The virtual 1969-76 Yankees, Red Sox, and Indians (Part 5:  1972-73)

Last week’s episode delivered a division title for our Red Sox, a strong rebound performance for our Indians, and another pretty-good-but-not-good-enough outcome for our Yankees.

          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
 1971    82   80   4   648  641    85   77   3   691  667    60  102   6   543  747
 1972    79   76   4   557  527    85   70   2   640  620    72   84   5   472  519

          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
 1971    87   75   3   662  611    84   78   4   690  673    73   89   5   657  748
 1972    82   73   3   590  545    89   66   1   627  579    82   74   4   558  534

Will our Bosox repeat, or might they be knocked off by The Tribe or The Bombers?

The 1972-73 offseason: Actual deals we will make

Oct. 27, 1972: The Boston Red Sox released pitchers Ray Culp and Gary Peters.

The end of the line for a couple of good ones.

Nov. 30, 1972: The Cleveland Indians traded outfielder Del Unser and infielder Terry Wedgewood to the Philadelphia Phillies for outfielders Oscar Gamble and Roger Freed.

Like the actual Indians, we see this offer as too good to turn down. Even though both Gamble and Freed carry the burden of the failed pheenom, we recognize that both have genuine talent that still might be revealed. Unser and secondary prospect are a fair price. As will be shown below, we’ve got at least one new center field option to replace Unser.

Jan. 18, 1973: The Boston Red Sox signed first baseman Orlando Cepeda as a free agent.

The Designated Hitter (or, as it was often called back then, the Designated Pinch Hitter) is arriving in our league! And our Red Sox will be quick to give this big-bat-with-no-wheels-left a chance at the job.

March 24, 1973: The Cleveland Indians traded catcher Ray Fosse and infielder Jack Heidemann to the Oakland Athletics for catcher Dave Duncan and outfielder George Hendrick.

We’ve considered this Blockbuster before:

Charlie Finley fancied himself a promotional genius, but he was anything but; his constant barrage of tacky, gimmicky marketing campaigns was ill-conceived and generally made Finley’s A’s look ridiculous. Furthermore Finley operated his franchise on the most meager of shoestrings; for most of his tenure, Finley’s “front office” consisted — literally — of himself, a handful of trusted scouts, and a couple of part-time interns to handle paperwork. And on top of all that Finley was a thoroughly unlikeable man, infuriating everyone who knew him; in his 20 years in baseball, Finley made absolutely zero friends, and countless enemies.

It would seem to have added up to a recipe for disaster, a hopeless laughingstock of a franchise reminiscent of the old Phillies or St. Louis Browns at their dreariest. But, no: Finley took on an organization that actually was a hopeless laughingstock, and in a decade’s time he transformed it into one of the most devastating dynasties in history. The reason was simple: For all his faults, the one enormous, staggering strength of Finley’s was his baseball acumen. As a judge of talent at every level and in every phase of the game, Finley’s brilliance takes a back seat to no one’s in the history of the sport.

Phil Seghi, meanwhile, was among the most hapless of GMs. In his long tenure in that role in Cleveland — which had just begun a couple of months prior to this trade — Seghi would reliably pull off pointless, unfathomable moves; often his decisions seemed to be simply random, as though he worked his way through each day merrily flipping coins.

Yet here, against the longest odds, Seghi picked Finley’s pocket. Robbed him blind. Worked him over.

The story is that apparently the young Hendrick was grousing about not getting a regular job in the Oakland outfield, and he requested a trade. Finley was all too willing to comply, as he both undervalued the multi-talented Hendrick (who hadn’t yet hit in his brief major league chances, but had torn apart the minors) and overvalued Fosse’s defensive advantage over Duncan.

Like the actual Indians, ours won’t hesitate to say, “Yes.”

The 1972-73 offseason: Actual deals we will not make

Oct. 19, 1972: The Cleveland Indians traded infielder Eddie Leon to the Chicago White Sox for outfielder Walt Williams.

