|Dock Ellis: born too early to be the Olympics' undisputed king of curlers...|
|Entering the picture: Dave Lopes, who didn't|
make it to the majors until the age of 27
1B: Rod Carew
2B: Dave Lopes, Ted Sizemore
SS: Larry Bowa, Hector Torres
3B: Bill Melton, Jerry Kenney
OF: Reggie Smith, Rick Monday, Hal McRae, Ralph Garr, Bobby Tolan, Jay Johnstone, Tony Conigliaro
As we saw with the 44s, the 45s might be better off platooning their cleanup hitter. (Is this a 60s thing? We're going to have to investigate this.)
Anyway, Lopes is clearly going to lead himself off, where he is clearly well-qualified, with good OBP, great base-stealing skills, and plus power for a guy batting #1. Davey has a pretty pronounced platoon split, but he's not so pathetic against RHP that he needs to be platooned. He will mash lefties, however.
You've got a lot of versatility with Carew in the #2 slot, as his career splits indicate that he's at his best with men on base.
And the man following him in the lineup might just be the most underrated hitter of his decade: Reggie Smith. (In the 70s, Reggie's 142 OPS+ ranked him fourth among all hitters with 4000 or more plate appearances, behind Willie Stargell, Reggie Jackson, and--Carew.
|The young Reggie Smith|
|Later in life, Tony C. became a different kind|
Offensively, however, the platoon might be a very good one: Rick Monday was very effective against RHP, while Tony Conigliaro could hit the bejesus out of lefties--at least he could when he had full sight in his left eye.
|A place where the man-embrace does|
not lead to the event horizon at the top
of Brokeback Mountain: Dave Duncan (r)
and Rollie Fingers clinch as the A's win
the 1972 World Series...
No matter how you sort that out, short-career Bill Melton is your sixth batter. As a hitter, Melton looked like a keeper at age 25 (he led the AL in HRs that year--1971), but injuries and lack of conditioning caused him to fade quickly.
|The "Larry Bowa bobblehead":|
certainly a harbinger of a
thousand heated arguments...
And finally, last but certainly least, we have Larry Bowa, whose harrowing transformation from nice-guy shortstop to the odds-on favorite to win the managerial mouth-foam sweepstakes in a cakewalk is, well, downright harrowing. And just wait until you see him hit...
|Ralph "Roadrunner" Garr: caught short|
Here's that batting order:
1. Lopes, 2b
2. Carew, 1b
3. Smith, rf
4. McRae, lf
5. Monday/Conigliaro, cf
6. Melton, 3b
7. Duncan, c
8. Bowa, ss
|Jim Palmer, demonstrating the reason why|
his nickname was "Cakes"...
|The 45s might actually need five Don|
Suttons on the staff to make up for
what looks to be a thin bullpen...
And, of course, there's Dock Ellis. Dock's "signifying" persona was one of the more interesting phenomena of the 70s and it's an open question as to whether he's preferable to Wise for the last slot in the rotation. There's also Dave Boswell, who blew his arm out after a 20-win season at age 24.
The 45s are top-heavy with starters, and have a thin, non-descript bullpen (Tom Murphy, Dick Drago, Horacio Pina, and Dick Woodson). This is going to be a problem.
I'm figuring it's 80% that this team finishes with less than 75 wins, and it's even money that they don't break 70. The 45s are not going to live up to the legacy of their birthyear, which produced V-E Day and V-J Day.