Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Landing on the DL

I placed myself on the Disabled List in APBA, hahaha... No really, I will definitely not be rolling any dice for a little while, my right arm around the elbow is currently suffering some tendinitis.

It's a good thing that there are clever little tools on the internet, such as a dice roller.

Check out this Dice Rolling App for APBA.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Everlasting Hall of Fame Debate (Updated BoS Material)

Through the years, I have made numerous posts on who belongs in Cooperstown & why... With the upcoming inductions of Tim Raines, Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez & Jeff Bagwell, here is an updated accumulation of Boys of Summer material.

No Love for the Tigers

Some Tigers fans, such as myself, have been very outspoken about the fact that Jack MorrisAlan Trammell & Lou Whitaker not being in the Hall of Fame. 

One of the guys in the Facebook Group went on to say: Morris was not quite HOF material. He had a career 3.90 ERA, and went on to mention the silly Curt Schilling assessment,"If you have to think about whether a player is a Hall of Famer or not, he's not." The person also went on to mention that not only is Morris not a candidate, but Jeff Bagwell, Jeff Kent, and Mike Mussina were not HOF'ers as well, despite their good career numbers... Hmm.. Guess who's getting inducted later this week? Mr. Bagwell!
He goes on to say you can't make the remark "that so-and-so is in the HOF, so so-and-so should be as well." Yes & No, I say to that. Yeah, we can't do anything about Rabbit Maranville or Dave Bancroft, or a good handful of others, at the same time you have to look at some (not all) of these guys as representatives of it's era. Joe TinkerJohnny Evers & Frank Chance are also three that, stat-wise would not be in the Hall of Fame. My old man had a wacky idea when it comes to the Hall of Fame, do a rotating (ever-evolving) 26-30 man roster (or bigger), and when one came around, another got bumped out -- Maybe make the Hall a perfect 300, and bump people out afterwards, sure that sounds crazy. 

Overall, the damage has been done, it's funny to me that Tinker-Evers-Chance basically got in for the famous poem about them. They were great fielders for it's time, and fielding conditions were far worse then, before the day & age of ground's crews. I believe Tinker, Evers & Chance are more deserving than the likes of Maranville or Bancroft, but we can't change history. We can't change the fact that they are in, but I feel they DO represent the era, an era in which mostly are pitching dominant figures, the only offensive guys that really stood out in the first 1900-1910 decade was Ty Cobb & Honus Wagner.

So if Tinker-Evers-Chance are in for representing their eras, than Alan Trammell & Lou Whitaker should be in, right? There is plenty of rumblings that Trammell & Whitaker's time of overdue respect is coming, with the Expansion Era Committee; This committee votes every three years, and with the upcoming 2019 ballot, there's been talk of Trammell & Whitaker gaining some steam. 

The criteria of being eligible for this ballot, is that each retired ballplayer played at least 10 MLB Seasons & retired for 16 years or more; Managers & umpires with 10 or more years in baseball, must be retired for at least 5 years (candidates who are 65 years or older are eligible six months following retirement); executives retired for at least five years. Active executives 65 years or older are eligible for consideration.

The thing is this, I want to note, although Morris won the most games in the 1980's, 5-time All-Star, 4-time World Champion1991 World Series MVP, a career no-hitter & 2-time Babe Ruth Award Winner (for best Post-season, in 1984 & 1991)... As time has gone on through the years, I have faded on my stance of Morris (his career WAR of 44.1 troubles me a bit), but Trammell & Whitaker are no-brainers, I often wonder if they wore Yankee pinstripes, would they already be in?

By the way, you can check out an old article here, "Big Mistake" on my old argument in favor of Morris, it's definitely got its points on why...

Curt Schilling (1988-2007)
Baltimore (A.L.) 1988-1990, Houston (N.L.) 1991,
Philadelphia (N.L.) 1992-2000, Arizona (N.L.) 2000-2003
Boston (A.L.) 2004-2007

The interesting thing about Curt Schilling's assessment (that I mentioned earlier) on Hall of Fame careers, is that his own career is not so cut-and-dry, people looking at his career may have to "stop and think" about his great career, with the end result being overlooked as well.

