The virtual 1969-76 Yankees, Red Sox, and Indians (Part 7:  1974-75)

In last week’s episode, our Red Sox surged to their second division title in three years, while our Yankees sagged to mediocrity, and our Indians slumped to the basement.

          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
 1974    89   73   2   671  623    84   78   3   696  661    77   85   4   662  694

          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
 1974    80   82   3   679  717    98   64   1   734  582    71   91   6   639  714

With just two seasons left in our exercise, is there time for anyone to compete with our Bosox?

The 1974-75 offseason: Actual deals we will make

Oct. 22, 1974: The New York Yankees traded outfielder Bobby Murcer to the San Francisco Giants for outfielder Bobby Bonds.

Quite the curious Blockbuster:

… it would be incorrect to consider Bonds and Murcer as equal overall talents. Bonds had one weakness that Murcer didn’t, in that Bonds was highly strikeout prone. This flaw prevented Bonds from sustaining a high batting average; Murcer hit for a better average than Bonds in five of the six seasons from 1969 through 1974. But this was the only facet of the game in which Bonds wasn’t clearly superior.

In the 1969-74 period:

- Bonds outhomered Murcer 177 to 139.
- Bonds outstole Murcer 247 to 67.
- Bonds created 689 runs to Murcer’s 590.
- Bonds won three Gold Glove awards to Murcer’s one.
- Bonds earned 172 Win Shares to Murcer’s 166.
- Bonds’s cumulative WARP3 was 52.2 to Murcer’s 39.9.
- Bonds attracted 0.94 MVP vote shares to Murcer’s 0.66.

The objective statistical record and the contemporary assessment of award voters are in firm agreement that Murcer was an excellent player, but Bonds was a better one.

Yet the Giants traded Bonds for Murcer, one for one, in October 1974. Exchanging a regular right fielder for another regular right fielder isn’t the same kind of trade as drawing from a surplus in one area in order to shore up another; instead this is a trade a team makes only if it believes it will come out ahead in performance at that one position alone. I believe it was Bill James who coined the phrase “challenge trade” to describe such a move; it amounts to a wager over which of two athletes will better perform a specific role. The Giants bet that Murcer’s future would be better than Bonds’s, despite the fact that Bonds had enjoyed a demonstrably better past. Yankees’ GM Gabe Paul was quick to take them up on the offer.

Our Yanks will say, “Yes, thank you!” with equal alacrity.

Oct. 24, 1974: The Boston Red Sox released infielder Dick McAuliffe.

Though our Red Sox still haven’t solved the riddle at second base, we’re confident McAuliffe isn’t going to be the answer.

Dec. 3, 1974: The New York Yankees traded infielder-catcher Bill Sudakis to the California Angels for pitcher Skip Lockwood.

Sudakis was useful in a utility role in 1974, and Lockwood is an unexciting mediocrity. But our bullpen was atrocious in ’74 and shoring it up has to be the priority.

Dec. 20, 1974: The New York Yankees released pitcher Sam McDowell.

He just didn’t get it done for us.

Dec. 31, 1974: The New York Yankees signed pitcher Catfish Hunter as a free agent.

And we, by the way, are the New York Yankees. We represent The Big Apple, and we’re getting damn sick and tired of watching the teams from Podunk burgs like Baltimore and Boston finish ahead of us. We’ll happily sign Catfish to the biggest contract in the history of the sport.

Feb. 13, 1975: The Cleveland Indians signed outfielder Ken Berry as a free agent.

The far opposite end of the free agent spectrum. Our Indians think the veteran Berry might provide some outfield depth.

Feb. 25, 1975: The Cleveland Indians traded pitcher Milt Wilcox to the Chicago Cubs for pitcher Dave LaRoche and outfielder Brock Davis.

An exchange of disappointments. Wilcox has washed out as a starter for our Indians, then continued to struggle when given an opportunity in the bullpen. LaRoche has had back-to-back rough years for the Cubs, but has been quite good in the past and isn’t yet 27 years old. We have to try something to improve our relief pitching.

