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OOTP 19 - Historical Simulations Discuss historical simulations and their results in this forum.

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Old 01-23-2019, 04:30 PM   #1
skyballer455
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Following The Bird Redux

As some of you may recall (or not), back in OOTP 17 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the year of The Bird, I followed Mark "The Bird" Fidrych's career in OOTP. While it didn't go quite as planned I still had fun with it.

So, with OOTP 19 I'm going to do it again. This time it should be even better with all the historical minor league graphics I helped Tiger Fan assemble. Any here are the same two Wikipedia quotes for those aren't familiar with the legend that is "The Bird":

Quote:
The son of an assistant school principal, Fidrych played baseball at Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, Massachusetts, and at Worcester Academy, a day and boarding school in central Massachusetts. In the 1974 amateur draft he was selected in the 10th round by the Detroit Tigers and later joked that when he got a call saying he had been drafted he thought he was drafted into the military not thinking there were any teams looking at him. In the minor leagues one of his coaches with the Lakeland Tigers dubbed the lanky 6-foot-3 right-handed pitcher "The Bird" because of his resemblance to the "Big Bird" character of the Sesame Street television program.
Quote:
Fidrych also captured the imagination of fans with his antics on the field. He would crouch down on the pitcher's mound and fix cleat marks, what became known as "manicuring the mound", talk to himself, talk to the ball, aim the ball like a dart, strut around the mound after every out, and throw back balls that "had hits in them", insisting they be removed from the game. Mark Fidrych also was known for shaking everyone's hands after a game. On June 28, 1976, he pitched against the New York Yankees in a nationally televised game on ABC; the Tigers won the game 5–1. After a game filled with "Bird" antics in which he and his team handily defeated the Yankees, Fidrych became a national celebrity.

Every time he pitched, Tiger Stadium was jam-packed with fans who became known as "Bird Watchers". Fidrych's fan appeal was also enhanced by the fact that he had his own "personal catcher". Because Tigers coaching and managerial staff were somewhat superstitious about "jinxing" Fidrych's success, Bruce Kimm, a rookie catcher, caught each of Fidrych's outings.
This time around I'll do this differently. Instead starting in 1974 with him already in the Tigers organization, I'll start in 1973 and allow him to be drafted by a team. I'll first try running his career using the OOTP development agent. If he doesn't reach the majors then, I'll restart and edit his ratings so it is guaranteed he reaches the majors one way or another, just like last time. Either way, I'll follow his career until he retires, whenever that may be.

As always sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!
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Old 01-23-2019, 08:49 PM   #2
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1973 Before The Draft

Here are the final regular season standings for 1973. The Tigers and Padres tie for the worst record in the league.

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The Baltimore Orioles come back from a 3-0 deficit to win the 1973 World Series. The series MVP award goes to Al Bumbry, who led the league in batting average this season:

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Meanwhile, Mark Fidrych enters the game in the draft pool on October 16th. Here are the pitching ratings he enters the game with:

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As you can see, his suggested role in the MLB is listed as Starter, so I may not need to do the do-over after all.

Here are BNN's picks for the Top 10 draft prospects. Sadly, The Bird is not listed among them, but with his suggested MLB role being Starter, I think he may go pretty high:

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Let's see where The Bird will go!
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Old 01-23-2019, 09:46 PM   #3
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1973 Draft

23 picks went by in the first round. I was sure that Mark Fidrych wouldn't be picked in the first round. The reigning National League champion Dodgers were on the clock for the 24th pick. I was sure that they wouldn't need a pitcher like The Bird. But then, MLB commissioner Bowie Kuhn walked up to the podium to announce the Dodgers pick:

"With the last pick of the first round of the 1973 Major League First-Year Player Draft, the Los Angeles Dodgers select Mark Fidrych, a pitcher from Worcester Academy in Worcester, Massachusetts."

I was pleasantly surprised to say the least. In real life, The Bird was picked in the 10th round by the Tigers. So now Fidrych is now a part of the Dodgers organization. He is immediately assigned to their Advanced Rookie League affiliate, the Ogden Spikers of the Pioneer League. Here is his picture and ratings on draft day:

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I have a feeling he won't be with that team for long. Lastly, here's how the rest of the first round panned out:

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On to the offseason!
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Old 01-23-2019, 11:38 PM   #4
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1973-1974 Offseason

That certainly didn't take to long. When I check back at the end of the Major League draft, Fidrych has already been called up to the Dodger's Single-A affiliate in the California League, the Bakersfield Dodgers. It would appear they have a lot of faith in him.

