Thursday, December 27, 2012

By the Numbers (Tourney Edition)

So I'll be doing this tournament using APBA's greatest teams of the past in a bracket of 64 teams (yes, NCAA style), early rounds are the best of five and best of seven when we get to the final four! So let's break the teams down by the numbers, shall we?

  • N.L. Teams / A.L. Teams: 32 teams each, amazingly it was broke down the middle, I believe the teams in the volumes were 30 each, and the four teams I added at one point had 3 N.L. & one A.L. team, but when it turned out that APBA no longer sold the 69' Atlanta Braves & we had to go with the last-minute replacement of the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays, it has made it 50-50.
The M&M boys of 1961.
  • The Number of Yankees teams: (6) - The Yankees teams that will be represented would be the 1927 New York Yankees (considered by many as the greatest team ever), the 1937 New York Yankees led by the young Joe DiMaggio, the 1953 Yankees that would defeat the 53' Dodgers in one of many match-ups between the two franchises, the M&M boys (Mantle & Maris) of the 1961 Yankees (the same season Maris hit a record 61 HR's), the 1977 Yankees led by Reggie Jackson & Billy Martin & the 1998 New York Yankees, who are ranked #2 in the entire tournament, who might be the most balanced team as well.
  • The Number of New York City teams (12) + New York Area (Brooklyn) 2 = 14 teams! The 6 Yankees teams previously mentioned, plus the 1969 & 1986 New York Mets, The New York Giants of 1904, 1912, 1937 & 1954. Then add the two Brooklyn Dodgers teams from 1941 & 1953, and we have a total of 14 teams, taking up almost 22% of the tournament bracket spots.
  • Hey Yankees! The Giants also have six! Before you Giant fans get too excited though, please note that only four of the Giant teams actually come from the 3 Greatest Teams of the Past volumes by APBA, I added the 1971 & 1993 San Francisco Giants teams which I bought separately from APBA and then added them to the tournament mix. The 71' team barely edged the Dodgers & the 1993 Giants (Barry Bonds' first season as a Giant) missed the playoffs as they were caught by the Atlanta Braves.
  • The three "non-playoff" teams in the tournament: The reason I wrote "non-playoff" than non-playoff teams is that the 1904 New York Giants fall under this technicality due to manager John McGraw allowing the American League to play his Giants in the 04' World Series, because he felt the A.L. was an inferior league. 1904 would be the only other time, than the 1994 strike season in which we would not see a World Series played. The Giants would have the non-playoff team 1993 Giants team mentioned in the previous paragraph. The 1962 Los Angeles Dodgers join the mix (denied the playoffs by the 62' Giants in a 3-game tie-breaker series).
Where's Gibby? or any LaSorda team for that matter?
  • Only three from Dodgerland?! - This caught me by surprise, the Dodgers will only be represented by the 1941 & 1953 Brooklyn teams & the 62' Los Angeles Dodgers that failed to make the playoffs. I'm not sure why APBA didn't make one of the 70's teams (with the infield of Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell & Ron Cey) or any Tommy LaSorda managed 80's teams not included in one of the Greatest Teams of the Past volumes, I guess this should be added to my other interesting observations post.
  • "Four Play" - franchises or cities with four teams represented: The Detroit Tigers (1909, 1934, 1968 & 1984), The Athletics (The Phila A's of 1931 + the Oakland teams from 1971, 1988 & 2002), the Pittsburgh Pirates (1902, 1927, 1960 & 1971), the St. Louis Cardinals (1934, 1942, 1967 & 1985), and the city of Boston will have the Red Sox' (of 1912, 1946 & 1967) three teams and the Braves of 1914, while the city of Philadelphia will have the Phillies teams (of 1915, 1977 & 1993) + the same 1931 Philadelphia A's team of all the Athletics franchise teams.

  • It's a Brave, Brave, Brave World! - The Braves have three teams, each represented by one of the cities that called home: Boston (1914), Milwaukee (1957) & Atlanta (1998).
  • The City of Chicago & Cleveland have three: The 1906 Chicago Cubs, 1917 White Sox & the Chicago Cubs of 1929; while the Cleveland Indians have teams from 1920, 1954 & 1995.
The 86' Mets will be among the 17% of "expansion teams" in the tournament.
  • The Ex-Factor: the Number of Expansion teams (11) - The teams that have are represented from the expanison teams are as followed: 1969 New York Mets, 1980 Kansas City Royals, 1982 Milwaukee Brewers, 1985 Toronto Blue Jays, 1986 New York Mets, 1998 Houston Astros, 1998 San Diego Padres, 1999 Arizona Diamondbacks, 2001 Seattle Mariners, 2002 Anaheim Angels, and the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays. Taking up 17% of the space in the tournament.
  •  The only first-round match-up between New York teams: The 1998 New York Yankees (#1 seed) vs. the 1969 New York Mets (#16 seed) in the Cobb Bracket. Which is a bit surprising with the New York area having 14 teams!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Good Enough for Eleventh!

