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Musings from the 1907 off season

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Posted 01-06-2018 at 01:45 PM by bjohn13

1907 was supposed to be a rebuilding year. Really, it was.

My strategy for success in the dead ball era is pretty simple. I don't put up with players who can't play defense. That was the one big advantage that this Brooklyn team had in 1907. Billy Hamilton was the only defensive liability in the field. Meanwhile, I could afford to have anyone in my lineup injured without missing a beat defensively.

On a bit of a darker note, I was a bit miffed to find that Cy Young had signed with the Boston AAA club at the beginning of the season. I tried to trade for him to put him in my starting rotation, but they wanted too much in return. It turns out, he spent the whole season in AAA. He still sits at 199 career wins. This whole thing makes no sense to me at all. He had a job in my starting rotation, and instead, he fakes his retirement to go play in Boston's AAA system?

I really don't see any possible way that I'll be able to keep the momentum that I achieved in 1907 for long. I really didn't make any attempt to improve my offense in the off season. I unloaded a lot of veteran relief pitchers in return for prospects, though, including my former closer Highball Wilson. For position players, the only notable change was that I sent Heinie Wagner packing due to the emergence of rookie second baseman Harry Pattee. Either one figured only to be a utility player in my lineup.

I expect to remain a competitive, above .500 team. I do not expect to vie for the pennant.

A couple of important notes: 1908 is my 25th Anniversary Season. There will be an awards ceremony celebrating a quarter century after the season is over.

Additionally, help is on the way. The 1909 season will include Zach Wheat and Hi Myers for Brooklyn the Brooklyn outfield. These two players have the potential ability to shape the Brooklyn outfield for many years to come.

The 1910 season will include Jake Daubert, who will likely be my starting first baseman for quite a few years.

Of course, all of this depends on defensive ability. As I have stated, I won't tolerate poor defenders unless they are MVP-caliber hitters.

Finally, Billy Hamilton and Lave Cross are both sticking around for one more season. It makes sense, though they will both be 42 by opening day. Cross is only 61 hits away from 2,500 in his career. He may very well be a border line Hall of Famer, and those last 61 hits could be what puts him over the top.

Hamilton is a shoo in for the Hall, but he is only 25 hits away from 3,000. I can imagine him having a conversation with his wife about this with his wife saying something like "don't leave any regrets out there".

Therefore, the 1908 season is going to be a season of pursuing milestones. I can't imagine that either player will want to play much beyond 1908, but I guess we will see. Lave Cross did, after all, win a Silver Slugger Award in 1907.
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