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, John Smoltz is listed on the Tigers roster for the duration of his career while the Rockies declare Matt Holliday and the Royals claim Carlos Beltran and Johnny Damon. 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 print edition is coming soon. Additional information and a discussion forum are available at TuataraSoftware.com.
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 1992 Chicago White Sox OWAR: 48.7 OWS: 278 OPW%: .547
GM Roland Hemond acquired 48% (12 of 25) of the ballplayers on the 1992 White Sox roster. Larry Himes’ brief term as the GM of the Pale Hose yielded a bumper crop of future stars including Frank E. Thomas, Robin Ventura, Jack McDowell and Alex Fernandez. 20 of the 25 team members were selected through the Amateur Draft process. Based on the revised standings the “Original” 1992 White Sox outpaced the Athletics by a five-game margin in the American League Western Division race.
Thomas (.323/24/115) paced the Junior Circuit with 46 doubles, 122 walks and a .439 OBP. The “Big Hurt” was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014 after posting a .301 lifetime batting average with 521 home runs and 1704 RBI. Ventura (.282/16/93) ripped 38 two-base hits and earned his second of six Gold Glove Awards. Brian Downing (.407 OBP) and Harold Baines platooned as the Sox’ designated hitter.
Thomas ranks tenth among first basemen in “The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.” Ventura (22nd-3B), Downing (38th-LF) and Baines (42nd-RF) also placed in the top 100 at their respective positions.
Doug Drabek (15-11, 2.77) fashioned a WHIP of 1.060 and whiffed a career-high 177 batsmen. Jack McDowell notched 20 victories with a 3.18 ERA and finished fifth in the 1992 American League Cy Young balloting. “Black Jack” claimed the award in the subsequent campaign with a 22-10 mark. Bobby Thigpen struggled in the closer’s role (22 SV, 4.75) and eventually relinquished the title to Scott Radinsky (15 SV, 2.73). Rich “Goose” Gossage rates 37th among pitchers in the “NBJHBA”.
The “Original” 1992 Chicago White Sox roster
|NAME||POS||WAR||WS||General Manager||Scouting DIrector|
|Frank Thomas||1B||5.99||36.23||Larry Himes||Al Goldis|
|Robin Ventura||3B||5.27||28.53||Larry Himes|
|Doug Drabek||SP||5.18||19.31||Roland Hemond|
|Jack McDowell||SP||5.17||19.77||Larry Himes|
|Ron Karkovice||C||2.58||12.13||Roland Hemond|
|Craig Grebeck||SS||2.17||9.71||Ken Harrelson|
|Randy Velarde||SS||1.89||12.15||Roland Hemond|
|Brian Downing||DH||1.85||13.83||Ed Short|
|Daryl Boston||LF||1.18||10.4||Roland Hemond|
|Tim Hulett||3B||0.65||4.19||Roland Hemond|
|Scott Radinsky||RP||0.49||6.98||Ken Harrelson|
|Harold Baines||DH||0.44||12.52||Roland Hemond|
|Bob Wickman||SP||0.43||2.91||Larry Himes||Al Goldis|
|Rich Gossage||RP||0.4||2.33||Ed Short|
|Alex Fernandez||SP||0.21||6.39||Larry Himes||Al Goldis|
|Tony Menendez||RP||0.09||0.68||Roland Hemond|
|Vicente Palacios||SP||0.08||1.92||Roland Hemond|
|Cecil Espy||RF||0.06||3.81||Roland Hemond|
|Mike Maksudian||1B||-0.04||0||Larry Himes|
|Pedro Borbon||RP||-0.04||0||Larry Himes|
|John Cangelosi||LF||-0.16||0.81||Roland Hemond|
|Matt Merullo||C||-0.38||0.25||Ken Harrelson|
|Bobby Thigpen||RP||-0.56||3.07||Roland Hemond|
|Buddy Groom||SP||-0.57||0||Larry Himes|
|Donn Pall||RP||-1.17||2.17||Roland Hemond|
The “Original” 2006 White Sox OWAR: 45.0 OWS: 293 OPW%: .533
Chicago captured the American League Central division title by 5 games over Cleveland. “Big Hurt” rebounded from two sub-par campaigns to swat 39 big-flies and drive in 114 runs. Mike Cameron clubbed 22 round-trippers, pilfered 25 bags and claimed his third Gold Glove Award. Joe Crede established personal-bests with 30 jacks, 94 ribbies and a .283 BA. Likewise second baseman Ray Durham set career-highs in home runs (26) and RBI (93). Carlos “El Caballo” Lee slugged 37 circuit clouts and plated 116 baserunners. Magglio Ordonez contributed a .298 BA with 24 dingers and 104 ribbies.
The “Original” 2012 Dodgers
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.