19
July

Official Linda B. Schulz Memorial APBA Baseball Tournament recap: Boxscores, recaps, championship play-by-play

The following press release covering the Linda B. Schulz Memorial APBA Baseball Tournament was submitted by Darren Schulz. 

thanks Darren!! 

-Tom

GroupPic2017

Hosting players from Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Florida, Illinois, Virginia, Texas, Wisconsin, Canada as well as good old Pennsylvania, the ROCK was a soundboard for rattling dice. As players were greeted by tournament director Ken Schulz and yours truly during registration, the coffee and conversation began over donuts, bagels, and the sounds of game 7 of the 1979 World Series as presented on the big screen by Mark McDonel. Shortly after 9 AM, the final total was 44 participants which was narrowed down to 42 as Ken and I decided to drop our entries this year in hopes of being more available for questions, concerns, and most importantly, sharing our appreciation for those who traveled to support our efforts in remembering our late mother and the love we share for this great company. Once two time defending champ and APBA Hall of Famer Greg Wells was presented with his championship plaque with an affectionate round of applause along with some amicable trash talking, the schedule was simple: seven divisions of six players for a round robin schedule resulting in 10 games. When the playing fields were cleared for playoff preparation, ten managers were left to determine the next LBS champion.

The top 10

#1 seed 1975 Cincinnati Reds (Greg Wells- Maddog Division – 10-0 record!!!)

#2 seed 65 Pittsburgh Pirates (Bill Lilley – Teke Division – 2017 APBA Convention Runner up)

#3 seed 1962 San Francisco Giants (Matthew Pike – Maz Division)

#4 seed 1974 Los Angeles Dodgers (Steve Skoff – Cobra Division – APBA Hall of Famer and two time convention winner)

#5 seed 1968 Detroit Tigers (Phillip Silvis – Manny Division – youngest playoff qualifier at 10 years old!)

#6 seed 1963 New York Yankees (Rob Spatz – Candyman Division – Chicagoland regional tourney director)

#7 seed 1976 Kansas City Royals (Brian Silvis – Pops Division)

#8 seed 1976 Cincinnati Reds (Mel Maricic – Wild Card 1)

#9 seed 1970 Baltimore Orioles (Tim Rounds – Wild Card 2)

#10 seed 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates (Brian Murphy – Wild Card 3 – 2016 LBS runner up)

A major change for this year: the championship finale would be a Best of Three series!

After some amazing wild card battles and close quarterfinals, the final four found the hall of famers Skoff (74 Dodgers) at Wells (75 Reds) on the top half of the bracket and Spatz (63 Yankees) at Lilley (65 Pirates) on the bottom portion. The surprising results – two complete game shutouts for Don Sutton of the Dodgers and Bob Veale of the Buccos! Wells’ remarkable run at the LBS comes to a close as Skoff had the hot hand from a first inning Steve Garvey two run bomb in a 10-0 rout. Lilley, a former Chicagoland tourney champion, fresh off his outstanding performance in Alpharetta, clawed his way back into another finale with a 3-0 triumph. The 2017 LBS Championship series was set!

Game 1: 74 Dodgers (Andy Messersmith Ax) at 65 Pirates (Vern Law Az) – After a scoreless first inning by both squads, Jim Wynn opened the top half of the second with a leadoff walk. After reaching third on a couple of groundouts, catcher Steve Yeager (keep his name in mind) induced a base on balls as well. From there, Skoff’s hot dice from the semifinals continued with consecutive hits by Ron Cey (rbi single), Bill Russell (two run double), and Davey Lopes (rbi single). Then in the top half of the third, the onslaught continued. After Law walked Steve Garvey, Wynn and Willie Crawford hit back to back long balls to make the score 7-0! Then the Dodgers really sealed the deal in the fifth with five safeties by Joe Ferguson, Yeager, Cey, Billy Buckner, and Garvey. After five complete, the Dodgers had a 10-0 lead behind their ace. The Buccos did manage to avoid the shutout with a one out single by Jerry Lynch that knocked in Donn Clendenon in the 7th inning. That was the only blemish in Messersmith’s complete game 5 hit, 10-1 game one victory. Now for the cross country trip to LA for game two.

