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Old 10-22-2019, 04:46 PM   #41
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1979 RECAP

Record: 120-42, 1st in AL West

World Series
Texas Rangers defeat Cincinnati Reds 4-0

Nothing much more to say about this season, the Rangers are champions and that's what counts. We basically swept the postseason awards:

MLB Awards
AL MVP: Chet Lemon
AL Cy Young: Nolan Ryan
AL Reliever of the Year: Len Barker
AL Silver Slugger: Toby Harrah (2B), Chet Lemon (CF)
AL Gold Glove: Gaylord Perry (P), Rick Burleson (SS), Al Oliver (LF), Chet Lemon (CF), Mickey Rivers (RF)

With stacked starting pitching, I've made good use of surplus starters as relievers with stamina in the bullpen, and Len Barker was excellent in a 7th inning stopper role. Chet Lemon was tops in WAR in the league in his debut season with Texas, while Nolan Ryan edged out Gaylord Perry for the Cy Young. I forgot to vote in the awards, but it seems like the AI picked what I would have.

I'm starting to steamroll the AI teams a bit, so next season I'll be looking at ways to increase the difficulty of this dynasty.
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Old 10-23-2019, 04:58 PM   #42
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NEW HOUSE RULES

As I alluded to in the last post, it's becoming apparent that my human brain is too much for the AI teams when it comes to building a great team in OOTP. Especially in historical mode with re-calc on, as I have foresight on who will be great long-term players for the team. Winning 120+ games with regularity isn't really fair. So I've decided to initiate two main house rules going forward:

1. Players on the roster must have played for the Texas Rangers in real history, or have been drafted by them.
2. The coaching system is turned off.

So the 1st rule means that reigning MVP Chet Lemon (CF) will have to leave, as well as Rick Burleson (SS) and some utility/backup players. Some are already set to leave in free agency anyway, so I won't re-sign them. Hopefully this restriction makes roster-building a bit more challenging and engaging. It'll also let me dig into more old baseball history.

The 2nd rule takes away my advantage of signing the best fitness trainer, and will perhaps result in more injuries to deal with. I'm not sure what hitting/pitching coaches actually do with re-calc on, but they're gone too anyway. This will also save me time which is another bonus.

Anyway if you've been following along, let me know some historical Rangers I should keep an eye out for in the 1980s.
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Old 10-29-2019, 12:57 AM   #43
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1980 SPRING TRAINING

In a hurry to satisfy compliance for my new house rules, I've made several moves to make sure the roster is fully historical Rangers.

Lost to free agency were: Manny Trillo, Rick Burleson, Bob Boone, and some minor depth. I realized later I should have arbitrated some of these guys, and then traded them away for some of the historical Rangers I'm targeting. Oh well.

But the big trade is attached below: reigining MVP Chet Lemon goes to the Angels, and we get Frank Tanana (SP) and Cliff Johnson (C). Johnson is a solid replacement for Boone, and Tanana is the 1976 Cy Young winner in my universe.

While Tanana won't be as good as he used to be for the Angels, he'll be an important pitcher for us in the 80s, especially after some of my guys retire. Until then there's only room for him in Long Relief. I feel OK with this trade from a balancing perspective, seeing as we got Nolan Ryan from the Angels earlier. In a way it's kind of a bad trade for both teams, as we have a surplus of pitching and California doesn't.

I've also picked up Mario Mendoza of the infamous Mendoza Line to play backup IF, and Lenny Randle again as another bench player.
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Last edited by Argonaut; 10-29-2019 at 01:47 PM.
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Old 10-29-2019, 01:59 PM   #44
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1980 ALL-STAR BREAK

When life takes away your Lemons, you can't make lemonade. But that's OK. The letting-go of non-Rangers hasn't slowed down Texas in 1980, as we sit atop the AL West at the break. The Twins are 10.5 games back, so it looks like another trip to the playoffs. Can we make it back-to-back titles? Surprising are the Milwaukee Brewers, who are currently leading the AL East with Robin Yount and Moose Haas at the helm.

Texas sends these players to the All-Star Game:

Pitchers: Gaylord Perry, Nolan Ryan, Len Barker, Rich Gossage
Batters: Mike Hargrove, Al Oliver, Mickey Rivers
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Last edited by Argonaut; 10-29-2019 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 10-29-2019, 05:56 PM   #45
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1980 END OF REGULAR SEASON

The Texas Rangers have cruised to another division title, this time with the team sporting a 104-58 record. I'm happy with the changes we made and that it led to a more "normal" record. But winning is still fun!

Interesting development in that we'll be facing the Milwaukee Brewers in the playoffs for the first time. Previously we won two rounds against the Red Sox, and lost two against the Orioles. I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes against a new opponent.

