Hardball Retrospective – What Might Have Been – The “Original” 1984 Giants

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 1984 San Francisco Giants 

OWAR: 42.9     OWS: 294     OPW%: .508     (82-80)

AWAR: 27.7      AWS: 198     APW%: .407     (66-96)

WARdiff: 15.2                        WSdiff: 96  

The “Original” 1984 Giants ended the season with a winning record but merely earned a fifth place finish, 9 games behind the Astros. Gary “Sarge” Matthews established a career-best with 101 runs scored while pacing the circuit with 103 walks and a .410 OBP. Chili Davis contributed a .315 BA and merited his first All-Star invitation. Dave “Kong” Kingman walloped 35 four-baggers and knocked in a personal-best 118 baserunners. Bob Brenly achieved his lone All-Star nod with a .291 BA, 20 dingers and 80 ribbies. Jack Clark supplied a .320 BA with 11 long balls prior to a season-ending injury in mid-June. Dan “Dazzle” Gladden ignited the offense following his recall from the minor leagues in late June, posting a .351 BA and swiping 31 bags.

Jack Clark is ranked 27th among right fielders according to Bill James in “The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.” “Original” Giants teammates listed in the “NBJHBA” top 100 rankings include George Foster (34th-LF), Gary Matthews (46th-LF), Garry Maddox (56th-CF), Chili Davis (64th-RF), Chris Speier (68th-SS) and Dave Kingman (98th-LF).  Al Oliver (31th-CF), Manny Trillo (49th-2B) and Dusty Baker (54th-LF) make the register for the “Actual” Giants. 

  Original 1984 Giants                              Actual 1984 Giants

Gary Matthews LF 2.68 22.93 Jeffrey Leonard LF 2.38 20.37
Dan Gladden CF 2.81 16.46 Dan Gladden CF 2.81 16.46
Chili Davis RF/CF 4.19 21.58 Chili Davis RF/CF 4.19 21.58
John Rabb 1B -0.14 1.01 Scot Thompson 1B 0.35 6.89
2B Manny Trillo 2B 0.76 8.83
Johnnie LeMaster SS -0.47 7.23 Johnnie LeMaster SS -0.47 7.23
Chris Brown 3B 0.31 2.26 Joel Youngblood 3B -0.89 9.5
Bob Brenly C 3.58 21.32 Bob Brenly C 3.58 21.32
Dave Kingman DH 2.49 21.48 Jack Clark RF 2.01 11.84
George Foster LF 1.16 18.27 Dusty Baker RF 1.19 8.81
Jack Clark RF 2.01 11.84 Al Oliver 1B -0.85 6.56
Bob Kearney C 0.26 8.63 Steve Nicosia C 0.79 4.99
Garry Maddox CF 0.53 6.67 Brad Wellman 2B -0.45 3.74
Chris Speier SS -0.24 2.96 Chris Brown 3B 0.31 2.26
Rob Deer LF 0.28 1.24 Fran Mullins 3B 0.24 2.08
Randy Gomez C -0.02 0.18 Gene Richards LF -0.04 1.92
Tom O’Malley 3B -0.5 0.03 Rob Deer LF 0.28 1.24
Jose Morales -0.19 0 John Rabb 1B -0.14 1.01
Casey Parsons -0.01 0 Duane Kuiper 2B -1.06 0.82
Randy Gomez C -0.02 0.18
Joe Pittman SS -0.17 0.12
Alejandro Sanchez RF -0.4 0.08
Tom O’Malley 3B -0.29 0.01

Bob Knepper rebounded from an 11-28 mark in the previous two campaigns to achieve a 15-10 record with a 3.20 ERA and 1.190 WHIP. Gary Lavelle notched 12 saves and fashioned a 2.76 ERA as the primary closer. Frank Williams collected 9 victories in a long relief role during his rookie year.