Click here for Game 1 box score

Game 2 65 Pirates (Bob Veale Axyw) at 74 Dodgers (Don Sutton Byz) – The pitching heroes of the semifinals did not disappoint the fans of either team in this one. Veale looked like he may have been nervous from the bottom half of the first when Davey Lopes took the first pitch over the right field fence for a 1-0 Dodger lead! On the other hand, Sutton seemed poised in giving up only one hit through the first four innings. With the score still 1-0 heading to the top half of the fifth, Clendenon ended Sutton’s playoff scoreless inning streak at 13 with a leadoff bomb of his own. Both pitchers were masterful in silencing the bats of these potent lineups that included franchise legends like Clemente, Stargell, Garvey, and Buckner. Sutton retired 22 of 26 hitters during his nearly dominant 9 innings of four hit ball. Meanwhile, after serving up the leadoff homer to Lopes, Veale managed to retire 23 of the next 29 batters he faced before leaving in the bottom half of the ninth with Buckner standing on second with one out. Closer Al McBean was called upon, and he easily dispatched Wynn and Crawford to silence the LA crowd. For the third year in a row, a potential title clinching LBS finale was heading to extra innings. Skoff made his first call to the bullpen this series by sending in his closer Mike Marshall who gave up a one out single to Jerry Lynch but then set down Jim Pagliaroni and Bob Bailey by way of the strikeout. McBean still looked fresh going out for this second inning of mound work by getting DH Ferguson (who, by the way, hit four consecutive homers between two games during round robin play) on a routine fly ball. Then Steve Yeager etched his name into LBS tourney immortality with a walk off blast that sent manager Steve Skoff and his 1974 Dodgers into championship glory!

Click here for Game 2 box score

Congrats to Steve Skoff in capturing his first LBS Memorial tourney title in memorable fashion. The 1974 Los Angeles Dodgers are now officially retired from future tournaments. Mr. Skoff will have his name and team etched into the championship plaque. Skoff also took home a brand new 1979 World Series/All Star APBA Baseball Card set. Skoff will receive his own personal championship plaque at the 2018 LBS tournament. Additional congrats goes to Bill Lilley’s great tourney performance. He officially retires the 1965 Pittsburgh Pirates teams from tourney play and took home a 1960 World Series/All Star APBA Baseball Card set . By virtue of winning the consolation third place game, Greg Wells earned a Negro League Baseball Card set and promptly delivered it to 15-year-old Ontario resident Reese Mooney. Final four member Rob Spatz received a copy of the APBA Baseball Game with the 2016 Playoff teams. Special thanks goes out to Ken Schulz for organizing the event, Mark McDonel for providing the side entertainment of the 1971 All Star Game as well as the 1979 and 1960 MLB World Series game 7 broadcasts, Jackie Schulz for all of her help with the food preparation, and Melissa Schulz for providing lodging information for our out-of-town guests. As for me, I was in awe at the number of participants we gathered (20 in 2016 to 42 in 2017), which included an amazing number of father-son and mother-son combinations (eight total) managing in this year’s event. It is a blessing to be a part of this APBA community, and I end this summary with the same line I will every year. Our mother, Linda Schulz, loved to hear the dice rattle, so for all of you who have supported the tourney the past three years, there is a special place for all of you in the hearts of the entire Schulz family.

2018 UPDATE: The fourth LBS MEMORIAL APBA BASEBALL TOURNAMENT will take place at the Slippery Rock Township Building and will include teams from 1950-2017. The 1965 Pittsburgh Pirates, 1974 Los Angeles Dodgers, and the 1977 Philadelphia Phillies are banned as retired championship finalists. First come, first serve so contact Ken Schulz at schulzka02@gmail.com with your team selection.

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18
July

Determining the standings: Games back or Win Pct?

I opened up my Excel stats spreadsheet for my 1966 National League replay tonight after a Pirates-Reds game and saw something I hadn’t seen before. 

standings1

Take a look at the above June 13 standings and see if you can spot the weirdness.  Well, besides the Cardinals stinking it up in last place, I mean.  What I’m talking about is this… Check out the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Atlanta Braves and pay attention to their win percentage and Games Back (or Games Behind). 

standings

Despite appearances, the Pirates and Braves do not have identical win percentages.  The Pirates are 34-22 and comes out to a winning percentage of .607143.  The Braves’ record of 37-24 works out to .606557.  Both round to .607 but the Pirates’ is obviously higher. 

But that’s not the strange part.  It’s that the Pirates have a higher Games Back number even though their win percentage is higher.  This is the first time I’ve encountered this. 

This is my sorting algorithm for my standings in Excel.

sort

I sort by Winning Percentage first.  In case of a tie between teams, I sort by Games Back and in the rare chance that both are tied, I sort by total wins.  I should say that I do not know if this is the correct method.  It just seemed to make sense to me. 

The cause of this issue here is most likely that Pittsburgh has played five less games than Atlanta (due to the weather in East in 1966, I’ll bet.  You’ll see the Mets are down a few games as well).  The question is this:  According to MLB rules, are the Pirates in 2nd place or are the Braves? 

