Long story short, a while ago Mike Lynch of Seamheads.com put out the word that they were looking for owners for Historical Simulation Baseball League. You pick a 40-man roster from everyone who has ever played for the franchise, using only their stats compiled for that franchise, and start the insanity. The pitcher Curt Schilling committed to run the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Bill James lined up to be owner of the Boston Red Sox. Roy Firestone from ESPN, a Baltimore guy, got the Orioles (apparently he's not even going to take any old St. Louis Browns). Joe Posnanski said he'd only do it if he could have his hometown Cleveland Indians and he got his hometown Cleveland Indians.
Jonah Keri of ESPN.com snapped up the Montreal Expos. New York Post lead sports columnist Mike Vaccaro has the Chicago White Sox. J.C. Bradbury of Sabernomics has the Braves. The Kansas City Star's Sam Mellinger has the Royals.
That is a regular Murderer's Row of media personalities and the hardest of the hardcore hardball enthusiasts. By now, you're probably wondering -- who h'own da Jays? Thanks for asking, Denis Lemieux from the 1977 film Slap Shot.
The owner of the Jays is ... me. (Can we get a shot of me? No, it would violate any number of public decency statutes. And it's owns. Owns.)
It turns out all those hundreds of hours from 1989-96 spent playing Earl Weaver Baseball on a Tandy computer might have had a practical purpose. (Looks like Mom and Dad were wrong.)
As noted, it's a 28-team league (the Rockies/Diamondbacks and Marlins/Rays have each been merged into single franchises). Please don't ask how it came to be me that balding fatass whose apparent claim to fame is being involved in a particularly lame lawsuit got the Jays.
What matters is that a 40-man roster has to selected. Players' performances derive only from the numbers they put up for the team. That means no sneaking Rickey Henderson or Phil Niekro on to the Jays roster based on a half-season or less with the team. Even Paul Molitor would be kind of dodgy, plus there's no DH in this league. Players' stats are also put in a historically neutral context. Suffice to say, Tony Batista's 41-homer season in 2000 doesn't look so good.
Suggestions are welcome, but here's a rough guesstimate of what the 40-man roster might look like:
- Lloyd Moseby, centre field
- Robbie Alomar, second base
- Carlos Delgado or Fred McGriff, first base
- George Bell, left field
- Jesse Barfield, right field
- Kelly Gruber, third base
- Ernie Whitt/Pat Borders, catcher
- Pitcher's spot in the order
- Tony Fernandez, shortstop
- Bench: Aaron Hill, Rance Mulliniks, Alex Rios, Vernon Wells
- Starting pitchers: Roger Clemens, Roy Halladay, Jimmy Key, Dave Stieb, Pat Hentgen, Doyle Alexander
- Bullpen: Tom Henke, Duane Ward, Paul Quantrill, B.J. Ryan, Scott Downs
- Position players: Joe Carter, corner outfield; Darrin Fletcher, catcher; Damaso Garcia, second base; Alfredo Griffin, shortstop; Orlando Hudson, second base; Willie Upshaw, first base; Devon White, centrefield
- Starting pitchers: A.J. Burnett, John Cerutti, Jim Clancy, Juan Guzman, David Wells
- Relievers: Mark Eichhorn, Billy Koch, Mike Timlin,
(Yes, Shoeless Joe played in Clevetown. He played 674 games in Cleveland flannels -- and back then, the uniforms were flannel -- and 648 with the Chisox. He hit .408, .395 and .373 his first three full seasons and, get this, finished second in the batting race each of those three seasons.)
Outplaying the post-1961 franchises -- Angels, Rangers, Mariners, Royals -- seems to be a reasonable goal. The floor is open to suggestions for roster moves. I apologize for the navel-gazing, self-obsessed post, but this should be a lot of fun.