Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Debut League

I have often in the past with APBA projects did things such as putting players on the teams that they debuted with, what if Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver had long careers as Mets players? Could you imagine that rotation in the mid-1980s with Ryan, Seaver, Mike Scott & Dwight Gooden?!

Yikes! I would hate to be that lineup.

The great thing with Out of the Park 19, I am able to do such projects, I started mine in 1920, but will also do one starting in 1960, and maybe another in 2000, so I don't get stuck in one time frame too long, to keep it fresh.

Plus if I was to do this project through APBA, plus the stat-keeping, it would take my entire lifetime, plus 100 other APBA members' lifetimes.... and well, that's still not enough time.

There will be very interesting teams from year-to-year, and 1920 is no exception.

The Philadelphia Athletics were excellent at finding talent, they would build championship dynasties & then would be broken up by Connie Mack. Through this dynamic, the teams are not broken up, unless expansion comes, than those players who were acquired by the expansion teams, would go to those teams for remainder of careers.

I knew 'Shoeless Joe' Jackson debuted with the Philadelphia Athletics, but almost forgot about that while putting the teams together, I almost placed him on Cleveland, it's easy to almost overlook that, 'Shoeless' only played 10 games for the Athletics... but this project is based on who debuted with what team, so guess what? Shoeless Joe will be a lifetime Athletic in this project.

I plan to eventually start back in 1900, so its safe to say, that the Philadelphia A's would probably be a force for the first 4 decades of the century.

Here is some interesting players on certain rosters...
  • Boston Red Sox - Yes, the obvious... Babe Ruth changing the fates of two baseball franchises, and joining a Hall of Fame outfield trifecta along with Tris Speaker and Harry Hooper. The Red Sox will also have Carl Mays for his career, while Gavvy Cravath is finishing up his career at this point.
  • Boston Braves - Featuring three starting pitchers in Hugh McQuillan, Dolf Luque, and Art Nehf (ranging from 24-28 years of age), who in reality spent their careers, making names for themselves elsewhere. The lineup doesn't shout anything spectacular, but this does mean that Rabbit Maranville won't depart the Braves in 1921 (until returning in 1927) for the Pirates, in which he was still productive.
  • Brooklyn Robins - Zack Wheat and Hi Myers are still there, but they have additional company in the lineup with Casey Stengell and Jake Daubert (who both were playing elsewhere at this point in real-life); Daubert played on the 1919 World Champion Cincinnati Reds.
  • Chicago White Sox - The additions of Jack Fournier and Edd Roush do lessen the blow of no Shoeless Joe, plus Buck Weaver and Happy Felsch (thanks to Out of the Park) will not have to worry about calling it an early career. Fournier at this time (and often overlooked), was one of the most powerful bats in all of baseball. 
  • Chicago Cubs - Their rotation is probably the best rotation for this season, it features strong, dependable arms in Hippo Vaughn, Claude Hendrix, Dutch Ruether & Fred Toney. Plus the Phillies are going to be sick, watching Cy Williams playing in a Cubbies uniform for life.
  • Cleveland Indians - Ray Chapman lives on! He will be part of a lineup that features consistent 20's stars in Joe Sewell, Elmer Smith, Steve O'Neill & Roger Peckinpaugh. The rotation features a formidable rotation of innings-eaters in Guy Morton, Sad Sam Jones & George Uhle.
  • Detroit Tigers - The Tigers' top 5 hitters in the lineup features Donie Bush, Baby Doll Jacobson, Ty Cobb, Harry Heilmann & Bobby Veach. A pair of 'Black Sox' aces in Eddie Cicotte and Lefty Williams heads the rotation, to go with Hooks Dauss.
  • New York Yankees - The Yankees don't have much, but Bob Meusel, while their rotation may be their best trait with Jack Quinn, Urban Shocker, Ray Fisher & Rip Collins
  • New York Giants - The Giants are a well-rounded team, with both tough hitting & pitching. The Giants' lineup features Frankie Frisch, George J Burns, Ross Youngs, High Pockets Kelly, Earl S Smith & Larry Doyle. The rotation is headed by a three-headed monster in Rube Marquard, Dick Rudolph & Waite Hoyt.
  • Philadelphia Athletics - Or better yet... the spoiled Athletics. The Athletics are led by Shoeless Joe Jackson and Eddie Collins who are reunited in Philly, while the lineup features Jimmy Dykes, Stuffy McInnis & one of the best catchers at the time in Wally Schang (who was actually playing with the Red Sox at this point). Stan Coveleski, Herb Pennock & Bob Shawkey help form a strong rotation. They will get scary once Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, Lefty Grove, Mickey Cochrane and others come into the fold.
  • Philadelphia Phillies - You know you are a bad team when your best hitter is shortstop Dave Bancroft... Well, at least they have Pete Alexander and Eppa Rixey on the mound.
  • Pittsburgh Pirates - The Pirates have one of the best rotations for the 1920 MLB Season with Wilbur Cooper, Al Mamaux, Burleigh Grimes and Hal Carlson, while their lineup is led by Max Carey. The Bucs should be a N.L. contender.
  • St. Louis Browns - George Sisler, Jack Tobin and Del Pratt provide the bats, while starting pitchers Jack Pheffer and Allan Sothoron may surprise. The team is not great, but they aren't exactly bad.
  • St. Louis Cardinals - The rotation is anchored by Babe Adams, while the rotation should be dependable in Slim Sallee, Lee Meadows & Bill Sherdel. Rogers Hornsby has some support in the lineup in Cliff Heathcote, Austin McHenry, Possum Whitted & Ed Konetchy
  • Washington Senators - The lineup's top four is solid in Sam Rice, Bucky Harris, Joe Judge & Irish Meusel, while Walter 'The Big Train' Johnson anchors a bad pitching staff.
I hope you enjoyed, there will be plenty to come on this project. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

BoS N.L. Championship Series (Games 1 & 2)

The Portland Microbrewers won the N.L. Division Series over the Spring Branch Duffers, and will now have bigger challenges ahead of them, as they will face the Traverse City Panthers. The Panthers had a first-round bye due to having the best record in the National League with a 108-54 record.

The two teams had a memorable LCS a few years ago.

Game 1

The Microbrewers send Robbie Ray to the mound to face off against Traverse City's long-time ace Corey Kluber. Kluber, once again had a spectacular season for the Panthers.

Troubling news broke prior to first pitch, Kluber is injured, suffering some discomfort during warm-up pitches. The Panthers decide to call on Zack Godley to come into the game for Game 1.

Top of the 1st - After two quick outs, Freddie Freeman hits a single to right. Michael Conforto and Corey Dickerson draw back-to-back walks to load the bases. Matt Chapman delivers a two-run single. Portland leads 2-0.

Bottom of the 1st - Lead-off home run by Brian Dozier to cut the lead in half. Corey Seager follows with a bases on balls, while Justin Turner is then plunked by a pitch from Ray. The dangerous Giancarlo Stanton flies to Mike Trout in right, but Seager will not tag up from second, one out. Nelson Cruz flies to right, this time Seager tags up & reaches third safely, two outs with Nicholas Castellanos coming to the plate. Castellanos hits a deep fly to center, but Conforto tracks it near the wall.

Bottom of the 2nd - Yonder Alonso leads the inning off with a solo home run to tie the game, 2-2.