My gut instinct says Win Pct. but I’ve never seen standings with Games Back out of order. 

thoughts?

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17
July

Monster Card Monday: 1927 Ben Paschal

paschal 27-001

It’s kind of amazing that Ben Paschal hasn’t made an appearance on Monster Monday yet.  While there are certainly better cards out there and ones that are more deserving (Paschal only managed 87 plate appearances for the 1927 Yankees), he was a bit of an APBA legend.  Since the 1927 Yankees and subsequently the entire 1927 season were one of the first APBA baseball seasons published, Ben Paschal was a bit of anomaly.  “Wow, he’s got SIX extra-base hit numbers!”.  Since then more and more monster cards with limited playing time have been published but he was one of first. 

Of course, he had to compete with players like Ruth and Gehrig on his own team. 

Paschal only played eight seasons but those years were spread out from 1915 to 1929.  From 1924 to 1929, he played for the Yankees and competition was tight. He did get in over 200 at-bats in 1925 (wasn’t that Ruth’s stomach-ache heard ‘round the world?) and 1926.  In ‘25, he hit .360 with 12 homers.

But in 1927, he batted .349 with nine doubles, two triples, and two homers in just 82 at-bats.  Looking at his gamelog of 1927, his time was split between pinch hitting and playing the field. 

Season Totals
Split G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
1927 Totals 50 87 82 16 26 9 2 2 16 0 4 10 .317 .349 .549
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/17/2017.

    

The card shown was published in 1998 but I know I had one from the World Series set put out in the 1970’s. There was also the 1927 season set published not long after.

Thanks to Ryan Morrison to passing this card on me. Great memories!!

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10
July

A homecoming tourney of sorts for Jim Saska

20170708_092012

Jim Saska explains the mods to Bob Eller and Jim Welch

Two APBA tourneys in one day?  Again? 

Well, kind of. 

See Jim Saska was back in Chicago for the weekend and thought it be fun to get together and play some APBA.  Even with Ken Schulz’ LBS tournament happening out Pittsburgh way, he still managed to get five guys together.  Jim, Bob Eller, Scott Fennessy Jim Welch and I met in the original Chicagoland tourney location of the Woodstock Public Library.  Afterwards, the gang went to a book signing event by David Kaplan.  I couldn’t attend the Kaplan event but it certainly looked fun from the photos. 

20170708_103632

Scott Fennessy helps Bob and Jim with the mod charts

First things first.  If you can believe it, Jim has already acquired a southern accent from his time in Virginia.  Accent or no, he still loves to tinker with APBA. For our impromptu tourney, Jim suggested we use a few basic game modifications for our tourney.  We used the following for our tourney:

– Coxx pitching chart

– Error chart

– Unusual Play chart

– Fielding modification chart

– Pitcher Fatigue modification

– Pitcher strikeout, walk, and HR allowed modification

Personally, I liked the pitcher fatigue chart and the Coxx chart.  They were new to me, easy to pick up and they added a lot to the game.  They WILL add more dice rolls to the game so if you’re used to a quick game, they may not be for you.  However, they do add a bit of realism. 

Who won the tourney?  I have no idea.  I had to leave a bit early due to family obligations.  I made the effort to come to this because I wanted to see everyone and I especially wanted to see Jim who had moved away from the area a few years ago.  It was Jim and Doug Schuyler who got me interested in tournament play again back in 2013.

One last thing… Jim brought back a piece of APBA tournament history with him.  Here is the tournament bracket from the very first Chicagoland tourney in which Curt Bartel defeated Doug Schuyler in the finals. 

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Bitter memories, eh Doug?

It was great to see all of you!  Jim, we all miss you here in Chicago! 

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10
July

Yeager’s walk-off HR helps Steve Skoff take LBS 3

skoff

Ken Schulz knows how to throw a big event, that’s for sure.  This past weekend, in Slippery Rock, PA, near Pittsburgh, Ken hosted 50 APBA fans and 45 teams for the third Linda B. Schulz APBA Memorial APBA Baseball Championship tourney. 

With all those participants, it makes all that harder to win it all.  In the end, it was Steve Skoff and the 1974 Dodgers who came out the victor.  It was Steve Yeager’s walk-off homer in the 10th inning against Bill Lilley’s 1965 Pirates that sealed the deal for Steve and Dem Bums. 

And what is it with Greg Wells?  The two-time APBA tourney champ went 12-1 at LBS 3.  I guess the fact that he had the 1975 Reds helps but Greg must be a master at this game.  My bud Rob Spatz also made the playoff too!  Spatzie was thrilled to win one playoff game with the 1963 Yankees. 

skoff2Ken is already busy planning next year’s LBS 4.  Schedule the date!

