|Anatomy of the USA baby boom, |
|Percent of black ballplayers in MLB, 1947-1986|
Catchers--Ted Simmons, Rick Dempsey, Fred Kendall, Johnny Wockenfuss
First basemen--Cecil Cooper, Mike Hargrove, Andre Thornton, John Mayberry
Second basemen--Bobby Grich, Phil Garner, Lenny Randle
Third basemen--Mike Schmidt
Outfielders--Dusty Baker, George Hendrick, Don Baylor, Ben Oglivie, Bake McBride, Garry Maddox, Richie Zisk, Oscar Gamble, Bill Buckner
|"Two-thirds of the earth is covered by|
water; the other third by Garry Maddox."
OK, OK, we'll play him, despite the
ungodly stack of big sticks in the OF...
The jam-up of talent in the outfield is about as daunting a proposition as any manager could have to deal with, as the career data chart indicates. The guys in green are really the only ones you can trust to play center field; some of the career defensive numbers in the Sean Smith WAR system seem unduly harsh (George Hendrick's -5.5 leaps out as some kind of anomaly), but it's clear that there's very little advantage to be found in any single configuration of players.
Platooning is the only answer here. We'll go with the following:
|Ted "Simba" Simmons|
|Not aerodynamically sound: Oscar Gamble.|
McBride and Maddox in center;
Oglivie and Zisk in right.
That leaves Baylor, Hendrick and Gamble to come out swinging off the bench.
Elsewhere, things are more cut and dried. You're gonna play Ted Simmons just as much as possible behind the plate, except possibly against the squads with big base stealers (where wise-ass but big-armed Rick Dempsey will get a few chances to do the thing he did best aside from shoot off his mouth).
|He made his mark in|
Milwaukee: Cecil Cooper.
Bobby Grich is going to play every game at second base.
So, unfortunately, will be the case with Frank Taveras at short. Trust us, the alternatives among the other SS born in 1949 are even worse.
|Mike Schmidt, perfectly balanced at the horizon line...|
So that lineup is going to look something like this (left handed platoon first, then right):
1. McBride cf/Baker lf
2. Hargrove lf/Grich 2b
3. Simmons c
4. Schmidt 3b
5. Cooper/Thornton 1b
6. Oglivie/Zisk rf
7. Grich 2b/Maddox cf
8. Taveras ss
Except for that black hole at SS, this team has some nice pop.
Pity there's no room for Johnny Wockenfuss.
The pitching staff is pretty well balanced and ought to hold up reasonably well. There are no superstars here, but a rotation of Vida Blue, Rick Reuschel, Jerry Reuss, Steve Rogers and some combination as yet to be determined between Mike Caldwell and Rogelio (Roger) Moret seems as though it could hold its own.
|Rick "Big Daddy" Reuschel...|
|...and Al "The Mad Hungarian"|
The rest of the pen features Gary Lavelle, Jim Kern, Steve Foucault and Doug Bair. Some possible control issues for most of these guys, so this just might the team's only real Achilles' heel.
Do I think this team could win it all? Well, just maybe. They have to carry Taveras, but they will score some runs anyway (projected to around 760). They need some fancy pitching out of the top end of their rotation, particularly Vida Blue. I'd be pretty surprised if they came in with less than 85-87 wins.
|So just who is Vida Blue talking to, if you catch my drift? |
And just what kind of a cigarette is that, Beauregard??