May 12, 1966
After a long hiatus (maybe playing a game or two here or there), I’ve picked up my 1966 NL replay (basic game, actual schedule, lineups and rotations) with a vengeance. I’ve gotten through a full calendar week in the past couple of weeks.
Here are a few highlights from each team.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers 20-7
Ok, it’s too early to call it but the Los Angeles Dodgers are staking their claim to run away with it. After losing the first two games of the season, they have been practically unbeatable. They have done by their pitching. Led by wins leader Don Sutton (7-0) and strikeout leader Sandy Koufax (63 K), they have a team ERA of 2.03 ERA compared to runner-up Pittsburgh who isn’t even close at 3.31.
And imagine this… Without Claude Osteen who is 1-5 with an ERA that almost ranks in the league top ten (2.88), the Dodgers would be 19-2.
Jim Lefebvre is tied for the league in homers with 7 and bats a nifty .356.
2. Pittsburgh Pirates 14-10
While in second place, a 14-10 mark seems so far away compared to the Dodgers. That said, they just eked back into second after a series win against the Giants.
No question about it, Bob Bailey is the big bopper. He leads the NL in batting (.414), slugging (.736) and is second in rbis (18) and OBP (.480). Every game, I think his average is going to have to go down and it wouldn’t. In fact, it wasn’t until the game I played five minutes ago when he reached mortality and went 0 for 4.
It was in that game, when Willie Stargell hit a two-run homer and tied Bailey for rbis with 18. Donn Clendonon and Roberto Clemente are close behind with 16.
Starting pitcher Bob Veale is third in strikeouts with 51 and sports a 2.96 ERA but only has a 2-4 record to show for it. Relief me Pete Mikkelson (5-1) is getting the lion’s share of wins.
3. San Francisco Giants 14-13
Lots of hitting on this squad. Willie Mays is tied for the lead in homers with seven and leads the league in rbis with 19. Willie McCovey hasn’t played every day but he is still among league leaders in homers (5) and rbis (13). Singles hitting Jay Alou does his part (.351).
Juan Marichal has done his part, of course. He has a nice 1.73 ERA with 47 Ks. Still working on his fifth win though.
4. Atlanta Braves 15-14
The Braves check in right over .500 with some good hitting and a solid bullpen. In fact, pitcher Clay Carroll is second with five wins all in relief. Tony Cloninger paces the NL in both walks and homers but still has a respectable 3.65 ERA (he’s hitting .318 with two homers too!).
On the hitting side, Hank Aaron has scored 24 runs, most in the league. Felipe Alou is third in the league in homers with 6, second in doubles with 10 and first in triples with 5.
A side point, starter Blasingame ranks as the pitcher with the highest ERA among qualifiers with a 10.30 mark.
5. New York Mets 10-10
The Mets are a bit of an anomaly in my 1966 scheduling. It must have rained a lot that year since they have only played 20 games so far (the Dodgers have won as many games as the Mets have played). Still, the Mets who came in 9th in real life, are off to a decent start at the .500 mark. They have made their move as of late and just hit .500 in the last series.
Speaking of anomalies, guess who the NL leader in ERA is? Mets starter Tug McGraw who is a DW. He started out with two shutouts and currently owns a 1.01 ERA even better than Koufax’s 1.48 mark. Jack Fisher is also 3-0 with a 3.72 ERA.
Ed Kranepool is batting .362 with 16 rbis while Ken Boyer has driven in 16 runs.
6. Houston Astros 13-14
The Astros have riding the middle of the pack for most of the spring. Larry Dierker was off to a good start (3-0, 1.50 ERA) but he hasn’t made a start for a while. Robin Roberts is making the most of his last year in the bigs with a 3-3 record and a 3.27 ERA. Turk Farrell has yet to give up a walk in 23 innings.
Jim “Toy Cannon” Wynn has 18 rbis on five homers. The league leader in hits Sonny Jackson (.339) sets the table for him. Houston needs Jim Gentile to pick it up. He’s hitting .134 in 84 at-bats.
7. Cincinnati Reds 12-13
The Reds are a team that really should be doing a whole lot better. With Rose, Pinson, Edwards and Cardenas plus a superior pitching staff, there is no reason this team can’t contend.
One reason is Sammy Ellis. He is a D but his 7.47 ERA isn’t helping matters. On the other hand, Jim Maloney is pitching more. In four starts, he’s won three with a 2.12 ERA.
The Reds just aren’t powering the ball. Only the Phillies have less homers. Johnny Edwards has three and leads the team. Tommy Harper is batting a nifty .367, good for second in the league. He also leads the NL in OBP with a .486 pct.
8. Philadelphia Phillies 9-13
Ah yes, the Phillies. The Phils were in the in middle of the pack till they dropped three a row to the Dodgers. Richie Allen does have 4 homeruns and bats .333 which accounts for a full one-third of the team’s production. Right now, Dick is apparently on a break.
The Phils’ star pitcher Jim Bunning pitches as advertises. He is 5-1 with 43 Ks and a 2.65 ERA.
9. Chicago Cubs 9-15
Oh my precious Cubs. They are in a prolonged battle with the Cardinals for last place. At this moment, they are on the right side of things.
Santo has hit well (.297, 14 rbis) and is still among the top ten in OBP (.413). Adolfo Phillips who was acquired from the Phillies, leads all baserunners with 12 steals and is hitting .298. Don Kessinger has been a nice surprise at .333.
Some of the bad… Randy Hundley is batting .159. Billy Williams is hitting .194. Ernie Broglio has an 8.87 ERA. Bill Hands managed to get his ERA down to single digits to 7.88.
Dick Ellsworth has impressed me though. He went 8-22 in real life and is a DZ. So far, he has a nice 3.75 ERA with a 2-1 record. He has become one of my favorites on the team.
10. St. Louis Cardinals 8-15
The Cardinals have grown tired of the George Kernek experiment at first base. They have gotten themselves a real first baseman in Orlando Cepeda from the Giants for the price of Ray Sadecki, a DZ pitcher who can hit. As a Cub fan, I fear this is exactly what St. Louis needed to help them.
Honestly, this team should not be this low in the standings. Lou Brock (.350, 17 runs, 6 HR) and Julian Javier (5 HR, 12 rbi) are off to very good seasons. Tim McCarver is also hitting well (.324). Dal Maxvill’s batting average (.059 in 34 ab) shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Bob Gibson’s pitching numbers won’t surprise you either. He’s 4-1 with four complete games and a 2.09 ERA.
St. Louis owns the player with the lowest qualifying batting average: Alex Johnson .114 in 84 at-bats.