Thursday, October 27, 2005
HOW TO BUILD A PERFECT BASEBALL TEAM
The Chicago White Sox became only the 5th team in baseball history to lead the league wire to wire and win the World Series, and only the third in the last 50 years. And the thing is, these teams are all amazingly similar in the way they were built. Great starting pitching, dominant bull pen, defensively very strong up the middle, offense built around a triple threat #3 hitter and power hitting #4, surrounded by a bunch of guys who get timely hits, can move the base runners, run the bases well, and play smart baseball. In fact, if you compare the 2005 White Sox to the 1984 Detroit Tigers, the similarities are uncanny!
The managers: Sparky Anderson and Ozzie Guillen. Ozzie is truly Sparky with a Latin accent! Both are likable with the gift of gab. Always great for a quote. Earn both the affection and respect of their players. Great students of the game, who not only understand how it is supposed to be played, but have great baseball instincts. Not afraid to be unconventional in right spot.
Starting Pitchers: You can't have a great team without great starting pitching! And both thee teams had it!
Jack Morris 19 -11 3.60
Dan Petry 18 - 8 3.24
Milt Wilcox 17 - 8 4.00
Juan Berriinger 11 - 10 3.48
2005 White Sox
Jon Garland 18 - 10 3.50
Mark Buerhle 16 - 8 3.12
Jose Contreras 15- 7 3.61
Freddie Garcia 14 - 8 3.87
Bull Pen: You can't go wire to wire without a dominating bull pen! Both these teams had it. The Sox played more bullpen by committee, with Hermanson, Cotts, Pettite, Visciano, and Jenks.
The 84 Tigers had two lights out closers, Aureliio Lopez and Willie Hernandez, set up by Doug Bair. Lopez and Hernandez combined for 19 wins, 44 saves, and a remarkable 278 innings pitched.
Defense up the middle: Both these teams were very strong up the middle.
Catchers: Lance Parrish (Det), AJ Pierzinski (Chi) Excellent arms, kept ball in front of them, block plate well
Double Play combo: Detroit's Alan Trammel and Lou Whitaker were baseballs best for a decade. The Sox Juan Uribe and Tadahito Iguchi remind me a great deal of them, especially Iguchi, who also has offensive skills very much like Whitaker.
Center field: Chet Lemon (Det) and Aaron Rowand. Lemon was the premier defensive center fielder of his day. Got a great jump on the ball, and had a strong arm. Rowan is speedier, runs down a lot of balls, not quite the arm of Lemon, but more than adequate.
Offense: Both teams had lead off hitters (Whittaker and Scott Posednik) with excellent on base percentages, who could run the bases well (although Whittaker had much more power). Number two hitters (Trammel and Iguchi) who hit for good average, could hit behind the runner, and run the bases well. Both offenses were built around the remarkably similar #3 hitters, Kirk Gibson (Det) and Jermaine Dye. Both Right Fielders. Both hit for average (around .280), hit with power (27 homers and 91 rbi's for Gibson, 31 and 86 for Dye), and could run the bases (29 steals for Gibson, 11 for Dye). These guys set the table for clean up hitters Lance Parish ( 33 hr and 98 rbi) and Chicago's Paul Konerko (40 hr and 100 rbi's).
There are other similarities also. Veteran DH's Darrell Evans and Carl Everett. Slick fielding third basemen with the knack of hitting timely home runs (Howard Johnson and Joe Crede).
So there you have it! The recipe for building a great baseball team!
1 smart Manager
4 great Starting pitchers
throw in a few strong arms in the bull pen
great defense up the middle
offense built around a triple threat #3 hitter
strong clean up hitter
That, my friends, is the recipe for a World Series winner!
Ann - So you're a Met's fan, eh?
dbackdad- you sir, are absolutely correct, Hernandez was both the Cy Young winner and the MVP
And I only had 2 1/2 glasses of wine. Not THAT drunk. :-)