Thursday, September 30, 2004

A Man Called "Fass" 

As Jim predicted yesterday, the D-Backs couldn't complete the sweep against the Brewers, losing 4-1. Casey Fossum pitched OK, but injured his hand in the 3rd inning, gave up two homeruns in the 4th, and left at the end of the inning.

I "watched" the game on MLB.com's Gameday, and when lefty Jeff Fassero was described as the pitcher in the 5th, I attributed it to one of the occasional Gameday bugs. "Fassero" and "Fossum" even sound alike, sorta. And Fassero was pictured in a Rockies cap. But Gameday noted that Fossum left due to a hand injury. Sure enough, it wasn't a bug, and the D-Backs had signed Fassero, yesterday apparently. He pitched 1 scoreless inning.

With Fassero's appearance, it took the 2004 Diamondbacks one step closer to what I think might be a major league first.

Wins, 2004 Diamondbacks: 49
Players, 2004 Diamondbacks: 52

Folks, I haven't researched this, but I wouldn't be surprised if this is the first time this has ever happened in a modern era. Obviously, teams with less than 50 wins are few and far between, and I doubt any that any team pre-1950 switched players as much as modern teams do.

The only team I checked this against was the 2003 Tigers. The Tigers had both 43 wins and players.

For those D-Backs fans wondering if you'll have to cheer against the D-Backs in their series against the Padres so they can set this illustrious record, never fear -- Brandon Lyon is still trying to pitch at least one inning, which would bump the D-Backs up to 53 players used.

I'll have more thoughts on injuries, etc. when I take a look at the team after the season, but clearly when even the coaches are having surgery, it hasn't been a stellar year.

More stuff today... or possibly tomorrow.

Sadly, we're not #1 in having more players than wins. Inevitably, the 1962 Mets did it too, with 40 wins, and 44 players who had at-bats, plus Clem Labine, who pitched without an AB.

Is Oct 16 a go? :-)
Jim - But It's a DRY Heat...
You can also add the 1952 Pirates, who had 42 wins, and used 45 players (inc. 3 pitchers who didn't get to bat: Werle, Wolfe and Queen). But I think that's probably it since WW2. Before that, the 20-win Cleveland Spiders used 32 which is probably the all-time record excess of players over victories.

Jim - BIaDH...
Actually, the would not be the first team to field more players than games won. They would be the 58th. Most of them were 19th century, but it's been done 12 times since 1901, the last time being the 2002 Tigers.

Here's the complete list of "modern" teams:

Yr Lg Tm W #
1909 AL Washington Senators 42 44
1911 AL St. Louis Browns 45 46
1915 AL Philadelphia Athletics 43 56
1916 AL Philadelphia Athletics 36 50
1919 AL Philadelphia Athletics 36 49
1932 AL Chicago White Sox 49 50
1939 AL St. Louis Browns 43 45
1939 NL Philadelphia Phillies 45 46
1952 NL Pittsburgh Pirates 42 45
1962 NL New York Mets 40 45
1981 NL Chicago Cubs 38 39
2002 AL Detroit Tigers 55 57

The Cubs one deserves an asterisk, since they only played 103 games because of a strike - that's why they don't appear in Mike's article on really bad teams, which was where I started looking for the answer, and found the '52 Pirates!

Extrapolated to an entire 162-game season, they'd have won 60, and I doubt they'd have used 60 players. Working it out, based on them using 13 over and above the 25-man roster in 103 games, they'd have used round about 45-46 players in a full year, plus maybe a few more for September callups. Impressed by the 2002 Tigers though!

Jim - BIaDH
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