Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Catching Up With the '64 Phillies: Mauch the Platoonmeister

Fifty years ago, at the end of play on May 1st, the Philadelphia Phillies had gotten off to a 10-2 start and were two games up on the competition.  (San Francisco was second, St. Louis third, half a game behind the Giants, and Cincinnati--off to a 7-7 start and having just lost a two-game set to the Phillies--was four back.) Rookie Dick Allen (then known as "Richie") was batting .431 and already had 6 home runs and 13 runs batted in. This second in a continuing series on the tale of the 1964 Phillies--(we all know how that ended)--focuses on manager Gene Mauch's platooning not only at four positions, but Allen and Johnny Callison in their position in the batting order.

Catching Up With the '64 Phillies:  Mauch the Platoonmeister

With perhaps not the strongest of teams, Mauch was very much an activist in configuring his daily line-up and batting order to best take on the opposing team's starting pitcher. After several decades of being not much practiced, platooning began making a comeback in post-World War II major league baseball and was headlined by the success of Casey Stengel's 1950s line-up machinations at the helm of the Yankees.  By the 1960s, probably about half the major league teams had a position player platoon at one position or another--particularly at catcher if, like the Dodgers with Johnny Roseboro, they had a quality backstop who happened to bat left-handed.

With the possible exception of Mr. Stengel, Mauch platooned his starting line-up to a historically unprecedented extent in 1964.  For most of the season he platooned at four positions: behind the plate with left-handed Clay Dalrymple and right-handed veteran Gus Triandos; at first base, the left-handed rookie John Herrnstein paired off with veteran right-handed Roy Sievers and, in September, with another veteran right-hander, Vic Power; in left field, left-handed journeyman Wes Covington shared time first with Danny Cater and then Alex Johnson, both right-handed batting rookies; and in center field, the lefty Tony Gonzalez with the righty Cookie Rojas.  Tony Taylor at second base, Allen at third, and Callison in right field were the only Phillies written into Mauch's line-up every day.  At shortstop, Bobby Wine began the season as the starter, but his .200 batting average by the end of July contributed to Mauch giving Ruben Amaro most of the playing time in August and September and using Wine extensively as a late-inning defensive replacement after pinch hitting for Amaro, who was not exactly causing angst in the hearts of opposing pitchers.

Mauch's first base platoon did not stand the test of time.  The 36-year old Sievers hit a three-run home run in his first at bat of the season, but the lifetime .267 hitter with 318 career home runs was a bust for the Phillies, with only 4 home runs and batting only .182 against southpaws.  He was dispatched to the Washington Senators in mid-July.  The 26-year old Herrnstein hit only .235 against right-handed pitchers, which helps to explain why two-thirds of his career at bats were in 1964.  The Phillies resolved their lack of first base offense when they acquired the veteran Frank Thomas from the Mets to be a regular in the line-up, but a broken thumb suffered in a takeout slide on September 8 sidelined him for the next two weeks, forcing Mauch to again platoon at first base, this time pairing Herrnstein with Vic Power.  Covington held up his part of Mauch's left field platoon with 13 round-trippers, 53 RBI and a .280 average against righties, and Cater did well with a .333 average against southpaws when he played, before a broken arm cost him all of the month of August and limited him to three starts and 23 plate appearances when he returned in September. Replacing Cater as the right-hander in Mauch's left field platoon, Alex Johnson hit .400 in August but only .220 in the crucial final month.  Behind the plate, 93 of Dalrymple's 110 starts were against righties, against whom he hit .242, while the 33-year old Triandos hit .248 against southpaws.

The unexpected position platoon was the one in center field, where Tony Gonzalez started out as an every day player.  A left-handed batter, Gonzalez had hit .306 as a full-time regular the previous year with an average better than .300 against both righties and lefties.  He had a horrible time of it against lefties from the beginning in 1964, however, going 4-for-31 in games started by southpaws before Mauch decided towards the end of May he had best platoon in center field, using Cookie Rojas as the right-handed batter. Gonzalez wound up hitting .278 on the season, and got on base 35 percent of the time, but batted only .157 against pitchers of the left-handed persuasion.  The versatile Rojas started 52 games against southpaws in center field, with a .267 average against them.

But the most interesting of Mauch's platoons was in his batting order between two of his core regulars who also happened to be the Phillies' most dangerous hitters--rookie sensation Dick ("Richie") Allen and star right fielder Johnny Callison.  From the very beginning of the season until early June, Mauch swapped the two between second and third in the order, depending on the starting pitcher.  He had right-handed Allen batting second and the left-handed Callison third when the Phillies faced off against a righty, and Callison second and Allen third when a southpaw took the mound. Having Callison bat second against southpaws was most effective if the lead-off batter, Tony Taylor, got on base because, with the first baseman having to hold him on, it opened up the right side of the infield for Callison to pull the ball, increasing the odds of his getting a hit and of runners on first and third if he singled into right field.  Through the first two months of the season with this platoon alignment in the batting order, Callison hit .299 with 4 home runs and 20 RBI and Allen, off to a great start, was leading the league with 10 home runs and had 24 RBI and a .301 average.  Unfortunately, Taylor was batting only .228, had an on-base percentage that was a mere .290, and had scored only 15 runs in 27 games by the time May turned to June.  (Taylor ended up the season with a .251 average, batting sixth or seventh in Mauch's batting order in 40 percent of the games he played, with Gonzalez or Rojas batting lead-off in virtually every game after mid-July.)

In June, presumably awestruck by Allen's power, Mauch moved his slugging third baseman into the clean-up spot and penciled Callison third in the batting order, where both remained on a daily basis (more or less) until mid-August, when Mauch went back to alternating the two for the rest of the season (more or less) between second and third in the order depending on the starting pitcher. Suffice it to say for now that Callison's HR / RBI / BA line for the season in the 42 games he batted second was 3 / 33 / .247, compared to 23 / 70 / .284 in the 114 games he hit third in the order.  Allen's numbers were 12 / 36 / .270 when he batted second (64 games); 8 / 23 / .363 when he batted third (32 games); and 9 / 32 / .345 in the 66 games he was in the clean-up spot.

There will be more to say about Allen's place in Gene Mauch's line-up in a post later this summer, and much to come to set the stage for the Phillies' epic collapse of  '64.

The following is the link to the first post of this series:

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The 1986 Mets Squandered Greatness

A recent analysis appearing in The New York Times suggests that the presently hapless "other" major league team in New York  has an unusually high number of committed fans born in 1978 whose allegiance was probably cemented by the Mets epic season in 1986 when they--the fans--were eight years old. But from a longer perspective, where one great season does not a great team make, the '86 Mets turned out to be mere pretenders to greatness with dysfunctional superstars Gooden and Strawberry--a dynasty that should have been, but was not.

The 1986 Mets and Squandered Greatness

Must be something about spring.  A data-pattern analysis on the blog FiveThirtyEight addresses the issue of what age political partisan loyalties are formed--"Partisan Loyalty Begins at Age 18"--and, more relevant to this blog, a data-pattern analysis in an article by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz in the April 20 Sunday Review section of The New York Times asserts that life-long baseball team allegiances--especially for males--correlates to their team's winning performance when they were in their baseball-formative years between eight (especially eight) and twelve years old.  (  Female fans, by contrast, can be hooked on their favorite team at different points of their lives. That said, the eight-years-old marker for team loyalty helps to explain for me the uncompromising rooting interest of Missy the Mets Fan, a professional colleague whose live-or-die-by-the-Mets'-fortunes during the baseball season has seemed to me extraordinarily self-punishing in recent years, beginning with the Mets' back-to-back folds in 2007 and 2008, not to mention their final batter in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS being flummoxed by a devastating Adam Wainwright curve. Turns out, Missy the Mets Fan was eight years old in 1986.

Unlike now, in 1986 the Mets were up and the Yankees down.  The Mets went into first place to stay on April 22--their tenth game of the year--in the midst of an eleven-game winning streak and 18 wins in 19 games.  By mid-June they were up by 11-1/2.  They ended the season with a 21-1/2 game advantage in the NL East, having won two-thirds of their games--108 in total.  They went on to win a thrilling NLCS against the Astros in six games, winning Game 5 in 12 innings and capping it off with a 16-inning triumph in Game 6 in Houston in which they overcame a 3-0 deficit in the ninth inning, could not hang on to a one-run lead in the 14th and gave back two of the three runs they scored in the 16th before, finally, securing the out that sent the Mets to their first World Series since 1973.  (For that season, see my post from last summer, "Last on the 4th of July: The 1973 NL Champion New York Mets,"  That, of course, was nothing compared to being one strike away from losing Game 6 and the World Series to Boston, only for the Red Sox to be snakebit once more (courtesy or Bill Buckner, but he not alone) as the Mets rallied for an improbable win and came from behind to win Game 7 as well.

