BJOL continues the series on Organizations and Eras. He calls the 1991-2006 era the "Tom Glavine era" and records this wonderful little piece of lore:
I have always loved this about Tom Glavine: that his father’s hero was Warren Spahn, and Glavine grew up to be so much like Warren Spahn. He is more like Warren Spahn than anyone else has ever been like Warren Spahn. We have seen this story many times in baseball history, in less perfect form. Mickey Mantle was named for Mickey Cochrane, who his father admired so much, but Mickey Mantle was not really the same type of player as Mickey Cochrane. Willie Mays Aikens was not the same type of player as Willie Mays; Larry Doby Johnson wasn’t anything like Larry Doby. Rickey Henderson, named for Branch Rickey, was a great player but not all that much a copy of Jackie Robinson. Tom Glavine was the virtual reincarnation of Warren Spahn.
James calls this team one of the greatest of all time, pleading with us not to be too hard on them for their postseason disappointments. He catalogues their top reasons for sustained dominance:
- The Big Three
- In 1990 Bobby Cox as GM fired his manager and appointed himself the new Manager
- The Braves stole Schuerholz away from KC to be GM
- The two Joneses, one a HOF'er, the other not
- Team President Stan Casten
So the Gentle Denizen can review for himself what the M's would have to do to emulate this SUPER DUPER run of domination.
James believes deeply in sharing his copywrighted material, and posts the $3 per month "just to keep out the riffraff" so he and I are on the same wavelength there. When D-O-V used to be a pay site for $9.95 or whatever, I couldn't have cared less about re-posting UNTIL it reached the point to where some yahoo was trying to provide a reason not to subscribe to me. In other words, I think I have a pretty good feel for what he wants us avoiding behind his paywall. Aside from the fact that he's specifically told us.
All that said, I don't want to go down and line-by-line all of the turning points in his 30 franchises, but here are a couple from the Boston/Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves, Beaneaters and Bees. He's got 13 eras for them. We'll give a couple of more ...
2007-present Post Big Three era: Drought of big young stars. Talent yes, Freeman, Kimbrel, Heyward, McCann, Simmons - none really good enough. Still and all the 2018 Braves are stronger than you think.
1984-2004 third gear James has taken lately to comparing Donald Trump to Charlie O. Finley, to Ted Turner and George Steinbrenner. During this 20 years, the Braves worked hard but did not push the talent pyramid past its natural gravity drag. James wrote this about Turner, and I think it's worth a look as regards Trump:
To complete the point about persons of the Finley/Turner type, the thing is that they do learn from experience more than you think they are learning. They don’t project humility. They don’t admit that they have made mistakes. The vibe that they give off, and the vibe they WANT to give off, is "I know exactly what I am doing here." They give off that vibe so strongly that you think they are rejecting the lessons that the world is trying to teach them, but they’re actually not; they’re actually processing their failures and learning from what is happening to them. Their bluster is an act; their desire to be great is real. They sincerely WANT to be great men and to be regarded as great men, and they realize (in baseball) that they cannot accomplish that unless their teams are successful, so they will do whatever they have to do, make whatever changes they have to make, to push the team to the top.
1953-65 Milwaukee - the attendance went from 280,000 to 1,800,000 in one year and in fact set off "Perini's Bomb" that resulted in a lot of franchise moves. The farm system was a machine. Eddie Mathews, Henry Aaron, Del Crandall, Johnny Logan, Bill Bruton, Bob Buhl ... a couple of good trades, Lew Burdett and Joe Adcock. The Braves played over .500 13 times in a row; they "should have dominated" the NL from 1957 to 1963, seven years. Had you spliced the 1959 Dodgers and 1960 Pirates, the 1960 Braves should have won the pennant.
So a great farm system is certainly ONE way to roll, though to listen to saber sites, you'd swear it's the only intelligent way to roll. Pat Gillick says hi.