Thursday, January 31, 2013

APBA Tournament: Aaron Bracket Preview (Part 2)

(Part 2 of the Aaron Bracket Preview)

AARON BRACKET


1902 Pirates would have won 120 in today's game!
1902 Pittsburgh Pirates (3)
Vs.
2002 Oakland Athletics (14)

It's "Dead-ball" (Pirates) vs. "Moneyball" (Athletics), two teams separated by a century of baseball history, changes in the game -- two different eras, and two different perspectives when we now look at the game, and it's heroes.

The 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates happened a year before the birth of the World Series, the Pirates managed by player/manager Fred Clarke went on to win the National League with an astounding 103-36 record (.741 winning percentage), that would be the equivalent of a 120-win season in today's 162 game format! The team is led by Clarke with the famous Honus Wagner, as well as Ginger Beaumont. Beaumont went on to win the N.L. Batting Title with a .357 clip & led the league with 193 hits (He would lead the league three other times in the future). To be honest, never heard of the guy (Beaumont)-- another interesting thing of the Pirates' lineup is Tommy Leach (Third Baseman) has 22 triples!

The rotation is stellar with a young Jack Chesbro (28-6, 2.17 ERA & 136 K's), Deacon Phillippe (20-9, 2.05 ERA & 122 K's), Jesse Tannehill (20-6, 1.95 ERA & 100 K's), Sam Leever (who is on the All-Time PIRATES franchise APBA set) is the #4 starter with a record of 15-7 & 2.39 ERA, and their #5 starter is Ed Doheny (16-4, 2.53 ERA). Are you kidding me? I'm not sure if too many teams rotations will be able to stack-up against this staff, the one problem is there is virtually no bullpen -- So chances are Leever & Doheny will probably work in relief. The top three worked a combined 789.1 innings!

Looking at their team, I start to question if I should have had them higher than three. I had the 1912 New York Giants at #1 in the bracket, and the 1906 Chicago Cubs as #2 -- So it's pretty tough to say who is the best out of these three teams, because any one of these teams could be a legit #1.

The 2002 Oakland Athletics were not expected to keep up their success after the departures of Jason Giambi, Johnny Damon & Jason Isringhausen -- but they were not expected to be horrible (even if it seems the movie made them out to be almost as bad as Charlie Sheen's "Major League" movie Indians at times). They still had three young studs in the rotation in Barry Zito (who went on to become the 2002 A.L. Cy Young), Tim Hudson & Mark Mulder. Zito would go on to win 23 games, with a 2.75 ERA & 182 K's (not to mention a nasty curveball!), while Hudson (15-9, 2.89 ERA & 152 K's) and Mulder (19-7, 3.47 ERA & 159 K's) went on to very respectable seasons. Not to mention, the team had Miguel Tejada (who won the A.L. MVP in 2002) with a monster season of .308, 34 HR & 131 RBI's! Of course, for movie-selling purposes -- Tejada and Zito's performances were never mentioned in even a sneeze-worth of information; the more and more I think about this and the fact that the team also had Eric Chavez at the height of his powers makes me a bit frustrated now. But anyways... this is not Hollywood.

PREDICTION: The Pittsburgh Pirates will be a bit too much for the Athletics, 3-1.


The Cubs' "Four Horsemen" - Hornsby, Hack, Kiki & Stephenson.
1929 Chicago Cubs (6)
Vs.
1968 Detroit Tigers (11)

This is a match-up of polar opposites. The 1929 Chicago Cubs have a loaded lineup with three players (almost four) with over a 1.000 OPS (On-Base Pct + Slugging), but their pitching is not so great with 3 B starters in the rotation and a 4.16 Team ERA (The highest in the entire tournament); while the 1968 Detroit Tigers have a relatively weak lineup of a .697 OPS (Only 8 teams have a lower OPS, most are from the "Dead-Ball Era"), yet a terrific pitching staff with a 2.71 Team ERA (Only 8 teams are better than that)!

The Cubs are led by 1929 N.L. Most Valuable Player - Rogers Hornsby, who batted a whopping .380, while smacking in 39 HR's & 149 RBI. Hack Wilson tied with Hornsby with 39 HR's, led the team with 159 RBI -- while batting .345. Oh it gets better, Riggs Stephenson batted .362 with 17 HR & 110 RBI's & Kiki Cuyler (led the league with 43 stolen bases) while batting .360, with 15 HR & 102 RBI's. That is four players with over 100 RBI's each, while Cuyler's .970 OPS missed out on being the fourth over 1.000, while Hornsby (1.138), Wilson (1.043) & Stephenson (1.007) all made the mark.

The problem is the team has no bullpen, their best being Hal Carlson (a APBA grade C-YZ) with a 5.16 ERA!

The Detroit Tigers (for a team with a .697 OPS) has a surprising four batters over 20+ HR's, led by Willie Horton's 36. Bill Freehan (25), Norm Cash (25) & Jim Northrup (21) provide the rest of the pop. Al Kaline's time and game has been decreasing by 1968, but still had a respectable .820 OPS, while batting .287 with 10 HR & 53 RBI in 327 at-bats.

31 Wins in 1968 for McLain, the pinnacle of his career.

The team of course is anchored by the last 30-game winner in MLB history in Denny McLain (an APBA grade of a rare A&B-XZ)! McLain had 31-6 record, 1.96 ERA & 280 K's in a league-leading 336 Innings pitched. Follow that up with Mickey Lolich (17-9, 3.19 ERA, 197 K's -- and three WS wins that would forever win the hearts of Tigers fans) & Earl Wilson (13-12, 2.85 ERA & 168 K's). The bullpen may even be more stellar with 5 APBA Grade B & aboves (3 of the relievers being Grade A's!) -- Those men being John Hiller, Roy Face, Don McMahon, Pat Dobson & Daryl Patterson.