So I was browsing one day through Baseball and fell upon Mel Ott's 1929 season for the New York Giants.

Mel batted .328, smashed 42 Home Runs, had 151 RBI, while scoring 138 runs... all with an OPS (On Base Pct + Slugging) of 1.084! He also led the league with 113 Bases on Balls!

All good enough for eleventh place in the Most Valuable Player voting! Eleventh?! My first thought, it had to be one of Rogers Hornsby's monster seasons, and sure enough it was... Hornsby won the N.L. Most Valuable Player award that season, but it was the player who would be runner-up that would catch my eye.
Lefty O'Doul dominated from 1929-1932.

Bringing up the curious case of Lefty O'Doul. Who was Lefty O'Doul? I've heard the name, but wasn't too familiar with him, so I had to look at his career numbers, this is one of many reasons I love baseball, there was so many characters and players that have played the game that somehow would go almost forgotten for the sake of it's long history, and when you do fall upon a Lefty O'Doul, and find out the story behind the player, it's like finding rare momentarily gold.

Lefty O'Doul was actually a relief pitcher that developed a sore arm, he would disappear from the league after pitching for New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox from 1919-1923. He would come back in a platoon role as an outfielder for the New York Giants in 1928, in which he batted .318 with 8 HR & 46 RBI in 354 at-bats (plus an on-base percentage of .372, which was pretty impressive to me for a former pitcher).

So the last thing you would expect from a former pitcher at age 32, just traded to the Philadelphia Phillies prior to 1929 (teaming him up with Chuck Klein), is to put together one of the best seasons in MLB history, going on a dominating stretch from 1929-1932.

He would win the N.L. Batting title with a .398 batting average, 32 HRs & 122 RBI. He also led the league with 254 hits, .465 On-Base Percentage & 732 plate appearances. His 254 hits broke Hornsby's record of 250 (set in 1922), and would later be tied by Bill Terry of the Giants in 1930.

After batting .383 with 22 HR & 97 RBI in 1930, O'Doul was traded to the Brooklyn Robins. He would have a pretty good 31' season, but would go on to win his second batting title in 1932 with a .368 batting average, 21 HR & 90 RBI, after seeing his power dip to 7 HRs in 1931. After a slow start in 1933 in which he was only batting .252 through 43 games, O'Doul was again traded, this time back to his former team, the N.Y. Giants. He would bat .306 for the remainder of the season, and would only play one more full season until fading to oblivion after 1934.

O'Doul would have success as a manager for the Pacific Coast League, as a manager for the San Francisco Seals from 1937 to 1951, in which he was responsible of developing a future Hall of Famer in Joe DiMaggio. O'Doul would be modest and say he had nothing to do with DiMaggio's success, by saying "I was just smart enough to leave him alone."

He would also be monumental as a goodwill ambassador for the game of baseball by spreading the wonderful game of baseball to the country of Japan before and after World War II.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

APBA Tournament: Ruth Bracket Preview (Part 2)

Part 2 of the Ruth Bracket Preview


Dave McNally (left) and Jim Palmer (right), two of Baltimore's young guns.
1969 Baltimore Orioles (3)
2008 Tampa Bay Rays (14)

The 1969 Baltimore Orioles are a historic team for all the wrong reasons, it was their 1966 team that would give the franchise it's first American League pennant in 21 seasons (while they were the 1944 St. Louis Browns), and it's first World Championship. The 1969 team would lose to the "Amazing" New York Mets, in one of the biggest upsets in Major League Baseball history.

So can the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays pull off a little magic of it's own? Led my a team of youngsters, the Rays are the tournament's lone representative of Florida, while the Orioles' franchise has the 1969 and 1983 teams, plus 44' Browns in the tournament. 

The Orioles are a well-rounded force led by a great rotation, solid bullpen, and a tough lineup led by Boog Powell and Frank Robinson, as Brooks Robinson's gold glove at third base anchors the team's defense.

