Scott Fennessy: Reds edge Cubs in series opener

336px-Todd_FrazierGreat American Ballpark
Cincinnati, OH
April 24, 2015

The Cubs come to Cincinnati having moved into first place after the Dodgers loss last night. Tonight Travis Wood (1-1) faces Anthony DeScalfani (1-2), who beat the Cubs earlier this year. The Cubs get things started quickly as leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler pulls a fastball that rattles around and he pulls into third with a triple.

Starlin Castro hits a 2-2 fly ball to deep center field. Speedy Billy Hamilton makes a great running catch, but has no chance at the runner and the Cubs are on top 1-0. Anthony Rizzo hits a fly ball that Skip Schumaker catches in left for out number two. Kris Bryant gets a one out single but the inning ends with no more runs.

Wood comes out and gets the Reds in order and both pitchers look in top form today. There was not much happening for either side until the Reds tie the game. Todd Frazier doubled and Brayan Pena was hit by a pitch. Billy Hamilton singles in Frazier and Wood settles down and stops the rally, but the game is tied.

The Cubs regain the lead in the sixth inning. Just like earlier today Fowler hits the ball hard again. This time on a 0-2 breaking ball that lands on the warning track. The ball one hops over the wall in right for a ground rule double. Castro strikes out and Rizzo pops up to Brandon Phillips at short, and it looks like the Reds are going to get out of trouble until Bryant hits a shot up the middle for a single to give the Cubs a two run lead.

Bryant catches DeScalfani sleeping and steals second on a close play. This seems to throw the Cincy hurler who grooves a flat slider that Miguel Montero deposited deep into the left field seats for a two run homer and the Cubs are now on top 4-0. Chris Coghlan strikes out and the inning is over at last.

The home team seems to have plenty of fight left in them however; Joey Votto draws a leadoff walk. Eugenio Suarez hits a hard grounder that Castro snags, then turns to fire to Addison Russell at the bag for a sure double play. Unfortunately he drops the ball and gets charged with an error. The runners move to second and third with two outs when Pena hits a towering fly ball that drops into the power alley for a two run double. DeScalfani is lifted for a pinch hitter and the inning is over soon afterward, but the Reds are still in this game, down by just one run after six innings.

The score was unchanged as we head to the bottom of the eighth inning. Travis Wood had been lifted for Jason Motte who had shut the Reds down for one inning but was not able to get through a second inning. Votto walks again and was moved to second by a Suarez sacrifice and was still there with two outs when Todd Frazier hits a massive shot that bounces off the roof of the center field hitting background for a two run homer and suddenly the Reds have a 5-4 lead. Pena grounds out to end the inning and the Cubs now have the difficult task of facing Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning. After walking Austin Jackson he gets the next three hitters with ease and the Reds earn a hard fought victory.

Manny Parra came in for DeScalfani for the victory after two solid innings of relief and Chapman gets his second save of the year. The loss was somewhat difficult for Jason Motte, as Todd Frazier came into this game with a .160 average.

Dexter Fowler had to well hit balls for extra bases. Combined with his performance in Pittsburgh it looks like he may finally be coming around. That is good news, as Anthony Rizzo, Austin Jackson and Addison Russell are struggling badly. Russell and Jackson will most likely not start in the next game.

Around the horn:

The first place Houston Astros had great all-around performance against the Oakland A’s. Houston punished the A’s 15-0. They scored all of the runs after the sixth inning. Scott Kazmir tossed a three hit shutout. Carlos Correa hits another homer, giving him 13 in 15 games. He and “Instant Offense” Jose Altuve are both hitting over .400.

The Tigers got a rare win tonight as Miguel Cabrera hits a two run homer in the bottom of the 10th inning as the Tigers beat the Indians 5-3.

Andre Ethier of the Dodgers is having a terrific start. He is hitting .436 with 10 RBI’s in the early going.

[photo credit]

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TBL gearing up for 2017 draft

tblThe Transcontinental Baseball League is nearing their 2017 draft and by tradition, there is no lack of analysis, water-cooler talk and outright gossip about what teams will take who and when. 

The managers of the TBL take pride in their league and they go all out in writing up pre-draft summaries.  They are detailed, thought-out and even include TBL’s brand of humor. 

Whitey’s Rap Sheet

Giuseppe’s Tip Sheet

A Stat-Drunk Look

The Prognosticator

All are very worth a read. 

