Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mathewson - UPDATE

Mathewson has been unstoppable!
I mentioned Mathewson' work in the first round of the tournament in the post "Big Six" in APBA, he has now played his season openers for the 1904 Giants & 1912 Giants, plus I forgot to mention his exhibition against the 1917 White Sox prior to the tournament as well.

His Career numbers for me in 7 APBA starts:

  • 6-0 record.
  • 4 Complete Games (2 Shutouts)
  • Only 10 ER's allowed in 62 innings of work (1.45 ERA)!
  • 42 K's & 11 BB's allowed (all 11 walks coming from his 1904 edition in 4 GS).
  • 30 hits allowed + his 11 BB's, giving him a .661 WHIP!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Kansas City Monarchs (1920 - 1950)

The Kansas City Monarchs are one of the best known and most successful teams in Negro League history & were owned by J.L. Wilkinson, a white businessman. The Monarchs won a total of ten pennants, tying for the most with the Homestead Grays, and suffered only one losing season during their entirety with the Negro Leagues. That one season was during World War II, when the roster was decimated by the loss of players to military service.

The Monarchs also are the first team to win the initial Negro League World Series in 1924 between the Negro National League & Eastern Colored League, and again in the reinstated World Series in 1942 between the Negro National League & Negro American League. Won three consecutive pennants (narrowly missing a fourth) from 1923-1925 & 1929. They would drop out of the Negro National League, and would be a independent team until 1937, when the Monarchs joined as a charter member of the new Negro American League. They would win the pennant in it's first season 1937, and go on to win four consecutive pennants from 1939-1942 & one more in 1946.

In 1942, the first World Series since 1927, the Kansas City Monarchs would sweep the Homestead Grays in four games. In 1946, the Monarchs would lose a hard-fought seven-game series to the Newark Eagles.

After the 1948 season, Wilkinson would sell the franchise to Tom Baird, who continued to operate the Monarchs through the 1950's, but by then the league has lost it's major status & was strictly a minor-league operation.

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Break in the Action

I have a few APBA projects and future ideas in the works. Presently, I'm trying to catch up all my APBA Baseball Tournament games ("Tournament of Champions"), do all the recaps of the played series, I have not purchased the GTOP Volume 3 yet (Greatest Teams of the Past), so the tournament with the stats & waiting to purchase Volume 3 next month, will likely resume in April.

I have also decided that my Heritage League that has 36 teams, will likely cut their first season in half to make a few less projects. The 2nd-half schedule is a duplicate of the first half anyways, so no competitive balance is sacrificed. The 2nd Season and beyond for the Heritage League will all take place on APBA  BBW (Baseball for Windows) here on out -- Once I acquire all the GTOP volumes & BATS 2 (Baseball All-Time Stars) on disks. I just think it will be more fun and easier to keep the stats for that particular league, plus if I ever decide to add real-life members who want to manage in the league as well.

I currently own the first two volumes of the GTOP's, and have already constructed the divisions and league formats for a league called the Stars & Stripes League or "Crazy 48's". 2 Leagues with 4 divisions of 6 teams each (Yes, 48 teams)! The playoff format will be that of the NFL of all things, the top two teams will get first-round series byes. The home teams during series will have pitchers bat if they are a National League team or a pre-DH era American League team, so that teams can still stay true to their teams' natures on the most part. I will do a separate post with more details on this league & it's rules pretty soon here -- but here are the teams (with their Pythagorean winning percentages) that will be involved in this crazy project down below:

The 06' Cubs went 116-33, and have an all-Grade A APBA rotation with solid infield.


Division I 
1927 New York Yankees (.708)
1931 Philadelphia Athletics (.638)
1912 New York Giants (.662)
1929 Chicago Cubs (.618)
1934 St. Louis Cardinals (.588)
1935 Pittsburgh Crawfords (N/A)

Division II
1942 St. Louis Cardinals (.695)
1937 New York Yankees (.669)
1946 Boston Red Sox (.630)
1940 Cincinnati Reds (.627)
1937 New York Giants (.586)
1944 St. Louis Browns (.571)

Division III
1969 Baltimore Orioles (.679)
1975 Cincinnati Reds (.660)
1968 Detroit Tigers (.636)
1971 Pittsburgh Pirates (.623)
1962 Los Angeles Dodgers (.588)
1971 San Francisco Giants (.543)

Division IV
2001 Seattle Mariners (.673)
1998 Atlanta Braves (.654)
1985 Toronto Blue Jays (.615)
1993 Philadelphia Phillies (.574)
1981 Montreal Expos (.556)
1999 Texas Rangers (.543)


Division I
1906 Chicago Cubs (.757)
1904 New York Giants (.693)
1912 Boston Red Sox (.671)
1917 Chicago White Sox (.656)
1925 Washington Senators (.596)
1914 Boston Braves (.582)

Division II
1954 Cleveland Indians (.674)
1953 New York Yankees (.669)
1953 Brooklyn Dodgers (.643)
1960 Pittsburgh Pirates (.597)
1971 Oakland Athletics (.590)
1969 New York Mets (.568)

Division III
1986 New York Mets (.636)
1984 Detroit Tigers (.611)
1977 Philadelphia Phillies (.605)
1983 Baltimore Orioles (.593)
1980 Kansas City Royals (.568)
1976 Los Angeles Dodgers (.543)

Division IV
1998 New York Yankees (.667)
1995 Cleveland Indians (.646)
2007 Boston Red Sox (.623)
1993 San Francisco Giants (.605)
2002 Oakland Athletics (.593)
1998 San Diego Padres (.574)

I tried to place the teams in time periods to balance things out, and avoided same team names in same divisions, Boston will be represented twice in the Stripes (Division I) with the 1912 Boston Red Sox & 1914 Boston Braves. I also questioned if I was biting off more than I can chew, and actually went along the league layout and thought of sacrificing some teams to make it easier on me, but I think each team (even the 1944 St.Louis Browns) will bring out interesting story-lines & twists to the season. Teams like the 1984 Tigers would probably get hammered if they are stuck with nothing but .620/.630 and above winning percentages, so that's why teams such as the Browns, 37' Giants, 62' & 76' Dodgers, 98' Red Sox, 80' Royals, and 98' Padres are involved as well. The wife encouraged me to keep all 48, she knew that I would regret it, if I made cuts.

Like I have said before, I will have more information in a future post on this project.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Okay... It's a bit of a goofy title for this post, but I think you all know where I am going with this. So the wife and I recently got back our federal taxes, and we are taking care of business with payments to places that we NEED to pay off. But that doesn't mean we can not maybe buy ourselves a little prize or not. I already bought a $10 box of 2013 Topps Baseball Cards, some top holders for my cards & a Fantasy Baseball Magazine (The only reason to love February, right?!).

I've been window shopping on E-Bay for APBA Baseball Cards. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it must have been some time since I've looked for cards on E-Bay, because now there seems to be an abundance of APBA Cards on the site, compared to nil a long time back. So now I'm like a kid in a candy store, and I've got my Baseball up with the E-Bay site, $2.00?! Oh they only won 62 games, yeah that makes more sense.
Chili Davis of the 89' Angels.

