In “Hardball Retrospective: Evaluating Scouting and Development Outcomes for the Modern-Era Franchises”, I placed every ballplayer in the modern era (from 1901-present) on their original team. Therefore, Minnie Minoso is listed on the Indians roster for the duration of his career while the Giants declare Hack Wilson and the Mariners claim Ichiro Suzuki. I calculated revised standings for every season based entirely on the performance of each team’s “original” players. I discuss every team’s “original” players and seasons at length along with organizational performance with respect to the Amateur Draft (or First-Year Player Draft), amateur free agent signings and other methods of player acquisition. Season standings, WAR and Win Shares totals for the “original” teams are compared against the “actual” team results to assess each franchise’s scouting, development and general management skills.
Expanding on my research for the book, the following series of articles will reveal the finest single-season rosters for every Major League organization based on overall rankings in OWAR and OWS along with the general managers and scouting directors that constructed the teams. “Hardball Retrospective” is available in digital format on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, GooglePlay, iTunes and KoboBooks. The paperback edition is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and CreateSpace. Additional information and a discussion forum are offered at TuataraSoftware.com.
Don Daglow (Intellivision World Series Major League Baseball, Earl Weaver Baseball, Tony LaRussa Baseball) contributed the foreword for Hardball Retrospective. The foreword and preview of my book are accessible here.
OWAR – Wins Above Replacement for players on “original” teams
OWS – Win Shares for players on “original” teams
OPW% – Pythagorean Won-Loss record for the “original” teams
The 1946 Detroit Tigers OWAR: 58.3 OWS: 303 OPW%: .599
GM Jack Zeller acquired 42.5% (17/40) of the ballplayers on the 1946 Tigers roster and fellow front office executive Mickey Cochrane added 35% (14/40). Based on the revised standings the “Original” 1946 Tigers topped the Junior Circuit in OWAR but finished two games behind the Red Sox.
The Tigers’ ferocious rotation featured future Hall of Famer Hal Newhouser (26-9, 1.94). “Prince Hal” led the circuit in victories for the third consecutive season, collected his second straight ERA title and paced the League with a 1.069 WHIP. Newhouser finished runner-up in the MVP race following back-to-back MVP Awards in 1944-45. Dizzy Trout recorded 17 wins and fashioned an ERA of 2.34. Johnny Sain (20-14, 2.21) returned from military service and notched at least 20 victories in four of the next five campaigns. Fred Hutchinson (14-11, 3.09) and Virgil Trucks (14-9, 3.23) bolstered the back-end of the rotation. Schoolboy Rowe contributed an 11-4 record with a 2.12 in 16 starts.
In his penultimate campaign Hank Greenberg clubbed 44 circuit clouts and knocked in 127 runs to lead the American League in both categories for the fourth time. Rudy York (.276/17/119) eclipsed the century mark in RBI for the sixth time in his career. Roy Cullenbine posted a .335 BA with a .477 OBP while fellow outfielder Barney McCosky batted at a .318 clip.
Greenberg placed 8th among first basemen according to Bill James in “The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.” In addition to “Hammerin’ Hank,” seven ballplayers from the 1946 Tigers ballclub registered in the “NBJHBA” top 100 rankings including Hal Newhouser (36th-P), Rudy York (56th-1B), Virgil Trucks (61st-P), Birdie Tebbetts (64th-C), Roy Cullenbine (68th-RF), Barney McCosky (70th-CF) and Hoot Evers (100th-LF).
The “Original” 1946 Detroit Tigers roster
|Hal Newhouser||SP||9.36||32.87||Jack Zeller|
|Dizzy Trout||SP||7.4||26.31||Mickey Cochrane|
|Hank Greenberg||1B||6.76||30.62||Frank Navin|
|Roy Cullenbine||RF||6.04||25.25||Mickey Cochrane|
|Johnny Sain||SP||5.61||25.08||Mickey Cochrane|
|Fred Hutchinson||SP||4.37||18.35||Jack Zeller|
|Schoolboy Rowe||SP||3.67||13.83||Frank Navin|
|Virgil Trucks||SP||3.26||16.57||Mickey Cochrane|
|Les Fleming||1B||2.34||12.6||Jack Zeller|
|Rudy York||1B||2.19||21.74||Frank Navin|
|Hoot Evers||CF||1.82||10.26||Jack Zeller|
|Barney McCosky||CF||1.56||14.22||Mickey Cochrane|
|Dick Wakefield||LF||1.52||14.7||Jack Zeller|
|Chet Laabs||RF||1.25||8.67||Mickey Cochrane|
|Rip Sewell||SP||0.99||8.5||Mickey Cochrane|
|Jake Wade||RP||0.71||3.5||Mickey Cochrane|
|Mike Tresh||C||0.63||7.81||Mickey Cochrane|
|Lou Kretlow||SP||0.3||1.23||George Trautman|
|Frank Secory||LF||0.29||1.63||Jack Zeller|
|Pat Mullin||RF||0.21||5.52||Mickey Cochrane|
|Birdie Tebbetts||C||0.14||7.2||Frank Navin|
|Johnny Lipon||SS||0.14||0.97||Jack Zeller|
|Don Ross||3B||0.11||4.23||Mickey Cochrane|
|Bob Swift||C||0.07||2.93||Mickey Cochrane|
|Mickey Rocco||1B||0.07||2.18||Jack Zeller|
|Art Herring||RP||0.06||5.83||Frank Navin|
|Ned Harris||–||-0.01||0||Jack Zeller|
|Johnny Gorsica||RP||-0.04||0.94||Jack Zeller|
|George Archie||1B||-0.07||0.07||Jack Zeller|
|Johnny Groth||CF||-0.16||0.07||George Trautman|
|George Metkovich||RF||-0.22||7.62||Jack Zeller|
|Art Houtteman||SP||-0.27||0.11||Jack Zeller|
|Stubby Overmire||SP||-0.33||2.88||Jack Zeller|
|Rufe Gentry||RP||-0.33||0||Jack Zeller|
|Gene Desautels||C||-0.45||2.1||Mickey Cochrane|
|Tommy Bridges||RP||-0.5||0.02||Frank Navin|
|Ted Gray||SP||-0.54||0||Jack Zeller|
|Anse Moore||LF||-0.54||1.15||George Trautman|
|Hal Manders||RP||-0.66||0.13||Jack Zeller|
|Mark Christman||3B||-1.02||8.28||Mickey Cochrane|
The “Original” 1915 Tigers OWAR: 52.4 OWS: 299 OPW%: .598
Detroit edged Boston by a single game to secure the American League pennant in 1915. Ty Cobb (.369/3/99) swiped a career-high 96 bases while accruing 51 Win Shares and 9.5 WAR. “The Georgia Peach” claimed his ninth consecutive batting title and topped the leader boards with 144 runs scored, 208 safeties and a .486 OBP. Bobby Veach (.313/3/112) delivered League-bests in RBI and doubles (40). Ossie Vitt registered 116 tallies. Hooks Dauss established a personal record with 24 victories.
The “Original” 1983 Cardinals
References and Resources
James, Bill. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. New York, NY.: The Free Press, 2001. Print.
James, Bill, with Jim Henzler. Win Shares. Morton Grove, Ill.: STATS, 2002. Print.
Derek Bain is a New Jersey native with a passion for baseball, statistics, computers and video games. He has written a number of articles for Fangraphs and Seamheads, and enjoys spending quality time with his family.