Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Final roster cuts for 1967 (not until mid-May!)

Recently, I posted a roster review of the 1967 Cardinals on my 1967 baseball cards blog. After examining each player and each game they played, with the help of Baseball-Reference.com (for starting lineups) and Retrosheet.org (for every game played by each player - which is easier to verify the non-starters than by pulling up each game's boxscore in Baseball-Reference.com), it seemed like the Cardinals had 26 or 27 players on their squad during April and May.

Reader Patrick Farrell pointed me in the direction of an internet newspaper archive, and specifically, columns in some of the Florida papers on May 11, 1967.

Below is the transactions column from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune on May 11, 1967, which lists the players released or sent down as all teams scrambled to get down to the 25-man limit that late into the season. I wonder why this wasn't required by opening day? Does anyone have insight into this?

In my earlier review of the Phillies, I also noticed that they seem to have had 26 players on their roster in the early months, before Tito Francona was sold.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Yankees' All-1960s Team (Pitchers)

Last week I posted a column about the All-1960s Yankees' Batters. Here now is the pitching staff.

Pictured above are the top 6 pitchers (by innings pitched), plus #9 (Steve Hamilton) and #10 (Hal Reniff).

I don't have a card for #7 Bill Stafford, and I have bypassed 1968 Rookie of the Year Stan Bahnsen for 2 reasons: He only had 2 significant seasons with the Yankees in the 1960s (whereas all the other pitchers had at least 4), and I also wanted to have some relief pitchers represented (Hamilton, Reniff).

(Click to enlarge)

This chart shows innings pitched and games started for those pitchers who had 200 or more innings pitched for the Yankees in the decade. Next to their name is the number of years with the Yankees (in the 1960s), and the number of significant years (50 or more innings pitched in a season).

(see: Whitey Ford, Ralph Terry, Jim Bouton, Hal Reniff)

(If anyone wants the entire list of 62 players, send me an email through my profile page.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Trades: Frank Robinson to the Orioles (Dec. 1965)

(The second in an occasional series about some of the big trades during the 1960s.)

On December 9, 1965 the Cincinnati Reds traded 10-year veteran Frank Robinson (their starting right fielder, a 6-time all-star, and the 1961 National League MVP) to the Baltimore Orioles for pitchers Milt Pappas and Jack Baldschun, and outfielder Dick Simpson.

Who got the better of this deal? In his first season with the Orioles, Robinson won the Triple Crown and AL MVP, and the Orioles won the World Series, so is there any need for debate? Let's look anyway:

Robinson had been a starter for the Reds since his rookie season. Primarily the right fielder, he was the regular left fielder in '56, '57, and '63, the regular 1st baseman in 1959, and in '58, '60, and '61 he split time between various outfield spots and 1st base. In the mid-1960s, the Reds had an abundance of good position players in Pete Rose, Tony Perez, Deron Johnson, Tommy Harper, youngsters Tommy Helms and Lee May, along with defensive specialists Vada Pinson and Chico Cardenas. What they lacked was good pitching. I guess they felt that after 10 years, Robinson would soon begin his decline, and therefore was the expendable one.

After the trade, Robinson won the 1966 Triple Crown and MVP, while leading the Orioles to their first-ever World Series appearance. The next season, he followed that up by batting .311 and hitting 30 homers and tallying 94 RBI, all while missing the month of July due to injuries. He would have 6 good seasons with the Orioles, then move on to the Dodgers and Angels before wrapping up with the Indians, first as a player, then as a player-manager for 2 seasons, before going on to manage the Giants, Orioles, Expos, and Nationals.

Righthander Milt Pappas had won in double figures for 8 straight seasons, and never turned in a losing season. After the trade, Milt had 2 good seasons with the Reds, then in mid-1968 was traded to the Braves in a 6-player deal that brought (among others) reliever Clay Carroll, who proved to be an important cog in the Big Red Machine of the 1970s. Pappas spent a few sub-par seasons with the Braves before resurrecting his career with the Cubs.

Jack Baldschun and Dick Simpson never played for the Orioles. In fact, they were each acquired (in separate trades) in the week leading up to the Robinson trade.

Baldschun had been the Phillies' bullpen ace from 1962 to 1965. He was acquired by the Orioles (for veteran outfielder Jackie Brandt and pitching prospect Darold Knowles) 3 days before being shipped on to Cincinnati. After the trade, Jack had 2 poor seasons in Cincinnati, followed by a complete season (1968) in the minors. He then moved on to the Padres.

Simpson had played in the Angels' minor-league system from 1961 to 1965, with brief callups to the Angels during those years. Seven days before the Robinson trade, Baltimore sent their 1965 starting 1st baseman Norm Siebern to California for Simpson. Simpson's career was a series of whistle stops over the 4 years after the trade.

Were these deals with Philadelphia and California engineered specifically to get the spare parts that the Reds needed to sweeten the (essentially) Robinson for Pappas deal? It seems likely, because although the Orioles weren't going to need Siebern anyway (because Boog Powell was going to take over 1st base on a full-time basis, after shuttling between 1B and LF) what would they need with Simpson? They had plenty of outfielders. Also, with Stu Miller, Dick Hall, and others in the bullpen, Baldschun seemed unnecessary.

ADVANTAGE: Orioles (in a slam-dunk!)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Yankees' All-1960s Team (Batters)

These are the top players at each position during the 1960s for the Yankees, the team America loved (well, maybe not everybody).

Although the decade ended badly for the Yankees, it started off as per usual, with 5 trips to the World Series in 5 years. Then the wheels started falling off.

Here are the players who made at least 20 starts for the team during the 1960s (click to enlarge):

Long-time Braves manager Bobby Cox made the all-rookie team in 1968!

(see: Elston Howard, Bobby Richardson, Tom Tresh, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris)