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Phillies claim Fraud, Yankees to be Hauled into Court PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 04 February 2009 00:25

 

 

 "The whole basis for the Phillies' organization entering into this deal was to bolster their playoff squad." Phillies' attorney Fester Shamblot began the press conference. "And as such, their rights have been grievously trampled upon!"

He is referring to the mid-season deal between the Phillies and Yankees, in which the Phillies received Chino Smith and Si Johnson, regular-season studs, to be sure. The problem, as far as the Phillies are concerned, is that they netted a total of 2 ABs and 0 IP from their new additions in the playoffs, due to injury.

"Undisclosed injury." Shamblot contends. "The virtuous Philadelphia Phillies organization was most feloniously duped by the wretched and miserable New York franchise, who knowingly unloaded their broken-down, decrepit excuses for ballplayers on our innocent and well-meaning team. We will produce witnesses that will testify under oath that, among other things, Si Johnson's pitching arm was held on by duct tape when he reported to the clubhouse, and that Chino Smith only has 7 toes. It's all here in this 354 page complaint we are filing in the Philadelphia County courts."

When asked if he believed his lawsuit had any merit, Shamblot bellowed, "Of course! We firmly believe that those two players, if healthy, would easily have made the difference in the tight, 7-game series that the noble, scrappy Phillies squad lost against those panty-bunched Cubs of Chicago. Had it not been for the evil, deceptive Yankees illegally withholding their health information, all of Philadelphia would be rejoicing with a World Series champion, as either the low-down, grubby, mouth-breathers that (generously) call themselves the 'Athletics', or our own honorable Phillies, would be holding the trophy. This represents a clear financial loss for the city, and well justifies our $1.2 billion lawsuit."

The Yankees' first settlement offer, reportedly "Take this shiny nickel and jam it in [location withheld]," has been rejected by the Philly organization.

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 25 October 2009 16:55
 
Yankees (David) top (slays) Cubs (Goliath) in nailbiting 1943 series PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dave Schwaller   
Sunday, 10 April 2011 13:10
Yankees GM Vance Violante has delivered to New York what none of his predicesors had, a World Series Title.  Oh wait, he did that in 1938, that’s right.  Oops, forgot about 1931 too.  Like delivering offerings of sacrifice to an angry, lava spewing volcano, these titles have been laid before ravenous Yankee fans – and they are satisfied.

Sacrifice is what it took this year for a team vastly different from most of the elite baseball clubs.  The Yankees were setup as a scrappy, station to station lineup with a mixture of veteran and young pitchers.  They’d need to play solid, mistake free ball and avoid injuries to have a chance.  Or at least that was the common opinion before the season, because injuries were one thing the Yankees had in excess.  Ace Leroy Matlock started the season on the DL from an elbow injury suffered the previous September.  Second year starter Eiji Sawamura wend down in April after a hot 4-1 start.  Jake Wade’s glass elbow blew up in May along with Joe Dobson’s finger.  This meant that the equivalent of a major league staff would be out the majority of the first half of the season.  Add Orie Arntzen as an August scratch and it was like 3 of the 4 starters were out the entire season.  If the pitching was held together with duct tape and bailing wire, the field positions needed only the occasional oil change.  All eight field positions were manned by the same player all year, with those players all taking the field for 130+ games.  Without huge power, they depended on leadoff man George Myatt to generate runs.  Team speed along with getting on base however possible made up for any lack of power and then some.  The Yankees had a major league leading 162 steals with Myatt chalking up 68 of those.  Opposing pitchers felt like they were swatting at hornets trying to survive those long innings on the mound.  How else could a team at the bottom of the list for homers, slugging, and extra base hits win it all?