On January 23rd, Eddie Matthews, Robin Roberts, Whitey Ford, and Mickey Mantle are voted into the Hall of Fame.

The Bird stays in Bakersfield throughout the offseason. As of Major League opening day on April 4, he is the No. 1 starter on the roster.

Here is his picture and ratings as of MLB Opening Day:

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His first start will come on April 9th against the Visalia Mets.
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Old 01-24-2019, 03:16 PM   #5
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Enjoyed your last one and looking forward to seeing how Fidrych does this time around. Hard to see him as Dodger though.
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Old 01-24-2019, 08:55 PM   #6
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1974 Season

Let's see how Mark's first five starts went:

1) April 9 @ Visalia Mets

The Bird's career gets off to a rocky start (just like last time) as he allows 12 hits and 7 runs (6 of which were earned) and pitches 5 innings in a 5-14 loss.

2) April 14 vs. Salinas Packers

Even though he once again gives up 12 hits and allows all five Packers runs, he whiffs 7 batters and gets credited with the 9-5 win.

3) April 19 vs. Modesto Reds

Fidrych has another decent game, striking out 6 batters and allowing only two runs. He also gives up the first home run of his career. He now leads the team in strikeouts with 15 so far.

4) April 24 vs. San Jose Bees

The Bird pitches only one inning as he is taken out of the game early with a sore ankle. He does manage to strike out one batter however. The Dodgers go on to lose the game 8-10.

5) April 29 vs. Fresno Giants

Now recovered from the sore ankle he sustained in his last start, he pitches a complete game, striking out 5 and walking 4. He gives up only two runs and get credited with the 5-2 win.

Here are his stats through the first month of his first pro season:

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Now, let's check out how the rest of his first season goes.

May 1974

Fidrych continues to pitch brilliantly, notching a 5-1 record and striking out 43 batters over the course of the month. He only gives 2 home runs and his WHIP for the month is 1.32. I should mention that at the end of this month, the Bakersfield Dodgers are in a three-way tie for first place in the CALL with the Reno Silver Sox and the San Jose Bees. They are the only three teams with winning records, each posting a record of 33-17.

June 1974

This month is a down month for Mark as he posts a 1-2 record over the course of 6 starts. For the month his ERA is 5.67 and he strikes out only 29 hitters. He still only gives up a pair of home runs, however. Despite this, the Dodgers promote him to their Double-A Eastern League affiliate, the Waterbury Dodgers, at the end of the month.

July 1974

The Bird pitches only three starts for Waterbury, all of them wins. Over those three games he compiles a 2-0 record, an ERA of 3.47, and whiffs 29 batters. This causes the Dodgers to promote him once again, this time to their Triple-A Pacific Coast League affiliate, the Albuquerque Dukes, immediately after his third start is over. Already The Bird is one step away from the majors. He starts three games for the Dukes over the rest of the month. He has a rough time of it, posting an ERA of 5.71 and getting only 11 strikeouts.

August 1974

His rough time continues this month as over six starts he puts together a record of 2-3 with an ERA of 5.92. He also seems to strikeout just as many batters as he walks. Let's see if he can improve in what's left of the regular season.

September 1974

The Bird improves somewhat, posting an ERA of 4.09 along with an even 1-1 record. He still seems to be strikeout and walking batters at an even clip.

Final Stats And Standings

Here are the final Standings in the PCL:

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The Salt Lake City Angels defeat the Tacoma Twins in seven games to win the PCL championship.

Let's have a look at The Bird's picture, stats, and rating as of the end of the PCL season:

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This was certainly a season of ups and downs for him, but he did manage to make it to Triple-A in the course of one season. His ratings have also improved somewhat. Let's hope this is the start of great things!
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Old 01-25-2019, 12:43 AM   #7
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1974-1975 Offseason

The 1974 World Series is won by the Cincinnati Reds who defeat the Chicago White Sox in six games. The Dodgers failed to make the playoffs as they finished 3rd in the NL West with a record of 84-78.