There is teams that you forget about like the 1989 California Angels, they were a pretty good team with great hitting, good rotation & bullpen -- My friend Sgt. Dan will probably agree with me on that, I completely forgot about this team, and when I brought them up on Baseball Reference, I found out they won 91 games actually (really good for a third place team), remember the Oakland Athletics went on to win the division and World Series in the unfortunate sad news 1989 season (Rose, Giamatti & the quake). They did finish 8 back, and one game behind 2nd-place Kansas City. Their team OPS is not quite something to brag about, but they had really good defense and feisty hitters. Their team leader in HRs was Chili Davis with only 22, but they had 7 players in the lineup in double-figures in that category: Jack Howell had 20 HRs (with 90 RBI), Lance Parrish added 17 HRs (despite a .238 average), Johnny Ray added 16 HRs (I loved watching this guy play, an underrated star for a few years there), Brian Downing (14), Claudell Washington (13) and a young Devon White adding 12 HRs -- which White added 44 steals and great defense. The team also had Tony Armas on the bench with 11 HRs.

The rotation was anchored by 38 year-old (Hall of Famer) Bert Blyleven (17-5, 2.73 ERA), followed by Mike Witt (a off-year of 9-15, 4.54 ERA), Kirk McCaskill (15-10, 2.93 ERA), Chuck Finley (16-9, 2.57 ERA & 156 K's in 199.2 IP) & fresh-faced Michigan star Jim Abbott at 12-12, 3.92 ERA in just over 181 innings. If this team had Witt pitching to his best potential, this team could have made a really good run; their bullpen also had Bryan Harvey (25 Saves, 3.44 ERA), Willie Fraser (3.24 ERA in 92 IP), Greg Minton (a real dependable, consistent reliever in the 80's) with a 2.20 ERA in 90 Innings, Bob McClure pitched excellent with a 1.55 ERA in 52.1 Innings, while Rich Monteleone added a 3.18 ERA in 40 innings.

Lynn on the cover of SI during 1975.
Sorry about the history lesson, and getting a bit off-track there... but there was teams such as this on E-Bay that can be interesting little buys or additions to doing league tournaments or teams of the past replays. Then I found a more recognizable team such as the 1975 Boston Red Sox (Yes, Carlton wave that ball fair!), are you kidding me?! I need to make a bid on this. This team is not among any of the Greatest Teams volumes (which personally i think is a shame, because the 75' series is considered one of the best & most dramatic World Series), but I understand APBA wants to sell the 1975 APBA Season as well, and they already have the 1975 Cincinnati Reds in Greatest Teams of the Past.

So I made a bid on the 1975 Boston Red Sox, always loved this team and how can you not? There is Fred Lynn who literally splashed onto the scene with his MVP/Rookie of the Year season, with Bostonians starting to whisper his name as the next Williams or Yastrzemski -- he would never be either of those two studs, but he would be a pretty darn good player for a little while at least. Then there is aging Carl Yastrzemski himself, with stars Jim Rice & Dwight Evans. Luis Tiant, love this guy, love the way he talks, love his herky-jerky deliverance of the ball ('Is he throwing it to third?!'), and another colorful character in Bill "The Spaceman" Lee. I was looking good for awhile on the bid, entering the last 6-8 hours people starting out-bidding me, my bid was for $5.50 and $2.00 for shipping & handling. It's now (with 30 minutes left) at $10.50 (plus the $2), $12.50 for one team (even though it would be a nice addition to the collection) is a bit more than I would like to pay.

But back to some of the absurd E-Bay listings, and the fact people are actually making bids on it as well. We return to the 1975 Reds, remember it's part of one of the Greatest Teams of the Past volumes -- the team (and only the team) is going for $26.00! Say what?! The Greatest Team volume, you can get for $40, along with 19 other great teams.

Another E-Bay listing had me scratch my head with a posting for 20 blank APBA cards for $20.00, I'm sorry, but you can buy like 100 blank cards for something like $4-$6 on the APBA site.

Cool Dodgers' infield bobbleheads of Cey, Russell, Lopes & Garvey.
Another posted the 1976 American League Los Angeles Dodgers, last I checked they are in the National League buddy, I guess it could have been worse... they could have said the 1976 American League Brooklyn Dodgers, LOL!

Another Dodger posting on E-Bay had the 76-78 Brooklyn Robins of 1922 (Dodgers) for Buy it now (or best offer) at $24.84?! Not sure why it had to be a weird price on top of the fact that it's over-priced! Here's my best offer $1.00 -- Sure it has Zack Wheat & Dazzy Vance, but that's what BATS is for. A better deal would be for the 1901 Brooklyn Superbas, 3rd place at 79-57 (81-55 Pythagorean record) with Willie Keeler & Bill Donovan for $2.99 ($1.50 S&H).

I got really excited when I saw that someone was posting 108 Seasons on APBA for Windows for $125 (Buy It Now) -- I would have tried to go in on it with my brothers, went to sleep thinking about how cool would it to own 108 seasons of what 112?! Endless possibilities! Woke up, to realize my crusty eyes must have read that wrong (Choose 20 seasons) from 108 Seasons.

Ohhhhh.... that makes more sense, bummer.


(Hall of Fame Players indicated in Gold)
BALLPARK: Victory Field (Capacity: 12,202)
Owner / General MGR: N/A
Manager/Player: Eddie Collins

Hail to the Chief: Feds' Bender.
Current Roster
C - Victor Martinez
C - Benito Santiago
1B - Mo Vaughn
1B - David Segui
2B - Eddie Collins
2B - Billy Moran
SS - Joe Cronin
SS - Jason Bartlett
3B - Wade Boggs
3B - Enos Cabell
OF - Albert Belle
DH/OF- Greg Vaughn
OF - Happy Felsch
OF - Bobby Veach
OF - Willie McGee
OF - Hubie Brooks

SP - Chief Bender
SP - David Cone
SP - Curt Schilling
SP - George Mullin
SP - Jim Perry
RP - Brett Myers
RP - Aaron Heilman
RP - Roy Face
RP - Jeremy Accardo
RP - Francisco Rodriguez
CP - Tom Henke

Sunday, February 17, 2013

"The Big Six" in APBA

Also known as "The Christian Gentleman", Christy Mathewson was one of baseball's most dominant pitchers to ever play the game. He was ranked on ESPN's recent Top 125 Countdown at #29 (even though I would have had him higher than that, and higher than a couple pitchers that were ranked higher than him), and is on two of my teams (the 1904 & 1912 New York Giants) during the APBA Tournament of Champions that I am conducting.

During his first two series, he showed exactly why he was one of the best ever:

  • 1904 Giants: 1-0 record, 2 GS, CG/SHO, 1.42 ERA, 15 K & 4 BB (.684 WHIP) in 19 IP.
  • 1912 Giants: 2-0 record, 2 GS, CG, 1.59 ERA, 11 K & no walks (.471 WHIP) in 17 IP.
A combined 3-0 record, 4 GS, 2 CG (1 SHO), 1.50 ERA, 26 K & 4 BB (.583 WHIP) in 36 Innings!