The Yankees season started off hot.  After they went 17-11 in April, they followed with an 18-10 May to lead the AL East by nine games.  Tough to imagine that they’d be up only one game going into the last series against the Nationals, but winning the first two of that series handily crushed any doubt who was going to represent the AL East in the post season.  This momentum continued into the post season against the defending champion Detroit Tigers.  The Tigers are the anthisis of the Yankees, leading the league with 185 home runs, only three times the Yankees total.  Pitching is where the Tigers were vulnerable, but that was not why the Yankees won the AL pennant 4-2.  The Tigers outscored them 26-24 in the series.  After dropping the first two by wide margins, the Yankees came back and won the next four, two of them by 1 run, one of them a two run game and the fourth by three.  On the other side of the page, the NLCS was a see-saw battle.  Opening with a 6 hit shutout, Boston Braves ace Lefty LaMarque set the tone for the first four games.  Trailing three games to one, the Cubs pinned back their ears and finished with wins of 8-1, 6-1, and 10-1 to get to the World Series.

And all of this has been the prologue to what many are calling the best World Series played.  It started in Chicago, home of the 99-55 Cubs.  By record alone this should have been a 4-1 or 4-2 series win for the Cubs, but the Yanks had been through wars all year.  Game 1 featured 31 game and 6-time Joe Wood Award winner Dizzy Dean against Leroy Matlock.  Starting the series with a run in the first inning was a good sign for the Yankees, but they were hard to come by for both teams the entire series.  Matlock won this contest scattering 7 hits for the complete game shutout, 2-0.  Game 2 only had one more run than game 1, but this time it was the Cubs winning 2-1 on a Joe Greene solo shot in the 4th.  As a quick aside, home runs were quite the story in Chicago this year as the Cubs led the NL with 159.  The power combo of Hal Trosky and Hank Sauer circled the bases 83 times, Sauer 46 of those.  That’s right, we have a new single season home run leader, and his name is Hank Sauer.  The third year left-fielder now has 115, and his eyes are squarely on John Beckwith’s trophy.

The series then moved to the Bronx, where it was Dizzy’s turn for a shutout, also a 7-hitter for a 3-0 win.  Offense has been hard to come by for these clubs so accurate and mistake free play has become all that more important.  Down 2-1 in the series the Yanks now faced the younger Dean Paul for the second time.  Only tallying one run against him in game 2 and down 3-0 in the 5th is where the club needed some clutch performances.  After two walks and a flyout, Matlock came through with a hustle play to make Shoeless Joe proud.  He squeaked out a bunt single to load the bases to the cheers of the Yankee faithful.  Two pitches later Myatt laced a single to right field to score two and get the club back into the game.  They would get to Dean again in the 6th, with back-to-back doubles by George Benson (who the club got from the opposing Cubs last offseason, can you say payback?) and Ken Sears to tie the score at 3.  This roller coaster of a game continued to excite as the Cubs put together a patchwork run in the 7th.  All was quiet until the bottom of the 8th when Benson walked followed by a 2-run pinch-hit home run by Elmer Valo.  The 1939 first round draft pick of the Phillies made the most of the opportunity putting the Yanks up 5-4.  Fans never left their feet afterwards and a creshendo came from the stands when the 1943 AL Fireman Award winner Joe Haynes toed the mound in the 9th.  Haynes collected 21 saves in his 4th season for the pinstripes.  Piper Davis had something to say about what he thought the series outcome would be as he rifled a grounder past one of the all time great Yankees and future Hall-of-Famer Perucho Cepeda.  He was sacrificed to second by Patterson on the first pitch he saw and the tone of the crowd became anxious at best as they realized the top of the Cubs order was up.  After an Ethan Allen groundout failed to move Davis, Ted Petoskey took a 2-1 fastball and ripped it into left field.  Cubs rookie third base coack Don Zimmer did his best impression of a windmill and sent Davis.  Freshly inserted into the lineup at the top of the inning, defensive specialist Tommy Thompson scooped up the ball and fired an absolute laser to backup catcher Mike Guerra, who absorbed a vicious blow from Piper Davis, knowing it was his only chance at scoring.  The crowd was made to wait an excruciating 5 seconds as the home plate umpire circled the prone bodies before him searching for the ball.  Everyone exploded in unison as Guerra raised the ball in his right hand and Davis was punched out, finishing the game.  The Yankees stormed the field, Guerra, and Thompson and it was pandemonium in the crowd.  Quite possibly the best game in World Series history was over, but the series was not.  Premature celebration has been the bane of runner-ups since the time of the gladiators, and Violante was going to do everything he could to make sure that wouldn’t happen to his club.

