Thursday, May 14, 2009

Random Thursday: June 13, 1995, Baltimore vs. Cleveland

Do you remember back before the season, everyone was a bit abuzz over Mike Mussina. Lar at wezenball had a post up. Jason at It's About the Money Stupid, Shyster was weighing in. There was a general desire to assess and dissect the man’s career, to decide his place among the games’ elites. Even The Common Man himself weighed in concluding that “it's not a stretch to say that the majority of Mussina's problems in New York were caused by the disappointing defense playing behind him, rather than the attrition of his ability.”

But lest we forget, all was not wine and roses for Mussina in Baltimore. For instance, in this week’s randomation, we find a June 13, 1995 contest between Mussina’s Orioles and the eventual AL Champion Cleveland Indians, who won 100 games in just 144 contests. In that strike-shortened year, the Orioles got great work out of Mussina, who went all 19-9, 3.29, 2.0 BB/9, 3.16 K/BB, and 1.069 WHIP on the American League in 221.2 innings (Randy Johnson won the Cy Young that year, but Mussina inexplicably finished 5th, behind Jose Mesa (who got two first place votes (raise your hand if you’re the idiot who voted for him…)), Tim Wakefield, and David Cone). However, his Orioles finished 71-73, good for 3rd place in the AL East.

This game is notable for a number of reasons. First off, it’s a terrible rout. The Indians touched up Mussina for a three run homer (by 3B(!) Jim Thome) and a solo shot (Albert Belle). He left after 5.2 innings, having given up 6 runs. His replacements weren’t much better. Jamie Moyer relieved and gave up three straight singles to Thome, Manny Ramirez, and Paul Sorrento before giving way to Alan Mills. Mills got out of the 6th without further damage, but couldn’t record an out in the 7th. He gave way to Jesse Orosco, who allowed a couple of sac flies. By the end of the 7th, the Indians had an 11-0 lead, which they would hold. El Presidente, Dennis Martinez, pitched the shutout for Cleveland.

But an 11-0 drubbing is only so interesting. Great players have bad games. It's just the way of the world. More interesting here is the composition of the lineups and teams themselves. While these teams were qualitatively very different (and the Orioles were worse almost across the board that year), the career values of the two squads is incredibly interesting. Take a look at who played in this game:

Mussina--270 career wins
Moyer--249 career wins (and counting)
Martinez—245 career wins
Orosco—1252 games pitched (MLB record)
Doug Jones—303 career saves
Thome—547 HR (14th all time, and counting)
Belle—381 HR
Ramirez—533 HR (19th all time, and counting)
Eddie Murray—3255 H (12th all time), 504 HR, 1917 RBI (9th all time)
Omar Vizquel—2670 hits (and counting), 11 Gold Gloves
Kenny Lofton—2428 hits, 622 SB
Tony Pena—4 Gold Gloves
Rafael Palmeiro—3020 hits, 569 HR (10th all time), 1835 RBI (14th all time)
Harold Baines—2866 hits, 384 HR
And, of course,
Cal Ripken—3184 H (14th all time), 431 HR, 2630 consecutive games (ML Record), 2 Gold Gloves, 2 time AL MVP

And that’s not even counting three-time all stars Carlos Baerga and Brady Anderson.
Not appearing in that contest were Kevin Brown (211 wins), Dave Winfield (3110 H, 465 HR), Bobby Bonilla, Andy Van Slyke, Brian Giles, and Jeromy Burnitz.

These rosters were filled with players who either had had tremendous careers, or had tremendous careers ahead of them. In all, the pitchers in this game won 959 games, lost 725, saved 470, appeared in 4445, and threw 14403.7 innings. The hitters totaled 34771 hits, 4717 homers, 18,488 RBI, and 18561 R. In all, to The Common Man, that seems awfully prolific. In the post war era, this has got to be one of the most amazing accumulations of talent on one ball field, doesn’t it? The Common Man wonders if there’s a way to check that out without devoting the next six months of his life to the project. Class, any ideas?

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