The Rays have a mix of young stars with Evan Longoria, Carlos Pena, Carl Crawford, and B.J. Upton, in which the team's rotation came together in 2008 for the Rays to finally make that jump to contender. The Rays would go on to lose the World Series in 2008 to the Philadelphia Phillies.

PREDICTION: The Baltimore Orioles will show that they are one of the better teams in the tournament, the rotation and bullpen should be the difference; then again the Rays' lineup is far superior to the 1969 Mets lineup of the Mets team that pulled off their "Amazing" feat. Each game will be a battle, but the O's will win the series 3-1.

1942 St. Louis Cardinals (6)
1927 Pittsburgh Pirates (11)

The 1942 St. Louis Cardinals were a tough team to place in the entire rankings from (#1-to-#64) for so many reasons, their lineup was not much better actually then the "Dead-ball Era", the team's OPS was relatively low at .717 with 60 home runs. The team however, did outscore their opponents by a difference of 273 runs, while winning 106 games (.688 pct.)! I finally had them placed at #24, only the tournament will say how tough this team actually is. 

Stan Musial has just arrived onto the scene, 42' was his first full season, and he is yet to be the superstar HOF'er he will turn out to be. His season OPS is only .887, while batting .315 with 10 HRs (2nd on team) and 72 RBI. The team's best player was Enos Slaughter who led the team with 13 HRs & 98 RBI, while batting .318. The team also has a pretty good pitching staff that posted a team ERA (that led the National League) of 2.55!

The 1927 Pittsburgh Pirates was a team similar in pop (with 54 HRs), much better OPS (.773), but had a 3.66 team ERA. The team was led by Pie Traynor & the Waner brothers (Paul and Lloyd), Kiki Cuyler was an up-and-coming star, and the team had a 20 year-old rookie in Joe Cronin (who only played 12 games).

PREDICTION: This has the makings to be a close series, but I feel the rotation and pitching staff of the Cardinals makes a huge difference, it will be up to the Pirates defense and some lucky breaks to take this series. This series has the chances to bounce back and forth to interesting breaks, but in the end, I feel it will be the Cardinals winning this series 3-2.

MGR Harvey Kuenn with two future Hall-of-Famers in Molitor & Yount in 1982.

1977 New York Yankees (7)
1982 Milwaukee Brewers (10)

The 1977 New York Yankees signally the beginning of the Steinbrenner era Yankees, and all the drama that followed this crew from Billy Martin to Reggie Jackson, will face off against the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers - "Harvey's Wallbangers"!

Two lineups with plenty of offense, the Yankees and Brewers match up really well in OPS .791 to .792, while both teams slugged plenty of HR's -- 184 (Yankees) and 216 (Brewers) while both match-up in speed with 93 (Yankees) and 84 (Brewers) stolen bases.

The difference will come down to the pitching. The rotation for the Yankees was more consistent, led by Ron Guidry's 16-7 record, 2.82 ERA & 176 K's. Ed Figueroa (16-11, 3.54 ERA) , Don Gullett (14-4, 3.58 ERA & 116 K's) and Mike Torrez (14-12, 3.82 ERA) fill out the rest of the rotation. The Brew Crew on the other hand, don't really have a legit #1 starter, Pete Vuckovich leads the pack with a 18-6 record, and led the team with a 3.34 ERA & 105 K's), in which is followed by Mike Caldwell (17-13, 3.91 ERA) and three starters with ERA's over 4.00 in Moose Haas (11-8, 4.47 ERA & 104 K's), Bob McClure (12-7, 4.22 ERA & 99 K's), and Randy Lerch (10-7, 4.69 ERA).

PREDICTION: I'm going to take a safe bet and stretch this to five games in favor of the Yankees. I can see Milwaukee pulling the series off since the team's match-up really well, and also the fact that it is a #7 vs. #10 match-up, so this wouldn't be a shocker if the "Brew Crew" moves on... but I have a difficult time looking at the rotations, thinking that Milwaukee's rotation won't come back and bite them in the butts.

The Giants got to be thinking with a little fear -- "Do we really have to play these guys?!"

1975 Cincinnati Reds (2)
1937 New York Giants (15)

The "Big Red Machine" still holds up as one of the greatest baseball dynasties ever, the team finally broke through in 1975 with a World Championship over the Boston Red Sox. The team would go on to repeat in 1976 over the New York Yankees.

