Hardball Retrospective – The “Original” 1977 Pittsburgh Pirates

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, Dan Quisenberry is listed on the Royals roster for the duration of his career while the Tigers declare Charlie Gehringer and the Senators claim Goose Goslin. 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 1977 Pittsburgh Pirates          OWAR: 53.6     OWS: 347     OPW%: .524

GM Joe Brown acquired all of the ballplayers on the 1977 Pirates roster. Based on the revised standings the “Original” 1977 Pirates tied for second place with the Phillies, one game behind the Cardinals. Pittsburgh topped the Senior Circuit in OWS during consecutive campaigns (1977-78).

Dave Parker (.338/21/88) collected his first batting title and paced the League with 215 base knocks and 44 two-baggers. “Cobra” merited his first All-Star nomination and Gold Glove Award while placing third in the NL MVP balloting. Mitchell Page (.307/21/85) pilfered 42 bags and finished runner-up in the Rookie of the Year vote. Don Money cracked a career-best 25 circuit clouts and received his third All-Star nod. Al “Scoop” Oliver contributed a .308 BA with 19 round-trippers. Richie Zisk clubbed 30 long balls and knocked in 101 baserunners. Willie Randolph laced 11 triples and tallied 91 runs.

Willie Stargell swatted 13 big-flies despite missing almost two-thirds of the 1977 campaign. “Pops” ranks ninth among left fielders according to Bill James in “The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.” Teammates enumerated in the “NBJHBA” top 100 rankings include Parker (14th-RF), Randolph (17th-2B), Oliver (31st-CF), Manny Sanguillen (42nd-C), Dave Cash (50th-2B), Money (55th-3B), Richie Hebner (56th-3B), Zisk (69th-RF), Freddie Patek (73rd – SS), Bob Bailey (79th – 3B), Tony Armas (89th-RF) and Rennie Stennett (90th-2B).

LINEUP POS WAR WS
Willie Randolph 2B 4.69 20.08
Mitchell Page LF 6.07 29.41
Dave Parker RF 5.02 32.6
Don Money 3B/2B 4.11 21.87
Al Oliver CF/LF 2.04 20.19
Richie Hebner 1B 2.7 16.01
Milt May C 1.66 9.63
Freddie Patek SS 1.55 14.76
BENCH POS WAR WS
Rennie Stennett 2B 3.57 17.98
Art Howe 2B 1.83 13.91
Richie Zisk RF 1.82 20.15
Tony Armas CF 1.49 7.76
Dave Cash 2B 1.11 17.12
Frank Taveras SS 1.01 13.78
Ed Ott C 0.67 10.69
Willie Stargell 1B 0.63 8.47
Omar Moreno CF 0.47 12.62
Craig Reynolds SS 0.1 6.74
Gene Clines LF 0.04 5.48
Bob Bailey 0.02 1.61
Jimmy Sexton SS -0.05 0.58
Mike Edwards 2B -0.12 0.16
Miguel Dilone LF -0.33 0.32
Dale Berra 3B -0.41 0.42
Manny Sanguillen C -0.44 10.27
Ken Macha 3B -0.55 0.66
Mario Mendoza SS -0.58 1.22
Bobby Tolan 1B -0.68 0.26

John “Candy Man” Candelaria earned his lone All-Star appearance with a 20-5 record along with a League-best 2.34 ERA. Dock Ellis supplied 12 victories and an ERA of 3.63. Rick Langford surpassed the 200-innings mark while losing 19 of 27 decisions. The bullpen subdued late-inning rallies by the opposition, co-anchored by Gene Garber (2.35, 19 saves) and Kent Tekulve (10-1, 3.06).

ROTATION POS WAR WS
John Candelaria SP 8.07 24.69
Dock Ellis SP 2.37 16.07
Rick Langford SP 1.02 8.44
Bruce Kison SP 0.39 5.71
Timothy Jones SP 0.64 1.73
BULLPEN POS WAR WS
Gene Garber RP 2.19 15.16
Kent Tekulve RP 0.95 11.48
Bruce Dal Canton RP 0.25 1.6
Doug Bair RP 0.21 5.46
Al Holland RP -0.09 0
Ed Whitson SP 0.27 1.21
Woodie Fryman SP 0.08 1.95
Rick Honeycutt SP 0.02 1.18
Silvio Martinez RP -0.22 0.07
Odell Jones SP -0.28 2.24
Bill Laxton RP -0.64 3.32
Ramon Hernandez RP -0.67 0.1
Larry Demery SW -1.04 2.06

