Friday, January 27, 2017

First GMABT Exhibitions (Double Header)

Wagner & Cobb meeting in 09' World Series.
My 1901 Pittsburgh Pirates have just taken their first cracks in a double-header exhibition against the 1909 Detroit Tigers at Bennett Park (in Detroit); They are getting prepared for Jackson, Michigan for this year's Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament III (March 4th).


The Bucs' Deacon Phillipe (Grade A-Z) takes the mound against George Mullin (Grade A-Y).

The game would start off with a one-out solo HR by Ginger Beaumont for the Pirates off of Detroit's Mullin in the 1st Inning. The Pirates' Kitty Bransfield leads off the 2nd with a walk, would steal second & then advance to third on a fly out by Lefty Davis; Bransfield would score off Claude Ritchey's sac fly. Pittsburgh would pad their lead in the 4th with Honus Wagner scoring off a Chief Zimmer sac fly.

Just when the Tigers appeared to have no answers, the Tigers would answer the call with 2 runs during the bottom of the 4th Inning, with a sac fly RBI from Jim Delahanty & RBI double from Tom Jones -- trimming the Pirates' lead to one run, 3-2.

Bottom of the 6th -- Sam Crawford leads off with single, which is followed up by Ty Cobb's single, advancing Crawford to third base; Cobb would steal second base, runners on 2nd & 3rd with no outs. George Moriarty hits a fly to center that does not advance the runners, while Jim Delahanty hits a infield fly, with no success as well. With two outs, Deacon Phillipe makes the mistake & balks, advancing Crawford to score, while Cobb advances to third -- tying the ballgame at 3-3. Tom Jones fails to get Cobb in for the go-ahead run.

Ginger Beaumont would collect a lead-off single in the 8th, only to be caught stealing, during Tommy Leach's at-bat; Leach would fly out. Honus Wagner would give Pittsburgh a brief, 4-3 lead with a solo home run... too bad, Ginger had to get thrown out at second. Two homers for the Pirates in their first exhibition game, I am thrilled by this.

The unfortunate thing in this game, no one could quite the 3rd, 4th & 5th hitters of the Tigers' lineup in Sam Crawford (2-for-3, BB & 2 runs), Ty Cobb (3-for-4, 2 runs & 2 steals) & George Moriarty (2-for-4); It was Moriarty's RBI single & Tom Jones' sac fly during the bottom of the 8th, that would give the Tigers the lead for good.

Tigers 5, Pirates 4 
W - G.Mullin (1-0) / CG
L- Phillipe (0-1) / CG


Same lineups, different catchers & pitchers for both teams; The Pirates will feature Jesse Tannehill (Grade A-Z) on the mound, with George Yeager (instead of Chief Zimmer) behind the plate -- while the Tigers go with pitcher Ed Summers (Grade A-Z) and backstop Oscar Stanage (instead of Boss Schmidt).

This game started off, in the same way it left off -- both Sam Crawford & Ty Cobb still collecting hits. After a one-out, single & stolen base by Donie Bush during the bottom of the 1st... Crawford smacked a triple to deep center, driving in Bush; Cobb would follow with RBI single & a stolen base of his own. Tigers lead 2-0 after one.

Top of the 3rd, with two outs, Bucs' pitcher Jesse Tannehill would reach first on an error by Davy Jones (playing CF)... Okay... I need to do a quick shout-out to my APBA blogging friend Shay Simmons, if this was her post, I am pretty confident she would have used pictures of musicians Davy Jones & Tom Jones already... so here you go, huge shout-out to Fireblossom!

Davy & Tom Jones putting together few hits for the 1909 Tigers.

Well, back to the action, folks!

Tannehill just reached base on a error by the 'daydream believer', which setup a RBI double by Fred Clarke, cutting the lead in half, 2-1.

Once again, Sam Crawford & Ty Cobb countered again during the bottom of the 3rd, with a two-out single by Crawford -- Cobb would smack him in on a RBI triple, giving the Bengals a 3-1 lead...