Top of the 3rd - With runners on 1st & 3rd, one out, following a Michael Conforto single... Corey Dickerson comes to the plate, but hits into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.

Bottom of the 5th - Brian Dozier rips a ball to straight-away center, Conforto dives for it, bounces off his chest. Corey Seager perfectly executes the hit-and-run to put runners on the corners. Justin Turner follows up with a bloop single over short that falls between Marcus Semien & Conforto, Seager holds at second... setting things up for Giancarlo Stanton at the plate. Stanton pops it up behind the plate, as Portland escapes by only surrendering a run. Traverse City leads, 3-2.

Zack Godley would go on to pitch 6.2 innings & is pulled, while Jerry Blevins is brought in to face Michael Brantley in the top of the 7th with 2 outs.

Bottom of the 7th - Two outs, with runners on the corners (Albert Amora Jr on third, Seager on first), Justin Turner takes a Cody Allen pitch deep to right, as it had a chance, but Mike Trout leaps with his back to the wall & catches it!

The Panthers call on their 8th Inning setup man in David Robertson, to face the heart of the Portland lineup in Trout, Freeman & Conforto. Mike Trout makes Robertson pay with a home run that just makes it in fair territory of the right field foul pole... the game is tied, 3-3!

Bottom of the 8th - The Portland Microbrewers call on Ryan Tepera to face the Panthers' Giancarlo Stanton to start the bottom of the 8th... and Stanton makes him pay with a home run to deep left. That's all that the Panthers could do in the 8th though, but will it be enough?

Top of the 9th - Panthers lead, 4-3 & call on their closer Brandon Morrow. Morrow is a former Microbrewer, probably best known for the ill-fated Kluber trade early in the league's inaugural season, he was reacquired by the Panthers during the 2018 BoS Draft. Morrow gets two quick outs, but then surrenders a double to Michael Brantley, with the dangerous Mike Trout coming to the plate. The Panthers visit the mound & must be contemplating the decision to walk Trout or not, but then would have to face a tough out in Freddie Freeman who has no problem reaching base. Morrow decides to pitch to Trout & retires him for the final out.

Panthers take Game 1

Game 2

If there was a team this season that may be labeled 'The Team to Beat', that title might have belonged to the Traverse City Panthers, but the team has slowed down the last month, at one point in the season, the team was on pace for 116-120 wins, but ended with 108, while their slugger Giancarlo Stanton who hit his 52nd HR on the 128th game of the season, slowed down and finished with 56 for the season, while not hitting a home run at home the final month of the regular season.

Now the team faces adversary with the loss of Corey Kluber for the remainder of the postseason, which was reported after last night's game... Kluber out for 25 games!

Game 2 will feature Aaron Nola on the mound for the Panthers, while Portland sends out Dallas Keuchel.

Top of the 1st - With bases loaded, Corey Dickerson lines one deep to right into the corner, as Dickerson will drive in all three runners & reach third on a triple. This is a huge early statement by Portland's offense, in which Game 2 will play out to be a pivotal game for either team.

Top of the 2nd- Chris Taylor hits a single to right, to give him his 2nd hit of the game. Michael Brantley up to the plate, Aaron Nola drills him with a pitch high, Brantley is drilled on his elbow, and is rolling around in serious pain. The trainers come out as Brantley gives Nola some choice words, Michael Conforto comes in to replace him. Mike Trout comes to the plate with one out & two runners on, hits a shallow fly to center, but no one tags up. Freddie Freeman grounds out to the pitcher, Portland still leads, 3-0.

Top of the 3rd - Corey Dickerson leads off with a single. Aaron Nola answered back with back-to-back strikeouts of Jake Lamb and Francisco Cervelli. Nola pitches to Asdrubal Cabrera, jams him, as Cabrera muscles it to right, drops back of first base & rolls into foul ground, Castellanos is still after it as Cabrera reaches second, while Dickerson scores, making it 4-0, Portland.

Marcus Semien draws a walk, Nola's 3rd walk of the game, while he has already given up 5 hits & 4 runs in only 2.2 innings, as the Panthers have seen enough. Panthers call on Craig Stammen to face Chris Taylor.

Bottom of the 3rd - Justin Turner draws a two-out walk. Giancarlo Stanton hits a liner off of Dallas Keuchel's leg, reaches first, while Turner holds at second. Nelson Cruz comes to the plate & clubs a three-run homer to left center, its Cruz's first hit of the young series. Nicholas Castellanos puts a charge into his pitch, but Chris Taylor has it covered, for a minute it appeared to be gone, coming close to back-to-back homers, but Portland gets out of the inning, clinging on to a 4-3 lead. They do have the advantage with Traverse City going to the pen early though.

Top of the 4th - Panthers' reliever Craig Stammen allows a single to Michael Conforto, while Mike Trout draws a walk. No outs, with Freddie Freeman up to the plate, the Panthers decide to call on southpaw Luis Avilan to face Freeman, but it does not work in the Panthers' favor as Freeman sends this one hard to right... gone! It's Freeman's 5th hit of the series, while he has 3 RBI, further cementing his legend in his impressive BoS postseason career.

Avilan issues a free past to lefty Corey Dickerson, while he would allow a double to another lefty in Jake Lamb. Francisco Cervelli draws a walk to load the bases, while the Panthers are still seeking the first out. Asdrubal Cabrera grounds to first & is out, but scores a run in the process. Runners on 2nd & 3rd, the Panthers need to keep Avilan out there just a bit longer to eat innings. Marcus Semien hits into a double play, lining it to Dozier, who quickly doubled up the runner with the assist to Seager at second. The Panthers stop the bleeding for now, but trail 8-3 after four.

Bottom of the 4th - Albert Amora Jr draws a two-out walk from Keuchel. Brian Dozier answers with a RBI double. Corey Seager draws a walk, Keuchel's 5th of the game, with Justin Turner coming to the plate & Giancarlo Stanton on the on-deck circle. Turner flies to right, to end the threat, Portland leads 8-4.

Top of the 5th - Luis Avilan is allowed to stay in, but gives up a lead-off home run to left to Chris Taylor & that turns out to be enough for Avilan.

Top of the 6th - Blake Parker attempts to pitch his 2nd full inning, gives up back-to-back singles to Corey Dickerson (3rd hit of the game) and Jake Lamb. After a quick out to Cervelli, Asdrubal Cabrera hits a RBI double, driving in Dickerson, to make it 10-4 Brewers, as Lamb advances to third.
Parker gets out of the remainder of the inning.

Top of the 7th - Back-to-back walks (to Conforto & Trout) off of Mychal Givens to start the inning, Freddie Freeman follows with RBI double. The Microbrewers would add another run on a sac fly by Jake Lamb before the half-inning was over, giving Portland a 12-4 lead.

Portland brings in Zach Davies to face Traverse City in the bottom of the 7th.

Top of the 8th - Marcus Semien is drilled in the helmet by Mychal Givens & is instantly ejected! Tensions are starting to rise on both sides of the field. Panthers' David Robertson allows a two-run homer to Michael Conforto.

The Microbrewers even up the series, 1-1, while it came at a price, the post-game report has reported that Michael Brantley (14 days) and Marcus Semien (12 days) will likely miss the remainder of the postseason.

Two games in, and three players (including Kluber) are out for a combined 40 days.

