TBL World Series: Joe Auletta wins Game 7 in extras!

tblCongratulations to Joe Auletta!  His Brobdingnag Barbarians took the Transcontinental Baseball League championship two weekends ago.  It took some doing though.  His Barbarians had to defeat the Midwest Mongrels in Game 7 in a 12 inning battle. 

Below is Joe’s write up of Game Seven forwarded to me by Stephen Stein. 

Congrats again, Joe!


2015 World Series, Game #7

Midwest (J. Zimmerman) vs Brobdingnag (S. Strasburg)

Each team has won over 120 games in the regular season and playoffs to get this far. One game left. Fifty players striving for another championship ring. Both franchises knew the feeling of victory.

The visitor’s first went quietly. Victor Martinez, the most productive hitter in the series so far, earned a two-out walk after fouling off six straight 3-2 pitches, but Adam Jones struck out to end the half-inning.

The home first was anything but quiet. Zimmerman was a surprise starter on short rest, and his velocity was clearly off from pre-game warm-up on. Trout sat on a fastball that lacked zip and pulled it for a single. Mauer too two pitches low and away, and then with Trout running Mauer turned on another “fast” ball that wasn’t and singled to right, Trout taking third. That was enough, and Zimmerman was replaced after the shortest start of his career. Bret Cecil started the bullpen revolving door. Davis K’d but Hanley Ramirez blooped an opposite field double, Trout scoring and Mauer to third. Papi then walked to load the bases and there was a threat that this one might be over very quickly. Cecil handed the ball to Simon, the Mongrels playing the Righty vs Righty match-up against Jason Werth with only one out. Simon got ahead in the count 1-2 and tried to get Werth out with a curve ball, but the ball hung and Werth sent it into the left center alley for a two run double—anyone faster than a turtle would have cleared the bases, but that has never been Papi’s forte. Simon settled down and retired both Rios and Scutaro to strand a pair in scoring position. End of 1st, MID 0, BRO 3.

Three runs in this series has proven to be near insurmountable and there was a sense of urgency in the Dawg hitters. CarGo swung hard and sent a screaming fly into straight away center but Trout broke well and caught it running full speed towards the wall, a la Willie Mayes. Ryann Zimmerman swung from his heals and weakly topped a change-up to Scutero who retired him with a flip to Davis. With two out and no one on Carlos Santana abandoned his normal hitting approach and sat looking fastball all the way. He found one on Strasburg’s third offering, turned on it, and send the ball rocketing into the seats in the left field corner—just fair. Home run Dawgs. No further damage. The bottom of the second was a 1-2-3 inning for the now-coasting Simon. End of 2nd, MID 1, BRO 3.

Neither team’s hitters did anything in the third, and the middle of the visitor’s line-up was due in the 4th. Victor—again—started the damage with a lead-off double. That ended Strasburg’s day and brought in the lefty Bastardo. The first pitch was way inside and caused Jones to sprawl in the dirt, and resulted in a warning by the umps to both benches. Jones didn’t look comfortable the rest of the at bat, and wound up flailing weakly at strike three. Out with Bastardo, in with Parnell to face Gonzalez. Same result: a swinging strike out. Two out, Martinez still on second. Ryan Zimmerman sees a whole on the right side and aims for it, and a sharply hit bouncer finds the outfield grass, Martinez scoring to cut the lead to one run. Santana flies out to end the bleeding.

Simon, facing his 10th hitter and having thrown 49 pitches and having retired the last eight Barbarians, starts to fatigue and throws four straight balls to Werth leading off the bottom half inning. Simon—getting some polite applause for a good performance—gives way to hard throwing Rodney. Rodney pitches Rios away until the count reaches 2-2, then busts him inside with a 95 mph fastball on the hands. Rios, still looking away, checks his swing but hits it weakly to Rollins who turns two. Good thing for the Mongrels since Sutaro follows with a single that would have extended the lead. Machado ends the threat by hitting into a routine 6-4 force. End of 4th, MID 2, BRO 3.

Having climbed within one, Midwest moved no closer in the 5th as Parnell and Loup retired the three batters they faced. In the bottom of the 5th the Barbarians again played small ball, much to the Guru’s chagrin. Trout bunted for a single, stole second without a throw, and Joe “The Bunting Fool” Mauer sacrificed him to third with only one out. Perkins replaced Rodney to face the scary bats of Davis—blew strike three past him—and Ramirez—a lazy fly to left. More harm averted.