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Here is the first round of the 1974 MLB Draft:

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On January 22, the Hall of Fame Voting results are announced. No one was voted into the HOF this year. Don Drysdale was the top vote getter with 71.9% of the vote.

Meanwhile, The Bird stays with the Dukes through the offseason. He is briefly made a reliever when MLB Spring Training begins but is put back in the starting rotation by the time MLB Opening Day arrives. Here he is on Opening Day:

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There has been some improvement in his ratings, most notably in the Control category. This can only mean he's getting better.

Let's see how his second season pans out!
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Old 01-25-2019, 02:06 AM   #8
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1975 Season

April

The Bird's struggles continue as he has the worst month of his career so far. He posts an ERA of 8.42 and a record of 0-4. He also has a WHIP of 2.26. For the first time, he walks more batters than he strikes out in a month.

May

He makes a big improvement from last month, compiling a 3-1 record in six starts, with an ERA of 4.32. His WHIP is also down from last month at 1.49. He also walked less batters.

June

Fidrych is back to struggling this month. His record of 1-3 and 11.15 ERA proves that is the case.Not much change anywhere else statwise. Maybe the Dodgers need to send him back down to Double-A.

July

Once again Fidrych makes an improvement from the previous month in what has been an up and down season. He gets only one loss to his credit and compiles a 6.69 ERA. His WHIP last month was 2.15, this month it was 1.70. He struck out 20 batters as well. Hopefully this inconsistency won't hurt him in the long run.

August

I totally missed this while simming this month out, but on the 2nd, the Dodgers purchase The Bird's contract from the Dukes. This comes a day after yet another rough game as he gives up 6 runs, five of which are earned, and gets saddled with the loss. Thus he becomes a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers, at least for the time being. However, he has to wait three weeks for his first taste of Major League action.

It finally comes on the 20th against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Fidrych is sent in to replace Doug Rau in the bottom of the 6th inning after he gives up 2 runs. The first batter The Bird faces is Tony LaRussa. Here is what happens:

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That strikeout is the first thing any MLB fan sees of Mark Fydrich. That will be the only batter he'll face this game, as he's substituted for Geoff Zahn in the 7th inning. The Dodgers go on to lose the game 1-7.

Three days later, he is sent back down to Albuquerque Dukes, where he makes two more starts this month. Both of those are losses, one of which he gets credit for.

For the month in Triple-A, he posts a 0-2 record in three starts, an ERA of 6.75, and only strikes out 10 batters. Not surprisingly his WHIP goes back up as well at 2.20.

September

On the 1st of the month, Fidrych is made of the September call-ups. Once again, he is on the Dodgers but as a reliever.

He ends up appearing in only 2 games and pitching a total 5.2 innings, but he does quite well. He strikes out a batter each game, is credited with a win (his first Major League win) and posts an ERA of 3.00 and a WHIP of 1.17.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers post a record of 99-63 to win their second NL East crown in three years. They will face the Phillies in the NLCS. Perhaps The Bird will get some playoff experience, something he never got in real life?

Playoffs

Sadly, no playoff experience for Fidrych this year as the Phillies defeat the Dodgers in five games to go to the World Series.

The Phillies go on to down the Yankees in five games to win the Fall Classic:

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Here is Fidrych's stats and rating as of the beginning of the offseason:

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The good news is that Fidrych is now a Los Angeles Dodger. The bad news is that he had just a rough year in Triple-A. He couldn't get anything going all year. Perhaps it was because he played for a bad team, who knows. However, The Bird is in the majors and that's all that matters.

On to the offseason!
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Old 01-25-2019, 05:04 PM   #9
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1975-1976 Offseason

Here are BNN's Top Ten draft prospects and the first round of the MLB Draft:

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In an interesting twist of fate, on December 6th, Fidrych is traded to the Detroit Tigers along with center-fielder Willie Davis for aging veteran pitcher Mickey Lolich. I now need to pick my jaw up off the floor...

There we go. Anyway, that was probably for the better as the Dodgers already have a solid pitching lineup and The Bird would've probably been a reliever for quite a while. The Tigers are a rebuilding team so he probably has a better shot at making the rotation with this team.

Only Don Drysdale was elected to the HOF this year with 86.5% of the vote. Lew Burdette was a distant second at 41.3%.

