The virtual 1969-76 Yankees, Red Sox, and Indians (Part 2:  1969-70)

Last time we got the ball rolling on an eight-season scenario involving three longtime rival franchises newly grouped in the American League East division. Though each of our ball clubs made a few moves differently than their real-life counterparts, in our first year the differences weren’t great enough to create any significant deviations from actual performance.

          Yankees:  Actual          Red Sox:  Actual          Indians:  Actual
 Year     W    L  Pos   RS   RA     W    L  Pos   RS   RA     W    L  Pos   RS   RA
 1969    80   81   5   562  587    87   75   3   743  736    62   99   6   573  717

          Yankees:  Virtual         Red Sox:  Virtual         Indians:  Virtual
 Year     W    L  Pos   RS   RA     W    L  Pos   RS   RA     W    L  Pos   RS   RA
 1969    80   81   5   594  617    85   77   4   775  781    68   93   6   576  658

Now we’re ready to find out if things get more distinctly counterfactual in season two.

The 1969-70 offseason: Actual deals we will make

Nov. 25, 1969: The Boston Red Sox sold pitcher Fred Wenz to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Wenz is a very hard thrower, but dishes up too many walks and too many gopher balls. We’re ready to go in a different direction.

Dec. 10, 1969: The Cleveland Indians traded pitchers Luis Tiant and Stan Williams to the Minnesota Twins for pitchers Dean Chance and Bob Miller, outfielder Ted Uhlaender, and outfielder-third baseman Graig Nettles.

Tiant’s poor 1969 showing leaves our Indians open to trade offers, and just like the actual Indians, we’ll find this one way, way too good to pass up.

Chance is coming off a sore-arm year, but he’s not yet 29 and was one of the best pitchers in the American League for most of the 1960s. Miller and Uhlaender are both solid, dependable assets, and Nettles is a potential star. We aren’t sure what Calvin Griffith is thinking, but we won’t spoil things by worrying about that.

Dec. 13, 1969: The Boston Red Sox traded infielder Dalton Jones to the Detroit Tigers for infielder Tom Matchick.

Jones has failed to meet expectations, so at this point we’ll go with Matchick as our lefty-hitting infielder. He’s a light hitter, but better defensively than Jones.

Feb. 18, 1970: The Cleveland Indians traded infielder-outfielder Jay Ward to the Cincinnati Reds for pitcher Steve Mingori.

The southpaw reliever Mingori is a second-tier prospect, but we readily prefer him over the minor league veteran Ward.

The 1969-70 offseason: Actual deals we will not make

Nov. 21, 1969: The Cleveland Indians traded outfielder Jose Cardenal to the St. Louis Cardinals for outfielder Vada Pinson.

While Cardenal hasn’t developed with the bat as expected, he’s fine in the outfield and terrific on the basepaths, and has just turned 26. We’d much rather stick with him than replace him with Pinson, who used to be terrific, but is five years Cardenal’s senior, and has really slowed down over the past couple of seasons.

Dec. 4, 1969: The New York Yankees traded outfielder-first baseman Joe Pepitone to the Houston Astros for outfielder-first baseman Curt Blefary.

It’s understandable that Pepitone’s off-field antics would drive his management to distraction. But still, if you’re going to trade him, you have to get fair value, and at this point, that’s not Blefary. A few years earlier, Blefary had been a distinctly better offensive producer than Pepitone, but not in 1968 or ’69. And whether in the outfield or at first base, there was never any comparison between the slick-fielding Pepi and “Clank” Blefary.

April 4, 1970: The Boston Red Sox sold catcher Russ Gibson to the San Francisco Giants.

We already surrendered Gibson in the Rule 5 draft (see below).

The 1969-70 offseason: Deals we will invoke

Nov., 1969: In a three-club deal, the Cleveland Indians traded pitcher Eddie Fisher and catcher Joe Azcue to the California Angels. The Angels sent catcher Tom Satriano and cash to the San Francisco Giants, and the Giants sent pitcher Bob Garibaldi and infielder Bob Schroder to the Indians.