The “Original” 1977 Pittsburgh Pirates roster

NAME POS WAR WS General Manager Scouting Director
John Candelaria SP 8.07 24.69 Joe Brown Harding Peterson
Mitchell Page LF 6.07 29.41 Joe Brown Harding Peterson
Dave Parker RF 5.02 32.6 Joe Brown Harding Peterson
Willie Randolph 2B 4.69 20.08 Joe Brown Harding Peterson
Don Money 2B 4.11 21.87 Joe Brown
Rennie Stennett 2B 3.57 17.98 Joe Brown Harding Peterson
Richie Hebner 1B 2.7 16.01 Joe Brown
Dock Ellis SP 2.37 16.07 Joe Brown
Gene Garber RP 2.19 15.16 Joe Brown
Al Oliver LF 2.04 20.19 Joe Brown
Art Howe 2B 1.83 13.91 Joe Brown Harding Peterson
Richie Zisk RF 1.82 20.15 Joe Brown
Milt May C 1.66 9.63 Joe Brown
Freddie Patek SS 1.55 14.76 Joe Brown
Tony Armas CF 1.49 7.76 Joe Brown Harding Peterson
Dave Cash 2B 1.11 17.12 Joe Brown
Rick Langford SP 1.02 8.44 Joe Brown Harding Peterson
Frank Taveras SS 1.01 13.78 Joe Brown
Kent Tekulve RP 0.95 11.48 Joe Brown Harding Peterson
Ed Ott C 0.67 10.69 Joe Brown Harding Peterson
Timothy Jones SP 0.64 1.73 Joe Brown Harding Peterson
Willie Stargell 1B 0.63 8.47 Joe Brown
Omar Moreno CF 0.47 12.62 Joe Brown Harding Peterson
Bruce Kison SP 0.39 5.71 Joe Brown
Ed Whitson SP 0.27 1.21 Joe Brown Harding Peterson
Bruce Dal Canton RP 0.25 1.6 Joe Brown
Doug Bair RP 0.21 5.46 Joe Brown Harding Peterson
Craig Reynolds SS 0.1 6.74 Joe Brown Harding Peterson
Woodie Fryman SP 0.08 1.95 Joe Brown
Gene Clines LF 0.04 5.48 Joe Brown
Bob Bailey 0.02 1.61 Joe Brown Rex Bowen
Rick Honeycutt SP 0.02 1.18 Joe Brown Harding Peterson
Jimmy Sexton SS -0.05 0.58 Joe Brown Harding Peterson
Al Holland RP -0.09 0 Joe Brown Harding Peterson
Mike Edwards 2B -0.12 0.16 Joe Brown Harding Peterson
Silvio Martinez RP -0.22 0.07 Joe Brown Harding Peterson
Odell Jones SP -0.28 2.24 Joe Brown Harding Peterson
Miguel Dilone LF -0.33 0.32 Joe Brown Harding Peterson
Dale Berra 3B -0.41 0.42 Joe Brown Harding Peterson
Manny Sanguillen C -0.44 10.27 Joe Brown
Ken Macha 3B -0.55 0.66 Joe Brown Harding Peterson
Mario Mendoza SS -0.58 1.22 Joe Brown Harding Peterson
Bill Laxton RP -0.64 3.32 Joe Brown
Ramon Hernandez RP -0.67 0.1 Joe Brown
Bobby Tolan 1B -0.68 0.26 Joe Brown Rex Bowen
Larry Demery SW -1.04 2.06 Joe Brown Harding Peterson

 

Honorable Mention

The “Original” 2012 Pirates    OWAR: 46.1     OWS: 303     OPW%: .597

The Bucs seized the National League pennant with 97 victories and topped the circuit in OWS. Andrew McCutchen (.327/31/96) led the League with 194 base hits, earned a Gold Glove Award and finished third in the 2012 National League MVP balloting. Aramis Ramirez (.300/27/105) drilled a League-leading 50 doubles. Pedro Alvarez went yard 30 times while Jose A. Bautista launched 27 bombs in an injury-shortened campaign. Jeff Keppinger delivered a .325 BA in a utility role. Paul Maholm posted a record of 13-11 with a 3.67 ERA and fellow hurler Bronson Arroyo accrued 12 wins with a 3.74 ERA in 202 innings.

On Deck

The “Original” 1931 Athletics

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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