If that doesn't build a strong following among impressionable young fans, it's hard to imagine what would. The Mets became the baseball powerhouse in New York City for the rest of the decade, certainly as far as winning ways were concerned.  They also drew more fans to Shea Stadium every year between 1984 and 1992 than the Yankees did in their far-more storied stadium.  The Mets dominated.  They intimidated.  They had swagger, which played especially well in The Big Apple because the 1980s Yankees had lost theirs, which can happen when--despite high profile free agent signings--the team in the Bronx failed to live up to the expectations of a demanding owner and a demanding Gotham fan-base, perhaps made more demanding by the perennial championship expectations of Boss Steinbrenner.  Anyway, the Mets had swagger.  They had no doubt they were the best on the field.  They were great in their own mind.  Two years later they won their division by 15 games, with 100 wins, only to be upended in their quest for another championship in the NLCS by the Los Angeles Dodgers, who they had beaten 10 times in 11 games during the regular season.

The Mets had Darryl Strawberry, whose arrival as a 21-year old rookie sensation in 1983 heralded great things to come; over the next five years (1984-88), Strawberry was possibly the most feared slugger in the league, hitting 160 home runs and driving home 474 runs.  They had Doc Gooden, whose arrival as a 19-year old rookie sensation in 1984 started the Mets' glory days.  Through his first five years in the big leagues (1984-88), Dr. K was 91-35 with a .722 winning percentage.  Both seemed on their way to Hall of Fame careers until derailed by drug and alcohol abuse.  Perhaps the Mets' most indispensable players when it came to inculcating a winning ethos were Keith Hernandez, a slick-fielding first baseman and clutch hitter, who came to the Mets in a 1983 mid-season trade and assumed a veteran leadership role that he shared along with catcher Gary Carter, who came to the Mets in 1985.  In 1987 the Shea faithful were introduced to David Cone, who was a sparkling 20-3 when the Mets won their second division title in three years in 1988. They had gritty role players and fan favorites like Lenny Dykstra, Mookie Wilson, Wally Backman and Ray Knight (not to mention sentimental favorite Lee Mazzilli).  And pulling it all together, the Mets had Davey Johnson as manager, who was on the cutting edge of computer literacy and quantitative analysis to guide him strategically over a full season and tactically in making in-game decisions on hitters and pitchers.

With a 488-320 record over five years, translating to a .604 winning percentage, the Mets were the best team in baseball between 1984 and 1988.  They were the only major league team to be genuinely competitive all five of those years.  But they went to the World Series just once and finished first in the NL East only twice, when they likely could have won four division titles in a row, beginning in 1985, were it not for injuries, substance abuse and the inspired play of the St. Louis Cardinals.  In both 1985 and 1987, the Mets came up three games short to the Cardinals, but they might have won the division both years were it not for one or the other of their two best players being missing in action for an extended time during the season: in 1985, Strawberry missed more than a quarter of the season with a ligament injury suffered in early May, and the Mets went 20-23 in his absence on their way to an otherwise excellent 98-64 record; and in 1987, Gooden missed the first 50 games of the season--the Mets going 25-25 on their way to 92-70--while undergoing rehab for cocaine abuse.  Lesson not learned, living on the wild side with all its attendant curses remained a problem for Gooden (and Strawberry) for the remainder of their years with the Mets.

The 1986 Mets had one of the great seasons of all time, certainly in terms of post-season drama.  Their 108 wins tied the 1975 Big Red Machine for the third-most in National League history,  trailing only the 1906 Cubs (116 wins) and 1909 Pirates (110).  But the ultimate legacy of their 1986 championship that was at the center of their five-year run from 1984 to 1988 with the best record in baseball is one of fast and furious underachievement for what could and perhaps should have been.  Their unraveling began in 1989 with consecutive second-place finishes, and the Mets turned to self-destruction in 1991. They burned out too soon, burned out because of undisciplined immaturity, and a sort of teenage-like belief in their own indestructibility, all of which was manifest in the wild lifestyles of their best players that epitomized, in part, an American culture at the time that many condemned for drug and alcohol abuse and an emphasis on individual fulfillment rather than any collective good.

