Hardball Retrospective – What Might Have Been – The “Original” 1999 White 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. 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 teams with the biggest single-season difference in the WAR and Win Shares for the “Original” vs. “Actual” rosters for every Major League organization. “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

AWAR – Wins Above Replacement for players on “actual” teams

AWS – Win Shares for players on “actual” teams

APW% – Pythagorean Won-Loss record for the “actual” teams

Assessment

The 1999 Chicago White Sox 

OWAR: 45.1     OWS: 289     OPW%: .504     (82-80)

AWAR: 28.5      AWS: 225     APW%: .466     (75-86)

WARdiff: 16.6                        WSdiff: 64  

The “Original” 1999 White Sox tied the Royals for second place in the American League Central, eight games behind the Indians. Robin Ventura (.301/32/120) established career-highs in batting average and RBI while earning his sixth Gold Glove Award at the hot corner. Randy Velarde (.317/16/76) rapped 200 base knocks and set personal-bests in almost every offensive category. Mike Cameron drilled 34 doubles and pilfered 38 bags. Harold Baines (.312/25/103) topped the century mark in RBI for the third time in his career during his age-40 season. Ray Durham registered 109 tallies and swiped 34 bags. Magglio Ordonez (.301/30/117) scored 100 runs and merited his first All-Star invitation. Frank E. Thomas clubbed 36 two-baggers and delivered a .305 BA. Chris Singleton (.300/17/72) placed sixth in the AL Rookie of the Year balloting and Paul Konerko contributed 24 dingers and 81 ribbies for the “Actuals”.

Frank E. Thomas rated tenth among first basemen according to “The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract” top 100 player rankings. “Original” White Sox chronicled in the “NBJHBA” top 100 ratings include Robin Ventura (22nd-3B) and Harold Baines (42nd-RF).

  Original 1999 White Sox                          Actual 1999 White Sox

STARTING LINEUP POS OWAR OWS STARTING LINEUP POS OWAR OWS
Carlos Lee LF -0.04 10.36 Carlos Lee LF -0.04 10.36
Mike Cameron CF 3.63 21.44 Chris Singleton CF 2.61 16.33
Magglio Ordonez RF 1.7 18.56 Magglio Ordonez RF 1.7 18.56
Harold Baines DH 1.7 12.96 Frank E. Thomas DH 2.2 17.07
Frank E. Thomas 1B/DH 2.2 17.07 Paul Konerko 1B 1.45 14.68
Randy Velarde 2B 5.23 24.19 Ray Durham 2B 3.63 20.45
Liu Rodriguez SS/2B -0.12 1.41 Mike Caruso SS -2.58 4.25
Robin Ventura 3B 5.1 28.27 Greg Norton 3B 0.06 12.36
Mark Johnson C 0.28 6.12 Brook Fordyce C 1.59 11.45
BENCH POS OWAR OWS BENCH POS OWAR OWS
Ray Durham 2B 3.63 20.45 Mark Johnson C 0.28 6.12
Greg Norton 3B 0.06 12.36 Craig Wilson 3B -0.38 4.06
Olmedo Saenz 3B 1.35 8.68 Darrin Jackson LF -0.05 2.68
Craig Grebeck 2B 0.82 4.39 Brian Simmons LF -0.15 1.76
Craig Wilson 3B -0.38 4.06 Liu Rodriguez 2B -0.12 1.41
Brian Simmons LF -0.15 1.76 Jeff Liefer 1B -0.6 0.91
Jeff Liefer 1B -0.6 0.91 McKay Christensen CF -0.27 0.47
Norberto Martin 2B 0.09 0.44 Jason Dellaero SS -0.39 0.32
Jason Dellaero SS -0.39 0.32 Josh Paul C -0.09 0.27
Josh Paul C -0.09 0.27 Jeff Abbott LF -0.73 0.18
Robert Machado C -0.08 0.22
Chris Tremie C -0.18 0.18
Jeff Abbott LF -0.73 0.18
Frank Menechino SS -0.08 0.14
John Cangelosi LF -0.06 0.02

Mike Sirotka (11-13, 4.00) and James Baldwin (12-13, 5.00) labored through their second seasons in the Sox rotation. Alex Fernandez supplied a 7-8 record with a 3.38 ERA after missing the entire 1998 campaign due to injury. Bob Wickman notched 37 saves with an ERA of 3.39 for the “Originals” while Keith Foulke (2.22, 9 SV) and Bob Howry (3.59, 28 SV) secured late-inning leads for the “Actuals”.