Once again, it looks as if Portland and Traverse City plan to make this another LCS to remember.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Grand Junction at Traverse City / UAL (Series #3)

The Grand Junction Grenadiers come into town to face off against the Traverse City Fighting Tigers. The Tigers are looking to get their groove back after losing their series, 3-2 to the Ephrata Diamond Dogs.

On paper, the Grenadiers do not stack well against the Tigers, the Tigers should definitely win the series, then again anything is possible, that's why we play the game.

Game 1

Starting pitchers: Felix Hernandez (Grade C-Y / G.J.) / Jimmy Nelson (Grade B-XZ / T.C.)

Bottom of the 1st - The Fighting Tigers draw first blood, as Domingo Santana draws a bases-loaded walk to score the game's first run.

Top of the 2nd - Matt Wieters hits a two-run homer off of Jimmy Nelson, to give the Grenadiers a 2-1 lead.

Top of the 3rd - The Grenadiers add to their lead with a two-run homer by Kevin Kiermaier off of Nelson... Grand Junction 4, Traverse City 1.

Bottom of the 4th - Back-to-back RBI singles by Ehire Adrianza and Jean Segura gives Traverse City two runs, trail 4-3.

Bottom of the 6th - Bases loaded & no outs, Jose Altuve smacks a two-run single over third, as the Tigers take a late 5-4 lead. Altuve steals second on next play, putting runners on 2nd & 3rd, but the Tigers could not add any more runs as Grand Junction hunkers down and gets out an inning that could have much worse.

Bottom of the 8th - Traverse City's Marwin Gonzalez adds an insurance RBI with a sac fly, scoring in Segura, to give T.C. a 6-4 lead.

Top of the 9th - Ken Giles collects the save with runner on 2nd & tying run at the plate.

Game 2

Starting pitchers: Sam Gaviglio (Grade C / G.J.) / Taijuan Walker (Grade B-Y / T.C.)

Innings 1-2 - The Grenadiers scrap together a run in each of the first two innings. Traverse City runs with runners on 1st & 3rd & no outs in the bottom of the 2nd, could only muster one run on RBI single by Domingo Santana.

Top of the 3rd - Grand Junction's Ian Happ hits a two-out, two-run home run off of Walker, to give the Grenadiers a 4-1 lead.

Top of the 5th - Matt Davidson scores on a error by center fielder Jarrod Dyson, giving Grand Junction a 5-1 lead.

Bottom of the 5th - Grenadiers' Gaviglio was pitching pretty good up to this point, allowing 4 hits, 1 walk, while he remained relatively unscathed with one run.... then came the bottom of the 5th. Ronald Torreyes leads off with a single, while Jarrod Dyson is plunked by a pitch. Jean Segura would knock in Torreyes on a RBI single, while Dyson advanced to third. Jose Altuve, swinging a hot stick, collects an RBI single... a few batters late, Buster Posey collects an RBI single as well. The score is suddenly: Grand Junction 5, Traverse City 4

Bottom of the 7th - Jose Altuve ties the game with an RBI double, knocking in Segura.

Bottom of the 8th - Two outs, no runners on, Jarrod Dyson collects a single, while Jean Segura breaks up the tie, with an RBI double in the next at-bat. Jose Altuve, strikes again, with his 3rd RBI of the game, giving T.C. a 6-4 lead.

Top of the 9th - Ken Giles collects his 2nd save in as many games this series, while collecting his 5th save at home this season.

For the Grenadiers, it's another blown lead of at least 3-runs or more. Game 1, they led 4-1 after 3 innings, while in this game (Game 2) they had a 5-1 lead entering the bottom of the 5th.

Altuve at this point (12 games in), has 23 hits in 48 at-bats (.479 batting average) with 3 HR, 11 RBI, 13 runs & 7 stolen bases! Altuve of course, has also faced not-so-great pitching in Michigan (the first series), and now Grand Junction in two games.

Game 3

Starting pitchers: Sonny Gray (Grade B-Y / G.J.) / Jonathan Gray (Graded C-XZ)

In a pitching move that was not intentional by me to line up a Gray vs Gray match-up, I selected my rotation this series before knowing anything about my opponent's selection. I had Gray pitching this series, to give Rich Hill a break this series. We pitch with innings limits, and Hill will have plenty of rest days throughout the season.

Jon Gray has only pitched out of the pen up to this point.

Top of the 1st - Ian Happ hits a solo HR off Gray to give Grand Junction, the game's first run.

Top of the 3rd - Ian Happ, quickly becoming a thorn in my ass, hits a two-run bomb to give Grand Junction, a 3-0 lead.

Bottom of the 4th - After a lead off double by Marwin Gonzalez, Buster Posey gets an RBI with a single off of Sonny Gray, but nothing more happens that inning.

Bottom of the 6th - Grenadiers still with a 3-1 lead, start to run into trouble in the 6th. Jose Altuve, hitless in his first two at-bats, leads off with a single & steals second. Marwin Gonzalez knocks in Altuve, with a RBI single. Later, two outs, runner on second, Domingo Santana hits his 3rd HR at home this season, while giving the Fighting Tigers a 4-3 lead after 6 innings.

Bottom of the 7th - Jarrod Dyson hits a one-out single, while he would steal second & later third. With two outs, Jose Altuve records his 12th RBI at home, with an RBI single.

Bottom of the 8th - Solo HR by Gerardo Parra off of reliever Carlos Torres, the added insurance gives Traverse City a 6-3 lead.

Top of the 9th - Ken Giles comes in to go for his 6th save, but runs into trouble by allowing a lead-off single to Ezequiel Carrera. Kolten Wong hits a single, advances Carrera to third, and then steals second. Two on, no outs, Alcides Escobar and Kevin Pillar would both strike out. With runners still on 2nd & 3rd, Kevin Kiermaier rolls a 11-4... three-run homer, blown save, tie game at 6-6. Matt Davidson grounds out

Bottom of the 9th -  Jarrod Dyson is plunked by Carlos Torres, two batters later, Jose Altuve comes through yet again, with his first walk-off of the season in the shape of a double!

Ian Happ showed a lot of pop for the Grenadiers this series.

Game 4 

Starting pitchers: Clayton Richard (Grade D-Z / G.J.) / Jeff Samardzija (Grade C-XZ / T.C.)

I decided to give some of my players some rest days, since our league plays with games limits for position players. I plan to get in many rest days for my hitters against weak opponents, and felt like a rest day against a weak-team D starter, while leading the series, 3-0 is as good as any.

Jose Altuve, last night's hero, will have an off-day on the bench, he has earned it, with 9 hits in 3 games. I also gave Domingo Santana his first rest-day of the season, while I decided to bench Gerardo Parra the rest of this series, since I am playing him well-above his 2017 MLB pace.

Watching these limits, and when to play players & pitchers will make good strategy for the season, giving us managers some interesting choices to make... It's a good learning experience for me, who has not played in a mail-in league before, or a card league with limits before (last time I played a card league was while I was in high school & the service).

Bottom of the 1st - Buster Posey hits one-out RBI double, while a couple batters later, Yoenis Cespedes will send Posey & himself home on a two-run round tripper. Tigers lead early, 3-0.

Top of the 3rd - Two-run double by Kevin Pillar with no outs, the Grenadiers would get two more baserunners on but were not able to add to their score.

Top of the 4th - Another two-run double by Kevin Pillar. Pillar was quiet this series entering this game, as he only had 1 hit in 13 at-bats, the previous three games. Grand Junction takes lead 4-3.

