The On Deck Circle

Baseball History, Commentary and Analysis

Fantasy Baseball Team Preview For 1970

I belong to a fantasy baseball league that replays baseball seasons of the past.  We are about to get underway for the 1970 baseball season.  Kevin Graham, who writes a fine baseball blog, is our league President.  As part of our managerial requirements, we are asked to submit an annual team write-up, a kind of team preview for the consumption of the other league owners.  I thought I’d share mine with you.  My team, by the way, is called the Reservoir Dogs.  

The Reservoir Dogs are looking forward with great optimism to the 1970 season in their new home, Riverfront Stadium. Old Crosley Field was condemned after a sinkhole swallowed up last season’s reserve left-fielder, Tommie Reynolds.

After three consecutive years of increases in the win column, including last season’s new high of 84 victories, General Manger Bill Miller and the boys believe that the Dogs are now primed for a serious run at a playoff spot. When Miller first inherited what had been a flatulent, feckless franchise prior to the ’67 season, the Dogs were the worst team in the league. Now, however, with manager Jimmy Piersall back on his meds, and Bonds, Bench and Bando just entering their prime years, the Dogs have a chance to finally make it to the top of the standings for the first time since the Vietnam War was just a twinkle in General William Westmoreland’s gimlet eye.

Here’s a position-by-position overview of this year’s roster:

Catcher:  Johnny Bench – No finer receiver exists in the league. Bench, now 22-years old, is primed for what could be an MVP-caliber season as he learns how to handle a pitching staff, and to shave.

Backup Catcher: Gene Tenace – His parents call him Gino, he makes a mean chicken primavera, and he will be Bench’s backup this season. He is capable of starting for most other teams, as well as cooking their dinner.

First Base: Wes Parker is the switch-hitting, slick-fielding, underrated first-sacker who will play against right-handed pitching, and is probably on his way to earning another Gold Glove this season. He spent the off-season preparing for the 1970 season playing billiards and drinking lots of herbal tea.

Other First-Baseman: Bob “Rippin’” Robertson offers his power-stroke against left-handed pitchers, and does a stunning impersonation of Richard Nixon bombing Cambodia.

Second Basemen: With Dick Green exiting the club due to maternity leave, Ted Sizemore and Wayne Garrett, both obtained in off-season trades, are the Nureyev and Baryshnikov of second-sackers. Or is that Laurel and Hardy? Either way, Sizemore will swing away vs. Lefties, and Garrett will be penciled in vs. Righties.

Shortstop: Mark Belanger has never met a bat he could easily lift, but for every futile at-bat he throws away, he’ll save an equal number of runs in the field. “The Glove,” as his teammates call him, likes to distract opposing pitchers using duck calls and mime.

Third Base: Will once again be in the able hands of Salvatore Bando, Gino Tenace’s younger cousin. When not stabbing low-line drives at the hot-corner, or slugging three-run bombs off of harried hurlers, Bando spends his time in the kitchen with Gino, mincing garlic until it melts over low heat in a nice, buttery garlic sauce. It’s to die for.

Right-Field: 24-year old Bobby Bonds has a chance to be the first player in baseball history to have a 30-30-30 season: that’s 30 homers, 30 steals, and 30 speeding tickets. Bonds doesn’t like to play by the rules, and will frustrate his manager from time-to-time, but we’d rather have him with us than against us. And when he hits the ball, it stays hit.

Center-Field: Taking over in Center this season will be young Cito Gaston. Cito doesn’t say much, and it’s possible that he and Bonds won’t say a word to each other all season. But they could lead the league in outfield assists and in looks-that-kill. Gaston adds a power-bat to a lineup that should be extra-lethal vs. left-handed pitchers.

Left-Field: Another platoon here will feature the left-handed bat of rookie “Barnstorming” Bernie Carbo and righty-batting, returning sophomore Merv “The Reckoning” Rettenmund. Merv and Bernie will also be competing for the National Sunflower Seed Spitting contest this Fall in Cranky Corner, Louisiana (there really is such a place.)

Primary Pinch-hitters: Mack Jones and Vic Davalillo enjoy long walks on the beach, while Leroy Stanton and Tom Grieve will bide their time in the minors developing their interest in pine-tar and batting donuts. Leron Lee adds ballast.

Pitchers: We have lots of them. Some of them, like returning staff ace Steve Carlton, Danny Coombs, Jim Rooker, Tom Burgmeier and Joe Hoerner, are lefties, while rookie Bert Blyleven, Don Wilson, Joe Coleman, Barry Lersch and Danny Frisella are right-handed. One of manager Piersall’s biggest challenges this season (aside from bailing Bobby Bonds out of jail) will be to mold this diverse group of talented young arms into a pitching staff where everyone’s role is defined, and no one leaves the toilet seat up when the lady journalists are around.