Here's an interesting argument in favor for Schilling...

  • Didn't get started really until 1992, 1994 & 1995 combines for one season (due to injuries) and he was a consistent force from 92-2007, leading the 93' Phillies to the World Series, while leading the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks2004 & 2007 Boston Red Sox to World Championships (3 rings).
  • 300 or more strikeouts, 3 times! Back-to-back seasons of the accomplishment for a 619 K's combination in two years!
  • 3,116 K's (15th All-Time), 216 career wins with a winning percentage of .597. Sure it's not the magical 300 wins number, but he was a dependable winner. Almost a 1,000 more K's than Jim Palmer, Palmer only had two rings (66' & 83').
  • Schilling's ERA of 3.46 was not that of Palmer's 2.86. But here's some food for thought, Palmer didn't get 300 wins either (268) and Schilling has him beat in the WHIP area 1.137 to 1.180!

The Palmer Measuring Stick

I have grown accustomed to using WAR as a measuring stick for careers, I don't pay as much attention to single-seasons using this tool, but I feel it does a great job at getting the overall talent of the player's career. 

I brought up the career WAR's over Jim Palmer of players NOT in the Hall of Fame. Of course, players such as Albert Pujols & Adrian Beltre are not retired yet.
  • Alex Rodriguez (117.7)
  • Albert Pujols (100.1)
  • Adrian Beltre (91.5)
  • Chipper Jones (85.0)
  • Curt Schilling (79.9)
  • Pete Rose (79.4)
  • Bill Dahlen (75.3)
  • Lou Whitaker (74.8)
  • Larry Walker (72.6)
  • Derek Jeter (71.8)
  • Rafael Palmeiro (71.8)
  • Bobby Grich (71.0)
  • Alan Trammell (70.4)
  • Scott Rolen (70.0)
  • Manny Ramirez (69.1)
  • Edgar Martinez (68.3)

The WARs of Jeff Bagwell (79.5), Tim Raines (69.1) & Ivan Rodriguez (68.3) who are getting inducted this upcoming week.

Now here is a list of MLB Hall of Famers below the career (70.0) WAR mark, to go along with Raines & Rodriguez. 
  • Gary Carter
  • Ed Delahanty
  • Tony Gwynn
  • Al Simmons
  • Carlton Fisk
  • Eddie Murray
  • Fred Clarke
  • Ryne Sandberg
  • Roberto Alomar
  • Duke Snider
  • Joe Cronin
  • Pee Wee Reese
  • Goose Goslin
  • Andre Dawson
  • Willie McCovey
  • Dave Winfield
  • Billy Williams
  • Richie Ashburn
  • Billy Hamilton
  • Lou Boudreau
and much more...

Let's go to Richie Ashburn, now...

He had 2,574 career hits, a .306 career batting average, and an outstanding On-Base Percentage of .396! He was an outfielder in a HOF field that had many outfielders, with a career OPS of .778, with only 29 career HR's from a "power position".

Now back to Alan Trammell, enter him into the equation...
He had 2,365 career hits, I think sometimes people look at hits too much, in the same way people read career wins for a pitcher, you need to look at the other numbers people.

Let's point out that his WAR (70.4) is higher than Ashburn's & Barry Larkin (70.2), the Hall-of-Fame shortstop. Trammell had 185 career HRs for a position until the 1980's was not known for having pop. Trammell didn't hit double-digits in HR's until 1983, and got the bulk of his HR's between 1983 & 1990. Trammell's 236 career steals, beats Ashburn by 2. Trammell also had a respectable .286 career average, not Ashburn's .306, but certainly better than HOF'er Gary Carter's .262!
Lou & Tram: Bless You Boys!

Trammell had a career OPS of .767, Carter had .773 & Ashburn .778. People often harp on the fact that Trammell was injured a lot at the end of his career, and that he was beyond his peak years for some time, yet that never stopped Carter from being elected, who was clearly past his prime after 1987, while sticking around until 1992.