April 1, 1975: The New York Yankees traded pitcher Fred Anyzeski, first baseman John Narron, outfielder-first baseman Ken Bennett, catcher Terry Quinn, and cash to the Chicago White Sox for catcher Ed Herrmann.

We don’t understand why White Sox GM Roland Hemond is willing to surrender a 28-year-old left-handed-batting catcher with good power for a bushel of minor league roster filler, but our Yankees will take him up on the offer. Though Herrmann obviously won’t dislodge Thurman Munson as our regular, we can make good use of him as a backup and as a DH.

The 1974-75 offseason: Actual deals we will not make

Dec. 1, 1974: The New York Yankees purchased first baseman-third baseman Bob Oliver from the Baltimore Orioles.

No interest, thanks.

Dec. 2, 1974: The Boston Red Sox traded outfielder Tommy Harper to the California Angels for infielder Bob Heise.

Our Bosox don’t have Harper, and aren’t interested in Heise.

Feb. 25, 1975: The Cleveland Indians traded catcher Dave Duncan and outfielder Al McGrew to the Baltimore Orioles for first baseman Boog Powell and pitcher Don Hood.

Duncan had a rough year in 1974, and while Powell isn’t what he used to be, he can still hit. However, our Indians don’t have room for Boog at first base or DH, so we’ll pass.

March 5, 1975: The Boston Red Sox signed outfielder Tony Conigliaro as a free agent.

Impressed as we are by Tony C.’s intrepid effort at forging a comeback, we have to realistic: he hasn’t played baseball in three-and-a-half years. We’ll offer him a chance in the minors if he’ll take it, but not a spot on the big league roster.

April 4, 1975: The Boston Red Sox traded infielder Mario Guerrero to the St. Louis Cardinals for a player to be named later. (On July 4, 1975, the Cardinals sent pitcher Jim Willoughby to the Red Sox, completing the deal.)

Since we didn’t acquire Heise, we’ve still got a spot for Guerrero on our bench.

April 4, 1975: The New York Yankees released pitcher Skip Lockwood.

The actual Yankees had a better bullpen than our version. While clearly he’s had a poor spring, we can’t afford to dump Lockwood, and he’ll open the season in a mop-up reliever/spot starter role.

The 1974-75 offseason: Deals we will invoke

Nov., 1974: The Boston Red Sox traded pitcher Dick Pole and cash to the Cleveland Indians for second baseman Jack Brohamer.

With the emergence of Duane Kuiper, Brohamer is surplus for our Indians. Our Red Sox have an opportunity for him at second base, and are willing to expend a young arm.

Nov., 1974: The New York Yankees traded pitchers Fritz Peterson and Fred Beene and infielder Fernando Gonzalez to the Boston Red Sox for pitcher Roger Moret and infielder Eddie Leon.

Though Moret is a pretty good young southpaw, our Red Sox can afford to part with him in order to add the right-hander Beene to the bullpen and get younger in the infield.

Nov., 1974: The New York Yankees signed outfielder Jim Lyttle as a free agent.

This journeyman might fill a spot on our Yankees’ bench.

Jan., 1975: The Boston Red Sox purchased infielder Buddy Hunter from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

As might this one for our Red Sox.

March 26, 1975: The Boston Red Sox released pitcher Bob Johnson.

This journeyman isn’t making our Opening Day roster.

March 29, 1975: The New York Yankees traded infielder Danny Cater to the St. Louis Cardinals for outfielder Danny Godby.

Actually it was Boston making this deal with the Cardinals. The 35-year-old Cater’s been a useful role player, but we don’t have a spot for him this year.

March, 1975: The New York Yankees released pitcher Steve Kline.

March, 1975: The Boston Red Sox released outfielder Leron Lee.

March, 1975: The Cleveland Indians sold outfielder-first baseman Tom McCraw to the Milwaukee Brewers.

No room for these guys.

The 1975 season: Actual deals we will make

June 13, 1975: The New York Yankees purchased shortstop Ed Brinkman from the Texas Rangers.

We’ll make room for the 33-year-old Eddie on our bench.

Aug. 21, 1975: The Boston Red Sox signed infielder Dick McAuliffe as a free agent.