Top of the 7th - Albert Pujols scores on a Ezequiel Carrera sac fly.

Top of the 8th - Albert Pujols hits a sac fly to score in Alcides Escobar; Escobar collected 4 hits this game, with three runs scored, in the 9th hole.

The Grenadiers were leading 6-3 entering the bottom of the 8th, like clockwork it was time for them to surrender a late lead.

Bottom of the 8th - Looking for some pop, Traverse City pinch-hits Keon Broxton for Jean Segura, Broxton hits a lead-off double off of Jose Alvarez. Ronald Torreyes (playing for Altuve) hits a two-run homer. Buster Posey singles. Grand Junction brings in Jared Hughes, but he allows two-run homer to Justin Bour to give T.C. a 7-6 lead.

Not so fast though, just when you thought Grand Junction choked again, the Tigers bring in Bryan Shaw for the save instead of Giles, just to give Giles some rest.

Top of the 9th - Lead-off single for Ian Happ, followed by Ezequiel Carrera's two-run RBI double. Eric Sogard hits an RBI single. The Tigers briefly look like they may get out of inning with back-to-back strikeouts to Ty Wolters and Alcides Escobar, but then Kevin Pillar is plunked with pitch. The Tigers call on Dan Otero, with runners on 1st & 2nd against Aaron Hicks. Hicks would send it out of the park with a three-run blast, giving the Grenadiers a 11-7 lead.

The Grenadiers keep Jared Hughes on the mound, as he shuts down the Tigers in the bottom of the 9th, with a win.

Game 5

Starting pitchers: Brandon McCarthy (Grade C / G.J.) / Yu Darvish (Grade C-X / T.C.)

The game right off the bat would prove to be lopsided, despite the final score... while you would expect the 4 HR in the game to come from the winning team, while all of the 4 came from the losing team.

Brandon McCarthy would only pitch 1.2 innings, before being taken out of the game for Carlos Torres (McCarthy was also downgraded to a D), another two earned runs would be charged to McCarthy, after Torres gave up a 2-1 double to Ronald Torreyes. McCarthy finished the day giving 7 earned runs (9 runs), while allowing 7 hits and 3 walks.

The Tigers had a 9-1 lead after two innings, but Grand Junction would slow add a run here and there as the game went on. Albert Pujols hit a solo HR in the 1st, with Aaron Hicks (last night's hero) hitting a solo HR in the 3rd.

Top of the 4th - Ian Happ led off with a double, as Ezequiel Carrera would hit a RBI single.

Top of the 8th - Kevin Pillar hits a two-run home run off Austin Pruitt, Grenadiers suddenly trail only 9-5 at this point.

Bottom of the 8th - Two-out RBI double for Freddy Galvis.

Top of the 9th - The Fighting Tigers decide to keep Pruitt in, Ian Happ leads off with solo HR. Pruitt is taken out of the game after giving up single & steal to Carrera. The Tigers' Bud Norris would surrender a RBI single to Alcides Escobar, but would hold on to the 10-7 win.

The game was not as close as the score would indicate, or for at least most of it.

The series showed sloppy pitching on both sides, while Grand Junction surrendered leads of 4-1 (Game 1), 5-1 (Game 2), 3-1 (Game 3) & 6-3 (Game 4)... of course, they overcame the Game 4 slip-up to win the game, which would prevent a series sweep.

The Team ERAs for both clubs were 7.40 (Grand Junction) and 6.20 (Traverse City), while Traverse City batted .299 and Grand Junction batted .242; Grand Junction did most of their damage by out-homering the Tigers, 11-5.

Ian Happ hit 4 HR during the series!

Traverse City's October home stretch watched the Fighting Tigers go, 11-4. We have just got some road stats back, and Tigers did lose 4-1 to the Ephrata Diamond Dogs, we lost 3-2 at home to them, so our season series record against Ephrata is 3-7 so far & to make matters worse they are a division rival. It will be interesting to see how I did on the road against Michigan & Grand Junction, the two easier teams of the bunch.

October Team record at this point (that I know of): 12-8, with 10 unknown game results out there.

Tigers Prepare for the 1916 Season (Leveling the Field Update)

Hendrix joins Detroit.
The Detroit Tigers were no match for the Philadelphia Athletics, as they lost the 1915 American League Championship Series, 4-1. The Athletics would eventually defeat the National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies, in a all-Philly fall classic (4-2).

The Tigers made a few changes in the off-season to follow, starting off by trading long-time Detroit reliever Hippo Vaughn. The Tigers' patience for him (to turn that corner by fulfilling his promise) had finally ran out, as they acquired reliever Harry Albies in return from the Cleveland Indians.

The Tigers traded starting pitcher Jack Quinn and relief prospect Stan Baumgartner to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for starter Claude Hendrix. The Tigers entertained the idea of drafting Hendrix back in 1910 with the 9th overall pick, but drafted Gus Williams instead; Hendrix was later drafted 15th overall (6 picks later) while Williams went on to win the 1911 A.L. Rookie-of-the-Year for the Tigers.

Quinn ranked among many all-time Detroit Tigers lists, including wins (3rd), ERA (4th), winning percentage (2nd) & strikeouts (5th).

Once a healthy Hugh Bedient joins the rotation, the Tigers will be sporting a 4-man rotation which everyone is at least a 3.5 stars pitcher. Walter Johnson is the unquestioned ace, with Bedient likely in the 2nd slot, while Hendrix will likely be in the 3rd slot, with Guy Morton taking on the back end of the rotation. Lee Meadows will likely pitch in long relief & will be used as an emergency starter.

The Detroit Tigers should be a championship contender as they try for their 2nd World Series title (their last was in 1912).

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Announcements and Updates

APBA Tournaments News 

It's been awhile since I have reported on any of the tournaments, I do know that the inaugural Furniture City APBA Tournament is looking for one more player and team to participate. The theme I believe is any team between 1920 and 1969 (or 1970) - pitchers hit.

The tournament takes place in Grand Rapids, Michigan on November 3rd.

The Twin Cities APBA Baseball Tournament (TCABT X) took place on October 6th, with Gary Borthwick's 1998 New York Yankees defeating Dave Norlander's 1911 Philadelphia Athletics.

The Glass City APBA Tournament IV saw Tucker McBride win that tournament with the 1975 Reds, as they won the Championship 2 games-to-1 over the 1997 Seattle Mariners, managed by Randy Egan (who I believe won the very first Glass City Tournament).

Out of the Park Updates

It has been a busy month, but I will have Part 2 of the Detroit Motors' (Out of the Park 19) climb to the top in 1947.

Also we will have the latest on the 1996 Atlanta Braves season, last we checked in, they landed Doug Drabek in a deal that involved Steve Avery, would it be the move that gets Atlanta its first World Title? We'll have to wait and see...

I have also been working on new uniforms and logos, which I plan to unveil.

APBA Updates

I have done posts on my first two UAL series, with their latest series write-up coming in the next few days... The Grand Junction Grenadiers at the Traverse City Fighting Tigers.

Plus Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League news coming soon!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Ephrata at Traverse City / UAL (Series #2)

The Traverse City Fighting Tigers swept their previous home series against the Michigan Jack Hammers, but face a much tougher Ephrata Diamond Dogs team.

