Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The John Bracket

I don't know how legible that bracket is, but I'll go over it here anyway, going top to bottom ...

Seed 1

1969 Minnesota Twins (97 wins) vs. the 2009 Minnesota Twins (88).

It's purely coincidence that my favorite team got the top overall seed. Honest. This matchup pairs the AL MVPs from the two seasons, Harmon Killebrew from 1969 and Joe Mauer from 2009. 

Seed 8

1969 Montreal Expos (52 wins) vs. the 2009 Washington Nationals (59).

One was a first-year expansion team in (as described by Jonah Keri in "Up, Up and Away") a state of chaos; the other had been a ward of the league and denuded of talent. The wonder, really, is that the two seasons combine for as many wins as they did.

Seed 5

1969 California Angels (71) vs. 2009 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (97)

Looking at the roster of the '69 team, I see platoon players forced into everyday duty -- and those, other than Jim Fregosi, are the GOOD players. Just not deep enough to threaten the more recent edition, I fear.

Seed 4

1969 New York Mets (100 wins) vs. the 2009 New York Mets (70)

The '69 Mets, of course, are legendary. The '09 Mets ... are not. 

Seed 3

1969 San Francisco Giants (90 wins) vs. the 2009 San Francisco Giants (88)

Willie Mays. Willie McCovey. Juan Marichal. Gaylord Perry. There are four Hall of Famers on the '69 team; I don't see any likely candidates on the '09 squad. (Buster Posey arrived in 2010.) They do have the Panda (Pablo Sandoval) and Tim Lincecum, however. McCovey was the NL MVP in 1969. Lincecum was the NL Cy Young winner in 2009.

Seed 6

1969 Pittsburgh Pirates (88 wins) vs. the 2009 Pittsburgh Pirates (62).

Pretty impressive outfield on the'69 Pirates. Roberto Clemente in right hit .341; Matty Alou in center hit .331; Willie Stargell in left hit .307 with 29 dingers, pretty impressive in the large expanses of Forbes Field. Not much to see in the '09 version, although Andrew McCutcheon makes his debut.

Seed 7

1969 Chicago White Sox (68 wins) vs. the 2009 Chicago White Sox (79).

Frankly, I lack enthusiasm for either squad. The '69 Sox were so dreary they prompted manager Al Lopez to retire after 17 games. (Luis Aparicio did have a good year, though.) The '09 Sox were better, but a ho-hum just-south-of-.500.

Seed 2

1969 St. Louis Cardinals (87 wins) vs. the 2009 St. Louis Cardinals (91)

The '69 Cards were coming off back-to-back pennants, but they faded to fourth in the first year of divisional play. Some great players on these two squads: Bob Gibson, Lou Brock and Joe Torre on the '69 team, Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina on the '09 team. The arbitrary selection of these specific seasons, as opposed to some of the surrounding years, keep the Cards out of a One Seed. Pujols gives this bracket its fourth MVP. Yes, the John Bracket sweeps the MVPs. 

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