That said, their epic 1986 season--and particularly how they won both the NLCS and then the World Series--their promise and potential, and maybe even their "bad guys" persona, was the inspirational foundation for a generation of Mets fans (including Missy) . . . who are now, alas . . . long-suffering Mets fans.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The First Cuban Wave

The April 15 anniversary of Jackie Robinson's big league debut is a reminder that breaking the color barrier also opened the door to the major leagues for Cuban players--most of the best of whom were black.  The first wave of Cubans in major league baseball that began in the 1950s effectively ended in the mid-1960s as a result of Castro's slamming shut the exit door for Cubans less than enamored with his dictatorial rule.

The First Cuban Wave

At the time the Brooklyn Dodgers went to spring training in Havana in 1947 with Jackie Robinson certain to make their opening day roster, Cuba already had a long history of highly-competitive leagues dating to the early twentieth century that produced outstanding players clearly capable of playing at the major league level. Unlike in the United States, however, the Cuban leagues were not segregated, and the fact that many of the best Cuban players were "colored" put them off the map as far as major league baseball was concerned. The color of their skin meant that Cuban-born Martin Dihigo, Jose Mendez and Cristobal Torriente never played in the major leagues, but went to Cooperstown entirely on the basis of terrific careers in the Negro Leagues that were over before Branch Rickey took his shot at integrating (white) organized baseball with Robinson.

By the time Jackie stepped foot onto the Ebbets Field diamond in 1947, only 40 of the 8,039 players who had played in the big leagues had come from Cuba.  Given that they were born into a society where interracial couplings were neither unusual nor ostracized, it is quite likely that at least a handful of those 40 Cuban-born players were at least partially black; they would not, however, have been able to play in the Big Time if they could not pass for white.  If in the pre-integration era major league teams may have been willing to overlook the "swarthy" complexions of some of those Cuban players, they also gave them relatively short shrift in their opportunities to make good.  Of the 40 Cubans who played before Robinson got his chance, only two had appreciable time in the major leagues:  outfielder Armando Marsens, who played 655 games over eight years between 1911 and 1918, and right-hander Dolf Luque--the most prominent Cuban player the big leagues had yet to see, celebrated as "The Pride of Havana"--who had a 20-year big league career that ended in 1935 with a lifetime 194-175 record and a career value of 43.2 pitching wins above replacement.  When he pitched for Cincinnati, Luque was arguably the second-best pitcher in the National League after Dazzy Vance in the first half of the 1920s.

Major league integration proved the catalyst for an unprecedented influx of players from Cuba in the 1950s and 1960s, beginning with Minnie Minoso who made it for good as an outfielder with the Chicago White Sox in 1951. One of baseball's premier players over the next ten years, Minoso had a borderline Hall of Fame career; he was reconsidered by the Veterans Committee for enshrinement as recently as 2012. Certainly once Minoso became a star, Cubans quickly emerged as a new talent pool for the major leagues. The original Washington Senators--the one major league club that scouted Cuban players before integration--were ahead of the field in bringing to the major leagues talented players from the island nation, including pitchers Camilo Pascual and Pedro Ramos (neither was black), shortstop Zoilo Versalles and outfielder Tony Oliva, who they signed the same year the franchise moved to Minnesota and became the Twins.  Pascual was one of the best right-handers of his generation, leading the league in strikeouts each of the first three years the team played in Minnesota; Versalles won the MVP award in 1965 when the Twins went to the World Series; and Oliva led the American League in batting average in each of his first two seasons--1964 and 1965 (not including 16 cups of coffee before that)--before debilitating leg and knee injuries ultimately derailed a career that seemed destined for Hall of Fame honors.

By the mid-1960s there were about 30 Cuban-born players in major league baseball in any given season, making them the dominant foreign nationals in the game.  Pascual, Oliva, shortstops Bert Campaneris and Leo Cardenas, southpaw Mike Cuellar and right-hander-with-the-funky-delivery Luis Tiant took their place among baseball's best players that decade and the next.  Second basemen Tony Taylor, Tito Fuentes and Cookie Rojas; outfielders Tony Gonzalez and Jose Cardinal; catchers Joe Azcue and Paul Casanova; and pitchers Ramos, Diego Segui and Orlando Pena had long and distinguished big league careers.  And then there was Tony Perez of Big Red Machine fame, who broke in with the Reds in 1964 and is so far the only Cuban-born player in the Hall of Fame to have played in the major leagues.  It should be noted that all of these players were signed as free agents and had left Cuba for American diamonds before or in the first chaotic year or two after Fidel Castro's Cuban Revolution.