He was also great with the bat, so far in this tournament, with the 04' Giants, he only had one hit in 5 at-bats, but it was a RBI double -- but it was his work with the bat for the 1912 Giants, in which he went 4-for-6 (.667), another RBI double, 2 runs, and a bases-on-balls; an OPS of 1.547 during 2 games.

His APBA Pitching Grades for the two series:
  • 1904 Giants: A&C-XZ
  • 1912 Giants: A-YZZ


(Hall of Fame Players indicated in Gold)
BALLPARK: Comerica Park (41,255 Capacity)
Owner / General MGR: None
Manager: Sparky Anderson

Hit Man: Ty Cobb
Current Roster
C - Mickey Cochrane
C - Dave Valle
DH/1B - Roy Sievers
1B - Todd Helton
2B - Placido Polanco
2B - Joey Cora
SS - Tony Fernandez
SS - Dickie Thon
3B - Miguel Cabrera
3B/SS/OF - Don Money
OF - Ty Cobb
OF - Tony Gwynn
OF - Carl Reynolds
OF - Leon Roberts
OF - Kevin McReynolds
OF - Rupert Jones

SP - John Smoltz
SP - Hal Newhouser
SP - Bob Welch
SP - Eric Show
SP - Jeremy Bonderman
P - Bill Travers
P - Chad Durbin
RP - Chad Paronto
RP - Bob Howry
RP - Rick Camp
RP - John Franco
CP - John Hiller


(Hall of Fame Players indicated in Gold)
BALLPARK: Jacob's Field (Capacity: 43,345)
Owner / General MGR: N/A
Manager: N/A

The immortal Honus Wagner leads Cleveland.
Current Roster
C - Steve O'Neill
C - Tim McCarver
1B - Rudy York
1B - Andres Galarraga
2B - Robby Thompson
2B - Freddy Sanchez
SS - Honus Wagner
SS - Bud Harrelson
3B - Gary Gaetti
3B - Buddy Bell
OF - Ken Williams
OF/1B - Frank Robinson
OF - Ben Oglivie
OF - Tony Oliva
OF - Tony Conigilaro
OF - Ollie Brown

SP - Ed Walsh
SP - Johan Santana
SP - Vida Blue
SP - Moose Haas
SP - Bill Donovan
P - Chad Gaudin
P - Satchel Paige
RP - C.J. Wilson
RP - Gary Glover
RP - Ron Mahay
RP - Scott Proctor
RP - Mike Schooler
CP - J.J. Putz


(Hall of Fame Players indicated in Gold)
BALLPARK: Great American Ballpark (42,391 Capacity)
Owner / General MGR: None
Manager: Bill McKechnie

Red Stockings' catcher Johnny Bench.
Current Roster
C - Johnny Bench
C - Del Crandall
1B - Hal Trosky
1B/OF - Lee May
2B - Bobby Avila
2B - Mark Ellis
SS - Barry Larkin
SS - Ryan Theriot
3B - Doug DeCinces
3B - Chris Sabo
OF - Al Simmons
DH/OF - Frank Howard
OF - Jimmy Wynn
OF - Harold Baines
OF - Andre Dawson
OF - Marquis Grissom

SP - Addie Joss
SP - Eddie Plank
SP - Sam Leever
SP - Vern Ruhle
SP - Shaun Marcum
SP - Jarrod Washburm
RP - Fernando Rodney
RP - Cla Meredith
RP - Ron Mahay
RP - Red Worthington
RP - Joaquin Benoit
CP - Jeff Russell

Friday, February 15, 2013

STARS & STRIPES - The Games so far...

I'm doing some exhibitions with the two All-Star Negro League teams I've constructed, the Negro "Stars" & Negro "Stripes" team. They are doing a bit of a barnstorming tour in which they will play each other, and other MLB teams of the past.

At this point, the Stripes are undefeated at 3-0, and the Stars are 3-1 (only losing to the Stripes) -- in which both teams are a combined 5-0 against MLB teams, and outscoring those teams a combined 44 runs.

Keeping it cool: Cool Papa Bell.
The tour started with both teams playing each other in a see-saw battle between Negro League greats, I plan to do a game recap of this at some point -- it was a really good game, the Stripes edged the Stars 7-6. Both starting pitchers Satchel Paige (Stars) and "Smokey" Joe Williams (Stripes) were not factors as they both allowed plenty of runs in short outings. Paige did strikeout 6 however in his 4 IP (5 ER's allowed). Willard Brown and Cool Papa Bell were the stars from that game, each getting 3 RBI for the Stripes in their victory debut. Brown went 2-for-4, HR, 3B & scored twice; Bell 2-for-5, 3B, SB.

Game #2/ Stripes @ 25' Washington (A)
The Stripes get to be the first to face an MLB team, and their first challenger are the 1925 Washington Senators, both teams #2 SP's face off against one another; Willie Foster (Stripes) A-XYZ against aging Walter Johnson (Senators) B-X.

The game was scoreless until the top of the 3rd, when Josh Gibson slammed a 3-run HR off the "Big Train" Johnson. Judy Johnson added to the mix with a 2-run double in the 6th Inning. The Senators only run came off an RBI single in the bottom of the third, all 5 of Washington's hits were singles off Foster; Foster pitched 7 Innings of 0 ER/1 R, 4-hit ball with 6 strike outs & one walk allowed.

Game #2/ Stars vs. 46' Boston (A)
A close game through it's entirety, Ray Brown (Stars) allowed 2 ER & 5 hits in 8 innings, without a strikeout against the Ted Williams & the American League Champion Boston Red Sox. Tex Hughson for Boston, pitched 7 Innings, allowing only 5 hits & 2 ER's. Turkey Stearnes broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the eighth, with a 2-run HR off of Boston reliever Clem Dreisewerd. Stripes' closer Jose Mendez came in for the save, including a strike out of Williams.
Stars' Bullet Joe Rogan.

Game #3/ Stars @ 98' Atlanta
This game belonged to the Stars' Bullet Joe Rogan (A-Y) who was pitching a no-hitter into the 7th Inning against the 1998 Atlanta Braves, which was broken up by Javy Lopez with a single to right. Rogan would go on to shutout the Braves in a complete one-hit gem against the Braves' John Smoltz (B-XYZ), allowing 3 walks while striking out three. Not only Rogan pitched a gem, he would be one of the offensive forces for the Stars, knocking in a 3-run HR off of Smoltz in the top of the 6th (ending his night). Cuban star OF-Christobal  Torriente (2-for-4, 3B, RBI, SB & 2 runs) and 1B-Mule Suttles (2-for-4, 3B, RBI & run) were factors as well.

Game #3/ Stripes vs. 86' New York (N)
I was curious to see how this scrappy Mets team would do against the Stripes, they swept the 1984 Detroit Tigers in a 4-game exhibition series -- which I felt was pretty impressive. They were far from impressive against the Stripes though, the Stripes exploded out of the gate and had a 7-run lead (after 2 innings), 15-run lead (after 4 innings), losing the game in a 20-0 shutout to the Stripes' Leon Day, who allowed only 2 hits & 4 walks, while striking out 8 Mets. The Mets allowed a ridiculous 22 hits!

