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Thread: To Rule in Kansas City

  1. #316
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    Aug 2007
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    405

    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    That emu photo and the incident write-up are hilarious.

  2. #317
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    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    Heck, they'll be telling that story about you beating up someone in baseball for years. They'll be telling it around campfires. "Remember that time in Kansas City...?" It will simply make you a colorful fella.

    As for The Emu, my Brewers teams from ETB want to know if Finley will let them sign The Emu. They're willing to go up to $600 and a bucket of used baseballs.

    --Pet

  3. #318
    Imgran Guest

    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    Am I the only one who finds it mildly ironic that Andy Kraft killed the Chicago White Sox? After all it was his actions that allowed Selig to put a choke-hold on Hunter.

  4. #319
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    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    Imgran: You mean people might object to him slugging his assistant?

    PotatoofCouch: Glad you liked it

    3RunHomer: Thanks. It was fun to write

    petrel: He says if the Brewers throw in a sack of worn, used gloves they have a deal!

    Imgran: I'm not sure about ironic, but you're right: Kraft thought he was doing the right thing (probably), but he really blundered and so allowed Selig's move.
    *******

    October 27-28, 1971

    For reasons I haven't quite figured out, schedulers pushed the World Series back nearly a week after Oakland's defeating Baltimore. I'm told it's to help compete with the National Football League. Game 4 will happen on Sunday October 31, nine weeks into their season. An interesting idea, but on the streets everyone's wearing Chief red and white. I don't think we're making that much of an impact.

    Meanwhile, of course, I've turned into the local villain. For the past several days Andy's walked around with a bandage on his nose. He avoids me when he can, and sulks when he can't. Marcie's taken his side. In fact, they're dating now. Just wonderful.

    I went to the team doctor as Andy left one morning. One nice thing about being a team official is free health care, and Doc Grissom may be many things (including a bit of a drinker,) but he knows what he's doing.

    While putting me through the paces of a general physical, I asked about Andy's nose.

    "Oh, there's nothing wrong with it. It's still a little swollen, but no harm done."

    "Then why do you keep wrapping it for him?"

    "He asks me to." Grissom grinned and pressed his stethoscope to my back. "Breathe."

    "It's just a sympathy ploy," I muttered. "If his nose isn't..."

    "Hush. I'm listening." Grissom moved the 'scope around. "Lungs are clear. And yes, I know it's to get attention. Nothing wrong with that, is there?"

    "It makes me..." I shook my head. "It's not right."

    "There's no harm done." He moved around the table to face me.

    "Except the staff thinks I attacked this poor kid."

    He chuckled. "The staff thinks the kid probably had it coming. Say Ahh."

    "Really?

    "Really. And as for him wanting attention, I'm surprised you haven't figured it out yourself. Ahh?"

    "Figured out what? Ahh."

    He shined a light down my throat. "Minor irritation. Let me give you a hint. He's worn that bandage or one like it for nearly a week now. He still lives at home. Doesn't it strike you as odd that no one from his family has called to complain?"
    *******

    World Series, Game 1

    Atlanta Fulton County Stadium hosted the first World Series game in its history on a crisp October evening, chilly for Georgia. For the occasion the Braves turned to one of their most reliable pitchers, Phil Niekro. Oakland made the curious choice of answering with Blue Moon Odom, saving their better pitchers for later in the series.

    It turned out to be a decent choice, for Odom held his own against the veteran knuckleballer. Bert Campaneris opened the game with a double for the A's, but that was it until the second.

    Niekro hit Joe Rudi with a pitch to start the second, but again Oakland couldn't score. Not so the Braves: Dusty Baker walked, went to third on an Orlando Cepeda single, then scored on Rico Carty's sacrifice fly to put the Braves up 1-0.

    No one else reached base until the fourth when Rick Monday singled and Rudi walked, again with no result as George Hendrick hit into a 1-4-3 double play. Cepeda and Carty both got on base for the Braves, but neither of them scored either.

    Nothing happened in the fifth. With the game half over Rick Monday walked with two outs in the sixth, but couldn't reach second. Baker doubled with two outs in the bottom half, then scored on a Cepeda single to put Atlanta up 2-0.

    Then Niekro finally tired. Rudi and Hendrick walked, then PH Champ Summers singled to put the A's on the board. PH Dave Duncan loaded the bases, then Niekro threw a wild pitch to tie the game. Summers scored on Campaneris' sacrifice fly, Duncan on a single by Sal Bando, then Rick Monday homered to clear the bases and give Oakland a commanding 6-2 lead as well as end Niekro's day.