Castro's crackdown on political opposition and Cuba's vibrant (albeit with a big dose of corruption) private sector, suppression of civil rights and liberties, and imposition of stringent travel restrictions making it difficult to leave the island nation led to a lost generation of Cuban players for major league baseball.  The Cuban generation most affected, because they came of age in the years when the Castro regime was most repressive and political tensions with the United States at their highest, were those born between 1950 and 1970--only 17 of whom played in the major leagues.  That compares to 49 born between 1930 and 1950 who wore big league uniforms.  After peaking with 32 Cubans playing in the major leagues in 1968, by 1975 there were only 14, only 8 in 1980, and a mere 3 Cubans in the big leagues in 1985.  After Tiant and Perez retired, Jose Canseco and Rafael Palmeiro--both of whose big league careers started in the mid-1980s--were next as the first prominent post-Castro Cuban-born players in the major leagues, but both grew up in the States after their families had fled Castro's Cuba on "freedom flights" organized by the US and accepted by the dictator as a way to defuse dissent.

It would be more than two decades after the early years of Castro's crackdown, however, before a second wave of Cuban-born players began to make their way into the major leagues.  While players in the first wave found themselves cut off from returning home and became exiles--often separated from their parents and extended families--the second wave of Cuban players had to chance the risks of defection where a failed attempt could cost them their baseball careers in Cuba (certainly on the national team that traveled abroad), their freedom, and even their lives--and they too were separated from their families, in some cases wives and children. There are currently 16 Cuban-born players in the major leagues.  Two of them, Oakland's Yoenis Cespedes and the White Sox' Alexei Ramirez hit late game-winning home runs for their teams on Sunday, April 13.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

100 Years Ago: When Managers (Well, John McGraw Anyway) Upended Orthodoxies

Much of the discussion about baseball in today's day and age is about how advanced technologies and analytics increasingly inform managers' roster and dugout decisions, including positioning and strategy in game situations.  A century ago, managers themselves were at the forefront of sophisticated innovations that became part of managers' game-management toolkit that has endured to this day--using relievers to secure victories, making position player substitutions to try to win games, and platooning for advantage at the outset of games.    

100 Years Ago: When Managers Upended Orthodoxies

The Washington Post's longtime baseball writer Thomas Boswell wrote that the Nationals' switch from old-school Davey Johnson to first-time manager Matt Williams is "emblematic of the era."  Specifically: "The 21st century manager generally has a lower profile ... than most famous managers in the previous century, but he remains important because he is an extension of the analytical thinking of the entire organization.  Like good upper-middle managers, they implement the business plan."  One hundred years ago, major league baseball was also in the midst of an innovative transition in how managers did their jobs. The job of "baseball manager" had become ever more its own discipline, and its professionalism was evolving into greater complexity.

It was increasingly apparent that the most successful teams would be those that were not only the most talented and skilled in execution, but also the most sophisticated in their use of strategy to win games. So managers began to think more strategically about how to win games, which led to a reconsideration or refinement of three established orthodoxies. It should come as no surprise that John McGraw, who burnished his reputation as a baseball strategy genius by always looking for an angle and being willing to try unconventional things at a time when the game was still discovering itself, was at the leading edge of all three.

The first orthodoxy taken on by McGraw was that pitchers were expected to finish the games they started. and certainly victories.  At a time when relief pitchers were rarely in the game at the end of victories--(pitchers completed 88 percent of their starts and fewer than 3 percent of wins were "saved" in 1903, his first full season as Giants manager)--McGraw's genius was to realize that victories don't necessarily have to come from complete games and that sometimes bringing in a fresh arm to complete a game is the best way to secure a win.   Despite a starting rotation including Christy Mathewson and Joe McGinnity that was better than any in the league, with the possible exception of the Cubs, McGraw called upon a relief pitcher to save 102 of the Giants' 663 victories between 1903 and 1909.  That not only was 15 percent of the Giants' total, but accounted for fully one-third of the total 311 saves by National League teams those seven years. 