We know that the Angels like Fisher, as they actually acquired him from Cleveland a year earlier. And we know that they preferred Azcue over Satriano, as they actually made that swap in mid-1969. And we also know that the Giants were looking for catching help, and had lost faith in the former Bonus Babies Garibaldi and Schroder.

So our Indians will give those ball clubs what they want. For our part, we think both Garibaldi and Schroder deserve genuine major league shots. And we’ve got all too much room to offer genuine major league shots in our starting rotation and in our middle infield.

Dec. 1, 1969: The Atlanta Braves drafted catcher Russ Gibson from the Boston Red Sox in the 1969 Rule 5 draft.

Actually, the Braves drafted catcher Hal King from the Red Sox. But our Bosox didn’t leave King in the minors in 1969, and we’re certainly not leaving him off the 40-man roster at this point. So we’ll let Atlanta grab the journeyman Gibson instead.

Dec. 5, 1969: The New York Yankees traded pitcher Al Downing and catcher Jerry Moses to the Oakland Athletics for infielder-outfielder Danny Cater and infielder Ossie Chavarria.

In reality on this date, the Yankees acquired Cater and Chavarria in exchange for Downing and catcher Frank Fernandez. But our Yanks traded Fernandez for Moses a year ago. It’s entirely plausible that Oakland would instead accept Moses, who had a good rookie year in 1969.

As with the actual Yankees, we’re willing to surrender the catcher because we have an even better one, the rookie Thurman Munson, ready to take over. We can leverage the line-drive-hitting Cater’s defensive versatility at either corner of the infield.

Dec. 5, 1969: The Cleveland Indians traded shortstop Larry Brown and pitchers Horacio Pina and Ron Law to the Washington Senators for pitchers Dennis Higgins and Barry Moore.

Actually the infielder Cleveland sent to Washington in this package was 25-year-old Dave Nelson. But even though Nelson suffered an injury-ruined 1969 season, we aren’t ready to give up on him. Instead, we’ll give the Senators Brown, who’s been a dependable, if quite unexciting, first-stringer.

Pina and Law are bullpen prospects. Higgins and Moore, established big leaguers, are an upgrade.

Dec. 12, 1969: The New York Yankees traded outfielder Dick Simpson and cash to the San Francisco Giants for outfielder-first baseman Bob Burda.

Actually on this date the Giants acquired Simpson as part of a trade with Seattle. Our Yankees will let San Francisco have him in return for Burda, who doesn’t have Simpson’s tools, but offers a more reliable utility bat.

Dec. 18, 1969: The Boston Red Sox traded infielder Syd O’Brien and pitcher Billy Farmer to the Chicago White Sox for pitcher Gary Peters and infielder-outfielder Pete Ward. (Farmer refused to report. On March 9, 1970, the Red Sox sent pitcher Gerry Janeski to the White Sox, completing the deal.)

The actual White Sox traded Peters and catcher Don Pavletich to Boston for O’Brien and Farmer (replaced by Janeski), and Ward to the Yankees for minor league pitcher Mickey Scott and cash.

Our Red Sox don’t have a spot for Pavletich, and our Yankees don’t have a spot for Ward. But we can get the White Sox essentially what they want, by removing Pavletich and Scott from the equation.

Peters and Ward are both one-time stars who’ve recently encountered hard times. Our Red Sox’s starting pitching isn’t in a position to be choosy, though, and Ward can still deliver some sock in a limited role.

Dec., 1969: The New York Yankees traded first baseman Dave McDonald to the Montreal Expos for pitcher Gary Waslewski.

In real life this trade would be made in May of 1970, but our Yankees will initiate it now. We’ve got some better first base prospects than McDonald coming along, so we’re ready to give the journeyman Waslewski a spot in the bullpen.

Jan., 1970: The Boston Red Sox traded pitchers Dick Ellsworth and Mike Garman to the Cleveland Indians for pitchers Bob Miller and Gary Boyd.