A desperation move in response to a Rico Petrocelli injury. Like the actual Red Sox, we see not better option than to retrieve McAuliffe from retirement to fill in until the roster expands in September.

Aug. 26, 1975: The Cleveland Indians selected pitcher Bob Reynolds off waivers from the Detroit Tigers.

Also a response to an injury, this one afflicting Dick Tidrow.

Sep. 21, 1975: The Boston Red Sox traded a player to be named later and cash to the Chicago White Sox for first baseman Deron Johnson. (On Nov. 7, 1975, the Red Sox sent catcher Chuck Erickson to the White Sox, completing the deal.)

Our Red Sox passed on the veteran Johnson last September. But we’ve just sustained a season-ending injury to a certain young right-handed power hitter by the name of Rice, and there is no way we’re going into this season’s final week without a replacement bat.

The 1975 season: Actual deals we will not make

May 20, 1975: The Cleveland Indians traded pitchers Jim Perry and Dick Bosman to the Oakland Athletics for pitcher Blue Moon Odom and cash.

Don’t have Perry or Bosman, and don’t want Odom.

May 27, 1975: The Cleveland Indians traded infielder Luis Alvarado to the St. Louis Cardinals for a player to be named later. (On Sep. 30, 1975, the Cardinals sent first baseman-outfielder Doug Howard to the Indians, completing the deal.)

We’d rather keep Alvarado around.

June 7, 1975: The Cleveland Indians traded pitcher Blue Moon Odom and player to be named later to the Atlanta Braves for pitcher Roric Harrison. (One June 16, 1975, the Braves sent infielder Rob Belloir to the Indians, completing the deal.)

Don’t have Odom, and don’t want Harrison.

June 13, 1975: The Cleveland Indians traded pitcher Gaylord Perry to the Texas Rangers for pitchers Jim Bibby, Jackie Brown, and Rick Waits and $100,000 cash.

The flamboyant Brad Corbett has recently purchased the Rangers, and is eager to make a big splash. However, our Indians aren’t willing to play along. Though he’s 36, big Gaylord continues to throw hard, tirelessly, and effectively, a genuine ace.

June 23, 1975: The Boston Red Sox released catcher Tim McCarver.

We don’t see the point in dumping this still-productive veteran.

June 30, 1975: The Cleveland Indians signed infielder-catcher Bill Sudakis as a free agent.

We like Sudakis, but just don’t have a spot for him.

The 1975 season: Deals we will invoke

June 13, 1975: The New York Yankees released infielder Eddie Leon.

We’ll go with Brinkman instead.

June 14, 1975: The New York Yankees traded cash and a player to be named later to the California Angels for second baseman Denny Doyle. (On March 5, 1976, the Yankees sent pitcher Gerry Pirtle to the Angels, completing the deal.)

Actually it was the Red Sox cheaply picking up Doyle, a competent second baseman who’s been displaced in California by rookie Jerry Remy. Our Red Sox have Jack Brohamer on hand, so don’t see a need for Doyle, but our Yanks do.

June 15, 1975: The New York Yankees traded infielder Jim Mason to the Houston Astros for a player to be named later and cash. (On Jan. 8, 1976, the Astros sent pitcher Jim York to the Yankees, completing the deal.)

The reason our Yanks see a need for Doyle is that this guy, a capable gloveman who, surprisingly, hit well enough to claim the second base job over the course of 1974, isn’t hitting close to his weight this year.

June 20, 1975: The New York Yankees traded outfielder Jim Lyttle and cash to the Montreal Expos for outfielder Rich Coggins.

Actually the Yankees purchased Coggins from Montreal on this date. Since we know the Expos like Lyttle (whom they would actually purchase from the White Sox this summer), we’ll make it a trade instead.

The tumble has been swift and harsh for Coggins, who starred as a rookie in Baltimore just a season and a half ago. But he’s still just 24, and we think the Expos are likely giving up on him way too quickly.

July 21, 1975: The Cleveland Indians released outfielder Ken Berry.

Berry has filled a bench role, but we’re now ready to call up rookie Rick Manning.

