|Fireball King: Nolan Ryan of the 1979 California Angels|
There is a Foo Fighters song called "Times Like These" -- a single of theirs off of their album "One by One" a post-9/11 track about moving on, and it's goes "It's times like these you learn to live again". It popped in my head after this game, in which I was thinking on the lines of APBA - It's games like these why I love to roll again.
Now this was not the greatest game I ever played. Maybe one of the more interesting & fun games that I have played in a little while.
With all the Chicagoland action that took place this last Saturday, I started thinking about my Amazing April tournament (my answer to March Madness) -- I started mine late, last week of April when I first felt I had no time to do one with playoff action in my computer league around the corner, and a busy off-season. One night, we lost internet power, so it changed my mind, in which I decided to do one after all. I took a momentarily break from the tournament to work on my 2007 Tigers Season replay, in which I am rolling so cold for the Tigers recently, I decided to switch back to this in some of my off-time. For future Aprils, I want to just blast through the tournament, this one, I took my time for the first round.
With the first round about 3/4 done now, I decided to roll tonight.
I played 3 games prior to work Sunday night, the 1982 Cardinals at 1906 Chicago Cubs, 1979 Expos at 1946 Red Sox & the 1979 Angels at 1927 New York Yankees. Although the first two games were close, they just did not match the night's finale. By the way, the Cubs edged Cards, 2-1 in a pitchers duel between Joaquin Andujar & Mordecai "Three-Finger" Brown, 6 total hits by both teams combined -- while The Expos & Red Sox combined for 17 hits, in a 5-3 Red Sox victory, where Red Sox held on despite leading 4-0 after 5 innings.
The 1927 Yankees hosting the 1979 Angels, may read off as a slaughter-ready-to-happen at first glance. Sure, the Angels have flame-thrower Nolan Ryan on the mound, but he's a B-XY (with no Z) which spells doom against an on-base machine such as the Bronx Bombers. The wonderful thing about APBA & baseball as we all know, even the worse team can have its day in the sun -- was that to be the day for the Angels? You would have to read on to find out.
By the way, the 1927 Yankees won my 2014 Amazing April Tournament over Cinderella - 1993 Philadelphia Phillies. The final four from last season get the top 4 seeds, which another Cinderella team, the 2007 Colorado Rockies have the #4 seed.
Waite Hoyt (A-YZ) didn't help himself in the top of the first, fielding a Rod Carew infield grounder, and then throwing the ball over Gehrig's head, with one out. Don Baylor made him pay the price by jacking a two-run homer (Baylor won A.L. MVP honors in 1979). The Angels had a 2-0 lead after one inning.
Bottom of the 2nd, Nolan Ryan would walk the first three batters (Meusel, Lazzeri & Collins). Jim Dugan would hit into a double-play (force at second, out at first) as Bobby Meusel would score. Waite Hoyt could not get the runner on third home, and grounds out for third out. Ryan dodged a monster inning by the Yankees. Yankees trail 2-1 after two innings.
Top of the 3rd, Carney Lansford hits a one-out double, in which Rod Carew followed with a double of his own, to drive in Lansford. Angels take 3-1 lead early.
Tony Lazzeri hits one into the stands to lead off the bottom of the 4th, to trim the lead down to 3-2.
Both starting pitchers start to take settle down, Waite Hoyt would not allow a base-runner in the 4th, 5th & 6th innings. Nolan Ryan was two different starting pitchers in this game, one was pretty solid pitcher not allowing hits in the 5th, 6th & 7th hitters, allowing his first hit in 4 innings in the 8th -- the other was a bit wild, allowing many walks.
Ryan would keep Babe Ruth quiet in this one, striking him out twice, walking him three times (two intentional) to avoid possible trouble.
|Babe Ruth - 1961 Fleer Baseball card.|
Top of the 9th, the Yankees now with Wilcy Moore on the mound (after the Yankees pinch-hit for Hoyt in the bottom of the 8th), gives up lead-off double to Don Baylor, strikes out Bobby Grich (0-for-4), but pays the price as Dan Ford hits a two-run homer in the top of the 9th, to take a commanding 6-2 lead.
Bottom of the 9th, Nolan is still on the mound, he has the best APBA grade on the team, that is available. Dave Frost (B-YZ) is the starting pitcher slated for the 2nd round, if the Angels advance -- while Mark Clear is a B-XW. The problem is Nolan's wildness returned at the wrong time, he would walk Earle Combs & Mark Koenig to lead off the inning, while Lou Gehrig steps up to the plate. Ryan has kept Gehrig in check up to this point, 0-for-4, but has reached base twice, both on infield errors; Ryan was hoping for Gehrig to hit into a double play -- instead Gehrig hits a two-run double to cut the lead in half. The Yankees now trail 6-4, with Gehrig on second & no outs, while Babe Ruth comes to the plate. Ryan's second intentional walk happened here to Ruth, he would rather face Bobby Meusel, even though he has a dangerous card, but definitely the less of two evils. With Ruth taking the empty first, once again Ryan is banking on a double play in attempt to get out of this trouble. Meusel hits a walk-off double as both Gehrig & Ruth scores! Yankees win! While the Angels are sick to their stomach -- nearly pulling off the biggest upset in the tournament, and the Amazing April Tournament history.
Nolan Ryan's final stat line does not sparkle -- 8 innings, 5 hits allowed, 6 runs (all earned), 6 K's with 10 walks allowed. Ryan is not the first big-name guy that I have allowed 10 walks with, I believe I have done the same with Tom Seaver once with the 1969 Mets.
Hoyt allowed 4 hits & 3 earned runs in 8 innings, with 5 K's & no walks.
It was the first Amazing April tournament entry for the 1979 California Angels, and they almost pulled off a dandy in their tournament debut. The 1927 New York Yankees move on to the second round, in their quest to repeat.
*** Games 3-5 results in my WHAT IF 1984 World Series -- Up next & Coming soon - Part III of my 2020 article on MLB Baseball. ***