Both sides mounted mild threats in the sixth. A two-out single and stolen base by Jones was squandered when Gomez hit a warning track fly to Werth in right. Then a two-out single and steal by Rios was misspent when Scutaro hit a one-hopper to Rollins and over to Hosmer. End of 6th, MID 2, BRO 3.

In the seventh, up one, the Barbarians pulled Scutaro, Ramirez, and Rios for three superior gloves in Ackley, Cabrera, and Chris Young, added to the WS roster after the conference championship round. Defensive changes don’t always work as advertised. Tanner Roark, the RH set-up man all season, took the mound. He retired Zimmerman and Santana, then when Romine—who had been 0 for 2—hit a soft grounder to Ackley the inning looked over. OOPS! Ackley, the defensive sub, threw it into the dirt and Davis couldn’t scoop it. Romine was safe on first. Rollins looked fooled on a cut fastball that moved inside and was hit on the arm, pushing Romine to second and getting Roark ejected, even though it did not look intentional on Roark’s part. Neal Cotts, the LH set-up man for Brob, faced Hosmer and got him to ground out Cabrera to Ackley for the force. On to the seventh inning stretch.

Manny Machado led off the home seventh with a fly ball to left that caught the air currents and landed two rows deep, just past the leaping Cuddyer. The lead was two, Kimbrell was warming in the pen, and the fans were starting to celebrate. Chris Davis added a loud double later in the inning, but didn’t get past second. End of 7th, MID 2, BRO 4.

Six outs left for the Mutt-Men. Cuddyer was a routine out, 6-3, but then came the hot Martinez. He waited for an off-speed offering he could drive and hit another double just inside the first base foul line. Chavez ran for Martinez. Jones lined out to the pitcher, the Gomez who had hit the ball hard twice in the game with nothing to show for it, lined a single over Ackley and they sent Chavez. The throw was on line, but a fraction too late as Chavez scored and cut the lead again to one run. Zimmerman flied out to end the visitor’s 8th.

The home 8th started promisingly for Brob as Ortiz walked and shocked the stadium by stealing second—his second stolen base of the playoffs. But on the slide he twisted his ankle and Jose Fernandez ran for him. Non pitchers, the Barbarians only had back-up catcher Navarro still available. Fernandez never made it past second Greg Holland retired Werth, Young, and Ackley easily. End of 8th, MID 3, BRO 4.

Top of the 9th, three outs left, closer Craig Kimbrell (39 saves and a 1.85 ERA during the regular season) warm and ready, Cotts (7 saves and a 1.37 ERA) on the mound, and the best defensive team in the league in the field. They were feeling good and limbering up to rush the field. Santana struck out. The decibel level reached jet engine proportions. Barney grounded out, Cabrera to Davis. Two outs and Vlad almost started to smile. Rollins walked. Vlad stopped smiling. Sciame went to the mound and called for Kimbrell to face Hosmer. The first pitch was a called strike. The second pitch was a pitch-out, but Maure had to double clutch for the ball and Rollins beat the throw. Tieing run on second, but only one out left. Hosmer was 0 for 4 and had looked bad all night, so it wasn’t a shock when he topped a ball right back to Kimbrell—who threw it over Davis’ head for an error. Hosmer safe at 1st, and Rollins ran through the stop sign at third and scored. Game tied. Dead silence in the stands. Vlad very much not smiling. Kimbrell reached back and punched out Cuddyer, but the lead had been lost.

One more chance for the Barbarians to win it in regulation, but they never even got started. Holland was overpowering retiering Machado, Trout, and Mauer. On to extra innings for the second time in the series. End of 9th, MID 4, BRO 4.

Between innings Kinbrell could be seen turning a bat into splinters and everyone else gave him room. When they started the 10th, he took his frustration out on the Dawgs. Chavez never got close to any of the three pitches he say, swinging and missing on a 101 mph fastball to end his at bat. Jones, seeming to fear for his life, flied weakly to Young in left. Gomez checked his swing on a full count and walked, but was gunned down by Mauer attempting to steal. Holland gave way to Perralta who was not as dominating. Davis singled. The crowd started to get louder. Cabrera sacrificed him to second. Louder still. Navaro pinch hit for Fernandez in the DH spot and flied to Cuddyer. Werth walked—semi-intentionally—to face Chris Young. Young played good defense all season, but only hit .139 and it showed as he struck out, looking helpless as he did. Two more runners left on for Brob. The fans were starting to get a bit hostile. And scared? End of 10th, MID 4, BRO 4.