Judy Johnson: The best Negro 3B ever.
LF-Pete Hill had a big day, who went 3-for-6, 2 HR's, 5 RBI, 3 runs & a steal; while 3B-Judy Johnson had a even bigger day, going 5-for-6, 2 HR's, 6 RBI, 2B and 2 runs. Catcher Josh Gibson added a 3-run HR, 1B-Jud Wilson went 2-for-6, 2-run HR & 3 runs, while Day (the star pitcher) went 2-for-4, with a ribbie and run. Each player in the starting lineup contributed with at least a hit, plus Bruce Petway (C) and Spot Poles (OF) contributed off the bench as well.

Mets' #3 starter Bobby Ojeda (A-YZ) allowed 7 hits, 7 ER & 2 BB's after only two innings; while Rick Aguilera came out for relief and allowed the same in hits & ER's in 2 innings as well.

Game #4/ Stars vs. 25' Washington (A)
The 1925 Washington Senators produced more better with the bat against the Stars, but this game was nowhere as close, as the Stars prevailed 14-5. Leadoff hitter Ossie Bluege (3B) was the Senators' star, going 2-for-5 with a HR, 2 RBI & double.First Baseman Joe Judge added a triple & 2 RBI.

The Stars' Rube Foster coasted through his first 5 innings with no runs allowed, until he ran into a mess and allowed 3 runs in the top of the 6th, to close the gap 4-3 Stars.

Firpo Marberry of the Senators allowed the game to get out of hand, including a Grand Slam by third baseman Biz Mackey (2-for-4, HR, 5 RBI) in the bottom of the 7th. Turkey Stearnes added a 2-run HR & Grant Johnson came off the bench to hit two RBI doubles in two at-bats. Buck Leonard finally broke out of his slump, hitting 5th, with 2 singles (including an RBI) in 4 at-bats.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


(Hall of Fame Players indicated in Gold)
BALLPARK: Senators Stadium (41,888 Capacity)
Owner / General MGR: None
Manager: Bucky Harris

Senators Star: George Sisler.
Current Roster
C - Chris Hoiles
C - A.J. Pierzynski
1B - George Sisler
1B - Glenn Davis
2B - Orlando Hudson
2B - Fernando Vina
SS - Red Kress
SS - Bert Campaneris
3B - Al Rosen
3B - Doug Rader
OF - Eric Davis
OF - Jim Rice
OF - Chilli Davis
OF - Cleon Jones
OF - Carlos Lee
OF - Jose Cruz

SP - Jack Chesbro
SP - Ed Reulbach
SP - Burleigh Grimes
SP - Pete Vuckovich
SP - Chuck James
P - Doug Davis
RP - Wes Littleton
RP - Ryan Rowland-Smith
RP - Brian Wilson
RP - Phil Regan
RP - Dave Smith
CP - John Wettleland


(Hall of Fame Players indicated in Gold)
BALLPARK: Suns Stadium (45,000 Capacity)
Owner / General MGR: None
Manager: N/A

The Iron Man: Lou Gehrig.
Current Roster
C - Thurman Munson
C - Mike Macfarlane
1B - Lou Gehrig
1B - Sean Casey
2B - Marty McManus
2B - Bill Mazeroski
SS - Alan Trammell
SS - Marty Marion
3B - Chipper Jones
3B - Ed Spiezio
OF - Harry Heilmann
OF - Sam Crawford
OF - Johnny Tobin
OF - Moises Alou
OF - Nick Markakis
OF - J.D. Drew

SP - Dolf Luque
SP - Johnny Sain
SP - Harry Brecheen
SP - Charlie Hough
SP - Dave Dravecky
P - Chris R. Young
RP - Pat Neshek
P - Zach Miner
RP - Tom Mastny
RP - J.C. Romero
RP - Ken Forsch
CP - Jose Valverde

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Absent-Minded Baseball

Harper's 2013 Topps Baseball Card.
So the wife and I got our federal taxes back, pretty quickly I must say. We got hungry and we are getting some big things (bills) out of the way.

So we also got to treat ourselves and I got myself a small box (72 cards) of the new 2013 Topps Baseball Cards - great looking cards I must say. I actually landed a Roberto Clemente Die-Cut Card called "Cut to the Chase" which is cool, because he is also one of my favorite players in Major League History, and I am one of those fans that believes #21 should be retired as well.

Anyways, the theme of this year's Topps Baseball Cards is "The Chase". Young stars have a special set called "Chasing the Dream" (got a Jacob Turner & Giancarlo Stanton card of that); on the regular issue cards it would say CAREER CHASE:  under the general birth info, birth place, etc.

For example:

  • R.A. Dickey - CAREER CHASE: With 61 Wins, Dickey is 450 away from Cy Young's all-time record of 511. That's all? Just 450 wins away!?
  • Joe Nathan - CAREER CHASE: With 298 saves, Nathan is 310 saves away from Mariano Rivera's all-time record of 608. Too bad that he's 38!
  • Denard Span - CAREER CHASE: With 260 runs, Span is 2,035 away from Rickey Henderson's all-time record of 2,295.
  • Mark Teixeira - CAREER CHASE: With 338 Home Runs, Teixeira is 424 away from Barry Bond's all-time record of 762.
Believe me there is a point to all of this, the next card had me going through the roof, especially when you consider the record holder of the card (above) being held by that of a steroid head!
  • Andrew McCutchen - CAREER CHASE: With 629 hits, McCutchen is 3,627 away from the all-time record of 4,256.
Really, Topps? Really Baseball? You know that Bud Selig had to have his hand in this somewhere. (By the way wasn't he supposed to have left office like 5 years ago?!) You might be thinking, 'what did I miss here? I don't get it.' Hey Topps, who has the all-time hits record in MLB history? Oh yeah, a guy that never used performance enhancing drugs, a man who should definitely be in the Hall of Fame! 


Oh man, not another guy crying about Pete Rose, you're thinking... To make sure this wasn't a misprint on the back of the card, I checked others... NOPE. He was purposely left off the card, so we have new kids being introduced to the game of baseball & collecting cards asking their dads, who is the all-time hits leader? and why was he not listed? They had no problem placing Barry Bonds' name with 762 Home Runs (with no asterisk, I may add), when we all know that Hank Aaron is still the true HR King. Rose played the game harder than anybody ever played the game, he still owns countless records -- always played aggressively, ask Ray Fosse about that -- from his All-Star experience that ruined the rest of his career. Rose played so hard, he even took out Fosse guarding home plate during an All-Star Game that was nothing more than an exhibition.

When are we going to stop punishing this guy? We don't punish Ty Cobb for being a racist, Babe Ruth for being a womanizer, or Mickey Mantle for being a drunk.

He hasn't been elected in the Hall of Fame, because no one who is eligible to place him on the ballot is allowed to do so -- I often wonder if they were at least allowed, would they vote him in?