1975 season results

Yankees

Following a disappointing 1974, we haven’t made a lot of changes, but the key changes are highly significant: stiffening the pitching staff with the addition of Catfish Hunter, and energizing the lineup with the addition of Bobby Bonds. We expect to contend.

1975 New York Yankees     Won 87    Lost 73    Finished 3rd

  Pos   Player         Age    G  AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
   1B   C. Chambliss*   26  150 562  66 171  38   4   9  75  29  50 .304 .334 .434 .768  118
   2B   D. Doyle*       31   89 310  45  93  19   2   4  36  14  10 .300 .320 .413 .733  108
   SS   R. Metzger#     27  127 450  52 108   9   7   2  29  37  39 .240 .287 .304 .591   69
   3B   B. Bell         23  153 553  66 151  20   4  10  62  52  72 .273 .329 .378 .707  101
 RF-CF  B. Bonds        29  145 529  93 143  26   3  32  90  89 137 .270 .375 .512 .888  151
   CF   E. Maddox       27   55 218  36  67  10   3   1  25  21  24 .307 .378 .394 .773  121
   LF   R. White#       31  148 556  81 161  32   5  12  62  72  50 .290 .369 .430 .799  127
   C    T. Munson       28  157 597  83 190  24   3  12 105  45  52 .318 .365 .429 .793  126
 DH-OF  J. Briggs*      31  104 304  50  72   9   2   9  43  75  48 .237 .385 .368 .753  116

   2B   S. Alomar#      31   60 196  24  46   7   2   1  17   9  24 .235 .262 .306 .568   62
  DH-C  E. Herrmann*    28   62 160  13  40   7   2   5  26  12  19 .250 .301 .413 .713  102
 DH-OF  O. Velez        24   52 130  21  27   6   1   4  15  38  32 .208 .382 .362 .744  113
   CF   R. Bladt        28   52 117  13  26   3   1   1  12  11   8 .222 .286 .291 .576   65
   OF   T. Whitfield*   22   50 120  13  31   3   1   1  14   5  26 .258 .299 .325 .624   78
 2B-SS  J. Mason*       24   39 112   9  17   2   1   1   9  11  25 .152 .222 .214 .437   25
 D-1-C  J. Ellis        26   50 118   9  26   4   1   2  14   5  15 .220 .256 .322 .578   64
   DH   R. Blomberg*    26   34 106  18  27   8   2   4  18  13  10 .255 .336 .481 .817  131
   CF   R. Coggins*     24   51 107   7  24   1   0   1   7   7  16 .224 .261 .262 .522   49
   SS   E. Brinkman     33   44  63   2  11   4   1   0   3   3   6 .175 .221 .270 .490   39
   OF   J. Lyttle*      29   16  32   3   7   2   0   0   3   2   7 .219 .265 .281 .546   56
   SS   E. Leon         28   11  23   1   3   1   0   0   2   1   6 .130 .148 .174 .322   -8

        Others                   40   4   8   1   0   0   1   4   5 .200 .273 .225 .498   43

        Total                  5403 709 1449 236 45 111 668 555 681 .268 .333 .390 .723  106

        * Bats left
        # Bats both
 
        Pitcher        Age    G  GS  CG   W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
        C. Hunter       29   39  39  30  23  14   0 328 248 107  94   25   83  177 2.58  144
        D. Medich       26   38  37  15  16  16   0 272 271 115 106   25   72  132 3.51  106
        R. May*         30   32  31  13  14  12   0 212 179  87  72    9   99  145 3.06  122
        P. Dobson       33   33  30   7  11  14   0 208 205 105  94   21   83  129 4.07   91
        R. Moret*       25   36  13   3  10   3   1 116  98  42  41    5   63   65 3.18  117

        T. Martinez*    25   37   2   0   4   3   8  74  60  28  19    3   45   52 2.31  161
        D. Segui        37   33   1   1   1   5   6  71  66  37  34    7   44   45 4.31   86
        S. Lockwood     28   29   4   0   4   3   3  69  72  35  30    3   31   67 3.91   95
        D. Pagan        25   26   2   0   4   2   3  59  62  24  23    2   28   42 3.51  106

        Others                    1   0   0   1   0  15  17  10   9    2    8   11 5.40   69

        Total                   160  69  87  73 21 1424 1278 590 522 102  556  865 3.30  113

        * Throws left

We encounter several obstacles. Injuries cut down designated hitter Ron Blomberg and center fielder Elliott Maddox; we’re able to cope reasonably well at DH, but center field just becomes a scramble. The replacement of slumping second baseman Mason with newcomer Doyle works out splendidly, as the 31-year-old Doyle hits at a career-best clip.