Someone else brought up points in what faith do we have in WAR when Lou Whitaker's WAR is higher than that of Ryne Sandberg and Roberto Alomar. Simple, Sandberg really was compacted to a period from 1982-1992, he was basically a ten-year deal.... where Lou was consistent as well, and was more a factor longer from 1978-1993. Roberto was a factor from 1988-2001, he stuck around until 2004, and probably had negative WARs to drain his career WAR. 

I don't think anyone thinks Whitaker was better than Alomar, as a Tiger fan I could argue that Whitaker was just as relevant for the Tigers as Sandberg was to the Cubs, and for American League 2B standards, Whitaker was really the Joe Morgan of the American League league (with far fewer steals). Until the 1990's came around offensive second basemen were unheard of, unless you dig towards the Eddie Collins or Rogers Hornsby days. Ryne Sandberg's period of 1990-1992, is what makes the difference in the argument between Sandberg & Whitaker -- I would personally draft Alomar over these two, who was the most complete second baseman (not named Joe Morgan) of the Expansion Era.

Ryno vs Sweet Lou...
  • Whitaker: .276 AVG, 244 HR's, 2,369 hits & career .789 OPS.
  • Sandberg: .285 AVG, 282 HR's, 2,386 hits & career .795 OPS. Note: Sandberg, got 92 of his career HR's from 1990-1992.
Sandberg also narrowly beats Whitaker in fielding pct (.989 to .984). Sandberg does beat him in Gold Gloves 11 to 3, just off the top of my head I do want to think Whitaker had stiffer competition at the position, but I could be wrong. The Gold Glove is rewarded for the silliest things anyways, offensive stats at a position come into factor, and it's a bit of a popularity contest.

Brother to Brother

In a post named "Hall Chat Between Brothers", my brother Chris & I, had an email discussion in which we were speaking of debatable Hall of Fame careers. During this discussion, names such as Dave Parker, Tony Oliva, Vada Pinson, Bill Madlock & Fred McGriff came up, while we weighed them up against guys who are already enshrined in Cooperstown.

Through the years, it's become an interesting ballot for me. There was a time that I argued in support for those like Jack Morris until I was red in the face, as the years passed on, my case for Morris has somewhat diminished... then there are other cases that I used to scoff at, such as the case for Dave Parker, which gains more & more steam for me, while I also have found the stats to back such a case.

Dave Parker (1973-1991)
Pittsburgh (N.L.) 1973-1983,
Cincinnati (N.L.) 1984-1987,
Oakland (A.L.) 1988-1989, Milwaukee (A.L.) 1990,
California (A.L.) & Toronto (A.L.) 1991

  • .290 Career Batting Average
  • 2-Time N.L. Batting Champion.
  • 1978 N.L. MVP Season: Batting Title (.334), while leading league in Slugging & OPS.
  • Career OBP (.339) not superb, but better than Andre Dawson's (Hall of Famer) .323 OBP, while Dawson was a career .279 hitter; Parker's career .810 OPS also edges Dawson's .806
  • 7-Time All-Star with 3 Gold Gloves.
  • 2,774 career hits
Andre Dawson & Gary Carter's HOF Inductions opened many doors to many debates, that said, I do believe they deserve to be in the Hall of Fame... I just think it has created more murky Hall discussions, and makes more cases for players like Vada Pinson, for example. Speaking of Pinson, I believe what hurts him compared to the likes of Parker & Dawson is the lack of HR & power, his career OPS+ stands at 111+, compared to Dawson's 119+ & Parker's 121+. 

Dawson opening doors.
Of course, not everybody has power that is in the Hall of Fame, like Luis Aparicio and Ozzie Smith -- then again, most of those powerless, lack of offense guys were usually slick-fielding shortstops and not from a position like the outfield that usually packs power. It seems unfair that players like Omar Vizquel tend to gain more traction in this disputes (over players like Pinson) for not fielding at a tougher position.