    Carroll Sembera pitched the Brave seventh and gave up a double. George Hendrick opened the Oakland eighth with a triple, but was tagged out at home. The Braves put two runners on in their half, but a 4-6-1 double play killed their chances there.

    With one out in the ninth Bert Campaneris singled, went to third on a Sal Bando double, then scored on Rick Monday's sacrifice fly. Vida Blue pitched the Brave ninth and shut down any reply.

    Oakland Athletics 7, Atlanta Braves 2
    (Athletics lead Series 1-0)

    WP: Odom, LP: Niekro, HR: (OAK) Monday
    *******

    Game 2

    Game Two saw the Braves turn to 31 year old Mickey Lolich, while the A's answered with the Cat. Hunter allowed a single in the first, but the Braves' Sonny Jackson was caught stealing second ending the threat. Rico Carty singled with two outs in the second, Jackson doubled with two outs in the third, and Orlando Cepeda singled with two outs in the fourth, but they didn't score either.

    Rick Monday finally broke Lolich's 'perfect' game in the fourth with a double, while they intentionally walked Reggie Jackson, but Rudi flew out to strand them. In the Oakland fifth George Hendrick singled, stole second, advanced on a wild pitch, and came home on Ted Kubiak's sacrifice to put the A's up 1-0.

    Atlanta went down in order in their half. Oakland put runners on second and third in the sixth, but Rudi's grounder stranded them. In the bottom half Dusty Baker homered with Hank Aaron on board to give the Braves a 2-1 lead.

    This only seemed to wake Oakland up. With the bases loaded Bert Campaneris sacrificed to left field for out # 2 scoring Hendrick and Gene Tenace. Sal Bando then singled to score Ted Kubiak. This ended Lolich's day after 6.2 IP and gave the A's a 4-2 lead.

    Like yesterday, the Braves turned to Tom Hall to keep Oakland under control. This he did, forcing Monday into a fly out. Atlanta's Earl Williams singled in the bottom half, but couldn't get past first. No runners would reach base in the eighth.

    In the ninth Hall shut the A's down, pitching 2.1 IP of perfect relief. Paul Lindblad relieved Cat in the ninth. He allowed Dusty Baker to single, but three batters later Earl Williams fired a liner to third to end the game and put Atlanta deep into the hole.

    Oakland Athletics 4, Atlanta Braves 2
    (Athletics lead Series 2-0)

    WP: Hunter, LP: Lolich, SV: Lindblad, HR: (ATL) Baker
    Retired Dynasties I'm Proud of
    To Rule in Kansas City Part I and Part II (Kansas City Royals 1969-73, Hall of Fame)
    Cardinal Sins (St. Louis Cardinals 1976-78) and it's sequel:
    Diverting Destiny (Montreal Expos 1994)
    Script for my Requiem (New Orleans Blues (fictional) 1954)

  5. #320
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    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    October 30-31


    Game 3

    A light rain fell in Oakland, but no one in the stadium seemed to notice nor care. Their Athletics left Atlanta with a commanding 2-0 lead and now stood poised to end 41 years of disappointment. Only three teams had gone longer without a championship ring - the Cubs (08), White Sox (17) and Red Sox (18). This was company Oakland fans longed to leave behind.

    The Braves, looking for their first championship since coming to Atlanta, had no intent of making it easy relying on Ron Reed. Oakland answered with Jim Nash.

    The first 1 1/2 innings went without anyone reaching base. Reggie Jackson opened the Oakland second with a walk, then Joe Rudi singled and stole second to put two runners in scoring position. Rudi could have saved himself the trouble, for three pitches later George Hendrick slammed a line drive over the right field fence to put the A's up 3-0.

    No runner would again reach base until two A's managed it in the fourth. Dusty Baker killed Nash's perfect game with a single in the fifth, but he'd be stranded. Sal Bando chose not to risk this, and instead shot a homer to center in the bottom half to extend Oakland's lead.

    Atlanta put a runner on in the sixth, leaving him at first. Ted Kubiak hit a bases loaded single in the bottom half to score two more. Orlando Cepeda and Rico Carty both walked in the seventh, but again the Brave offense sputtered. Again the Athletics' didn't: Tenace hit a grand slam homer off RP Claude Raymond with one out making it 10-0.

    Oakland County stadium rocked as Brave hopes died. They went down in order in the eighth. Once more the A's loaded the bases in their half, but two strike outs and Jim Nash's grounder offered some measure of mercy. In the top of the ninth Darrell Evans, Hank Aaron and Baker fell in order.