Kimbrell still had the tiger’s eye in the 11th, retiering the side 1-2-3 with a pair of Ks. Perralta struk out Ackley to start the bottom of the inning, but then Machado singled—his second hit of the game. When Trout beat out an infield hit to put two runners on, Chen—the game 4 starter—came in to face the lefties Mauer and Davis. Mauer hit a high, playable ball to shallow right, runners hold. Two outs. The Chen struck out Davis. The Barbarians had now stranded 11 runners and a few boos could be imagined among the general crowd noise. End of 11th, MID 4, BRO 4.

Derrek Holland was warm in the Barbarian pen, but Kimbrell could be seen arguing with the pitching coach, and apparently Kimbrell was convincing enough because he came out to open the 12th. This was his longest outing of the season, but he was still reaching the low-mid 90s on many of his pitches. Rollins grounded out for the first out. Then Kimbrell hit Hosmer on the hand, and after a consultation with the third base up, Kimbrell was not thrown out. Roberts ran for Hosmer. Cuddyer, 0 for 5 in the game, made it 0 for 6 as he grounded into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

Bottom of the 12th. Cabrera bunted his way on. Navarro missed a hit & run sign and Cabrera was dead meat, thrown out at second by five feet. Navarro then compounded things by striking out. One out away from the thirteenth inning, and 3 minutes shy of 2 AM. Werth tried to check his swing but tapped the ball down the third base line. Zimmerman tried to one-hand it but couldn’t pick it cleanly. Werth safe at 1st, E-5. Chris Young the batter. Sciame looked up and down his now used up bench and shook his head. He called to the pen and told them Holland would start the next inning. Just as he was hanging up the phone, Young connected with a fastball. Up, up, and away it went into the left center stands for a two run walk-off home run. The Barbarians win the seventh game and their fifth World Series by the narrowest of margins over a very good, very tough Midwest team.


Midwest 4 runs, 6 hits, 1 error, 7 LOB

Brobdingnag 6 runs, 14 hits, 2 errors, and 11 LOB

WP: Kimbrell

LP: Chen

SV: None

HRs: Santana, Machado, Young.

Series MVP: No one stood out, it was lots of good pitching, lots of weak hitting. My vote would be for Victor Martinez who was the only hitter who seemed to actually know what to do with a bat.

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Terrible Card Tuesday: 1972 Bobby Floyd


After the recent Illowa APBA League draft weekend, Chuck took me to his place while I waited for the train to downtown Chicago.  We did what most APBA guys would do with 15 minutes to kill… we looked at APBA cards. 


While doing so, I ran across this 1972 Bobby Floyd card.  Floyd was a utility man who played for the Orioles and the Royals between 1968 and 1974.  Quite frankly, most of his cards probably look a lot like this.  Low average, no power and probably not much defense. 

In 1972, Floyd got the most playing time with 134 at-bats.  He still didn’t hit well with a paltry .179 mark.  He only hit three doubles and that was the extent of his power.  As is true with a lot of Terrible Tuesday cards, his run total (9) may be elevated slightly since he was used as a pinch runner. 

1972 Totals 61 140 134 9 24 3 0 0 5 1 5 29 .179 .209 .201
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/3/2015.


Bobby Floyd gets hit numbers 6-7-8-8-8-9-9-10.  That gives him a 31-13 and a 51-39 or “up top” as we say.

Because of his dearth of hit numbers, we see some fly ball result numbers where we normally wouldn’t see them.  Floyd has a 35-30 and a 46-32.

Ugly numbers: 31-13, 51-39, 35-30

Floyd did pick it up in limited play the next year.  In 1973, he hit .333 in 78 at-bats.  He even hit his first extra base hit that wasn’t a double with one triple in his career.

thanks Chuck!!  Let’s play a game next time!!

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Monster Card Monday: 1994 Frank Thomas

big hurt

I forgot who sent this sent in… Doug S?  Regardless, it’s a Monster as long as you don’t mind a butcher in the field.  Frank “Big Hurt” Thomas was given that 1B-2 for a reason. 