  Original 1984 Giants                                   Actual 1984 Giants

Bob Knepper SP 2.16 12.43 Bill Laskey SP -0.02 4.8
Pete Falcone SP 0.91 5.33 Mike Krukow SP -1.04 3.94
John Montefusco SP 0.58 3.27 Jeff D. Robinson SP -0.67 2.84
Jeff D. Robinson SP -0.67 2.84 Atlee Hammaker SP 0.96 2.28
Mark Calvert SP -0.39 0.22 George Riley SP 0.19 0.98
Gary Lavelle RP 1.78 7.85 Gary Lavelle RP 1.78 7.85
Frank Williams RP 0.43 5.7 Greg Minton RP -0.02 6.29
John Henry Johnson RP 1.22 4.39 Frank Williams RP 0.43 5.7
Scott Garrelts SW -1.13 0 Randy Lerch RP 0.11 2.58
Gorman Heimueller RP -0.7 0 Bob Lacey RP -0.07 1.51
Mark Grant SP -1.1 0 Renie Martin RP -0.09 0.99
Mark Calvert SP -0.39 0.22
Mark W. Davis SP -1.91 0.18
Jeff Cornell RP -1.25 0
Scott Garrelts SW -1.13 0
Mark Grant SP -1.1 0

Notable Transactions

Gary Matthews

November 17, 1976: Signed as a Free Agent with the Atlanta Braves.

March 25, 1981: Traded by the Atlanta Braves to the Philadelphia Phillies for Bob Walk.

March 26, 1984: Traded by the Philadelphia Phillies with Porfi Altamirano and Bob Dernier to the Chicago Cubs for Bill Campbell and Mike Diaz.

Dave Kingman

February 28, 1975: Purchased by the New York Mets from the San Francisco Giants for $150,000.

June 15, 1977: Traded by the New York Mets to the San Diego Padres for Paul Siebert and Bobby Valentine.

September 6, 1977: Selected off waivers by the California Angels from the San Diego Padres.

September 15, 1977: Traded by the California Angels to the New York Yankees for Randy Stein and cash.

November 2, 1977: Granted Free Agency.

November 30, 1977: Signed as a Free Agent with the Chicago Cubs.

February 28, 1981: Traded by the Chicago Cubs to the New York Mets for Steve Henderson and cash.

January 30, 1984: Released by the New York Mets.

March 29, 1984: Signed as a Free Agent with the Oakland Athletics.

George Foster

May 29, 1971: Traded by the San Francisco Giants to the Cincinnati Reds for Frank Duffy and Vern Geishert.

February 10, 1982: Traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the New York Mets for Greg Harris, Jim Kern and Alex Trevino.

Bob Knepper

December 8, 1980: Traded by the San Francisco Giants with Chris Bourjos to the Houston Astros for Enos Cabell.

Honorable Mention

The 1906 New York Giants 

OWAR: 65.9     OWS: 361     OPW%: .591     (91-63)

AWAR: 50.8       AWS: 287      APW%: .632    (96-56)

WARdiff: 15.1                        WSdiff: 74

The New York Giants secured the organization’s fourth consecutive pennant in 1906 with a record of 91-63, placing three games in front of the St. Louis Cardinals. Third-sacker Art Devlin pilfered 54 bases and delivered a .299 BA. Harry H. Davis topped the leader boards with 12 big-flies and 96 ribbies. Converted outfielder Cy Seymour nabbed 29 bags and drove in 80 baserunners while “Wee” Willie Keeler batted .304 with 23 steals. Christy Mathewson furnished 22 victories along with a 2.97 ERA. Left-hander Hooks Wiltse recorded 16 wins with an ERA of 2.27 and a WHIP of 1.143.

On Deck

What Might Have Been – The “Original” 2004 Royals

References and Resources

Baseball America – Executive Database


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.

Retrosheet – Transactions Database

The information used here was obtained free of charge from and is copyrighted by Retrosheet. Interested parties may contact Retrosheet at “www.retrosheet.org”.

Seamheads – Baseball Gauge

Sean Lahman Baseball Archive

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.

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