I think the major thing that is hurting Bill Madlock, another Pirate that tends to be brought up in Hall of Fame debates, is the fact that he only averaged 120 games per season. Obviously, if he was to play at least another 20 games per season, he would have seen a hike in his 2,008 career hits -- if he was closer to the 3,000 hits side of the spectrum, he would get more leeway in the argument. Other than those negatives, his positives speak loudly in his career Batting Average (.305), On-Base Percentage (.365) & OPS (.830); His OPS & OPS+ (123+) was actually better than Dave Parker (.810 / 121+)... who would have ever thought such a thing?! Madlock was a gifted hitter that won 4 batting titles, the most times for a non-Hall of Fame Inductee.

Madlock's 3 All-Star Appearances does not seem like a lot, but he did win an All-Star MVP Game Honors once. People also need to keep in mind, that he was often overshadowed by talented teammates & the N.L. just featured many talented All-Stars, it's tough to make the All-Star Game on the N.L. side, when you have to compete against a player named Mike Schmidt every single season.

Tony Oliva honored with statue outside Target Field.
Then there is Tony Oliva, his name is praised by many that watched him play in his day, many speak volumes of Oliva. What jumps out quickly is his career 131 OPS+, which is 10 more than Parker's 121+ and 12 more than Andre Dawson! The knocker is the fact that he was off-the-charts stellar for only a seven-year arc from 1964-1971. Then again, his drop-off in 1972 & the remainder of his career was due to obvious knee & shoulder injuries that plagued him. Another amazing fact about Oliva is the simple fact that he produced these amazing stats during the "second deadball era".

Oliva was an 8-time A.L. All-Star, with 3 career Batting Titles (1964-65, 1971) and may have won 3 straight batting titles if it were not for a 3-for-30 slump in the middle of September in 1966; Oliva also won the 1964 A.L. Rookie of the Year Award & a Gold Glove in his tremendous career.

Earlier, I mentioned that Morris' WAR of 44.3 troubles me, yet Oliva (43.0) & Parker had lower career WAR (39.9).

I was glad to see that Tim Raines finally got the recognition that he has long deserved, by being inducted in the 2017 Hall of Fame class, along with Ivan 'Pudge' Rodriguez & Jeff Bagwell. Raines has long been overlooked, and I question sometimes if the sports writers hold grudges against players who have played with numerous teams. The sports writer seems to be infatuated with players that have played their careers mostly for one team. 

Fred McGriff (1986-2004)
Toronto (A.L.) 1986-1990, San Diego (N.L.) 1991-1993,
Atlanta (N.L.) 1993-1997, Tampa Bay (A.L.) 1998-2001, 2004
Chicago (N.L.) 2001-2002, Los Angeles (N.L.) 2003

Another player who played for numerous teams, that belongs in the Hall of Fame, is Fred McGriff. McGriff played for 7 MLB teams during his career, while his longest stint was actually with the Atlanta Braves (4 1/2 years), not the Toronto Blue Jays (4 years). Most folks including myself, a fan of the 1990's Atlanta Braves & a former owner of a McGriff Braves' T-Shirt, think of him as a Blue Jay though.

Serious Crime: Why McGriff belongs...
  • Just shy of 2,500 career hits (2,490)
  • Just shy of the magical lock-in Hall number of 500 homers (493).
  • Career .284 hitter 
  • 5-Time All-Star (All-Star Game MVP)
  • 3-Time Silver Slugger
  • 1,550 Career RBI
  • .377 career On-Base Percentage (above all players mentioned above, including Oliva).
  • .886 Career OPS
  • 134 OPS+

As a full-time player, McGriff dipped below an .800 OPS only once! His incredible consistency seemed to play against him, which is simply odd in my opinion, I am not sure if it's because he was not an obnoxious, arrogant slugger like Barry Bonds, the whole not-staying-in-one-place thing, or the fact he had no flash to his game... but he did everything that was asked of him as a big leaguer, and it's a complete crime against Baseball that McGriff is not in the Hall of Fame.

Another player that should be in, is...

Edgar Martinez (1987-2004)
Seattle (A.L.)