A corner outfielder without home run power doesn’t interest us.

Oct. 24, 1972: The Cleveland Indians traded catcher George Pena to the San Diego Padres for infielder Fred Stanley.

And since we’ve still got Leon to provide middle infield depth, we don’t need Stanley.

Nov. 2, 1972: The Cleveland Indians traded infielder-outfielder Kurt Bevacqua to the Kansas City Royals for pitcher Mike Hedlund.

Our Indians don’t have Bevacqua.

Nov. 24, 1972: The New York Yankees traded pitcher Rob Gardner and a player to be named later to the Oakland Athletics for outfielder Matty Alou. (On Dec. 1, 1972, the Yankees sent infielder-outfielder Rich McKinney to the Athletics, completing the deal.)

Nor do our Yankees have Gardner. Our Indians do, but aren’t interested in Alou, at this point in his career another corner outfielder without home run power.

Nov. 30, 1972: The Cleveland Indians traded pitcher Vince Colbert to the Texas Rangers for infielder Tom Ragland.

We no longer have Colbert.

Feb. 28, 1973: The New York Yankees traded first baseman Tony Solaita to the Pittsburgh Pirates for first baseman George Kopacz.

We’ve already traded Solaita.

March 6, 1973: The Cleveland Indians selected pitcher Jerry Johnson off waivers from the San Francisco Giants.

We’re aren’t interested in the rapidly-fading Johnson.

March 8, 1973: The Cleveland Indians traded outfielder Alex Johnson to the Texas Rangers for pitchers Vince Colbert and Rich Hinton.

Nor do we have this Johnson.

April 2, 1973: The Cleveland Indians traded first baseman-outfielder Tom McCraw and infielder Bob Marcano to the California Angels for shortstop Leo Cardenas.

And we don’t have McCraw.

April 5, 1973: The New York Yankees traded infielder Frank Baker to the Baltimore Orioles for infielder Tom Matchick.

We’ve got a spot for Baker on our bench.

The 1972-73 offseason: Deals we will invoke

Oct. 27, 1972: The Cleveland Indians traded outfielder Danny Walton to the Minnesota Twins for catcher Rick Dempsey.

Actually it was the Yankees swapping Walton for Dempsey. Our Indians will be happy to give the strong-fielding prospect Dempsey a chance as a backup.

Nov. 27, 1972: The New York Yankees traded pitcher Phil Hennigan to the New York Mets for pitchers Brent Strom and Bob Rauch.

And it was actually the Indians making this deal with the Mets. Our Yankees will give the young lefty Strom a shot at the rotation.

Nov. 27, 1972: The New York Yankees traded pitchers Stan Bahnsen, Ken Crosby, and Larry Gowell and outfielders Rusty Torres and Charlie Spikes to the Cleveland Indians for outfielder-first baseman Chris Chambliss, outfielder-third baseman Buddy Bell, and pitcher Vicente Romo.

In reality on this date, the Yankees traded Torres and Spikes along with John Ellis and Jerry Kenney to Cleveland in exchange for Graig Nettles and Jerry Moses. Yes, really.

We examined it here:

The Indians’ issue was that they had two good third basemen, in Nettles and the young Buddy Bell. So, trading one or the other made sense.

But they didn’t have to make a trade. They could have continued to deploy Bell in the outfield, where he was just fine defensively.

And of all things, trading Nettles to a division rival in exchange for three nice-but-nothing-special prospects most assuredly didn’t make sense. Lee MacPhail’s 1966-73 tenure as Yankees’ GM wasn’t exactly memorable, but this was one exceptional contribution he made to the franchise, laying one of the cornerstones for their great 1976-81 team.

Our Indians won’t be so accommodating. Our Yankees would love Nettles—a perfect Yankee Stadium fit—but he just isn’t available for a price our Yankees are willing to pay. So the third baseman who’ll be traded is Bell.