PREDICTION: After the top 4 studs + Charles Grimm in the Cubs lineup, the lineup drops off considerably, in where the Tigers in no way match up in OPS, have a bit more balance in the lineup, and level off well from #1 through #8, plus the much better pitcher staff by leaps and bounds -- I'm going to go with Detroit in five! The Detroit Tigers also have a nice piece on the bench in Gates Brown (.370, 6 HR & 15 RBI in 92 AB's -- a 1.127 OPS!).


1957 Milwaukee Braves (7)
Vs.
1971 Pittsburgh Pirates (10)


1957, The pinnacle of the Braves success in their Milwaukee days, the team had a winning record each season during it's entire time from 1953 through 1965. The team is anchored by veteran ace Warren Spahn and two young stars in the lineup in Eddie Mathews and Hank Aaron. The 1957 Milwaukee Braves would go on to win the World Series over the New York Yankees, and fail to repeat against the same Yankees in 1958, falling short 4-3 in the series.

Milwaukee's Best: Mathews & Aaron.
The 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates are led by Latin superstar Roberto Clemente (who would unfortunately perish not long after this season - New Year's Eve 1972) and young star Willie Stargell (.295, 48 HR & 125 RBI). 

The two teams are pretty balanced against each other:
  • Pittsburgh: .274 BA, .333 OBP, .749 OPS & 154 HR's, with a team ERA of 3.31.
  • Milwaukee: .269 BA, .329 OBP, .771 OPS & 199 HR's, with a team ERA of 3.47.

PREDICTION: I'm going to go with the rankings, and give the Braves the edge, 3-2. Pittsburgh appears to have a better 1-4 rotation & more depth in the bullpen... so it could go either way.









1906 Chicago Cubs (2)
Vs.
1915 Philadelphia Phillies (15)

Considered one of the greatest teams of all-time, The 1906 Chicago Cubs won 116-36 (A pace of 124 wins during a 162-game season)! The team of course featured the famous trio of Tinker-Evers-Chance, the famous early poem by Franklin Pierce Adams. The team also featured 3 20-game winners, a 19-game winner & 17-game winner; plus two 12-game winning pitchers as well!


Here is the rotation, with their APBA Grades:
  • Mordecai "Three-Finger" Brown (A&C-XZ): 26-6, 1.06 ERA, 3 SV & 144 K's (277 IP).
  • Jack Pfiester (A-X): 20-8, 1.51 ERA & 153 K's (250 IP).
  • Jack Taylor (A-R): 20-12 & 1.99 ERA in 302 Innings.
  • Ed Reulbach (A&C-YW) 19-4, 1.65 ERA, 3 SV (218 IP).
  • Carl Lundgren (A-YW): 17-6, 2.21 ERA, 2 SV, 103 K's (207 IP).
  • Orval Overall (B-X): 16-8, 2.74 ERA, SV, 127 K's (226 IP).
Good luck to anyone that has to go against that! The team ERA is the best in the entire tournament with a ridiculous 1.75 ERA! Unfortunately the 06' Cubs choked against the "Hitless Wonders" Chicago White Sox in the World Series.

Grover "Pete" Alexander won't be enough for the Phillies.

The 1915 Philadelphia Phillies are led by Gavvy Cravath and starting pitcher Grover "Pete" Alexander, but the team had 26 less victories than this Cubs team. The Phillies did have a team ERA of 2.17 (tied for 3rd best) though, that is certainly nothing to sneeze at! It's the team's .247 batting average that will be a concern against the Cubbies.

PREDICTION: The Phillies might get one victory, but the series will be all Cubs!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

85' Blue Jays vs. 93' Giants (APBA Tourney)

Practically two identical teams playing in the first-round of the Wagner Bracket, the 1985 Toronto Blue Jays (#8 seed) vs. the 1993 San Francisco Giants (#9 seed).

These two teams are smack dab in the middle of the overall rankings in the tournament, and match-up almost identical in all major statistics:

  • Toronto: .615 winning pct, .269 AVG, (.334 OBP / .425 SLG) .759 OPS, 158 HR & 144 SB's, with a 3.31 ERA & +171 run differential.
  • San Fran: .636 winning pct, .276 AVG, (.343 OBP / .427 SLG) .770 OPS, 168 HR & 125 SB's, with a 3.61 ERA & +172 run differential.

GAME 1
at Toronto / Exhibition Stadium

Dave Stieb took the mound for the Jays, facing off against Bill Swift who had a surprising season with teammate John Burkett for the Giants in 1993. Stieb won 14 games while striking out 167 batters, with a 2.48 ERA; Swift went 21-8 with a 2.82 ERA, with 157 K's.
Swift was durable for S.F. through six.

Top of the 1st
Second Baseman of the Giants, Robby Thompson (batting second) got it started early with a solo Home Run  to left off Stieb. Giants 1, Blue Jays 0

Bottom of the 3rd
After a lead-off double by Catcher Ernie Whitt, Rance Mulliniks singles in the tying run. 
Giants 1, Blue Jays 1

Top of the 7th
Stieb appeared to be on cruise control after allowing the solo HR to Thompson in the first, the only hit he allowed in the game entering the 7th, then things got shaky. Barry Bonds led the inning off with a single to right, and followed that up by stealing second base; which Willie McGee drove him home on a single two batters later. Which brought up Designated Hitter Mark Carreon up to the plate with one out, in which he hit a clutch 2-run HR  ending Stieb's night on a bad note. Carreon, had a productive bat in 1993 in limited play (.327, 7 HR & 33 RBI with a .913 OPS) of 150 at-bats! Giants 4, Blue Jays 1
Carreon hits clutch HR in the seventh.