Game 1

Starting pitchers: Andrew Triggs (Grade C-Z / EPH) / Jimmy Nelson (Grade B-XZ / T.C.)

Top of the 1st - Ephrata strikes first, with two-run double by Eddie Rosario.

Bottom of the 2nd & 3rd Innings, watched the Fighting Tigers claw back with RBI singles by Gerardo Parra (2nd Inn) & Marwin Gonzalez (3rd Inn).

Bottom of the 5th - Marwin Gonzalez' one-out RBI double gives Traverse City, a 3-2 lead.

Top of the 7th - Tigers' reliever Chris Rusin gives up, game-tying solo HR to Micheal A Taylor.

This game goes to extras, and is finally decided with Traverse City's second walk-off in as many days. This time the hero was Buster Posey, who was 0-for-5, before hitting a three-run homer off of Ephrata's Adam Warren to win the game.

Ephrata's bullpen was remarkable and did something pretty amazing, striking out 11 consecutive batters from the 8th through 11th innings. The Diamond Dogs would finish the day with 20 strikeouts.

Traverse City's Bryan Shaw collects his 2nd win in two days.

Game 2

Starting pitchers: Alex Cobb (Grade B-Z / EPH) / Rich Hill (Grade B-XY / T.C.)

A little bit of a see-saw match, Buster Posey hits his 2nd HR of the series (3rd of the season) with a game-tying 6th Inning HR... tying game at 2-2.

The Diamond Dogs would capitalize off reliever Josh Tomlin, scoring 3 runs during the top of the 8th, including Lane Adams' two-run HR. Adams finished the game, 3-for-4, including a double & run.

Alex Cobb earns the win, pitching 7 strong innings, allowing only 2 earned runs, while striking out 6 Tigers, and walking none.

Raisel Iglesias earns the save, as Ephrata ties the series, 1-1.

Game 3

Starting pitchers: Mike Leake (Grade C-Z / EPH) / Taijuan Walker (Grade B-Y / T.C.)

The Traverse City Fighting Tigers got it done with the long ball, as Jose Altuve (1st inning), Domingo Santana (2nd Inning) & Yoenis Cespedes (5th Inning) all hit home runs off Ephrata's Mike Leake.

The game would remain close, while Traverse City perfectly executing their pitching matchups, while using 7 pitchers actually in their 4-2 victory.

T.C. starter Taijuan Walker earned the win on 5 innings of work, allowing only one run, with 5 strikeouts... although he did allow 7 hits & 2 walks. Walker was taken out of the game during the top of the 6th after allowing the first two hitters to reach base.

Ken Giles collects his 3rd save of the month at home, striking out two.

Ephrata's Joey Votto's bat heated up as series continued.

Game 4

Starting pitchers: Kyle Hendricks (Grade B-YZ / EPH) / Jeff Samardzija (Grade C-XZ / T.C.)

The Tigers would draw first blood during the bottom of the 1st, with an RBI single by Yoenis Cespedes... but that would be it for T.C's offense, this game belonged to Ephrata and was over by the 4th inning.

Ephrata's hitters teed off against Jeff Samardzija, scoring 7 runs on 8 hits & 4 walks; Samardzija worked 4 innings.

Down 7-1 through 4 innings, Traverse City called on Jonathan Gray (2 innings) and Austin Pruitt (3 innings) to eat some innings.

Ephrata's Lane Adams hit his 2nd HR of the series, while going 2-for-5, BB & steal. Joey Votto was unstoppable, hitting 2 HR with 4 RBI on 3 hits & drawing 2 walks (one intentional). J.T. Realmuto also had a big day, 3-for-6, with a solo HR.

Ephrata wins 10-1 & even the series at 2-2.

Game 5

Starting pitchers: Danny Duffy (Grade C-YZ / EPH) / Yu Darvish (Grade C-X / T.C.)

The Ephrata Diamond Dogs pick up where they left off in Game 4, starting with Josh Donaldson's two-run homer in the 1st inning.

Top of the 3rd - Only up 3-1, with two runners on, J.T. Realmuto breaks the game open with a three-run blast off Darvish, D-Dogs up 6-1.

Solo home runs by Buster Posey and Jose Altuve, put the Diamond Dogs into a save situation for Raisel Iglesias in the 9th, which he would lock down for a save. For Posey it was his 3rd HR of the series, while being his 4th HR at home during the season (Posey only had 12 HR during the 2017 MLB Season).

Donaldson had a big day, going 3-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 doubles, 2 runs & a walk.

Ephrata wins the series, 3-2, while Traverse City falls to 7-3 at home this month.

Next series: Traverse City hosts the Grand Junction Grenadiers.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Judge Sets BoS Single-Season HR Mark with 58

The Holland Hitchhikers' Aaron Judge sets the single-season HR record for the Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League with 58 home runs. The league witnessed his hot second-half surge, watching him pass his real-life MLB teammate Stanton -- while breaking Chris Davis' HR mark of 56. Davis accomplished the feat as a member of Chris Baier's San Diego Heroes in 2013.

Giancarlo Stanton of the Traverse City Panthers was once on pace for 66 home runs. He hit HR #52 on the 128th game of the season, but would only hit 4 more homers the rest of the way (during the 34-game stretch). He did end up tying Davis' old record mark with 56 for the season.

For Judge, he gives the Hitchhikers a little something to celebrate, since they lost out on the final N.L. playoff spot to division rival Spring Branch Duffers.

Meanwhile, Giancarlo & the Panthers finished with the best record in the entire league, sporting a 107-55 record, as they were the only team to reach the century mark.

The American League had a wild finish as the three playoff teams all finished with a 93-69 record, the A.L. East had to play a one-game playoff to determine the division winner, which ended up being the Corktown Tamales (over the Swatara Eliminators). The Fairgrove Tigers who won the A.L. West (yet again), finished as the #1 seed.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Michigan at Traverse City / UAL (Series #1)

Bour piled up on ribbies vs Michigan.
As my readers know I joined a mail-in APBA league that I am very excited about, my team's name is called the Traverse City Fighting Tigers. For the first series, we host the Michigan Jack Hammers.

Game 1

Starting pitchers: Masahiro Tanaka (C-XZ / MICH) / Jimmy Nelson (B-XZ / TC)

Top of the 1st - With two outs, Eric Hosmer singles to right, Giancarlo Stanton with 2 balls, hits a two-run HR in his first at-bat of the season. Jackhammers lead 2-0.

Bottom of the 1st - Back-to-back, two-out RBI singles by Justin Bour and Domingo Santana tie the ballgame at 2-2. There must have been crossed signals, as Bour is thrown out at home for stealing?

Bottom of the 5th - Jose Altuve leads off with a single & then steals second. Marwin Gonzalez strikes out. Buster Posey would smack a single over second to drive in Altuve. Justin Bour singles & moves Posey over to second. Domingo Santana reaches safely on a bunt, bases loaded, one out. Gerardo Parra flies out to left, Posey tags up and scores, two outs. Keon Broxton strikes out.

Traverse City leads after five, 4-2.

Top of the 6th - Michigan's Ender Inciarte leads off with single & steal. Eric Hosmer grounds out to second, Inciarte advances to third. Nelson intentionally walks Giancarlo Stanton & Andrew Benintendi hits into 4-6-3 double play to end the threat.

