In the seasons before winning is the norm, special players emerge from the pipeline, and the front office surrounds them with a reliable cast like the Philadelphia Phillies of 1980 and 2008.
A Soft Blur:
The future like a photograph in a darkroom develops over time and comes more into focus near completion.
Since the institution of the MLB draft in 1965, one phenomenon has occurred because of clubs having early selections after losing campaigns. As a result, a handful of franchises have eventually dominated their immediate rivals with varying degrees of success regarding World Series championships, league pennants and divisional titles. Basically, the core players including the four cornerstones were the stars who were with the team during their lean years. Yet they didn’t arrive at the same time; the first summer for some with considerable visibility was a half a season after their call-up or a platoon equaling that. Ergo, Cole Hamels and Chase Utley respectively.
If you examine championship-caliber teams, the foundation always seems to be four pieces, and they’re the major contributors. For instance, those special cogs for the ’80 and ’08 Phillies were a southpaw ace, a leadoff man, a slugger and a solid hitter overall. But the portsider from the first group had come from another organization. Of course, the biggest difference was the second gang had their parade early in their run, while the original champs had accomplished their goal after years of trying.
Regarding the four potential cornerstones, this comparison is to the previous eight champions with statistics based solely on their first campaign of considerable playing time (see last page). Basically, the 1980 squad had arrived from 1970 to 1973, while the 2008 group came from 2001 to 2006. And the current viable core began in 2015.
Beginning with the “pepper pot” shortstops, Larry Bowa, Jimmy Rollins and Freddy Galvis were the first to appear in ’70, ’01 and ’15, respectively. The difference here is that Galvis doesn’t bat first, and his fieriness is behind the closed doors of the clubhouse. By comparison, Bowa’s reputation is still for chirping and will be until his fossilization, while Rollins – a “red-light” player – made headlines with his predictions. Yes, he loved the spotlight and shinned in game-on-the-line situations.
Additionally, the three shortstops were on the red pinstripes in 2014. Bowa was in his first summer as the bench coach, and Rollins was the regular shortstop in his final year as a Phillie. Meanwhle, Galvis had an injury-plagued campaign in ’14 from Opening Day to May 8 and Aug. 23 to season’s end. But keep in mind, Galvis is now the team leader.