The primary motivation here is just staff-balancing: our Red Sox are a bit overloaded with left-handed pitchers, while our Indians are a bit light in that department, thus the swap of the veteran southpaw Ellsworth for the veteran righty Miller.

Garman and Boyd are both minor leaguers, but the former is quite raw, at least a few years away from the majors, while the latter has already reached triple-A. Our Red Sox, much closer to the apex of the success cycle than our Indians, prefer someone ready to help the big league staff if needed, while our Indians can afford to be more patient.

Jan., 1970: The Boston Red Sox traded catcher Bob Montgomery to the Minnesota Twins for catcher Tom Tischinski.

Our Boston roster has multiple catchers with strong bats but less impressive defensive chops. So it makes sense for us to swap Montgomery, another who’s more of a hitter than a fielder, for Tischinski, who’s vice-versa.

Feb. 28, 1970: The Cleveland Indians purchased infielder Ron Hansen from the Chicago White Sox.

Actually it was the Yankees purchasing the veteran Hansen on this date, but since our Indians have more of a need for him, they’ll do it instead.

March, 1970: The Cleveland Indians sold outfielder Cap Peterson to the Boston Red Sox.

As spring training winds down, it’s our Red Sox seeing more of a need for this utility man than our Indians.

April 4, 1970: The Cleveland Indians traded outfielder Russ Snyder to the Milwaukee Brewers for outfielder Roy Foster and cash.

April 4, 1970: The Boston Red Sox traded third baseman Max Alvis to the Milwaukee Brewers for second baseman Frank Coggins.

In truth, on this date the Indians traded Snyder and Alvis to the Brewers for Foster, Coggins, and cash. We’ll let the suddenly-no-longer-the-Pilots (one Bud Selig just purchased the franchise on April 1, and relocated it to Milwaukee) break it up into two deals with two teams.

We cannot fathom Milwaukee GM Marvin Milkes’s purpose in trading not one, but two prospects, plus cash, for not one, but two near-the-end-of-the-line veterans. This would seem to be the last thing a second-year expansion team would want to do, but there it is.

Our Red Sox are just dumping Alvis, and will park Coggins in triple-A. Our Indians will give Foster a shot in a utility outfielder role.

April 6, 1970: The Cleveland Indians released infielder Zoilo Versalles.

April 6, 1970: The Cleveland Indians sold infielder Vern Fuller to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Neither of these guys makes the Opening Day roster.

The 1970 season: Actual deals we will make

May 22, 1970: The Cleveland Indians traded outfielder-first baseman Russ Nagelson and pitcher Billy Rohr to the Detroit Tigers for pitcher Fred Lasher.

Nagelson and Rohr are both back in the minors, and we’ll expend them in exchange for the reliever Lasher.

June 8, 1970: The Boston Red Sox purchased pitcher Cal Koonce from the New York Mets.

Like the real Red Sox, our staff can find room for this journeyman.

Aug. 7, 1970: The Cleveland Indians sold pitcher Dick Ellsworth to the Milwaukee Brewers.

And like the real Indians, our version has seen enough of the ever-more-soft-tossing Ellsworth.

Sep. 10, 1970: The Boston Red Sox traded a player to be named later to the Milwaukee Brewers for pitcher Bob Bolin. (On Oct. 6, 1970, the Red Sox sent outfielder Al Yates to the Brewers, completing the deal.)

Why not?

Sep. 18, 1970: The Cleveland Indians sold pitcher Dean Chance to the New York Mets.

Chance hasn’t been terrible this season, but neither has he been good, and so we’ll cash out.

The 1970 season: Actual deals we will not make

May 13, 1970: The Cleveland Indians signed third baseman Rich Rollins as a free agent.

Seriously? No, thanks.

May 28, 1970: The Boston Red Sox traded infielder Tom Matchick to the Kansas City Royals for first baseman Mike Fiore.

Our Red Sox don’t have a need for Fiore, so we’ll hang on to Matchick.

June 15, 1970: The Cleveland Indians traded pitchers Bob Miller and Barry Moore to the Chicago White Sox for outfielder Buddy Bradford and pitcher Tommie Sisk.