Bottom of the 7th - One-out single for Buster Posey, Tigers will pinch-run Ronald Torreyes for Posey. Justin Bour draws a 61-14 walk, runners on 1st & 2nd. Domingo Santana strikes out, 2 outs. Gerardo Parra hits it to center, where Ender Inciarte drops the ball, Torreyes scores, but Bour is thrown out trying for third. Bour with two base-running blunders in this ballgame, but the good news for him, that the Fighting Tigers lead 5-2.

Top of the 9th - Ken Giles secures the save, while final out was Giancarlo Stanton (who drew a walk) is caught stealing.

WP- J.Nelson (TC)
LP- Tanaka (MICH)
SV- Giles (TC)

Game 2

Starting pitchers: Matt Moore (D / MICH) / Rich Hill (B-XY / TC)

Bottom of the 1st - The Fighting Tigers' Justin Bour hits a three-run homer to right off of Moore.

Top of the 4th - Javier Baez hits his 2nd double of the game, a one-out double off Hill, Jack Hammers trail 3-1.

Bottom of the 6th - Two-run single by Buster Posey off of reliever Tim Mayza gives Tigers, 5-1 lead.

Bottom of the 7th - The Fighting Tigers start to pile it on with an RBI double by Jose Altuve, while Bour adds two more RBI to a 5 RBI day, with a single off Mayza.

The Traverse City Fighting Tigers win, 8-1 & improve their record to 2-0, while in the two games they have a +10 scoring differential. Justin Bour already has 6 RBI, while Jose Altuve has already logged 5 runs.

WP- R.Hill
LP- M.Moore

Game 3

Starting pitchers: J.C. Ramirez (C / MICH) / Taijuan Walker (B-Y / TC)

Top of the 1st - Lead-off double for Michigan's T.J. Rivera, Ender Inciarte drives him in with an RBI single. Inciarte will later score on an RBI single by Elvis Andrus. Michigan leads, 2-0.

Bottom of the 4th - Solo HR for Buster Posey, T.C. trails 2-1.

Bottom of the 5th - Freddy Galvis leads off with a single to left center. Two batters later, with one out, Jarrod Dyson singles, advancing Galvis to third, while Dyson steals second on the next pitch. Runners on 2nd & 3rd, runners advance one base on a passed ball (Sucre), as the Fighting Tigers tie the game, 2-2. Jose Altuve would give the Tigers the lead with an RBI single.

Top of the 6th - The Tigers up 3-2 have reliever Dan Otero on the mound for the 6th. Giancarlo Stanton singles to right, then advances to second on Andrew Benintendi grounding out for the 1st out. Elvis Andrus would single to left, Stanton rounds third, but is thrown out at home on Yoenis Cespedes' throw to home; Andrus steals second. The Jack Hammers would come up short in the 6th, failing to score.

Bottom of the 7th - The Tigers seem to love coming up after the 7th Inning stretch, scoring 3 runs their previous two games combined in this half-inning... they add to that in a major way in this one. A lead-off double-columns solo HR by Jarrod Dyson (who only hit 5 HR in all of 2017), followed by back-to-back singles by Keon Broxton and Jose Altuve. Marwin Gonzalez hits a two-run double to score in Broxton & Altuve. Domingo Santana would add an RBI double later in the inning, as the Fighting Tigers score 5 runs in the bottom of the seventh, making it a 8-2 game.

Tigers would go on to win, 8-2.

WP- T.Walker (TC)
LP- J.C. Ramirez (MICH)

Game 4

Starting Pitchers: Daniel Norris (D / MICH) vs Jeff Samardzija (C-XZ / TC)

Bottom of the 1st - After two quick 1-2 outs for Michigan's Daniel Morris, he would allow three consecutive singles to load up the bases, while walking Domingo Santana to score in a run. Norris would get out of the inning by getting Keon Broxton to ground out to second.

Bottom of the 2nd - With runners on 1st & 2nd & no outs, Jean Segura collects an RBI single, but that's all the damage the Tigers would inflict, as Norris retires Parra, Altuve & Bour.

Top of the 4th - Giancarlo Stanton hits s solo HR, his 2nd HR of the season.

Bottom of the 5th - Jose Altuve hits a solo HR to give the Fighting Tigers a 3-1 lead.

Bottom of the 8th - Marwin Gonzalez hits a two-run HR off of reliever Edwin Diaz, to give Traverse City a 5-1 lead.

Top of the 9th - With one out, and one runner on (Benintendi), Elvis smacks a two-run homer off of T.C. reliever Bud Norris. Panthers call on their closer, Ken Giles to lock down the last two outs.

Marwin Gonzalez's two-run HR in the 8th proves to be pivotal & excellent insurance runs, if he does not hit it, the game would have been tied with Elvis Andrus' round-tripper.

WP- Samardzija (TC)
LP- D.Norris (MICH)
SV- Giles (TC)

Game 5

Starting pitchers: Buck Farmer (D-Y / MICH) / Yu Darvish (C-X / TC)

Top of the 4th - Giancarlo Stanton hits a solo HR, his 3rd of the season, and this is with Traverse City avoiding him at times (Stanton drew 3 intentional walks in the series).

Buck Farmer came to pitch for the series finale as he would get three grade advancements, improving from a Grade D to Grade A.

Bottom of the 9th - With one half-inning to go, Farmer allows a game-tying lead-off homer run to Domingo Santana & then would retire the next three hitters.

Bottom of the 11th - Farmer would allow a lead-off hit to (one again) Domingo Santana, Santana would steal second... which set up Gerardo Parra to smack a walk-off double, as the Fighting Tigers pull off the 5-game sweep.

WP- B.Shaw
LP- Farmer

Domingo Santana had himself an excellent series for Traverse City.
It would not be a great series for the Jack Hammers as they batted a combined .199, while their pitching posted a 5.57 ERA against the Tigers. Like most lopsided series, one team did horrible while the other was excellent in both hitting & pitching, and that of course was the case for the Tigers who batted .324 while posting a 1.72 ERA.

The Tigers tried their best to quiet Michigan's Giancarlo Stanton, intentionally walking him three times in the series, but he still managed to hit 3 homers. Elvis Andrus was the only other Jack Hammer to show up at the plate for Michigan this series, batting .368 (7 hits) with a HR & 3 RBI, with a .895 OPS.

Friday, October 5, 2018

1996 Braves Acquire Drabek

Drabek joins an already stellar rotation.
The Braves have been no strangers to the injury bug, we have lucked out majority wise, but we still suffered a tough blow late in April when Chipper Jones broke his hand, losing him for 5 months... We hope to have him back in time for the postseason.

The pitching rotation was stellar again, but we decided to shop around Steve Avery who is finally showing signs of struggles to come; His OOTP version has outperformed his real-life counterpart up to this point.

When I was initially shopping him around, I was hoping to shed his payroll for maybe a couple prospects, to save $5.2 million ($2.6 million-per-year). My owner hopes to shed $4.1 million in payroll when this season is over, so that was part of the goal...

At the same time, I am still trying to get the Atlanta Braves over that World Title hump, they have yet to win a title in the city of Atlanta.

So when I saw that the Pittsburgh Pirates were offering Doug Drabek, who is still pitching great, and definitely pitching better than Avery, I couldn't say no.

Our team is pretty solid, while we own a MLB best 67-34 record (.663 pct), while we sit on top of the N.L. West 7.5 games up on the Pedro Martinez & the Dodgers.