When: July 7th, 2018 at 9am

Where: 155 Branchton Road
Slippery Rock PA 16148

Teams: any Apba issued MLB team from seasons 1950-2017. No BATS, HOF, Negro League, and teams prior to 1950 allowed. The 1977 Phillies, 1974 Dodgers, and 1965 Pirates have been retired.

Congrats to Steve for a great run.  Ken deserves a lot of credit for putting together a great tourney!  I’ve been hearing a lot of good stuff on Facebook about how fun it was. 

Photos courtesy of Ken. 

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5
July

Scott Fennessy: Lance Lynn shuts down Cubs as Cardinals win series

480px-IMG_9764_Lance_LynnBusch Stadium
St. Louis, MO
May 7, 2015

Tonight’s game features Kyle Hendricks vs Lance Lynn. Kyle has had a decent, but not spectacular season so far, while Lance has easily been the best redbird starter so far. I’m expecting this to be an interesting game so let’s get underway.

Lynn struggles with his control on this somewhat damp and chilly evening and walks a couple of batters, but manages to keep Chicago off the scoreboard in the first inning.

Unfortunately for Kyle he was in the strike zone far too much in the bottom of the inning and the Cardinals jumped on him quickly. Back to back singles by Jason Heyward and Kolten Wong put runners on the corners and Wong was off with the pitch to Chris Carpenter, who has been hitting Chicago pitching pretty solidly this series and he bangs a double off the wall in right field and two runs score.

Stephen Piscotty slaps an opposite field single and the lead is extended to 3. Jhonny Peralta and Shane Reynolds get a single and a walk, but Hendricks recovered enough to get out of the inning with three runs.

Oddly enough while both pitchers struggled throughout the game neither was tagged for another run as both teams stranded a lot of runners, but for the Cubs they only got two hits, doubles by Chris Coghlan and Austin Jackson who have both been struggling mightily of late.

Unfortunately Lynn goes to 5-1 on the young season with a 1.84 ERA while Hendricks drops to 2-3 with an ERA over 5.00. The one bright spot for the Cubs this game was the deut of Zac Rosscup. The bullpen has not been superb so far and while he did allow 3 hits and a walk in two innings he did not allow a run and struck out he side in the eighth inning.

Around the horn:

Pitching has been king over the last few games. Chris Young of the Royals throws a 1 hit shutout over the Indians and KC wins a nail biter 1-0

Anibal Sanchez starts with 4 and 1/3rd innings of no hit baseball and for the second time this year ties the all time record for a D starter. Detroit beats the White Sox 3-2.

Dallas Kuchel throws his second 2 hit shutout of the year and is reminding me of Jesse Tannehill of the Pirates run as the "King of the 1-hitter" in my 1901-03 replays.

And despite another pitchers duel in Tampa Prince fielder hits a game winning solo homer in the top of the 9th inning and the Rangers squeeze out a 1-0 victory over the Rays.

[photo credit]

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22
June

TBL Baseball Annual provides reading pleasure once again

tbl logoFor your reading benefit, I submit the Transcontinental Baseball League’s Annual publication courtesy of TBL manager and Annual editor Walter Hunt.  The TBL Baseball Annual is one the best testaments to APBA league play and honestly rivals most of the publications that cover MLB. 

The 134-page Annual is written with statistical analysis, comprehensive writeups and a dose of humor to keep it real.  This year’s edition reveals that the TBL will be going through a realignment.  Big news for a league that has been around as long as the TBL. 

The TBL Baseball Annual is APBA League documentation done right.  It’s almost as if Walter Hunt had experience as a writer or something

Great job, TBL!

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13
June

Founding manager of IAL comes out of retirement, still wins

DennisToday, the mentor returned to teach the apprentice a lesson. 

The Illowa APBA League is happy to welcome back Dennis Jennings as a co-manager of the Colona Hustlers.  Dennis helped found the Illowa APBA League in 1975 and is returning to the league after a 28 year hiatus. 

You may recognize the name of his former team.  It’s the Twin City Thunderchickens. 

How did I end up with the Twin City Thunderchickens?  It’s a sordid history involving me going off to college, sowing my wild oats and falling off the grid.  A girl may have been involved (I know better now, guys). 

When I came to my senses a year or two later in 1989, Dennis had moved out of state and there was need for a manager to take over his team, the Twin City Thunderchickens.  The IAL managers graciously let me in and I have faithfully served as a IAL manager since.  I didn’t have the heart to change the Thunderchicken name since it is one of most original names I know of. 

