Legendary manager Connie Mack of the Philadelphia A’s once said that pitching is 75% of baseball. The SP78 edition of the Cleveland Indians are trying their best to prove him right: through July, the Tribe are batting .294 as a team, with five regulars hitting over .300 for the season, and Buddy Bell, Bernie Carbo, and Jim Norris all hitting over .350 in July. Why then did the team finish the month with a 13-17 mark, good for sixth place in the AL East and a current record of 47-59? One only has to look at the pitching staff for the answer: a 4.43 staff earned run average for the year, with three pitchers—Mike Paxton, David Clyde, and Paul Reuschel—stuck with ERA’s over 5.00.
Starting southpaw Rick Waits remains the only bright spot on the Indians staff, going 14-5 through July with a 2.73 ERA, 12 complete games, and five shutouts. In his three seasons with the Cleveland organization, he’s never had more than nine wins, and with two months left in the SP78 campaign, he has a good chance of reaching the coveted 20-win mark. Tribe bats remain hot, with Carbo leading the squad in average (.368), Bell in hits (141), and Andre Thornton in HR (21) and RBI (72), and Bell leading the AL in triples, with 14. But unless Indians hurlers can make a quick turnaround, the final two months of the season could be frustrating ones for Tribe fans.
To take a look at the Indians team page for results through July, click here. The boxes for league leaders, team rankings, and award totals have been left blank; these numbers will be added after all AL team statistics have been finalized, and July award winners have been picked.
After an 11-21 July left the Chicago White Sox with an SP78 season mark of 35-70, good for last place in their division and the worst record in the major leagues, it’s safe to assume that, with two months left in the regular season and a 29-game climb to first place, the Sox won’t be repeating last year’s miraculous 92-70 third-place finish in the AL West. And with no trade opportunities on the horizon and a roster already stockpiled with minor league call-ups, it could be time for the Southsiders to begin playing out the string over the final two months of 1978.
The team hit a respectable .279 in July, but their pitching staff was less competitive, saddled with a 4.78 earned run average and just one shutout, a combined effort between Rich Wortham and Ron Schueler against the Brewers on July 25th. And though Steve Stone (3-2, 2.96) and reliever Wortham (2-1, 2.75) contributed solid numbers on the mound, both Wilbur Wood and Ken Kravec had ERA’s over 7.00, and both finished the month with won-lost records of 0-5. Veteran shortstop Don Kessinger, in his first full season with the Chisox, led all starters with a .321 batting average, while Eric Soderholm and Chet Lemon tied for the team lead in home runs, with five each. And mirroring the team’s SP78 woes, Statis Pro enthusiast Steve N. piloted the Sox to an 0-2 mark in July, the first two losses of his SP78 managerial career.
To take a look at the White Sox team page for results through July, click here. The boxes for league leaders, team rankings, and award totals have been left blank; these numbers will be added after all AL team statistics have been finalized, and July award winners have been picked.
Posted in Inside SP78
Tagged 1978, American League, Chicago White Sox, Chisox, Don Kessinger, July, Rich Wortham, Statis Pro 1978 Replay, Statis Pro Baseball, stats, Steve Stone
The California Angels enjoyed their second straight winning month in July, going 15-14 and moving from sixth to fifth place in the AL West with an overall record of 48-58. However, they’re still quite a long way from first, as they dropped to 16½ games behind the front-running Rangers, and three games back of the fourth place A’s. In contrast, the 1978 club at this point in the season was in second place with a mark of 56-50, just four games behind the Kansas City Royals, who went on to capture the division crown.
Third baseman Carney Lansford continued his bid for AL Rookie of the Year honors, batting .339 for the month with a team-leading 38 hits and nine doubles; for the season he has 144 hits in 102 games, good for a .335 mark. Designated hitter Don Baylor hit nine HRs and drove in 21 runners in July to lead California in the power department, and by the end of the month had reached the 30-HR plateau for the first time in his career; he also added a second 3-HR game to his list of SP78 achievements. And newcomer Dave Machemer made a statement after his mid-season call-up from Salt Lake City by hitting four home runs (two of them grand slams), collecting 14 RBI, and hitting .368 in just seven games with the parent club. On the mound, starter Dave Frost went 4-1 with a 2.43 ERA, and reliever Dave LaRoche went 2-0 with three saves and a 0.47 ERA, to lead an otherwise underachieving Angels pitching staff.
To check out the Angels statistics page for totals through July, click here. The boxes for league leaders, team rankings, and award totals have been left blank; these numbers will be added after all AL team statistics have been finalized, and July award winners have been picked.
For this first entry in this new series of posts, I take a look at my most recent addition to the vault, a 1978 game program for the Kansas City Royals. It’s an unscored copy I purchased off eBay a few weeks ago for $10.50…a full ten bucks more than it cost at the ballpark back in ’78. It’s in near-perfect condition, and from what I can gather from the insert scorecard pages, this copy was sold at a Royals-Red Sox game played on either May 15th or May 16th, when the two teams split a 2-game weeknight series at Royals Stadium.
What I noticed when I first leafed through the program was a photo and bio for pitcher Andy Hassler, included with the listings for other KC players; what’s odd about that is, in my SP78 season, he’s pitching for the Red Sox. A quick check on-line told me that he was purchased from the Royals by the Sox on July 24th. Of course, Avalon Hill chose to include him with the Boston player cards; if I’d known about these wacky AH decisions early on, I would’ve sent him back to Kansas City where he belonged.
With the purchase of this program, I now own all American League team programs for the AL West, and need only one from the Red Sox to complete the AL East. Look for more programs to be spotlighted here—along with other SP78 and 1978 baseball memorabilia—in the coming months!