And we can include Chambliss as well, and, what the heck, Romo, but in return our Yanks will have to surrender a serious pitcher, Bahnsen, as well as the prospects Torres and Spikes, who’ll replace Chambliss and Bell in the Cleveland outfield.

Our version of the Yankees emerges with good young players at both infield corners, and our version of the Indians gains another stalwart starting pitcher.

Dec., 1972: The New York Yankees traded infielder Jerry Kenney to the Boston Red Sox for catcher Hal King.

Adjusting both benches.

Jan. 24, 1973: The New York Yankees traded pitcher Mike Nagy to the St. Louis Cardinals for a player to be named later. (On March 29, 1973, the Cardinals sent pitcher Lance Clemons to the Yankees, completing the deal.)

Actually it was the Red Sox making this deal with St. Louis, but our Yankees have Nagy so they’ll do it instead.

Feb. 14, 1973: The Boston Red Sox sold outfielder Billy Conigliaro to the Oakland Athletics.

Billy C. now says he wants to play again, but we’ve run out of patience with him.

March 27, 1973: The Boston Red Sox sold infielder Phil Gagliano to the Cincinnati Reds.

Actually the Red Sox traded Gagliano along with Andy Kosco to the Reds for a marginal pitching prospect named Mel Behney. Huh?

Our Red Sox don’t have room for Gagliano, but we’re keeping Kosco on our bench.

March, 1973: The New York Yankees sold infielder John Kennedy to the Texas Rangers.

March, 1973: The New York Yankees sold pitcher Tom Hilgendorf to the Cleveland Indians.

March, 1973: The Boston Red Sox sold infielder Mike Andrews to the Chicago White Sox.

Roster cut-down casualties. The sad case is Andrews, who was a star just a few years ago until back trouble ruined his career.

The 1973 season: Actual deals we will make

June 7, 1973: The New York Yankees purchased pitcher Sam McDowell from the San Francisco Giants.

Like the actual Yankees, we’ve got room in the rotation to see if Sudden Sam might have a comeback in him.

June 7, 1973: The New York Yankees traded first baseman Frank Tepedino, outfielder Wayne Nordhagen, and players to be named later to the Atlanta Braves for pitcher Pat Dobson. (On Aug. 15, 1973, the Yankees sent pitcher Dave Cheadle to the Braves, and on Sep. 5, 1973, the Yankees sent pitcher Alan Closter to the Braves, completing the deal.)

Another arm to address the starting pitching problems we’ve developed. This is an odd deal by the Braves, who surrendered a lot to acquire the 31-year-old Dobson last winter and are anything but pitching-rich, and are now ready to dump him for a collection of odds and ends just because he’s off to a 3-7 start. We have no illusion that Dobson is a star, but we think he’s got solid innings-eater mileage left.

June 8, 1973: The Cleveland Indians traded pitcher Steve Mingori to the Kansas City Royals for pitcher Mike Jackson.

Our Indians have acquired Jackson before, and gotten rid of him before. But Mingori is struggling so badly that we’ll take what we can get.

June 12, 1973: The Cleveland Indians traded pitcher Lowell Palmer to the New York Yankees for pitcher Mike Kekich.

Farting around at the back margin of the respective staffs.

Aug. 3, 1973: The Cleveland Indians selected pitcher Ken Sanders off waivers from the Minnesota Twins.

Hey, he used to be good. What the heck.

The 1973 season: Actual deals we will not make

April 17, 1973: The New York Yankees purchased third baseman-outfielder Jim Ray Hart from the San Francisco Giants.

Intriguing an idea though it is to see what Jimmy Ray might be able to do as a DH, our Yankees haven’t got the room.

May 4, 1973: The Boston Red Sox sold pitcher Sonny Siebert to the Texas Rangers as part of a conditional deal.

The 36-year-old Sonny is clearly in decline, but we’re not ready to give up on him.

May 10, 1973: The Cleveland Indians traded pitcher Steve Dunning to the Texas Rangers for pitcher Dick Bosman and outfielder Ted Ford.