Another nail biter was on tap for the following day, with the clubs trading the lead multiple times in another 5-4 gem that Tommy Thompson this time won with his bat, an 8th inning double to score Pennington.  Going back to Chicago with a day off in their back pocket was just what the doctor ordered for the Cubs.  Dizzy Dean took the ball and fired his second shutout of the World Series, this time a 5-hit performance that took him 10 innings.  Nick Strincevich matched Dean for nine innings, but after loading the bases in the 10th without getting an out, Haynes threw a wild pitch with Dean at the plate to allow Dixie Walker to cross the plate and even the series at 3.  It was the Cub faithful’s turn to go crazy, knowing that the deciding game would be at their house the next day.  Game 7 was a matchup between the younger Dean and Matlock, even though the rumors that the Cubs would start Dizzy even a day after a 10 inning shutout were confirmed by GM Mike Giovacchini.  Calmer heads prevailed and Dizzy was sent to the pen.  On this day it would be Matlock who was the story, both with his arm and his bat.  Four shutout innings and a 2-run homer are all Leroy put up before leaving the game in the 5th with a finger injury.  In the end the game was not much closer than the final 11-3 score, even with the Yankees exploding for 5 runs in the 9th.

The 1943 season is over, and a gritty Yankee club without a bonafide star is your champion.  Celebrations will go on throughout the weekend until the team parade on Monday, followed shortly by the expectation of another championship.  Looking at the players and the GM who put them in the position to succeed, who can doubt their ability to do it again next year.

Last Updated on Sunday, 10 April 2011 13:12
 
Cleveland Wins! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sam Kossoff   
Tuesday, 06 July 2010 11:38

Cleveland, OH -- The crisp fall air whipped through Cleveland Stadium Wednesday night. The smell of popcorn and warm crackerjacks filled the air. Indians fans from all over Northeast Ohio piled into their seats and the excitement nearly powered the overhead lights on its own. The Indians players moved around the dugout in their bright white uniforms with the large C on the left pocket. The Phillies, knowing their backs were to the wall practiced their swings in the traveling greys with Phillies across the chest and their dark blue caps upon their heads.

Cleveland, who had been so close for so many years, was on the cusp of a potential World Series Championship. The long bus rides, train rides, hot summer days were all winding down as the beginnings of winter we around the corner.

Game Five had Cleveland sophomore Ken Heintzelman, the Indians sole lefty starter, facing righty “Big Joe” Mulligan who had been recently forced up into a starter role due to September injury of Joe Krakauskas. The Phillies had hung their playoff run hopes on the skills of Phil Weintraub, LF Milt Blocek, CF Frenchy Uhalt and Charlie English. The hitting had carried the Phillies a long way this season, coupled with terrific pitching of Si Johnson and Joe Krakauskas. The Phillies hitting managed to guide them through a tough won NL Pennant. As the Phillies prepared for the World Series they knew that hitting would have to lead them to victory.

In game one, the Phillies hitters came through and Cleveland fans felt the noose tighten once again. Owner Mark Kossoff, although ailing, refused to sit and watch the wheels come off again. He called a team meeting before the second game and brought in food for the entire team. The two hour closed door session was called by players and management alike. . .inspiring.

Game two, three and four recharged the Indians who had 14 hits in game two and 16 in the game three dismantling of Philadelphia. Cleveland's Mace Brown had played inspired baseball in 12 innings of pitching he had a 0.73 ERA. Gene Colbertt, who had spent consider time on the DL this season, refused to give on even one pitch during the series to date and was batting .476.

As the umpires took the field for Game 5, Cleveland was confident that the winds of victory were blowing their way. Ken Heintzelman walked confidently to the mound and the fans groaned as the first batter walked, and the second one doubled. With no-one out, the Phillies had men on 2nd and 3rd. And then another walk. . .bases loaded. And another walk. . .walking in a runner. . .the wheels were coming off. The pitching coached headed to the mound to settle things down as nearly 40,000 fans sat in silence and dread. But the Indians settled down and got out of the inning giving up just 1 run on a fly out and double play.

