Hardball Retrospective – The “Original” 1931 Philadelphia Athletics

In “Hardball Retrospective: Evaluating Scouting and Development Outcomes for the Modern-Era Franchises”, I placed every ballplayer in the modern era (from 1901-present) on their original team. Therefore, Frank Tanana is listed on the Angels roster for the duration of his career while the White Sox declare Edd Roush and the Yankees claim Hippo Vaughn. I calculated revised standings for every season based entirely on the performance of each team’s “original” players. I discuss every team’s “original” players and seasons at length along with organizational performance with respect to the Amateur Draft (or First-Year Player Draft), amateur free agent signings and other methods of player acquisition.  Season standings, WAR and Win Shares totals for the “original” teams are compared against the “actual” team results to assess each franchise’s scouting, development and general management skills.

Expanding on my research for the book, the following series of articles will reveal the finest single-season rosters for every Major League organization based on overall rankings in OWAR and OWS along with the general managers and scouting directors that constructed the teams. “Hardball Retrospective” is available in digital format on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, GooglePlay, iTunes and KoboBooks. The paperback edition is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and CreateSpace. Supplemental Statistics, Charts and Graphs along with a discussion forum are offered at TuataraSoftware.com.

Don Daglow (Intellivision World Series Major League Baseball, Earl Weaver Baseball, Tony LaRussa Baseball) contributed the foreword for Hardball Retrospective. The foreword and preview of my book are accessible here.

Terminology

OWAR – Wins Above Replacement for players on “original” teams

OWS – Win Shares for players on “original” teams

OPW% – Pythagorean Won-Loss record for the “original” teams

Assessment

The 1931 Philadelphia Athletics    OWAR: 53.6     OWS: 347     OPW%: .524

Connie Mack acquired all of the ballplayers on the 1931 Athletics roster. Based on the revised standings the “Original” 1931 A’s finished in second place, two games behind the Yankees. Philadelphia paced the Junior Circuit in OWS and led the League in OWAR for the fourth straight season (1928-1931).

“Bucketfoot” Al Simmons (.390/22/128) collected his second successive batting title and placed third in the American League MVP balloting. Mickey Cochrane drilled 31 doubles and delivered a .349 BA. Max “Camera Eye” Bishop amassed over 100 bases on balls in eight consecutive seasons (1926-1933). Jimmie Foxx belted 30 round-trippers and drove in 120 baserunners. Charlie Grimm aka “Jolly Cholly” contributed a .331 BA with 33 doubles and 11 triples.

Jimmie Foxx ranks second to Lou Gehrig among first basemen while Lefty Grove places runner-up to Walter Johnson according to Bill James in “The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.” Teammates cataloged in the “NBJHBA” top 100 rankings include Cochrane (4th-C), Simmons (7th-LF), Wally Schang (20th-C), Bishop (43rd-2B), Jimmie Dykes (52nd-3B), Grimm (85th-1B), Joe Dugan (88th-3B) and Doc Cramer (91st-CF).

LINEUP POS WAR WS
Max Bishop 2B 5.27 24.91
Mickey Cochrane C 5.68 28.31
Al Simmons LF 5.89 33.75
Jimmie Foxx 3B/1B 3.93 24.11
Charlie Grimm 1B 3.02 20.08
Rube Bressler LF 0.39 3.09
Lou Finney RF 0.31 1.69
Dib Williams SS -0.32 9.16
BENCH POS WAR WS
Jimmie Dykes 3B 0.65 13.13
Charlie Berry C 1.88 10.79
Val Picinich C 0.18 1.41
Glenn Myatt C -0.05 3.87
Joe Palmisano C -0.1 0.72
Lena Styles C -0.15 0.73
Cy Perkins C -0.16 0.49
Joe Dugan 3B -0.19 0.09
Wally Schang C -0.32 1.16
Eric McNair 3B -0.35 5.71
Doc Cramer CF -0.54 3.61
Frank Sigafoos 3B -0.68 0.34
Joe Boley SS -1.15 3.29

Lefty Grove claimed the 1931 American League MVP award with a dominant performance including League-bests in victories (31), ERA (2.06), WHIP (1.077) and complete games (27). He also struck out the most batsmen in the circuit for the seventh year in a row. George “Moose” Earnshaw topped the 20-win plateau for the third straight season. Herb Pennock and Tom Zachary furnished 11 victories apiece.