But Frank Thomas could produce.  There’s no question about that.  This card is from the strike-shortened 1994 season.  He played 113 games and had logged 399 at-bats.  However with walks and such, he adds up to 517 total plate appearances. 

That’s because MVP Thomas led the league in walks with 109.  He wasn’t all Mr Patient either.  Thomas hit .353 in ‘94 with 106 runs (leading the AL) and 101 rbis.  He hit 34 doubles and 38 homers. 


1994 Totals 113 517 399 106 141 34 1 38 101 2 109 61 .353 .487 .729
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/2/2015.

I’ve said before that one of the biggest factors for me for a Monster Card is non-out numbers where there should be outs.  Powers numbers are great and so are other hit numbers but when I see a 14 or even a 37 where an out number usually resides, that’s when I get tingly inside. 

Frank Thomas fits the bill.  He has a 26-14, a 46-41 AND a 24-37.  That’s a mark of card that will produce.  In total, he has seven 14s to go with his hit numbers 1-1-5-5-6-7-8-8-8-9-9. 

Fun numbers: 44-6, 22-5, 26-14

This may seem like a small thing but I just happened to notice it.  In addition to his two 31s, Frank Thomas’ 1994 card has a 36-12 and a 56-14.  No where else on his card did the cardmakers “make up” for the usual 33 on the 36 and put the it somewhere else.  That means Thomas does not have a 33 OR a 34 making him a little more valuable with the hit and run (especially for those of you playing with the old rules).

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Bob Gordon’s 1979 postseason: Game 1 ALCS

Bob Gordon continues his summary of his 1979 postseason replay  -Tom

83dauerGame 1 of the ALCS is in Minnesota.  Pre-season favorite California struggled to a fourth place finish – they lacked pitching past Frost and Ryan.  The Twins, meanwhile, found plenty of pitching.  Number 4 starter Paul Hartzell finished 22-8!  The dice loved this team….they finished second in the AL with a 296 team batting average.  The Orioles rode a fine starting staff headed by co-Cy Young winners Mike Flanagan (27-9) and Dennis Martinez (26-10) and timely hitting. Gary Roenicke and Ken Singleton both slugged 39 homers to pace the O’s.  Koosman (14-13, 4.06 ERA) draws Martinez for game 1.

Kiko Garcia reaches on a Wilfong error with one down in the first. Murray singles and the O’s have two on, two out and Lee May standing in.  Koosman draws on his playoff experience with the Mets and whiffs the Big Bopper to end the inning.  Top second, and Roenicke launches one over the wall in deep right for a 1-0 lead.  DeCinces walks, and Dauer singles and the O’s are in business again.  Koosman reaches back to retire the next three batters, striking out Garcia to end the second. 

That strike out got Koosman on a roll.  He struck out the side in the third and retired the side in order in the 4th – without a ball leaving the infield.  Twin batters were inspired – with one down in the fourth, Landreaux pulls one over the wall in right.  Landreaux hit 327 on the year with 14 HR and 119 RBIs, so they need him to get it going.  Adams (361, 18 HR, 117 RBI) follows with a double.  Martinez settles down and gets Powell (no, not Boog, Hosken) and Jackson (Ron, not Reggie) and we go to the 5th tied at one.

Martinez’ designated catcher Dave Skaggs, walks on five pitches.  Koosman then plunks Bumbry and the O’s have first and second, no out.  The runners take off and execute a successful double steal.  Earl Weaver is pulling out all the stops.  A surprised and rattled Koosman then balks, and the O’s have get a run without the benefit of a hit.  Koosman retires six straight after hitting Bumbry – and the Twins tie it up on Adams’ solo shot in the 6th.  Both pitchers retire the side in order in the 7th but the wheels come off for Koosman in the 8th. 

Ayala (batting for Garcia) bangs a pinch single to start it.  Belanger comes on to pinch run and play the field – his SS-10 rating moves the O’s to fielding one.  Singleton picks up his first hit of the series, a ringing double to the gap in right center.  Belanger scores easily giving the Orioles the lead.  Murray flies to Rivera to right and Lee May works a walk.  Roenicke grounds to Cubbage and both runners move up. Two in scoring position, but Koosman is one out from getting out of it.  DeCinces works a walk to load the bases for Dauer.  One pitch and Koosman is out of the inning. Unfortunately that next pitch sails over Wynegar’s outstretched glove and Singleton scores.  Dauer clears the bases with a double and ends Koosman’s day.  Pete Redfern gives up a single to Lowenstein batting for Skaggs. Powell’s throw to the plate nails Dauer, but it’s 6-2 Orioles. Martinez gives up a harmless two out single to Landreaux in the bottom of the eighth. He leaves after eight, 2ER, 7 hits, a walk and 4 K’s. 

