Time-Travel Teams

Time-Travel Teams

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3/24/2022 UPDATE. WHAT WE HAVE SO FAR: While the best-WAR-season lists for each of the final Time-Travel teams are yet to come, we do have the full list of eligible players for each of those teams. The files that are already available, here and now, then, show the players from which the starting lineups and pitcher selections can be made. Now, on to the general explanation…

On this page, you’ll be able to find “Time-Travel Teams” composed of the all-time best MLB/NLB players born in the respective American states/regions and “extra-national” countries of the world (outside of the U.S.). Currently, the teams are being compiled on the basis of best single-season WAR-value years posted by all roster-eligible players (born in that state/expanded region/nation, with 10 or more Plate Appearances [PA] in a given season or 9 or more Innings Pitched [IP], depending upon position). As these virtual, all-era-encompassing squads are assembled into final forms, they’ll be posted here on this page; they might trickle in, or they might come in big bunches, so drop in often to check “our” progress.

A glimpse at the process (how this works):

Step 1: Eligible historic MLB/NLB players born in the same place are assessed for the highest single-season WAR values available to contribute to the team WAR total;

Step 2: Positions are filled from this initial pool of the highest-performing eligible players (this is where positional integrity comes in, and all positions must be filled for each scheduled game of the simulated season; flexibility is certainly built in — thousands of players are/were multi-positional, after all, and reasonable shifts can be made, downgrading along the “Defensive Spectrum” [manning an “easier” position, we might say], but someone who’s had zero [historical] MLB/NLB experience at shortstop could not be reasonably expected to move UP the D.S. from left field and excel at his new, more-crucial/pivotal position, and for a full season at that!);

Step 3: With the roster and “starting lineup” appropriately filled, it’s just a matter of adding up all of the qualifying player WAR values to arrive at a (strictly virtual-reality) team total (if you want to take the easy way out). But the better approach, IMO, is to employ season-replay/simulation software like Strategic Baseball Simulator, Old Time Baseball, Out Of The Park, or any other program/app that can be adapted to the purpose of plugging in these Time-Travel rosters and running them through “league play” for each year from 1871 through 2020. This is exactly what I’d like to do — eventually — if time permits. Sounds like fun, no?

Winding up this page’s 3/24/22 session: I’ve uploaded the all-time rosters from which the Time-Travel (“Best Born In…”) Teams can be culled. To facilitate the team-assembly process, all players born in the same area — whether at the state, regional, national, or big city/urban-center level — are listed in order of RPR (RetroPlay Rating), from best to uh… not-so best. (Another hint: look at the “per 162” (games-played) rates to gauge typical full-season production at a glance). Each of these rosters has been left in Excel (.xls) format in order to make it easy for the user to sort and re-sort the rows under the columns, per individual preference. We’ll start with the American states (and regional) group; move to the Extra-National group (nations outside the U.S.); and wind up at the city/urban-center level. The main idea, once again: If moving back-and-forth through actual history was somehow made possible, we’re looking to see which players could be selected to be the best representatives, based on best WAR values — throughout all MLB eras — of a given birthplace as its “All-Star” team. Sample questions: could the all-time Texans beat the all-time Ohioans? Could anybody beat the all-time Californians? And might that team be the all-time Dominicans? Full disclosure: I’m asking the questions myself; I have yet to do the computer-run, “on-paper” game-playing, but am looking forward to that, in a phase somewhere down the road! So here we go with the raw-data listings, state by state (in regional codeRC — order), which might be all that some of you will want to focus upon (interesting in itself, no need to do a deeper dive). Notice, though, that several states could not support a viable 25-man roster of their own, so look for their native sons among larger regional aggregations and folder-combinations. That said, here we go:

10. MAINE (70)

11. NEW HAMPSHIRE (45)

12. VERMONT (32)

13. MASSACHUSETTS (543)

15. RHODE ISLAND (68)

17. CONNECTICUT (181)

NEW ENGLAND REGION (939)

20. NEW YORK (1052)

30. PENNSYLVANIA (1255)

41. NEW JERSEY (423)

43. DELAWARE (54)

WASHINGTON D.C. (96)

45. MARYLAND (279)

MID-ATLANTIC REGION (852)

50. NORTH CAROLINA (415)

52. SOUTH CAROLINA (216)

53. GEORGIA (454)

SOUTHEAST REGION (1085)

55. FLORIDA (598)

60. ALABAMA (426)

65. MISSISSIPPI (234)

66. LOUISIANA (305)

DEEP SOUTH REGION (965)

70. OHIO (912)

76. WEST VIRGINIA (108)

77. VIRGINIA (339)

80. KENTUCKY (308)

82. TENNESSEE (359)

APPALACHIA REGION (1114)

85. INDIANA (360)

90. MICHIGAN (389)

95. WISCONSIN (208)

MIDWEST REGION (957)