ROTATION POS WAR WS
Lefty Grove SP 10.74 41.58
George Earnshaw SP 5.57 28.08
Tom Zachary SP 3.99 19.78
Herb Pennock SP 2.78 9.47
BULLPEN POS WAR WS
Eddie Rommel SP 2.6 12.06
Fred Heimach SP 0.85 9.61
Lew Krausse SP 0.11 0.92
Hank McDonald SP 0.05 3.95
Jim Peterson SW -0.1 0.3
Sol Carter RP -0.32 0
Bill Shores SP -0.64 0.14
Dolly Gray SP -0.95 9.99
Socks Seibold SP -1.22 6.27

The “Original” 1931 Philadelphia Athletics roster

NAME POS WAR WS General Manager Scouting Director
Lefty Grove SP 10.74 41.58 Connie Mack
Al Simmons LF 5.89 33.75 Connie Mack
Mickey Cochrane C 5.68 28.31 Connie Mack
George Earnshaw SP 5.57 28.08 Connie Mack
Max Bishop 2B 5.27 24.91 Connie Mack
Tom Zachary SP 3.99 19.78 Connie Mack
Jimmie Foxx 1B 3.93 24.11 Connie Mack
Charlie Grimm 1B 3.02 20.08 Connie Mack
Herb Pennock SP 2.78 9.47 Connie Mack
Eddie Rommel SP 2.6 12.06 Connie Mack
Charlie Berry C 1.88 10.79 Connie Mack
Fred Heimach SP 0.85 9.61 Connie Mack
Jimmie Dykes 3B 0.65 13.13 Connie Mack
Rube Bressler LF 0.39 3.09 Connie Mack
Lou Finney RF 0.31 1.69 Connie Mack
Val Picinich C 0.18 1.41 Connie Mack
Lew Krausse SP 0.11 0.92 Connie Mack
Hank McDonald SP 0.05 3.95 Connie Mack
Glenn Myatt C -0.05 3.87 Connie Mack
Jim Peterson SW -0.1 0.3 Connie Mack
Joe Palmisano C -0.1 0.72 Connie Mack
Lena Styles C -0.15 0.73 Connie Mack
Cy Perkins C -0.16 0.49 Connie Mack
Joe Dugan 3B -0.19 0.09 Connie Mack
Wally Schang C -0.32 1.16 Connie Mack
Dib Williams SS -0.32 9.16 Connie Mack
Sol Carter RP -0.32 0 Connie Mack
Eric McNair 3B -0.35 5.71 Connie Mack
Doc Cramer CF -0.54 3.61 Connie Mack
Bill Shores SP -0.64 0.14 Connie Mack
Frank Sigafoos 3B -0.68 0.34 Connie Mack
Dolly Gray SP -0.95 9.99 Connie Mack
Joe Boley SS -1.15 3.29 Connie Mack
Socks Seibold SP -1.22 6.27 Connie Mack

Honorable Mention

The “Original” 1911 Athletics            OWAR: 46.1     OWS: 303     OPW%: .597

Philadelphia coasted to the pennant by a nine-game margin over Boston. “Shoeless” Joe Jackson posted a .408 BA in his first full season. He collected 233 safeties, scored 126 runs and led the Junior Circuit with a .468 OBP. Eddie Collins swiped 38 bags while batting at a .365 clip. “Home Run” Baker (.334/11/115) topped the American League in circuit clouts for the first of four consecutive campaigns. Matty McIntyre totaled 102 runs and produced a .323 BA. “Gettysburg” Eddie Plank delivered a 23-8 record with a 2.10 ERA including six shutouts. Jack Coombs led the League with 28 victories despite allowing 360 hits in 336.2 innings pitched. Bris Lord aka the “Human Eyeball” supplied a .310 BA and accrued 92 tallies.

The “Original” 2002 Athletics            OWAR: 45.8     OWS: 304     OPW%: .578

Jason Giambi (.314/41/122) coaxed 109 bases on balls and tallied 120 runs as the ’02 squad finished five games ahead of the Angels for the American League pennant. Miguel Tejada (.308/34/131) achieved MVP honors and made his first All-Star appearance while registering 108 aces and 204 base knocks. Barry Zito claimed the Cy Young Award with a record of 23-5 and an ERA of 2.75. Tim Hudson contributed 15 victories and a 2.98 ERA while portsider Mark Mulder accrued 19 wins. Eric Chavez launched 34 long balls, drove in 109 baserunners and earned the second of six consecutive Gold Glove Awards.

On Deck

The “Original” 1907 Phillies

References and Resources

Baseball America – Executive Database

Baseball-Reference

James, Bill. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. New York, NY.: The Free Press, 2001. Print.

James, Bill, with Jim Henzler. Win Shares. Morton Grove, Ill.: STATS, 2002. Print.

Retrosheet – Transactions Database

Seamheads – Baseball Gauge

Sean Lahman Baseball Archive



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Derek Bain is a New Jersey native with a passion for baseball, statistics, computers and video games. He has written a number of articles for Fangraphs and Seamheads, and enjoys spending quality time with his family.

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