Bottom of the 7th
Dave Burba and Trevor Wilson would come in and put on back-to-back base runners for the Jays in relief (with a single and walk) at the beginning of the bottom of the seventh; which led to the Giants to go back to the bullpen and plug-in Mike Jackson, who then gives up a walk to load the bases for weak-slugging Second Baseman Damaso Garcia -- with no outs. Damaso will do the job by driving in a run on a sac fly, but Toronto would fail to capitalize off the Giants any further in the inning. 
Giants 4, Blue Jays 2

Bottom of the 8th
Willie Upshaw, who already had a single and double in three trips to the plate would hit a solo Home Run off of Giants reliever Kevin Rogers. Giants 4, Blue Jays 3


Top of the 9th
The Jays hoping to stay within striking distance keep Dennis Lamp out there for another inning, after a successful 8th inning -- hoping to come up unscathed in the 9th, that would not happen as Lamp gave up a solo blast to Barry Bonds, a much-needed insurance run. Giants 5, Blue Jays 3

Bottom of the 9th
The Giants bring in their closer Rod Beck, who gets the job done with his second K of the inning against Jesse Barfield. Giants win Game 1.

FINAL SCORE:
93' GIANTS         5
85' BLUE JAYS  3
WP - Swift (SF) / LP - Stieb (TOR) / SV - Beck (SF)


POST-GAME:
  • Bill Swift (SF) allowed only one run during his 6  innings of 6-hit ball (with only 1 K).
  • Barry Bonds (SF) went 2-for-4, HR, RBI & SB.
  • Mark Carreon (SF) was the Player of the Game with his clutch 2-run shot in the 7th inning, going 1-for-4.
  • Willie Upshaw (TOR) was a Triple short of the Cycle (Going 3-for-4, RBI)
  • Ernie Whitt (TOR) went 2-for-3, reaching base 3 times (BB) with a double & single.

GAME 2
at Toronto / Exhibition Stadium

The Blue Jays hope that Jimmy Key (14-6 & 3.00 ERA) can even up the series against John Burkett (22-7, 3.65 ERA & 145 K's), before having to head off to San Francisco. The Jays' George Bell & Jesse Barfield went a combined 1-for-9 in Game 1.

Top of the 2nd
Matt Williams hits a solo blast off of Key for first blood in Game 2. Giants 1, Blue Jays 0

Top of the 3rd
With Royce Clayton (Shortstop) on second base, Robby Thompson gets his second hit of the game, by knocking in Clayton with an RBI single. Two batters later, Barry Bonds would hit a triple into the right field corner; Thompson scores. Giants 3, Blue Jays 0

Thompson had a mammoth Game 2.


Top of the 4th
Leading off the 4th, Willie McGee gets on with a single, which is followed up by an RBI double by the catcher Kirk Manwaring (his first hit in 5 series at-bats). The wheels continue to fall off for Key & the Jays in the fourth, as  Royce Clayton would smack a double to left-center driving in Manwaring; which ended Key's night (a quick 3.1 innings!). Bill Caudill would come in to relieve as he would get Darren Lewis to fly out for the second out of the inning; with 2 outs and Clayton still on second, Thompson would get his 3rd hit of the game & second RBI of the game with an RBI double. Jays would get Will Clark to ground out to stop the bleeding. 
Giants 6, Blue Jays 0





Top of the 5th
Barry Bonds leads off the fifth with his 2nd HR of the series (4 hits & 3 RBI in his last 7 at-bats!), already the Giants' 10th hit of the ballgame. Giants 7, Blue Jays 0

Top of the 6th
With 2 outs, and Dave Martinez on third base; Robby Thompson belts a 2-run homer (for his 2nd HR of the series), he is now 4-for-4, with 2 doubles & 4 RBI during the game! Both Thompson's HR and Bonds HR in the 5th, came off of Jim Clancy in relief. Giants 9, Blue Jays 0

Top of the 7th
Matt Williams who led the inning off with a double, would score off of Kirk Manwaring's single.
Giants 10, Blue Jays 0
Upshaw has been the only Jay to show up in the series.

Bottom of the 8th
The Blue Jays finally get some runs on the scoreboard. Shortstop Tony Fernandez got things started by getting his first hit of the series (in 8 at-bats) with a two-out triple, Jeff Brantley (who started the inning in relief) then walked Jesse Barfield. George Bell followed with a 2-run double; which was then Willie Upshaw smacked a triple into the left field corner to score in Bell. Upshaw is now 4-for-8, 2 RBI's against the Giants during the first two games. 
Giants 10, Blue Jays 3

FINAL SCORE:
93' GIANTS        10
85' BLUE JAYS   3
WP - Burkett (SF) / LP - Key (TOR)


POST-GAME:
  • Robby Thompson (SF) was the Player of the Game, going 4-for-5, HR, 2 2B's, 2 runs & 4 RBI's!
  • John Burkett (SF) pitched six scoreless innings, allowing only 3 hits.
  • The Giants had 18 hits, while also getting on base due to 4 Bases-on-Balls.
  • Matt Williams (SF): 3-for-5, HR & 2B, RBI.
  • Barry Bonds (SF): 2-for-4, HR, BB & 2 RBI (.556 OBP during first 2 games).
  • Royce Clayton (SF): 3-for-5, 2B, RBI.

GAME 3
at San Francisco / Candlestick Park

The Blue Jays need to win the last three games, or they go home. For two teams, that matched up beautifully coming into this series, it's been all Giants as the series shifted back to San Francisco. Toronto will send Doyle Alexander (17-10, 3.45 ERA & 142 K's) to the mound against Scott Sanderson (11-13, 4.21 ERA & 101 K's) of the Giants.