Other Pitchers: Joe Grzenda and Bill Gogolowski sound like a couple of unionized, Polish Pennsylvania miners, and, in fact, they were up until this spring. They will attempt to blow the coal-dust out of their lungs through wind-sprints and long-toss in the outfield while they await the call to the bullpen, probably in 1971.

Still Other Pitchers: Wayne “Twitchie” Twitchell is young and has a live arm, but is so new to the game that he can’t find the pitcher’s mound without a Sherpa. It could be two or three years until he’s useful, but here in Cincinnati, we’ve got nothing but time.

That’s the latest from here in Cinci, where the wheat flows right behind the grain, or the wind blows right behind the rain, or the Miller High Life is poured right down the drain, or the Cubs finish right behind the Phillies, or some damned thing.

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13 thoughts on “Fantasy Baseball Team Preview For 1970

  1. Awesome piece! You’d earned a new follower by the end of the second paragraph!

  2. Not a fantasy player, but good luck to you and Kevin. May you meet in the playoffs.
    v

  3. Kevin Graham on said:

    Bill,

    Very funny write up.

    Good luck this season. I think you definitely have a playoff team.

    Kevin

  4. Glen Russell Slater on said:

    Ha!!!!! Man, that had me rolling! First of all, that was the first year of my being a baseball fan (1970), and all of those names are music to my ears. They are the names that I spoke the most during my childhood (besides “Mom”, “Dad”, and “Beth” (that’s my little sister.)

    I loved some of these lines. Very, very funny. Except for one little error, and that was that the media wasn’t referring to Clarence Gaston as “Cito” until about 1973 or so.

    You forgot to say that Wes Parker not only played billiards and drank herbal tea, but he also played a medley of Tchaikovsky’s greatest hits on his Steinway grand piano. Wes Parker was a rich boy who could afford to walk away from baseball (and he did). He had a great appreciation of classical music (similar to how Bob Knepper, a pitcher of years later, used to warm up to “La Boheme”, or was it “Madame Butterfly”?, and third baseman Phil Mankowski quit the Mets to try and fulfill his dream of being a classical pianist. (He DOES give piano lessons in the Buffalo area; that’s a fact.)

    Very well written, Bill.

    And just like Manager Jimmy Piersall, I’m back on MY meds, too (no, really), and feeling a lot better.

    Glen

    PS Was Crosley Field condemned in actuality?

    PSS How do you like my new Webb Pierce “gravatar”?

    • Hi Glen, Glad you liked it. I first got into baseball around ’72 or ’73, so this league is now about where my earliest baseball memories are as well. You’re right about Cito Gaston. I have to admit never having liked the name “Cito,” but I’m not the one who has to live with it. I have no idea about Crosley, but I believe the Reds changed stadiums in mid-1970, which is kind of weird. And your new gravatar is splendid, my good man. Glad to hear you are doing well these days.
      Thanks again,
      Bill

  5. It’s not widely known, but Tom Burgmeier’s actual full nime is Thomas Burgmeier Meisterburger; it has been rumored that he has asked the clubhouse man to ban all toys from the home team’s clubhouse.

    • Later, ironically, he moved to the Island of Misfit Toys (cheap real estate) where he went on to become a member of the public health committee which finally forced Cowboy Who Rides an Ostrich to keep out of the town swimming pool. Also, in case you’ve spent the last 45 years wondering just why, exactly, Dolly (who doesn’t appear to have anything wrong with her) is a resident of the island, here’s an explanation I found online:

      The tag on the CVS bean bag toy of the little Dolly reads: “I’m a little rag doll who just wants a friend. I think that will help my broken heart mend.” This seems to be the ever-burning question for Misfit philosophers of all time. Rick Goldschmidt in his book “The Enchanted World of Rankin Bass” writes: In the original broadcast the Dolly’s screen time is mere seconds. I don’t believe Romeo Muller really gave the character much thought. She was granted more screen time in the 1965 and 1997 broadcasts which ultimately led many a fan to wonder what was wrong with her. Arthur Rankin says that Dolly’s problem is more psychological. As it is never mentioned in the script why in particular the doll is a misfit, some offer this: Charlie-in-the-Box tells Rudolph, Hermey and Yukon when they arrive on the Island of Misfit Toys that King Moonracer flies over the earth each night and brings unloved toys to the Island of Misfits. Dolly is perhaps there because she feels she is unloved (as King Moonracer explains about misfits) and perhaps the little girl who onced played with her is now grown up and Dolly now sits in a box, unwanted, waiting to be loved by another little girl again. “In certain circles,” this explanation is offered and widely accepted by Misfit Philosophers.

      Now, aren’t you glad you visited this blog today?

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