The team shined with future Hall-of-Famers Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, and Pete Rose... oh wait! wait! That's right due to baseball's ignorance, the all-time Hits leader (Rose) is still being overly-punished while baseball has no problem celebrating questionable characters such as Ty Cobb, Cap Anson, Barry Bonds and Babe Ruth (Yes, I said it! -- Babe Ruth). Plus the team was managed by the great Sparky Anderson.

The 1937 New York Giants are led by Mel Ott and Carl Hubbell (also both in the Hall), but this team even fails to match-up to prior Giants' teams, and will have to face off against a superior team as the Reds, just like they had to do with the 37' Yankees.

PREDICTION: The Cincinnati Reds will win this series, 3-1. Hubbell may be able to give Giants a victory, but they will have to face off against the "machine" who are loaded.

***This ends the Preview for the RUTH BRACKET***

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Chicago Cubs (1901 - 1913)

Shortly after the formation of the American League, owner Al Spalding sold the team to John Hart in 1902, to concentrate on promoting his sporting goods company while touring the country. The team that Spalding put together would end up being one of his greatest accomplishments.

The Chicago Cubs consisted of three Hall-of-Fame infielders: Joe Tinker (SS), Johnny Evers (2B) and Frank Chance (1B), who played together from 1903 to 1912. They would form one of the greatest infields of all-time along with 3B - Harry Steinfeldt and catcher Johnny Kling. The Cubs (like in the past) relied on stellar pitching during these years, featuring Mordecai "Three-Finger" Brown, Jack Taylor, Ed Reulbach, Jack Pfiester, and Orval Overall.

The team became the first team in the either league to reach the World Series three consecutive seasons, and the first team to win two titles -- but have yet to do it since 1908, making it the longest championship drought in North American sports. Some historians believe that Johnny Kling's absence from the 1909 season (who momentarily retired to become a professional pockets billiard) prevented the team from the chance to win three straight championships, since the team ended the season only 6 games back from the league pennant. Kling would return in 1910, and the Cubs would return to the World Series, but would end up losing this time to the 1910 Philadelphia Athletics.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Interesting Observations

While I had to make changes to my APBA Tournament of Champions bracket, I had came up with the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays as the replacement for the 1969 Atlanta Braves, noting that there was no team from Florida that was represented... which made me think of APBA not having the 1997 Florida Marlins team for their Greatest Teams of the Past volumes. While I felt that was an interesting observation, I couldn't help notice some other obvious absences so far from the 3 Greatest Teams volumes (that each consist of 20 teams), so here's some ideas for Volume 4.

