|Winfield: Mr. May|
I took over the team, shortly after the New Year, which according to my League Manager -- I took the team over on May 11th, 1988.
The newly named Traverse City Tigers were 20-16 in second place, behind the Cedar Park Bears. The Tigers would play the Stockton Wings, the team I was to substitute manage, I put the games on spectator (both computer), because I was still in transition from the one team to the other.
It was fun to watch the action unfold, Stockton won the first game, with a 12-0 shutout by Bobby Ojeda. The next game, history would be made, when Dave Winfield (Traverse City) tied a league record of 4 HR's in a game, he also had 11 RBI & 16 total bases -- helping the Tigers win 17-6. Winfield would go on to win A.L. Player of the Week, a second time this year (and a third time, the very next week against Montana). The Tigers would go on to win the next three games, winning the series against the Wings.
Between my series with Stockton and the Montana Cutthroats, the Steel City Sluggers were looking for shortstop help & a starter/reliever with innings, one of the players he had up on the trade block was Pete O'Brien. I only had Nick Esasky, and DH-Joey Meyer, with Sam Horn in the farm system; I also knew that after Esasky's big 1989 season, that I was going to be hurting for a first baseman -- so I jumped on it, in the Winter-League edition you have to trade even number of players to keep the rosters balanced. So I traded him Jim Corsi (who will be a decent reliever in the early 90's), Dave Schmidt who was basically nothing to me after this season, and shortstop Rey Quinones to Steel City for Pete O'Brien & Steel City's 10th round pick, he threw in Larry Herndon and Mike Young to make players even -- they are pretty much chop liver to me, since Herndon is done after 88', Mike Young after 89', who goes on to play in Japan or something.
|A No-No for Scott Terry vs. Mexico City.|
My series with Montana, was a series between two teams going in different directions, I won four straight, as Montana has lost 6 straight. Pete O'Brien would contribute with his new Tiger teammates, as Dave Winfield hit 4 HR's throughout the 5-game series; at this point, Winfield has 8 HR's in his last 10 games! Mr. May indeed! When I was playing the series, I realized I should have looked at my starting pitchers' innings usage for the season, before probably trading my insurance option in Dave Schmidt.
Jose Rijo would help the team win in the first game with six innings of shutout ball. Greg Maddux during the 2nd game, got only his 2nd win of the season on May 19th, improving his record to 2-4, and lowering his ERA to 4.05. The 3rd game would be won with a walk-off single by my Tigers' Joe Carter in the bottom of the 10th. My ace Bob Knepper walked into the fifth game (the finale), with a 6-2 record & 1.98 ERA, but came off the mound in the first inning hurt -- out for 22 days!
My team would go on to a 5-game sweep, but at a price -- sure, I won nine in a row, poor Montana now has lost eleven straight! But I lost Knepper, who has been superb, going to have to call up Eric King from the farm -- but I may have to get a starting pitcher down the stretch. My batters are achy & tired, so I am going to have to give plenty of breaks for some players.
My team went on the road this past week to face off against the Mexico City Chihuahuas, for a seven-game division match-up. Entering the series, I was tied in first with Cedar Park at 29-17, while Mexico City trailed by 3 games, at 26-20. With my team resting many guys, and having the lineup all shifty, I was hoping for at least 3-4 wins. News came back that I had to check my email files, it turns out Scott Terry for me, during the 4th game pitched a No-Hitter! One of the games also got rained out, and I won the series 5-1. The rain-out will be rescheduled for later. So now, I have won 14 of my 16 games, and is waiting to hear the Cedar Park results.
Yes, I was thrilled about Terry's no-no, but that's nine innings, and I'm already worried a bit on their usage as it is, and Terry doesn't have the innings to use.
|LaPoint & the bad Air-brushing by Topps.|
So when I saw that the Fort Worth Panthers had Dave LaPoint, who had a good 1988 season with a 13-14 record with the White Sox/Pirates and a 3.25 ERA in 213 innings, I was thrilled. The offer cost me a bit, but 1989 didn't really have that many good rookies, it kind of drops off after Ken Griffey, Jr & Larry Walker (where I am nowhere close to getting them, since I'm in the middle of a possible title run) -- it cost me my #2 DP, which will be in the 30+ overall pick range, plus pitcher Ken Patterson; I got a 7th Rd pick back from Fort Worth. Plus LaPoint has a rough 1989, and bounces back a bit with a 4.11 ERA in 157.2 innings in 1990 before retiring.
But at the end of the day, I feel I did what I needed to do to keep my team in the hunt, it's still so early, and when I first took the team over I knew it was a strong team, but now I'm thinking these veterans want to make a big run at it in 1988. In a few years, we know we have to get young quick, but looking forward to that, still have some strong years left in Paul Molitor, and I have a Hall of Fame ace in Greg Maddux.
TOMORROW, I'll shift gears & tell you what's up in the MID-WEST BASEBALL LEAGUE (The current players league - 2013 APBA season) on my Traverse City Crusaders, with a new chapter for the team to start: Life after Miggy.