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 1979 New York Mets
OWAR: 50.7 OWS: 262 OPW%: .479 (78-84)
AWAR: 24.8 AWS: 188 APW%: .389 (63-99)
WARdiff: 25.9 WSdiff: 74
The “Original” 1979 Mets ended the season in the cellar, yet the club outpaced the “Actuals” by fifteen victories! Ken Singleton earned runner-up status in the MVP balloting on the strength of a .295 BA with 35 circuit clouts and 111 ribbies. Lee “Maz” Mazzilli (.303/15/79) nabbed 34 bags and merited his lone All-Star appearance. Tim Foli set personal-bests in batting average (.288), base hits, runs and RBI. John “The Hammer” Milner contributed a .276 BA with 16 jacks while splitting time between left field and first base. “Actuals” right fielder Joel Youngblood posted a .275 BA and raked 37 doubles. Richie “The Gravedigger” Hebner added 25 two-base knocks and drove in 79 baserunners.
Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan rated sixth and twenty-fourth, respectively, among pitchers in the “The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract” top 100 player rankings. “Original” Mets teammates registered in the “NBJHBA” top 100 ratings include Ken Singleton (18th-RF) Paul Blair (66th-CF) and Bud Harrelson (88th-SS). “Actuals” third baseman Richie Hebner ranked fifty-sixth while center fielder Jose Cardenal placed seventh-sixth.
Original 1979 Mets Actual 1979 Mets
|STARTING LINEUP||POS||OWAR||OWS||STARTING LINEUP||POS||AWAR||AWS|
|John Milner||LF||1.8||13.03||Steve Henderson||LF||2.18||11.79|
|Lee Mazzilli||CF||3.56||24.14||Lee Mazzilli||CF||3.56||24.14|
|Ken Singleton||RF||4.49||31.68||Joel Youngblood||RF||3.75||17.31|
|Mike Jorgensen||1B||-0.09||2.56||Willie Montanez||1B||-1.71||2.45|
|Bud Harrelson||2B||0.55||3.1||Doug Flynn||2B||-1.92||6.85|
|Tim Foli||SS||1.88||17.19||Frank Taveras||SS||-0.83||11.83|
|Ted Martinez||3B||-0.34||1.38||Richie Hebner||3B||2.32||14.43|
|Alex Trevino||C||0.36||5.04||John Stearns||C||1.28||10.89|
|Joe Nolan||C||-0.02||3.57||Alex Trevino||C||0.36||5.04|
|Jerry Morales||RF||-1.96||3.43||Elliott Maddox||RF||0.67||4.88|
|Duffy Dyer||C||0.11||3.21||Dan Norman||RF||-0.1||2.22|
|Benny Ayala||LF||0.3||3.01||Jose Cardenal||RF||0.36||1.99|
|Paul Blair||CF||-1.12||1.41||Ron Hodges||C||-0.24||1.14|
|Ron Hodges||C||-0.24||1.14||Ed Kranepool||1B||-0.58||0.86|
|Ed Kranepool||1B||-0.58||0.86||Kelvin Chapman||2B||-0.7||0.67|
|Kelvin Chapman||2B||-0.7||0.67||Gil Flores||RF||-0.36||0.34|
|Bruce Boisclair||RF||-0.88||0.29||Bruce Boisclair||RF||-0.88||0.29|
|Ike Hampton||1B||0.03||0.19||Sergio Ferrer||3B||-0.1||0.16|
|Roy Staiger||3B||0.06||0.17||Tim Foli||SS||-0.08||0.1|
Jerry Koosman reached the 20-win plateau for the second time in his career. Tom “The Franchise” Seaver (16-6, 3.14) led the National League with 5 shutouts and finished fourth in the Cy Young Award balloting. Nino Espinosa delivered 14 victories with a 3.65 ERA. Nolan Ryan aka the “Ryan Express” tallied 16 victories and struck out 223 batsmen. Craig Swan augmented the “Originals” and “Actuals” rotation with 14 wins and a 3.29 ERA after securing the National League ERA title during the previous campaign.