The steroid guys are all eligible, they aren't banned from the game. So I guess we are teaching kids today:  if you want to be the next Bryce Harper or Mike Trout, that it's okay to do steroids. I'm not saying they did at all, in fact I don't think either one of them have, I'm just saying to get your feet in the door, to get a big draft signing bonus, the temptation is probably difficult to ignore -- plus it does not help that we just slap the hands of Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Manny Ramirez and say "You were bad boys, but sure... you can have some cake, and possibly some Hall of Fame Ice Cream as well"

Good News: I got my Clemente card.


(Hall of Fame Players indicated in Gold)
BALLPARK: The Diamond (9,560 Capacity)
Owner / General MGR: None
Manager: George Stallings

Joe "Ducky" Medwick of Richmond.
Current Roster
C - Gary Carter
C - Terry Kennedy
1B - John Olerud
1B - George C. Scott
2B - Juan Samuel
2B - Rickie Weeks
SS - Shawon Dunston
SS - Granny Hamner
3B - Harmon Killebrew
3B - Gil McDougald
OF - Joe Medwick
OF - Dale Murphy
OF - Riggs Stephenson
OF - Gary Sheffield
OF - Al Woods
OF - Terry Puhl

SP - Cy Young
SP - Jake Peavy
SP - Jerry Koosman
SP - John Lackey
SP - Juan Guzman
P - Livan Hernandez
RP - Shawn Chacon
RP - Jon Rauch
RP - Kevin Cameron
RP - Pedro Feliciano
RP - Jason Isringhausen
CP - Bobby Thigpen


(Hall of Fame Players indicated in Gold)
BALLPARK: Louisville Slugger Field (13,131 Capacity)
Owner / General MGR: None
Manager: Jack Chapman

Big, Hack Wilson for the Colonels.
Current Roster
C - Ted Simmons
C - Jason Varitek
1B - Hank Greenberg
1B - Paul Konerko
2B - Charlie Gehringer
2B - Wally Backman
SS - Jimmy Rollins
SS - U.L. Washington
3B - Harlond Clift
3B - Troy Glaus
OF - Hack Wilson
OF - Dwight Evans
OF - Kenny Lofton
OF - Alfonso Soriano
OF - Hideki Matsui
OF - Johnny Damon

SP - Paul Derringer
SP - Howie Camnitz
SP - Jim Bunning
SP - Matt Cain
SP - Gil Meche
SP - Carl Erskine
RP - Brad Hennessey
RP - Jeremy Affeldt
RP - Todd Jones
RP - Rafael Perez
RP - Ron Perranoski
CP - Sparky Lyle

Buck Leonard (Player Profile)

Walter Fenner Leonard
Nickname: "Buck"
Career: 1933 - 1950

Brooklyn Royal Giants (1933)
Homestead Grays (34'-50')
Mexican League (51'-55')
Minor Leagues (1953)

Bats: Left / Throws: Left
Height: 5'10"     Weight: 185
Born: Sept 8, 1907 -- Rocky Mount, NC
Died: November 27, 1997 -- Rocky Mount, NC

Inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame (1972)
Lifetime Batting Avg: .341
vs. Majors (Exhibitions): .382

APBA Affiliations: Negro STARS Team (Barnstorming Tour)

  • Left-Handed part of the power tandem with Josh Gibson of the Homestead Grays for 9 consecutive Negro National League Championships (1937 - 1945).
  • Seasonal Averages from 1939 - 1945: .363, .372, .275, .265, .327, .290 & .375.
  • Smart, team player with smooth swing and smooth fielding. Considered the greatest Negro League First Baseman ever, many called him the "black Lou Gehrig".
  • In 1952, GM Bill Veeck (of the St.Louis Browns) asked if Leonard would like to play for the Browns, Leonard turned him down feeling that he was past his prime.
  • 1953: At age 48, Leonard batted .312 with 13 HR's in 62 games (Central Mexican League).
  • Ranked #65 overall of all baseball players ever, in Bill James' "The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract" (2001).

Louis Santop (Player Profile)

Louis Santop Loftin (real name)
Nickname: "Big Bertha"
Career: 1909-1926

Fort Worth Wonders (1909)
Oklahoma Monarchs (1909)
Philadelphia Giants (09'-10')
New York Lincoln Giants (11'-14', 1918)
Brooklyn Royal Giants (14'-17', 1919)
Chicago American Giants (1915)
New York Lincoln Stars (15'-16')
Hilldale Daisies (17'-26')
Military Service (18'-19')
Santop Bronchos (27'-31')

Bats: Left / Throws: Right
Height: 6'4"     Weight: 240
Born: Jan 17, 1890 -- Tyler, TX
Died: Jan 6, 1942 -- Philadelphia, PA

Inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame (2006)
Lifetime Batting Avg: .406
vs. Majors (Exhibitions): .316

APBA Affiliations: Negro STARS Team (Barnstorming Tour)

  • One of the Negro League's earliest superstars, power hitter, earned the nickname "Big Bertha" for his tape-measured Home Runs during the dead-ball era.
  • Solid, strong-armed catcher who's excellent at blocking the plate.
  • Caught for "Smokey"/"Cyclone" Joe Williams & "Cannonball" Dick Redding.
  • Used to put on a pregame throwing demonstrations prior to playing MLB teams in exhibitions. Throwing from his knees to all the infield positions in front of all-white crowds; the fans loved it.
  • Served the Navy in World War I from 1918 - 1919.
  • Good mannered, but once got into a fight with Oscar Charleston, and broke three of Charleston's ribs in the process.
  • Eventually was relieved by up-and-coming catcher Biz Mackey, at the age of 35.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Negro League Stars

(Inducted in Baseball's Hall of Fame - Indicated in Orange)

Leonard: Considered the black Lou Gehrig.

C / P - Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe
MGR / 1B / OF - Buck O'Neill
2B / 3B - Tubby Scales
2B / SS - Grant "Home Run" Johnson
SS - John Henry "Pop" Lloyd
3B / C - Biz Mackey
3B / 1B - George "Tank" Carr
3B / SS - Newt Joseph
LF / 1B - Oscar Charleston
CF - Turkey Stearnes
RF - Christobal Torriente
OF / 1B - George Suttles
OF - Jimmy Crutchfield

SP - Satchel Paige   (A-XYZZ)
SP / OF - Ray Brown   (A-Z)
SP / OF - "Bullet Joe" Rogan   (A-Y)
SP / 1B- Rube Foster   (B-Z)
P - Maxwell Manning   (B-Z)
P - Dicta Johnson (B-Y)
P / RP - Jose Mendez   (C / B*-YZ)

Current Record: 3 - 1     (+18 Scoring)

SCHEDULED EXHIBITIONS                         W/L              Score     
Game #1 - @ Negro League Stripes                  L                   7 - 6
Game #2 - vs. 46' Boston (A)                               W                  4 - 2
Game #3 - @ 98' Atlanta (N)                                W                  8 - 0
Game #4 - vs. 25' Washington (A)                      W                 14 - 5

*** More Information in time. ***

Negro League Stripes

(Inducted in Baseball's Hall of Fame - Indicated in Orange)
Gibson: Considered the black Babe Ruth.