That lead would be short-lived though, as Honus Wagner & Kitty Bransfield would hit back-to-back triples in the 4th; Bransfield would score on a ground out by Lefty Davis.

The game would remain gridlocked at 3-3, until the top of the 9th, when Lefty Davis would come through again, with an RBI one-out single to score in Honus Wagner from second (after a single & steal) to take final 4-3 score.. It was not easy to close out the Tigers though, after two quick outs, it was Sam Crawford & Ty Cobb (again!) -- Crawford hit a single to right, while the Bucs did not want to take any chances on Cobb & for good reason, he was 6-for-8 during the double-header -- including a triple, two runs, 4 steals & 2 RBI! So intentional walk it is, leaving everything up to George Moriarty, who would ground out to third for final out.

Pirates 4, Tigers 3
W - Tannehill (1-0) / CG
L- E.Summers (0-1) / CG

I decided to check if anyone is bringing the 1909 Detroit Tigers to the GMABT III, and there is... My friend Ron Emch (who runs the Glass City APBA Baseball Tournament in Toledo area); Emch and I, have had the privilege of playing each other at the previous two tournaments, with my teams holding a 3-1 edge. With the way, both Cobb & Crawford (5-for-7) played... please don't hold it against me, Ron if I hope I don't have to cross paths with those two players.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

This Time of Year

This time of year (of course) is usually the slow time of year, for all things Baseball, even in APBA Baseball. Many of us our getting prepared for our annual APBA card or APBA computer leagues, if that being current players or retro league players.

It's also the time of year that the new inductions to the MLB Hall of Fame happen as well, and each year always sparks quite a few debates. For me & my brother Chris, we always seem to send emails on plenty of information to each other about a many deal of players, and I love the fact that we are usually on the same wavelength. We often question today's sports writers and where their thought-process (or lack of) was in their decision-making when it came to the Hall; It raises many questions when a pitcher like Greg Maddux was actually left off a single ballot... Seriously, what is this writer's name, and what's his address again?

No, no... don't worry, I will not be hunting down some writer... personally, he's not worth my time.

This is, also the time of year, that I start getting my Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament Team, ready to go (by doing exhibitions with them) for the upcoming tournament on March 5th. I am on the fence though, I'm a bit superstitious with things, when it comes to what works... Last year, I played the 1993 Atlanta Braves, but had no chance to do any exhibitions for them, due to the fact that I realized that my 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995 & 1947 APBA sets were actually still in my folks' attic, at my folks' house in Kingsley.

I dug & dug for the 1993 Atlanta Braves with no luck... I swear that I may have found a deep space wormhole in their attic, where things simply disappear -- hopefully this means, at worst, that there is some alien life form rolling 66's with my old APBA collection.

My friend, Pastor Rich Zawadzki (Host of the GMABT) came through & provided me with his 1993 Atlanta Braves. He lent me the team at the Chinese Restaurant in Jackson, and on that night, I played a scrimmage against (my other friend) Ken Schulz, between my Braves & his 1971 Pirates team. I won with a game-winning HR by Sid Bream, who once again ripped the hearts out of Pirates fans.

The next day I woke up at the hotel, feeling like it was MY day, it felt like the morning of the day of my wedding... Yes, two different things indeed, I just knew regardless it was going to be a great day. Everything that happened that day, ran magically, I started 4-0 & even after a butt-whooping that I suffered in the hands of the 1981 Milwaukee Brewers, I still felt that it was my day....


... back to the story at hand, do I go about things the same way? Overall... no.

For one thing, I have my current GMABT right in my possession with the 1901 Pittsburgh Pirates; This year's tournament's theme is 'Deadball Teams' between 1901-1919. I will be the first to say that I don't know how to play 'Deadball Teams' to the same degree as Scott Fennessey (who won the 2013 Chicagoland World Series - Fall Edition). So with that in mind, I may do plenty of exhibitions to get this team rolling.

