May 25, 2018

Embracing Failure: The Seamheads Near Miss League

April 20, 2009 by · 4 Comments 

Friend and colleague Brian Joseph has come up with another fantastic idea for a simulation league and we have another great group of team owners trying to lead their respective teams to a championship that they just missed out on in real life.

The Near Miss League will be similar to the Seamheads Historical League that we ran on the site from mid-January to early April that culminated in a championship for Joe Posnanski and his beloved Cleveland Indians.  In that league, we had 28 owners, including Bill James, Curt Schilling, Roy Firestone, John Buccigross, Jonah Keri, and Derrick Goold, select 40 players from their respective franchise’s history in an effort to build super teams that battled for a World Series crown.  The Red Sox had Cy Young and Pedro Martinez in the rotation, with Ted Williams, Tris Speaker, and Reggie Smith playing side-by-side in the outfield.  The Yankees’ lineup boasted Babe Ruth alongside Derek Jeter.  The A’s had early superstars Lefty Grove and Jimmie Foxx in the same lineup with Reggie Jackson and Catfish Hunter.

The Near Miss League will be slightly different, though the cast of owners is just as strong, featuring ESPN columnist Bill “The Sports Guy” Simmons, his buddy and ESPN colleague Dave Dameshek, ESPN senior writer and “Baseball Today” co-host Eric Karabell, columnist King Kaufman, former major league second baseman Jack Perconte, author and Hall of Fame researcher Gabriel Schechter, and author/writer/editor/esteemed historian Gary Gillette.  Keri and Goold are also back for another go-around, with Keri leading his Expos again, while Goold takes the reins of the St. Louis Cardinals, whom he writes about for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  The rest of the group is made up of intelligent baseball men who blog about, write about, talk about, eat, sleep, and drink baseball, including many colleagues from SABR.  Needless to say, the competition should be fierce.

The teams featured in the Near Miss League are teams that were either very good or great but failed to win their division, a pennant, or a World Series for one reason or another.  Simmons, a long time, die hard Red Sox fan, chose the 2008 team that lost to the Rays in last year’s ALCS.  Al Yellon, co-author of Cubs By The Numbers, chose the ’69 Cubs, who sported a nine game lead over the Mets on August 16, but blew it and finished in second place, eight games out of first.  Milo Kaminsky will be running the ’69 Orioles, a team that went 109-53 and finished 19 games ahead of the Detroit Tigers, then swept the Minnesota Twins in the ALCS before falling in the World Series to the “Miracle Mets.”  Keri will be running the ’94 Expos, victims not of a late season collapse or playoff upset at the hands of an underdog, but of a work stoppage that canceled the postseason altogether and destroyed the Expos’ last best chance to bring a baseball championship to Montreal.

Below is the list of teams and team owners.  You can find the teams’ rosters here.  More will be posted about the league as we get closer to Opening Day.  Stay tuned!

AL East
1969 Baltimore Orioles Milo Kaminsky
2008 Boston Red Sox Bill Simmons
2007 Cleveland Indians Jack Perconte
1961 Detroit Tigers Gary Gillette
1954 New York Yankees King Kaufman
1985 Toronto Blue Jays Jason Bova
1925 Washington Senators Joe Dimino
AL West
1959 Chicago White Sox Nick Waddell
1977 Kansas City Royals Joe Hamrahi/Craig Brown
1982 Milwaukee Brewers Ron Anderson
1965 Minnesota Twins Aaron Gleeman
2002 Oakland A’s Larry Granilllo
2001 Seattle Mariners John Moe
1922 St. Louis Browns Mike Lynch
NL East
1916 Brooklyn Robins Ron Antonucci
1994 Montreal Expos Jonah Keri
1951 New York Giants Mark Healey
1988 New York Mets Gabriel Schechter
1993 Philadelphia Phillies Eric Karabell
1990 Pittsburgh Pirates Dave Dameshek
NL West
1996 Atlanta Braves Paul Greco/Lenny Melnick
1969 Chicago Cubs Al Yellon
1999 Cincinnati Reds Mike Petraglia
1998 Houston Astros Josh Lile
1998 San Diego Padres Marc Aaron
2004 St. Louis Cardinals Derrick Goold


4 Responses to “Embracing Failure: The Seamheads Near Miss League”
  1. Brian says:

    As a Red Sox fan (and a Simmons fan too!) I have to say I’m disappointed in the choice of a Boston team. Following the the virtual 08 Sox isn’t going to be that much different than following the real 09 Sox. I think the 78 or 49 squad would have been a lot more entertaining.

  2. Mike Lynch says:


    I can appreciate where you’re coming from. I, too, was hoping for the ’78 squad, but Bill wanted the ’08 team and I respect his decision. Stay tuned, though; the ’78 team will be coming soon.

  3. Josh Deitch says:

    Why not the ’86 Red Sox? Aren’t they the nearest miss of all? In honor of this weekend’s Yanks-Sox series, I’m just digging the knife a little deeper.

  4. Mike Lynch says:

    Thanks Josh, you’re too kind. IMHO, the ’86 Sox aren’t as compelling as other Sox teams because they were only one strike away and should have beaten the Mets. There’s no guarantee last year’s Sox would have beaten the Phils in the Series, or the ’78 Sox would have beaten the Royals, then the Dodgers.

    Thanks for the reminder, though, and don’t forget to pour alcohol on that wound when you pull the knife out.

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