Top of the 2nd
Jesse Barfield led off the second with a double, Ernie Whitt would drive him in with a single. Tony Fernandez with no outs, would hit an RBI double, and pitcher Doyle Alexander would help his own cause with an RBI single. Damaso Garcia would get the fifth consecutive hit in the inning, while the Jays still had no outs. Rance Mulliniks would hit into a double-play, and Lloyd Moseby would fly out to end the inning. The Blue Jays already have 7 hits, one more than they had in all of Game 2! The inning could have been a lot worse for the Giants, are the Jays' bats finally waking up? Blue Jays 3, Giants 0

D.Alexander (TOR)

Bottom of the 2nd
A solo Home Run for Matt Williams (his 2nd HR) off of Alexander. Blue Jays 3, Giants 1

Top of the 8th
Blue Jays bats went quiet after 2nd inning outburst, first hit since would be during this inning by Outfielder George Bell, as a single; Jays fail to score.

Bottom of the 9th
Matt Williams strikes again with solo HR off Jays closer Tom Henke, with no outs. Henke & the Jays would survive by getting McGee, Clayton & catcher Jeff Reed all to ground out.

FINAL SCORE:
85' BLUE JAYS   3
93' GIANTS          2
WP - D.Alexander (TOR) / LP - Sanderson (SF) / SV - Henke (TOR)


POST-GAME:
  • Doyle Alexander (TOR): 7 IP, 4 H, ER, 6 K & 2 BB's; 1-for-3, RBI.
  • Matt Williams (SF): 2-for-4, 2 solo HR's (3 solo HR's for series).
  • Barry Bonds (SF): 1-for-2, 2B, 2 intentional walks.
Matt Williams has 3 of the Giants'  8 long-balls so far -- during the series.

GAME 4
at San Francisco / Candlestick Park

It's a Game 1 rematch between the Jays' Dave Stieb and the Giants' Bill Swift. Stieb hopes to fare better, in hopes of bringing this series finale back to Toronto.

Top of the 2nd
Willie Upshaw, who actually was quiet in Game 3, leads off the inning with a solo HR off of Swift. The 2nd HR & 3rd RBI for Upshaw in the series. Blue Jays 1, Giants 0

Top of the 5th
Rance Mullinks smacks an RBI double to score in Tony Fernandez from first (who reached on a single).
Blue Jays 2, Giants 0

Top of the 7th
Rance Mullinks strikes again with an RBI single, this time off of relief pitcher Bryan Hickerson. Tony Fernandez once again scores for the Blue Jays. Blue Jays 3, Giants 0

Stieb pitched great in Game 4 for Jays.

Bottom of the 7th
The Giants have actually gone quiet, scoring only 2 runs in their last 17 innings -- entering this inning. That all changed with Matt Williams scoring from 3rd on a sac fly from Kirk Manwaring. Blue Jays 3, Giants 1


Bottom of the 8th
Dave Martinez gets a lead-off single pinch-hitting for pitcher Bud Black. Mark Carreon comes in and pinch-hits for Royce Clayton, and once again comes up clutch by hitting an RBI double off of Dennis Lamp. Blue Jays 3, Giants 2




Bottom of the 9th
The Blue Jays bring in their closer Tom Henke, who survived Game 3. Willie McGee leads off the bottom of the inning with a double, Henke strikes out Manwaring. Darren Lewis steps up to the plate, who was placed 8th in the lineup for Game 4 due to his .083 AVG in 12 at-bats, and currently was 0-for-3 & facing off against Henke. Lewis ends up lacing an RBI double to left, driving in McGee -- the game is tied! The Jays would eventually get out of the inning. Blue Jays 3, Giants 3

Bottom of the 10th
After the Jays went down 1-2-3 in the 10th, The Jays keep Henke in & Todd Benzinger flies out to start the bottom half. Stepping up to the plate is Barry Bonds (batting .417 in 12 at-bats, 2 HR, 3 RBI), who has been intentionally walked three times this series (including once this game) -- the Jays have a conference at the mound, and the manager Billy Cox decides to let Henke pitch to Bonds. Big Mistake! Bonds drills the ball to the left-field stands as Candlestick erupts! A Series walk-off for a player that in real life always came up short in the post-season! THE GIANTS ARE MOVING ON!

The Jays were up 3-0 during the "7th Inning Stetch", and the Giants bullpen came up big as the lineup clawed it's way back with a dramatic ending!

Bonds watches the series winner go into the stands.

FINAL SCORE:
93' GIANTS           4
85' BLUE JAYS    3    (10 Innings)

POST-GAME:
  • Dave Stieb (TOR): 6 Innings of 2-hit, scoreless pitching (4 K's & 1 BB).
  • Rance Mulliniks (TOR): 2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI.
  • Willie Upshaw (TOR): 2-for-4, HR, 2 SB's.
  • Willie McGee (SF): 2-for-4, R, 2B
  • Bill Swift (SF): 6 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 K & 3 BB.
  • Darren Lewis (SF): 1-for-15 (.067 BA) entering clutch 9th Inning at-bat (RBI Double)
  • Barry Bonds (SF): Walk-off HR, 2 BB's.
SERIES RECAP:  93' GIANTS defeat 85' BLUE JAYS, 3-1!
  • Barry Bonds (SF): 6-for-13 (.462 AVG, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 5 BB's, 2B, SB). His On-Base Percentage was .611 & his Slugging Percentage was 1.385; which made his OPS of 1.996 off the charts!
  • Matt Williams (SF): .375 AVG (6-for-16), 3 solo HR's, 2B.
  • The Giants' bullpen during last 2 games: 1 ER, 5 hits allowed 8 Innings.
  • Tom Henke (TOR): 3 ER, 4 H & BB allowed in 2.2 IP;  a lousy 10.13 ERA (1 SV, 1 BS & Loss)
  • Bill Swift (SF): 1-0 record, 2.25 ERA, 9 H, 3 ER & 4 K's in 12 IP.
  • Willie Upshaw (TOR): .400 AVG, 2 HR, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI & 2 SB's & 6 hits.
  • Mark Carreon (SF): 2 clutch hits in Game 1 & Game 4 (3 RBI).
  • Blue Jays Outfielders (Bell, Moseby & Barfield): 7-for-43 (.163 BA), only 2 RBI!
NEXT OPPONENT: The Winner of the 37' New York (A) (1) / 14' Boston (N) (16) series.

