Saturday, November 19, 2016

Rookies Shine at Chicagoland Fall Tourney



Last Saturday, the Fall edition of the Chicagoland (Chicago World Series) Tournament took place at the Chicago O'Hare Days Inn Hotel. The tournament as always, was a smashing success, and for this particular event, the rookies came out to shine!

The tournament championship finale came down to two APBA tournament rookies, while the tournament was ran by our friend Rob Spatz, a rookie in the aspect of running his first tourney, not a rookie when it comes to tournaments, APBA spirit & his professionalism. I enjoyed watching the build-up to the event, my only regret is that I was not able to be present to watch the tournament take place.

Spatz took over for Doug Schuyler, who has ran the previous Chicago tournaments, in which him & Jim Saska co-produced the event & made this event what it is today. Since then, Saska has moved to Virginia, while Schuyler has handed over the reigns to Spatz. So hats off to all three of these men for making it happen, plus I think Doug should get an extra pat for taking these tournaments that extra mile.

The tournament also had the cool & interesting them of all the teams being sub-.500 teams, basically a tournament full of losing teams. This idea has been bounced around at previous tournaments, I know that myself has witnessed at tourneys before on APBA members speaking how cool it would be to do such a thing, but this time.... a tournament finally delivered on the idea.

Here is some of the photos from the event...

Two of the classiest: Don Smith (left) and Scott Fennessy.
Longtime Tourney Vet: Clark Eichman rolls during the All-Star Game.
We Are Family: Rich Zawadski (right) takes in a match-up between his son, Eric (APBA 66), against Ken Schulz who has been part of numerous APBA tourneys with his own family members in the past.

The tournament also witnessed the continuation of the APBA tradition of a game that is shared between father & sons. Pastor Rich Zawadzki, an APBA pillar and friend of many of us in the APBA community, brought his son Eric to this fall's event. Eric was supposed to be father Rich's designated roller for the 1920 St. Louis Browns, but had to fill in for the injured Bradd Romant, who lost a fight with an exacto knife, while doing house work -- we just like to kid that he was working on his drone in the same way that Cleveland Indians' pitcher Trevor Bauer injured himself during the playoffs. Bradd's APBA choice was the 1980 Cleveland Indians.

Passing Down the Game: Rich Zawadzki & his son Eric, made the trip from Jackson, MI to Chicago.

Eric Z faces off against Ryan Daniels' 2001 Colorado Rockies.

The Big Kid John Roels gave Eric this cool, authentic original APBA T-Shirt.
How did the Zawadzki's do? Rich came in second with a 6-3 record for his 20' Browns, while Bradd's 80 Indians with 'Designated Roller' Eric at the helm, went 1-8 -- while division mate, Ken Schulz did not take it easy on either of the Zawadzkis, by sweeping them a combined, 6-0. Schulz won the division by going 7-2 with the 1967 Atlanta Braves. Another APBA tourney regular & friend, John Roels was cool enough to give young Eric his APBA Baseball, an old-school APBA original -- it may be appear to be a dress on the young lad, but he will fill out that shirt & will likely be wearing that shirt at future tourneys as an young adult. 

His father was definitely enjoying his time, with this Facebook post....


Speaking of Roels, he likes to capture his enthusiasm & spirit for APBA tournaments by dressing the part, this time in Reds gear -- that's why I referred to him as the 'Big Kid'; Another nickname I gave him was "The Painkiller" after he defeating my brother (Christopher Baier) in the 1st Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament (GMABT), winning with the 1937 New York Yankees, by rolling dice with a Prescription bottle. 

Roels usually has great luck at these tourneys, but his 1955 Cincinnati Reds finished second with a losing record of 4-5; Rookie tourney manager Chet Wazio won their division (Harry Chiti Division) with a 8-1 record, by managing the 1971 Chicago White Sox.

Rookie Playoff Match-up: Vince Bianco (Eventual Tourney Champ) faces Chet Wazio,
Rookies took presidence in this tournament, a handful of first-timers, young & older; Wazio and Eric Z were not the only rookies having fun, as the tournament would come down to a first-timer winning the entire thing in Vince Bianco. Bianco's 1964 Los Angeles Dodgers edged Chris Shore's 1987 Boston Red Sox for the Jose Oquendo Division title, moved on to face Wazio's 71' White Sox in the playoffs, pulling off the back-and-forth victory in extras (10 innings) by winning, 5-2. He would play veteran Schulz in the playoffs, as the Dodgers defeated those 67' Braves, 4-2. He would cruise for the Championship win over Todd Daniels' 2000 Houston Astros

The 2000 Houston Astros was an interesting story, led by Jose Lima (a D starting pitcher), would win a 9-0 shutout over Eric Berg's undefeated 9-0, 1964 Minnesota Twins. I know that plenty of us liked the Twins' chances, and it hurts to watch such a great guy like Eric get knocked out like that, don't get me wrong, I am sure Todd is a great guy as well, but you won't find too many tourney contenders as chill & nice as Mr. Berg here.... So I am still rooting for you to win a title someday, Eric! 

It's Lima Time: Jose Lima delivers 9-0 shutout for Todd Daniels' 2000 Houston Astros.
Here is a breakdown brought to us by tournament host, Rob Spatz via Facebook....



More pictures on the successful tournament...

Mike Hill (left) faces off against Kurt Bergland (right) in the playoffs.

Bob Spatz (Rob's father) shows off his 1973 Hank Aaron card (33-1).

This is It; 2016 Chicago World Series Championship - T.Daniels (left) & Vince (right).

Vince Bianco is presented with traveling trophy from Bob Ellers (2016 Summer Champ).

Fall Guy - Vince Bianco is presented with keeper trophy, with Tourney host Rob Spatz.

So that pretty much wraps up my coverage on last weekend's big event -- Once again, congrats to Vince Bianco, we hope to see you at many tournaments in the future... Also, excellent job on Rob Spatz for taking over the Chicago World Series, as we look forward to many more tournaments in the future from APBA's heartland.


Take care everyone, as we approach the holidays, and most importantly....

Keep Rolling 66's!

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