The Twins face Tippy Martinez in the ninth, needing four to tie.  Tippy gets the left handed Powell, but Jackson doubles to right center and the Twins have hope. Jose Morales bats for Cubbage and drills an RBI single. Wynegar walks to load the bases and Weaver has seen enough.  He calls for Stoddard who led the Orioles in saves with 21. Tim gets Rivera to fly to Singleton and sneaks a fastball past Wilfong and game one is in the books. 

Thanks Bob!  Great writeup!

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Wrap-up of last weekend’s APBA league rookie drafts


There were a couple APBA baseball league drafts that went on last weekend.  I already hit on the Illowa APBA League weekend as well as the draft that I took part in. There were a couple others too. 

The Mid-West Baseball League had their draft on Saturday.  Stray Corrado does a bang-up job keeping everyone on time during their all-day draft.  According to Stray, there were 336 picks chosen from 9:45am to 4:30pm and it seemed to go off without a hitch. 

Top Ten picks in MWBL

1 deGrom, Jacob
2 Lindor, Francisco
3 Swihart, Blake
4 Syndergaard, Noah
5 Bradley, Archie
6 Stephenson, Robert
7 Kolek, Tyler
8 Moncada, Yoan
9 Tomas, Yasmani
10 Pompey, Dalton

You can see the results of the MWBL draft here.

The Transcontinental Baseball League also drafted on Saturday. Like the IAL, Jose Abreu was the #1 pick in their draft.  The TBL’s rookie draft is slightly larger than my league’s but there are a lot of other similarities. 

Top Ten picks in the TBL

1 ABREU,Jose
3 ODOR,Rougned
4 VENTURA,Yordano
6 SOLER,Jorge
8 BETTS,Mookie
9 POLANCO,Gregory
10 SPRINGER,George

You can see the full results of the TBL draft on their website

And for good measure again…

Top Ten picks in the IAL

1 Abreu, J.
2 Soler, J.
3 Springer, G.
4 Ventura, J.
5 deGrom, J.
6 Hamilton, B.
7 Bogaerts, X.
8 Betances, D.
9 Betts, M.
10 Stroman, M.


Keep in mind that the MWBL is a more complex league that drafts young uncarded players from the minors which would explain why their draft results might deviate a lot. 

This was brought up to me already by Bob Gordon.  Polanco went early in the TBL draft.  Did the IAL’s Upperdeckers get a steal?

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Chicagoland Tournament planned for July


Doug Schuyler is excited about the next Chicagoland tourney

Yes, the next Chicagoland APBA World Series Tournament is in the planning stages.  Started in the summer of 2013, this will be the fifth one in the series.  Tournament organizers Jim Saska and Doug Schuyler are already planning a new one for the summer.

Here are the tentative details from Jim:

The next Chicagoland tournament will take place on Saturday July 25th at 8:30am at the Grayslake Historical Society, 164 Hawley Street in Grayslake, IL.  RSVP as soon as possible, participation will be held to the first 40 to sign up.   Currently, we have 23 people signed up.

The museum will be hosting a special exhibition during that time highlighting Chicago Baseball and the museum’s director, Dave Oberg, will be on hand to give participants a personal tour.  An announcement regarding the rules to be forthcoming.

To RSVP, send a note to Jim Saska at trainman1964(at)sbcglobal.net or leave a comment below and I’ll make sure he sees it.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it but I know Scott Fennessy is already choosing his team.  He’s narrowing down to about 15 by now, I think. 

Here are some photos from the last one in November

Good luck, everyone! 