The Montreal Expos seem to be waking up in the N.L. East, with Barry Bonds (.295, 37 HR & 82 RBI) & Andres Galarraga (.313, 14 HR & 50 RBI) leading the charge. Their big investment in their reliever trio of Dennis Eckersley (1.71 ERA), Randy Myers (2.79 ERA) & John Franco (1.53 ERA & 11 Saves) is paying off.

Some familiar faces in strange places.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies are flirting with the worst record in MLB history with a 24-76 record (.240 winning pct). So it appears that the Detroit Tigers won't have the top pick this time, the last few years they have drafted Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran and Roy Halladay... they should still have a top 5 pick.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Detroit Motors' Climb to the Top (Part 1)

To help me get to know the players in the Sandlot League, I decided to be General Manager & Manager of the Detroit Motors. I thought it would take me much longer to recognize players all around the league, getting to know their talents and attributes, due to the fact that the players are all fictional players... but it didn't take long, which was a good thing.

I drafted for plenty of the teams during its inaugural draft before deciding to take the Motors' GM job sometime before the 1946 season. I did know that the Detroit franchise took more chances in the inaugural 1945 draft, drafting on future potential instead of drafting for 'win now'...

So I did know that they would probably be on the losing side of the league, but didn't realize how bad that they would be that first season. 

Before I took over, Detroit made one big move by acquiring SS/3B Scott Cicio from the Chicago Legends along with prospect 3B Francisco Sarenana, in exchange for SP Butch Alba & prospect CF John Lang. I was quite aware of Cicio, he was the 5th overall pick during the inaugural draft, and his scouting report was terrific... while I also know that at the time, Alba was one of Detroit's only quality arms, while Lang (drafted 5th overall in the 1945 first-year player draft) appeared at the time to have a great future ahead of him. 

As time moved on since, Detroit won that deal in a major way, Lang didn't do anything for the first couple years, while finally (somewhat) breaking out in 1947 for the Legends, playing his first full season (.274 BA, 13 HR, 67 RBI, 11 SB, 11 triples, 178 hits & .724 OPS). Alba played great in half-of-a-season (1945 2nd half) for Chicago, before moving on to the Louisville Sluggers, in which his career is already falling apart at age 32, after leading the N.L. with 25 losses (6-25 record, 5.65 ERA).

Cicio has become everything he was predicted to be, his numbers don't completely shout superstar, but he's only getting better as he just turned 27, here is a list of his accomplishments below...
  • Back-to-back seasons with .275 or better batting average.
  • Career .350 On-Base Percentage, while he had a career high with 91 BB's (1947).
  • His career OPS is gradually getting better from season-to-season, which improved from .742 to .766, while he had a career high in OBP (.368) and SLG (.398) during his 1947 campaign... which may not jump off the pages, but he does everything consistently, while having solid OOTP ratings.
  • 1947: .275 BA, 15 HR, 73 RBI, 173 hits & 92 runs in 157 games.
  • 1946 A.L. All-Star Selection
  • Won the Most Valuable Player for both the 1947 American League Championship Series and the 1947 World Series. He batted .391 (27-for-61) with 2 HR, 8 BB & 7 steals (only 9 SB during regular season), while he posted an outstanding .443 On-Base Percentage, .580 slugging percentage & 1.023 OPS!
  • 1947 World Championship ring.
Back to the inaugural season (1945), the Motors remained parked the entire season, their 69 wins that season seemed to be generous considering that it felt much worse than the wins give it credit for. The team was always able to hit, during their three seasons the team has put out a .265 batting average per season. The team's pitching was the primary problem in 1945 (4.91 ERA) in both the rotation and bullpen, we simply needed arms.

The 1946 Season

We simply needed arms...

That was the approach I took prior to the 1946 Sandlot Season, we needed a front-line starter to this weak rotation. Our first big move came in signing Kevin Gaylor to a 3-year deal worth $149,700 ($49,900 per season), he was one of the best starting pitchers on the market, his ratings & scouting report were solid, while coming off a season in which he sported a 11-15, 3.89 ERA (1.36 WHIP) & 5.2 WAR in 242.2 innings for a struggling Boston Shamrocks franchise.... he was definitely better than what we currently had as well.

The Detroit Motors' home jerseys.
One of the other moves we made that season was signing an everyday second baseman, which was a weak area for us, Cicio and Steve Offredi were capable of filling in those spots, but they were much stronger at third and short. We decided to go with Ronald Conway, who came off a decent season with the Baltimore Terrapins, hitting .255, 15 HR & 75 RBI... once again it was better than we had at the moment. Conway's scouting report in many ways pointed to that fact that he was still a player that was improving (who was 26 at the time of the signing), by the end of the 1946 season though, he was not a complete fit, while my owner Rich Davis definitely wanted him out. We also signed an outfielder named Sawyer Ponitz to a two-year deal worth $35,500 for outfield depth, he did nothing but struggle for us in 1946, and only got playing time due to LF Dane Reeves struggling at the plate that season.

We acquired Jose Villa, who would become a pivotal place in the championship rotation from the Pittsburgh Arsenal in exchange for 2B prospect Alex Martinez.

We now had Gaylor, Villa, and Ernesto Parra in our top three pitching slots of the rotations, which they were all 3 stars-to-3.5 stars in overall rating. Parra, was a bit of a surprise & one of the team's biggest surprises during the 1945 season, as he went 17-8 with a 3.01 ERA, 125 K & 1.24 WHIP in 266.1 innings that season. Parra is currently the Motors' all-time wins (38) and strikeouts (386) leader... not bad for being a 9th Round pick (203rd overall) in the inaugural draft.

Detroit's alternate home uniforms.
Josh Kirby was supposed to be the future ace of the franchise, while being drafted in the 2nd Round of the Inaugural Draft (38th overall), while ranking as the Sandlot League's #10 Top Prospect... he was drafted at the young age of 19 & had tons of potential. Kirby never lived up to the hype, the Motors traded him midway through the 1947 season, while he posted a 15-24 record, 5.69 ERA & 1.83 WHIP over 50 starts in his disappointing career in Detroit. Kirby has posted only one start with the Washington Capitols since the trade, while at age 23, his career seems to have more question marks than answers at the moment.

Luis Sanchez, was the team's #4 starter (while Kirby was the #5 starter), he posted a much-better season in 1946 (11-10, 3.81 ERA & 1.42 WHIP) than in 1945 (5.05 ERA).

It was this combination of the starting rotation along with the much-improved bullpen in closer Steve 'Stone Cold' Austein, Frank Chavez, and Edgar Chartier that made us considerably better in 1946.

The early glimpses of 1947 would appear in the first three months of the 1946 season. In later June 46', at one point, the Detroit Motors held onto the A.L. Wildcard slot (despite projecting to only win 73 games), but then came July and all of the injuries to follow. We would end up limping to the finish line with only 70 wins... my team improved by only one lousy win.

Attendance, Payroll and Balance

Before we move on to the 1947 Off-Season and the eventual 1947 World Championship drive, here are some numbers reflecting the teams' first three-years and its transition from the bottom to the top.

The Detroit Motors' three-year rise in the following categories...