Nothing else happens to Fidrych through the offseason. Here's how he looks on Opening Day:

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As you can see he still continues to improve. It doesn't show it here, but his potential stars have gone up to four. He's still a reliever, but let's hope that doesn't last too long. It must also be nice seeing Fidrych in a Tigers uniform, right Tiger Fan?

Let's see how his first whole season in the pros goes!
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Old 01-25-2019, 10:05 PM   #10
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1976 Season

April

Fidrych appears in 3 games in relief and does very well, posting an ERA of 2.70 over 6.2 total innings.

May

Mark makes 9 appearances this month and over 16.2 innings strikes out 8 and walks 8. However his WHIP is down to 1.59 from 2.40 last month.

June

He makes 6 appearances for the Tigers this month. He pitches just 9 innings over the course of those games and has a rough time of it with an ERA of 11.00 and a WHIP of 2.56.

On the 26th, The Bird is optioned to the Triple-A Evansville Triplets where he pitches a couple of games. While he collects both wins, records show he had a rough go of it there as well. His ERA for both games is 4.40 and he walks 9 and only strikes out 3. At the end of the month, the Tigers call him back up to the majors.

July

The Bird makes one appearance, on the 5th, before the Tigers send him down once again to Evansville, where he starts two more games. He is credited with the win in the second game. He strikes out 11 batters and compiles a WHIP of 1.38 over those two games but posts an ERA of 5.06.

On the 20th, the Tigers recall him back and he appears in five more games. Over 6 MLB appearances this month, he compiles an ERA of 6.97 and strikes out and walks 7 batters each along with a WHIP of 1.84.

August

Fidrych becomes a closer for the Tigers this month. Over 7 games he posts a record of 1-2 with an ERA of 4.35. He stills strikes out and walks batters at an even clip. This month he strikes out 7 and walks 6.

September

The Bird appears in 14 games this month. As a closer he earns 4 saves but an ERA of 5.06 in 26.2 innings. The Tigers finish the season once again at the bottom of the AL East with a record of 71-91.

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Playoffs

The Boston Red Sox defeat the San Francisco Giants 4 games to 1 to win their first World Series since 1918. Rick Miller is the series MVP

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Here is a look at Fidrych at the beginning of the offseason:

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This was definitely a down year for him, but he continues to work towards his potential. Maybe next year he'll finally crack the starting rotation?

On to the offseason!
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Old 01-26-2019, 05:00 PM   #11
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1976-1977 Offseason

Here are BNN's top ten draft prospects and the first round of the draft:

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As you can see, the Seattle Mariners and the Toronto Blue Jays join the American League this offseason.

For the second time in three years, no one is voted into the HOF. The top vote-getter was Ernie banks with 70%, followed by Jim Bunning at 59.2%.

The Bird, meanwhile is made a starter in December but then put back in closer position where he stays for the rest of the offseason.

Here he is on Opening Day:

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And now, on to the season!
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Old 01-26-2019, 06:02 PM   #12
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1977 Season

April

Mark compiles a record of 1-3 with 1 save in 10 games. It's a rough month (he's had many of those in this universe) as he posts an ERA of 9.82 and gives up 20 earned runs.

May

A very "up" month for him as he posts an ERA of 1.73 (probably the best ERA he's had in a month) with a WHIP of just 1.04. For the month his record is 1-1 with 3 saves.

June

The Bird has a very good month as earns a winning record of 4-2 along with 1 save. His ERA for the month is 2.81 as he strikes out 17 batters and posts a WHIP of 1.17.

July

He has another fairly good month, earning 5 saves and an even 2-2 record. However, his ERA is now up to 3.93 and his WHIP to 1.43.

August

Things seem to get worse and worse for him. This month he has a record of 1-2 with 1 save, an ERA of 5.04 and a WHIP of 1.80. He still strikes out more batters than he walks though.

September

The Bird closes this out with a great month, posting a record of 3-1 with a save, an ERA of 3.60, and a WHIP of 1.40. This month he strikes out over twice as many hitters as we walks. What a great way to end the season!

As a team, the Tigers finish third in the AL East with a 91-71 record:

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Playoffs

It's a rematch of last year's Fall Classic as the Red Sox and the Giants meet once again. This time the Giants are victorious in six games.