The teams traded hits and runs through the third with things tied up at 3 each. In the fifth a big hit by Cleveland's Salazar scored 3 runs and you could see the Phillies dugout lose their inspiration. Their heads hung as if they had accepted their defeat. The Indians added runs in the 7th and 8th and by the 9th inning the Phillies had conceded the World Series.

From the 8th inning on, the noise was deafening in Cleveland Stadium. Fans were dancing and singing in the aisles. Women and men opening cried as they had waited their entire lives to see a World Series Championship in Cleveland. At the top of the ninth, the entire crowd was on their feet, owner Mark Kossoff gripping the owner's field-level box railing over the Indians dugout and the crowd cheered. Jack Russell, the aging veteran who moved to the bullpen this season, took to the mound for the final inning of the 1939 season. He tipped his cap to the owners box, and then to the fans. . .eliciting whistles and cheers. The Phillies had the top of the order ready to go, but the Phillies had been beat and Frenchy, Bocek and Weintraub, the heart of the Philadelphia bats. . .went down straight.

Pandemonium reigned in the streets of Cleveland, Youngstown, and Akron. From Elyria to Cleveland Heights and everywhere in between. . .fever for the World Series Champion Cleveland Indians was sung out. What must be recognized is the production of players like Gene Colbertt who batted .611 for the series and was named co-MVP with Mace Brown. Rick Ferrell did his part from behind the plate and batting .455 at it. Indians management looked brilliant as they brought back aging veteran Tony Lazzeri for one more year. “Poosh ‘em Up” Lazzeri batted .300 but lead the club as the clubhouse inspiration all season. But if nothing else, the Indians had balance, and the pitching of Brown, Dickinson and Heintzelman can not go un-noticed. In the corner however, was Mace Brown gathering reporters around the quiet Prince Oana. Perhaps Brown said it best, “We all did our part, each of us in our own way, and Prince got us here. I know how badly he wanted to play in this series, but this is his victory as well. . .his wins got us here. We won the division by only two games, so every pitch during the regular season mattered. . .every one that Prince threw mattered. . .his 11 wins are the reason we are here.” As so say it now, and say it proud. .. the Cleveland Indians are the 1939 World Series Champions. On a separate but important note. I want to thank Steve Rackow for a fantastic series and we appreciate how well he managed his team. I also want to give a big Thanks to Mike G. for all his work in doing the sims this season and all his hard work. It was certainly a great season.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 May 2016 16:29
 
Draft Analysis by J. Russell PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sam Kossoff   
Friday, 27 May 2016 15:46

Ted Simmons is a great first pick. He will come in to the league as a really good hitter who will develop more power and eye while his contact drops a little. He's an average defensive catcher, and that is more than acceptable with his bat. He'll be an All Star for years to come and could find himself in the HOF one day.

Larry Hisle to the Cardinals at #2. Cards are still trying to find their mojo as they haven't won the division since '58. That's nine years in a row finishing at least 12 games out of first. There isn't much help on the farm right now either. This was a year they really could have used a great pitcher at the top of the draft, and I kind of expected them to go for Messersmith. They decided to go with another outfielder in Hisle. He will step in as one of their top three or four hitters and their probably starting right fielder.

So, last year the Pittsburgh Pirates tied for second in the NL in runs scored and finished dead last in runs allowed. Surely, if anybody needs more pitching, it is the Pirates. However, when you look at their top three starters, you have Sam McDowell, Steve Carlton, and Tom Seaver. All of them are still on track to be just as good as you'd expect. As a result, they should have the most devastating rotation in the league very soon. It drops off after that, but it is a great start. Their offense was carried last year by Rico Carty and Paul Smith. They let Smith go and extended Carty's contract. Going into next season, the offense looks like it needs help, and they certainly picked up that help in the draft with power hitting catcher, Koichi Tabuchi. He's also an excellent defender, but he may not be major league ready unless the Pirates are willing to take a chance. Considering the fact that they have nothing currently at catcher, it seems likely that he will be a big leaguer out of the chute.