  • 1945: 488,717 fans
  • 1946: 732,086 fans
  • 1947: 949,871 fans
  • 1945: $405,949
  • 1946: $476,306
  • 1947: $546,369
  • 1945: $24,061
  • 1946: $88,584
  • 1947: $497,017
As you can see the fans attendance has doubled since its inaugural season, while the team's balance has quadrupled (and more than quadrupled) from season-to-season, my team balance during 1947 is nearly 5 times the amount than the 1945 & 1946 seasons are combined.

The average season ticket for the Motors was $1.05 during the inaugural season, I knocked it down to a dollar prior to 1946 (due to the prior lousy season) & that helped a lot. I brought it back up to a $1.05 entering the 1947 season, I knew we had a better team entering 47', a respectable team that could at least sniff  around wildcard competition, but my team came out of the gates swinging and by the All-Star Break, I definitely knew I had a championship contender on my hands. So at a $1.05 a ticket, those fans packed the house & the numbers certainly show (949,871 attendance in 1947).

After looking around the league, I realized I needed to get closer to the league's average season ticket prices that the minimums were floating around $1.25 to $1.30. I decided to make this season's average ticket prices to go for $1.30 a ticket (+23.8% change from last season).

The Times They Are A-Changin'

We left off with the 1946 season starting off promising, while it ended up finishing as a dud. Two of my bigger 1946 signings in Kevin Gaylor (12-16, 3.63 ERA) and Ronald Conway, both messaged my office (the day after the season ended) and wanted out.

While the owner, Mr. Davis and I could not agree more on Conway, I was a tad bit hesitant on trading Gaylor... We have finally put together a much improved rotation that watched the team's pitching improve from a 4.91 ERA to 3.88 ERA, improving by a point. At the same time, I didn't want someone there that did not want to be there, plus he could fill in some holes as well.

We shopped Gaylor around, in which basically every team came back with offers. I found a suitor in the Oil City Oilers (Dallas) who was offering an older, but strong 3.5 star starting pitcher in Josh Phillips, who came off a season in which he led the American League in wins (22) and Innings (327), while he posted a 2.78 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. I believe they were offering a 4th Round pick, which I upgraded to a 3rd Round pick... in which they would think about the offer.

Meanwhile, I was on the phone with the Philadelphia Veterans, I could not believe who they were offering for my second baseman Conway. The Vets offered Nate Patten, who won both the A.L. Pitcher of the Year & Most Valuable Player Award in 1945; Patten led the league in wins (23), ERA (2.38), Innings (317.2) & Games Started (37).

I didn't hesitate on Patten, while the Oilers approved the deal on Gaylor, a couple days later.

So my rotation now looked like this for the upcoming 1947 season: Nate Patten, Josh Phillips, Jose Villa, Ernesto Parra & Josh Kirby.

I wanted to move David Springfield off the field, keeping his big bat, due to his deteriorating glove at first... so I moved him to the Designated Hitter slot (the entire Sandlot League plays under the DH rule). I spotted Wallace Pease in the free agent market for a relative cheap price ($8,500) for a much-better glove (Rating 55 compared to Springfield's 40) at first... Pease also brought a little pop as well.

We signed some catcher depth in Blake Vigneault, signing him to a two-year deal worth $24,000, to help Francisco Lazaro.

To fill the void of Conway at second, we already had Alex Pellot, but I wanted to get him some help, plus I wanted Pellot to platoon, while backing up 3B & SS. We ended up acquiring Bobby Vidal from Denver in exchange for disappointing CF Sawyer Ponitz. Vidal has an excellent glove at second (70 out of 80), while Pellot may have the edge with the bat (both very similar hitters).

The 1947 World Championship Season

LF Dane Reeves would have a much-needed bounce-back at the plate for us during the season, batting .283 with 12 HR & 83 RBI (.823 OPS) compared to .243, 6 HR & 62 RBI (.690) in 1946. Reeves was also elected to his first All-Star Game.

We signed Paul Duquette prior to the season to a three-year deal worth $53,000 to help closer Steve Austein and Edgar Chartier in the bullpen. We didn't tender a contract to the fragile, declining Frank Chavez. Duquette's ratings were really impressive, while he automatically jumped in as our 8th Inning Setup man, moving Chartier down to 7th Inning duty. We also acquired reliever Dana Evans from the Oil City Oilers just prior to opening day in exchange for prospect reliever Jared Barbosa.

The team would explode out of the gates, during the first two months, we had a winning percentage around .690. Both us and the Milwaukee Braves kept trading 1st-2nd in the early month, while we started getting some breathing room with a 5-game lead in late May. The Chicago Union was a distant third, those first couple months.

Late June, we started seeing our A.L. Central Division lead shrink, and at one point we lost 7 of 10, while both Milwaukee and Chicago played really well in that stretch... Chicago was suddenly in the A.L. Wild Card hunt.

During July, all three of us idled for the most part, but with a couple weeks left until the Trade Deadline, I felt I had to make some crucial moves to give us that extra push.

The trouble areas that I noticed was CF, 1B & C.

My center field situation was the most noticeable -- Danny Serrano's glove has diminished (45/80) over the last year, and his lack of bat was not helping the situation. Serrano had a combined 5.3 WAR over his first two seasons with us, he was currently in the negative area for his 1947 WAR.

We would acquire OF Ryan Digby from division rivals Chicago Union, in exchange for young starting pitcher Nate Wilson. We loved Wilson & acquired him (from the Toronto Maple Leafs) just prior to the season for 3B prospect Francisco Sarenana, but we had to upgrade at center. Wilson would go on to have a solid second-half with Chicago, sporting a 2.14 ERA over 20 games (5 starts).

Wilson became expendable, when we made a deal just prior to the Digby deal in acquiring SP Edgar Gonzales from the Washington Capitols (along with a 2nd Round Draft Pick) in exchange for solid starting pitcher prospect Ben Sisk and SP Josh Kirby (the former rising star with a sliver of a chance to fulfill his big league potential).

I hated seeing Sisk go, he was among the league's top prospects, with plenty of promise, I expect to see him paying off for Washington.

I wanted another outfielder & acquired solid glove and no-bat speedster Justin Moyer from the Baltimore Terrapins -- trading CF prospect Jeff Kellerman, a 3rd Round Draft Pick & $2,000 in cash for his services.

Wallace Pease was playing well for us at first, but he has had a history of being a bit injury-prone, him playing full-time at first may jeopardize his strong bat. I decided to acquire some help in stronger bat Corey Molina, although he was not playing well for the Kansas City Athletics (.202, 5 HR, 31 RBI)... Due to his weaker glove, Molina will mostly back-up for Pease, while occasionally platoon at first. Molina was basically an insurance policy, in case Pease got hurt.

Detroit traded prospect LF Jared Walden to K.C. to acquire Molina, while we also landed a 2nd Round Draft Pick in the trade.

Bobby Sims was playing really well for us during the first-half of the season, platooning at first, over-achieving for the most part, but we ended up adding him to a deal (which included a 2nd Round Draft Pick) to the Denver Miners in exchange for catcher Chris Cobian. Cobian won the 1945 A.L. Gold Glove (while playing for the Los Angeles Knights in 1945), while he also brought a well-disciplined bat to the plate (a career .290 hitter).

All of these deals brought on a lot more salary, but it was all worth it, if it brought a championship to Detroit... which it eventually did.

We still had our challenges and road blocks, but to explain the pennant chase & the post-season results in depth, that will have to be explained in another upcoming post.

[To be continued....]
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