Barry Bonds was off the charts against the Blue Jays.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sports Legacies

Still winners in my book, despite what the media says.

So there was a lot of discussion about Peyton Manning on the sports radio stations, and how his legacy has been "tarnished", and now with Tom Brady going home (once again) not a Super Bowl champion -- it really got me looking at the legacies talk. I have not tuned into any of the sports radio or ESPN, but I'm sure somewhere it has already been discussed as well.

Do I think Peyton Manning's legacy been tarnished? No. This is the thing, many players, many great players have spent an entire NFL career without ever winning the Lombardi Trophy -- Manning, is not only one of the most accomplished passers in the history of football, but he already has won one (over the Bears), and lost a close one to the Saints. A Saints team by the way that was led by another future Hall of Fame quarterback in Drew Brees. It's well known that Dan Marino went to only one Super Bowl and that was a defeat by another great quarterback in Joe Montana & the San Francico 49'ers -- He didn't win a title, and I have to say Marino had quite the legacy!

People keep calling Peyton Manning a loser, and also like to point out that his brother Eli Manning, has two titles now, and a better career post-season record. It's true he does, but this is what happens in pro sports, we live in a world where Trent Dilfer (former Ravens QB) has a ring, and Marino doesn't. Sometimes it's just the way the cookie crumbles.

You can never take away what Tom Brady has accomplished in the NFL, from his unexpected splash into the NFL by taking over for Drew Bledsoe, to winning 3 Super Bowls in 4 years (making the New England Patriots the 2nd team to do that). The last title has actually been for the 2004 Season (January 2005 over the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX) -- It doesn't seem that long, because the Patriots have always been in the mix.

Here is a look at Brady's career at a glance:

  • 2000 NFL Draft: 6th Round Draft Pick (compensatory pick); I actually remember the preview magazine, and it mentions him in a brief sentence as the 3rd QB on depth chart behind Tim Rattay.
  • 2001 - Bledsoe gets hurt, Brady hit his stride in his 5th career start (after two disappointing starts), passing for 2,843 yards & 18 TD's. The Pats would go on to beat the Rams in the Super Bowl.
  • 2002 - No playoffs, lost tie-breaker to the New York Jets.
  • 2003 - Defeated the Carolina Panthers in XXXVIII for 2nd title.
  • 2004 - Third title in four years, defeating Philadelphia. The Patriots would set a record 21 straight wins dating back to 2003 season.
  • 2005 - defeated by Denver in Division Playoff Game.
  • 2006 - Mounted a comeback against the Chargers, down by 8 with eight minutes left in the 4th, the Patriots would win 24-21 over a favored Chargers team. The Patriots would lose in the AFC Championship against the Colts, after leading at the half 21-6.
  • 2007 - The Patriots would have an undefeated regular season of 16-0, and failed to match the 73' Dolphins in their quest for a "perfect season", by losing to Eli Manning & the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.
  • 2008 - Brady's season would come to a quick end midway through the first quarter of the season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs. 
  • 2009 - Tom Brady set an NFL record 5 TD passes in the 2nd quarter against the Tennessee Titans. The Patriots would demolish the Titans in a snow storm 59-0 (it tied the NFL's biggest margin of victory since the 1970 AFL-NFL Merger. Brady went 29/34 & 380 passing yards, for a nearly perfect passer rating of 152.8! The team would get knocked out by the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Wildcard Game.
  • 2010 - Tom Brady signs $72 million contract (4 years) making him the NFL's highest paid player ($48.5 million guaranteed). No Playoffs in 2010.
  • 2011 - Became 4th player to pass for 5,000 yards in a single-season (finishing with 5,235 passing yards), returned to the Super Bowl for first time since 2007 season, to once again lose to the New York Giants.
  • 2012 - Defeated by the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship.
Now people can sit there and say it's been 8 years, though! Tom Brady can go on to not win another and that wouldn't hurt anything when it comes to his legacy, has it all lost a bit of the luster? Sure, but there is not many that can sit there and say 'Hey, I've got three rings, and tied Joe Montana for 5 starts by a QB in a Super Bowl'. People still dread the Patriots, and know that they are always a contender -- they've been so dominant it's definitely hard to believe it has been 8 years since their last title. Remember the Yankees' Derek Jeter started his championship dominance almost on the same wave-length as Brady. Brady won three titles in 3 of 4 years, Jeter won 4 during a 5-year stretch, the Yankees would do the same thing and start failing to win the title, after losing to Arizona in 2001, they would also lose the World Series to the Marlins in 2003, blow a 3-0 ALCS series lead to Boston, and have other early post-season exits, until finally winning it once more in 2009 over Philadelphia. Yet, that drought never hurt Jeter or the Yankees' legacy. The Yankees, just like the Patriots are always in the mix. Who's to say that Brady won't get another shot?

Jeter was always winning, while the Braves only won one.