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Here's a look at Fidrych's stats at the end of the 1977 season:

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He continues to make the case that he should be a starter, but he may be settling in to the closer role.

On to the offseason!
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Old 01-26-2019, 08:39 PM   #13
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1977-1978 Offseason

Here are the top ten draft prospects according to BNN and the first round of the draft:

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Three players are elected to the Hall Of Fame this year; Warren Spahn, Roberto Clemente, and Ernie Banks. The first two were inducted on their first ballot.

The Bird may be getting closer to becoming a starter. He's in the starting rotation for much of the offseason. However, on February 5th, the Tigers aquire JR Richard through free agency, thus kicking Mark out of the rotation. He is made a starter for Spring Training though.

Here as always is a look at him on Opening Day:

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One of the pitchers in the Tigers starting rotation is Woodie Fryman who's approaching the end of his career. Maybe the door is finally opening for The Bird to get into the starter role. He nonetheless starts the season as a closer.

Let's see what happens during the season!
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Old 01-27-2019, 12:13 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skyballer455 View Post
It must also be nice seeing Fidrych in a Tigers uniform, right Tiger Fan?

!
Yes, great to see him in Detroit...and getting Tram in the draft is also nice
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Old 01-27-2019, 04:34 PM   #15
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1978 Season

April

This month he appears in 11 games, striking out 12 batters and compiling a record of 1-1 with 7 saves and an ERA of 4.26. An average month I think for him.

May

He makes 4 appearances as closer before it finally happens! Sometime between the 7th and the 14th, The Bird finally cracks the starting rotation. As of the end of the month he is 4th in the rotation.

The first start of his major league career comes on the 15th against the Mariners at Tiger Stadium. The first batter he faces as a starter is Paul Molitor, whom he gets to groundout to third. For the rest of the game, he pitches 6 innings, giving up 5 hits and one earned run (which is a solo homer by John Lowenstein in the 6th inning), and strikes out 4 in a 5-4 Tigers home win.

He starts three more games over the rest of the month. For the month he has 1-1 record with 1 save, an ERA of 1.64 and a WHIP of 1.09.

June

He makes five starts and does fairly well, compiling a record of 3-1 with a 3.60 ERA and a WHIP of 1.54. He also strikes out as many batters as he walks with 15 each. Fidrych is also on the All-Star ballot but as a reliever.

July


Fidrych makes five starts and has his best month so far record-wise. His record for the month is 4-0. His ERA however is 5.45 and his WHIP is 1.68. He did not make the All-Star game.

August

Another excellent month for The Bird. He yet again earns a 4-0 record but with 2.62 ERA, 22 strikeouts (the most he's had in a month this season) and a WHIP of 1.16, all over 44.2 innings of work. Let's see if he finishes the year off just as strong.

September


He has a down month to end the year, starting 6 games and compiling a 1-3 record with a 6.49 ERA and 25 earned runs, the most he's given up in a month this year. His WHIP for the month is 1.99.

The Tigers again finish 3rd in the AL East but with a record of 96-66 in quite a top-heavy division, as you can see below:


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Playoffs


Both defending league champions are defeated in their respective League Championship Series, so the Athletics and the Mets meet each other in the World Series. The A's go on to win the series in six games two give them their second championship this decade.

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Here is The Bird and his carreer stats up to the end of this season:

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I probably don't need to say it, but he had his best season yet this year. His ERA+ suggests it was due to the fact he played on a good team but his WAR says otherwise. Although this is the first time I've captured him looking happy, he clearly isn't happy with the team chemistry. He is eligible for arbitration this offseason so it's possible he may not stay with Tigers.

Let's head to the offseason and find out!
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Old 01-28-2019, 05:31 PM   #16
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Although I mostly play fictional at this point, something like this has been lingering in my mind since I first started playing OOTP. I just haven't yet figured out how I would want to do this.
So glad I discovered this today and I will be following along with great interest.
Like Tiger Fan, so glad to see Tram get chosen by the Tigers. Though what is with the Expos grabbing up both Whitaker and Parrish?

Nice to see the Bird turning the corner a bit. Hope for more success for him in the future.
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Old 01-28-2019, 05:56 PM   #17
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I was 13 in 1976 and I lived and breathed MLB baseball...and I was enamored with Fidrych just like everyone who followed baseball at the time. There was no ESPN or talk radio...it was all about reading the boxscores every day during the summer. It was great.

