone get 306 at bats and 113 games played during this season?”

    Since the outfield bats (excepting Melenedez) are generally the team’s best, they’re generally occupying the upper slots in the order.  This team consumes nearly 5,800 PAs, and that means the upper slots consume over 700 each.  Johnstone not only takes the starts not taken by Otis, Singleton, and Milner, but all of those guys are doing much of the team’s pinch-hitting when not in the lineup, and this team does a lot of pinch-hitting not only for the pitchers, but for the middle infielders in late-inning situations.  As for Melendez, most of his playing time is as a late-inning defensive replacement for Milner or Singleton.

  11. Philip said...

    As Red Sox fan, I don’t fault Buckner or John McNamara for the 1986 loss.

    Had Buckner not suffered that knee injury in 1975 trying to slide like Davey Lopes, he would have probably remained a popular fixture in left field for the Dodgers for many years and likely would have had 3,000 hits and a Hall of Fame plaque.

    Fred, I think the point John C is making is that with Buckner, the Mets wouldn’t have traded for Hernandez.

    Not only that, if Steve’s alternate time line continued past 1976, I doubt he’d have the Cardinals sending Hernandez anywhere, let alone to the Mets for Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey.

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