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Lyrical Baseball Tournament, season (fourth quarter): Hitting vs. pitching for MVP

Home squads are set for the bracket and statistical leaders are set.

Boston Redsox Outfielder Ted Williams Holding Bat
A whole new Ballgame.

The regular season is complete, and the important games are only an article read away.

Both the Filial Fungoes (39-21) and Filial Cashmen (32-28) won their divisions, so they will be the home teams for the first round of the tournament, dubbed the Round of Frishberg. As with prior tournaments, I will alternate which game in the first round I play, starting with the Cashmen as the game set their series to start first. But I’ll post the articles as Game 1 for both, Game 2 for both, and so on.

The top Fungoes clinched their division one game after the previous article’s conclusion, winning 6-1 on the back of eight one-run innings hurled by Claude Passeau. In the other division, the crown-winning Cashmen clinched their division in the 54th game, a 3-1 victory over their Paternal counterparts. Other highlights of the final quarter-season can be found below.

Game 48: Filial Fungoes 2, Paternal Fungoes 1 (10 inn.)

Early Wynn pitched five innings of one-run ball and Johnny Kucks held Paternal scoreless in relief, while Frankie Gustine’s walk-off single gave Filial the 2-1 win.

Game 49: Filial Cashmen 3, Paternal Cashmen 2

Trailing 2-1 after a Mickey Mantle two-run shot in the top of the seventh, Filial put up solo tallies in the eighth and ninth to come back and win. The ninth saw three Filial reserves reach against Dan Quisenberry, the final one, Casey Stengel, doubling home Jimmy Bloodworth to close it.

Game 53: Filial Fungoes 3, Paternal Fungoes 1

In another game I actively managed, Wynn pitched another mastery, while George McQuinn crushed a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to provide the winning margin. Wynn hurled a complete-game four-hitter and took a no-no into the eighth, throwing 120 pitches in the effort.

Game 58: Paternal Fungoes 3, Filial Fungoes 2

With the score tied in the top of the ninth, Barney McCosky singled home Hal Trosky to give Paternal the lead, before Johnny Gee pitched a perfect bottom of the ninth to close it.

Game 58: Paternal Cashmen 7, Filial Cashmen 6

A wild game saw Filial take a 6-4 lead into the bottom of the ninth, but with two outs, Paternal put their next five runners on base to pull off a comeback win. Yogi Berra started the rally with a walk and Ted Williams doubled him to third before three straight RBI singles, the last by Steve Garvey, turned a would-be loss into a victory.

Game 59: Filial Fungoes 2, Paternal Fungoes 1

This game and the next one are managed games, and with both division races concluded, I subbed in reserves into the lineups. I did leave the rotation intact, which is partially why Harry Brecheen, looking to complete a pitching triple crown, pitched a complete game victory, allowing three hits and one run while striking out nine.

Game 60: Paternal Cashmen 3, Filial Cashmen 1

With similar lineup construction in place, Don Newcombe was perfect through six for Filial as his team took a 1-0 lead. Unfortunately, the seventh proved his downfall; a Williams sacrifice fly and Garvey two-run shot swung the lead to Paternal, and Jack Brittin held Filial off the scoreboard the rest of the way.

Now for the statistical leaders.

There’s one clear batting standout and one clear pitching standout. I have no idea which will win MVP as the game has not handed out awards yet.

For now, I’ll make the case for each.

Ted Williams, #9, LF, PCM

Williams’ late-season surge gave him a chance at hitting .400, but an 0-fer in the final game left him at a still-astounding .386, 61 percentage points above second-place Yogi Berra. Williams also dominated the rest of the slash line, leading the league with a .474 OBP (second: Lou Boudreau, .401), .572 SLG (Stan Musial, .559), and 1.046 OPS (Boudreau and Musial, .921). Other statistics featuring a “T. Williams” at their apexes were:

  • hits (83)
  • runs (46)
  • OPS+ (181)
  • WPA (2.73; second was Musial with 1.90)
  • wOBA (.449)
  • WAR for batters (3.3).

Harry Brecheen, #31, SP, FFS

Brecheen, whom I consider a Cy Young lock, won the pitching Triple Crown with eight wins, 110 strikeouts, and a 2.16 ERA. He was undefeated until the 45th game of the season, and finished the year atop the leaderboards, aside from the Triple Crown categories, in:

  • K/9 (10.3)
  • BB/9 (0.9)
  • K/BB (11.0; second was Gaylord Perry with 6.1)
  • WHIP (0.96)
  • FIP (2.31; second was Van Lingle Mungo with 2.86)
  • ERA+ (186)
  • WAR for everyone (3.6)

Which of those is MVP worthy, you decide. (Actually, the game decides.)

The tournament starts next article.

May the best lyrical squad win.

Season (third quarter) | Season (fourth quarter) | Round of Frishberg, Game 1