    Oakland Athletics 10, Atlanta Braves 0
    (Athletics lead Series 3-0)

    WP: Nash (CG), LP: Reed, HR: Tenace, Hendrick, Bando
    *******

    Game 4

    This, then was it: Atlanta's last chance to make something of a tremendous season. This would be a rematch of game 1, with Blue Moon Odom against veteran Phil Niekro.

    The Braves proved willing to fight: Dusty Baker opened the second with a homer, and his teammates put runners on first and third before Niekro struck out to retire the side. Oakland fought back though: Reggie Jackson singled, Joe Rudi walked, then George Hendrick doubled for one run, and Gene Tenance grounded to Niekro for the second giving the A's a 2-1 lead. They'd extend it in the third when Rick Monday walked, advanced on Jackson's single, and scored on Rudi's.

    Down but not out, Orlando Cepeda reached second on a Jackson error in the fourth but was thrown out stealing third. In the bottom half Tenace walked, Ted Kubiak singled, then both scored on Bert Campaneris' triple. Campaneris tried to turn it into an inside the park homer, but a throw from left field caught him by inches.

    This antic did end Niekro's day though, and Claude Raymond came in to try and save things. Perhaps it was a little late for that, for in the fifth Jackson, Rudi and Hendrick all hit back to back homers making it 8-1.

    Still Atlanta refused to die: With the bases loaded Cepeda singled to the right field wall for two RBI, then Rico Carty singled scoring Baker. This ended Odom's day and Oakland turned to Carroll Sembera who managed to crawl out of the inning with an 8-4 lead.

    Tom Hall pitched the A's sixth and gave up a single and walk, but no more runs. Similarly Sembera yielded a walk in the seventh, but Darrell Evans grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to maintain Oakland's edge.

    Hendrick doubled but couldn't score in the A's seventh. In Atlanta's eighth, Baker and Cepeda walked before Earl Williams slapped a Texas Leaguer to short left to close the gap further. This ended Sembera's day as manager Dick Williams turned to Stan Williams to finish Atlanta off. Williams loaded the bases, but tricked Oscar Brown into striking out. Sonny Jackson hit a fly to the center field wall to end the inning.

    Sal Campisi pitched the Oakland eighth and gave up a double, but struck out two to escape with his three run deficit. Williams pitched the ninth, and before a roaring, deafening crowd struck Evans out, induced Aaron to ground to short, and allowed Dusty Baker to single.

    On a 2-1 fastball Orlando Cepeda hit a chopping grounder to 2B Ted Kubiak. He flipped it to SS Bert Campaneris for the force. Game. Set. Match. Season.

    Oakland Athletics 8, Atlanta Braves 5
    (Athletics win Series 4-0)

    WP: Odom, LP: Niekro, SV: Williams, HR: (ATL) Baker, (OAK) Hendrick, Rudi, Jackson
    *******

    The Oakland Athletics are 1971 World Champions!


    For Oakland this would go down as one of the great seasons of all time. Down 8 games in July they came out of nowhere to handily seize the division, inch past Baltimore, and completely dominate Atlanta. George Hendrick, World Series MVP, was ecstatic. "It's a dream come true," he said. "Wonderful!" He went 8 for 14 with 3 doubles, 2 homers, and 5 RBI in the Series.
    Retired Dynasties I'm Proud of
    To Rule in Kansas City Part I and Part II (Kansas City Royals 1969-73, Hall of Fame)
    Cardinal Sins (St. Louis Cardinals 1976-78) and it's sequel:
    Diverting Destiny (Montreal Expos 1994)
    Script for my Requiem (New Orleans Blues (fictional) 1954)

  6. #321
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    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    Wow.

    The A's are pretty good huh?

    Well, looks like you have an uphill battle for next year. I certainly hope for your sake that the A's are loaded with upcoming free agents.

  7. #322
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    1,810

    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    10-0. Awful. Being a Braves fan in real life, I know too well about Braves teams losing World Series game. I felt like I was right there.

