Mister Irrelevant

I find myself rooting against the Council Bluffs Falcons, the team that has been in first place all season.  Several factors account for this, but chiefly it’s because I am involved in setting lineups for each game but don’t do any real managing after that.  Mostly I just make sure that the usage limits are enforced, but on some teams I am also actively thinking about platoons and over-riding the computer’s insistance that certain good players ride the bench.  The Falcons are pretty boring from this perspective, since they are mostly a right-handed club with few platoon options.  I usually plug Ron Hunt (.275/2/25) in at 2B over Dick Green (.150/2/10), and get to flip a mental coin between Jim Ray Hart (.223/13/48) and Sal Bando (.262/3/27), but it would be a lot more stimulating if one of them batted left-handed.

When I was creating the team rosters, by default I would keep two players at each position and then tack on a wildcard 17th hitter to round out the bench.  Some teams don’t really need that many batters, of course, and a few could use more, but the structure is what it is.  On Council Bluffs after 105 games, the players with the least at-bats right now are outfielder Jesus Alou (with 47) and infielder Hal Lanier (with 55).  A few months ago, I had this comment about the team’s roster: "2B John Donaldson (.220/2/27) and RF Dave Marshall (.264/1/16) were tough cuts because they hit left-handed.  I probably should have kept one of them, but the last bench decisions are always hard!”  It obviously has worked out ok thus far, but if I had it to do over some changes would be made.

I suspect every club has a hitter who, in retrospect, should have been cut for someone else.  It’s obvious in some cases due to low usage, but note teams do need backups at all positions so it’s not always a slam dunk.  Without further ado, here is each club’s Mr. Irrelevant — the player that the team perhaps shoulda-woulda-coulda left behind in training camp.

Name                    AB  DO  3B  HR  RBI  AVG  BB  SO  POS
Fred Patek, ALC         57   0   0   1   6  .228   3   8   SS
Dick Green, CBF         80   2   0   2  10  .150   3  15   2B
Frank Quilici, CRS     121   5   3   0   8  .215  13  18   2B
Dick Schofield, DPK     28   2   0   0   1  .250   8   6   SS
Bobby Cox, DMS          38   0   0   3   5  .237   4   6   3B
Dick Simpson, DGE      108   4   1   3   9  .204  16  41   RF
Don Lock, ICR           70   2   0   4   9  .186   5  21   CF
Max Alvis, SCC          34   3   0   1   2  .176   3   4   3B
Buddy Bradford, WLS     44   1   0   0   1  .205   1  10   RF
Chuck Hinton, WMM       95   1   1   2   9  .137   3  26   1B


Fred Patek would be my favorite player for much of the 1970s, which explains why I kept him over some other options.  Right now, I think Paul Blair would have been more useful.  As mentioned, the left-handed John Donaldson might turn out to be a better fit than Dick Green; the Saints might have similarly done better with the switch-hitting Jim Lefebvre over Quilici.  Dick Schofield doesn’t play enough for the Knights to really be worth rostering, but I’m not sure that anyone else in the team’s cut pool would have had more relevance.  As for Bobby Cox, the interesting thing on this team is that there were no utility infielders on the Yanks and Cubs, so the team is locked into separate backups (who rarely play) at three positions: SS, 3B, and 2B.  As such, Cox really cannot be cut.


Dick Simpson is bad, but Dubuque doesn’t really have an alternative that makes me seriously second-guess my decision.  Lock should really be a pretty useful hitter, but I guess if that sub-.200 average is for real Iowa City could use a real third catcher (even one who hits as poorly as Mike Ryan) over Cookie Rojas.  On Sioux City, as much as I like the idea of Max Alvis, when you’ve got 625 ABs worth of Tony Perez his value is minimal.  But I’m not sure Vern Fuller makes much sense either.  Although Waterloo would remain terrible no matter what, I really do think the left-handed Sonny Jackson would have helped more than Bradford, and Jackson also has the advantage of having been part of some of my early Strat leagues when I was a kid.  Same with Ed Kranepool over Chuck Hinton.  I can’t speak for your neighborhood, of course, but back home every kid had a fistful of Kranepool cards he was trying to swap (but no one seemed to give much thought either way to Hansens).

Here is a link to the Strat-O-Matic league file after 16 weeks of play, and the current standings.  Council Bluffs is still in the lead, but they’ve gone cold (4-6) and their lead has narrowed to 2 1/2 games.  (Three other clubs, Dubuque, Iowa City, and Sioux City are just as cold lately.)  The hottest teams are Ames and West Metro (both 7-3).    


7/28/68 Iowa Baseball Confederacy        Won   Lost    Pct     GB
Council Bluffs Falcons (A’s-Giants)      65     40    .619     —
Ames Little Cyclones (Orioles-Pirates)   61     41    .598    2.5
Davenport Knights (Tigers-Cards)         60     43    .583    4.0

Iowa City Regals (Red Sox-Phillies)      56     48    .538    8.5
Cedar Rapids Saints (Twins-Dodgers)      54     49    .524   10.0
Sioux City Crusaders (Indians-Reds)      51     54    .486   14.0

Des Moines Scarlets (Yankees-Cubs)       48     57    .457   17.0
West Metro Maroons (Angels-Mets)         45     60    .429   20.0
Waterloo Sailors (White Sox-Braves)      42     63    .400   23.0
Dubuque Golden Eagles (Senators-Astros)  38     65    .369   26.0

That’s all for this week. 

© John Kisner 2019