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Opening Day Countdown: The 1975 Brewers

We're just a short, short, short 75 days away from opening day so we're taking a look back at the '75 Brewers.

Last night Mike Illitch drove small market fans nuts when he doled out the near $140 million it took to sign Justin Upton--which actually this days is just a lot of money instead of an extreme amount of money but that's not important. What was interesting to me is that after signing Jordan Zimmermann to a $100+ million deal the Tigers became only the second team to hand out two $100M contracts in one offseason. I would have thought it was a higher number--full disclosure: I saw that on Twitter but after searching and searching I can't find the tweet so I'm sorry to whomever I stole that factoid from.

At this point you might be wondering just what in the hell this has to do with the 1975 Brewers. Fair question. The answers is, nothing directly. But the Tigers were the only team worse than the Brewers were that year. Milwaukee finished with a 68--94 record, or a .420 win pct--stoners rejoice. The Tigers finished with a 57-102 record, or a .358 win percentage. Baseball in Detroit was so bad MLB ruled they didn't have to play the final three games of the season. That may or may not be an entirely fabricated and poor excuse for a joke. Do not fact check me. You must have better things to do.

The only other teams worse than the Brewers were the Braves--67-94 record, .414 win pct--and the Astros--64-97 record, .398 win pct. The division winners that year were the Pirates, Reds, Athletics, and Red Sox. The Reds would beat the Red Sox to win the World Series in 7 games. According to Wikipedia, ESPN rated it as the second best World Series ever. I think it's just because they like the color red. Jokes people! They're funny. I'm tired, leave me alone.

The WAR breakdown is particularly dismal this time around. First baseman George Scott--3.7 fWAR--and catcher Darrell Porter--3.6 fWAR--are the only players with higher than a 1.8 fWAR on the team. I don't even want to subject you to the pitching numbers.

I took a look at the Brewers draft class in 1975 hoping to find a silver lining to this season. I failed in that endeavor. Baseball Reference has this handy list which shows the accumulated WAR for each player drafted. And according to that list there was only one player in the Brewers draft class that even played at the major league level. His name was Bob Stoddard and he was a pitcher. Thing is, he didn't sign with the Brewers. The Mariners drafted him in '78 and he played some years with them before bouncing around with a few teams.

As bad as the Brewers scouting team circa 2007-2014 was purported to be, at least they got multiple major league players just about every draft class. Imagine how bad they would be if they didn't get a single one in a season. That might be the best thing about the current iteration of the Brewers. I think they actually have a very good scouting staff now, headed by amateur scouting director Ray Montgomery.

Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs