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?


  1. I am about to wrap up the 1981 basic board replay, playing it as if there were no strike. I have wondered if I'm not doing it right, because Montreal and Los Angeles are running away with their divisions in the National League and Kansas City will win the AL West. There's a four-team race for the AL East with Baltimore, Detroit, Milwaukee and New York. The replay ain't comin' out like it did in the real season...

    1. Oh, I think you are playing it right, I think that's the cool thing with APBA actually, the endless possibilities and outcomes. I used to own this book (lost it), which I need to buy again it was called "Leveling The Field" by G.Scott Thomas I believe. On a computer, he replayed every season 100 times, he would place the percentages of the two teams that won the WS, for example maybe the 75' Reds beat the 75' Red Sox 73% of the time, and the computer would randomly pick one series of the 100 as the official outcome -- this book was wild, and I plan to do a post about this guy's ideas and everything in the future. Very fascinating book. But the computer may pick series #67, and Boston happened to win it. So he would place them as the winner. He went back and put the teams in division/LCS format from 1901 on, and when it got to LCS's in 1969 -- he made it like the format now, and even got crazier with almost an NFL setup. It's amazing read, he also did a lot with what Bill James likes to do in breaking down who's the actual better teams & better players, I'm so glad he recognized Lou Whitaker & Alan Trammell as great ballplayers who don't get enough credit. It's really cool book, check it out my friend.

    2. The computer also recognized teams like the 80's Mets & 80's Tigers should have had more possible championships & championship runs. The Tigers were in the mix in 81-83, won it in 84' & lost to a weaker Twins team in 87'. The Mets same deal in many ways as well.


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