Last year's Orioles finished second to last in the AL in both offense and defense, meaning they need help everywhere. They have an aging pitching staff behind young Nolan Ryan who is still coming in to his own. They've also got a handful of good, young hitters including Dick Allen, Tony Conigliaro, Sachio Kinugasa, and Bobby Murcer. Really, this draft pick needed to be about just picking the best player available, regardless of position. They are probably a year or two away from really contending yet. They went with five-tool player Bobby Bonds who should step right in as an all-around producer who could contend for Gold Gloves in the corner positions as well as home run and steals titles.

The Detroit Tigers really need help all over the field. They've got second-year Reggie Jackson who is still coming in to his own and some solid starting pitching. After that, things are a bit shaky. They picked Al Oliver with their first round pick, and he will step right in and join Reggie in the middle of their order. Was he the best player available? In this draft, with so much depth among guys who are of relatively equal value, it is hard to say. I honestly thought they would go with third baseman Bill Melton, just because they have some decent outfielders and could use the help in the infield. Still, it is not a bad pick, and he should help them out quite a bit.

Cleveland is another team who had an exceptional offense last year, leading the AL in runs per game, but an horrific pitching staff, finishing last in the AL in ERA. They were also last in BABIP, indicating major defensive challenges. Coming into 1968, they still have the Might Oh and the rising Peter Edward Rose. It falls off a bit after that with a couple of nice catchers in Duane Josephson and Manny Sanguillen and a man without a position in Cesar Gutierrez whose poor error rates make him a bit of a liability in spite of his other defensive skills. There could be a reversal for them this year as their pitching may be better than their lineup with Fred Newman, Luis Tiant, Jim Britton, and Juan Pizarro making a solid rotation.

So, with their first round pick, they went with offense in
Richie Hebner who may step into the lineup as their starting third baseman. Unfortunately, The Gravedigger is one of those guys with more ability now than later. As such, the Indians will have to hope they can strike in the next year or two and hope that he holds up. In my opinion, they might have been better off going with Bill Melton or Rick Renick if they were looking for an infielder, but Hebner should be very good this year.

The Yankees were pretty much the exact opposite of the Indians last year. They had very good performances from all five starters and finished second in pitching in the AL. The offense was a mess, though, and they got their best season from a 35-year old Mickey Mantle. Going into next year, it looks like Mantle is still their top hitter.

That is until they picked up Big John Mayberry in the draft. He is an immediate MVP candidate as a rookie and will be a huge run producer. Unfortunately, he is going to drop. He will remain a big power threat for a long time, but the rest of his game is going to fall off, presumably due to weight issues. However, for this season, he's a stud, and this owner is not happy about seeing him in my division.

Atlanta is in an interesting spot. They went unmanaged the first half of the season last year due to technical difficulties and looked like the worst team in baseball. They were 23-55 in the first half. Then they got some management and went 47-29 in the second half including an 18-4 record in September. On the season, they finished in the bottom half of the NL in both offense and defense but are clearly most in need of offense having only two players finish with an OPS over .750 and nobody over .800.

In the draft, they went with
Hal McRae. It is an interesting choice for first year manager, Joseph Dion. McRae is a stud against lefties, but he is not as strong against righties. He's no slouch, but his production is a little weak there compared so some other players. He still has a little room for growth, though. Defensively, he is no great shakes but isn't going to kill you either. That isn't to say it is a bad pick, because he's still going to hit better than most anybody they have right now. However, there might have been some better choices.

Last season's Twins finished similarly to the Braves in that they were in the bottom half of the league in both pitching and hitting. Coming in to this season, they have some nice pieces on the pitching staff in Pete Richert and Phil Niekro but will be missing Denny McLain for most of the season. They also have a couple of guys in the minors who are ready to help right now on top of some flame throwers in the pen. Offense is probably their biggest need as they fall off fast after Willie McCovey, Carl Yastrzemski, and Ron Santo.

Unfortunately, there was some sort of SNAFU in the front office, and they got auto-picked. As is often the case, they got screwed. It isn't that
Choji Murata is a bad player. He will probably be a serviceable starter. It just was a long way from what they needed. With a good deal of offense available in this draft, they could have shored up that lineup. As it is, they will have to keep looking.