    --Pet

  8. #323
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    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    PotatoofCouch: Unfortunately it doesn't look like Oakland lost very much. I can only hope as they get older they lose some of their punch.

    petrel: Yes, I was agape. I didn't expect the Braves to get shut out like that. Troubling for Oakland's ALW rivals...
    *******

    KANSAS CITY ROYALS


    TEAM OVERVIEW

    Batting
    Code:
    1971 Batting               G   AVG    AB    H  2B  3B  HR   BB    K   SB  CS    R  RBI   SLG   OBP
    Grote, Jerry              76  .309   291   90  14   1   3   34   34    0   2   35   32  .395  .382
    Martinez, Buck            15  .257    35    9   3   0   0    2    3    0   0    7    4  .343  .297
    Rodriguez, Ellie          93  .309   333  103  15   1   0   46   38    2   3   40   34  .360  .401
    
    Fiore, Mike               67  .241   174   42   4   0   3   25   28    0   0   26   19  .316  .337
    Oliver, Bob               90  .199   231   46   9   0  10   25   50    0   0   30   35  .368  .282
    Thompson, Will            96  .217   277   60  12   1   8   40   44    0   0   35   34  .354  .322
    
    Andrews, Mike            109  .269   342   92  24   1   5   43   49    1   0   39   40  .389  .352
    Concepcion, Dave         137  .251   505  127  25   4   4   38   64    4   2   64   58  .341  .304
    Duffy, Frank               8  .182    22    4   1   0   0    2    2    0   1    1    1  .227  .250
    Hart, Jim Ray            156  .255   568  145  29   4  21   53   95    0   1   86  100  .431  .322
    Russell, Bill             46  .345   145   50   5   1   0    5   14    3   1   14   16  .393  .371
    Salmon, Chico            113  .275   346   95  16   0   2   25   54    3   0   51   39  .338  .330
    White, Frank              15  .273    33    9   1   1   0    0    3    0   0    2    6  .364  .273
    
    Cardenal, Jose           151  .284   563  160  37   6  13   46   72   14   1   84   86  .440  .337
    Kelly, Pat               158  .324   574  186  37   4  15   89   83   22   9  121   60  .481  .419
    Maye, Lee                112  .281   317   89  19   0   6   24   29    5   3   43   42  .397  .333
    Northey, Scott            55  .304   138   42   9   0   3   12   29    3   1   20   19  .435  .364
    Rico, Fred                62  .277   159   44   7   0   4   18   30    3   0   21   21  .396  .348
    Robinson, Bill           157  .305   567  173  36   2  22   44   97   11   6   78   93  .492  .359
    At catcher, Grote's gone as soon as he comes off the DL. Decent player, but spent far too much time last year disabled. I don't want any doubt in Ellie's mind he's our catcher until Buck is ready.

    At first, another disappointing season from pretty much all comers. The future is probably Thompson and Oliver. So say my scouts. Who seem to have trouble getting this right.

    In the infield, Russell may have stolen shortstop. We'll see come spring. Hart's still our go-to guy even with his sometimes difficult attitude. Second base is a toss up, though Andrews didn't do bad once he ended his early season slump.

    In the outfield it's probably Cardenal, Kelly and Robinson...though as you'll see, the situation's about to get even more confused. Perhaps fatally so.
    *******

    Pitching
    Code:
    1971 Pitching            Team     IP   ERA    G  GS   W   L  SV    K   BB   R/9
    Blyleven, Bert            KCR  255.1  3.35   35  35  17   8   0  201   70 11.00
    Bunker, Wally             KCR   79.1  3.29   13  13   4   6   0   51   24 10.44
    Busby, Steve              KCR    6.0  4.50    1   1   0   1   0    2    0 10.50
    Butler, Bill              KCR   95.0  4.26   17  16   4   8   0   64   56 15.82
    Clemons, Lance            KCR    5.1  0.00    4   0   0   0   1    6    0  6.75
    Cram, Jerry               KCR   80.1  5.15   52   1   6   5   2   60   26 13.33
    Drago, Dick               KCR   87.2  2.26   37   1   2   1   3   58   36 10.57
    Fingers, Rollie           KCR   35.2  4.54   32   0   5   7  15   28   21 13.63
    Fitzmorris, Al            KCR  162.1  4.44   27  27  11   6   0   75   58 13.80
    Hedlund, Mike             KCR   73.1  2.45   35   2   3   4   3   39   22 10.55
    Lopez, Aurelio            KCR   41.0  3.73   27   1   3   3   2   32   11 10.98
    Montgomery, Monty         KCR   95.0  5.40   17  17   3   6   0   69   42 15.35
    Rooker, Jim               KCR  189.0  5.14   31  31  11   9   0  119   88 14.57
    Splittorff, Paul          KCR  116.1  3.09   17  17   7   2   0   75   37 11.14
    Wright, Ken               KCR   45.2  6.11   29   0   3   3   1   31   38 16.55
    York, Jim                 KCR   93.0  4.35   63   0   6   8   4   88   41 13.94
    Despite what can only be described as late season troubles, Blyleven put up the best season in our short history. Splittorff also did well the limited time we could use him. Bunker, Fitzmorris and Rooker can duel for the last two spots this spring. The loser might well be traded.

