Thursday, October 16, 2008

Zen Dayley: A Toronto Top 40 you won't hear on Q107

They could have had Geddy Lee -- he's a Jays fan. They could have had The Tao of Stieb. They could have had Drunk Jays Fans. They could have got Mike Wilner, Mike Hogan, Mike Toth (gee, that's a lot of Mike manning the mics in the Toronto sports media). What about Jerry Howarth?

Long story short, a while ago Mike Lynch of 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 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:

Starting lineup

  1. Lloyd Moseby, centre field
  2. Robbie Alomar, second base
  3. Carlos Delgado or Fred McGriff, first base
  4. George Bell, left field
  5. Jesse Barfield, right field
  6. Kelly Gruber, third base
  7. Ernie Whitt/Pat Borders, catcher
  8. Pitcher's spot in the order
  9. 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
The second XV
  • 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,
It is a given that the Jays will be up against it when the face the Yankees, Red Sox or any of the charter American League franchises (A's, Orioles, White Sox, Indians, Tigers and Twins) who date back to 1901. At this moment, Joe Posnanski is taking suggestions from readers on whether he should have Tris Speaker or Larry Doby, two of the all-time greats, as his centrefielder, to say nothing of the young version of Kenny Lofton. He's got so many corner outfielders to pick from -- Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez, Rocky Colavito, et al. -- that he didn't even include Shoeless Joe Jackson among the possibilities.

(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.


Tyler King said...

This is awesometacularity on a variety of levels. Kelly Gruber seem a bit high in the order though?

How exactly are games/seasons/however on earth you outperform other teams done?

Anonymous said...

Morris or Dave Stewarts over Cerutti
Dennis Lamp or Bill Caudill for Quantrill
Olerud for Upshaw

I say you take Clemens for whatever you can instead of Doyle Alexander..thats all I got for ya@

Duane Rollins said...

Let me just get this straight...

You're in a fantasy baseball league with Bill James.

That's just too cool!

Andrew Bucholtz said...

Great to hear: congratulations! Go and make us Blue Jays fans proud!

sager said...

It's not a fantasy league. It's a sim league, Duane.

For pitching staff, I went on the duration of their Jays career balanced out by ERA+.

Morris pitched two years for the Jays and his park-adjusted ERA+ was 102 and 70.

Stewart, two years, 98 and 82.

Clemens, two years, 221 and 174. I didn't want to take him, but he overpowered me.

I might platoon Rance with Kelly. I also had to take Rance since he could be backup shortstop in a pinch ... I'd rather have his

Caudill only threw 106 innings for the Jays. Lamp did not have league-average ERAs in 2 of his 3 Toronto seasons (yes, he had that 11-0 year, but it was kind of a fluke).

Again, the goal is to beat out the Rangers, Royals, Mariners and Brewers (who I believe will be an AL team).

Duane Rollins said...


But, yes, I suppose Lloyd Moseby isn't going to hit many doubles next year, is he.

Tyler King said...

Since when have I gotten to the point of being a 'd?

Anyway, Neate, what're they using to sim it?

sager said...

The first recorded instance of "Tyler'd" was a couple weeks ago. You said, "Awesome, I have been 'd," or words to that effect.

We're using Out of The Park baseball, but apparently we don't have to buy the game. You're familiar, I take it.

Tao of Stieb said...

BOOOOO!!! We demand a recount!

/getting our Rahim Jaffer on...

Anonymous said...

Leave Mr. Jaffer alone. Do you have any idea how hard it is for a Conservative to beat out a NDPer in Alberta?

Rob Pettapiece said...

My suggestions below.

Mostly the same, hitting-wise, except for one change: I'm assuming Glaus was here long enough to qualify; otherwise, drop him, add Gruber, and promote some outfielder to the taxi squad.

With the pitchers, it's the same argument for Cone over Hentgen; if you don't care about longevity, just flip them. Elsewhere, the glaring omission of Mark Eichhorn has been fixed.


1. Lloyd Moseby, centre field
2. Robbie Alomar, second base
3. George Bell, left field
4. Carlos Delgado/Fred McGriff, first base
5. Jesse Barfield, right field
6. Rance Mulliniks, third base
7. Ernie Whitt/Pat Borders, catcher
8. Pitcher's spot in the order
9. Tony Fernandez, shortstop


Whoever isn't catching
Whoever isn't playing first base
Troy Glaus
Vernon Wells
Alex Rios
Aaron Hill


Roger Clemens
Roy Halladay
Dave Stieb
Jimmy Key
David Cone
Doyle Alexander


Tom Henke
Mark Eichhorn (seriously, no Eichhorn?!)
Duane Ward
B.J. Ryan
Paul Quantrill

Les quinze autres:
Hitters: Otto Velez, Cliff Johnson, Joe Carter, John Mayberry, Kelly Gruber, Orlando Hudson, Gregg Zaun.

Pitchers: Pat Hentgen, Juan Guzman, Scott Downs, Tony Castillo, Justin Speier, Mike Timlin, Jim Clancy, A.J. Burnett.

sager said...

Eich really only had those 2 big years, 1986 and '87.

Good suggestion on Glaus ... his numbers for his two years with the Jays, he OPS+'d 122 and 120, despite his general dragassery.

Gruber's two best seasons he OPS+'d 123 and 127. It's a toss-up. If you needed power and OBP you'd go for Glaus, who is also a good fielder. Gruber's more of an all-around player, gap hitter, good percentage base stealer.

I might go Glaus at third with Rance to pinch-hit and be a utility man. He did play 206 games as a shortstop, believe it or not.

John said...

WOW. Earl Weaver Baseball. I have been trying to find a copy of this game for years - I haven't played it since grade school. Tell me you still have a copy! Anyone?