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Old 04-18-2018, 12:55 AM   #2
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September 15, 1965

I chose 1965 to join the action in my sim because it was the year I was born and will give me a chance to follow the career arcs of all the players I loved as a kid in the 1970s. The focus will also be on the history that was created, which is something I will discover as the game progresses. I quick-simmed from 1894 until 1965 with no stoppages, aside from the changes I had to make in the early years adding and deleting my own created minor leagues. I purposely paid as little attention to the results as possible so I could go back and explore the history of my sim.

I made sure to keep all of the history, at least for MLB, as I saved the almanac with full boxscores each year which will allow me to go back and revisit great World Series games and other achievements that catch my eye.

Before I learn about the great and unusual accomplishments of the past - things like who the greatest franchise of all time is, the importance of the numbers 4450, 726 and 425, and before I talk about things like the player who had more homers than his team had wins in a season*, let's see how the baseball world looks on September 15, 1965.

The date I start this has no significance other than I thought it might give me a nice pennant race or two and allowed me to start the recaps just before the World Series begins.

Well, we did get a pennant race, but only one as the National League had long been decided by mid-September thanks to a record breaking season from the Cincinnati Reds. With 8 games remaining the Reds had already won a franchise best 112 games and were just one win shy of equalling the 1905 Philadelphia Phillies for the single-season Major League wins record.

There is no draft in this universe so the Reds feature many of the names you would expect and are a nice mix of 1960s stars like Frank Robinson, Vada Pinson and Jim Maloney along with some pieces that would be the basis of the real-life Big Red Machine a decade later in Pete Rose and Tony Perez.

The 24 year old Rose is in his third full season with the Reds and is leading the National League in batting at .347. However, Pittsburgh great Willie Stargell (.346,53,128) is having a career year and looking to win the first National League triple crown since the Phillies Hack Wilson won three straight triple crowns from 1926-28.

Joining Rose as the Reds offensive leaders are outfielders Frank Robinson (.313,36,119), who is second to Stargell in homers and RBI's, Vada Pinson (.333,26,91) and Jim Wynn (.277,17,66). The Reds infield has Perez (.268,21,69) at first, Rose playing second, Leo Cardenas (.215,9,50) at short and Cesar Tovar (.303,4,58) manning third and batting lead-off. Tovar is among the league stolen base leaders with 37. Johnny Edwards and Don Pavletich platoon behind the plate. I should add that Johnny Bench is in the system, but presently a 17 year old who has hit 19 homers and batting .292 in 99 games for the Penninsula Grays of the Carolina League. Bench is ranked the #9 prospect in the game.

25 year old righthander Jim Maloney (21-4, 1.93) is a shoo-in for his first Cy Young Award - although in this universe it likely should be named the Christy Mathewson Award.

The rest of the Reds rotation consists of Claude Osteen (18-5, 3.09), former Cy Young winner Jim O'Toole (16-7, 3.12), 24 year old Sammy Ellis (16-10, 3.20) and a guy who does nothing but win titles in veteran Curt Simmons (13-10, 3.27).

CURT SIMMONS

Simmons is a fantastic story and he is a clear link between the fall of the Phillies and rise of the Reds as a National League powerhouse. I will delve into the Phillies more in the future but Simmons joined the club in 1949 full time after splitting the previous year between AAA Toronto and Philadelphia. Simmons would spend 6 seasons in Philadelphia, compiling a record of 103-58 including a 22-7 1950 season when he won both the Cy Young and NL MVP awards. The Phillies would win 5 pennants and 4 World Series titles during Simmons tenure with the club.

In 1954 the Phillies won 107 games (with Simmons going 15-11) but came up short in the World Series, losing in 7 to the Detroit Tigers. That off-season Philadelphia made a blockbuster 1-for-1 deal sending Simmons to the Reds in exchange for slugging first baseman Joe Adcock. The 27 year old Adcock would thrive in Philadelphia and remains a Phillie to this day. Adcock has 464 career homers including a record-setting 64 in 1959 but today, at the age of 37 he has yet to play a post-season game as the storied Phillies franchise (tied for 1st in pennants and with more World Series wins than any other franchise) declined terribly over the past decade.

Cincinnati had never won a World Series prior to acquiring Simmons and had won just 3 pennants (1900,1917 & 1940) but since the trade they have 4 pennants (soon to be 5) and two World Series titles. Simmons has had two 20-win seasons with the Reds and is 284-167 for his major league career. He also owns 6 World Series rings but is just 6-7 in post-season play. To add more to the pattern of winning for Simmons, he also won an Eastern League title with Utica in 1947 (although he was moved to Terre Haute before the postseason but pitched in the playoffs for them) and was part of Toronto's International League champion in 1948 but had been promoted to the big league's for September.

While I certainly think it is more a case of being in the right organization at the right time far more than it is Simmons simply 'willing' his teams to victory it is hard to argue with his success.

Now 36 years old, the lefthander's career is on the downswing but before it ends he might have a couple of more World Series rings and his 284 career victories place him just 5 wins shy of being the 9th most winningest pitchers of all-time.

Here are the top 11 all-time wins leaders right now
Code:
Christy Mathewson	425
Eppa Rixey		389
John Clarkson		378
Walter Johnson		363
Rube Waddell		351
Cy Young		341
Gus Weyhing		327
Warran Spahn		316
Red Ruffing		288
Lefty Williams		288
Curt Simmons		284
Simmons is the only active player on the list. The only other active players with at least 200 wins are Whitey Ford (259) and Robin Roberts (253). A final note on Curt Simmons - he pitched a no-hitter for the Phillies in his amazing 1950 season.

Here is Curt Simmons career stats and the 1965 standings as of September 15th.


*-Ralph Kiner of Pittsburgh hit 50 homers in 1950 in my sim while his Pirates won just 49 games.
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