    Fingers put up another...tolerable...year as closer. I'll ask Bob Lemon what he thinks, but we might be able to do better. Dick Drago really stepped forward this year, as did Mike Hedlund and rookie Aurelio Lopez.
    Retired Dynasties I'm Proud of
    To Rule in Kansas City Part I and Part II (Kansas City Royals 1969-73, Hall of Fame)
    Cardinal Sins (St. Louis Cardinals 1976-78) and it's sequel:
    Diverting Destiny (Montreal Expos 1994)
    Script for my Requiem (New Orleans Blues (fictional) 1954)

  9. #324
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    Mar 2007
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    Posts
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    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    Early November 1971


    Satchel Paige took news of his latest retirement surprisingly well. It turns out he was considering it himself, but didn't want to 'let us young 'uns down.' I shook his hand and walked him out, offering a lifetime pass to Royals home games. He wouldn't use it often over the next eleven years, but every so often I'd glance down the first baseline and see him, wrapped in a blanket even in summer but always grinning.

    Andy opened the door to his office as we walked past and silently watched us leave. When I returned he stopped me. "Is he gone?"

    I met his gaze. "Yes."

    He looked down, nodded in reply and walked away.
    *******

    I've made a point of trying to keep Andy in the loop as much as I think he can handle. He remained nearly silent as I negotiated our four remaining contracts.

    The first three were actually arbitration cases. I won all three, though our payroll still ballooned:

    First up was 1B Mike Fiore (73) [27] (.241 3-19 0). Mike was our surprise last year, starting a good number of games after going on a hot streak. Realistically he'll be in Omaha next year unless Thompson dies again. We finally agreed on a raise from the new minimum ($18,300) to $27.000. After this...I don't know. In two years he'll be eligible for the Rule V redraft if we keep him in Omaha.

    SP Jim Rooker (85) [29] (11-9 5.14 2 CG) was our #3-4 pitcher most of the year. That's probably his future role. Is it worth $125,000 to the club? Perhaps, perhaps not. Depending on how next year goes he might be expendable, as I expect Blyleven and Splittorff to do very ugly things to our payroll when they hit arbitration next year.

    SP/RP Mike Hedlund (84/99) [25] (3-4 2.45 1 CG 3 SV) spent part of the season in Omaha, but more of it filling a variety of roles as our rotation grew increasingly fragile. That kind of versatility is worth $105,000.

    Our one contract was our minor leaguer that we picked up in free agency. Josh Brown (60/83) [18] finished the season in C ball and declined his player's option. We've agreed to pay him $21,000 for two years. By 1973 we should know where we stand with him.
    *******

    A little trading news. Cincinnati began the off-season 'game' GMs play with their rosters (which hopefully will really happen now as I've grabbed 11.08) by getting rid of Alex Johnson.

    Mister Bradley, the former Indians GM, surfaced on the other end of the state and promptly ridded himself of the Reds' most troublesome player. Johnson (84/93) [28] (.309 14-57 5) has one heck of a bat, but isn't a good fielder. Manager Sparky Anderson says he doesn't 'hustle.' He replies that he's paid 'to hit.' Well, now he's the Phillies' problem.

    Philadelphia gave up SS Larry Bowa (80) [25] (.263 0-1 2) and 2B Fred Millan (85) [28] (.302 1-59 7) to complete the deal.

    In my opinion this is an unqualified Reds victory. Millan becomes their new 2B. Bowa will sit on the bench, but only because of his age and would probably be an improvement. Johnson...joins Greg Luzinski on the bench behind another great but troublesome left fielder, Dick Allen.

