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1924 Robins, 1938Yankees,1948 Indians, 1955 Dodgers Auction

Before they were they were the Brooklyn Dodgers, they were the Robins, no wait, they were the Trolley Dodgers, or perhaps they were the Robins and the Dodgers at the same time. Here is what Wikipedia has to say:

The franchise that finally came to be called “the Dodgers” were the Atlantics (1884), Bridegrooms or Grooms (1888-1898), Ward’s Wonders, the Superbas (1899-1910), and the Robins (1914-1931). All of these nicknames were used by fans and newspaper sports writers to describe the team, often concurrently, but not in any official capacity. The team’s legal name was the Brooklyn Base Ball Club.[ However, the “Trolley Dodgers” nickname was used throughout this period, along with other nicknames, by fans and sports writers of the day. The team did not use the name in a formal sense until 1916, when the name was printed on home World Series programs; the word “Dodgers” finally appeared on team jerseys in 1932. The “conclusive shift” came in 1933, when both home and road jerseys for the team bore the name “Dodgers”.

As you can see, the fans and sportswriters could not decide what to call the team, one of the teams we’ll be using for this auction is the 1924 version of the Brooklyn team, which was widely accepted as the Robins.

The Robins in 1924 had an excellent team, just missing winning the National League pennant by 1 1/2 games to the New York Giants. Their overall lineup was not that impressive, but they did have two superlative hitters – 1b Jack Fournier (.965 OPS) and OF Zack Wheat who batted .375 – you would think a .375 batting average would be good enough to win the batting title, think again, that year Rogers Hornsby batted .424!! As good as Fournier & Wheat were, they were eclipsed by the Robins ace pitcher – Dazzy Vance – all Vance did was throw 308 innings behind a 2.16 ERA, this led to a sparkling 28-6 record (I know sabermetrically the wins mean nothing, but that record sure looks pretty!) One last quirky observation on the Robins before we move on to the next team – they had quite an original group of first names & nicknames – you already know Dazzy…they also have Burleigh, Dutch, Tiny, Tex, Binky & Ivy!

The 1938 Yankees were a powerhouse, but what else is new. In the eight years between 1936 and 1943, the Yankees went to the World Series 7 times and won 6 of them! The 1938 team was very representative of that dominant period, they won 99 games, had a +255 run differential and swept the Chicago Cubs in the World Series. The hitters were led by Bill Dickey, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio and their top pitchers were Red Ruffing and Lefty Gomez.

The 1948 Indians won a one-game playoff against the Boston Red Sox to advance to the World Series. Cleveland won the championship by defeating the Boston Braves 4 games to 2, winning their first World Series in 28 years. The team won 97 games, but they were even better than that, when you project a whopping +273 run differential, they should have won 104 games according to the Pythagorean Theorem expectation. The bats were led by MVP shortstop Lou Boudreau (.453 OBP) and 3B Ken Keltner (.917 OPS). They received contributions from almost all their pitchers, this resulted in an MLB leading 3.22 ERA. But Bob Lemon was their ace – twirling 293 innings via a 2.82 ERA.

From 1941 to 1953 the Brooklyn Dodgers met the New York Yankees in the World Series 5 times, they lost all these confrontations. Then in 1955, the Dodgers finally beat the hated Yankees! The Dodgers and the Yankees were clearly the best two teams in baseball that year so it was fitting that they clashed in the World Series, the Dodgers led all teams in OPS, led by Duke Snider and Roy Campanella. As dominant teams usually are, the Dodgers were also good on the pitching side, ranking 4th among all teams. Don Newcombe led the way with a 3.20 ERA in 234 innings. Oh and by the way, Newcombe could also hit – a 1.028 OPS in 125 at bats!!


GM Derek Bain got the aution started with the purchase of ’55 Duke Snider for $37, he followed that up with the purchase of ’38 Lou Gehrig, ’38 Joe DiMaggio, ’48 Ken Keltner and ’55 Carl Furillo. GM Bain purchased 4 of the top available hitters within the first 21 purchases, so it was clear that he was going with a hitting strategy, now the question was could he acquire enough pitching to support those big bats as the auction evolved.

GM Steve Andrusko appeared to be going with the same hitting strategy as GM Bain – with purchase 5 & 7, Steve purchased two premium hitters (’55 Roy Campanella & the 1948 version of Joe Gordon) – but then Steve shifted gears and made his next four acquisitions all pitchers ( #10 – ’48 Bob Feller, #11 – ’48 Gene Bearden, #13 – ’48 Bob Lemon and #14 – ’38 Red Ruffing) – the 15th player sold also went to Steve (’55 Gil Hodges at $23). So of the first 15 players sold, 7 of them went to GM Andrusko!