Now, not only am I a Detroit Tigers fan, but I also love the Atlanta Braves as well. Do I look at the Atlanta Braves of the 1990's as a failure? No, sure they probably should have won more titles, but another force risen in 1996 in the New York Yankees. Plus a few game decisions or differences in a few plays, could have changed all that -- in 1991, during the key Game 7 of the World Series where Jack Morris pitched his 10-Inning gem, and Gene Larkin got the game-winning hit... it could have been different, if Chuck Knoblauch's psyche-out on Braves' base-runner Lonnie Smith did not work, plus who knows what could have happened in a threatening inning in which Kent Hrbek clearly pulled Ron Gant off the base to pick off the runner? We were up 2-0 in the 1996 World Series. Then there is the Marlins in 1997, in which Livan Hernandez got a strike zone in the size of the Titanic! You still can't take away the fact that, Atlanta set a professional sports record by winning 14 consecutive division titles!

It's all a few plays difference, same can be said going back to Brady and the Patriots -- both losses to the Giants came down to two spectacular catches (one by David Tyree & the other by Mario Manningham) -- Plus a couple key plays in earlier post-season exits, it's truly amazing that Brady actually doesn't have 5 rings right now!

Bills' Trio of Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas & Andre Reed in the 1990's

If Peyton Manning won against Baltimore and went on to win the Super Bowl, we would be talking what a winner he is, and not having the media and fans calling him a loser. People focus too much on the current -- 'What have you done for me, lately?' routine, we focus too much on the negative. The Cleveland Browns in the mid-80's would fall victim to Denver back-to-back years, people always point out the Earnest Byner fumble, and not the fact he was a good all-around running back that helped get them there. People focus on the fact that the Buffalo Bills lost four straight Super Bowls, instead of the fact that they were the best from their conference for 4 straight years, and the fact that they had to play the "NFC Beast" (the old nickname for the NFC East during that time of dominance) in the form of the New York Giants (86', 1990 Super Bowl Champs), Washington Redskins (1987, 1991 Super Bowl Champs), and the Dallas Cowboys (92'-93' & 1995 Super Bowl Champs) from 1990 to 1993. The Detroit Pistons won the 2004 NBA Finals, and probably should have at least won another (against the Spurs), but no one can take away that they went to six consecutive Eastern Conference Finals (which is only 2 behind the NBA record of 8 consecutive Conference Finals behind the Los Angeles Lakers).

The big, bad Pistons were a force to reckon with.

I guess what I'm trying to say, is we should embrace the positive than the negative, especially when that player or franchise has brought so much positive success in the first place. We have places like Pittsburgh who is dying to see the Pittsburgh Pirates just reach above .500 ( a winning season) to break their American Sports franchise record of 20 consecutive losing seasons, so don't be surprised to see their fans act like they have won the World Series, when they win Game #82!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

STATEN ISLAND SLUGGERS

STATEN ISLAND SLUGGERS
(Hall of Fame Players indicated in Gold)
BALLPARK: Staten Island Stadium (6,500 Capacity)
Owner / General MGR: None
Manager: Dick Howser

Franchise Stud: Mickey Mantle.
Current Roster
C - Darrell Porter
C/3B/OF - B.J. Surhoff
DH/1B - David Ortiz
1B - Steve Garvey
2B - George Grantham
2B - Harold Reynolds
SS - Troy Tulowitzki
SS - Jose Reyes
3B - Ken Caminiti
3B - Bob Aspromonte
OF - Mickey Mantle
OF - Goose Goslin
OF - Jesse Burkett
OF - Steve Finley
OF - Tommie Agee
OF - Clyde Milan

SP - Ferguson Jenkins
SP - Lon Warneke
SP - Al Leiter
SP - Cole Hamels
SP - Mark Buehrle
P - Claudio Vargas
RP - Joe Beimel
RP - Joe Borkowski
RP - Scott Garrelts
RP - Francisco Cordero
RP - Doug Corbett
CP - Jesse Orosco

The GIANTS of MANHATTAN

The GIANTS of MANHATTAN
(Hall of Fame Players indicated in Gold)
BALLPARK: City Field (45,000 Capacity)
Owner / General MGR: None
Manager: Casey Stengel

The "Iron Man" - Cal Ripken, Jr.
Current Roster
C - Todd Hundley
C - John Bateman
1B - Mark McGwire
1B - Ed Kranepool
2B - Frankie Frisch
2B/3B - Jeff Kent
SS - Cal Ripken, Jr.
SS - Fred Patek
3B - Whitey Kurowski
3B - Edgardo Alfonzo
DH/OF - Babe Herman
OF - Eddie Roush
OF - Jeromy Burnitz
OF - Willie Wilson
OF - Don Baylor
OF/DH - Gus Zernial

SP - Bob Gibson
SP - Babe Adams
SP - Sal Maglie
SP - Ed Whitson
SP - Clay Kirby
P - Jason Marquis
RP - Ruddy Lugo
RP - Jesus Colome
RP - Justin Hampson
RP - Brian Fuentes
RP - Al Hrabosky
CP - Dennis Eckersley


HUDSON RIVER HAWKS

HUDSON RIVER HAWKS
(Hall of Fame Players indicated in Gold)
BALLPARK: Rochester Frontier Field (10,840 Capacity)
Owner / General Manager: None
Manager: Dallas Green

Team Captain: Mike Schmidt of the Hawks.
Current Roster
C - Joe Mauer
C - John Bassler
1B - Frank Thomas
1B - Dan Meyer
2B - Johnny Evers
2B - Ian Kinsler
SS - Rico Petrocelli
SS - Craig Reynolds
3B - Mike Schmidt
3B/DH/OF - Aubrey Huff
OF - Paul O'Neill
OF - Paul Waner
DH/OF - Greg Luzinski
OF - Sam Rice
OF - Kevin Bass
OF - Rick Reichardt

SP - Frank Viola
SP - Teddy Higuera
SP - Dizzy Trout
SP - Brad Penny
SP - Brandon Webb
P - Steve Renko
RP - Jason Frasor
RP - Scott Eyre
RP - Jonathan Broxton
RP - Dick Radatz
RP - Carlos Marmol
CP - Dan Quisenberry