    It'll be fun to see if the Phils can avoid an explosion this year.
    *******

    Tony Taylor (3B, Minnesota) retired after being released by the Twins. He'd been moved to Minnesota from Philadelphia as part of last year's Rule V.
    Taylor is 35 and played 14 seasons.
    In 1971 he batted .429 in 28 AB with 1 HR and 4 RBI.
    Lifetime he finishes .261 53-433 188 SB 1,551 hits
    He played for the Cubs (58-60), Phillies (60-70) and Twins (71)
    Taylor was an All Star in 1960

    Russ Snyder (RF, Yankees) retired after being released. He's 37 and played 13 seasons.
    In 1971 he batted .143 in 28 AB with 2 RBI.
    Lifetime he finishes .275 43-335 70 SB 1,081 hits
    He played for the KC Athletics (59-60), Orioles (61-67), White Sox (68), Indians (68-70) and Yankees (71)
    He was a Gold Glove in 1969

    Julian Javier (2B, St. Louis) retired after being released. He's 35 and played 12 seasons.
    In 1971 he batted .300 in 10 AB with 2 RBI.
    Lifetime he finishes .259 73-445 with 129 SB, 1,262 hits
    He spent his entire career (60-71) with the Cardinals
    He was an All Star in 1963 and 68.

    John O'Donoghue (SP, St. Louis) retired. He was 32 and played 6 seasons.
    In 1971 he went 0-0 0.00 in 4 IP.
    Lifetime he finishes 33-50 4.08 13 CG 4 SV
    He played for the KC Athletics (63-65), Indians (66-67), Orioles (68) and Cardinals (71)
    He was an All Star in 1965
    *******

    Andy knocked on the door to my office and walked in. He still hasn't quite mastered being polite, but I think I prefer this to quiet sullenness. I think maybe Marcie's actually good for him. He seems to be regaining his former (over)confidence but hasn't done anything overtly stupid in two weeks. May it work out for them both.

    "You asked for my opinion of the free agent list," he said, sitting across from me. "Junk." He tossed the commissioner's master file in front of me. "With just two or three exceptions we're already better than these guys, and we're not desperate enough for depth."

    I glanced down the list as he continued speaking.

    Top 10 Free Agents (by requested salary)
    1) 1B Mike Epstein (91) [28] (.268 32-121 2 for WAS) (wants $350K for 4 yrs)
    2) RF Bobby Murcer (84) [25] (.327 21-119 10 for NYY) (wants $350K for 2 yrs)
    3) 3B Pete Ward (81/82) [32] (.283 20-99 2 for CHW) (wants $299K for 4 yrs)
    4) 1B Orlando Cepeda (84) [34] (.286 27-92 7 for ATL) (wants $278K for 3 yrs)
    5) 2B Horace Clarke (84) [31] (.268 0-72 22 for NYY) (wants $265K for 4 yrs)

    6) SP Fritz Peterson (83) [24] (17-14 4.96 5 CG for NYY) (wants $260K for 3 yrs)
    7) LF Art Shamsky (83) [30] (.260 24-94 1 for NYM) (wants $258K for 4 yrs)
    8) C Manny Sanguillen (83) [27] (.318 8-62 1 for PIT) (wants $256K for 2 yrs)
    9) SP Woodie Fryman (82) [31] (11-9 4.68 1 CG for PHI) (wants $255K for 3 yrs)
    10) RF Bobby Tolan (82) [25] (.125 0-1 0 with CIN) (wants $253K for 4 yrs)

    "Epstein's better than Oliver any day, anywhere. However if Thompson develops this winter then we'll have a bargain who's about as good. I know you believe in him." I nodded, though those 32 homers were hard to resist. Still...taking Epstein meant breaking my promise to Oliver and/or blocking Will's development.

    "The only other spot worth talking about is catcher." Sanguillen looked like he might be an improvement over Rodriguez, but again I all but guaranteed him the starting role and my last attempt to replace him (Grote) didn't go so well.

    I continued scanning the list and finally pointed at a name. "Him I'd like to have."

    He followed my finger. "...So would I, but do we need another outfielder?"

    "Probably not, but we do need a leader. If he's not qualified, I don't know any player today who is. The Giants were fools to let him go..."
    Retired Dynasties I'm Proud of
    To Rule in Kansas City Part I and Part II (Kansas City Royals 1969-73, Hall of Fame)
    Cardinal Sins (St. Louis Cardinals 1976-78) and it's sequel:
    Diverting Destiny (Montreal Expos 1994)
    Script for my Requiem (New Orleans Blues (fictional) 1954)

  10. #325
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    2,339

    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    Quote Originally Posted by CatKnight View Post
    At catcher, Grote's gone as soon as he comes off the DL. Decent player, but spent far too much time last year disabled. I don't want any doubt in Ellie's mind he's our catcher until Buck is ready.
    When will Martinez be ready? It seems like he's been on the cusp for an awfully long time now...

    I wonder who you have your eyes on that the Giants let go? "Say Hey" if I'm guessing right

  11. #326
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    Apr 2002
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    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    1,810

    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    I don't think I would have trade Grote. He hits too well, and he's worth leaving on the bench if he doesn't cost too much money.