Good luck to all of the TBL managers in the 2017 season!  Thanks to Steve Stein for passing this on!

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Video: How exactly do I keep track of my APBA replay stats?


Chuck Lucas has been seeing the leaderboards I’ve been posting for my 1966 National League replay using the APBA Basic Game and he asked about how I keep my stats.  I thought the best way to show him (and everyone else) is to make a video tour of my stats setup.

Note: because of the nature of the content, it’s probably best to watch the full screen video for better viewing.


As I’ve mentioned before, I use Microsoft Excel to keep game stats, standings and generate leaders.  At this point, once I enter in the actual stats there is little else I need to do manually to display standings and leaders.  Most of it is automated.

A few questions answered:

Why do I need to do all this to simply enjoy APBA?

You don’t.  I have always said that the beauty of APBA (especially the board game) is that you can play it any way you can and hence, keep stats (or not!) any way you wish.

However, if you are a stat geek or enjoy working with numbers, you might find this particular method fun.

Why use Excel when BallStat or Statmaster is out there?

I like to tinker.  I also like to be in control of my data.  With my current setup (as imperfect as it is), I feel I have a part in how it looks.  You know the old APBA slogan, “YOU be the Manager”?  I feel like I am the “MLB Stats Bureau” in 1966.

And honestly, it makes doing stats a whole lot of fun for me.

Isn’t this a lot of work to set up?

In a way it was a lot of work to get to where it is now.  I keep adding new features to it. For example, since I made the video, I have added a way to track hitting streaks.  That adds a whole level of fun.  I now get to see who is “hot”.

That said, there are a lot of shortcuts.  I certainly didn’t create all of this from scratch.  For example, once I created one player sheet, I copied it multiple times and changed the name.  And once I finished the whole team file, I copied that file and used it for a different team again changing the names.

Excel also has a lot of time-saving copy and paste shortcuts.

A whole worksheet for each player?

I started doing this when Mike Bunch introduced me to this idea and I won’t go back.  I can really see how a player is doing at a glance.  An Excel file can certainly handle enough worksheets for every player and pitcher and the file size is still quite manageable.

Does it take a lot of time to enter stats?

It doesn’t take much time at all once I learned some keyboard shortcuts (like Ctrl-PgUp and Ctrl-PgDn to navigate the worksheets.  That reduces the amount of the time the hand moves from the keyboard to the mouse.   I would say maybe 10 minutes per game.

Do you keep score digitally?

Actually no.  I use pen and paper using this scoresheet. I have tried keeping score digitally a couple times but I really love a good written box score!

How do I get a stats set up like this?

Do what I did.  Start out simple and keep adding to it.  Start with a team page with a worksheet for each player.  The important thing is to make sure the players’ stats get inputted correctly.  The leaderboards and such are just fancy stuff you can add later.


I should give due credit to APBA fans Mike Bunch and John Brandeberry.  Both use Excel in tracking stats in both replay and league format.  The three of us trade, borrow and outright steal each others’ ideas for our projects.

Also, I’m going to give Rod Caborn’s regular APBA Blog column a plug.  While Rod keeps his stats the old-school way, I don’t underestimate the sheer number of concepts that transcend the methods we use.

Let me know if this looks interesting to you.  I’ve given you a video tour of my overall setup.  Now that you have seen what it looks like, I may post shorter “how-to” videos if there is interest.

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Scott Fennessy: Rizzo derails the “Cole Train”

360px-Anthony_Rizzo_on_July_16,_2016PNC PARK
Pittsburgh, PA
April 23, 2015

The Cubs face the Pirates in the final game of their four game set. Today’s matchup heavily favors the Pirates as Garrett Cole faces Kyle Hendricks. The Pirates have had a good season in the early going, and with a win will salvage a split after two terrible showings stole one last night.

Dexter Fowler has been off to a slow start, but has begun to see the ball a little better, and draws a leadoff walk. Joe Maddon sends the runner and Starlin Castro goes with the pitch and puts this one into the right field corner for an RBI double and the Cubs get a quick run. Cole recovers nicely and the rally is stopped cold, but the home team comes to the plate down by a run.