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Bob Gordon has finally finished his 1979 replay and here’s postseason report- NLCS Game 1

bert-blyleven-piratesReader Bob Gordon wrote to tell me that he’s finished his 1979 replay and is playing out the postseason.  Here’s his postseason report from Game 1.  -Tom

Hey Tom,
I finished the regular season 1979 replay I started in 1982.  (That’s a whole ‘ other story.). I’m playing the playoffs and thought you might be interested in the write ups from each game.  I can’t write like Ken Heard (the man should be writing a sorts book), Scott Fennessy (he brings the game to life!) or Jim Currie (no one brings that energy to their writing), but I’ll give it the old college (not U of I) try.

Game 1 of the NLCS finds us in Houston.  Houston closed out LA in the last ten days of the season.  Their hitting was weak.  Dave Kingman out homered them 62-47.  They scored just enough runs to support a pitching staff that led the circuit in ERA.  Their top 4 starters all finished in the top ten in ERA as well.  JR Richard (20-11, 2.55) draws the game one assignment.  He led the NL in WHIP (0.82). 

Pittsburgh ran away with the east.  They led the league in runs scored and rode a staff that featured three good starters and a deep bullpen.  Blyleven (20-8, 3.25) will try to get the Bucs off to a good start.

Omar Moreno walks to lead off the first and swipes second (14*).  Madlock had replaced Foli in the number 2 spot to provide some extra pop against Richard.  So naturally he was asked to bunt – and he did successfully.  Up comes Dave Parker. He grounds to Gonzalez at short and the Bucs lead 1-0.  Richard restores order – until the 3rd.  Blyleven bounces on off the heel of Cedeno’s glove and reaches on the E3.  Moreno doubles to right center and the Bucs are in business.  Madlock walks to load them up with no outs and here comes Parker.  Parker drives one to left and the hard charging Cruz fields it on one hop – almost.  Blyleven scores, Moreno comes home (E7) and the Bucs still have runners on 2nd and 3rd and lead 3-0.  Richards gets the next 3 batters and shuts the Pirates down the rest of the way.  Over the next 6 innings he gives up just 2 hits and a walk.  His line: 9 innings CG, 1ER, 4 hits, 4 walks and 6 K’s. 

Fast forward to the Astro 6th.  Leonard leading off.  Jeff hit 307 and finished 8th in the NL in batting. He drills a single to right – and ends Blyleven’s no hit bid. Bert had retired 15 straight including 8 K’s. Bruce Bochy bats next.  Bruce hit just a buck eighty for the season. (Is it me, or shouldn’t a catcher with fielding 6 hit north of the Mendoza line?). True to form, Bochy is strike out victim number 9 and should probably contemplate a move to management.  Richards sacrifices Leonard to second for Denny Walling.  Denny hit 307 in 251 AB – but Blyleven gets him to line hard to Garner at second and it’s still 3-0 Bucs.  Cesar Cedeno raps a single to right with one gone in the Astro 7th.  But Cruz skies to Milner in left and Cabell  flies to Parker in right and Blyleven needs six more outs to put the Bucs up one game to none. 

Landestoy pinch hits for Richards to lead off the 9th.  He grounds one to Garner for the first out.  Denny Walling draws the first walk from Blyleven and the Astros hopes are alive.  Former Pirate and left hand hitting Craig Reynolds comes off the bench to hit.  He posted a 268 avg for the season.  All he can manage is a pop fly to Bill Robinson – in for defensive purposes – in left.  Cedeno is the Astros last hope.  He drills one to Foli on one hop.  Foli flips to Garner at second and game one is in the books.  Parker was 2-3 with a double, a walk and two RBIs.  Bert Blyleven was outstanding – CG shutout, 2 hits, a walk and fanned 11. 

Game two tomorrow featuring another pair of 20 game winners: the Candy man takes on Joe Niekro.

Thanks Bob!  Keep ‘em coming!  Love to see some more stats from the regular season too! 

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Lucas’ Hitmen wins IAL World Series, off to another good start


Chuck Lucas poses for the press after his Northside Hitmen win Game 7

The Illowa APBA League accomplished quite a lot this past weekend.  We managed to fit in postseason play, an annual league meeting and our rookie draft al on Friday night.  That left all day Saturday and Sunday morning for the beginning of the 2015 season!  

Here’s the wrap-up of our weekend that took place at the Downers Grove Comfort Inn: 

I took the train into Chicago on Friday and met my buddy John Brandeberry at O’Hare airport.  He was flying in from Missoula, Montana for the APBA weekend.  It had been a while since I’ve seen Brando and a bro hug was in order.  Once we got his rental car, we were off to Downers Grove Comfort Inn.  When we got there, the first round of the playoffs were already underway. 