I do have a Deadball book on the National League teams, and will be doing the research available to prepare my team strategically...

Regardless, it will be a lot of fun!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Early Tight Races (83' NXPL Update)

Youngblood playing many roles with Tigers.
The 1983 NXPL Season has been rolling for about a month now, and the pennant races in both leagues (especially the American League) are really close, with no clear favorites.

My Detroit Tigers entered this season, as the defending American League Champions, after losing the 1982 NXPL World Series in seven hard-fought games to the St. Louis Cardinals. It's a computer league in which consists of 15 other owners like myself, in which we make the moves necessary to improve our teams from year-to-year; We get to be the Owners, General Managers & Managers, all rolled into one.

Last season, it didn't take me long to feel a nice flow with my lineup & team -- and for the last two seasons, my two starts to the seasons, consisted of 7-3 & 8-2 starts... this year, however, I came out of the gate at 5-5, while I have had trouble trying to get Ben Oglivie & Jason Thompson going at the plate.

The team as a whole, has been playing better of late, with the team going 11-9 since, while only trailing the first-place Baltimore Orioles & Chicago White Sox, by a single game at 16-14. My Tigers have actually played much better on the road (7-3) compared to my managing at home (9-11), hopefully we can get that straightened out.

We still have a stellar pitching staff, with Tom Seaver rebounding in 1983 for us (joining the staff) with Mario Soto, Dan Petry, Joaquin Andujar & Walt Terrell. Here is how they stack up...

  • Dan Petry, who won 20 games for us last season, is off to a superb start at 3-1, 1.60 ERA, 19 K's (through 6 GS, 1 CG & 45 innings). 
  • Joaquin Andujar, who has the weakest APBA grade of the bunch, has certainly not been showing that much, while he also has a 3-1, with a 2.18 ERA & 23 K's in 41.1 innings. 
  • Tom Seaver: The Hall-of-Famer is 3-1, 2.78 ERA, 26 K's in 35.2 innings. 
  • Mario Soto: 2-3, 2.98 ERA -- leads the team with 40 K's & a .898 WHIP! He has had bad luck so far, one game for example, he cruised through 6 scoreless innings & then gave up 4+ runs, or the Tigers lineup is just not doing enough to get him that victory.
  • Walt Terrell: 2-2, 2.97 ERA, with 15 K's in 30.1 innings.
Other than Soto, the entire rotation has already pitched a complete game, including one by spot-starter/reliever Dave Rozema; Plus 3 shutouts!

Starters ranked by WHIP (Walks + Hits / Innings Pitched):
  • Soto -    .898
  • Andujar -    1.040
  • Terrell -    1.220
  • Petry -    1.222
  • Seaver -    1.262
For the hitting, Ben Oglivie had a multi-homer game, while producing 3 homers last series, to finally lift his batting average over .200 (.222) -- he does rank among the team's RBI leaders (12).

  • Lance Parrish was last season's MVP, it will definitely be difficult for him to repeat 1982, which was his best MLB season, but 83' was a down-year for him; His 83' NXPL Season has so far been a productive one, while leading the team with 5 HR & 14 RBI (tied)... while batting .246, although his .275 On-Base Percentage definitely could use a lift.
  • Bill Madlock leads the team with a .329 batting average, .420 OBP & .855 OPS! He has produced 2 HR & 11 RBI, while scoring 11 runs as well. 
  • For Alan Trammell & Lou Whitaker, 1983 is the year that they broke through offensively & would continue to improve at the plate for years to come; These two batted near the bottom of my lineup last season -- this year, they bat near the top. Trammell ranks 2nd in Batting Average (.315) while leading the team with 7 doubles -- he has yet to hit a home run & only has 5 RBI though. Whitaker is 3rd in batting (.309) with 1 HR, 14 RBI (tied for team lead) while also leading the team with 14 runs.
  • Entering the 1982 NXPL Draft, I selected George Wright, who had a decent 1982, but a pretty good 1983 Season (.276 BA, 18 HR, 80 RBI & 8 steals; .746 OPS) -- plus he brings solid defense for an outfielder. Wright went above & beyond in 82' for me, and has been a blessing for my 83' team as well (.283, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 11 runs, 4 doubles & 2 triples). For people not in-the-know, Wright, played the majority of his short MLB career (1982-1986) with the Texas Rangers.
  • Joel Youngblood has been an excellent jack-of-all-trades, coming off the bench, or platooning in left or at third -- he's done his job well! Youngblood is currently batting .258 with 3 homers, 8 RBI & 8 runs, with a .814 OPS in 66 at-bats.
While those players have done well, I need Oglivie (like mentioned above) to step up along with Jason Thompson, Kirk Gibson & Mookie Wilson.