Our Indians no longer have Miller and don’t have a need for Bradford, so no deal.

June 26, 1970: The Boston Red Sox purchased infielder John Kennedy from the Milwaukee Brewers.

In our scenario, the Yankees have Kennedy, and don’t wish to sell him to Boston.

July 20, 1970: The New York Yankees traded pitcher John Cumberland to the San Francisco Giants for pitcher Mike McCormick.

The soft-tossing young Cumberland is nothing special, but we see no point in swapping him for the veteran McCormick, who’s getting battered so far this year and looks likely finished.

Sep. 9, 1970: The New York Yankees sold pitcher Steve Hamilton on waivers to the Chicago White Sox.

Nor can we understand the logic behind this one. The proto-LOOGY Hamilton is 34, but still performing effectively.

The 1970 season: Deals we will invoke

May 22, 1970: The Cleveland Indians sold pitcher Lee Stange to the Chicago White Sox.

Making room for Lasher. The 33-year-old Stange is not doing well.

June 5, 1970: The Boston Red Sox signed pitcher Orlando Pena as a free agent.

The 36-year-old Peña has been throwing his strikes in triple-A instead of the majors for the past couple of seasons, but he has been throwing strikes, and our Boston bullpen can use some help. So what the heck.

Sep. 1, 1970: The Boston Red Sox sold pitcher Bob Miller to the Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs actually purchased the 31-year-old Miller from the White Sox on this date. He hasn’t had a good year, and we don’t see a future for him on our staff.

1970 season results

Yankees

Over the closing weeks of 1969, we’d adjusted our defensive alignment, moving Pepitone from center field to first base, and Bobby Murcer from third base to center field. This improved us defensively at three positions. We’ll continue with those assignments into 1970, with the addition of Cater manning third base.

The leading candidate to fill our right field hole is Danny Walton, the kid we acquired in exchange for Tommy Davis. And we’re handing the first-string catcher opportunity to Munson.

1970 New York Yankees     Won 95    Lost 67    Finished 2nd

  Pos   Player         Age    G  AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
 1B-RF  J. Pepitone*    29  131 492  60 120  15   5  29  70  33  41 .244 .290 .472 .762  112
   2B   H. Clarke#      30  150 617  73 155  22   2   4  39  33  32 .251 .288 .313 .601   70
 SS-3B  J. Kenney*      25  123 303  35  58   8   5   3  23  38  34 .191 .278 .281 .559   58
 3B-1B  D. Cater        30  140 466  51 140  21   4   5  61  27  35 .300 .340 .395 .735  107
   RF   D. Walton       22  102 298  24  75  15   2  11  41  40  96 .252 .347 .426 .773  117
   CF   B. Murcer*      24  159 581  95 146  23   3  23  78  87 100 .251 .346 .420 .766  115
   LF   R. White#       26  162 609 109 180  30   6  22  94  95  66 .296 .386 .473 .859  142
   C    T. Munson       23  132 453  59 137  25   4   6  53  57  56 .302 .382 .415 .797  125

   IF   J. Kennedy      29   89 242  25  57  11   3   4  24  16  38 .236 .284 .355 .639   80
 OF-1B  F. Tepedino*    22   95 229  24  61  11   0   4  21  14  32 .266 .312 .367 .679   91
   SS   G. Michael#     32   80 174  17  35   4   0   1  11  19  38 .201 .281 .241 .523   49
 OF-1B  B. Burda*       31   88 163  12  38   5   0   3  16  14  14 .233 .301 .319 .620   75
  1B-C  J. Ellis        21   78 151  15  36   8   1   5  21  11  32 .238 .291 .404 .695   94
   C    J. Gibbs*       31   49 153  23  46   9   2   8  26   7  14 .301 .331 .542 .874  143
   OF   J. Lyttle*      24   87 126  20  39   7   1   3  14  10  26 .310 .350 .452 .802  125

        Others                   71   8  17   3   0   2  10  12  18 .239 .345 .366 .711  101

        Pitchers                424  27  66   7   4   4  22  21 154 .156 .181 .219 .400   13