By the end of the decade, almost certainly because of McGraw's influence, NL managers in particular had seized on the notion of using a reliever to "save" a victory. (The "save" was half a century away from being a recognized pitching statistic, however.)  By 1914--one hundred years ago--the percentage of victories secured by a save had increased to about 13 percent.  While most managers had bought into this concept by now, albeit judiciously (complete games still being perceived as the best way to get the win), none had any one pitcher designated for a relief role; the pitchers getting the saves were established starters, many of them the ace of the staff.  With Doc Crandall from 1909 to 1913, however, McGraw was far ahead of his contemporaries in imagining or anticipating a future of designated relief pitchers--although even he backed off on that after Crandall.

The second orthodoxy McGraw upended was the one where managers rarely replaced anyone in the starting line-up during the game.  The prevailing wisdom at the time he became a manager was that, barring injuries or poor performance, seven of the eight position players in the starting line-up were the same from day-to-day (the understandable exception was inevitably banged-up catchers) and played every inning of every game; the players rounding out major league rosters who sat on the bench were there more for emergencies--to substitute for an injured regular, to give a regular an occasional day of rest, or to take over if the incumbent was ineffective--than for inclusion in the game at critical moments.  Not including pitchers, major league managers made an average of only 23 substitutions for position players in the field in 1903, but McGraw that year made 44.  Quick to see the possibilities in his never-ending quest to gain a key advantage, McGraw was much more inclined to pinch hit and sometimes pinch run for a position player in pivotal moments, which--if this occurred in any but the last inning--then required a defensive replacement in the field.

From 1908 to 1912, when his Giants were one of the powerhouse teams in baseball, McGraw made twice the number of position substitutions in the field (573) than the sixteen-team major league average (270). By 1914--one hundred years ago--substituting for position players during games for tactical advantage was an accepted practice; National League managers, following his lead, averaged 108 position player substitutions that year, but McGraw was still ahead of the curve with 130 of his own.  Indicative of the two leagues being somewhat different in their strategic approach to the game, American League managers lagged behind in position player substitutions, not achieving consistent parity with their NL counterparts until the early 1920s.

Taking position player substitutions to their logical conclusion--platooning in the starting line-up--upended the third established orthodoxy:  that a team should have a set line-up of core regulars, unchanging except for injury or a player proving ineffective at his position.  Although platooning certainly occurred to McGraw, he did not platoon in his starting line-up until a decade after he began making substitutions to gain the "platoon advantage" in key moments of games, and so it is Boston Braves' manager George Stallings who gets the credit for masterminding the concept.  Unlike McGraw, whose strong teams at the time generally had a dependable player to start regularly at every position, Stallings had no such advantage with the woebegone Braves when he became their manager in 1913.  He had no (as in zero) outfielders he felt comfortable starting on a daily basis.  

Stallings was widely regarded as a brilliant strategic manager even at the time, but what made his claim to fame in historical retrospect was how his master manipulation of eight players--four left-handed and four right-handed at any given time during the season--in an outfield rotation involving all three positions, including making substitutions to counter pitching changes, contributed to the 1914 Braves' miracle of rising from the bottom of the heap on July 4th, overtaking McGraw's indisputably better club in early September, and eventually sweeping the historically great Philadelphia Athletics in the World Series. What is unusual is how little attention was paid to this strategy at the time; there were no references to  Stallings' lefty-righty outfield trade offs depending on the opposing starting pitcher in any articles appearing in The Baseball Magazine, the premier publication on the sport at the time, in either 1914 or 1915.  By the end of the decade and through the 1920s, however, platooning was widely practiced by nearly all major league teams.

While George Stallings is the historical midwife of platooning and 1914 is considered the baseline year for that strategic concept, starting line-up data for 1914--the earliest year for which such data is available on the website baseball-reference--shows that both McGraw and Cardinals' manager Miller Huggins also had an outfield platoon that year, although at only one position.  The important point here is that these refinements in game strategies and tactics were more evolutionary than revolutionary; they were institutionalized by the collective wisdom of managers observing and learning from each other and becoming more strategic in their thinking.  Even if basic game strategies and strategies for employing players at key moments in games are now in place, the complexity of the game and its many nuances means there is always new insight and knowledge to be gained. Except today, as Boswell implies in his article, there is social engineering by managers making logical adaptations to not only what they observe on the field of play, but also based on the baseball-use revolution in advanced metrics and technology that can dissect performance.