Thursday, November 15, 2018

Mosher's 1961 Yankees Wins Grand Rapids Tourney

Mosher with his grandson at GMABT II in 2016.

Robert Mosher and his 1961 New York Yankees defeated Mark Hanisch's 1931 Philadelphia Athletics in an 11-Inning classic to win the Inaugural Furniture City APBA Tournament held in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The 8 playoff teams at the event included the following:

I have known Robert about five years now, he is one of the good guys of APBA. Robert goes to these APBA tournaments with his grandson Camron, a great grandfather-grandson bonding experience. At the Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament II, they both pitched no-hitters in separate games at the same event... which had probably never happened anywhere else, or at least by family members. Mosher would later that day reach the GMABT Championship with the 1988 New York Mets, eventually losing to my 1993 Atlanta Braves. He later laughed, and pointed out that my brother Chris also dashed his tournament dreams the prior year.

Robert (pictured right) is also a member of the Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League, in which he has led his Fairgrove Tigers to two World Championships. His Tigers were the first team in our league's history to win multiple titles. We are close to wrapping up our 6th season, while Robert is one of maybe two managers to have reached the postseason five times during our league's history.

I am very happy for him. He has had plenty of APBA playoff appearances , while he finally has broke through, winning the very first tourney in Grand Rapids.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Fighting Tigers' October Progress Report (UAL)

As my readers know, I joined a mail-in league involving 24 owners, 24 teams. We play are home games while we send our opponents instructions for our teams when they play on the road. The regular season ranges from October to March, while we are using the 2017 APBA Baseball Cards, we have a salary cap while the salaries are based on their real-life annual salaries.

October is in the books for the Ultimate APBA League (UAL) while my Traverse City Fighting Tigers find themselves in a three-way tie on top of the National League West with a 19-11 record. We went 11-4 at home, while 8-7 on the road.

Jose Altuve is currently leading the entire UAL with a .360 batting average, while also leading the league in steals (12), while 2nd in hits (40). Altuve's bat was red-hot at home, while batting .466 (27-for-58) with 3 HR, 13 RBI, 15 runs & 1.190 OPS... I am not sure if I have ever rolled that hot with a player in such a large fragment of 15 games.

My bullpen overall had underachieved during the month of October, I only expect things to improve, they can't really get that much worse. We have way too much talent in the pen, to suffer another bad bullpen month... so that said there is room for improvement.

My record should go down slightly since November will be a little more challenging. I played two bad teams in Michigan and Grand Junction during October, I went 8-2 against each of those teams. On paper they were really bad, but they had occasional (and sometimes annoying) pop. That is some of the reason for the inflated bullpen ERA's, the home run ball killed them (especially against the month's biggest challenge in Ephrata).

One of the biggest challenges is making sure you sit players enough, because we have games and innings limits with players. I am trying to sit my guys against weaker challengers, so that in the second-half of the season, it can be balls to walls while having my best guys on the field.

With the talent that my team has, I expect to be in the postseason, no less, and not more to be honest, but to miss the playoffs (after looking over the National League rosters) would be a complete disappointment. We already know that next season will be a reshuffle in what appears to be a down-year for us, when looking at the 2018 MLB numbers... so this is our season to have some fun before the upcoming hangover.

So far, so good... but now onto November!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

1921 Debut League - New Arrivals

Listed below are the new notable arrivals to the 1921 Debut League Season, players that are making their debuts in 1921. If you did not read my last two posts, the premise of the Debut League is players staying on the teams throughout their careers, with the teams that they made their Major League debuts.

As you see with the list below, there was just a few big names in there like Kiki Cuyler, Riggs Stephenson, Goose Goslin & Luke Sewell.
  • Boston Braves - Garland Braxton (RP), Johnny Cooney (RP)
  • Boston Red Sox - Curt Fullerton (RP)
  • Chicago Cubs - Tony Kaufmann (SP)
  • Chicago White Sox - Ed Sheely (1B), Doug McWeeny (SP), Sarge Connally (RP)
  • Cincinnati Reds - Lew Fonseca (2B), Pete Donahue (SP)
  • Cleveland Indians - Riggs Stephenson (2B/OF), Luke Sewell (C), Jesse Petty (RP)
  • Detroit Tigers - Lu Blue (1B), Jackie Tavener (SS), Lefty Stewart (RP), Bert Cole (SP)
  • New York Giants - Butch Henline (C), Bill A Cunningham (OF), Claude Jonnard (RP)
  • New York Yankees - Chicken Hawks (OF), Johnny Mitchell (SS)
  • Philadelphia Athletics - Bill Barrett (SS)
  • Philadelphia Phillies - Lance Richbourg (2B), Frank Parkinson (2B), Frank Bruggy (C), 
  • Pittsburgh Pirates - Kiki Cuyler (OF), Johnny Mokan (OF), Johnny Gooch (C), Moses Yellow Horse (RP)
  • St. Louis Browns- Ray Kolp (SP), Dutch Henry (RP)
  • St. Louis Cardinals - Spec Toporcer (SS)
  • Washington Senators - Goose Goslin (OF), Bing Miller (OF)

Friday, November 9, 2018

The Panthers Fall Short of Glory

My Traverse City Panthers reached the National League Championship Series, to once again fall victim to the Portland Microbrewers. This was our 2nd NLCS appearance in 6 years, while both times they were against Portland.

My Panthers had the best record in the entire BoS (Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League) with a 108-54 record, but we just couldn't overcome the loss of Corey Kluber (due to injury) in Game 1. The Microbrewers defeated our team, 4 games-to-1 in a surprisingly short series, but that's sometimes how the cookie crumbles.

I am very happy for Brad Stark and his Portland Microbrewers. They always have dependable rotations, with great depth, they know how to win. Stark reached the World Series the first three seasons, and finally won it all the 3rd time around.

The Portland Microbrewers will face the Corktown Tamales in the World Series. Corktown defeated the Fairgrove Tigers (Robert Mosher) in the American League Championship Series, in seven hard-fought games.

The Panthers will have some work to do, dealing with injury problems with players such as Corey Seager and Taijuan Walker this upcoming season. The Panthers will reshuffle the deck, while remaining competitive for 2019.

I am very proud of my Panthers & am looking forward to 2019.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

2002 Angels vs. 85' Cards (APBA TOC)

This is a series on paper that you just had a feeling that would go the entire distance (all 5 games), with both teams having a flair for the dramatic.

Let's see if in the APBA world, if it plays out as such.

Game 1 (at St. Louis)

The Anaheim Angels decide to start Jarrod Washburn (Grade B-Y) in Game 1 of the series, while the St. Louis Cardinals debated over their Game 1 choice. I finally decided to go with their actual ace Joaquin Andujar (Grade B), who started 38 games for the Cards in 1985. If you are playing 'APBA-Ball' or playing in a face-to-fact APBA Tournament, you would likely go with John Tudor (Grade A-YZ). The decision to start Andujar over Tudor will play a big factor for the remainder of the series.

The first two games are in St. Louis, while Game 3 & Game 4 (if necessary) would be played in Anaheim... and if the series moves beyond that, back to St. Louis.

Top of the 2nd - The Angels would draw first blood of the series, with RBI doubles by Scott Spiezio and Adam Kennedy, to give the Angels a 2-0 lead.

Bottom of the 3rd - Cardinals' starting pitcher Joaquin Andujar would help his own cause by leading off the bottom of the inning with a single. Vince Coleman would sacrifice himself with a bunt to move Andujar over to second, while Willie McGee grounds out to deep short to move the runner over to third base with two outs. Tom Herr hits an RBI double, to cut the lead in half. Angels' starter Jarrod Washburn would accidentally plunk Jack Clark with a pitch, runners on 1st & 2nd. With two outs, Washburn would make a mistake pitch, allowing a three-run homer to Andy Van Slyke over the right field fence. Terry Pendleton followed with a single, while Darrell Porter could do nothing with that, ending the inning, flying to left.  Cardinals lead, 4-2.

Bottom of the 4th - Ozzie Smith draws a lead-off walk. Joaquin Andujar reaches base again, this time reaching second, due to a fielding mishap by Scott Spiezio at first. Runners on 2nd & 3rd, Vince Coleman is walked. Bases loaded, no outs, Willie McGee draws an RBI walk, keeping the bases juiced while there was still no outs. Tom Herr would hit into a fielder's choice, as the Angels would get the runner (McGee at second), but still manages to drive in a run.

Runners on 1st & 3rd & with no outs, the Angels' Mike Scioscia had seen enough... calling on Al Levine in an attempt to get out of the inning. Levine was not successful, allowing an RBI single to Jack Clark, followed by a two-run double by Andy Van Slyke -- giving Van Slyke 5 RBI for the day. Scioscia goes back to the pen, calls on Scot Shields who gets the Angels out of the inning, but this game is as good as done, with 9-2 lead after four innings in the books.

Garret Anderson would go on to hit a solo home run in the 6th, while the Cardinals tacked a run on back in the 5th (RBI single by Willie McGee), but the Angels lose the opener in a 10-3 thumping.

Joaquin Andujar (1-0) was not great by all means, allowing 6 hits, 3 runs & 2 walks through 6 innings of work, while striking out 4 Angels. Andujar reached base all three plate appearances (Single, 2nd on error & a walk). Jarrod Washburn was lousy, going only 3.1 innings, while allowing 5 hits, 8 runs (7 earned) & 4 walks, plus 2 K's.

Game 2 (at St. Louis)

The Anaheim Angels send out Ramon Ortiz (Grade B-Y) in an attempt to right the ship, while he will have his work cut out for him in the Cardinals' John Tudor (Grade A-YZ).

Top of the 1st - The Angels would score first again, with a two-out, two-run homer by Troy Glaus off of Tudor. Garret Anderson followed with a double, but the Angels would strand him.

Bottom of the 4th - 3.1 innings through, Ramon Ortiz has only allowed one hit up to this point, a lead-off double to Vince Coleman in the 1st. Tom Herr with one out, reaches first on a error by Angels' shortstop David Eckstein. Ortiz would lose the count to Jack Clark, as he reaches first by drawing a walk. Andy Van Slyke would ground to deep second, moving the runners up to 2nd & 3rd. With two outs, Terry Pendleton hits a two-run single, tying the game at 2-2 -- stealing second on the very next play. Darrell Porter would strand Pendleton at second though.

Bottom of the 5th - With one out, John Tudor helps his cause with a triple to left-center. Vince Coleman on the very next at-bat, knocks in Tudor with a triple of his own, trickling down the left field line and into the corner. Cardinals lead 3-2.

Tudor really hunkered down after that three-hit, two-run 1st inning, and would only allow 2 more hits for the next 7 innings (finishing the game with no walks).

Top of the 9th - With one out, Troy Glaus steps up to the plate to face the Cardinals' closer Jeff Lahti, Glaus was 2-for-3, with a double, HR & 2 RBI for the night... but would strike out for out number two. Still with the tying run at the plate, Lahti gets Garret Anderson to ground out to second for the final out of the game.

The Cardinals now lead the series, 2-0 (needing just one more win), while the Angels will see if they can channel their inner 'Rally Monkey' as they travel back to Anaheim for Game 3 and hopefully Game 4.

Game 3 (at Anaheim)

The St. Louis Cardinals send out their 3rd starter Danny Cox (Grade B-Y) to face off against the Anaheim Angels' rookie starter John Lackey (Grade B-Y).

The Angels made some adjustments to their lineup prior to Game 3, moving up Garret Anderson from the 5th slot of the lineup to the 2nd slot of the lineup, while Darin Erstad (1-for-8) was moved down to the 7th slot. The Angels get to use the designated hitter, plugging Brad Fullmer in the 5th slot, while Scott Spiezio remains in the 6th slot. Adam Kennedy and Bengie Molina also switched bottom slots, with Kennedy batting 8th & Molina 9th; Molina batted 7th, while Kennedy batted 8th, as the pitchers batted 9th in the first two games.

For the Cardinals, Jack Clark moves from first base to designated hitter, while Cesar Cedeno plays at first.

Both starters were excellent as they would both start the game by pitching 7 scoreless innings, with both pitchers getting APBA Grade Advancements from B's to A's.

