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. Consequently, Joe L. Morgan is listed on the Colt .45’s / Astros roster for the duration of his career while the Angels claim Wally Joyner and the Diamondbacks declare Carlos Gonzalez. 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. 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 1922 St. Louis Browns OWAR: 45.8 OWS: 247 OPW%: .532
“Gorgeous” George Sisler carried a .351 lifetime batting average into the 1922 campaign along with the Major League record for hits in a single-season (257 in 1920). He ravaged rival hurlers and topped the leader boards with 246 base knocks, 134 runs, 18 triples and a career-high 51 swipes to complement a .420 BA. Sisler claimed the MVP award but later fell ill and missed the entire 1923 season due to acute sinusitis.
Marty McManus established personal-bests with 189 safeties and 109 RBI while batting .312 with 34 doubles, 11 triples and 11 round-trippers. Del Pratt pounded a career-high 44 two-baggers and knocked in 86 runs. Pat Collins (.307/8/23) split the catching chores with Verne Clemons and Muddy Ruel.
Sisler ranked 24th among first sackers in “The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.” Pratt (35th) and McManus (58th) placed in the top 100 at the keystone position while Ruel finished fifty-first among backstops.
Missouri native Elam Vangilder (19-13, 3.42) delivered career-bests in victories and WHIP (1.208). Jeff Pfeffer (19-12, 3.58) matched Vanglider’s win total and paced the mound crew with 261.1 innings pitched and 32 starts. Wayne “Rasty” Wright held the opposition at bay with a 2.92 ERA and a WHIP of 1.286. Ray “Jockey” Kolp compiled a record of 14-4 while left-hander Earl Hamilton contributed an 11-7 mark. In his rookie season Hub “Shucks” Pruett fashioned an ERA of 2.33, saved 7 contests and topped the League with 23 games finished.
The “Original” 1922 St. Louis Browns roster
The “Original” 1916 Browns OWAR: 41.4 OWS: 266 OPW%: .550
Jeff Pfeffer (25-11, 1.92) logged 328.2 innings pitched while establishing personal-bests in virtually every major pitching category. Carl Weilman completed 19 of 31 starts and recorded an ERA of 2.15 along with a 1.134 WHIP. Burt Shotton coaxed 110 bases on balls, pilfered 41 bags and tallied 97 runs.
The “Original” 1983 Orioles OWAR: 42.6 OWS: 255 OPW%: .604
Cal Ripken (.318/27/102) led the Junior Circuit with 211 base hits, 121 runs scored and 47 doubles. He appeared in his first All-Star contest and achieved MVP honors along with the Silver Slugger Award. “Steady” Eddie Murray (.306/33/111) registered 115 tallies and placed runner-up to Ripken in the AL MVP balloting. Mike Boddicker accrued 16 victories with a 2.77 ERA in his inaugural campaign.
The “Original” 1980 Royals
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.
Shatzkin, Mike. The Ballplayers. New York, NY. William Morrow and Co., 1990. 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.