BROOKLYN DODGERS

BROOKLYN DODGERS
(Hall of Fame Players indicated in Gold)
BALLPARK: Ebbets Field (31,902 Capacity)
Owner / General Manager: None
Manager: Walter Alston


Current Roster:
C - Ed Bailey
C/OF - Charlie Moore
1B - Mark Grace
DH/1B - Cecil Fielder
2B - Jackie Robinson
2B/3B - Jim Gantner
SS - Vern Stephens
SS - Larry Bowa
3B/DH - Bill Madlock
3B/SS - Travis Fryman
OF - Duke Snider
OF - David Justice
OF/DH - Ken Singleton
OF - Raul Mondesi
OF - Andy Van Slyke
OF - Jermaine Dye

SP - Sandy Koufax
SP - Don Sutton
SP - Don Newcombe
SP - Mel Stottlemyre
SP - Ubaldo Jimenez
P - Rich Hill
RP - Mark McLemore
RP - Michael Wuertz
RP - Akinori Otsuka
RP - George Sherrill
RP - David Riske
CP - Steve Howe

(*** More Information in time ***)

BRONX BOMBERS

BRONX BOMBERS
(Hall of Fame Players indicated in Gold)
BALLPARK: Old Yankee Stadium (57,545 Capacity)
Owner / General Manager: None
Manager: Joe McCarthy

The Yankee Clipper: Joe DiMaggio.
Current Roster
C - Gabby Hartnett
C - Buck Rodgers
1B - Boog Powell
1B - John Jaha
2B - Roberto Alomar
2B/OF - Cookie Rojas
SS/1B - Jose Offerman
SS - Chris Gomez
3B - Ken Keltner
3B - Toby Harrah
OF - Joe DiMaggio
OF - Reggie Jackson
DH/OF - Joe Carter
OF - Bob Johnson
OF - Larry Hisle
OF - Devon White

SP - Ron Guidry
SP - Mike Mussina
SP - Waite Hoyt
SP - Andy Hawkins
SP - Orlando Hernandez
P - Aaron Cook
RP - Chris Bootcheck
RP - Javier Lopez
RP - Chad Cordero
RP - Gary Lucas
RP - Greg Minton
CP - Mariano Rivera

(*** More Information in time***)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

PROVIDENCE GRAYS

PROVIDENCE GRAYS
(Hall of Fame Players indicated in Gold)
BALLPARK: McCoy Stadium (10,031 Capacity)
Owner / General Mgr: None
Manager: Frank Bancroft

Willie "Pops" Stargell
Current Roster
C - Jorge Posada
C - Sammy White
1B / OF - Willie Stargell
1B - Bob Watson
2B - Max Bishop
2B/IF/OF - Mark DeRosa
SS - Gary Disarcina
SS - J.J. Hardy
3B - Ron Santo
3B - Ed Sprague
OF - Ed Delahanty
OF - Darryl Strawberry
OF/DH - Dave Kingman
OF - Willie Horton
OF - Bo Jackson
OF - Curt Flood

SP - Grover "Pete" Alexander
SP - Bob Lemon
SP - Fernando Valenzuela
SP - Felix Hernandez
SP - Carlos Silva
P - Nate Robertson
RP - Santiago Casilla
RP - Kevin Correia
RP - Octavio Dotel
RP - Bill Castro
RP - Lindy McDaniel
CP - Huston Street

***(More Information in time)***

Heritage League Standings


You may see some posts about my Heritage League rosters and 'go huh?'  I'm updating the rosters on the Heritage League Page on the main menu for The Boys of Summer post, I am also still doing the tournament (so don't worry!) -- So this was a good moment to send out an update, by sending the current standings as of January 24th.

EASTERN LEAGUE


  • NEW ENGLAND DIVISION: Buffalo Bisons (13-6) First, winners of 5 straight & 3 games ahead of the 10-9 Providence Grays (Second Place). Followed by the disappointing Philadelphia Quakers at 9-10 (4 GB), fourth-place New Haven Knights 8-10 & last place Boston Pilgrims (8-11) who looked like they were starting to roll, until losing two straight to Providence.
  • NEW YORK DIVISION: So far in this young season, no particular team in this division can seem to take control, the Hudson River Hawks (8-8) show the most promise of late by winning five straight games. They are tied with three teams in first, the Bronx Bombers, The Giants of Manhattan & Brooklyn Dodgers, all 8-8; while the Staten Island Sluggers' bullpen continues to implode, the team is better than it's 8-10 record, who have the best run differential in the division (+17).
  • ATLANTIC DIVISION: Louisville Colonels (10-6) can increase their lead with their upcoming series against the last place Washington Senators (6-10), Washington's offense (.233 BA / .725 OPS) is one of the worst in the E.L., and have a negative run differential of -18. St.Petersburg Suns are better than their 8-8 record with one of the league's better pitching staffs, and the Richmond Rebels (7-9) have shown they have an explosive lineup.
  • CENTRAL DIVISION: This division is already showing it's going to be a dog fight between the Detroit Wolverines, Cincinnati Red Stockings & Indianapolis Federals. The Feds are probably the most dangerous team, doing great with the bat and pitching! All are tied at 9-7, except for the apparent weak link in the division -- the Cleveland Warriors at 6-10 (3 GB).