Bottom of the 8th - With one out, the Cardinals' Danny Cox would make the first mistake by allowing a double to Bengie Molina. The Angels would send out Alex Ochoa out to pinch-run for Molina -- in which Ochoa would steal third on the next pitch. David Eckstein would hit a deep fly to left, as Ochoa would tag up to give the Halos a 1-0 lead. Garret Anderson would hit a two-out double, but the Angels would not be able to tack on another run.

The Angels call on their closer Troy Percival, who despite giving up a one-out single to Andy Van Slyke, would hold on for the save, while giving the Angels a much-needed win.

Game 4 (at Anaheim)

Joaquin Andujar (STL) vs Jarrod Washburn (ANA) -- In a rematch of Game 1 starters, both teams hope for both of these starters to have much-better outings this time around.

Top of the 3rd - Tom Herr collects his 2nd hit of the game with a two-out RBI single, scoring in Willie McGee from second (who singled & stole second). Cards lead, 1-0.

Bottom of the 3rd - The Angels strike back with a two-out, game-tying solo home run by Garret Anderson.

Both starting pitchers had excellent days. Joaquin Andujar would go on to pitch 7.2 innings, allowing only 3 hits, 1 earned run, while walking two & striking out two. Jarrod Washburn rebounded nicely from his Game 1 disaster, pitching 7 strong innings, allowing 6 hits, 1 earned run, while striking out 8 Cardinals & walking one.

Bottom of the 8th - With two outs & Garret Anderson stepping up to the plate. Whitey Herzog decides to call on reliever Ricky Horton (Grade B-YZ - Grade A-YZ vs first batter) to face Garret Anderson (since Garret hit the HR off of Andujar earlier). Horton would give up the go-ahead run, as Anderson hits his 2nd home run of the day, a home run to right.

Up 2-1, the Angels call on their closer Troy Percival to close things out in the 9th, he relieves Ben Weber, who pitched a scoreless 8th, while allowing a walk. Cesar Cedeno pops up for out number one, with Darrell Porter stepping to the plate. Whitey, not liking the match-up, not to mention Porter is 0-for-9 in the series, calls on pinch-hitter Tito Landrum for his first at-bat of the series, and awards Whitey on his choice by hitting a solo home run to tie the game, 2-2.

Bottom of the 9th - The Cardinals keep reliever Ricky Horton in as he gives up a lead-off single to Troy Glaus. The designated hitter Brad Fullmer steps up to the plate, and makes Horton pay with a walk-off blast to left.... GAME OVER! SERIES TIED!

We are heading back to St. Louis for the finale.

Game 5 (at St. Louis)

The St. Louis Cardinals have squandered a 2-0 series lead to the Anaheim Angels after a brilliant pitching performance by John Lackey in Game 3, a two home run day by Garret Anderson in Game 4, which led to the walk-off two-run homer by Brad Fullmer off of the Cardinals' Ricky Horton.

The Cardinals are not worried though, as they send out John Tudor (Grade A-YZ). Tudor has a knack of showing up in big games, we'll see if he can try to duplicate his excellent Game 2 performance. The Angels will counter with Ramon Ortiz (Grade B-Y). With home field advantage, and Tudor on the mound, the Angels are definitely at a disadvantage, but they'll take it, since they have stretched the series to five games.

Let's get to the action, shall we?

Top of the 2nd - John Tudor walks the lead-off hitter Troy Glaus. Scott Spiezio puts a charge into the ball, as he reaches second on a double, Glaus not fast, is forced to stay put on third. No outs, Darin Erstad (2-for-12) singles to left, driving in Glaus, while Spiezio holds at third. Erstad steals second, putting runners on 2nd & 3rd with no outs, while the Angels lead 1-0. Bengie Molina delivers a two-run single, making it a 3-0 game, while Tudor just does not look like himself out there. Cardinals' Manager Whitey Herzog sends out pitching coach Mike Roarke to see what is going on with Tudor.

The game resumes with Adam Kennedy stepping up to the plate with Bengie Molina on first base, Tudor delivers, and this one is skied to left, no doubt about it... GONE! Whitey is going to keep Tudor out there to at least finish the inning. Tudor would give up two more hits, but no more runs, but the damage is done, the Angels lead 5-0 after the 2nd Inning.