IAL Postseason


Marcus Bunch and Chuck Lucas play for all the marbles

Rob Moore’s Chicago Highlanders were taking on Chuck Lucas’ Northside Hitmen and Todd Ventresca’s Three Rivers Gamblers were competing against the Moline Upperdeckers skippered by Marcus Bunch. 


During the World Series, Todd and Keith shake on a deal, Fielder for Howard.

As it turned out the two first place teams made to the World Series, the Hitmen and the Upperdeckers.  Chuck’s Hitmen got off to a quick 3 games to 1 start in the World Series but Mark made very interesting by winning the next two and tying it up 3-3.  A major comeback wasn’t in the works for the ‘Deckers though as the Hitmen regrouped and won Game 7 and bragging rights for the 2015 IAL Championship. 

IAL League Meeting


Take note:  these are the guys who are voting for the DH

I always look forward to the IAL league meeting but I think I’m the only one.  For some reason though, those who complain about the length of the meeting are the ones who like to talk during it (just kidding guys). 


Commissioner Mike Bunch presents Rob Moore with the Manager of the Year award

During the meeting, we did have some meaningful dialog and some proposals were passed (more on that in a later post).  Most importantly, Rob Moore, whose rag-tag Highlanders eked into playoffs against all odds, was honored as Manager of the Year.  Congrats, Rob! 

IAL Rookie Draft


Todd Ventresca mulls over the rookies during draft time

I’ve already posted the 2015 IAL rookie draft.  Managers were allotted five minutes for each first round pick and three minutes for picks in all other rounds. Nick Tegeler had the first three picks in the draft so he had plenty of time to think about who he was going to pick.  His choices?  In order, Jose Abreu, Jorge Soler, and George Springer.  


This year, we abandoned the white board and projected the draft on to the wall thanks to Rob Moore’s projector connected to his laptop.  Great idea! 

The 2015 IAL season begins!


It was about 11:30pm by the time the draft ended and most IAL managers were ready for bed.  Not Brando and Todd.  They came all the way from Montana and Pennsylvania respectively and they were ready to play.  They gathered their dice and started rolling.  The rest of us joined them the next morning. 

We all got started early Saturday morning but perhaps not as early as we had hoped.  Our league plays six-game series against the five inter-league teams for a total of 30 games. 


Scott doing his best with my Twin City Thunderchickens.  He at least took Don Smith into extra innings

Scott Fennessy came by midday to join us!  It is always good to see Scott and the league always enjoys his banter.  Scott, you know you’re in good graces when managers will trust you with their team.  Indeed, Scott pinch-managed for a couple guys who needed a break. 

The big winner after 30 games it seems was Chuck and his Hitmen.  He’s off to another good start.  Don Smith’s Molly Putts Marauders and Mike Bunch’s East Moline Bombers did well too.  Mark Bunch’s Upperdeckers may not be so lucky.  He is just one win ahead of my Thunderchickens with a 12-18 record. 


The whiteboard doesn’t lie

Mark and I finished off our last series by 1:30am Sunday morning.  Thirty games in 17 hours.  We did manage to take a break for lunch at Fuddrucker’s across the street from the hotel.  That’s becoming a league tradition. No one has tried the Elk burger, yet though. 

Those who had games left finished up on Sunday.  Thanks to Chuck Lucas who dropped me off at the Metra station near his house.  We stopped by his house for 20 minutes and (what else?) looked at APBA cards.  Chuck promises to send his 1959 NL update soon, by the way. 

More photos from the weekend here.  One last one of Brando and me here.  Thanks to Rob for taking it.  


Thanks to everyone especially Mike and Rob for setting this up.  Despite my 11-19 record, it was a great time!! 

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Abreu goes #1 in the 2015 IAL draft


Through wheeling and dealing by their manager Nick Tegeler, the Iowa Oinkers had the top three picks in the Illowa APBA League draft.  He made good use of them choosing Jose Abreu, Jorge Soler and George Springer in succession. 