    It looks like Andy's been tamed. Just do a little shadow-boxing in your office every now and then, though.

    ...Mays? As a friend of mind says, OH **** YES!

    --Pet

  12. #327
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Cowcrap Town
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    6,066

    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    This is an amazing dynasty, Hopfully Say Hey wont ask for much.
    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonGM View Post
    I'm an idiot

    Quote Originally Posted by Kobie View Post
    lern 2 english

  13. #328
    Imgran Guest

    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    How the holy boop is Murcer on the FA market in 1971? IRL he wouldn't have had 6 years' service time until '74! 1969, the start year of this dynasty, was his rookie year!

  14. #329
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Conway, MA
    Posts
    126

    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    Y4 issue probably

  15. #330
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Cleveland, OH
    Posts
    2,896

    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    PotatoofCouch: I'm starting to wonder about Martinez. Last year I think I reported him a 75/96 or thereabouts. As of right now he's a 76/95. He may pick up in spring... He's 23. I'd hate to give up on him, but I may have to soon. Despite 'Chuck's' promises, Ellie Rodriguez can't hold catcher forever. His 79 rating just doesn't cut it.

    Oh. "Hey!"

    petrel: I haven't traded Grote yet. I may change my mind once he heals up, especially if Martinez STILL isn't ready.

    ragecage: "Hey" didn't ask for TOO much. I hope he's still worth it.

    Imgran/bwburke94: I'm thinking so (the Y4 issue). The Yanks released nine players. 4 are now on other teams' 25 man rosters, 3 are still FAs, one retired and one's a minor leaguer. I guess when Murcer hit arbitration "he" asked for too much.

    I'm more and more of the opinion that HoustonGM's right about arbitration and that it needs an overhaul, some sort of scaling to make it more likely they'll stick with their original team the full six years or some semblance thereof.
    *******

    November 14, 1971

    "Mr. Mays? I'm Chuck Hunter." I stood as he walked in and offered my hand. Mays was part of a slowly dying breed, men who believed in negotiating their own contracts. "I don't mind," he said when asked about coming to Kansas City. "The best way to get a feel for a man is face to face, don't you agree?"

    Mays grinned and returned my handshake with an iron grip before limping to a chair. In late June a fastball slammed into his ankle breaking it and ending his season.

    "Mr. Mays, I was shocked when I learned about the Giants releasing you. We're interested in having you finish your career here in KC."

    "Finish?" Willie chuckled. "You talk as if I'm on the way out, Mr. Hunter. There are still a few good seasons left in these bones, I assure you. "I don't blame Mr. Stoneham (the Giants owner) for making a business decision, but I do think I still have something to offer."

    "I agree." At forty years old, Mays batted .297 with 11 HR and 54 RBI in half a season's work. "Well, I told you our situation here in Kansas City," I said. "We have many fine players, but most of them are very young and could benefit from your leadership."

    He nodded. "How often would you play me?"

    "I...well, that depends on many factors." Such as my center fielder falling into a black hole. Jose Cardenal had a great year and will be awarded a Gold Glove once the official announcements come out in a few days. I just can't see benching him.

    "Mr. Hunter, I'm forty years old...and forty-two homers behind Babe Ruth. Now, I don't consider myself a prideful man, but I've been chasing Ruth my entire career. If I play for a team that's going to leave me on the bench, then there's no hope at all of that."

    "And the record means that much to you?"

    He considered, slowly shaking his head. "Yes and no. Certainly I'd like it for myself, but it's what the record represents that's important. It's a continuation of Dr. King's dream - the idea that any man, regardless of race, can accomplish anything if they put their mind to it."

    Rhetoric. It sounded like rhetoric to me, a flimsy cover for vanity...though he did have a point. The country tore itself apart after King and Bobby Kennedy died, and only now, three years after their death and two after Vietnam, did it show signs of getting back to normal. It would definitely be good for baseball if he and Aaron continued their drives towards the record.

    "We both know," I said slowly, "that the free agent market is moving slowly this year." True. One week after free agency opened only five of the top ten agents had moved. I didn't know of anyone else looking at Mays, regardless of reputation. Doctors said he might not regain form after his injury, and there were those who thought it just as well if Ruth's record remained intact. "I can't promise you'll be a starter, but I think you know Bob Lemon's a good manager. I'll make sure he gives you a fair chance in spring training, but we really need to see how well you're doing once they take the cast off. I think I can promise you'll be here in KC. We won't try to send you to Omaha unless you're hurt again and need rehab."