When I knew him, he was a brilliant professor at the University of Illinois where I was a student.  While his professional knowledge of math and statistics served him well in APBA, he was still laid back and a genuinely a nice guy.  He was also a successful APBA manager.  He built up a APBA dynasty of solid hitting and pitching plus outstanding defense.  His mainstays were Sundberg, Garvey, Grich, Baines and Gibson.  Dennis placed first in the IAL standings SEVEN times between 1976-1988 including a then record of 115 wins in 1985. 

Now Dennis is back and has more time for APBA.  He faced off against me and his old team as co-manager of the Colona Hustlers(along with his partner Dan Bunch).  We played remotely as Dennis is I believe the winning common denominator here was Dennis as it was he who won six out of nine games.  Not surprisingly, Dennis commented on the Hustlers’ good defense.  In fairness, Jose Altuve’s good bat probably a lot too.  My Thunderchickens tried their best to make a good impression on their old owner.  The team hit 15 homers including 5 by Asdrubal Cabrera in the first six games.  

Regardless of the score, it was great to play an old friend even it was over Skype.  Dennis seemed to have a lot of fun rediscovering the game and its new changes.  Afterwards, we chatted about old times.  It was Dennis who drafted Mark McGwire who had a very storied career for my Thunderchickens

Sorry Dennis, your Thunderchickens. 

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9
June

Not quite for Cuellar’s almost no-no, Marichal comes out the victor

cuellar

juan_marichal

It was almost like Haddix and Burdette all over again.

It was June 8th in my 1966 NL replay and the Giants were at the Astrodome.  A pitchers’ duel was imminent with hurlers Juan Marichal (AXZ) and Miguel Cuellar (AXZ) pitching for their respective teams.  But I had no idea what I was in for. 

Astros’ starter Cuellar started out tough by striking out the first five batters he faced.  He kept it going too.  In fact, Miguel pitched a no-hitter for nine innings.  He hadn’t won the game yet though.  Marichal, who leads my replay with 3.4 hits/9 IP, brought that average down even further.  Through nine innings, he allowed one hit. 

marichalAfter nine complete, it was still 0-0 and only Felix Mantilla had managed to hit safely. 

Well, I wasn’t about to bring in a reliever so Cuellar came out for the tenth.  With one out, Willie Mays hit a double for the Giants’ first hit of the day.  Batting fourth was Jim Ray Hart which was a departure from the Giants’ familiar Mays-McCovey-Hart order in the lineup.  Well, Herman Franks must have known what he was doing when he was filling out the lineup card because Hart drilled that ball for a two-run shot. 

imageNot only was that just the second hit of the day, it was the first two runs.  Those two runs would stick as the Astros went 1-2-3 against Marichal in the bottom of the tenth. 

Cuellar would finish with eleven strikeouts and Marichal had nine of his own.  Marichal’s shutout is his third in his last five starts and his sixth overall. He improves to 9-3, third in wins.  With the shutout, his ERA is 1.31, second only Sandy Koufax’ 1.22 mark. 

As if this game didn’t have enough drama, Jim Hart’s homerun ties him for the league lead with teammate Willie Mays with 12. 

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1
June

On the DL

clavicleI’m kinda bummed.  I was really looking forward to this weekend.  The Illowa APBA League is getting together for its annual Spring get-together in the Quad Cities starting tomorrow.  Unfortunately due to an incident resulting in a broken clavicle and a trip to the ER, I’m not going to make it.  And yes, this time it’s my rolling arm. Double whammy! 

I had planned to come a couple days early to play some May series against the Bunch brothers, Marcus and Dan.  In total, I had planned to play 48 games. 

In a way, this weekend was going to be a bit of a homecoming.  I had planned to stay with commish Mike Bunch’s house.  That house hosted my first draft when I first joined the league at age 16.  As a sophomore in high school, I joined the IAL and really didn’t know how leagues worked.  Marcus was just a baby back then and I’m not sure Dan was even born yet.  Now, they are fine gentlemen and formidable APBA managers.  The year was 1982 and my first rookie draft picks were Dave Smith and Tommy Herr.  Not too bad for a first-time manager.

Well it’s 35 years later and I was looking forward to hanging out with the Bunches a little (Mike has a very extensive APBA baseball card collection).  If I’m lucky and I’m feeling better, I’ll try to Skype as many series as I can.  Right now, the wing is feeling pretty sore just from typing this (those of you who have ever broken your collar bone will remember how painful it is).  May need some rehab for dice-rolling. 

Guys, I’ll be missing you this weekend.  Good luck in all your games.

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