20 years ago, the Jays were on top of baseball.
  • The (1992 or) 1993 Toronto Blue Jays - The only franchise not named the New York Yankees to at least repeat since 1976 has no team in any of the GTOP volumes for APBA... but for some odd reason they have the 1985 Toronto Blue Jays. Sure, those Jays were good with that trio of outfielders in Jesse BarfieldGeorge Bell, and Lloyd Moseby... plus the first group of really good Jays and fan favorites are well represented with Jim ClancyJimmy KeyTom HenkeTony FernandezWillie Upshaw & Ernie Whitt. The 85' Jays were also managed by the great Bobby Cox, before he would take the Braves on one of the most impressive runs in MLB history. But let's also not forget that this group can be considered major "choke artists", this 85' team would lose a 3-1 series lead to the eventual World Champion Kansas City Royals (who by the way, do not have the 85' KC team in the GOTP volumes, but the 1980 team that lost to the Phillies in the World Series). This group of Jays also choked in 1987 when they lost the division to the Detroit Tigers, yet there is no love for Joe CarterDevon WhiteRoberto Alomar, and John Olerud!
  • 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks - The D-Backs of 2001 that derailed the New York Yankees dynasty and won the World Series is not represented; A Yankees dynasty that won 4 World titles in 5 years and was on the verge of a four-peat, but yet it's the 1999 Arizona team that gets love from APBA? Sure, they made the playoffs in only it's second year of existence, winning a surprising 100 games... but this team also lost in the Divisional Series 3-1 to the New York Mets.
  • The 1923 New York Yankees & 1941 New York Yankees - Before Gehrig would join them in 1923, the Babe Ruth-led Yankees were a dominant bunch with Ruth having 12 more HRs than other player in the game (led the league with 40 HRs), the 1941 Joe DiMaggio-led team is one of the less-heralded Yankees teams of the past, and happened to only be forgotten because of the more recognizable teams such as the 1927, 1937, 1953, 1961 & 1998 teams. Then again, do we really need more Yankees teams added to the GTOP for APBA, when there is 6 teams among the 3 volumes?!
  • 1995 Atlanta Braves - I'm an Atlanta Braves fan (as well as a Detroit Tigers fan), so when I noticed that the 1998 Atlanta Braves was represented (instead of the World Champs of 1995), it's going to naturally make me scratch my head. The 98' bunch would get upset by Kevin Brown & the 1998 San Diego Padres, who the Padres would get swept by the Yankees. Those same Yankees in 1999 would sweep the Atlanta Braves of 99', relatively the same bunch of 1998 that is in the GTOP for APBA. While the 1995 Braves defeated a loaded Cleveland Indians team that won 100 games in a shortened 144 game season, finally breaking through for their only Atlanta title to date. Plus not to mention, Greg Maddux's dominating 19-2 record with a ridiculous 1.63 ERA!
The first Philly dynasty under manager Connie Mack, the 1910 Athletics.
  • 1910 Philadelphia Athletics - Led by Frank "Home Run" Baker (remember this is the "Deadball Era") and anchored by their two aces Jack Coombs & Chief Bender, the team would win the American League by 14.5 games over the New York Highlanders, and would win the World Series over the Chicago Cubs 4 games to 1. The Chicago Cubs, were a team that won 3 of the last 4 National League Pennants (including World Titles in 1907 & 1908 over Detroit). The 1910 Philadelphia A's were part of the franchise's first dynasty that won 6 American League Pennants (1902, 1905, 1910, 1911, 1913 & 1914) while winning the World Series in 1910, 1911 & 1914. The teams during this stretch also featured Eddie Collins (second base), and Rube Waddell (starting pitcher) in the early 1900's. The 1910 A's are considered one of the best teams of all-time, but at the moment are not part of the GTOP volumes.
  • 1966 Baltimore Orioles - The 1969 Baltimore Orioles that would be upset by the "Amazing" New York Mets is represented, but not the 1966 bunch that would go on to win their first American League Pennant since 1944 (when they were known as the St.Louis Browns), and it's first World Title in franchise history, as they swept the pitching-rich 1966 Los Angeles Dodgers!
One of the stars for Baltimore in the late 1890's.
  • 1894 - 1896 Baltimore Orioles - The Orioles of the National League (before they moved to Milwaukee) and formerly of the American Association, dominated with three consecutive titles! The team was considered one of the dirtiest teams on the field, with the most colorful players the game has ever seen. The team sported John McGraw, Hugh Jennings, Willie Keeler, Wilbert Robinson & slugger Dan Brouthers. Now I won't blast APBA for forgetting this team, because they actually weren't considered a MLB team, but APBA has used players from the 1890's such as Hugh Duffy, Kid Nichols, Billy Hamilton & Jake Beckley for the all-time franchise sets, so I think it would be pretty cool if they surprised baseball fans with a pre-1900 team for the GTOP sets. Another team to consider, Cap Anson & the Chicago White Stockings.

A Few Quick Changes to the Tourney

The 2008 Rays will be the lone representative of Florida in the tournament.
So when I ordered the Greatest Teams of the Past, Vol.2 and a couple other side teams, it turns out that APBA no longer sells the 1969 Atlanta Braves, so I had to make some quick adjustments to the rankings and brackets. It took me a little bit to come up with a replacement for the Braves, the choices were from my complete season sets of 2007 & 2008, and out of four teams: the 2007 Colorado Rockies, 2007 Boston Red Sox, 2008 Tampa Bay Rays & 2008 Philadelphia Phillies. Even though the 2007 Boston Red Sox and 2008 Philadelphia Phillies seem like better choices (plus they both won the World Series), I felt that Boston (who has 4 teams, 3 Red Sox/1 Braves) and Philadelphia (who has 4 teams, 3 Phillies/ 1 Athletics) had enough teams representing, so I went with the Tampa Bay Rays of 2008, due to the fact that there are no representatives from the state of Florida.

APBA still has not made a Florida Marlins team for their Greatest Teams of the Past volumes, I feel if they do put together a set that the 1997 Florida Marlins would be produced.