C / OF / 3B - Josh Gibson
C / 1B / OF - "Buddy" Petway
1B / 3B - Jud Wilson
1B - Ben Taylor
2B / SS - Bingo DeMoss
SS / 3B - Willie Wells
SS - Dobie Moore
3B - Judy Johnson
3B / 2B - Newt Allen
LF - Cool Papa Bell
CF - Willard Brown
RF - Preston "Pete" Hill
OF - Frog Redus
OF - Spot Poles
OF / 2B / 1B / SS- Lorenzo "Piper" Davis

SP / OF - Joe "Cyclone" Williams   (A&C-XZ)
SP - Willie Foster   (A-XYZ)
SP / 2B/ OF - Leon Day   (A-X)
SP - Nip Winters   (A-YZ)
P - Lefty McKinnis   (B-Z)
P - Ted "High Pockets" Trent   (B-Y)
P / RP - Hilton Smith   (C / B*-Y)

Current Record: 4 - 0     (+42 Scoring)

SCHEDULED EXHIBITIONS                W/L                   Score     
Game #1 - vs. Negro Stars                        W                        7 - 6
Game #2 - @ 25' Washington (A)             W                        6 - 1
Game #3 - vs. 86' New York (N)               W                       20 - 0
Game #4 - vs. 08' WABL Braves              W                       16 - 0
Game #5 - @ 46' Boston (A)

***More Information in time.***

53' N.Y. Yankees vs. 71' Oakland A's (APBA Tourney)

I still wonder, why APBA picked the 1971 Oakland Athletics over their three-peat dynasty from 1972-1974 that followed? There is plenty of questions when it comes down to the Greatest Teams of the Past Volumes 1-3.

Anyways, Oakland will have to face off against Yogi Berra & Mickey Mantle's 1953 New York Yankees, it will definitely be no easy task. The Yankees are the #4 seed in the Cobb Bracket, while Oakland is #13.

at Old Yankee Stadium / New York

Vida Blue brings his monster season into New York hoping to strike first blood with the Yankees in this series. Blue has a impressive 24-8 record, with a 1.82 ERA & 301 strikeouts, 8 shutouts in 312 innings! His APBA Grade is that of a A&C-XY. He will face off against the Yankees' young ace Whitey Ford (18-6, 3.00 ERA, 110 K's & 110 BB's in 207 innings (B-W).

Campaneris had a productive Game 1 for A's.
Bottom of the 1st
Gene Woodling leads off with a double against Blue, as Hank Bauer drives him in with an RBI single with no outs, Blue settles down and gets Berra, Mantle & Collins 1-2-3. Yankees 1, Athletics 0

Bottom of the 2nd
Bert Campaneris's bad throw pulls 1B-Mike Epstein off the base, as Yankees' Third Baseman Gil McDougald reaches first safely on the error. Phil Rizzuto gets a one-out double off of Blue, as Blue then walks the pitcher Whitey Ford. Bases loaded for Woodling, who already has a double -- the threat is over though as Blue gets Woodling to ground into a inning-ending double-play.

Top of the 3rd
One-out double by Bert Campaneris gets things started for Oakland. After a Joe Rudi strikeout at the plate, the future "Mr.October" Reggie Jackson steps up to the plate and delivers a game-tying single with 2 outs. Sal Bando delivers a single against Ford to move Reggie to second. First & second with 2 outs, Dave Duncan gets an RBI single, as Rick Monday follows that up by striking out. Athletics 2, Yankees 1

Top of the 6th
With two outs, Rick Monday hits a solo HR off Ford over Reggie Jackson's head. 
Athletics 3, Yankees 1

Bottom of the 6th
Vida Blue who has settled down and taken control of the game by allowing only 1 run & 4 hits in 5 innings, gets Mickey Mantle to fly out and a K against Joe Collins. With two outs, Gil McDougald singles to right field, in which Billy Martin (future MGR for both clubs) gets an RBI double. Athletics 3, Yankees 2

Whitey Ford taken out after 7 innings. His line for the night was 7 hits, 3 ER, 9 strikeouts & a walk. Bob Kuzava comes in to relieve.

Bottom of the 8th
Yogi Berra leads off the bottom with a solo shot to right field, Blue shakes his head in disgust. Blue walks Mantle, but gets Collins, McDougald & Martin to leave the inning tied up. Yankees 3, Athletics 3

Berra is congratulated with his game-tying HR in the eighth.

Top of the 9th
Mike Epstein leads off and hits a grounder towards second baseman Billy Martin, in which Martin bobbles the ground ball. Dick Green singles off of Kuzava and moves Epstein to third. Green then steals second on Berra. Runners now on 2nd & 3rd, no outs and the Oakland Athletics decide to hand Tommy Davis a bat (pinch-hitting for Blue), he has some pop. Davis flies out, fails to advance the runner from third. The pitcher turns and fires to third to get Epstein out at third, Epstein was caught napping with a big lead off of third base. Two outs, with a man on second, Bert Campaneris flies out to center. The Yankees stomp out the possible Oakland rally. Wow.

Bottom of the 9th
Oakland brings in Bob Locker from the bullpen, since Davis pinch-hit for Blue. Locker gets the lead-off hitter Phil Rizzuto to fly out to right. The Yankees decide to go to the bench, that'll be it for the Yankees' reliever Bob Kuzava, who pitched two innings, allowed one hit, no runs, a K & picked-off runner. The pinch-hitter will be Don Bollweg (.297, 6 HR & 24 RBI in 155 at-bats). Locker delivers the pitch in which Bollweg sends the ball towards the Yankees' short porch in right, it's gone! WALK-OFF Home Run for Bollweg! The Athletics had the Yankees at the mercy in the top of the 9th, and let this game slip out of their grasps. 

53' YANKEES       4
WP - Kuzava (NYY) / LP - Locker (OAK)

Bollweg: The unlikely hero in Game 1.
  • Bert Campaneris (OAK): 2-for-5, 2B, SB & Run.
  • Hank Bauer (NYY): 2-for-3, 2B, BB & RBI.
  • Rick Monday (OAK): 1-for-4, solo HR.
  • Yogi Berra (NYY): 1-for-4, solo HR.
  • Mickey Mantle (NYY): 0-for-3, BB.
  • Vida Blue (OAK): 8 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 4 K's & 3 BB's.
  • Whitey Ford (NYY): 7 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 9 K's & 1 BB.
  • Don Bollweg (NYY): Walk-off pinch-hit HR.

at Old Yankee Stadium / New York

The Athletics lost a game that they very much needed in Game 1, against a very-favored Yankees team; we'll see if Catfish Hunter (21-11, 2.96 ERA, 181 K's) can even this series up against the Yankees' Vic Raschi (13-6, 3.33 ERA).