Edgar Martinez is a representative of the DH era, and he did not get his first actual break until age 27! He was the solid force behind the emergence of the Seattle Mariners franchise, he had 5 seasons over a 1.000 OPS (Bagwell had 5, Piazza had 4 -- to put it in perspective). Edgar & other Designated Hitters are suffering the same stigma as a NFL punter, Mitch Williams, former reliever for the Philadelphia Phillies & current MLB analyst said it best, "If there is a position created in the game of baseball, such as the DH, then there needs to be a position for that in the Hall of Fame as well." I should add since my original article, that Frank Thomas was voted in, and is considered the Hall of Fame's first Designated Hitter.

Edgar Martinez is among the 4th best all-time in OBP for players who made the Major League debuts after World War II (.418). To put it in perspective for Edgar's career, think about the season that Victor Martinez had with the 2014 Detroit Tigers -- V-Mart led the A.L. with a .974 OPS; Edgar surpasses Victor Martinez's career year, with 10 total seasons that were better than that.... that's just flat-out nuts!

His 147+ OPS just trails that of Joe DiMaggio (155+) and is right with Mike Schmidt (147+). He is a career .312 hitter with a .933 OPS.

Now when people keep discussing Designated Hitters, everyone and their mother would mention David Ortiz & how Ortiz will represent the DH in the Hall of Fame. If they did their research, They would see that Edgar has him beat in many categories. Ortiz' stats definitely scream Hall of Fame, but let's make sure Edgar gets in as well... plus Edgar was not linked to any PED speculation like "Big Papi" was.
That completes this compilation of material, to read them all individually, you can click on the topic "The Ongoing Hall of Fame Debate".

Coming up: The continuation of my HOF Set project, and my latest experience at Comerica Park as I was at the Tigers game on July 16th.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The APBA Hall of Fame Set - Part II (The Project)

So you read my previous blog piece on the product itself, APBA's Hall of Fame Set, now here is what I did with the cards & team envelopes, and decided on how many teams, etc etc...

There is 345 cards, the company gave me 13 envelopes, I decided to see how many players per team would 12 teams get me, and it came out to 28.7, in which 9 teams came up with 29 players, and 3 teams with 28 players each.

When I broke the teams down, I wanted at least 2 players at each of the C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS positions, plus 2 at each outfield positions for the most part, of course there was going to be teams with players like Willie Mays at CF, in which you were not going to draft another strictly CF with that backup practically collecting dust, so you looked more to have a guy that has CF experience that can play one of the other corner outfield positions as well.

I decided to have all the teams have a Designated Hitter as well, overall there is so much talent in this set, it would simply be a shame to keep these guys on the bench, due to one less lineup slot for an everyday position player. Believe me on some teams, there is position batters, and stars sitting on the bench. One team for example, the Cincinnati Outlaws (or 'Outlaw Reds') has Tony Perez and Harmon Killebrew splitting time at third base.

Draft Pile Set-Up

I conducted a draft, drafted for about 23 rounds, and then I just went about the rest of the pile, and slapped a card on each team in draft order until the pile was out. Each team will go with a solid 26-man roster, with a soft 2-or-3 sitting to the side. Meaning, those 2 or 3 cards are not touched, if they are called up, someone has to go down & they are left unprotected for any team to take.

I made a pile for each position and with help from many books, I came up with the piles to be placed best-to-worst for each position to help the drafting process a little more... meaning Mike Schmidt sat on the very top of the third base pile, with George Brett & Eddie Mathews just under him.

Leagues & their Team Names

There is two leagues of 6 teams each, I decided to use old league names with old-school team names, the decision process was tough, I felt bad that Boston got the boot, for the Cincinnati Outlaw Reds, but Cincinnati has been around as long as 1857 or something. I decided to try to put these teams as best as I could in their original leagues.

