Thursday, May 8, 2014


We have another bumper crop of ballplayers as we sidewind across the ecliptic into "round six" of the Zodiac League. (Of course, there's a chance that we've become more inclusive as we've gone through the identification process, but a few extra names--with their ability to dredge up primordial memories for the reader--are probably Not A Bad Thing.)

We've gone from the Ram to the Bull, and that "progression" means that you're best advised not to mess with the horns. And that's very likely to be the case when opponents are coming up against the Taurus A-team, which boasts a solid Hall of Famer at every position and also tosses six Hall of Fame pitchers into its starting rotation.

The total number of Hall of Famers on the master roster (ID'ed, as usual, in red) is 26 (including Chipper Jones, whom we are simply conceding a future slot...), which is the highest yet for any of the astro-logical administrative units we've surveyed. The only place where we aren't at least two deep (and you always have to be careful where you walk when you're near someone who belongs to the "sign of the Bull") is at catcher.

The "A-team" looks like this:

Dan Brouthers, 1b
Rogers Hornsby, 2b
Barry Larkin, ss
Chipper Jones, 3b
Hack Wilson, lf
Willie Mays, cf
Tony Gwynn, rf
Yogi Berra, c

Starting pitchers are:
Warren Spahn, Ed WalshHal NewhouserRed RuffingChief BenderEppa Rixey

Relievers are:
Wilcy MooreClay CarrollLarry AndersenScott StricklandJesse Orosco

From the master lists (above), you are cheerfully invited to pick your own bench players. Note that we've shown certain players (all outfielders, if we're not mistaken) who are shown in green. Those hitters all share a common trait: they were all highly prized pinch-hitters during their careers. This is one of the unusual features of this astrological sign--a clustering of guys who could pick the splinters out of their butts and deliver a key hit coming off the bench.

The B-team, as always, is somewhat less renowned by institutional standards (though not by much, as we'll see...), but is likely to be a formidable team in its league. Consider:

Jim Bottomley, 1b; Eddie Collins, 2b; Luis Aparicio, ss; George Brett, 3b; Earl Averill, lf; Earle Combs, cf; Reggie Jackson, rf; John Roseboro, c

You've got seven Hall of Famers in the starting lineup there, though Aparicio joins Roseboro as being something of a weak stick. The pitchers are less Cooperstowny (if you will...), but there are some fabulous guys to make up the starting rotation:

John Smoltz, Roy Halladay, Mike Cuellar, Chris Carpenter, Rick Reuschel, Jack Morris

Nice astral touch, there, by putting into the same rotation the two guys (Reuschel and Morris) who fuel the most passionately dyspeptic Hall of Fame debates in the great tradition of Cooperstown bickering. (Perhaps we'll run a thousand simulations of the Zodiac "B" League and isolate on the overall performance of these two, just to add another log to the fire.)

The "B" bullpen is a bit ragged around its edges, but it will be a fun unit to watch:

Claude Raymond, Al McBean, Francisco Cordero, Luke Gregerson, Dave LaRoche

Gregerson will need to reinstate his moustache in order to regain what Jeff Angus characterizes as his "porn bonafides." While we've not come across any evidence that Luke has been doing any moonlighting in such a capacity, we do concur with the notion that there's definitely something at least subliminally prurient about that ' on the team he goes, if only to liven things up.

We're projecting at least 90 wins for the "A" team, and 85-90 wins for the "B" team. And, yes, that's no bullshit. We know when we're outgunned...