But our best players come through as expected. Hunter is brilliant, and Bonds is wonderful. Doc Medich, Rudy May, and Pat Dobson provide an excellent rotation behind Hunter. Thurman Munson, Roy White, and Chris Chambliss all deliver strong years with the bat.

It’s a ball club that’s very good at scoring runs and especially good at preventing them, producing the best Yankee run differential since 1964, yielding a Pythagorean record of 95-65. Alas, we’re undermined by a disastrous eight-win underperformance against Pythag. We’re strong enough to contend, but instead we finish a distant third.

Red Sox

Looking to repeat our 1974 division title performance, we’ve imported Jack Brohamer and Fernando Gonzalez to attempt to address our persistent problem at second base. But our key additions are a pair of high-potential power-hitting rookies: center fielder Fred Lynn and left fielder/DH Jim Rice.

1975 Boston Red Sox     Won 97    Lost 63    Finished 1st

  Pos   Player         Age    G  AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
 1B-LF  C. Yastrzemski* 35  149 543  91 146  30   1  14  60  87  67 .269 .371 .405 .776  111
   2B   J. Brohamer*    25   92 326  31  87   9   1   6  32  24  23 .267 .314 .356 .669   82
   SS   R. Burleson     24  158 580  66 146  25   1   6  62  45  44 .252 .297 .329 .626   70
   3B   R. Petrocelli   32  115 402  31  96  15   1   7  59  41  66 .239 .308 .333 .642   75
   RF   D. Evans        23  128 412  61 113  24   6  13  56  47  60 .274 .349 .456 .805  118
   CF   F. Lynn*        23  145 528 103 175  47   7  21 105  62  90 .331 .397 .566 .963  160
 LF-DH  J. Rice         22  144 564  92 174  29   4  22 102  36 122 .309 .349 .491 .840  127
   C    C. Fisk         27   79 263  47  87  14   4  10  52  27  32 .331 .395 .529 .923  150
 DH-RF  R. Smith#       30  135 477  86 145  27   2  24  95  57  59 .304 .377 .520 .897  142

 DH-1B  C. Cooper*      25  106 305  49  95  17   6  14  44  19  33 .311 .351 .544 .896  141
   C    V. Correll      29   82 260  35  59  10   1  10  32  30  53 .227 .303 .388 .691   87
   IF   M. Guerrero     25   64 184  23  46  10   0   0  11   9   7 .250 .286 .304 .591   61
   LF   J. Beniquez     25   62 152  28  44   8   2   1  10  15  16 .289 .347 .388 .735  100
 3B-2B  F. Gonzalez     25   68 154  21  36   7   2   1  16  16  22 .234 .302 .325 .627   71
   OF   R. Miller*      27   77 108  21  21   2   1   0  15  21  20 .194 .321 .231 .552   53
  C-1B  T. McCarver*    33   59  80  11  24   4   1   1  10  14  10 .300 .404 .413 .817  123
   C    T. Blackwell#   22   30  66   8  13   2   1   0   3  10   7 .197 .304 .258 .561   54
   2B   B. Hunter       27   15  45   4   9   1   0   0   4   4   6 .200 .265 .222 .488   34
   3B   D. McAuliffe*   35    7  15   0   2   0   0   0   1   1   2 .133 .176 .133 .310  -14
 1B-DH  D. Johnson      36    3  10   2   6   0   0   1   3   2   0 .600 .667 .9001.567  323

        Others                   15   3   6   0   0   0   0   1   2 .400 .438 .400 .838  130

        Total                  5489 813 1530 281 41 151 772 568 741 .279 .344 .427 .771  109