WESTERN LEAGUE

  • MIDWEST DIVISION: This division is up for grabs with no one taking clear control, five teams separated by 2 games. The St. Louis Browns are currently in first at 9-7, followed by the Chicago Nationals at 8-8, K.C. Monarchs & Milwaukee Braves are at 8-9, with the Memphis Blues in last place at 7-9.
  • SOUTHERN DIVISION: The two teams that are setting the tone in this division are the Arlington Rangers and Oklahoma City Bandits, each at 10-6. The Topeka Tornadoes have been playing better of late, and now have evened their record at 8-8, while Babe Ruth & the Birmingham Barons (7-9) can't get their bats going with a horrible .180 batting average & .626 OPS! The Houston Colt .45's are in last, and it'll be interesting to see if newly-acquired (but struggling) Joe Morgan can get Houston turned around, who are batting .217 as a team.
  • NORTHERN DIVISION: The Portland Fire were looking like they were off and running at 9-2, and have suddenly came to an halt at 10-6, losing 4 of their last 5 games. The St. Paul Whitecaps (who lost to Portland earlier 3-1 in a series) is within a game again, with the Seattle Pilots. The Colorado Rockies have been a bust to this point, at 6-10!
  • PACIFIC DIVISION: The San Diego Stars (9-7) appear to be the team emerging from this mess of a division, with one of the two best team ERA's in the entire league. Their bats have also came around, as they won three straight games. The Los Angeles Angels are 8-8, while the Bay Area Athletics, despite hitting a great .327, have had a rocky bullpen and are now 7-9! The Phoenix Heat can't figure anything out, while being outscored by 41 runs!




PHILADELPHIA QUAKERS

PHILADELPHIA QUAKERS
(Hall of Fame Players indicated in Gold)
BALLPARK: Quakers Stadium (43,651 Capacity)
Owner / General Mgr & Manager: Connie Mack

Carlton - One of best lefties to ever pitch!
Current Roster
C - Spud Davis
C - Dan Wilson
1B/SS - Ernie Banks
OF/DH/1B - Lance Berkman
2B - Robinson Cano
2B - Rennie Stennett
SS - Travis Jackson
SS - Ozzie Smith
3B - Tony Perez
3B - Billy Cox
DH - Rico Carty
OF - Kiki Cuyler
OF - Bob Allison
OF - Carlos Beltran
OF - Dave May
DH/OF- Del Ennis

SP - Steve Carlton
SP - Greg Maddux
SP - Bucky Walters
SP - Bob Veale
SP - Ted Lilly
P - Tim Wakefield
RP - Tyler Johnson
RP - Vinnie Chulk
RP - Ryan Madson
RP - Damaso Marte
RP - Ellis Kinder
CP - Tug McGraw

***(More Information in time)***



NEW HAVEN KNIGHTS

NEW HAVEN KNIGHTS
(Hall of Fame Players indicated in Gold)
BALLPARK: Yale Field (6,200 Capacity)
Owner / General Mgr: None
Manager / Player: Hugh Duffy


Hugh Duffy batted .440 in 1894!
Current Roster
C - Andy Seminick
C - Tony Pena
1B - Fred McGriff
1B - Frank McCormick
2B - Lou Whitaker
2B - Dan Uggla
SS - Derek Jeter
SS - Khalil Greene
3B - Larry Parrish
3B - Sal Bando
OF - Hugh Duffy
OF/DH/3B - Mel Ott
OF - Curtis Granderson
OF - Lou Brock
OF - Rusty Greer
OF - Bob Bailor

SP - Robin Roberts
SP - Jack Powell
SP - C.C. Sabathia
SP - Charlie Root
SP - Daisuke Matsuzaka
P - Jeff Fassero
RP - Matt Wise
RP - Matt Lindstrom
RP - Lee Gardner
RP - Ryan Dempster
RP - Todd Worrell
CP - Lee Smith

***(More Information in time)***




BUFFALO BISONS

BUFFALO BISONS
(Hall of Fame Players are indicated in Gold)
BALLPARK: Bisons Ballpark  (18,025 Capacity)
Owner / General Mgr: None
Manager: Hector Lopez

Current Roster
C - Ernie Lombardi
C - Muddy Ruel
1B - Jimmie Foxx
1B/DH - Steve Balboni
2B/SS- Buddy Myer
2B - Delino DeShields
SS - Jose Valentin
SS - Chick Galloway
3B - Fred Lindstrom
3B - Adrian Beltre
OF - Fred Lynn
OF - Rocky Colavito
OF - Manny Ramirez
DH/OF - Hal McRae
OF - Derek Bell
OF - Paul Blair

SP - Kid Nichols
SP - Billy Pierce
SP - John Candelaria
SP - Kevin Brown
SP - Erik Bedard
P - Matt Young
RP - Mike Myers
RP - Brendan Donnelly
RP - Kevin Gregg
RP - Dan Plesac
RP - Jeff Montgomery
CP - Jeff Reardon

*** (More Information in time)***

BOSTON PILGRIMS


BOSTON PILGRIMS
(Hall of Fame Players are indicated in Gold)
BALLPARK: Fenway Park (37,400 Capacity)
Owner / General Mgr: None
Manager: Terry Francona

Bagwell, the franchise's top pick.
Current Roster
C - Ivan Rodriguez
C - Mike Fitzgerald
1B - Jeff Bagwell
1B/OF - Darin Erstad
2B - Bobby Doerr
2B - Bump Wills
SS/3B - Harvey Kuenn
SS - Maury Wills
3B - Scott Rolen
3B - Tim Wallach
DH/OF - Ralph Garr
OF - Carl Yastrzemski
OF - George Bell
OF - Minnie Minoso
OF - Pat Burrell
OF - Carl Crawford

SP - Joe McGinnity
SP - Rube Marquard
SP - Jim Kaat
SP - Lawrence Gura
SP - Scott Baker
RP - Matt Herges
RP - Joe Smith
RP - Eric Gagne
RP - Steve Mingori
RP - Ron Taylor
CP - Turk Farrell

*** (More Information in time)***



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