Friday, December 19, 2014

The Ringo bracket

The fourth bracket is different from the others. It is entirely made up of teams from the 1987 season -- 16 of the 26 teams at the time, so 10 are left out.

I started with the four division winners (the Twins and Tigers from the American League, the Cardinals and Giants from the National) and filled out the field with these priorities:

  • An even split between the two leagues and four divisions;
  • a mix of good and bad records;
  • my personal interest in the squads.

My original intent was to fill this bracket with a full 16-team season from the pre-expansion era, but Strat's offerings are limited. If they had the 1908 season (Merkle's Boner), I would have jumped at it. As it was, I was insufficiently enthused by the options to spend nearly $40 on a new season,

So ... unlike the other brackets, the Ringo bracket is seeded 1 to 16. The Twins, as World Series winners, are the top seed, the Cardinals are second. The AL and NL teams are grouped together.

Seed one

Minnesota Twins (85 wins). Arguably the weakest team to win a World Series, and beloved in my memory.

Seed 16

Baltimore Orioles (67 wins). The O's collapse from winning the World Series in 1983 wasn't yet complete -- things got worse in 1988 -- but it was pretty bad. As an distant admirer of the Oriole Way, it was baffling.

Seed eight

Milwaukee Brewers (91 wins). Last AL team in. Selected on the basis of Paul Molitor and Robin Yount.

Seed nine

Kansas City Royals (83 wins). George Brett on the decline, and the emerging Bo Jackson. Two years removed from their World Series win.

Seed 12

Chicago White Sox (77 wins). Carlton Fisk and Ozzie Guillen. 

Seed five

Toronto Blue Jays  (96 wins). One team won more games, but the Jays didn't make the playoffs. They did have the MVP winner in George Bell, who didn't deserve it.

Seed 13

Texas Rangers (75 wins). Rough, tough Charlie Hough and a talented young outfield (Pete Incaviglia, Oddibe McDowell and Ruben Sierra) that never reached the levels I expected.

Seed four

Detroit Tigers (97 wins). Alan Trammell should have won the MVP; if he had, he might be in the Hall of Fame, which he also deserves.

Seed three

San Francisco Giants (90 wins). Chili Davis was the regular centerfielder. By 1991, he was limited to DH duties.

Seed 14

Atlanta Braves (69 wins). Doyle Alexander gets to pitch for both the Tigers and Braves as long as they both play. The Braves probably won't last long

Seed six

Montreal Expos (91 wins). The great Tim Raines, who was better than Andre Dawson

Seed 11

Chicago Cubs (76 wins). Andre Dawson, who won the MVP Award in the single largest MVP travesty of my time as a fan. Also of interest: Greg Maddux is a rotation regular for the first time in his career (with a 5.61 ERA), and Jamie Moyer throws more than 200 innings. (Moyer will be in the 2009 Phillies rotation as well.)

Seed 10

Houston Astros (76 wins). I seeded the Cubs higher so I could have Dawson vs. Raines in the first round. Nolan Ryan was probably the best pitcher in the NL, and he went 8-16.

Seed seven

Pittsburgh Pirates (80 wins). On the verge. Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla, Andy Van Slyke and Doug Drabek are all here, but not yet prime.

Seed 15

San Diego Padres (65 wins). Last NL team in. Tony Gwynn was the deciding factor.

Seed two

St. Louis Cardinals (95 wins). Jack Clark, Tony Pena and seven leadoff hitters. Pretty soft rotation for a 95-win team. Were it my choice, Ozzie Smith would have been the NL MVP.

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