Top of the 2nd
Rick Monday strikes with a lead-off double off of Raschi. Vic Raschi answers back by getting Gene Tenace and Mike Epstein to ground out & fly out. With two outs, Tommy Davis playing second base today for the Athletics, drives in a RBI single and then steals second base. Catfish Hunter fails to help his own cause by flying out to left. Athletics 1, Yankees 0

Bottom of the 6th
Yankees' starting pitcher Vic Raschi breaks up Catfish Hunter's bid for a no-hitter with a single over short. Hunter's plunks Gene Woodling with a pitch. Runners on 1st & 2nd, with no outs, and the Yankees' Hank Bauer who was 2-for-3 in Game 1, steps up to the plate. Hunter gets Bauer to hit into a much-needed double-play, moving the baserunner Raschi to third base in the process. Hunter's sudden absence of control continues to plague him, as he throws a wild pitch allowing Raschi to score. Hunter gets Berra to ground out, but not before the damage has been done. Yankees 1, Athletics 1

Vic Raschi is taken out of the game after 7 strong innings of 4-hit ball, allowing only 1 ER & 2 walks, while striking out 3 batters.
Game 2's Catfish Hunter.

Bottom of the 7th
Catfish Hunter walks the Mickey Mantle to lead off the inning. Gil McDougald follows that up with a single, placing runners on 1st & 2nd. The Yankees decide to pinch-hit for Johnny Mize, who struck out in his two previous at-bats against Hunter -- going with Game 1's hero Don Bollweg. With one out, Bollweg again delivers with an RBI single, driving in Mantle (Yankees take the lead). Hunter then walks Phil Rizzuto, bases are now loaded.

Oakland Manager Dick Williams has seen enough, and elects to take Hunter out of the game, and go with lefty Darold Knowles. Catfish was on cruise control through the first 5 innings, until hitting a wall in the 6th. The Yankees choose to pinch-hit for Raschi, who had a single earlier in the game that resulted in a run; Yankees go with pinch-hitter Bill Renna (.314, 2 HR & 13 RBI in 121 at-bats) which results in a Fielder's Choice at home, as it was hit right to the pitcher. Bases remain loaded with two outs, a little more breathing room for Oakland, as Gene Woodling steps up to the plate, he's been on base twice with a walk & Hit by Pitch. Woodling hits a single though short as he drives in two runners. Oakland brings in Mudcat Grant to get Hank Bauer to ground out, finishing the inning.
Yankees 4, Athletics 1

Woodling was all over the place in Game 2.
Bottom of the 8th
Charlie Silvera (now playing for Yogi Berra) hits a lead-off double off of Grant. Mickey Mantle steps up to the plate and lines to Bert Campaneris, in which he responds quickly by doubling up Berra at second -- double-play! Mantle remains hitless in 6 at-bats. After a single by Gil McDougald, Grant gets Billy Martin to ground out, avoiding damage. 

Top of the 9th
Allie Reynolds comes in to close out the game for the Yankees, by getting Oakland to go out 1-2-3, capping it off with a strike out of Rick Monday.

53' YANKEES       4
WP - Raschi (NYY) / LP - C.Hunter (OAK) / SV - A.Reynolds (NYY)

  • Gil McDougald (NYY): 2-for-4, two singles.
  • Gene Woodling (NYY): 1-for-2, single (2 RBI), BB & HBP.
  • Rick Monday (OAK): 1-for-3, 2B, BB & Run.
  • Tommy Davis (OAK): 1-for-3, RBI & SB.
  • Don Bollweg (NYY): Key pinch-hit RBI single & Run. Bollweg has gave Yankees their first leads in both Game 1 & Game 2.
  • Vic Raschi (NYY): 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 K's & 2 BB's.
  • Catfish Hunter (OAK): 6.1 IP, 3 H, 4 ER/R, 4 K's & 3 BB's. All hits and runs, plus 2 BB's & HBP came after 5 full innings of work.

at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum / Oakland

Oakland's faithful come packing into the stands, and hoping for any life that remains in this series. The series has come down to some key moments, leaving Athletics fans wondering what could have been if they won Game 1, and if Catfish stayed hot in Game 2. It all comes down to Game 3's match-up between Oakland's Chuck Dobson (15-5, 3.81 ERA & 100 K's in 189 IP) and New York's veteran starter Johnny Sain (14-7, 9 SV, 3.00 ERA, 84 K's in 189 IP). The Yankees decided to keep Ed Lopat for the next series, if they end up winning it tonight, trying to stretch Ford and Raschi's innings as well for this long tournament.

Top of the 1st
The Athletics' Chuck Dobson walks the first batter in Gene Woodling. Joe Collins hits into a Fielder's Choice getting Woodling out at second. Hank Bauer follows that with a single, moving Collins to second. Yogi Berra (batting clean-up for the first time this series, due to struggling Mickey Mantle) steps up to the plate with one out and singles to left driving in Collins. Runners on first and third, as Mantle hits into a double-play. All that noise for only one run. Yankees 1, Athletics 0

Bottom of the 4th
Reggie Jackson starts the inning off with a single to left, as Jackson takes off for second on the first pitch to  Dave Duncan, runner on second. Duncan ends up striking out. Mike Epstein gets a free pass to first, which is followed by a fly out from Gene Tenace. Johnny Sain then walks Dick Green to load the bases with two outs. Manager Dick Williams (of Oakland) decides it's now or never, and elects to have Tommy Davis pinch-hit for the pitcher Dobson, despite the fact Dobson settled down after the first inning with a respectable performance through 4 innings (2 hits, 1 ER allowed). Davis (batted .324, with 3 HR & 42 ribbies through 219 at-bats) has some pop; Sain delivers the pitch and Davis grounds it to Martin who flips it to first for the final out. Score remains the same, Yankees 1, Athletics 0

Mudcat Grant comes in for relief work in the 5th & 6th inning, allowing no runs, 2 hits, 2 walks & K.
Game 3 starter: Johnny Sain (NYY).

Top of the 7th
Bob Locker now in relief for the Athletics faces off against his first batter in Billy Martin. Locker gets a quick two strikes on Martin, in which Martin answers with a solo shot to right field in almost the same area as Bollweg's walk-off shot was in Game 1. Locker is feeling like a goat, as Martin adds an insurance run for the Yankees. The fact is Locker is no goat, the Athletics have only 3 hits, and are lucky that the Yankees have stranded quite a few runners at this point. Yankees 2, Athletics 0

Bottom of the 9th
Johnny Sain comes on out to try to finish a complete game, he has pitched really well. Gene Tenace flies out to left. Joe Rudi gets walked, that is the only negative aspect of Sain's performance tonight, his fifth walk, despite only 3 hits allowed. The Athletics will have Mike Hegan pinch-hit for the pitcher Locker, Hegan's father Joe is playing for the 1954 Cleveland Indians this tournament. Hegan gets his pitch, or so he thought as he hits into a Fielder's Choice as Andy Carey (now playing second) throws to Billy Martin now playing short, Rudi dives in hard, and is out... and is injured, he'll be helped off the field. The game all comes down to Bert Campaneris with Hegan at first & two outs. Campaneris flies to left, Woodling comes down with it. A complete game shutout for Sain & a sweep for the 1953 New York Yankees!