The New York Giants led the NL in offense last year, scoring ten percent more runs than the second place team. Led by Jimmy Wynn, Willie Stargell, and Tony Perez, they look to continue to have a solid offense but definitely look to have some holes to fill. Their pitching was pretty average but still looks good on paper for this year. A sometimes shaky defense might be holding the staff back a bit.

In the draft, they decided to strengthen the lineup and the defense with
Don Money. Even though he has some room to grow, he should step in as the team's starting third baseman and should be solid offensively and very strong defensively.

Last year, the Dodgers had an average offense and an above average pitching staff. However, one of their better starters last year, Woodie Fryman, has lost some of his ability and can't be relied upon. So, the team decided to strengthen their aging rotation with Andy Messersmith. We had been wondering when someone was going to pick Bluto, and the Dodgers pulled the trigger. He will be able to come into the rotation as the #3 or 4 starter behind Masaaki Koyama and Bob Gibson to give the Dodgers a starting staff nobody is really going to want to face.

The World Series champion Cubs felt they needed to strengthen a club that had a great playoff run but an 84-70 regular season record. The Cubs have never been shy about making big trades, and this year was no exception. They traded their entire draft to the Boston Red Sox to move up four spots in the first round. You could make a strong argument that what this team really needed was offense as they finished dead last in the NL in runs, but they went against convention and decided to strengthen their strongest element, the pitching staff. They didn't need starting pitching as they are still very strong there. They felt that their bullpen needed help and picked up Rollie Fingers. He has a chance to be a fantastic reliever for a long time, even though he still has some room to grow. Combined with Lindy McDaniel and whoever doesn't make it into the rotation, Fingers makes them even more formidable. With their offense, they are going to be in some close games, and this should help keep them near the top.

The White Sox of 1967 had a good, all-around offense led by Don Buford and Doug Rader, even if nobody really stood out. Their pitching staff was above average, headed by Milt Pappas and his 21 wins with a strong 21 saves from Fred Gladding. In 1968, they still have a good pitching staff if they are a little shallow in the rotation. They get Kunio Jonouchi back off the DL, and he will help. The offense is likely to be even better as budding superstar Rick Monday is coming in to his own.

That offense was bolstered by the draft of
Merv Rettenmund who could actually vie for an MVP this season as the White Sox's right fielder. Unfortunately, his excellence is likely to be short-lived. The real world Rettenmund was an outstanding hitter until he was about 28 years old when something happened. That is likely to be reflected in his BOY life, but in the meantime, he could easily help get the Sox to the playoffs.

The Phillies find themselves in the unenviable spot of being the lowest drafting team not in the World Series, having lost to the eventual champion Cubs in the playoffs. Their success was carried by their pitching staff who led the NL in pitching with strong performances from Don Drysdale and the rest of the staff. The offense was another story as Al Kaline carried the whole team. At the same time, that team put together an excellent defense leading to an excellent .245 BABIP.

To help address the offensive issues, the team drafted LF
Carlos May who will walk in to the majors as a big-time threat, particularly against right handed pitching. He's not going to do much for you defensively, but he will definitely help them score more runs. If they can keep up the pitching excellence, they have a good chance to win the division yet again.

Last year's AL champions, the Kansas City A's had the best pitching staff and second best offense and defense in the league. That's just craziness. They put together a really strong team and had to be super disappointed at not winning the championship. They come back this year with the same excellent rotation plus Bill Upton blowing hitters away at the end of games. Plus, they only lost one significant bat in Lee Maye. All things considered, there really aren't a lot of holes here, and anything they pick up in the draft is gravy.