So the changes brought a new matchup to the Ruth Bracket, instead of the 1998 Houston Astros and the 1999 Arizona Diamondbacks going head to head, I have the Arizona Diamondbacks (#8) vs. 1941 Brooklyn Dodgers (#9) instead. This was the first Dodgers team to win a pennant in 21 years for the franchise, and would be the start of their great Brooklyn run, with vets Joe Medwick, Billy Herman & Dixie Walker. The team also had a young Pee Wee Reese, and was paced by a career year for starting pitcher Whit Wyatt (22-10, 2.34 ERA) and other 22-game winner Kirby Higbe.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

APBA Tournament: Ruth Bracket Preview (Part 1)

The Ruth Bracket, named after the "Great Bambino" Babe Ruth, will actually consist of Ruth and the 1927 New York Yankees, the #1 overall team in the entire tournament, and top-seed in the bracket. The 27' Yankees are considered among nearly all baseball fans as the greatest team of all-time, with hardly any argument... so it was a no-brainer!

Let's look at the match-ups for the Ruth Bracket.


Opposing pitchers' worst nightmare: Ruth and Gehrig.

1927 New York Yankees (1)
1944 St. Louis Browns (16)

The good news for the St.Louis Browns, that the pain will come quick and easy! There is really no chance for this World War II team that had success during the war, in which many of the team's superstars were out serving the country. This Browns team would go on to lose the 1944 World Series to the 44' Cardinals in the first all St.Louis series, labeled the "Streetcar Series" -- It was also the first series in which all the games of the World Series was played west of the Mississippi River. The team is led by it's only legitimate star in Vern Stephens, a 23-year-old who, with 20 homers and 109 RBI, was the best power-hitting shortstop in all of baseball.

The 1927 New York Yankees, on the other hand are loaded, led by Babe Ruth's 60 HRs, and a 110-44 record to sport (compared to St.Louis's 1944 record of 89-65 record!). Lou Gehrig turned in one of the greatest years of his career with an astounding 117 extra-base hits: 52 doubles, 18 triples & 47 homeruns! The team also had stars Tony Lazzeri, Bob Meusel, and Earle Combs with a pitching staff that had consistent, productive hurlers even though they didn't sport any superstars. The team's only weakness may be it's bullpen, in which Wilcy Moore (APBA Grade: A-YZ) will get the nod for the closer job.

PREDICTION: The Yankees will sweep the St.Louis Browns, it would be a complete shocker if the Browns are even able to get a victory in this series.

Jeff Bagwell and the "Killer B's" face off against Arizona.

1998 Houston Astros (8)
1999 Arizona Diamondbacks (9)

Why the 1999 Arizona D-Backs, and not the World Champion 2001 version? That was my question as well, the deal is that APBA Baseball decided to make the 1999 D-Backs as a representative of their Greatest Teams of the Past, Vol.3 (Maybe we'll see the 2001 team in the Vol.4, if they get around to it).

I had a tough decision where to rank these two ball-clubs, I placed them in the middle of the list of 64 teams. They have high OPS's for ball-clubs, due to the fact they played during a period of OPS's (The "Steroid Era"), part of me is regretting not having them in a different area of the lists, because I think either one of these teams may be a tougher second-round team than they should be to face the highly-probable 27' Yankees. The Yankees in 27' are from an era, where bullpens aren't really the forte of the league, in which these two ball-clubs come from an era, where bullpens are everything; in which roles are clearly defined. I'm pretty sure that the Yankees will hold up against either one -- we'll see what happens when one of these teams move on to the second round.

Arizona would go on to win their division and 100 games (in only it's second year of existence) while the Houston Astros would win their division in 98' with 102 games. The D-Backs sported a .806 OPS to Houston's .792.; the Yankees of 1927's OPS was .872!

PREDICTION: This could be a toss-up, and likely will go all 5 games. Houston had the edge on the list, ranking #32 to Arizona's #33, but Arizona has the most dangerous ace in "The Big Unit" Randy Johnson, oh wait! So does the 98' Astros.... interesting.

The 86' Mets look to bring their magic to the tourney!

1986 New York Mets (5)
1967 St. Louis Cardinals (12)

The 1986 New York Mets carried a lot of swagger and won 108 games, they are very well-balanced team that makes the most out of their offense, a scrappy team, led by a solid rotation (a team ERA of 3.11) and a good reliable bullpen. They will face off against the 1967 St.Louis Cardinals, who had a similar team ERA of 3.05, but a more unreliable offense (.704 OPS to New York's .742), plus the Mets had more HRs and stolen bases, while the Mets had a far more superior run differential (205 to 138). The Cards offense is led by 67' N.L. Most Valuable Player - Orlando Cepeda (.325 AVG, 25 HR & 11 RBI) and Lou Brock, while their rotation was led by Steve Carlton and Bob Gibson. The Mets are led by a cast of colorful characters, including young phenoms Dwight Gooden and Daryl Strawberry.