Original 1979 Mets Actual 1979 Mets
|Jerry Koosman||SP||6.06||22.76||Craig Swan||SP||3||15.36|
|Tom Seaver||SP||3.68||16.04||Kevin Kobel||SP||1.16||7.87|
|Craig Swan||SP||3||15.36||Pete Falcone||SP||0.49||6.15|
|Nino Espinosa||SP||2.15||14.6||Tom Hausman||SP||1.69||5.95|
|Nolan Ryan||SP||2.88||13.52||Andy Hassler||SP||0.54||4.87|
|Neil Allen||RP||0.19||6.26||Skip Lockwood||RP||1.89||6.86|
|Tug McGraw||RP||-1.53||4.62||Neil Allen||RP||0.19||6.26|
|Jeff Reardon||RP||0.29||2.33||Ed Glynn||RP||0.67||4.5|
|Roy Lee Jackson||RP||0.43||1.77||Jeff Reardon||RP||0.29||2.33|
|Dwight Bernard||RP||-0.51||0.44||Dale Murray||RP||-1.34||1.87|
|Steve Renko||SP||2.68||11.18||Pat Zachry||SP||0.28||2.94|
|Jim Bibby||SP||2.85||11.06||Juan Berenguer||SP||0.35||1.84|
|Ed Figueroa||SP||0.98||5.38||Roy Lee Jackson||RP||0.43||1.77|
|Jon Matlack||SP||0.81||4.31||Ray Burris||SP||0.13||0.85|
|Juan Berenguer||SP||0.35||1.84||Wayne Twitchell||RP||-1.31||0.84|
|John Pacella||SP||0.05||0.33||Jesse Orosco||RP||-0.33||0.57|
|Kim Seaman||RP||0.05||0.29||Dwight Bernard||RP||-0.51||0.44|
|Jackson Todd||RP||-0.64||0.01||John Pacella||SP||0.05||0.33|
|Mike Scott||SP||-0.83||0||Dock Ellis||SP||-1.6||0|
April 5, 1972: Traded by the New York Mets with Tim Foli and Mike Jorgensen to the Montreal Expos for Rusty Staub.
December 4, 1974: Traded by the Montreal Expos with Mike Torrez to the Baltimore Orioles for Bill Kirkpatrick (minors), Rich Coggins and Dave McNally.
December 8, 1978: Traded by the New York Mets to the Minnesota Twins for a player to be named later and Greg Field (minors). The Minnesota Twins sent Jesse Orosco (February 7, 1979) to the New York Mets to complete the trade.
June 15, 1977: Traded by the New York Mets to the Cincinnati Reds for Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson, Dan Norman and Pat Zachry.
March 27, 1979: Traded by the New York Mets to the Philadelphia Phillies for Richie Hebner and Jose Moreno.
December 10, 1971: Traded by the New York Mets with Frank Estrada, Don Rose and Leroy Stanton to the California Angels for Jim Fregosi.
The 2012 New York Mets
OWAR: 27.7 OWS: 262 OPW%: .492 (80-82)
AWAR: 24.1 AWS: 221 APW%: .457 (74-88)
WARdiff: 3.6 WSdiff: 41
The “Original” 2012 Mets placed third, fourteen games in arrears to the Nationals. David “Captain America” Wright (.306/21/93) raked 41 two-base hits and received his sixth All-Star invite. Angel “Crazy Horse” Pagan topped the circuit with 15 triples and set career-highs with 38 two-baggers and 95 runs scored. Jose B. Reyes swiped 40 bags and rapped 37 doubles while double-play partner Daniel Murphy contributed a .291 BA with 40 two-base knocks. Nelson R. Cruz nailed 45 doubles and jacked 24 round-trippers. First-sacker Ike B. Davis established personal-bests with 32 taters and 90 ribbies. A.J. Burnett paced the starting staff with 16 victories along with a 3.51 ERA and 180 strikeouts.
What Might Have Been – The “Original” 2013 Marlins
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.