Also interesting in the NL is that the New York Mets have become a powerhouse this year. They picked up Rick Burleson who we left to free agency, and they also are still using Billy Sample who we sent over in the Matlack trade. They also hold Julio Franco who I'm targeting as a future Rangers acquisition. Ken Singleton seems to be having a career year and is outplaying his ratings, and Steve Carlton and Don Sutton highlight their pitching staff.

In the NL playoffs, the Mets will face the Dodgers, who have George Brett which is strange to see. I suspect they'll be a few oddities like that in my universe... even though players go to their drafted franchise, anything can happen after that of course.

One of these 4 teams will be the winner of the first World Series of the 1980s decade!
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Old 11-01-2019, 03:25 PM   #46
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1980 ALCS: WON BECAUSE OF A BALK AND A MADDUX

The 1980 ALCS between the Rangers and Brewers was exciting, with the home teams winning each of their two games by 1 run each. Game 2 was won, I kid you not, by a balk. A BALK. I've attached the game log. The pitcher balked with runners on 1st and 2nd, moving them to 2nd and 3rd. Then Mike Hargrove hits a sac fly. That runner who was on 3rd turned out to be the winning run. BALK!

I thought the series was over after the balk incident, but Milwaukee of course won their home games. Nolan Ryan was wild again. And I grew frustrated by the AI's bullpen management throughout the series. Leaving starters in too long, picking the wrong guys out of the pen, etc. So I decided to step in and manage myself for the deciding Game 5.

And then Gaylord Perry decided to go ahead and throw a flipping Maddux! 9.0 IP, 5 HA, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K, 99 pitches. No managing decisions required after all. Perry also won Game 1, allowing 2 runs in 7.0 IP. I was shocked that he wasn't given Series MVP, and I expand upon that point in this thread. At 42 years old, Perry is likely still our most reliable pitcher. I'll pencil him in as top of the rotation for the World Series.

In all of the excitement of the ALCS, I forgot to check who we are facing in the World Series! It's either the Mets or the Dodgers... you and I will find out later.
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Old 11-07-2019, 02:28 PM   #47
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1980 WORLD SERIES: TEXAS RANGERS VS. LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Although not as exciting as the ALCS, the World Series was still pretty interesting. I enjoyed putting on the managing hat, and decided that I only like to control substitutions and nothing else. Especially in the NL games it's fun to make decisions on pulling the pitcher. Can he get through another inning until his turn in the batting order? Those kinds of things.

Here was how it played out:

Game 1: TEX 2 vs. LAD 3
Game 2: TEX 1 vs. LAD 6
Game 3: TEX 12 @ LAD 5
Game 4: TEX 0 @ LAD 1
Game 5: TEX 5 @ LAD 1
Game 6: TEX 6 vs. LAD 7

Unfortunately the Dodgers took care of us in 6 games. I actually thought it was over after 2 games, but we were able to win 2/3 in LA. As you can see though, our inability to win at home cost us the series. We outscored them in the series, but lost the close games. It's the downfall of having a contact-heavy offense that scores runs in bunches.

Jon Matlack was the worst of our pitchers, having taken to the mound when LAD put up 6 runs in Game 2 and 7 runs in Game 6. Our bullpen -- well really just Goose Gossage -- also cost us games, with Gossage regularly loading the bases and giving up runs at the end of games. He got unlucky with BABIP, but he should have been striking more guys out.

I think the Dodgers only put up one home run in the whole series, and it was their pitcher with a solo shot in Game 5 against Nolan Ryan! The odds of that happening must have been near-zero. Didn't matter in that game, but an interesting tidbit.

Game 6 was an awful showing from Matlack, and I pulled him quite early for Len Barker, who pitched a gem until he ran out of gas. We had a 5-run deficit but stormed back with a 5-run inning to tie it. Unfortunately Gossage blew it again and the Dodgers re-captured the lead and won the World Series. George Brett won World Series MVP, although I didn't notice him much.

I'm not too disappointed with the loss, though it would have been nice to go back-to-back. I sneak peeked into next year's re-calc, and think that our window may be starting to close. More details later!
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Old 11-29-2019, 06:31 PM   #48
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1981 END OF REGULAR SEASON

After a bit of a hiatus (I've been delving into OOTP Online Leagues), the Texas Rangers are back. I've gone ahead and simulated the 1981 season.

One rule change this year, I switched fielding and pitcher stamina re-calc from entire career to 3-year period. I figured this way was better than having a bunch of super old guys still being Gold Glove candidates. It resulted in some other problems, namely players having experience in positions that they can't play... so I think I'll try 1-year re-calc on at least fielding next year.