98. ILLINOIS (959)

101. MINNESOTA (144)

103. IOWA (188)

105. MISSOURI (579)

110. ARKANSAS (184)

MISS. RIVER REGION (1095)

120. TEXAS (956)

130. OKLAHOMA (262)

133. NEW MEXICO (29)

134. KANSAS (215)

135. NEBRASKA (106)

137-8. DAKOTAS (51)

139-140. MONTANA-WYOMING (39)

141. COLORADO (89)

CLASSIC WEST REGION (791)

143. ARIZONA (109)

145. UTAH (36)

146. NEVADA (44)

148. IDAHO (29)

150. OREGON (127)

155. WASHINGTON (190)

157-159. ALASKA-HAWAII-GUAM-SAMOA (55)

FAR WEST REGION (590)

FAR WEST (+) REGION (730)

160. CALIFORNIA (2112)

Now, on to the extra-national squads, moving from the Caribbean to Mexico and Central America, and South America; to the Pacific nations, inner Asia and Africa; Europe; and closing the loop, Canada:

CUBA (432)

PUERTO RICO (274)

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (714)

CARIBBEAN REGION (1468)

MEXICO (123)

PANAMA (70)

MEXICO-CEN.AM. REGION (210)

VENEZUELA (378)

SOUTH AMERICA REGION (407)

PACIFIC REGION (140)

EURASIA-AFRICA REGION (180)

CANADA (218)

As promised above, we’ll wind up with the City-Level (or pun-ingly, the “Urban League”) Time-Travel teams:

ATLANTA (54)

AUSTIN (40)

BALTIMORE (133)

BIRMINGHAM (75)

BOSTON (76)

BROOKLYN (204)

BUFFALO (54)

CARACAS, VE (57)

CHARLOTTE (26)

CHICAGO (321)

CINCINNATI (168)

CLEVELAND (110)

COLUMBUS (40)

DALLAS (77)

DAYTON (31)

DENVER (39)

DETROIT (107)

EVANSVILLE (26)

FORT WORTH (30)

FRESNO (31)

LA HABANA (144)

HOUSTON (125)

INDIANAPOLIS (53)

JACKSONVILLE (48)

KANSAS CITY, MO (53)

LAS VEGAS (30)

LITTLE ROCK (26)

LONG BEACH (65)

LOS ANGELES (211)

LOUISVILLE (73)

MARACAIBO, VE (30)

MARACAY, VE (29)

MEMPHIS (49)

MIAMI (46)

MILWAUKEE (50)

MOBILE (45)

MONTGOMERY (31)

NEW YORK CITY (ONLY) (225)

5 BOROUGHS-NYC (481)

NASHVILLE (51)

NEW ORLEANS (85)

NEWARK (35)

OAKLAND (83)

OKLAHOMA CITY (43)

OMAHA (33)

ORLANDO (27)

PHILADELPHIA (308)

PHOENIX (29)

PITTSBURGH (121)

PORTLAND (55)

PROVIDENCE (28)

RICHMOND (32)

RIO PIEDRAS (32)

RIVERSIDE (25)

ROCHESTER (29)

SACRAMENTO (74)

SAN ANTONIO (43)

SAN CRISTOBAL (37)

SAN DIEGO (113)

SAN FRANCISCO (157)

SAN JOSE (29)

SAN PEDRO DE MACORIS (75)

SANTA MONICA (40)

SANTIAGO (35)

SANTO DOMINGO (153)

SANTURCE (30)

SEATTLE (51)

SHREVEPORT (36)

ST. LOUIS (259)

TAMPA (54)

TOLEDO (33)

TORRANCE (27)

TULSA (43)

TWIN CITIES (63)

VALENCIA, VE (29)

WASHINGTON D.C. (96)

Okay, that’ll do it. A word of caution to those who might be, let’s say,  inclined to make bets based on the info posted here: remember, there will be many known discrepancies between the RetroPlay system numbers and those posted by MLB/Baseball-Reference, because

  1. This system screens out all of those who didn’t make the minimum 10 PA or 9 IP in a year, or simply lacked full-name identification (the official sources will include many more players due to these factors);
  2. This system adds more Negro League (NLB) players to the number of Open Baseball League (OBL) players (they participated in NLB leagues/on independent teams not recognized — at this point, anyway — by MLB/Baseball-Reference as genuine major-leaguers, while we do so here)

So the “moral” of the story is: Don’t think that you can win some easy money by trusting all of my numbers here, including those big-city birthplace numbers (the numbers in parentheses after the city’s name); your intended “patsy” can turn right around and come up with some different numbers derived from more authoritative, “official” sources. We’re in a “parallel universe” here, so remember that…All right, then, we’re done with this particular page for now. This will do it for March 24, 2022. Overall, (speaking site-wise) things are steadily rounding into form. Feel free to roam around RetroPlay Park, where the gates are always open.

updated 5-18-18]