Hardball Retrospective – The “Original” 1948 Cleveland Indians

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, Mark Grace is listed on the Cubs roster for the duration of his career while the Dodgers declare Frank “Hondo” Howard and the Diamondbacks claim Dan Uggla. 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 La Russa 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 1948 Cleveland Indians         OWAR: 57.9     OWS: 291     OPW%: .606

GM C.C. Slapnicka acquired 52.5% (21/40) of the ballplayers on the 1948 Indians roster. Based on the revised standings the “Original” 1948 Indians outpaced the Red Sox, taking the American League pennant by eight games.

Lou Boudreau set personal-bests with a .355 batting average, 199 base hits, 18 dingers and 106 ribbies. “Old Shufflefoot” earned the 1948 American League MVP award and made his seventh All-Star appearance. Tommy “Old Reliable” Henrich (.308/25/100) topped the circuit with 138 runs scored and 14 triples. Ken Keltner posted career-highs in home runs (31), RBI (119) and runs (91). Larry Doby contributed a .308 BA with 83 tallies in his first full season. Jeff Heath swatted 20 big-flies and hit .319 for the Tribe while Dale Mitchell supplied a .336 BA with 204 base knocks and 30 two-baggers. Five-time All-Star backstop Jim “Shanty” Hegan clubbed 21 doubles and 14 taters.

Larry Doby placed 11th among center fielders according to Bill James in “The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.” Thirteen teammates join him in the top 100 rankings including Lou Boudreau (12th-SS), Bob Feller (12th-P), Al Rosen (14th-3B), Sherm Lollar (31st-C), Tommy Henrich (34th-RF), Ken Keltner (35th-3B), Jeff Heath (44th-LF), Jim Hegan (44th-C), Bob Lemon (48th-P), Ray Boone (69th-3B), Eddie Robinson (86th-1B), Phil Masi (93th-C) and Dale Mitchell (95th-LF).

LINEUP POS WAR WS
Lou Boudreau SS 9.79 34.4
Ken Keltner 3B 6.34 24.93
Tommy Henrich 1B/RF 5.76 28.94
Larry Doby CF 3.34 18.28
Jeff Heath RF/LF 3.25 20.16
Dale Mitchell LF 2.97 20.43
Jim Hegan C 1.7 17.08
Jack Conway 2B 0.13 1.4
BENCH POS WAR WS
Eddie Robinson 1B -0.3 9.18
Dick Kokos RF 0.63 7.03
Phil Masi C 0.46 9.73
Mike McCormick LF 0.4 10.59
Hank Edwards RF 0.36 4.46
Joe Tipton C 0.32 2.97
Pat Seerey RF 0.25 9.75
Cliff Mapes LF 0.18 2.1
Ray Boone SS 0.07 0.28
Al Rosen 3B -0.05 0.02
Ray Murray -0.06 0
Pete Milne CF -0.19 0.07
Sherm Lollar C -0.38 0.4
Johnny Blatnik LF -0.47 8.46
Ralph Weigel C -0.5 1.25

Bob Lemon (20-14, 2.82) paced the Junior Circuit with 293.2 innings pitched, 20 complete games, 10 shutouts and a 1.226 WHIP. Johnny “Bear Tracks” Schmitz earned his second All-Star nod with a record of 18-13 along with a 2.64 ERA while Joe “Burrhead” Dobson (16-10, 3.56) made his lone appearance in the Mid-Summer Classic. Allie Reynolds (16-7, 3.77) battled control problems as he yielded over 100 walks eight times in his first nine seasons. Bob Feller (19-15, 3.56) led the League in strikeouts.