American Association (A.A.)
  • Baltimore Terrapins
  • Cleveland Spiders
  • Louisville Colonels
  • New York Gothams
  • St. Louis Maroons
  • Washington Potomacs
Baltimore's hat & sleeve logo.
The city of Baltimore throughout the late 1800's always seemed to support a Baseball team, there was plenty of names to choose from... One of those (of course), was the Orioles which was used back in the early days of their dynasty run (in mid 1890's) with players such as future Managers in John McGraw, Hugh Jennings, Wilbert Robinson, plus other Hall of Fame players in Joe Kelley, Willie Keeler & Dan Brouthers. Another option was the Baltimore Lords or Lords of Baltimore, but I decided to go on their Federal League name, the Baltimore Terrapins

Cleveland Spiders' logo.
Cleveland of course, had many names through their early years, the Cleveland Blues was heavily considered, Naps was definitely not -- considering players names linked to franchises was to be avoided, especially when 'said player' may not get drafted by them in my project. I decided to go with the Cleveland Spiders, plus I have a cool logo of theirs, plus a fan did some cool fan art for their jerseys that I plan to use. 

Louisville Colonels
The Louisville Colonels was a forgone, quick decision for me, it's a famous 1800's franchise that would later be relocated to Pittsburgh, with Honus Wagner, Fred Clarke, Tommy Leach, Deacon Phillippe, Claude Ritchey & others. I am in love with those early 1901-1903 Pittsburgh Pirate teams, while learning about the teams & their players, love players like Ginger Beaumont & Kitty Bransfield as well. 

The city of New York could have went many ways with their team names, we have the Metropolitans (which was actually used in the 1800's, long before the 1960's Mets), Gladiators, and I thought about the early 1900's with Giants, Yankees, or even Hilltops -- I decided to go with the New York Gothams, it was a 1800's name & the term Gothams, comes from one of New York's early nicknames "Gotham City" -- plus it helps that I am Batman fan, just don't count on seeing Bat logos!

Going with look that represents both Giants & Yankees, with theme of colors.
The St. Louis Maroons was an old-school name that I decided to go with over the Browns, I briefly thought of going with its' Federal League name, the Terriers... There was other names such as the Solons as well. Plus I can only imagine how much fun the opposing teams' fans will have with the Maroons when they come marching in.

The 'M' Logo will be featured on their Home jersey's around heart, with stripes, similar to Phillies.
Washington is another city with many names through the years, the Nationals, the Senators (many times over), the Nationals again as well! One of their early names that I love was the Washington Potomacs, plus I got a cool logo for that as well. They of course, would be wearing the famous block 'W' on their hats though.

The Potomacs representing the Nation's Capital.

National Association (N.A.)

  • Brooklyn Atlantics
  • Chicago Grays
  • Cincinnati Outlaws
  • Detroit Wolverines
  • Indianapolis Federals
  • Philadelphia Centennials
So you all know that I left out Boston, and I'm sure Bostonians or fans of the Boston franchises may give me grief over it, pointing to the fact that I have two Ohio teams & two New York teams. I could not see old-school baseball without a team from Brooklyn, I needed a New York team in each league, because let's face it New York was the heartland of early baseball prosperity and produced tons of talent. The city of Chicago needed to be represented as well, Philadelphia? Same story. I needed a western team (or what was considered western then) in St. Louis (A.A.), so quickly Boston got axed, I kind of regretted it, but once I made the envelopes it was too late. We will have a Boston team in the future, likely for Year 2 of this project, but for now...

Brooklyn could have had many names, there was the Gladiators & of course, the Dodgers, but I decided to scale it back earlier with my choice of the Brooklyn Atlantics. I have a cool Atlantics logo, that looks much like the current Dodgers logo, so there you go.

At one point, there was Providence Grays in my selection process, but much like Boston, found its way on it's butt... well, somewhat... -- At one point or another in the history of the game & especially in the 1800's, each city at one point or another, happened to sport the Grays name. Plus we had the famous Negro League team name as well, in the Homestead Grays. I knew I wanted Chicago to represent, at one point I picked Orphans, but us Baseball geeks know that this is an old name of the Cubs franchise, I thought of the White Stockings, but I wanted to pick something neutral, I almost went with the Chicago Nationals, a name I went with in my Heritage League, but decided to go with the hybrid of the Chicago Grays.

The Chicago Grays will basically go with the Orphans' Logo 'C'.
The Cincinnati Outlaw Reds was a name that was used closer to the mid 1800's, and the Reds, Red Stockings or Red Legs were all used throughout time. I went with Cincinnati Outlaws, because the 1800's and deadball era was really the Outlaw & Wild West of the early Baseball days. Plus I had some fun with it, when the Outlaws drafted both Ty Cobb and Joe Jackson, both considered outlaws. 