The former No. 1 draft pick from Stanford has been a bust so far, but he’s still just 24, and we’ll choose to see if he can get it straightened out in the minors. And anyway, our Indians still have Ted Ford.

June 15, 1973: The Cleveland Indians traded pitcher Ed Farmer to the Detroit Tigers for infielder Kevin Collins and pitcher Tom Timmermann.

Our Indians have Farmer parked in triple-A, but have no interest in these Tiger marginalities.

Aug. 7, 1973: The New York Yankees traded a player to be named later and cash to the St. Louis Cardinals for pitcher Wayne Granger. (On Sep. 12, 1973, the Yankees sent pitcher Ken Crosby to the Cardinals, completing the deal.

Our Yanks don’t have a spot for Granger in the bullpen.

Aug. 13, 1973: The New York Yankees sold infielder Bernie Allen to the Montreal Expos.

We’d rather have Allen available on our bench than not over the stretch run.

Aug. 18, 1973: The New York Yankees purchased first baseman Mike Hegan from the Oakland Athletics as part of a conditional deal.

We have no need for Hegan.

Sep. 24, 1973: The New York Yankees selected catcher Duke Sims off waivers from the Detroit Tigers.

Our Indians still have Sims, and he isn’t going to be made available to our Yankees.

1973 season results

Yankees

After the frustrating performances of 1971 and ’72, we’re reinvigorating the roster with youth. Twenty-one-year-old Bell will take over at third base, and 24-year-old Chambliss at first, as 24-year-old Ron Blomberg will become the DH (platooning with 24-year-old John Ellis). Rookies Brent Strom and Doc Medich, also both 24, will be given the opportunity to replace Bahnsen in the starting rotation.

1973 New York Yankees     Won 86    Lost 76    Finished 4th

  Pos   Player         Age    G  AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
   1B   C. Chambliss*   24  147 515  61 136  25   2  10  58  54  70 .264 .334 .379 .713  104
   2B   H. Clarke#      33  148 560  55 147  20   0   2  41  45  46 .263 .314 .309 .623   79
   SS   R. Metzger#     25  146 522  53 131  14  10   1  35  36  64 .251 .296 .322 .617   77
   3B   B. Bell         21  148 568  71 149  23   8   9  62  46  44 .262 .322 .379 .700  100
 RF-LF  J. Briggs*      29  135 439  69 106  16   5  20  58  81  74 .241 .360 .437 .797  127
   CF   B. Murcer*      27  160 616  87 187  29   2  22 102  50  67 .304 .357 .464 .821  134
   LF   R. White#       29  154 575  83 142  20   3  16  61  71  72 .247 .330 .376 .705  102
   C    T. Munson       26  147 519  79 156  29   4  20  81  48  64 .301 .361 .487 .849  141
   DH   R. Blomberg*    24  100 301  44  99  13   1  12  64  34  25 .329 .393 .498 .892  154

  DH-C  J. Ellis        24   76 219  29  58   6   2   5  38  23  31 .265 .335 .379 .714  104
 1B-3B  D. Cater        33   63 195  29  59  11   1   0  29  10  23 .303 .337 .369 .706  102
   OF   R. Bladt        26   66  97  14  19   2   2   1   9   9  15 .196 .266 .289 .555   59
   RF   O. Velez        22   23  77   8  15   4   0   2   8  15  24 .195 .326 .325 .651   87
 2B-3B  B. Allen*       34   33  82   7  17   4   0   1   9   8   7 .207 .275 .293 .567   63
   SS   F. Baker*       26   44  63   9  12   1   2   1  12   7   7 .190 .268 .317 .585   67
   C    H. King*        29   35  43   5   8   0   0   4  10   6  10 .186 .286 .465 .751  112
   RF   R. Swoboda      29   35  43   5   5   0   0   1   3   4  18 .116 .191 .186 .378    9

        Others                    6   1   1   0   0   0   1   0   1 .167 .167 .167 .333   -4