ROTATION POS WAR WS
Bob Lemon SP 7.06 25.52
Johnny Schmitz SP 3.99 22.37
Joe Dobson SP 3.68 19.36
Allie Reynolds SP 3.46 15.58
BULLPEN POS WAR WS
Steve Gromek SW 1.48 9.66
Mike Garcia RP 0.1 0.26
Ernest Groth RP -0.05 0
Hal White RP -0.67 0.77
Bob Feller SP 2.38 16.44
Sheldon Jones SP 2.33 14.58
Satchel Paige SP 1.72 6.79
Denny Galehouse SP 1.49 9.68
Red Embree SP 0.68 4.61
Doyle Lade SP 0.21 4.56
Thornton Lee SP -0.26 0.84
Ray Poat SP -0.89 5.92
Bryan Stephens SP -1.25 1.84

 

The “Original” 1948 Cleveland Indians roster

NAME POS WAR WS General Manager Scouting Director
Lou Boudreau SS 9.79 34.4 C.C. Slapnicka
Bob Lemon SP 7.06 25.52 C.C. Slapnicka
Ken Keltner 3B 6.34 24.93 C.C. Slapnicka
Tommy Henrich RF 5.76 28.94 Billy Evans
Johnny Schmitz SP 3.99 22.37 C.C. Slapnicka
Joe Dobson SP 3.68 19.36 C.C. Slapnicka
Allie Reynolds SP 3.46 15.58 C.C. Slapnicka
Larry Doby CF 3.34 18.28 Bill Veeck
Jeff Heath LF 3.25 20.16 C.C. Slapnicka
Dale Mitchell LF 2.97 20.43 Roger Peckinpaugh
Bob Feller SP 2.38 16.44 C.C. Slapnicka
Sheldon Jones SP 2.33 14.58 C.C. Slapnicka
Satchel Paige SP 1.72 6.79 Bill Veeck
Jim Hegan C 1.7 17.08 C.C. Slapnicka
Denny Galehouse SP 1.49 9.68 Billy Evans
Steve Gromek SW 1.48 9.66 C.C. Slapnicka
Red Embree SP 0.68 4.61 C.C. Slapnicka
Dick Kokos RF 0.63 7.03 Roger Peckinpaugh
Phil Masi C 0.46 9.73 C.C. Slapnicka
Mike McCormick LF 0.4 10.59 C.C. Slapnicka
Hank Edwards RF 0.36 4.46 C.C. Slapnicka
Joe Tipton C 0.32 2.97 C.C. Slapnicka
Pat Seerey RF 0.25 9.75 Roger Peckinpaugh
Doyle Lade SP 0.21 4.56 C.C. Slapnicka
Cliff Mapes LF 0.18 2.1 C.C. Slapnicka
Jack Conway 2B 0.13 1.4 C.C. Slapnicka
Mike Garcia RP 0.1 0.26 Roger Peckinpaugh
Ray Boone SS 0.07 0.28 Roger Peckinpaugh
Al Rosen 3B -0.05 0.02 Roger Peckinpaugh
Ernest Groth RP -0.05 0 Bill Veeck
Ray Murray -0.06 0 Roger Peckinpaugh
Pete Milne CF -0.19 0.07 Roger Peckinpaugh
Thornton Lee SP -0.26 0.84 Billy Evans
Eddie Robinson 1B -0.3 9.18 Roger Peckinpaugh
Sherm Lollar C -0.38 0.4 Roger Peckinpaugh
Johnny Blatnik LF -0.47 8.46 C.C. Slapnicka
Ralph Weigel C -0.5 1.25 Roger Peckinpaugh
Hal White RP -0.67 0.77 C.C. Slapnicka
Ray Poat SP -0.89 5.92 Roger Peckinpaugh
Bryan Stephens SP -1.25 1.84 Bill Veeck

 

Honorable Mention

The “Original” 1999 Indians   OWAR: 55.5     OWS: 298     OPW%: .555

The Tribe outdistanced the Royals and White Sox by eight games en route to claiming the 1999 American League pennant. Manny Ramirez (.333/44/165) secured his lone RBI title and finished third in the MVP balloting. Brian S. Giles slammed a career-best 39 circuit clouts, knocked in 115 baserunners and registered 109 tallies while batting .315. Jim Thome topped the leader boards with 127 bases on balls and slugged 33 four-ply swats. Albert Belle walloped 37 round-trippers and plated 117 baserunners. Sean Casey aka “The Mayor” achieved All-Star status with a .332 BA, 42 doubles, 25 home runs and 99 ribbies. Bartolo Colon fashioned a record of 18-5 with a 3.95 ERA.

On Deck

The “Original” 1946 Tigers

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



Print This Post

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.

Comments are closed.