I had to sort of switch around my lineup based on the new positional ratings. Some players benefitted (Buddy Bell), while a surplus of others did not (Toby Harrah, Al Oliver, etc.). Harrah can now only play DH, and we played the woeful defending Madlock at 2B.

We had some disappointing injuries this year, including losing all-time legend Gaylord Perry to a season-ending injury early in the season. Was sad to see him not get to pad his stats more, but he still reached 300 wins. We also had a few other shorter term pitching injuries. All of this was just background noise though, as Texas again had the top record in MLB at 106-56.

Nolan Ryan and Bert Blyleven starred for the Rangers again, and with Perry, Matlack, and Jenkins set to retire in 1983.. this feels like a bit of a twilight period for our all-time ace pitching staff. Some of the latter 3's ratings are starting to shrink a little bit, but Nolan and Bly are still going strong. I'd like to see one more World Series title with this core!

The playoffs look similar to previous years, with the Rangers and Orioles squaring off in the AL, and the Mets and Dodgers battling it out in the NL. I was excited to face a new team in the Tigers, but they totally blew their division lead in the final weeks to the Orioles. So we'll be up against Baltimore again. Should be a good series!
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Old 12-02-2019, 05:01 PM   #49
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1981 ALCS: TEXAS RANGERS VS. BALTIMORE ORIOLES

It's the deciding Game 5 of the ALCS. The score is 0-0. It's the bottom of the 9th. 2 outs. Texas RF Claudell Washington steps up to the plate. Here's the pitch.. and the swing.. it's a flyball to deep right field.. it's going, going, gone! Rangers win! Rangers win! On a walk off home run! And they're going back to the World Series!

High drama in the ALCS as the Rangers win on a walk off home run in the last inning of the series. And as often is the case in baseball, it's the unheralded Claudell Washington as the hero, a guy that I've been giving about half of the at bats in RF to.

It was a pitching showcase in the ALCS, with every one of the 5 games a shutout. We only gave up 3 total runs, but the series still went the distance. Game 5 was a scoreless draw between our aces Nolan Ryan and the O's Mario Soto. I made the fateful decision to get Ryan out for Goose Gossage in the 9th inning, while the O's left in Soto for the whole game and the clinching home run.

Our stopper duo of Len Barker and Gossage was instrumental in closing out games and keeping our runs against so low. I think they got us out of a couple jams with a ton of runners on base. Goose has already made up for his poor playoff showing last season.

Our bats were pretty quiet, and they have little time to wake up because we're going up against the New York Mets in the World Series! The Mets look to have the best rotation in the NL -- ultra-ace Steve Carlton, Don Sutton, Dave Righetti (who we traded to them to get Julio Franco), Ken Forsch, and an aging but still okay Tom Seaver. It's maybe even the best rotation in all of baseball. The TEX-NYM series will decide it!
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Old 12-03-2019, 06:49 PM   #50
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1981 WORLD SERIES: TEXAS RANGERS VS. NEW YORK METS

Game 1: TEX 5 vs. NYM 1
Game 2: TEX 1 vs. NYM 2
Game 3: TEX 3 @ NYM 1
Game 4: TEX 0 @ NYM 2
Game 5: TEX 3 @ NYM 0
Game 6: TEX 1 vs. NYM 2
Game 7: TEX 2 vs. NYM 10

Texas blows it! Back-to-back World Series losses has me reminded of the poor recent Rangers. With two great pitching lineups going at it, it was a low scoring series between the Rangers and the Mets for the most part. We had a Game 5 victory to put us into a commanding 3-2 series lead coming home, but we couldn't get it done as the Mets won 2 straight.

The series was lost in Game 6, with a 1-1 tense pitching duel going into extra innings. Our batters couldn't get it done in the bottom of the 8th, 9th, or 10th. A bloop single and a double from the Mets in the top of the 10th was all they needed. Heartbroken, the Rangers failed to show up in the 7th game. Nolan Ryan forgot how to pitch and gave up all kinds of hits and walks early, there was nothing I could do. I just mashed the half-inning button until the pain was over.

I've got to find a way to win the whole thing in the next couple of years. Our starting rotation deserves another ring, and Matlack especially might need it to push him into the Hall of Fame. We'll see what the next recalc brings us.
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Old 12-05-2019, 11:52 AM   #51
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Will follow this one. I like to start with the 1989 Rangers. So many big bats in the system at that time.
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:50 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by FoxRaider View Post
Will follow this one. I like to start with the 1989 Rangers. So many big bats in the system at that time.
I have rookies go to their historical teams, and am only getting players that played for the Rangers at some point on my teams. So by 1989 I might have a similar lineup to the real Rangers. I'm not quite sure how Latin American player imports work. Hopefully I get Pudge and Juan Gone imported automatically.
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