        Total                  5440 709 1447 217 42 127 681 547 662 .266 .333 .391 .724  107

        * Bats left
        # Bats both

        Pitcher        Age    G  GS  CG   W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
        M. Stottlemyre  31   38  38  19  18  15   0 273 259 112  93   13   79   95 3.07  120
        D. Medich       24   34  32  11  16   8   0 235 217  84  77   20   74  145 2.95  125
        F. Peterson*    31   31  31   6  10  14   0 184 207  93  81   18   49   59 3.96   93
        P. Dobson       31   22  21   6  10   8   0 142 150  72  66   22   34   70 4.18   88
        B. Strom*       24   33  12   1   3   8   1 102 109  56  47   12   40   79 4.15   89
        S. McDowell*    30   16  15   2   6   8   0  96  73  47  42    4   64   75 3.94   93
        S. Kline        25    9   9   2   4   4   0  56  52  28  23    4   22   12 3.70  100

        D. Segui        35   59   0   0   8   6  25 100  74  36  31    8   54   93 2.79  132
        V. Romo         30   44   1   0   4   3  12  88  84  46  38   12   47   51 3.89   95
        F. Beene        30   23   2   0   6   0   3  91  67  21  17    5   27   49 1.68  219
        M. Kekich*      28    9   0   0   1   1   1  15  18  12  12    1   14    6 7.20   51
        J. Magnuson*    26    8   0   0   0   1   0  27  38  17  13    2    9    9 4.33   85

        Others                    1   0   0   0   0  16  20   6   6    1    2   11 3.38  109

        Total                   162  47  86  76 42 1425 1368 630 546 122  515  754 3.45  107

        * Throws left

We have some issues in the rotation, as Steve Kline goes down with a sore arm and Strom struggles. This creates the openings for McDowell and Dobson. But Medich is terrific.

Altogether it’s a season in which most things go as planned. The result is a solid ballclub in every respect, not great, but real good in both halves of the inning. We’re definitely good enough to seriously contend.

Alas, Pythagoras has other ideas. We underperform our expected result by five wins, and in a strong division we drop to fourth place, our most distant finish since 1969. It’s another frustrating year.

Red Sox

We’re largely standing pat with the crew that delivered a division flag in 1972. The only major change is at second base, where we’ve discarded Andrews and will give youngster Buddy Hunter first crack at the job. On the pitching side, young lefty Bill Lee, who’s performed well out of the bullpen in 1971-72, will be given the opportunity to crack the rotation.

1973 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   C. Cooper*      23  132 441  52 109  18   1  11  53  39  54 .247 .305 .367 .673   85
 2B-3B  J. Kenney*      28   86 252  30  66   8   3   1  21  37  21 .262 .354 .329 .683   89
 SS-CF  J. Beniquez     23  118 396  56 101  16   3   8  33  38  57 .255 .318 .371 .689   90
   3B   R. Petrocelli   30  100 356  44  87  13   1  13  45  47  64 .244 .332 .396 .728  100
   RF   D. Evans        21  131 423  66  98  20   2  14  51  59  76 .232 .324 .388 .712   96
 CF-RF  R. Smith#       28  115 423  79 128  23   2  21  69  68  49 .303 .398 .515 .913  150
 L-3-1  C. Yastrzemski* 33  152 540  82 160  25   4  19  95 105  58 .296 .406 .463 .869  139
   C    C. Fisk         25  135 508  65 125  21   0  26  71  37  99 .246 .308 .441 .749  105
   DH   O. Cepeda       35  128 495  46 143  22   0  18  77  45  73 .289 .347 .442 .790  117