Coincidentally, they may be replacing Lee Maye with
Carlos May, who happens to have a brother named Lee. Maye platooned in LF against RHP, and that is exactly Carlos May's strength. He hits LHP well also, just not as well. He is another one of those guys who is better now than he is going to be in the future, but that's okay for a contender like the A's

 

Finishing up the first round is the Boston Red Sox, who took the A's to seven games in the playoffs last year. They really had a very mediocre team last year, finishing in the middle of the pack in pitching and hitting. They have been cobbling their squad together for years with platoon hitting and pitchers who were just good enough. That was true last year as well as they got 23 wins from surprising Roberto Valdes and 31 homers and 100 RBI from Nate Colbert in the only offensive performance of note. This is a good draft for them, however, as they really need offense, and this draft has plenty of it. That is why they decided to make a big trade with the Cubs to drop down to this spot while picking up the rest of the Cubs's draft.

With this first round pick, the Sox picked the might Samoan,
Tony Solaita, who probably would have been the player they would have chosen even if they hadn't traded down. The lefty-hitting Solaita might possess the biggest power bat in the game before he even steps on the field. He is a classic power hitter, but his OBP shouldn't kill the lineup as he also has a strong eye. The Sox are hoping he can live up to that potential and hoping they can continue to strengthen the offense with all of those extra picks.

 
Tigers Back Atop Baseball In Workman-Like 1942 Season PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dave Schwaller   
Saturday, 26 February 2011 09:53

05-06-07-10-33-34-42.  Are those the lotto numbers that Joe Tiger Fan would play? You bet. How better to honor the championship seasons for the home town team?  Although winning the World Series may not be an unfamiliar thing for Tiger Fans, doing it this way just might be.  Used to season win totals well into the 90s, this years club won only 82 in the regular season and needed 7 games in both post-season matchups against the Red Sox and Cubs.  The Red Sox were a juggernaut, going 99-55, and had 3 top-tier pitchers in rookie Starffin, Barrett, and Hallett.  As for the Cubs, 44 of their 91 wins came from the Dean brothers, as did 44% of the team’s innings.  Talk about workhorses.

 So as David slew Goliath, so did the Tigers slay the giants that were the Red Sox an Cubs.  What was the team’s strategy?  How did they have success in the face of such improbable odds?  Well, the Tigers have never been afraid to trot out power before average.  This year, even though they hit 125 homers, was not that simple formula.  Old met young, homegrown talent welcomed new acquisition.  Joe ‘Ducky’ Medwick tacked on another stellar year to a Hall-of-Fame career.  Gene Hasson batted 0.324 and seemed to always deliver that clutch hit.  But it is new blood that has energized the bats in Detroit.  Stan Musial weighs in on the skeptic side of the ‘Sophmore Slump’ debate with a 0.317 / 20 HR / 95 RBI effort.  Oh yeah, he also stole 15 bases and had 107 walks.  Arguably the team leader was new to Detroit, Willard Brown came over in an off-season trade with the Pirates and fit in like that last puzzle piece you just found under the coaster on the table after a half hour of looking everywhere, swearing at the dog, cracking your head on the cabinet as you reached between there and the fridge, and had to be physically restrained from pitching the whole table over because you couldn’t have gotten those 5 hours back had you not found that piece.  Always tallying solid offensive stats, Brown is indispensible up the middle.  How many guys in the league would be able to start at both centerfield and shortstop?  So yes, the Tigers are an offensive club first, but don’t dismiss their pitching staff before closer inspection.  Ace Verdell Mathis won 21 games and put up 345 critical innings at a 2.90 ERA and 1.07 WHIP clip.  Behind him Johnny Beazley and Fred Hutchinson put in innings and gave the team chances to win.  But maybe the key move was the acquisition of Cocania Garcia mid-season.  After Early Wynn went down with a shoulder injury and minor leager Connie Johnson couldn’t step up GM Rodney McBride went and did something few would have.  He traded inside the division to get Garcia and was instantly rewarded.  The affable Cuban went 10-4 the second half of the season and helped launch the Tigers into the playoffs.

 When we look back at the near history of the Tigers we see dismal teams.  Win totals around 60 for the previous three years with little promise.  Between the draft, wise trades, and free agency they have rebuilt and are hungry for more.  Seems to me that they are only on the upstroke of this curve, having fortune before they have peaked.  So look out Chicago, New York, and Boston, it’ll be tougher than ever to bring home a Tiger pelt for the foreseeable future.

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 February 2011 10:00
 
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