I'm a Michigander, and I felt the good blue collar worker of the city of Detroit, must be represented. I went with its 1800's name, the Detroit Wolverines had a good successful run as a National Association team, and that's one of the reasons I went with them. 

Old school Michigan Wolverines logo with Old English D.

The Indianapolis Federals happened, due to the fact, while I was looking through this Hall of Fame set, that there was many Indiana-born Baseball talent, plus Indianapolis was a team in the 1800's that supported plenty of Baseball teams, even into Negro League Baseball with the Indianapolis ABC's. I almost went with the Hoosiers, but thought there was too much of a connection with the University of Indiana (another thing I wanted to avoid) and its connection with Basketball. The Federals moniker of course, is a link to the Federal League.

The city of Philadelphia is rich in Baseball history & of course in American history, so to not have a Philadelphia team would be a crime. There of course was the Philadelphia Athletics, and I contemplated for a good long time to go with that name, but it's a direct link to a current MLB name... even so, I still almost went with it, because I felt its remarkable that despite their moves from Philly to Kansas City and to Oakland, it still kept its namesake (which all started from the Athletic Club of Philadelphia). Then there was the Quakers, I believe Colonials bounced between the Boston, Washington & Philadelphia cities as well, then there is the Phillies (again, direct link) and at the last minute, I found in one of my Baseball books, the Philadelphia Centennials, and I was sold!

Let it be known, although I came up with official names for these teams, to not be surprised to see me mention other nicknames for these franchises while reporting their series recaps.

The Draft

The Draft was a very interesting process & took a life of its own, the first few rounds went as predicted for the most part, but then depending on needs or team connections or geographic connections, the teams started becoming a thing of beauty. Sure, there is some players on these teams, that I have to question if they belong with someone else, but those questions won't be answered until the season takes off.

For the draft I made sure that the leagues were balanced, with a American Association team picking, then National Association, then American, then National, so that the talent may not all sit on one side. I determined the order by dice rolls...

The First Round draft order turned out to be this...

  • Louisville Colonels (A.A.)
  • Indianapolis Federals (N.A.)
  • Washington Potomacs (A.A.)
  • Chicago Grays (N.A.)
  • New York Gothams (A.A.)
  • Cincinnati Outlaws (N.A.)
  • St. Louis Maroons (A.A.)
  • Detroit Wolverines (N.A.)
  • Cleveland Spiders (A.A.)
  • Brooklyn Atlantics (N.A.)
  • Baltimore Terrapins (A.A.)
  • Philadelphia Centennials (N.A.)
The draft would continue in the Serpentine format, in which each round flips, so Philadelphia would end up starting the 2nd Round with Louisville ending that round, then starting off the 3rd Round, etc etc...

So take in mind, that my draft was my perspective, and there is always going to be a debate, who should have been taken when. I tried to do it, in which with the position players were shooting for their starters first, so there was some players that fell to later rounds that you would never have imagined... For example, Center field seemed to have many studs, so once guys like Cobb, Duke, Mays or Mantle taking up those slots, some centerfielders had to wait, as these franchises started drafting their corner outfield slots & other positions.

So here it is, with the first selection of the Hall of Fame League, the Louisville Colonels select...

* * *     Stay Tuned for Part III (The Draft)     * * *

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The APBA HOF Set - Part I (My Review)

I decided to finally take the plunge in acquiring the fairly new APBA Hall of Fame Baseball Card Set, and overall... I love it!

The set features 345 players, most of them Hall-of-Fame Baseball players and the others being players that may or may not become Hall-of-Famers one day. The players in the set have been normalized, so that there can be some enjoyment in the set, if every pitcher is an A or a B, there would simply not be enough offense.

I love what they did with the normalization for the most part, 20 games into my current project using these cards, I think I would have loved to see more 'B' Starting Pitchers, the offense seems to kick, with no starting pitcher or lead being safe.