Bob Gibson vs. Dwight Gooden, could become quite the dream match-up!

PREDICTION: This will be a close one, but I'm going to go with the Mets in five. The Mets get a little more out of their infield and overall lineup. The Mets also have some interesting interweaving pieces in players like Howard Johnson and Kevin Mitchell, who are just starting to show glimpses of their promising production.

McGraw will not be able to refuse playing L.A.

1904 New York Giants (4)
1962 Los Angeles Dodgers (13)

Both teams in a weird sense are non-playoff teams. The 1962 Los Angeles Dodgers lost a "tie-breaker" playoff series to the San Francisco Giants, 2 games-to-1 that determined the National League Pennant, while the 1904 New York Giants won the National League, but due to Manager John McGraw and their owner John T. Brush, they refused to play the American League Champion Boston Americans, expressing that the A.L. (the Junior Circuit) was the inferior league. Both franchises have a long rivalry while both were in New York, and now are in California. Plus both of these two teams are anchored by a two-headed monster in their starting rotations; the Giants have Christy Mathewson and Joe McGinnity, while the Dodgers have Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax -- both teams' #3 and #4 starting pitchers drop off considerably compared to their top 2 starters.

The difference between these clubs may be that one team (the Giants) are from the "Deadball Era" while the Dodgers are from the "Expansion Era". 

PREDICTION: With the Dodgers' ERA of 3.62, compared to the Giants 2.17 -- the Dodgers can only hope they can get to Mathewson & McGinnity early in the series to make it a series. The Dodgers offense isn't one to marvel at, but excels over the dead-ball Giants lineup -- for example, the Dodgers' Frank Howard alone matches the Giants team total of 31 HRs. The Giants' two-headed monster with it's speed and execution should win this series, 3-1.

*** To be continued / Part 2 of the Ruth Bracket Preview ***

The APBA Tournament of Champions: PREVIEW

Fans gather outside Old Comiskey Park to buy tickets for the Tournament of Champions.

So I am playing APBA Baseball with 64 great teams of the past, and decided to start a tournament, to find out who is actually the best of the best? I did my analysis and rankings, and then filled up the brackets in the form of the NCAA Basketball tournament.

From the first round until the Final Four, the tournament match-ups will be a best-of-five series, with the team with the best ranking hosting Games 1 & 2, and Game 5, if necessary. The lower ranking team would host Game 3 & Game 4, if necessary. Once in the Final Four, the team with the best ranking will be hosting Games 1 & 2, and Games 6 & 7, if necessary. In the circumstances, the teams in the Final Four have the same ranking from their individual brackets, the team with the better overall ranking on the list that helped determine the brackets will get home-field advantage.

I named the brackets after four of the game's greatest players: Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, and Hank Aaron.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wolverine Watch #2: Off and Running!

So before I entered my first game against my first opponent, I realized that we have no DH's, and the pitchers bat, so now I wish I didn't have Ruben Sierra wasting away on  my bench, we'll see if I can fit him in there somewhere.

The owner of my first opponent (Moving on with Power IV) has a career record of 12,852 wins and 10,759 losses, a winning percentage of .544 with 9 League Championships! He is classified as a Hall of Famer.

Game #1 @ home

Oh by the way, my home ballpark is Comerica Park. I've built my team with defense and key hitting with Cobb and Gwynn being a one-two punch of a combined 20 batting titles!

Verlander would go head to head with HOF'er Addie Joss of the Indians, to get rocked allowing 6 runs, 4 walks while striking out 4 in 5 innings! We lost 10-6, it was a pretty uneventful day on the most part.

Game #2

Vladimir Guerrero of Moving continues to be a nuisance, while going 3-for-5, HR & 3 RBI (giving him 7 ribbies in the first two games.

My team would be down 6-1 after 5 innings, yet they would come back and score 2 runs in the bottom of the 8th, 2 runs in the 9th, allowing for Ty Cobb to deliver the walk-off winner with a single to left field -- scoring in Gary DiSarcina!