Here is the entire 2015 IAL rookie draft…

  Round One     Player
1 Oinkers     Abreu, J.
2 T-Chicks Oinkers   Soler, J.
3 Rattlesnakes Oinkers   Springer, G.
4 Bombers     Ventura, J.
5 Kernels     deGrom, J.
6 Marauders Kernels   Hamilton, B.
7 Highlanders     Bogaerts, X.
8 Gamblers     Betances, D.
9 Hitmen     Betts, M.
10 Uperdeckers     Stroman, M.
  Round Two     Player
11 Oinkers     Shoemaker, M.
12 T-Chicks Oinkers   Sanchez, A.
13 Rattlesnakes     Leone, D.
14 Bombers     Santana, D.
15 Kernels     Baez, J.
16 Marauders     Odor, R.
17 Highlanders Upperdeckers   Bethancourt, C.
18 Gamblers     McHugh, C.
19 Hitmen     Giles, K.
20 Uperdeckers     Polanco, G.
  Round Three     Player
21 T-Chicks     Familia, J.
22 Rattlesnakes     Hendricks, K.
23 Bombers     Castellanos, N.
24 Kernels     Tanaka, M.
25 Marauders     Boxberger, B.
26 Upperdeckers     Quackenbush, K.
  Round Four     Player
27 T-Chicks Bombers   Susac, A.
28 Rattlesnakes     Odorizzi, J.
29 Bombers     Kiermaier, K.
30 Kernels     Ramirez, N.
31 Marauders     Harvey, M.
32 Upperdeckers     Bauer, T.
  Round Five     Player
33 T-Chicks     Vazquez, C.
34 Kernels     Panik, J.
35 Upperdeckers     Moore, M.
  Round Six     Player
36 Kernels     Solarte, Y.
  Suplement #1     Player
37 Oinkers     Hahn, J.
38 T-Chicks     Putnam, Z.
39 Rattlesnakes     Herrera, D.
40 Bombers     Castillo, R.
41 Kernels Hitmen   Morin, M.
42 Marauders     Semien, M.
43 Highlanders Upperdeckers   Crockett, K.
44 Gamblers Bombers   Nelson, J.
45 Hitmen     Schoop, J.
46 Uperdeckers     Jeffress, J.
  Suplement #2     Player
47 Oinkers     Pinto, J.
48 T-Chicks Oinkers   Hale, D.
49 Rattlesnakes     Petricka, J.
50 Bombers Gamblers   Tolleson, S.
51 Kernels     Hatcher, C.
52 Marauders     Alcantara, A.
53 Highlanders     Negron, K.
54 Gamblers     Peralta, D.
55 Hitmen     Barrett, A.
56 Uperdeckers     Taylor, C.

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T minus one day to IAL draft weekend!

IMAG0136-001Tomorrow, the biggest weekend in the Illowa APBA League season begins!  In three days, we’ll play (or watch) our postseason games, have our annual league meeting, conduct our rookie draft and start our 2015 season.  This year is our 41st season of the IAL’s existence and we’re stronger than ever. 

First, I am totally excited to be able to see my buddy John Brandeberry who is flying back from Missoula, Montana for the draft weekend.  It’s been almost a year since I’ve seen Brando and it will be great to pal around with him.  He and I used to make the trek up to Chicago for draft weekends together.  This year, I’m meeting him at O’Hare and he’s driving me the rest of the way in his rental car.  It’ll be just like old times except it’ll be hard to get lost like we always do in the few miles to the hotel in Downers Grove. 

We’re also excited that APBA Blog contributor and Chicagoland Tournament champ Scott Fennessy will be joining us on Saturday.  Scott came by for our 2014 All-Star weekend and the league enjoyed his company and I think he had a good time too.  We’re looking forward to seeing you, Scott.

This week has been a flurry of league-related emails and texts among the managers mostly containing trade offers and draft inquiries.  At the beginning of the off-season, my Thunderchickens were in a precarious situation with holes all over the place.  After making four key trades, however, we’ve gotten our team to the point where we can cover our remaining positions with draft picks and still have one more left to do what we want.  

The biggest trade was the blockbuster that sent Albert Pujols to the Iowa Oinkers.  Some feel I was forced into the deal but I’m still feeling good about it.   Really, I am. 

The IAL draft time will be after the league meeting on Friday night.  The Transcontinental Baseball League and the Mid-West Baseball League are both drafting the next day while the IAL will already be rolling the dice.  If I have time, maybe I’ll update everyone on the draft. 

If you’re interested, here are the IAL final standings and leaders for the 2014 season

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