Hardball Retrospective – The “Original” 1946 Detroit Tigers

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, Minnie Minoso is listed on the Indians roster for the duration of his career while the Giants declare Hack Wilson and the Mariners claim Ichiro Suzuki. 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. Additional information and 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 1946 Detroit Tigers         OWAR: 58.3     OWS: 303     OPW%: .599

GM Jack Zeller acquired 42.5% (17/40) of the ballplayers on the 1946 Tigers roster and fellow front office executive Mickey Cochrane added 35% (14/40). Based on the revised standings the “Original” 1946 Tigers topped the Junior Circuit in OWAR but finished two games behind the Red Sox.

The Tigers’ ferocious rotation featured future Hall of Famer Hal Newhouser (26-9, 1.94). “Prince Hal” led the circuit in victories for the third consecutive season, collected his second straight ERA title and paced the League with a 1.069 WHIP. Newhouser finished runner-up in the MVP race following back-to-back MVP Awards in 1944-45. Dizzy Trout recorded 17 wins and fashioned an ERA of 2.34. Johnny Sain (20-14, 2.21) returned from military service and notched at least 20 victories in four of the next five campaigns. Fred Hutchinson (14-11, 3.09) and Virgil Trucks (14-9, 3.23) bolstered the back-end of the rotation. Schoolboy Rowe contributed an 11-4 record with a 2.12 in 16 starts.

ROTATION POS WAR WS
Hal Newhouser SP 9.36 32.87
Dizzy Trout SP 7.4 26.31
Johnny Sain SP 5.61 25.08
Fred Hutchinson SP 4.37 18.35
Virgil Trucks SP 3.26 16.57
BULLPEN POS WAR WS
Jake Wade RP 0.71 3.5
Art Herring RP 0.06 5.83
Johnny Gorsica RP -0.04 0.94
Rufe Gentry RP -0.33 0
Tommy Bridges RP -0.5 0.02
Schoolboy Rowe SP 3.67 13.83
Rip Sewell SP 0.99 8.5
Lou Kretlow SP 0.3 1.23
Art Houtteman SP -0.27 0.11
Stubby Overmire SP -0.33 2.88
Ted Gray SP -0.54 0
Hal Manders RP -0.66 0.13

In his penultimate campaign Hank Greenberg clubbed 44 circuit clouts and knocked in 127 runs to lead the American League in both categories for the fourth time. Rudy York (.276/17/119) eclipsed the century mark in RBI for the sixth time in his career. Roy Cullenbine posted a .335 BA with a .477 OBP while fellow outfielder Barney McCosky batted at a .318 clip.

Greenberg placed 8th among first basemen according to Bill James in “The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.” In addition to “Hammerin’ Hank,” seven ballplayers from the 1946 Tigers ballclub registered in the “NBJHBA” top 100 rankings including Hal Newhouser (36th-P), Rudy York (56th-1B), Virgil Trucks (61st-P), Birdie Tebbetts (64th-C), Roy Cullenbine (68th-RF), Barney McCosky (70th-CF) and Hoot Evers (100th-LF).

LINEUP POS WAR WS
Roy Cullenbine RF 6.04 25.25
Barney McCosky CF 1.56 14.22
Hank Greenberg LF/1B 6.76 30.62
Rudy York 1B 2.19 21.74
Mike Tresh C 0.63 7.81
Johnny Lipon SS 0.14 0.97
Don Ross 3B 0.11 4.23
Mark Christman 2B/3B -1.02 8.28
LINEUP POS WAR WS
Les Fleming 1B 2.34 12.6
Hoot Evers CF 1.82 10.26
Dick Wakefield LF 1.52 14.7
Chet Laabs RF 1.25 8.67
Frank Secory LF 0.29 1.63
Pat Mullin RF 0.21 5.52
Birdie Tebbetts C 0.14 7.2
Bob Swift C 0.07 2.93
Mickey Rocco 1B 0.07 2.18
Ned Harris -0.01 0
George Archie 1B -0.07 0.07
Johnny Groth CF -0.16 0.07
George Metkovich RF -0.22 7.62
Gene Desautels C -0.45 2.1
Anse Moore LF -0.54 1.15

 

The “Original” 1946 Detroit Tigers roster

NAME POS WAR WS General Manager
Hal Newhouser SP 9.36 32.87 Jack Zeller
Dizzy Trout SP 7.4 26.31 Mickey Cochrane
Hank Greenberg 1B 6.76 30.62 Frank Navin
Roy Cullenbine RF 6.04 25.25 Mickey Cochrane
Johnny Sain SP 5.61 25.08 Mickey Cochrane
Fred Hutchinson SP 4.37 18.35 Jack Zeller
Schoolboy Rowe SP 3.67 13.83 Frank Navin
Virgil Trucks SP 3.26 16.57 Mickey Cochrane
Les Fleming 1B 2.34 12.6 Jack Zeller
Rudy York 1B 2.19 21.74 Frank Navin
Hoot Evers CF 1.82 10.26 Jack Zeller
Barney McCosky CF 1.56 14.22 Mickey Cochrane
Dick Wakefield LF 1.52 14.7 Jack Zeller
Chet Laabs RF 1.25 8.67 Mickey Cochrane
Rip Sewell SP 0.99 8.5 Mickey Cochrane
Jake Wade RP 0.71 3.5 Mickey Cochrane
Mike Tresh C 0.63 7.81 Mickey Cochrane
Lou Kretlow SP 0.3 1.23 George Trautman
Frank Secory LF 0.29 1.63 Jack Zeller
Pat Mullin RF 0.21 5.52 Mickey Cochrane
Birdie Tebbetts C 0.14 7.2 Frank Navin
Johnny Lipon SS 0.14 0.97 Jack Zeller
Don Ross 3B 0.11 4.23 Mickey Cochrane
Bob Swift C 0.07 2.93 Mickey Cochrane
Mickey Rocco 1B 0.07 2.18 Jack Zeller
Art Herring RP 0.06 5.83 Frank Navin
Ned Harris -0.01 0 Jack Zeller
Johnny Gorsica RP -0.04 0.94 Jack Zeller
George Archie 1B -0.07 0.07 Jack Zeller
Johnny Groth CF -0.16 0.07 George Trautman
George Metkovich RF -0.22 7.62 Jack Zeller
Art Houtteman SP -0.27 0.11 Jack Zeller
Stubby Overmire SP -0.33 2.88 Jack Zeller
Rufe Gentry RP -0.33 0 Jack Zeller
Gene Desautels C -0.45 2.1 Mickey Cochrane
Tommy Bridges RP -0.5 0.02 Frank Navin
Ted Gray SP -0.54 0 Jack Zeller
Anse Moore LF -0.54 1.15 George Trautman
Hal Manders RP -0.66 0.13 Jack Zeller
Mark Christman 3B -1.02 8.28 Mickey Cochrane

 

Honorable Mention

The “Original” 1915 Tigers     OWAR: 52.4     OWS: 299     OPW%: .598

Detroit edged Boston by a single game to secure the American League pennant in 1915. Ty Cobb (.369/3/99) swiped a career-high 96 bases while accruing 51 Win Shares and 9.5 WAR. “The Georgia Peach” claimed his ninth consecutive batting title and topped the leader boards with 144 runs scored, 208 safeties and a .486 OBP. Bobby Veach (.313/3/112) delivered League-bests in RBI and doubles (40). Ossie Vitt registered 116 tallies. Hooks Dauss established a personal record with 24 victories.

On Deck

The “Original” 1983 Cardinals

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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