    He squinted at me and looked very serious, as if trying to read my mind. Then the grin returned, a bright smile that lit up the office. "That sounds fair. What kind of salary did you have in mind?"
    *******

    Andy came to me a few days later. "I have a possible free agent deal for you to look at. I've negotiated everything."

    I frowned.

    "Relax. I told them I needed your approval. I thought I'd try to do the legwork for you since you've been trying to find a reliever." Unfortunately, none of the relievers I thought might improve the club wanted to talk to me including Sparky Lyle.

    "Let me see." He handed me a folder and I flipped through it. "Look...nothing against the guy, but we have outfielders coming out of our tail!"

    "I know, but I thought about what you said about Mays, and how we needed leadership."

    "And you think he can provide that?"

    "I don't know, but I do think he helped hold the team together early last year and before. I think we lost something after he left and that it hurt us down the stretch. I'm not saying you made a bad decision, but I'm saying if we can get him back we should."

    I tapped the folder. "I can't guarantee him a spot. He has a good shot at the bench, but that'd be about all I could promise."

    "I think he understands that - for this year anyway. All he asked is that we agree not to trade him again."

    When all was said and done Lou Piniella batted .308 with 10 HR and 76 RBI for the Royals, Indians and Orioles. I looked at the negotiated offer and frowned. "That's a lot of money."

    "Free agency," he shrugged. "Anyone with better stats wants more money."

    I tapped the folder again, thinking. I could always try to move some of my other outfielders... Rico and Maye. Perhaps Northey if he didn't have a breakthrough in spring training. It also occured to me that this let Andy make his mark on the team in a (comparatively) harmless fashion.

    "You'll answer for it if it doesn't work out?"

    He hesitated and paled, then nodded grimly.

    "Then yes."
    *******

    Free Agent Pickups

    Top 10
    1. 1B Mike Epstein (from Washington to Atlanta, $350K for 4 years)
    2. RF Bobby Murcer (from Yankees to Montreal, $350K for 2 years)
    3. 3B Pete Ward (from White Sox to Detroit, $277K for 3 years)
    4. 1B Orlando Cepeda (from Braves, unsigned as of Winter Meetings, now wants $256K/2 yrs)
    5. 2B Horace Clarke (from Yankees to Cleveland, $262K for 3 years)

    6. SP Fritz Peterson (from Yankees, unsigned, now wants $222K/2 yrs)
    7. LF Art Shamsky (from Mets, unsigned, now wants $215K/2 yrs)
    8. C Manny Sanguillen (from Pittsburgh to Angels, $256K for 2 years)
    9. SP Woodie Fryman (from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, $254K for 3 years)
    10. RF Bobby Tolan (from Cincinnati, unsigned, now wants $203K/2 years)

    Royals
    1. CF Willie Mays (from San Francisco, $221K for 2 yrs, PO $220K for 1 yr)
    2. LF Lou Piniella (from Baltimore, $250K for 2 yrs)
    *******

    Trades (End of Season til Winter Meetings)

    Seattle to Pittsburgh:
    RP Darold Knowles (84) [30] (5-4 2.97 19 SV for Washington) (assigned to Setup)

    Pittsburgh to Seattle:
    RP Lou Marone (67/80) [260 (Minor leaguer) (B-ball)
    SS Gene Alley (81) [31] (.247 7-52 7) (Starter)

    (Grrr! I 'forced' Seattle to pick up the two best pitchers in FA to try and get them back on track, and just one month later they trade one away! Alley is an improvement at short, but their bullpen is horrible!)

    Seattle to Oakland:
    SP Bill Parsons (79/80) [23] (7-12 4.57 1 CG) (LR)

    Oakland to Seattle:
    RP Dave Hamilton (67/78) [24] (0-1 9.00 in 1 IP) (B-ball)

    (Another trade that looks off. Parsons wasn't their weakest starter, but not their strongest either. Hamilton...hm. Perhaps Seattle's slashing payroll? Or attempting a rebuild? Maybe Kevin's lost his mind!)
    Retired Dynasties I'm Proud of
    To Rule in Kansas City Part I and Part II (Kansas City Royals 1969-73, Hall of Fame)
    Cardinal Sins (St. Louis Cardinals 1976-78) and it's sequel:
    Diverting Destiny (Montreal Expos 1994)
    Script for my Requiem (New Orleans Blues (fictional) 1954)

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