        Total                  5552 677 1406 224 42 137 624 534 826 .253 .317 .383 .700   97

        * Bats left
        # Bats both

        Pitcher        Age    G  GS  CG   W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
        M. Stottlemyre  28   37  37  14  15  13   0 271 262 110  93   23   84  126 3.09  115
        F. Peterson*    28   39  37   8  20  11   0 260 247 102  84   24   40  127 2.91  122
        S. Bahnsen      25   36  35   6  14  11   0 233 227 100  86   23   75  116 3.32  107
        S. Hargan       27   17  17   8  10   1   0 127  78  35  33    8   47   65 2.34  151
        M. Kekich*      25   26  14   1   6   3   0  99 103  59  53   12   55   63 4.82   73
        J. Cumberland*  23   29  10   1   5   7   0  94 100  52  44    9   27   49 4.21   84

        L. McDaniel     34   62   0   0   9   5  31 112  88  29  25    7   23   81 2.01  176
        R. Klimkowski   26   45   3   1   6   7   7  98  80  36  29    7   33   40 2.66  133
        S. Hamilton*    34   38   0   0   4   3   7  48  40  18  16    3   17   36 3.00  118
        G. Waslewski    28   32   7   0   3   4   1  72  56  28  27    6   39   41 3.38  105
        B. Meyer*       30   10   0   0   1   1   0  18  23  12  12    2   12   21 6.00   59
        J. Verbanic     27    7   0   0   1   0   0  16  20   9   8    1   12    8 4.50   79

        Others                    3   1   1   1   0  24  26   9   9    2    6   15 3.38  105

        Total                   163  40  95  67 46 1472 1350 599 519 127  470  788 3.17  112

        * Throws left

Munson is so good he’s Rookie of the Year. And with nearly every other key hitter delivering a solid performance, our offense is distinctly improved.

And it’s paired with a pitching staff that’s distinctly improved as well, and it was better than average to begin with. The most notable mound rebounds are presented by 34-year-old veteran relief ace Lindy McDaniel, who’s as razor-sharp as in any season of his long and outstanding career, and by 27-year-old starter Steve Hargan, who was nearly given up for dead in 1969, but then recalled from the minors in mid-1970 and is darn near unhittable over the balance of the season.

It adds up to an excellent all-around, deep and balanced ball club. We don’t win the division—the dynastic Baltimore Orioles aren’t within hailing distance of anyone else—but our second-place, 95-win performance is far and away the best by any Yankee team since the last championship season of 1964. It’s been a dismal half-decade, but it sure looks like The Bombers are back as a serious contender.

Red Sox

Our off-season focus has been on improving run prevention. The Peters acquisition was a move in that direction (though presenting the risk that he might be over the hill), and we’re also looking for positive contributions from rookie starters Ken Brett and Mike Nagy.

And in an effort to tighten the defense, we’re moving Rico Petrocelli from shortstop to third, and going with 21-year-old Luis Alvarado as our primary shortstop.

Spring training brings bad news: slugging first baseman Ken Harrelson breaks a leg, and won’t return until September. To deal with that, we’ll shift Carl Yastrzemski from left field to first base, creating expanded outfield opportunities for 22-year-old rookie Billy Conigliaro and 23-year-old sophomore Joe Lahoud.

1970 Boston Red Sox     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-LF  C. Yastrzemski* 30  161 566 125 186  29   0  40 102 128  66 .329 .452 .592 1.044 178
   2B   M. Andrews      26  151 589  91 149  28   1  17  65  81  63 .253 .342 .390 .733   96
   SS   L. Alvarado     21   92 239  21  48  10   1   1  13  13  32 .201 .237 .264 .501   34
 3B-SS  R. Petrocelli   27  157 583  82 152  31   3  29 103  67  82 .261 .333 .473 .806  114
   RF   T. Conigliaro   25  146 560  89 149  20   1  36 116  43  93 .266 .324 .498 .822  117
   CF   R. Smith#       25  147 580 109 176  32   7  22  74  51  60 .303 .361 .497 .857  128
 LF-CF  B. Conigliaro   22  124 398  59 107  16   3  18  58  34  74 .269 .334 .460 .794  111
   C    F. Fernandez    27   94 277  32  62   6   0  18  38  43  81 .224 .332 .440 .773  105