Regardless, I have been having tons of fun with this set, and I believe the $40 value for such a special set is a good reasonable price & well worth it. The APBA sets that I have more of a beef with (in being overpriced) would be the newer APBA Season sets, pricing at $70, those sets I believe would have a harder time selling, sure you got yearly APBA leagues that will purchase the yearly set, but I feel a $55 price tag would be more reasonable for that.

To get back on track, like I said, the HOF Set has 345 players, here is the number of players per primary position...

  • Catchers - 27
  • First Basemen - 31
  • Second Basemen - 30
  • Third Basemen - 25
  • Shortstops - 31
  • Left Fielders - 25
  • Center Fielders - 30
  • Right Fielders - 34
  • Starting Pitchers - 100
  • Closers - 12
When I broke the positions down, and did the math, I felt that 12 teams was the perfect number to play a league project for this. Each team having at least 2 catchers, 2 players at each of the infield positions, 2 left fielders, 2 center fielders & 2 right fielders, and about 8 starting pitchers (3 would play relief roles), with 1 closer; Each team gets one closer, no more, no less. 

I will say this, there was a few cases with the starting pitchers that I did not agree with, both John Smoltz (C-XY) & Tom Glavine (C) were graded lower than pitchers like Orel Hershiser (B-Y)... Smoltz & Glavine were far superior starters, and if you take Orel's 1988 season out of the equation, the difference is night & day. 

The only thing I can really think of as being a knock on Glavine, was his 1.314 career WHIP, which is one of the highest among the bunch; His career ERA (3.54) is only higher than Hershiser's due to the umpires shrinking the zone & not giving him or Maddux the corner any more. When the shrinking took effect (starting in 1999), Glavine's ERA from 1999-2008 was 3.81, a big difference.

There was a few batters as well, where I was thinking, why does he not have a 'S' (Slow) on his card? I can't recall who it was, but it was one of those players where he was primary slow throughout his career, so maybe not enough slow guys as well.

The Starting Pitcher Grade breakdown
  • Grade A - 4
  • Grade B - 29
  • Grade C - 64
  • Grade D - 3
Basically 33% of the starting pitchers have a Grade B or higher... Like I mentioned above, my one big beef with the starting pitchers, would have loved to see it be more like 40-45% Grade B or higher, I really have no problems with the very few A starting pitchers though... because in yearly season sets, you would not have more than 4 starting 'A' pitchers.

The offensive players cards, although normalized, seem to have some punch to them, there is plenty of dice rolls that result in a ball or wild pitch, that gives the batter another chance to tee off. 

If you do love offense, you are really going to love this game!

Some Unique Features

I do love how each player has the career span they played on them, and if they were actual MLB Hall-of-Famers, they had the year that they were inducted into Cooperstown on them.

Another feature is the differential of the outfield positions, if a player played strictly center field, it would say 'Centerfield' on their cards, if a player played both LF & RF, then they would be placed on the cards, I believe another reason for this is the normalization factor, and the fact that this set is built to make 12 fantasy Hall-of-Fame teams... That is why I placed three separate piles for the LF, CF & RF positions, instead of throwing all of the primary outfielders into one pile; This helped with drafting, and making sure teams are varied, when I conducted a draft.

I think this helps give APBA rollers an option, and makes for a more balanced league to come out of this set, with players playing only at their available positions.

Pre-1900 ballplayers plus Negro Leaguers is a very nice touch to the set, there was a couple Negro Leaguers part of the set that were not featured in the Negro League APBA Set... Ray Dandridge's card comes to mind, while we got some pre-1900 ballplayers in Sam Thompson, Charles CommiskeyBuck Ewing, Cap Anson & Old Hoss Radbourn.... plus many others.

Low Injury Ratings

There is very few J-0's, while the set is almost completely J-1 ratings when it comes down to injuries. There is a couple J-2's, for example Bobby Cox (Hall of Famer for managing) and his brief career, I think Tony LaRussa may be a J-4. 

* * * *          * * * *          * * * *

This concludes Part 1 of my APBA HOF Set article, stay tuned for the next part, where I explain what I did with this particular set & the league that I created with it.

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