|Carlton Fisk (l) and some members of the '73 Red Sox help|
Thurman Munson (center) "do the limbo"...
Here's the roster:
C: Bench, Fisk, Munson, Johnson
1B: Darrell Evans
2B: Wayne Garrett, Bill Stein
SS: Roger Metzger, Fred Stanley
3B: Richie Hebner, Don Money
There will probably be some complex platooning here, something like what you see in the chart at the right. It's clear, however, that the 47s pretty much have to carry all those middle infielders so that they can simply pinch-hit for their second basemen as often as necessary. (That way Munson can get at least 200 PAs during the season.)
In keeping with our unorthodox batting order practices, the 47s are going to lead off with Ken Singleton. Earl Weaver gave this idea a shot in 1975, and it worked well for the Orioles (though they wound up in second place in the NL East that year). Singleton's lifetime .388 OBP is the fifth highest of all players born in the 1940s. There's enough power further down the lineup to make this a safe move.
The 47s have the luxury of playing Larry Hisle against lefties. Hisle is an almost completely forgotten player, but he had some big years for the Twins and Brewers before injuries curtailed his career. Hisle's 1976 and 1977 seasons are more productive seasons than any individual years posted by Otis or Cruz.
|Cliff Johnson eyes a lefty pitcher...|
Johnson .514 SLG, .905 OPS
Evans .399 SLG, .744 OPS
Trust me, you will not regret this move.
|Richie Hebner: from grave-digger to|
|This is not something to be|
found in your grandmother's
As we noted earlier, the 47s will have the opportunity to do some massive pinch-hitting in their #8 slot. They can actually afford to bat for their entire keystone platoon (Wayne Garrett and Bill Stein--that's Bill, not Ben...!) with Munson et al and still have Chicken Stanley available for some late-inning leather (hmm...methinks there might have been a late 70s porno flick with that title, featuring any one of several "early blooming overachievers" who gave the grotesquely gifted Ron Jeremy a heart rate far too dangerously elevated for someone with one--and only one--sharp edge).
So here's the batting order with all of the platoons (L/R):
1. Singleton rf
2. Otis cf
3. Hisle/Cruz lf
|In the starting rotation: Nolan Ryan...and a whole lot of very little else.|
5. Johnson/Evans 1b
6. Fisk c/Hebner 3b
7. Money ss
8. Stein/Garrett 2b
These boys will score, with or without that leather nun. But once again, we see a team in the showdown with spotty pitching. Yes, you have Nolan Ryan on this squad--and you're probably going to have to give him 40 starts, given that the rest of the rotation includes the likes of Joe Coleman, Steve Stone, Larry Gura and Bob Moose.
One can quickly envision how this is likely to go. Ryan will put up numbers that look similar to his first breakout years with the Angels--let's say 19-16. The other four chimps here look like 8-13, 9-14, 10-13, and 8-12 types: add all that up and you have 54-67. That looks like a recipe for about 70 wins.
But the problem is that the horses will too often be out of the barn before it's even possible to think about closing the door. Frankly, this team's chances to reach .500 probably rest on a manager pushing Ryan for 44-45 starts and yanking the Big Steerhead in the seventh half the time so that a) the bullpen can save a few more wins for him and b) his arm stays attached to his body for the entire season.
So--an interesting team, top-heavy with catching talent, a squad that is made for someone with a serious jones for overmanaging. What's really interesting is that, so far as I can tell, we haven't got a major or a minor-league manager on this squad. Who's going to do all that overmanaging?
Here are a few possibilities, from the list of people born in 1947:
|Is this the future face of Tim Lincecum??|
|A legend in his own mind, just like Larry Bowa...|
This probably has to be a College of Coaches kinda thing here, which sorta kinda means that the 47s are becoming the Chicago Cubs of the Birthyear Showdown. I think it comes down to two choices, reflecting the odd schizophrenia inherent in the second year of the Baby Boom--either Iggy Pop (the Billy Martin of rock'n'roll) or The Legendary Stardust Cowboy (the Larry Bowa of psychobilly). Let's face it, fringe teams need to be managed by lunatics.