There is still plenty of season, so while we are starting to show some encouraging signs for what's to come this season, I hope & expect to see more positive outcomes.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Long Hangover

So Happy New Years! Sorry for the long, long wait, on a new post presented by the Boys of Summer. My last post was December 30th, and I mentioned in my December 26th post that I planned to hit the new year running... So far, that running is about as pathetic as Cecil Fielder attempting to steal second, LOL!

During these last few weeks, I have been conducting league business with my Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League, while at the same time, the wife & I have been diving under the covers to stay warm from all this snowfall here in northern Michigan.

These last few weeks I have not been doing much APBA (even though I have been dying to roll the dice), but that has not stopped me from enjoying many of my APBA friends' wonderful APBA projects.

So here they are...
  • Doug Schuyler & company got together for the 2nd Cheese Bowl (Cheese Bowl II), among the attendees were Curt Bartel, Kurt Bergland, Jason Cox & Eric Griebenow playing APBA. Bartel, ended up repeating (they played with power teams), with his 1958 Oconomowoc Ball Buster squad, winning the championship game, 6-3 (led by Hank Aaron & Richie Ashburn). The Cheese Bowl usually consists of the APBA fellas from northern Illinois & Wisconsin to get together, after the holidays... looks to be a wonderful tradition in the making.
  • Kevin Burghardt's APBA Season project... in the latest episode, Assistant to the traveling secretary, George Costanza had to break the latest news to George Steinbrenner on the 1978 New York Yankees falling to 28-28, as they were blasted by the 1979 Milwaukee Brewers, by the mammoth score of 14-3.
  • Drew Hogeland has been providing us wonderful in-depth game reports with pics, on his 1977 Season Replay. In his latest post, Steve Carlton improved to 17-5, while the Philadelphia Phillies keep rolling with a 74-48 record, while the Atlanta Braves, simply suck, at 39-85! He has also been provided excellent in-season stat sheets for each team.
  • I'm really digging Shay Simmons' 1969 National League Replay, on her Fireblossom's APBA Baseball. I really love her style, humor & excellent game write-ups on this site, if you have not had the pleasure of reading her blog, you must check it out!
  • My friend Beau Lofgren is doing a 1984 Minnesota Twins season replay, in an attempt to get those Twins to win the American League West crown; I didn't realize that those Twins only fell 3 games short of accomplishing just that in 84'. Currently his replay has a very close race for the division with the Twins clinging onto 1st place with a 76-69 record, with the Kansas City Royals one game out at 75-70 & the California Angels in 3rd at 74-70 (1.5 games out). Only 17-18 games remaining, should be an exciting finish!
  • Our friend Rich Zawadzki is at it again, with his super-teams, this time in the Brewster Bashers, he started his latest project in late November. The Bashers are currently 20-1, and contain superstar players from the BATS#2 set. His upcoming Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament has 36+ attendees for this March, while one of my other friends, Ken Schulz has locked in 36+ attendees as well for this summer's upcoming APBA tournament in Pittsburgh (3rd Annual Linda B. Schulz APBA Baseball Tournament).
There are many more fun projects from many friends & other APBA Facebook Group, so to those, if I left you out, that's my bad, I am sure I have enjoyed many of your replays in the past. 

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