 CF-LF  R. Miller*      25  129 397  59 104  15   6   5  39  46  53 .262 .338 .368 .706   95
   SS   L. Aparicio     39   88 250  28  68   9   1   0  25  23  15 .272 .322 .316 .638   77
 DH-1B  A. Kosco        31   73 219  38  61  12   0  14  48  20  45 .279 .328 .525 .853  132
 2B-SS  M. Guerrero     23   66 219  19  51   5   2   0  11  10  21 .233 .270 .274 .544   51
   2B   B. Hunter       25   57 133  14  23   5   0   1   9  25  20 .173 .299 .233 .532   49
 OF-1B  B. Oglivie*     24   58 147  16  32   9   1   2   9   9  32 .218 .267 .333 .600   65
   C    V. Correll      27   41 123  11  19   3   0   3  11  12  30 .154 .226 .252 .478   32
 2B-SS  R. Burleson     22   49 119  12  26   4   0   1   7   8  20 .218 .267 .277 .544   50
   3B   J. Mason        28   14  28   4   5   1   0   0   2   3   5 .179 .258 .214 .472   32

        Total                  5469 721 1406 229 26 157 676 631 792 .257 .332 .395 .727  100

        * Bats left
        # Bats both

        Pitcher        Age    G  GS  CG   W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
        B. Lee*         26   38  33  18  17  11   1 285 275 100  87   20   76  120 2.75  148
        L. Tiant        32   35  35  23  20  13   0 272 217 105 101   32   78  206 3.34  121
        J. Curtis*      25   35  30  10  13  12   0 221 225 103  88   24   83  101 3.58  113
        M. Pattin       30   34  30  11  15  14   1 219 238 112 105   31   69  119 4.32   94
        S. Siebert      36   23  17   1   5   7   0 102 110  59  50   12   31   68 4.41   92
        R. Moret*       23   15   7   2   6   1   0  78  69  30  27    9   34   45 3.12  130
        L. McGlothen    23   15   6   0   1   3   0  50  70  36  34    8   19   34 6.12   66
        D. Pole         22    6   4   0   2   1   0  28  35  18  17    2    9   12 5.46   74

        S. Lyle*        28   51   0   0   5   6  27  82  70  30  25    5   17   62 2.74  148
        B. Bolin        34   39   0   0   3   3   4  53  45  16  16    5   13   31 2.72  149
        B. Veale*       37   32   0   0   2   2   2  36  37  16  14    2   12   25 3.50  116

        Others                    0   0   0   0   0  14  15   8   7    1    8   10 4.50   90
                               
        Total                   162  65  89  73 35 1440 1406 633 571 151  449  833 3.57  114

        * Throws left

Hunter flops, and second base is a muddle, with utilityman Jerry Kenney emerging with most of the playing time. Injuries bedevil third baseman Rico Petrocelli and outfielder Reggie Smith, and slumps frustrate sophomores Carlton Fisk, Cecil Cooper, and Ben Oglivie.

Thus despite a comeback performance from 33-year-old Carl Yastrzemski—delivering his best year with the bat since 1970, and stepping up nicely to the challenge of filling in at third base for a month in Petrocelli’s absence—our offensive output is distinctly less than what we’ve come to expect.

Our pitching is outstanding. Lee blossoms wonderfully as a starter, and Luis Tiant proves that his great work in 1972 was no fluke. From top to bottom ours is one of the best staffs in the league.

However, with the so-so hitting, we’re a contender, but we can’t repeat our championship.

Indians

Despite our improved performance in 1972, we were quite active in the off-season market. We’ve bolstered the pitching with the addition of Bahnsen, the power-hitting Duncan replaces Fosse behind the plate, and we’re giving serious opportunities to a trio of young outfielders picked up in trades: Torres, Hendrick, and Gamble.