  Original 1999 White Sox                       Actual 1999 White Sox 

ROTATION POS OWAR OWS ROTATION POS AWAR AWS
Mike Sirotka SP 3.94 13.5 Mike Sirotka SP 3.94 13.5
Alex Fernandez SP 3.34 10.47 James Baldwin SP 2.19 9.47
James Baldwin SP 2.19 9.47 Jim Parque SP 1.26 6.82
Brian Boehringer SP 1.64 6.91 Kip Wells SP 0.79 2.93
Jim Parque SP 1.26 6.82 Jaime Navarro SP -1.15 2.16
BULLPEN POS OWAR OWS BULLPEN POS AWAR AWS
Bob Wickman RP 1.33 10.19 Keith Foulke RP 3.86 16.7
Al Levine RP 0.77 6.84 Bob Howry RP 0.61 10.06
Pedro Borbon RP 0.36 4.11 Sean Lowe RP 1.58 7.94
Buddy Groom RP -0.27 3.49 Bill Simas RP 0.68 6.46
Steve Schrenk RP 0.54 3.04 Carlos Castillo SW 0.05 1.45
Kip Wells SP 0.79 2.93 John Snyder SP -0.97 1.22
Scott Radinsky RP 0 2.35 Tanyon Sturtze SP 0.48 0.91
Jason Bere SP -0.6 1.6 Pat Daneker SP 0.23 0.82
Carlos Castillo SW 0.05 1.45 Jesus Pena RP -0.27 0.42
Pat Daneker SP 0.23 0.82 Joe Davenport RP 0.13 0.25
Aaron Myette SP 0 0.11 Aaron Myette SP 0 0.11
Chad Bradford RP -0.5 0 Bryan Ward RP -1.15 0.09
John Hudek RP -1.04 0 Chad Bradford RP -0.5 0
David Lundquist RP -0.74 0 Scott Eyre RP -0.66 0
Jack McDowell SP -0.36 0 David Lundquist RP -0.74 0
Nerio Rodriguez RP -0.16 0 Todd Rizzo RP -0.11 0

 

Notable Transactions

Robin Ventura 

October 23, 1998: Granted Free Agency.

December 1, 1998: Signed as a Free Agent with the New York Mets. 

Randy Velarde

January 5, 1987: Traded by the Chicago White Sox with Pete Filson to the New York Yankees for Mike Soper (minors) and Scott Nielsen.

December 23, 1994: Granted Free Agency.

April 12, 1995: Signed as a Free Agent with the New York Yankees.

November 2, 1995: Granted Free Agency.

November 21, 1995: Signed as a Free Agent with the California Angels.

October 23, 1998: Granted Free Agency.

December 7, 1998: Signed as a Free Agent with the Anaheim Angels.

Mike Cameron

November 11, 1998: Traded by the Chicago White Sox to the Cincinnati Reds for Paul Konerko. 

Harold Baines

July 29, 1989: Traded by the Chicago White Sox with Fred Manrique to the Texas Rangers for Wilson Alvarez, Scott Fletcher and Sammy Sosa.

August 29, 1990: Traded by the Texas Rangers to the Oakland Athletics for players to be named later. The Oakland Athletics sent Joe Bitker (September 4, 1990) and Scott Chiamparino (September 4, 1990) to the Texas Rangers to complete the trade.

January 14, 1993: Traded by the Oakland Athletics to the Baltimore Orioles for Allen Plaster (minors) and Bobby Chouinard.

November 1, 1993: Granted Free Agency.

December 2, 1993: Signed as a Free Agent with the Baltimore Orioles.

October 20, 1994: Granted Free Agency.

December 23, 1994: Signed as a Free Agent with the Baltimore Orioles.

November 6, 1995: Granted Free Agency.

December 11, 1995: Signed as a Free Agent with the Chicago White Sox.

November 18, 1996: Granted Free Agency.

January 10, 1997: Signed as a Free Agent with the Chicago White Sox.

July 29, 1997: Traded by the Chicago White Sox to the Baltimore Orioles for a player to be named later. The Baltimore Orioles sent Juan Bautista (minors) (August 18, 1997) to the Chicago White Sox to complete the trade.

October 29, 1997: Granted Free Agency.

December 19, 1997: Signed as a Free Agent with the Baltimore Orioles.

Alex Fernandez 

December 7, 1996: Granted Free Agency.

December 9, 1996: Signed as a Free Agent with the Florida Marlins. 

Bob Wickman 

January 10, 1992: Traded by the Chicago White Sox with Domingo Jean and Melido Perez to the New York Yankees for Steve Sax.

August 23, 1996: Traded by the New York Yankees with Gerald Williams to the Milwaukee Brewers for a player to be named later, Pat Listach and Graeme Lloyd. The Milwaukee Brewers sent Ricky Bones (August 29, 1996) to the New York Yankees to complete the trade. Pat Listach returned to original team on October 2, 1996.

Honorable Mention

The 1932 Chicago White Sox 

OWAR: 21.5     OWS: 205     OPW%: .380     (58-96)

AWAR: 17.0      AWS: 147     APW%: .325     (49-102)

WARdiff: 4.5                        WSdiff: 58  

The cellar-dwelling “Original” 1932 White Sox fared better than their “Actual” counterparts in terms of team WAR, Win Shares and winning percentage. Although the “Actuals” recorded only 49 victories, the team finished in seventh place ahead of the miserable Red Sox (43-111). Willie Kamm clubbed 34 doubles, delivered a .286 BA and drove in 83 baserunners for the Pale Hose. Second-sacker Bill Cissell posted career-bests in batting average (.315), runs (85), hits (184), doubles (36), home runs (7) and RBI (98). Rookie right fielder Bruce Campbell (.286/14/87) contributed 36 two-baggers and 11 three-base hits. Smead “Smudge” Jolley (.312/18/106) drilled 30 doubles while outfield mate Carl Reynolds produced a .305 BA. Luke Appling aka “Old Aches and Pains” rewarded the Chicago brass with 20 two-base hits and 10 triples after achieving full-time status. Ted Lyons completed 19 of 26 starts and furnished an ERA of 3.28.

On Deck

What Might Have Been – The “Original” 2001 Rangers

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

The information used here was obtained free of charge from and is copyrighted by Retrosheet. Interested parties may contact Retrosheet at “www.retrosheet.org”.

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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