There was no question he had the foundation of a great team, but he had spent $208 of his $260 budget, how would he fill in the rest of his team with the diminished spending power? That’s the challenge of the auction, how much to spend, when to spend, who to spend it on…all decisions that have to be made quickly, and can change after every additional player purchase!

GM Scott Courlander spent a whopping $189 on hitting, including the purchase of 5 of the top 10 hitters (’24 Jack Fournier, ’48 Lou Boudreau, ’38 Bill Dickey, ’24 Zack Wheat and ’38 Red Rolfe). This extreme approach is risky but can work if you can purchase just enough pitching. With the $82 dollars he had left, GM Coulander purchased Burleigh Grimes ($22), Spud Chandler($9), and Bump Hadley ($12) – this would serve as the foundation of that “good enough pitching”.

GM Andy Palomino tried to take a balanced approach, but with an emphasis on pitching. This led to the aggressive acquisition of the best pitcher in the auction, ’24 Dazzy Vance, for a hefty $46 dollars. GM Palomino supported Vance with the purchase of ’38 Lefty Gomez & ’38 Monte Pearson. On the hitting side it was hoped the acquisition of ’38 Tommy Henrich, ’48 Larry Doby and ’38 Joe Gordon would provide the necessary hitting to leverage the excellent pitching. The strategy was the exact opposite of GM Courlander’s approach – Andy’s team needed “just enough hitting” to support the pitching.

Auction Analysis and World Series Results:

GM Scott Courlander’s overwhelming hitting attack proved to be just enough to secure a victory in a thrilling 7 season World Series! GM Andy Palomino wins the 1st season by a slim margin of 2 games, Scott wins the second season on a tiebreaker! (determined by run differential), he also wins the season #3. Andy’s team comes roaring back to win seasons 3 & 4, but Scott secures the World Series victory with convincing triumphs in the last two seasons. GM Bain also had a strong hitting attack, but did not have enough pitching. GM Andrusko could not fill in the rest of his team adequately after his initial spending splurge. GM Palomino could have used one more quality hitter to neutralize Scott’s hitting advantage. Congrats to GM Scott Courlander on an excellent auction and World Series victory! Click below for a complete list of Auction Prices:

TeamSeason #1Season #2Season #3Season #4Season #5Season #6Season #7Average Wins

MVP Award – There was plenty of competition for this award, but it has to go to ’24 Zack Wheat, he led the league in Batting Average (.368), hits, total bases, doubles, OBP, and he was 3rd in SL%. Runner-up -’38 Bill Dickey. Both the winner & runner-up were from GM Courlander’s team.

Zack Wheat batting while with Brooklyn.

CY YOUNG Award – The award goes to ’48 Bob Lemon who compiled a tidy 2.73 ERA in 320 innings (incredibly only striking out only 92 batters!). Runner-up – ’24 Dazzy Vance

Here are the Top 5 Hitters & Pitchers – click HERE to view or download the full statistical results:

1955CAMPANELLA, R.Brooklyn Indians0.31549274155201392941022
1955SNIDER, D.Cleveland Dodgers0.24458710314336638305830
1948GORDON, J.Brooklyn Indians0.2635598414720138283924
1948KELTNER, K.Cleveland Dodgers0.25855086142242342721140
1938DICKEY, B.Brooklyn Yankees0.30650693155335332971201
1938DICKEY, B.Brooklyn Yankees0.3060.3960.5870.9831.031198.8583
1955CAMPANELLA, R.Brooklyn Indians0.3150.3700.5980.9670.971058539
1924WHEAT, Z.Brooklyn Yankees0.3680.4270.5360.9640.971409.1688
1948BOUDREAU, L.Brooklyn Yankees0.3170.4060.4930.8990.911277.7719
1955SNIDER, D.Cleveland Dodgers0.2440.3470.5200.8660.881116.6681
1948BEARDEN, G.SPBrooklyn Indians141222.392620424155
1924VANCE, D.SPNew York Robins211302.5037114284175
1948LEMON, B.SPBrooklyn Indians241412.733727332092
1938PEARSON, M.SPNew York Robins141202.9431116223118
1955NEWCOMBE, D.SPCleveland Dodgers19602.9629157243162

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