1973 Cleveland Indians     Won 92    Lost 70    Finished 2nd

  Pos   Player         Age    G  AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
   1B   G. Scott        29  158 604 100 189  30   4  26 108  61  92 .313 .374 .505 .879  144
   2B   D. Nelson       29  135 518  75 155  22   4   7  43  32  70 .299 .332 .398 .730  103
   SS   F. Duffy        26  116 361  36  95  16   4   8  50  25  41 .263 .309 .396 .705   96
   3B   G. Nettles*     28  160 552  72 136  20   0  20  83  76  74 .246 .343 .391 .734  105
 RF-LF  O. Gamble*      23  113 390  59 104  11   3  20  44  34  37 .267 .326 .464 .790  119
 CF-RF  G. Hendrick     23  113 440  67 118  18   0  21  61  25  71 .268 .307 .452 .759  110
 LF-RF  J. Lowenstein*  26  108 336  49  98  18   1   7  44  25  45 .292 .334 .414 .748  108
   C    D. Duncan       27   95 344  45  80  11   1  17  43  35  86 .233 .308 .419 .727  101
 DH-LF  R. Scheinblum#  30  123 425  56 127  19   3   8  49  63  49 .299 .387 .414 .801  124

 CF-RF  R. Torres#      24  122 312  32  64   8   1   7  28  50  62 .205 .311 .304 .616   73
 DH-C   D. Sims*        32   84 261  35  65  10   0   9  33  32  36 .249 .331 .391 .722  101
 DH-LF  R. Freed        27   77 209  28  49   5   0  11  33  33  65 .234 .339 .416 .755  110
 SS-2B  E. Leon         26   76 200  21  43   5   1   3  15  15  53 .215 .263 .295 .558   56
   OF   T. Ford         26   52 149  17  35   7   1   3  16  15  29 .235 .308 .356 .663   85
   2B   J. Brohamer*    23   60 120  12  25   5   1   2  11  11  12 .208 .267 .317 .583   62
   C    C. Taylor       29   35  73   9  16   3   0   0   8  15  11 .219 .341 .260 .601   70
   C    R. Dempsey      23   18  50   4  10   1   0   0   4   6   8 .200 .276 .220 .496   40
   SS   R. Hermoso      25   18  47   5  11   1   0   0   4   2   5 .234 .280 .255 .535   50
   OF   R. Lolich       26   20  47   5  11   2   0   1   5   2   9 .234 .265 .340 .606   68

        Others                   92  13  22   3   0   4  10   6  12 .239 .283 .402 .685   89

        Total                  5530 740 1453 215 24 174 692 563 867 .263 .329 .405 .734  104

        * Bats left
        # Bats both

        Pitcher        Age    G  GS  CG   W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
        G. Perry        34   41  41  29  21  17   0 344 315 143 129   34  115  238 3.38  118
        J. Colborn      27   43  36  20  19  11   1 283 272 118 105   21   80  125 3.34  119
        S. Bahnsen      28   39  39  13  19  17   0 262 262 112 102   21  109  116 3.50  114
        D. Tidrow       26   38  32  10  12  12   1 220 228 117 105   24   76  112 4.30   93
        M. Wilcox       23    9   6   1   3   3   0  45  48  30  29    5   23   27 5.80   69
        M. Kekich*      28    5   2   0   0   1   0  17  24  16  13    2   12    9 6.88   58

        T. Hilgendorf*  31   48   1   1   6   3  12  95  87  38  33    9   36   58 3.13  128
        R. Lamb         28   34   0   0   3   2   2  57  63  27  27    4   28   42 4.26   94
        R. Gardner*     28   17   3   0   3   1   1  45  58  25  24    5   23   19 4.80   83
        K. Sanders      31   15   0   0   5   1   7  27  18   6   5    2    9   14 1.67  239
        B. Butler*      26   13   2   0   1   2   0  22  27  13  11    1   11   18 4.50   89
        M. Garman       23   12   0   0   0   0   0  22  32  15  13    1   15    9 5.32   75
        S. Mingori*     29    5   0   0   0   0   0  12  10   8   8    3   10    4 6.00   67
        E. Stephenson*  25    5   0   0   0   0   1   8  10   7   6    2    6    4 6.75   59

        Others                    0   0   0   0   0   7   9   4   3    1    3    5 3.86  103

        Total                   162  74  92  70 25 1466 1463 679 613 135  556  800 3.76  106
        
        * Throws left

Torres fails to hit, but that’s one of the few setbacks we encounter. Generally, things go either as anticipated, or better.