Usually in this situation in which a player gets a walk-off win, the hero gets mobbed by his players. But in this case, it brings a bit of curiosity when it comes to Cobb's everyday demeanor. Do you dare mob the always-serious Ty Cobb with celebration, even if he is your teammate?

Chances are Cobb would shout at his teammates - "Get the hell of me, you (frickin') fools!"

Cobb would go 13-for-17 during his first 3 games, scoring 8 times, driving in 5 runs, while stealing 6 bases!

Wolverine Watch #1: Creating a Roster

Cobb here with Cleveland's "Shoeless" Joe Jackson!
So I joined a SIM Baseball League, the SBL for, in which I will be going head to head with 23 other managers. My team's name is the Detroit Wolverines, hence the name Wolverine Watch.

You get a salary cap of $80 million, in which you can pick anyone during the history of baseball, I first had 1908 Ty Cobb and 1994 Tony Gwynn, but had to downgrade to fit more potential on my roster to Cobb 12' and Gwynn 97'.

At catcher, I originally had Brian Harper from 1989 in which he batted like .310 and had good glove, but decided to go with A.J. Pierzynski, I think I even had Darrell Porter from 1977 on the rough draft of a roster once.

I think I had Adam LaRoche from 2007 down at one point, but went with Derrek Lee, good bat, and definitely good glove.

Placido Polanco of 2000 for the Cardinals with Bobby Avila of the 1950 Indians are platooning at second base, I think I never changed this once actually. I always loved "Polly" when he played for Detroit, but couldn't go with his 2007 season -- too expensive, got to make a budget.

I initially had Pee Wee Reese of the Brooklyn Dodgers at short, but once again money came into the equation when I was spending almost $25 million combined on Cobb, Gwynn & Justin Verlander (my ace) 2011 edition. So I went with the California Angels shortstop in the 1990's of Gary DiSarcina.

At one point I had an outfielder on my roster to fill-in for Torii Hunter (due to Hunter's limited 425 at-bats in I believe 2005), in the name of the Dodgers' Reggie Smith in 1980 who had an OPS of .890 in 300 at-bats. But then I decided to go with a full-time 86' edition of Ruben Sierra, and at the last second I went with a part-time Sierra of 93' (of the Oakland A's), while I added Craig Paquette who can backup my starting 3B (Brandon Inge of 2010), play a little 2B, mainly OF when Hunter, Gwynn, and Cobb get tired. He even can play 1B, but I won't need him there.

My rotation is Verlander, Tom Glavine 02' edition (had to downgrade from 95' and 99' editions), Carl Pavano of 2011, and my fourth starter being 1988 Shane Rawley of Philly. I took Jesse Tannehill of the Chicago 1907 and will make him my long reliever. At one point I had three different versions of Aurelio Lopez (77', 83' & 84' Tigers) -- none would stick, had to cut back and go with Cla Meredith from 2007, after signing up 1986 Mets' Jesse Orosco as my closer, with LHP Tim Burke 87' Expos as my set-up man, I had LHP Reliever Gary Lavelle of the 1982 Giants, I also had 1985 Ricky Horton who played a key role in the bullpen for the mid 80's Cardinals. At one point, I believe I also had Bob McClure of the 82' Brewers on there. Kent Tekulve may had been in the mix as well.

I took my night off, adjusting the roster, about a good six hours, and then signed on. I got to see my competition but not their rosters just yet, one guy has won 22 championships and had the player rating of HF for Hall of Famer, this will be a very interesting experience.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Welcome to my new baseball website!

Everything is all about Baseball, nothing more, nothing less... and just like everything, at the beginning it may not be much, my goal is to really rock out my love for the diamond on my new blog site.

I will discuss all subjects from today's stars to the legends of the past, my opinions on who should really be in the Hall of Fame, and why some are not. I'll be talking about games of the past, World Series and all; while making predictions for the upcoming 2011 season.

Considering how obsessed I am with baseball, I am finally doing fantasy baseball, and will update you on my team. I also play APBA Baseball on boardgames, and the computer version leagues. In the computer league, I paly against family and friends from my time in the service; I am a four-time World Champion in the World APBA Baseball League (2000, 2002, 2004, 2006). For anyone who is wondering what is APBA Baseball, and you love the game as much as do, go to their site now... you can replay seasons, or do a fantasy keeper league like me and my buddies, in which you are the General Manager and Manager!

I will talk about the good of the game, as well as the bad and all it's colorful characters that have made the game what it is today, and the game today is, still in so many ways, America's pastime, and present... There is nothing like it!
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