 LF-RF  J. Lahoud*      23  115 252  31  64   8   3   7  27  51  30 .254 .379 .393 .772  107
   C    H. King*        26   89 224  28  58  10   0  12  31  35  43 .259 .363 .464 .827  120
   IF   T. Matchick*    26   99 217  15  44   5   2   1  16   9  34 .203 .236 .258 .494   32
   IF   D. Schofield#   35   92 177  19  35   2   2   1  14  26  33 .198 .300 .249 .548   49
 3B-1B  C. Fanzone      28   61 130  14  31   8   0   5  19  24  33 .238 .361 .415 .776  108
   1B   P. Ward*        32   66  77   5  21   3   2   1  18   8  16 .273 .337 .403 .740   98
 OF-3B  C. Peterson     27   25  64   7  16   2   0   1   5   7   7 .250 .319 .328 .648   74
   C    T. Tischinski   25   36  46   6  10   0   0   1   2   8   6 .217 .327 .283 .610   65

        Others                   59   6  17   2   0   1   3   8   6 .288 .373 .373 .746  101

        Pitchers                445  42  78  13   2   4  34  22 120 .175 .210 .240 .450   20

        Total                  5483 781 1403 225 27 215 738 658 879 .256 .335 .424 .760  102

        * Bats left
        # Bats both

        Pitcher        Age    G  GS  CG   W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
        R. Culp         28   33  33  15  17  14   0 251 211 104  85   22   91  197 3.05  131
        S. Siebert      33   33  33   7  15   8   0 223 207  98  85   29   60  142 3.43  116
        G. Peters*      33   34  34  10  16  11   0 222 221 114 100   20   83  155 4.05   98
        K. Brett*       21   41  14   1   8   9   2 139 118  71  63   17   79  155 4.08   98
        M. Nagy         22   23  16   1   5   4   0 113 119  61  55   13   57   50 4.38   91
        C. Koonce       29   23   8   1   3   4   2  76  64  32  30    7   29   37 3.55  112
        B. Lee*         23   11   5   0   2   2   1  37  48  20  19    3   14   19 4.62   86
        J. Lonborg      28    9   4   0   4   1   0  34  33  12  12    3    9   21 3.18  125

        S. Lyle*        25   63   0   0   1   7  20  67  62  37  29    5   34   51 3.90  102
        G. Wagner       30   42   3   0   4   3   7  56  55  31  23    4   27   27 3.70  108
        J. Pizarro*     33   40   7   1   5   3   4  90  98  50  43   10   30   61 4.30   93
        B. Miller       31   30   4   0   4   5   5  63  74  33  30    8   31   35 4.29   93
        O. Pena         36   23   0   0   2   1   3  38  37  21  19    6    7   24 4.50   88
        R. Jarvis       24   10   0   0   0   1   0  11  11   8   5    1    9    5 4.09   97

        Others                    1   0   3   0   2  27  25  14  10    2   15   19 3.33  119

        Total                   162  36  89  73 46 1447 1383 706 608 150  575  998 3.78  105

        * Throws left

Our throw-everything-against-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks approach to the pitching situation turns out surprisingly well. Peters comes through with a solid season, and fellow veteran starters Ray Culp and Sonny Siebert both have good years too. Despite one-time ace Jim Lonborg missing most of the year with a sore arm, we’ve successfully plugged enough of the holes in this staff that our pitching is not only no longer the problem it was in 1969, but is suddenly better than average.

And our attack is energized by the return to superstar form of the 30-year-old Yastrzemski. With Yaz producing brilliantly at the heart of our power-laden lineup, we would seem poised for an offensive improvement as well. However, Alvarado’s bat proves so weak that we’re unable to keep him in a starting role, and neither of his shortstop backups, Tom Matchick or Dick Schofield, hits a lick either. The drain on run production is such that over the season’s final couple of months, we frequently slide Petrocelli back to short, and go with power-hitting, defensively limited Carmen Fanzone at third.