        * Bats left
        # Bats both

        Pitcher        Age    G  GS  CG   W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
        L. Tiant        34   35  35  18  18  14   0 260 262 126 116   25   72  142 4.02  103
        B. Lee*         28   41  34  17  17   9   1 260 274 123 114   20   69   78 3.95  105
        L. McGlothen    25   35  34   9  16  11   0 239 241 116 110   27   87  146 4.14  100
        M. Pattin       32   44  15   5  11   8   8 177 180  80  69   16   45   88 3.51  118
        R. Cleveland    27   31  20   3  13   9   1 171 173  90  84   19   52   78 4.42   94
        F. Peterson*    33   20  19   4  12   4   0 109 117  58  51   15   29   35 4.21   99

        S. Lyle*        30   49   0   0   6   5  20  89 100  38  35    2   35   65 3.54  117
        J. Burton*      25   26   1   0   1   1   2  42  45  22  13    4   15   32 2.79  149
        F. Beene        32   13   0   0   1   0   2  31  45  29  26    3   16   13 7.55   55
        C. Skok*        27   13   0   0   2   0   0  28  31  15  14    3    8   15 4.50   92
        J. Wright       24    9   0   0   0   1   0  20  24  12  10    2   11   12 4.50   92

        Others                    2   0   0   1   0  11  14  11   4    1    8    3 3.27  127

        Total                   160  56  97  63 34 1437 1506 720 646 137  447  707 4.05  103

        * Throws left

For the second straight year, catcher Carlton Fisk suffers a major injury: this time it’s a broken thumb, delaying his season debut until late June. That’s problem No. 1. The second issue is a general decline in effectiveness by our pitching staff; it’s still pretty good, but nothing close to the brilliant pitching performance we enjoyed in 1974.

But the good news is that our hitting is terrific. Once back in the lineup, Fisk is marvelous, as is DH/right fielder Reggie Smith. But most of the buzz is created by the rookies in the outfield, who finish one-two in the league’s Rookie of the Year balloting, with Lynn so electrifying that he captures the MVP award as well as the ROY.

And just as it doesn’t for the Yankees, Pythagorean fortune smiles upon us. We outperform our projection by seven wins, which provides plenty enough lift to win the AL East Division once again.

Indians

Looking to bounce back from our dismal 1974, we’ve installed Frank Robinson as manager, and also as backup designated hitter. Our primary DH will be Rico Carty, who hit a ton over the final weeks of ’74. Duane Kuiper is taking over at second base, and rookie Alan Ashby will become part of the catching mix.

Dick Tidrow will move from the starting rotation to the bullpen, where he’ll join newcomer Dave LaRoche. Rookie Jim Kern and import Dick Pole will get starting opportunities.

1975 Cleveland Indians     Won 82    Lost 77    Finished 4th

  Pos   Player         Age    G  AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
   1B   G. Scott        31  158 617  86 173  26   4  37 104  51  95 .280 .336 .515 .852  140
   2B   D. Kuiper*      25  130 520  59 135  15   1   1  31  43  40 .260 .324 .298 .622   78
   SS   F. Duffy        28  146 482  44 117  22   2   1  44  27  60 .243 .280 .303 .583   66
   3B   G. Nettles*     30  157 581  71 156  24   4  21  86  49  88 .269 .321 .432 .753  113
 RF-LF  C. Spikes       24  111 345  41  79  13   3  11  30  30  51 .229 .288 .380 .668   89
 CF-RF  G. Hendrick     25  145 561  82 145  21   2  24  81  40  78 .258 .302 .431 .733  107
   LF   O. Gamble*      25  121 348  60  91  16   3  15  42  53  39 .261 .360 .454 .815  131
   C    A. Ashby#       23   81 229  29  51   9   1   5  26  27  38 .223 .292 .336 .628   79
 DH-LF  R. Carty        35  118 383  57 118  19   1  18  60  45  31 .308 .378 .504 .882  150