I was a huge Dodger fan, but I was more importantly a huge baseball fan.

In 1974 Tommy John went down with what seemed a career ender
In 1976 Steve Busby (this cat was terrific...no hitters in 74 and 75) went down with a career ender.
Then 1977 Fidrych went down and was never the same.

All 3 injuries devastated me.

Love seeing this replay.

Speaking of which, how is Busby in your replay?
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Old 01-30-2019, 01:52 PM   #18
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Loving this replay! I was 11 in 1976 and even though I lived in Chicago and was a huge White Sox fan, I loved Fidrych! Looking forward to reading more on this replay.
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Old 02-02-2019, 05:40 PM   #19
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1978-1979 Offseason

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasmuth View Post
I was 13 in 1976 and I lived and breathed MLB baseball...and I was enamored with Fidrych just like everyone who followed baseball at the time. There was no ESPN or talk radio...it was all about reading the boxscores every day during the summer. It was great.

I was a huge Dodger fan, but I was more importantly a huge baseball fan.

In 1974 Tommy John went down with what seemed a career ender
In 1976 Steve Busby (this cat was terrific...no hitters in 74 and 75) went down with a career ender.
Then 1977 Fidrych went down and was never the same.

All 3 injuries devastated me.

Love seeing this replay.

Speaking of which, how is Busby in your replay?
Busby is still a full-time starter for the Royals as of the beginning of the offseason. He has been somewhat mediocre the last three seasons however. Here are his career stats so far:

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And now, back to The Bird:

On October 25th, Fidrych signs a $74,000 one-year contract extension with the Tigers. This ensures that he will be with Detroit for at least one more year.

Here are the top ten draft prospects according to BNN and the first round of the draft:

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Willie Mays is nearly unanimously voted into the HOF with 99.4% of the vote. The only other inductee this year is Jim Bunning, who got 76.4% of the vote.

Meanwhile, the Tigers continue to acquire top talent in free agency, this time picking up aging veteran pitcher Phil Niekro. This kicks Mark out of the starting rotation for awhile. He gets back in to the starting rotation in time for Spring Training.

Also during the offseason, the Tigers acquire Johnny Bench from free agency. The team must be very serious about winning that championship!

Here are The Bird's ratings on opening day:

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Let's see what happens this season!
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Old 02-02-2019, 06:44 PM   #20
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1979 Season

April

This season gets off to a mediocre start as he compiles a 2-2 record and 4.91 ERA over 4 starts this month. His WHIP is also 1.64 for the month.

May


An improvement this month as he posts an ERA of 3.56 ERA and a record of 3-1 over 6 starts. His WHIP is down to 1.21 this month as well. In addition, he strikes out 19 batters and walks 12.

June


For this month The Bird's ERA is down to 3.18 but he as a worse month overall. He posts a record of 1-2 and for the first time in his major league career walks more batters than he strikes out in a month.

July


Just a phenomenal month for him. In 6 starts he posts a record of 5-0, an ERA of 2.68 and strikes out 21 batters and only walks 8. Another interesting observation is that his ERA+ has gone up every month this season.

August


A fairly unremarkable month for him. He starts 7 games, compiling a 2-3 record and a 3.33 ERA to go along with a WHIP of 1.24. This month he walked and struck out batters at a fairly even clip.

September


Fidrych closes out the season with a somewhat terrible month. To go along with a 4.61 ERA, he posts an 1-3 record and walks more batters than he strikes out. His WHIP for the month is also 1.71.

It was a tight race for the AL East title for most of the season, but as they always have the Red Sox pulled away in the last month of the season to snag the playoff spot. It was still a competitive division as the Tigers finished third yet again. Here are the final MLB season standings:

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Playoffs


The Red Sox atone for last season's failure by sweeping the Rangers in the ALCS while the Mets earn their second trip to the Fall Classic in as many years. The Sox steamroll over the Mets in four games to earn their second World Series title in 3 years.

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Here is Fidrych's career stats at the end of this season:

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Nothing much to write home about this season, which was his first as a full-time starter. His BABIP was down this year, which is good. This is not the kind of season you'd expect from a pitcher on a team stack with talent. It is again possible he may enter free agency this year, but that remains to be seen.

And now, on to the offseason!
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