53' YANKEES       2
WP - Sain (NYY) / LP - C.Dobson (OAK)


  • Billy Martin (NYY): 2-for-4, solo HR.
  • Hank Bauer (NYY): 2-for-3, BB.
  • Johnny Sain (NYY): CG, SHO, 9 IP, 3 H, 5 K's & 5 BB's.
  • Chuck Dobson (OAK): 4 IP, 2 H, 1 ER & 2 BB's.
  • Mike Epstein (OAK): 0-for-2, 2 BB's & reached first on error.
  • Don Bollweg (NYY): Series MVP with only two at-bats! Walk-off HR in Game 1 & Go-ahead run in Game 2; the unlikely hero. 2-for-2, HR, 2 RBI & 2 runs.
  • Hank Bauer (NYY): 4-for-10, all singles, RBI.
  • Mickey Mantle (NYY): Hitless in 9 at-bats, 1 run.
  • Bert Campaneris (OAK): led Oakland with 3 hits; 2 SB's.
Next Opponent: The Winner of the 1961 New York (A) (5) vs. 1991 Minnesota (A) (12)

Friday, February 8, 2013

APBA Replays

I've been on the APBA Baseball Group page on Facebook, and it's really cool because just like me, there are other people that have some pretty cool APBA Baseball projects going on. I'm currently doing an APBA Tournament of Champions with 64 teams (NCAA-style bracket), the early to mid rounds are best-of-five series and the Final Four onward is the best-of-seven. Another APBA fan who happens to be a Angels fan is doing a pretty impressive 50 team Angels bracket of all the Angels teams in the last 50 years. There is always great topics going on in the APBA Baseball Group, and season or series replays is (of course) a very popular topic for sure.

So it got me wondering, if I was to do a season replay with cards... because let's face it, BBW (computer) would be easier, yet not as fun or as dramatic -- The seasons below are the ones that came to mind first.

The Cards in 1981? They won it all in 82'.

  • 1981 Baseball Season Replay: We all know it was a shortened season, and that it was the first time Major League Baseball used the Division Championship Series format (which would not return again until the 1995 season due to league realignment and new expansion teams). I've always wondered who would have won the divisions straight through in a 162 game season, with the original setup of just the four division winners going to their respective League Championship Series. Both the St.Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds both overall had the best records in the N.L. Divisions, and if it was your typical season -- it would have been them going to the playoffs instead of the Philadelphia Phillies, Montreal Expos, Los Angeles Dodgers & Houston Astros. 1981 had a first half and a second half division winners due to the 1981 Players Strike, in which the first-half & second-half winners played each other in a Division Championship Series, followed by a League Championship Series. In the A.L., the cool thing is that the teams with the best record (Oakland Athletics and Milwaukee Brewers) also won a spot (a division-half championship). The interesting part to me, is that the Kansas City Royals won the A.L. West (2nd half) Division Championship, but were actually in 4th place with a losing record of 50-53, 11 games back of Oakland in normal format; The Texas Rangers actually finished second (5 games back). It was a lot closer in the A.L. East, with teams such as the Baltimore Orioles (1 GB), Detroit Tigers (2 GB), New York Yankees (2nd half winner, 2 GB) & the Boston Red Sox (2.5 GB) -- a four team race would have been exciting to watch in 162 games!
  • 1984 Baseball Season Replay: Let me say nothing is ever in the bag when it comes to Baseball, and thank goodness that the Detroit Tigers with their impressive MLB record start of 35-5, finished with championship glory. In APBA, I have yet to experience success with the 1984 Detroit Tigers, during exhibitions and etc. (believe me I have a story already in the draft works on this team) -- So it makes me wonder with all the usual twists and turns during an APBA season, or weird things where players like Rod Carew struggle to bat above .220 (Is there such thing called "Rolling Slumps" in APBA?) -- I wonder can the Detroit Tigers duplicate history in 1984? Another fair question would be can the Chicago Cubs get past the San Diego Padres
Gwynn: How .400 was within reach.
  • 1994 Baseball "Strike" Season Replay: Many people have often wondered what would have actually happened, some rather forget about this "black mark" in baseball history. I've personally wondered what would it have been like to see my favorite player Tony Gwynn, batting .400 -- Knowing that his best two months are usually his last two months, I feel in my heart of hearts, he would have done it. There would be other things at state, Matt Williams chasing Roger Maris' 61 Home Runs & the fate of the Montreal Expos for that matter -- who had the league's best record 74-40 record (on pace for 105 wins) were 6 games ahead of the Atlanta Braves in the new division format we know today. The Reds and Astros were neck to neck in the N.L. Central, Dodgers were winning the N.L. West (barely above .500) -- not to mention the Astros and Braves were in a tight Wild Card race (which is interesting since the two teams would have a few upcoming playoff series match-ups). In the American League, the New York Yankees (who have not been in the playoffs since 1981's Strike Season) were in first place of the A.L. East at 70-43, Chicago White Sox led the upstart Cleveland Indians (constant cellar dwellers) by a game in the Central, and the Texas Rangers led the Oakland Athletics by a game, with a lousy 52-62 record (10 games below .500!) -- that may be the one good thing that came out of the strike! It's also fair to note that the Indians led the Wild Card, a few games over division rival Kansas City (64-51) and Baltimore (63-49) in the East. The Royals would go on to have only one winning season since, and that is back in 2003.
2012 A.L. ROY: Mike Trout.
  • 2012 Baseball Season Replay: Sure, it just happened. But to me, 2012 may go down as an epic season for we witnessed some amazing performances from the surprising Oakland Athletics, not to mention the Baltimore Orioles. We also witnessed probably one of the top rookie seasons easily in MLB history with the Los Angeles Angels' star outfielder Mike Trout; and a Triple Crown winner in Miguel Cabrera (the first winner in 45 years!). We also saw the rise of the Washington Nationals, who were already showing possible signs to make that step & a feisty St.Louis Cardinals team that nearly went to the World Series for a chance to repeat. In the end, the San Francisco Giants would go on to defeat the Detroit Tigers -- to win their second in three years.

Back to 1984, an interesting perspective that came to me, if the 1984 Season was done in the same matter as today's division formats, the Toronto Blue Jays would have won the A.L. East (89-73), Detroit would have won the A.L. Central, 20 games ahead of second-place Kansas City Royals (who actually won the A.L. West in 84') with Minnesota in third (23 GB). The A.L. West, in today's format would have been the California Angels at 81-81! The A.L. Wild Card would have been the New York Yankees at 87-75, just beating out the Boston Red Sox (86-76) and the Baltimore Orioles (85-77)!

Oh it gets better, in the National League, we would have seen the New York Mets win the N.L. East, while the Chicago Cubs (who won the 84' East) would win the N.L. Central, and the San Diego Padres winning the N.L. West. The N.L. Wild Card in all this? The St.Louis Cardinals at 84-78 -- who would go on to the World Series in 1985 against Kansas City.

I'm sure more replays would come to mind, everyone has their own choices and favorite seasons -- many other seasons come to mind such as 1967 (in which 4 teams in the A.L. were separated by 3 games!), 1969 (If it wasn't for that black cat, could the Cubs have won the N.L. East?), 1982 & 1987 come to mind -- there are so many!

What's yours?
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