Bottom of the 3rd - Andy Van Slyke leads off with a single, two batters later he would score off of a Terry Pendleton double; Angels lead 5-1.

Bottom of the 4th - With one out, Willie McGee collects his 2nd double of the day, while Tom Herr would knock him in with an RBI double, with Cards inching closer, trailing 5-2.

Bottom of the 5th - Andy Van Slyke leads off with a double to right center. Terry Pendleton with one out, knocks in Van Slyke with a double of his own, cutting the lead down to only two runs, with the tying run at the plate in Ozzie Smith.

Terry Pendleton is having a strong series as he is now batting 7-for-17 (.412) which comes as a bit of a surprise since Pendleton only batted .240 in 1985, and was best known at this point of his career for his glove at third & his speed on the base paths. Pendleton's OPS was only .591 during the 1985 MLB Season, which in hitting standards is pretty lousy.

Back to the action, trailing 5-3 with a runner on 2nd, Ozzie Smith flies out, with no advancement from Pendleton. The Cardinals go with the no-brainer by having Tito Landrum pinch-hit for starting pitcher John Tudor. Landrum & Vince Coleman draw back-to-back walks, as Ramon Ortiz is struggling with his control. The Angels' pitching coach Bud Black visits the mound, while the Angels have had Ben Weber warming up in the bullpen since Pendleton's double. They could bring in Weber now, so they can finally get out of the inning, but appears to keep Ortiz in longer... the move was a big mistake. Already 2-for-2 with two doubles, Willie McGee ties the game up with a two-run single, the Cardinals are showing they have a lot of fight. The Angels should have stuck with their first instinct and went with Weber.

They now call on Weber, as they get out of the inning, despite Weber plunking his first hitter (Tom Herr) with a pitch.

Bottom of the 5th - Andy Van Slyke, proving to be a spark plug in this game (and the series for that matter) draws a walk, that is now the third time he led off the inning this game by reaching base. Van Slyke steals second, while Darrell Porter would ground out, advancing the runner to third. Terry Pendleton [rolls a 33-7] knocking in Van Slyke on a sac fly, to give the Cardinals the 6-5 lead ... For Pendleton, that is his 3rd RBI of the game.

Bottom of the 7th - Andy Van Slyke strikes again, with two-run home run off of reliever Brendan Donnelly, as the Cardinals give themselves a nice 8-5 cushion.

Top of the 8th - With two outs, Darin Erstad singles to right. Bengie Molina hits RBI double off of Cardinals' reliever Ricky Horton. Alex Ochoa pinch-runs for Molina, and reaches third on a wild pitch by Horton. Adam Kennedy, 2-for-3, with a HR and 2 RBI, falls short by flying out to right for final out of inning. Cardinals still lead, 8-6.

Top of the 9th - Cardinals call on their closer Jeff Lahti. Lahti's first challenge is pinch-hitter Brad Fullmer (Game 4's walk-off hero), who is hitting for the reliever Scot Shields. Fullmer singles to right. Lahti follows that up by hitting David Eckstein with a pitch, runners now on 1st & 2nd and no outs. Garret Anderson steps up to the plate, batting 9-for-18 (.500) with 3 HR, 3 doubles & 3 RBI this series, and causes some damage.... by grounding into a 4-6-3 double play, runner advances to third. Two outs, runner on third, and with the tying run at the plate in Tim Salmon, Lahti delivers, Salmon swings and strikes out.

The Cardinals come back from a five-run deficit in the 2nd inning, to claw back into the game, while finally taking back the game and series. The Cardinals and Angels did exactly what we thought they would do, give us a great, dramatic five-game series.

Andy Van Slyke earned MVP honors by going 8-for-19 (.421) with 2 HR, 7 RBI, 5 runs & a steal.

The Cardinals' bullpen went 7 solid innings in Game 5, allowing 6 hits, one earned run, while striking out 6 Angels and walking none. Ken Dayley was credited with the win in this one, while Ben Weber got the loss.

No word yet on the Cardinals' next opponent, while the Angels go home.
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