On balance, we’re a better ball club than in 1969, but not dramatically so. For the third straight year, Boston fails to put together a team to match the Impossible Dreamers of 1967.

Indians

Addressing the multitude of problems encountered in 1969, we’ve undertaken significant changes, the big trade with Minnesota being the centerpiece. Chance replaces Tiant in the rotation, and Uhlaender and Nettles will get first crack at the corner outfield jobs.

Defensive standout rookie Ray Fosse will take over as the primary catcher. To keep the big bat of Duke Sims in the lineup, he’ll also see significant time in the outfield corners, as well as at first base. And we’re accenting youth in the middle infield, with 23-year-old Eddie Leon, 25-year-old Bob Schroder, and 26-year-old Dave Nelson given prominent status.

On the mound behind Sam McDowell and Chance, we’re hoping 25-year-old southpaw Mike Paul is ready to step up. Newcomers Moore, Garibaldi, Higgins, and Lasher will all be given plenty of room too.

1970 Cleveland Indians     Won 82    Lost 80    Finished 4th

  Pos   Player         Age    G  AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
   1B   T. Horton       25  115 413  52 111  19   3  17  64  30  54 .269 .321 .453 .774  108
   2B   D. Nelson       26  110 344  35  82  13   4   1  23  26  47 .238 .285 .308 .593   61
 SS-2B  E. Leon         23  152 549  62 136  20   4  10  61  47  89 .248 .296 .353 .650   76
 3B-1B  G. Scott        26  127 480  52 140  23   4  16  67  43  94 .292 .350 .456 .806  118
 RF-3B  G. Nettles*     25  141 439  67 103  10   1  21  57  65  62 .235 .336 .405 .741  101
   CF   J. Cardenal     26  148 552  88 159  29   4  15  54  44  66 .288 .341 .437 .778  110
 LF-CF  T. Uhlaender*   30  141 473  60 127  21   2  11  51  39  44 .268 .319 .391 .710   92
   C    R. Fosse        23  120 450  66 138  17   1  18  66  39  55 .307 .358 .469 .827  123

 O-C-1  D. Sims*        29  110 345  50  91  12   0  23  61  46  59 .264 .359 .499 .858  131
 LF-RF  R. Foster       24   93 239  36  63  13   0  12  35  26  39 .264 .348 .469 .817  120
 2B-SS  B. Schroder*    25   86 220  25  53   4   1   0  14  17  18 .241 .293 .268 .562   54
   UT   C. Hinton       36  107 195  26  62   4   0   9  32  25  34 .318 .388 .477 .865  134
 RF-LF  R. Scheinblum#  27   67 153  22  43   8   1   5  24  19  22 .281 .358 .444 .802  117
   IF   R. Hansen       32   59  91  16  27   3   0   6  19  17   8 .297 .405 .527 .933  152
   IF   L. Klimchock*   30   41  56   5   9   0   0   1   2   3   9 .161 .213 .214 .427   17
   C    K. Suarez       27   34  53   4  12   3   0   0   4   5   7 .226 .288 .283 .571   56

        Others                  118  13  23   5   1   2  12   7  24 .195 .236 .305 .541   46

        Pitchers                407  27  54   4   0   4  25  19 164 .133 .169 .171 .340   -7

        Total                  5577 706 1433 208 26 171 671 517 895 .257 .318 .395 .713   93

        * Bats left
        # Bats both

        Pitcher        Age    G  GS  CG   W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
        S. McDowell*    27   39  39  19  22  10   0 305 236 108  99   25  131  304 2.92  134
        M. Paul*        25   40  24   3   8  10   1 159 160  72  68   18   62  109 3.85  102
        D. Chance       29   45  19   1  10   7   4 155 172  80  73   18   59  109 4.24   92
        B. Garibaldi    28   32  20   5   7   8   0 152 168  63  61   11   38   69 3.61  109
        D. Brandon      29   35  15   4   8  10   0 143 159  78  77   19   64   95 4.85   81
        B. Moore*       27   29  19   0   4   8   0 123 131  75  71   19   71   60 5.20   75
        R. Gardner*     25    9   7   2   4   3   0  55  55  21  21    7   19   33 3.44  114

        D. Higgins      30   58   0   0   5   5  11  90  82  43  40    8   54   82 4.00   98
        V. Romo         27   48  10   0   7   4   6 108 112  49  48   14   44   70 4.00   98
        F. Lasher       28   43   1   0   2   6   5  58  57  34  26    6   30   44 4.03   97
        D. Ellsworth*   30   29   1   0   3   3   2  44  49  23  22    4   14   13 4.50   87
        L. Stange       33   10   0   0   1   2   1  14  17  11   8    3    6    7 5.14   76

        Others                    7   0   1   4   0  46  41  23  21    8   22   34 4.11   95

        Total                   162  34  82  80 30 1452 1439 680 635 160  614 1029 3.94  100

        * Throws left

Fosse proves to be as good as expected with the glove, and better than expected with the bat. His success is emblematic of a lineup—and a bench—across which nearly everyone delivers up to expectation. Thus our offense, nearly the league’s worst in 1969, is solidly league-average this time around.

We still have issues with pitching depth. But at the top of the staff, Sudden Sam is tremendous, achieving career highs in starts, complete games, innings, and wins. Thus despite its weak spots, overall our pitching performance is league-average as well.

The positive vibe is marred by one sad development: 25-year-old first baseman Tony Horton, putting together another solid year with the bat, suffers a severe psychological breakdown in late August, ending his season and putting his baseball career in doubt.

But our overall picture remains promising. Combine league-average run production with league-average run prevention, and you should get league-average results, and we do, going 82-80. Obviously that isn’t great, but it’s a dramatic improvement over our cellar-dwelling 1969. We’re enthused by the bounceback, and look forward to building upon it.

          Yankees:  Actual          Red Sox:  Actual           Indians:  Actual
 Year     W    L  Pos   RS   RA     W    L  Pos   RS   RA     W    L  Pos   RS   RA
 1969    80   81   5   562  587    87   75   3   743  736    62   99   6   573  717
 1970    93   69   2   680  612    87   75   3   786  722    76   86   5   649  675

          Yankees:  Virtual         Red Sox:  Virtual         Indians:  Virtual
 Year     W    L  Pos   RS   RA     W    L  Pos   RS   RA     W    L  Pos   RS   RA
 1969    80   81   5   594  617    85   77   4   775  781    68   93   6   576  658
 1970    95   67   2   677  599    89   73   3   781  706    82   80   4   706  680

Next time

We’ll find out if the improvement that characterized all three of our ball clubs in 1970 carries forward.

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Comments

  1. scott said...

    Unfortunately there’s one thing you don’t consider when it comes to the Indians.  Your Indians actually have a PLAN and will probably stick with it.  The real-life Indians during this era careened recklessly, trading prospects for suspects, suspects for suspects, and proven major league talent for even more suspects.  Suspects who, needless to say, didn’t pan out.  Or if they did, were immediately traded for yet more suspects!

    I must say, though, that I would have loved to see “Boomer” Scott in one of those vintage 1969 vest uniforms.  LOL…. it woulda been the first time in human history that a tomato held a stake instead of the other way around.

  2. John Agius said...

    I like the comment about the Indians.  It makes me wonder if the virtual Indians will trade Graig Nettles to the virtual Yankees.  Can’t wait till the 72-73 offseason.

  3. Steve Treder said...

    “I’m wondering why you have Gene Michael hitting even worse than he actually did.”

    Because, for Gene Michael as well as for every other player, I estimate that offensive performance is improved by being in the lineup regularly, and suffers when deployed in a backup mode.  Therefore my estimate for 1970 Gene Michael is that, deployed in 199 PAs rather than 493, his hit rate and walk rate would go down, and his strikeout rate would go up.

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