   OF   J. Lowenstein*  28   91 265  37  64   5   1  12  30  28  28 .242 .310 .404 .714  102
   CF   R. Manning*     20   60 240  32  68   8   3   2  18  22  31 .283 .340 .367 .706  101
   C    D. Duncan       29   64 205  20  43   5   0   8  24  10  53 .210 .249 .351 .600   69
   C    R. Dempsey      25   53 145  18  40   8   0   1  11  20  15 .276 .355 .352 .707  102
   DH   F. Robinson     39   49 118  19  28   5   0   9  23  29  15 .237 .383 .508 .891  152
   IF   E. Crosby*      26   61 128  12  30   3   0   0   7  13  14 .234 .297 .258 .554   59
   OF   K. Berry        34   50 107  10  24   3   1   0   7   6  14 .224 .278 .271 .549   57
   IF   L. Alvarado     26   29  46   3   8   1   0   0   5   2   7 .174 .200 .196 .396   13
   2B   D. Nelson       31   14  40   4   7   1   0   2   5   3   5 .175 .244 .350 .594   68

        Others                   33   5   8   3   0   2  10   4   4 .242 .317 .515 .832  134

        Total                  5393 689 1385 207 26 169 644 502 706 .257 .318 .399 .717  103

        * Bats left
        # Bats both

        Pitcher        Age    G  GS  CG   W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
        G. Perry        36   37  37  25  18  17   0 306 272 129 110   29   71  236 3.24  116
        J. Colborn      29   36  29   8  12  13   2 206 205 110  95   19   65   84 4.15   90
        S. Bahnsen      30   33  28   4  11  12   0 167 161  92  80   13   79   84 4.31   87
        L. Gura*        27   26  20   5   7   8   0 151 172  66  59   13   40   66 3.52  107
        D. Pole         24   18  11   2   3   6   0  90  96  43  40   10   32   42 4.00   94
        D. Eckersley    20   14  10   2   5   3   1  75  59  24  22    6   36   61 2.64  142
        J. Kern         26   13   7   0   3   2   0  72  60  31  30    5   45   55 3.75  100

        D. LaRoche*     27   61   0   0   5   3  17  82  61  26  20    5   57   94 2.20  171
        D. Tidrow       28   37   0   0   6   3   5  69  65  27  24    5   31   38 3.13  120
        G. Ryerson*     27   34  11   2   6   6   0 135 167  82  71   10   32   59 4.73   79
        R. Sawyer       27   21   6   1   6   2   0  65  58  26  22    4   16   31 3.05  123
        B. Reynolds     28    5   0   0   0   2   2  10  11   7   5    0    3    5 4.50   83

        Others                    0   0   0   0   1  11   8   4   4    0    4    7 3.27  115

        Total                   159  49  82  77 28 1439 1395 667 582 119  511  862 3.64  103

        * Throws left

We suffer one disappointment, as right fielder Charlie Spikes, so productive as a rookie in ’74, finds it a whole lot more challenging this time around. The mid-season arrival of Rick Manning moves George Hendrick to right, and Spikes to the bench.

But that’s about it in terms of problems. Generally things go as planned. We get the power we expected from Carty, Hendrick, Graig Nettles, and Oscar Gamble, and especially from George Scott, who leads the league with a career-high 37 bombs. For the third straight year, we lead the league in team homers. Overall, while our offense isn’t great, it’s solid.

Our pitching is solid as well, getting a lift from LaRoche, who delightfully rediscovers his fastball, as well as a mid-season call-up, 20-year-old rookie right-hander Dennis Eckersley.

We’re meaningfully improved upon our 1974 edition. We aren’t a contender, as we had been in ’73, but we’re back over .500 and feeling new confidence.

          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
 1974    89   73   2   671  623    84   78   3   696  661    77   85   4   662  694
 1975    83   77   3   681  588    95   65   1   796  709    79   80   4   688  703

          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
 1974    80   82   3   679  717    98   64   1   734  582    71   91   6   639  714
 1975    87   73   3   709  590    97   63   1   813  720    82   77   4   689  667

Next time

In our final installment, can anybody unseat our Bosox?

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Comments

  1. Robert E said...

    Playing the home version of this game and since you are in the breaking eggs mood-

    What the heck, this team is hopelessly screwed anyway and will have to wait for Martinez, McGregor and Dempsey to develop to have a chance to compete around the turn of the decade. By the time it can compete, Hunter will be long gone anyway. So…

    George fires Gabe Paul and Bill Virdon after not meeting expectations in 1974, suspension or not (I can’t recall).  The Yankees are seen as a franchise in turmoil. This club is spinning it’s wheels going nowhere.

