Hardball Retrospective – The “Original” 1997 Boston Red Sox

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, Ron Santo is listed on the Cubs roster for the duration of his career while the Dodgers declare Steve Garvey and the Diamondbacks claim Justin Upton. 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 1997 Boston Red Sox          OWAR: 63.7     OWS: 317     OPW%: .583

Based on the revised standings the “Original” 1997 Red Sox outperformed the Yankees, seizing the American League pennant by ten games. Boston led the circuit in OWS and OWAR. GM Lou Gorman acquired 28 of the 36 ballplayers (78%) on the 1997 Red Sox roster.

Jeff Bagwell (.286/43/135) finished third in the MVP balloting and established personal-bests in RBI and stolen bases (31). Brady Anderson followed his 50-homer campaign in ’96 with 39 doubles and 18 jacks. Nomar Garciaparra (.306/30/98) merited the 1997 AL Rookie of the Year Award as he topped the charts with 209 base knocks and 11 triples. Mo “Hit Dog” Vaughn delivered a .315 BA with 35 round-trippers. John Valentin contributed 29 two-baggers and a .296 BA while third-sacker Wade Boggs managed a .292 average as a part-timer.

Bagwell and Boggs rate fourth among first and third basemen, respectively, according to Bill James in “The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.” Teammates listed in the “NBJHBA” top 100 rankings include Roger Clemens (11th-SP), Garciaparra (T-17th-SS), Vaughn (51st-1B), Anderson (63rd-CF) and Burks (77th-CF).

LINEUP POS WAR WS
Brady Anderson CF 3.44 25.97
John Valentin 2B 4.45 21.03
Jeff Bagwell 1B 7.47 30.58
Nomar Garciaparra SS 4.19 25.54
Mo Vaughn DH/1B 3.2 22.31
Scott Hatteberg C 2.21 6.4
Wade Boggs 3B 1.26 11.37
Ellis Burks RF/CF 1.03 13.6
Phil Plantier LF -0.02 2.24
BENCH POS WAR WS
John Flaherty C 1.26 12.67
Tim Naehring 3B 1 8.1
Todd Pratt C 0.63 4.46
John Marzano C 0.05 2.39
Walt McKeel C -0.04 0
Jose Malave LF -0.08 0.04
Ryan McGuire 1B -0.12 3.98
Michael Coleman CF -0.27 0.11
Jody Reed 2B -0.46 1.52
Scott Cooper 3B -0.47 0.78
Danny Sheaffer 3B -0.71 0.79

 

Roger Clemens (21-7, 2.05) paced the Junior Circuit in victories, ERA, complete games (9), shutouts (3), strikeouts (292) and WHIP (1.030). The “Rocket” collected the fourth of seven Cy Young Awards and made his sixth All-Star appearance. Curt Schilling struck out a career-high 319 batsmen and fashioned a record of 17-11 with a 2.97 ERA. Paul Quantrill led a bullpen-by-committee, posting a 1.94 ERA along with 6 wins and 5 saves.

ROTATION POS WAR WS
Roger Clemens SP 12 32.22
Curt Schilling SP 5.93 22.29
Frankie Rodriguez SP 0.93 5.97
Aaron Sele SP 0.64 6.71
Jeff Suppan SP 0.24 3.72
BULLPEN POS WAR WS
Paul Quantrill RP 2.64 11.66
Ron Mahay RP 0.71 3.4
Joe Hudson RP 0.42 2.93
Shayne Bennett RP 0.34 1.51
Erik Plantenberg RP 0.06 1.07
Josias Manzanillo RP -0.17 0.28
Brian Rose SP -0.17 0
Reggie Harris RP -0.22 1.37
Greg Hansell RP -0.24 0
Cory Bailey RP -0.33 0.21
Ken Ryan RP -1.09 0

