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 1997 Boston Red Sox
OWAR: 63.7 OWS: 317 OPW%: .583 (94-68)
AWAR: 41.4 AWS: 234 APW%: .481 (78-84)
WARdiff: 22.3 WSdiff: 83
The “Original” 1997 Red Sox cruised to the pennant by a ten-game margin over the Yankees. Jeff Bagwell delivered a 30/30 season (43 HR / 31 SB), drove in a career-high 135 baserunners, rapped 40 doubles and coaxed 127 walks. Brady Anderson followed his 50-home run campaign in ’96 with 39 two-base knocks and 18 dingers. A trio of “Original” and “Actual” Sox infielders provided additional firepower in Boston’s stacked lineup. Nomar Garciaparra (.306/30/98) merited the 1997 AL Rookie of the Year Award as he registered 209 base hits, 122 runs scored, 44 doubles, 11 triples and 22 stolen bases. Mo “Hit Dog” Vaughn slammed 35 circuit clouts and supplied a .315 BA. John Valentin (.306/18/77) led the League with 47 two-baggers.
1B Jeff Bagwell and 3B Wade Boggs placed fourth at their respective positions in the “The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract” top 100 player rankings. “Original” Red Sox teammates specified in the “NBJHBA” top 100 rankings include Roger Clemens (11th-P), Mo Vaughn (51st-1B), Brady Anderson (63rd-CF) and Ellis Burks (77th-CF).
Original 1997 Red Sox Actual 1997 Red Sox
|Ellis Burks||LF/CF||1.03||13.6||Wil Cordero||LF||-1.26||10.76|
|Brady Anderson||CF||3.44||25.97||Darren Bragg||CF||0.28||10.71|
|Phil Plantier||RF/LF||-0.02||2.24||Troy O’Leary||RF||0.36||13.57|
|Mo Vaughn||DH/1B||3.2||22.31||Reggie Jefferson||DH||0.46||10.31|
|Jeff Bagwell||1B||7.47||30.58||Mo Vaughn||1B||3.2||22.31|
|John Valentin||2B||4.45||21.03||John Valentin||2B||4.45||21.03|
|Nomar Garciaparra||SS||4.19||25.54||Nomar Garciaparra||SS||4.19||25.54|
|Wade Boggs||3B||1.26||11.37||Tim Naehring||3B||1||8.1|
|John Flaherty||C||1.26||12.67||Scott Hatteberg||C||2.21||6.4|
|Tim Naehring||3B||1||8.1||Jeff Frye||2B||1.43||12.16|
|Scott Hatteberg||C||2.21||6.4||Mike Stanley||DH||1.17||8.52|
|Todd Pratt||C||0.63||4.46||Shane Mack||CF||0.15||3.59|
|Ryan McGuire||1B||-0.12||3.98||Mike Benjamin||3B||-0.06||1.52|
|John Marzano||C||0.05||2.39||Bill Haselman||C||0.09||0.88|
|Jody Reed||2B||-0.46||1.52||Rudy Pemberton||RF||-0.21||1.03|
|Danny Sheaffer||3B||-0.71||0.79||Jesus Tavarez||CF||-0.59||0.56|
|Scott Cooper||3B||-0.47||0.78||Curtis Pride||–||0.1||0.35|
|Michael Coleman||CF||-0.27||0.11||Arquimedez Pozo||3B||-0.02||0.31|
|Jose Malave||LF||-0.08||0.04||Jason Varitek||C||0.05||0.16|
|Walt McKeel||C||-0.04||0||Michael Coleman||CF||-0.27||0.11|
Roger Clemens (21-7, 2.05) collected the 1997 AL Cy Young Award while posting a personal-best with 292 whiffs. Curt Schilling (17-11, 2.97) overpowered the opposition with a career-high 319 strikeouts. Paul Quantrill furnished a 1.94 ERA in 77 relief appearances. Tom “Flash” Gordon notched 11 saves for the “Actuals”.
Original 1997 Red Sox Actual 1997 Red Sox
|Roger Clemens||SP||12||32.22||Tom Gordon||SP||3.72||15.2|
|Curt Schilling||SP||5.93||22.29||Tim Wakefield||SP||2.85||11.63|
|Aaron Sele||SP||0.64||6.71||Aaron Sele||SP||0.64||6.71|
|Frankie Rodriguez||SP||0.93||5.97||Jeff Suppan||SP||0.24||3.72|
|Jeff Suppan||SP||0.24||3.72||Chris Hammond||SP||-0.23||1.7|
|Paul Quantrill||RP||2.64||11.66||Butch Henry||SW||1.81||8.78|
|Ron Mahay||RP||0.71||3.4||John Wasdin||SW||1.23||7|
|Joe Hudson||RP||0.42||2.93||Jim Corsi||RP||0.78||6.01|
|Shayne Bennett||RP||0.34||1.51||Ron Mahay||RP||0.71||3.4|
|Reggie Harris||RP||-0.22||1.37||Joe Hudson||RP||0.42||2.93|
|Erik Plantenberg||RP||0.06||1.07||Ricky Trlicek||RP||-0.06||1.29|
|Josias Manzanillo||RP||-0.17||0.28||Robinson Checo||SP||0.41||1.24|
|Cory Bailey||RP||-0.33||0.21||Mark Brandenburg||RP||-0.12||1.21|
|Greg Hansell||RP||-0.24||0||Derek Lowe||RP||0.29||1.17|
|Brian Rose||SP||-0.17||0||Heathcliff Slocumb||RP||-0.52||1.14|
|Ken Ryan||RP||-1.09||0||Steve Avery||SP||-0.9||0.99|
November 5, 1996: Granted Free Agency.
December 13, 1996: Signed as a Free Agent with the Toronto Blue Jays.
August 30, 1990: Traded by the Boston Red Sox to the Houston Astros for Larry Andersen.
July 29, 1988: Traded by the Boston Red Sox with Curt Schilling to the Baltimore Orioles for Mike Boddicker.
July 29, 1988: Traded by Boston Red Sox with Brady Anderson to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Mike Boddicker.
January 10, 1991: Traded by Baltimore Orioles with Pete Harnisch and Steve Finley to the Houston Astros in exchange for Glenn Davis.
April 2, 1992: Traded by Houston Astros to Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for Jason Grimsley.
December 20, 1995: Granted free agency.
December 21, 1995: Signed by Philadelphia Phillies.
The 1927 Boston Red Sox
OWAR: 32.6 OWS: 230 OPW%: .463 (71-83)
AWAR: 13.7 AWS: 153 APW%: .331 (51-103)
WARdiff: 18.9 WSdiff: 77
The “Original” 1927 Red Sox tied for last place with the Indians yet managed to finish 20 games better than the “Actual” squad. Babe Ruth (.356/60/165) established the single-season home run record and paced the Junior Circuit with 158 runs scored, 137 walks, a .486 OBP and a .772 SLG. Tris Speaker sported a .327 BA and laced 43 two-base hits in his penultimate season.
What Might Have Been – The “Original” 1904 Superbas
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.