    Hunter decides he’s been thru this turmoil in Oakland and decides to sign with San Diego.

    For Munson, losing sucks, he is chirping louder and more often that he wants to be traded to Cleveland to be closer to his young family.

    What would you do?

  2. nova9047 said...

    Nice try, but you ignore human factors in your analysis of transactions. Drugs, ETOH, extra-marital relations, and abnormal psychology factored heavily in the mid-70’s AL East. Also, by omitting the Orioles you are excluding 1/3rd of the ‘70s AL East equation, probably the most important third.

  3. John Agius said...

    Maybe the diappointing Indians need to go into rebuilding mode and send Nettles to the Yankees for the much younger Buddy Bell.  Probably not, but I can hope anyway.

    It’s nice to see that the Yankees stopped picking up retread relief pitchers and went with a promising rookie to close.  But will Tippy Martinez get traded to baltimore in ‘76.  Tune in next week…

  4. nova9047 said...

    …only if Charley Finley’s fire sale first ships Kenny Holtzman to Baltimore and 14 year old Hal Steinbrenner begs his dad to trade for Hal’s mostest fav pitcher EVER.

  5. nova9047 said...

    I attended a wedding at Canterbury Golf Club outside Cleveland in 1986. Talk then around the clubhouse bar was that Gabe Paul and Steinbrenner (both were or had been members) rigged the Nettles and Chambliss trades over drinks in anticipation of Gabe coming to NY in ‘76. BYW, Steinbrenner was “suspended” at the time for making illegal campaign contrbutions to Nixon(‘74). From baseball, but not from golf apparently. True or false, it makes sense, doesn’t it?

  6. nova9047 said...

    Item: Giants trade Bobby Bonds even up for Bobby Murcer.
    Can’t imagine why Giants would trade a 5 star player even up for a 2 star player.
    Maybe Murcer needed to get away from all the “temptations” of “Fun City” and focus on his family and his job instead of on the night life.
    Maybe Steinbrenner wanted to rid himself of the “face” of Mike Burke’s franchise.
    Maybe Murcer’s power diminished from all the Skoal he was doing evey night after the games.

  7. scott said...

    I agree with nova9047 on several points:

    First, even though I’m an Indians fan, it baffles me why you chose them for this exercise (besides the chuckle factor).  The Orioles would have made a lot more sense.

    Next, ignoring human factors.  It’s more financial than human, but the Indians had major money problems and some (most?) of their offloading up-and-comers could be traced to this factor alone – even despite being run by the Moron twins, Phil Seghi and Gabe Paul.

    Finally, it just seems common sense that the Nettles trade was made anticipating Paul coming to the Yankees.  Shouldn’t sports have an “insider trading”-type rule?  (Paul was already in NY for the Chambliss trade – he joined the Yanks in early ‘73, not ‘76).

  8. Steve Treder said...

    “First, even though I’m an Indians fan, it baffles me why you chose them for this exercise (besides the chuckle factor).  The Orioles would have made a lot more sense.”

    No, they wouldn’t.  Until the big mid-season Holtzman etc. trade in 1976 (which we haven’t even gotten to yet), the Orioles executed no major deals with either the Yankees, Red Sox, or Indians through this entire period.  It was the latter three teams whose interactions were impactful, and might plausibly have gone quite differently.

    “Next, ignoring human factors.  It’s more financial than human, but the Indians had major money problems and some (most?) of their offloading up-and-comers could be traced to this factor alone – even despite being run by the Moron twins, Phil Seghi and Gabe Paul.”

    I don’t believe this is true at all.  This is prior to the free agent era; there was zero financial purpose for the Indians to offload young talent, which was exceptionally cheap in those days.  Their sell-off of Gaylord Perry in 1975 was obviously financially motivated, but that’s really the only such deal they made in this period.  The offloading of the young talent was simply a result of incompetence, or, as suggested above and agreed to by you, by corruption.

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