The “Original” 1997 Boston Red Sox roster

NAME POS WAR WS General Manager Scouting Director
Roger Clemens SP 12 32.22 Haywood Sullivan Eddie Kasko
Jeff Bagwell 1B 7.47 30.58 Lou Gorman Eddie Kasko
Curt Schilling SP 5.93 22.29 Lou Gorman Eddie Kasko
John Valentin 2B 4.45 21.03 Lou Gorman Eddie Kasko
Nomar Garciaparra SS 4.19 25.54 Dan Duquette Wayne Britton
Brady Anderson CF 3.44 25.97 Lou Gorman Eddie Kasko
Mo Vaughn 1B 3.2 22.31 Lou Gorman Eddie Kasko
Paul Quantrill RP 2.64 11.66 Lou Gorman Eddie Kasko
Scott Hatteberg C 2.21 6.4 Lou Gorman Eddie Kasko
Wade Boggs 3B 1.26 11.37 Dick O’Connell
John Flaherty C 1.26 12.67 Lou Gorman Eddie Kasko
Ellis Burks CF 1.03 13.6 Haywood Sullivan Eddie Kasko
Tim Naehring 3B 1 8.1 Lou Gorman Eddie Kasko
Frankie Rodriguez SP 0.93 5.97 Lou Gorman Eddie Kasko
Ron Mahay RP 0.71 3.4 Lou Gorman Eddie Kasko
Aaron Sele SP 0.64 6.71 Lou Gorman Eddie Kasko
Todd Pratt C 0.63 4.46 Lou Gorman Eddie Kasko
Joe Hudson RP 0.42 2.93 Lou Gorman Eddie Kasko
Shayne Bennett RP 0.34 1.51 Lou Gorman Wayne Britton
Jeff Suppan SP 0.24 3.72 Lou Gorman Wayne Britton
Erik Plantenberg RP 0.06 1.07 Lou Gorman Eddie Kasko
John Marzano C 0.05 2.39 Lou Gorman Eddie Kasko
Phil Plantier LF -0.02 2.24 Lou Gorman Eddie Kasko
Walt McKeel C -0.04 0 Lou Gorman Eddie Kasko
Jose Malave LF -0.08 0.04 Lou Gorman Eddie Kasko
Ryan McGuire 1B -0.12 3.98 Lou Gorman Wayne Britton
Josias Manzanillo RP -0.17 0.28 Haywood Sullivan Eddie Kasko
Brian Rose SP -0.17 0 Dan Duquette Wayne Britton
Reggie Harris RP -0.22 1.37 Lou Gorman Eddie Kasko
Greg Hansell RP -0.24 0 Lou Gorman Eddie Kasko
Michael Coleman CF -0.27 0.11 Dan Duquette Wayne Britton
Cory Bailey RP -0.33 0.21 Lou Gorman Eddie Kasko
Jody Reed 2B -0.46 1.52 Lou Gorman Eddie Kasko
Scott Cooper 3B -0.47 0.78 Lou Gorman Eddie Kasko
Danny Sheaffer 3B -0.71 0.79 Haywood Sullivan Eddie Kasko
Ken Ryan RP -1.09 0 Lou Gorman Eddie Kasko

 

Honorable Mention

The “Original” 1912 Red Sox             OWAR: 55.1     OWS: 317     OPW%: .591

Boston sailed to the pennant by a 13-game margin over the Athletics and Senators. Tris Speaker delivered an MVP season, notching League-bests with 53 doubles, 10 round-trippers and a .464 OBP. “The Grey Eagle” batted at a .383 clip, registered 136 tallies and posted career-highs in base hits (222) and stolen bases (52). Smoky Joe Wood (34-5, 1.91) dazzled opposition batsmen, twirling 10 shutouts and completing 35 of 38 starts. Larry Gardner contributed a .315 BA and legged out 18 three-baggers. Buck O’Brien recorded 20 victories with a 2.58 ERA in his only complete season in the Major Leagues. Hugh Bedient matched O’Brien’s win total and fashioned a 2.92 ERA in his rookie campaign. Duffy Lewis rapped 36 doubles and established a personal-best with 109 ribbies.

On Deck

The “Original” 1969 Reds

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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