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. 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 teams with the biggest single-season difference in the WAR and Win Shares for the “Original” vs. “Actual” rosters for every Major League organization. “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. Supplemental Statistics, Charts and Graphs along with 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
AWAR – Wins Above Replacement for players on “actual” teams
AWS – Win Shares for players on “actual” teams
APW% – Pythagorean Won-Loss record for the “actual” teams
The 1975 Houston Astros
OWAR: 50.0 OWS: 291 OPW%: .535 (87-75)
AWAR: 28.7 AWS: 192 APW%: .398 (64-97)
WARdiff: 21.3 WSdiff: 99
The “Original” 1975 Astros fell six games short of the National League Western Division title as the Big Red Machine tallied 93 victories. Joe L. Morgan produced a .327 BA with 17 dingers, 94 ribbies and 107 runs scored to secure the NL MVP Award. “Little Joe” succeeded on 67 of 77 stolen base attempts and coaxed a League-leading 132 bases on balls. First-sacker John Mayberry racked up personal-bests in doubles (38), home runs (34), RBI (106), runs (95) and bases on balls (119). Rusty Staub swatted 19 big-flies and knocked in 105 baserunners. Cesar Cedeno swiped 50 bags and batted .288 while Bob “Bull” Watson delivered a career-high BA (.324) for the “Original” and “Actual” ‘Stros.
Joe L. Morgan is ranked as the top second baseman according to Bill James in “The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.” “Original” Astros teammates listed in the “NBJHBA” top 100 rankings include Cesar Cedeno (21st-CF), Rusty Staub (24th-RF), Bob Watson (33rd-1st), John Mayberry (49th-1B), Doug Rader (64th-3B) and Jerry Grote (66th-C). “Actual” Astros outfielder Jose Cruz places 29th among left fielders.
Original 1975 Astros Actual 1975 Astros
|Greg Gross||LF||1.91||14.4||Greg Gross||LF||1.91||14.4|
|Cesar Cedeno||CF||4.25||19.87||Cesar Cedeno||CF||4.25||19.87|
|Rusty Staub||RF||2.34||24.89||Jose Cruz||RF||2.69||10.54|
|John Mayberry||1B||6.1||32.3||Bob Watson||1B||2.63||20.01|
|Joe L. Morgan||2B||9.44||43.74||Rob Andrews||2B||1.15||5.3|
|Enzo Hernandez||SS||-0.33||7.01||Roger Metzger||SS||0.49||8.2|
|Doug Rader||3B||0.93||9.34||Doug Rader||3B||0.93||9.34|
|Jerry Grote||C||2.15||17.24||Milt May||C||0.6||7.5|
|Bob Watson||1B||2.63||20.01||Cliff Johnson||1B||2.72||15.09|
|Derrel Thomas||2B||1.55||16.73||Wilbur Howard||LF||1.52||9.93|
|Cliff Johnson||1B||2.72||15.09||Enos Cabell||LF||0.34||7.12|
|Walt Williams||DH||0.34||4.12||Jerry DaVanon||SS||0.87||4.19|
|Fred Stanley||SS||-0.98||3.78||Ken Boswell||2B||-0.11||3.51|
|Glenn Adams||LF||0.61||3.63||Larry Milbourne||2B||-0.25||1.31|
|Jack Lind||SS||-0.2||0.26||Tommy Helms||2B||-0.32||1|
|Jesus de la Rosa||–||0.04||0.16||Skip Jutze||C||-0.5||0.88|
|Art Gardner||RF||-0.28||0.08||Jesus de la Rosa||–||0.04||0.16|
|Danny Walton||1B||-0.55||0.07||Art Gardner||RF||-0.28||0.08|
|Ed Armbrister||LF||-0.46||0.03||Rafael Batista||–||-0.01||0.07|
|Mike Easler||–||-0.06||0||Mike Easler||–||-0.06||0|
Houston hurlers failed to generate much excitement during the ’75 campaign. Larry Dierker completed 14 of 34 starts and fashioned a record of 14-16 with a 4.00 ERA. Pat Darcy posted an 11-5 mark with a 3.58 ERA in his inaugural season. Dave Giusti furnished a 2.95 ERA and saved 17 contests despite accruing more walks than strikeouts.
Original 1975 Astros Actual 1975 Astros
|Larry Dierker||SP||0.33||8.85||Larry Dierker||SP||0.33||8.85|
|Pat Darcy||SP||1.38||7.76||Ken Forsch||SP||1.02||5.89|
|Ken Forsch||SP||1.02||5.89||J. R. Richard||SP||-0.38||5.77|
|J. R. Richard||SP||-0.38||5.77||Dave Roberts||SP||-0.08||5.74|
|Roric Harrison||SP||-0.51||5.5||Doug Konieczny||SP||-0.92||3.17|
|Dave Giusti||RP||0.55||9.94||Joe Niekro||RP||1.03||6.53|
|Tom Burgmeier||RP||0.77||7.4||Mike Cosgrove||RP||0.96||5.05|
|Mike Cosgrove||RP||0.96||5.05||Jim Crawford||RP||0.09||4.27|
|Jim Crawford||RP||0.09||4.27||Wayne Granger||RP||-0.71||2.96|
|Bill Greif||RP||-1.04||3.26||Jose Sosa||RP||0.26||2.12|
|Doug Konieczny||SP||-0.92||3.17||Jim York||SW||-0.04||2.07|
|Wayne Twitchell||SP||-1.37||3.05||Paul Siebert||SP||0.17||1.09|
|Jose Sosa||RP||0.26||2.12||Mike T. Stanton||SP||-0.55||0|
|Paul Siebert||SP||0.17||1.09||Tom Griffin||SP||-1.38||0|
|Mike T. Stanton||SP||-0.55||0||Fred Scherman||RP||-0.41||0|
Joe L. Morgan
November 29, 1971: Traded by the Houston Astros with Ed Armbrister, Jack Billingham, Cesar Geronimo and Denis Menke to the Cincinnati Reds for Tommy Helms, Lee May and Jimmy Stewart.
December 2, 1971: Traded by the Houston Astros with David Grangaard (minors) to the Kansas City Royals for Lance Clemons and Jim York.
January 22, 1969: Traded by the Houston Astros to the Montreal Expos for Jesus Alou and Donn Clendenon. Donn Clendenon refused to report to his new team on April 8, 1969. The Montreal Expos sent Jack Billingham (April 8, 1969), Skip Guinn (April 8, 1969) and $100,000 (April 8, 1969) to the Houston Astros to complete the trade.
April 5, 1972: Traded by the Montreal Expos to the New York Mets for Tim Foli, Mike Jorgensen and Ken Singleton.
The 2013 Houston Astros
OWAR: 26.6 OWS: 218 OPW%: .427 (69-93)
AWAR: 8.3 AWS: 151 APW%: .315 (51-111)
WARdiff: 18.3 WSdiff: 67
Following a transfer to the American League West prior to the start of the 2013 campaign, the “Original” Astros finished dead last in the division. Nonetheless it represents a WSdiff of 67 and 18 additional wins compared to the “Actual” Astros from the same season. Hunter Pence established career-highs with 27 round-trippers and 22 stolen bases. Ben Zobrist laced 36 doubles and earned his second All-Star nod. Chris Johnson produced personal-bests in batting average (.321) and two-base hits (34). Jason Castro drilled 35 two-baggers and posted a .276 BA. Jose Altuve batted .283 and pilfered 35 bags.
What Might Have Been – The “Original” 1984 Giants
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.
The information used here was obtained free of charge from and is copyrighted by Retrosheet. Interested parties may contact Retrosheet at “www.retrosheet.org”.
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.