Hendrick and Gamble blossom, with Gamble surprising with his power. George Scott delivers his best year yet. Richie Scheinblum continues to be an on-base machine, and Nettles reliably provides the long ball. The double-play combo of Frank Duffy and Dave Nelson, not counted upon to produce much offense, both hit in career-best fashion. We lead the league in team home runs and slugging percentage, the sort of thing no Tribe ball club has contemplated in a very long time.

Right-hander Jim Colborn blossoms as a first-rate starting pitcher, joining Bahnsen and ace Gaylord Perry to form a superb Big Three. Our hodge-podge of a bullpen is an issue, but it’s rescued to some extent by scrap-heap pickups Tom Hilgendorf and Ken Sanders.

It adds up to the best Cleveland team in nearly a generation. We can’t quite capture a flag—the Orioles bounce back to do that—but, assisted by the good fortune of overperforming our Pythagorean record by four games, we finish in second place, the first Indians team to accomplish that since 1959. Our total of 92 wins is the most by any Indians team since 1955.

It’s a very, very good year. We think we’ve got the elements of a champion in place, if we can just fill in the last few pieces.

          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
 1971    82   80   4   648  641    85   77   3   691  667    60  102   6   543  747
 1972    79   76   4   557  527    85   70   2   640  620    72   84   5   472  519
 1973    80   82   4   641  610    89   73   2   738  647    71   91   6   680  826

          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
 1971    87   75   3   662  611    84   78   4   690  673    73   89   5   657  748
 1972    82   73   3   590  545    89   66   1   627  579    82   74   4   558  534
 1973    86   76   4   709  630    89   73   3   721  633    92   70   2   740  679

Next time

Will one of our teams be playing October baseball in 1974?

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Comments

  1. John Agius said...

    Interesting re-imagining of the Nettles trade.  Yankees get Chambliss a year early, so does that mean we keep Fritz Peterson and his declining skills?  Too bad he didn’t go instead of Bahnsen.  The ‘74 Yanks finished a close second and the virtual Yanks have been consistently better, but the virtual Indians look like a powerhouse.  Can’t wait for next week.

  2. Steve Treder said...

    “Yankees get Chambliss a year early, so does that mean we keep Fritz Peterson and his declining skills?”

    Well, I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you.  State secret and all that.  To be revealed next week!

  3. John Agius said...

    That’s ok, I can wait.  As a Yankee fan who grew up in that era, I’ve enjoyed this series, even though they don’t get two of my favorites, Nettles and Lyle.

  4. scott said...

    “Phil Seghi, meanwhile, was among the most hapless of GMs.”  I agree 100%.  But I also say Gabe Paul was either just as hapless, or he ran the real Indians like some Svengali, looking to keep control simply to keep himself in power.

    Wow.  The Indians robbed Oakland blind in the Hendrick/Fosse deal?  I wish I had your rose-colored glasses!

    Yikes.  Chambliss AND Bell?  I agree with John Agius – “Interesting re-imagining of the Nettles trade”.  Wow.  I don’t know what to say to that one.

    Dang.  In 1973 I was 10 years old and still would have to wait 21 years!!!!! to see the Indians finish that high.  Don’t do this to me, Steve.  Please.  smile

  5. John Agius said...

    I think the Indians made out in the short term on that trade.  Bahnsen had a good year and was sorely missed in the Yankee rotation.  Would have turned out even better for the Indians if Charlie Spikes played instead of Rusty Torres.

  6. Steve Treder said...

    “Would have turned out even better for the Indians if Charlie Spikes played instead of Rusty Torres.”

    Indeed.  My Indians chose to put Spikes in AAA for 1973, because he hadn’t yet played above AA and was still only 22.  Spikes will be on the big league Cleveland roster in 1974.

    Torres was a couple of years older and had significantly more experience in both the minors and majors (and based on his minor league stats, looked like he would be a decent-to-good major league hitter).

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