Kyle Hendricks has been what one would expect so far, an innings eater who won’t necessarily win a game, but won’t lose you the game either. He starts out much like Cole and issues a one out walk to Gregory Polanco and a single by Andrew McCutchen puts runners on the corners.

Jung Ho Kang is hit by the third pitch of the at bat and loads the bases. Josh Harrison, who is subbing for the injured Neil Walker hits a fly to deep left field and Chris Coughlin has no play and the run scores to tie the game. The inning ends quickly afterwards still tied.

Neither team did much until the bottom of the fifth. That changed when Sterling Marte hits a booming fly ball off the wall in center field for a very loud double. He moved to third with two outs and McCutchen, who has been on a massive tear lately hits a single just past Kris Bryant at third for an RBI single to give the Pirates the lead. Hendricks gets out of the inning, but now trails by a run at the end of five.

Cole has pitched well, but has been surprisingly missing his spots, and the Cubs have waited him out all day. Even though they had only managed two hits through seven innings, they had drawn three walks and run the count to three balls several more times. Cole walks Fowler for the second time today to start the eighth inning and again was off on the hit and run. This time Castro pulls the pitch into the left field corner and Fowler scores just ahead of Harrison’s relay throw to tie the game at 2-2 with nobody out.

The Pirates bullpen begins to stir, but it won’t matter anymore. Anthony Rizzo, who has gone ice cold lately crushes the pitch into the hitting background in center for a two run bomb and the Cubs suddenly have the lead. Cole stays in the game and the inning comes to an end with the Cubs on top 4-2.

Justin Grimm comes in for Hendricks, who had been lifted for a pinch hitter and strikes out two of the three hitters he sees and as the Cubs did nothing in the top of the ninth a very nervous Joe Maddon sends in Hector Rondon to try for the save. For the first time all season Hector delivers a solid 1-2-3 inning and the Cubs hang on for a win. Coupled with the Phillies loss to the Marlins earlier in the day they have moved into second place behind the double tough Dodgers.

Around the horn:

The Braves beat the Mets in a tough one at Citi Field by a score of 8-5. Freddie Freeman went four for four.

The Rockies laid a pounding on the Padres in Denver today. Nolan Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez had 4 RBI each.

Speaking of the Dodgers they won 4-0 over the Giants in San Francisco today. It was a tale of two very different pitching results. Clayton Kershaw goes the distance for LA striking out 10, and Ryan Vogelsong of the Giants issuing a record 9 walks for the losing Giants.

The Red Sox pounded the Tampa Rays 12-4. Wade Miley struck out five straight hitters. Despite the lopsided win Brandon Guyer of the Rays went 4-5 with three doubles and scored all four runs for the losers.

[photo credit]

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Rod’s Replay Insider: A fielding range chart

When I first started playing the APBA Master Game (baseball), I quickly found I was wearing out the board that contained the various fielding ranges. It was shopworn after three months and steadily went downhill after that.

In addition, I found I was practically going blind trying to find where Fielding One, Two and Three started and ended. I color-coded the board, but it was still hard to read.

After the new booklet form came out, the problem still remained. Only the numbers were smaller.


RC fielding chart


My solution? A chart that simply identifies only the Fielding Two numbers, by position, as well as some other easy-to-use fielding solutions.  Here it is in pdf format.

The Fielding Range Chart identifies only those numbers that are in the Fielding Two range. Anything better is Fielding One. Anything worse is Fielding Three.

Take 1b-4, for example. If you roll anything between 52-62, it’s Fielding Two. Anything between 11-51 is Fielding One. Anything from 63-66 is Fielding Three.

But, all you have to deal with is the range of Fielding Two. It’s a simplified version of the complicated APBA Fielding Chart.

It requires a few games to get use to the Fielding Range Chart, but once you get the hang of it, games really move along and you don’t find yourself using a ruler to figure out where the various fielding breaks occur on the hard-to-read APBA chart.

Next: More on the Fielding Range Chart

Read all of Rod’s Replay Insider articles!

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Prairieland 2 scheduled for April 1: updated rules


Hi everyone,

The Prairieland 2 APBA Baseball Tournament which will take place in Champaign, Illinois on April 1st is less than three months away.  APBA fans are beginning to sign up but there is plenty of room.

This year’s tourney will feature a team and fantasy deadball player “draft” which will take place online in February.

You will find the rules below.   Send me an email or leave a comment below if you are interested in coming!

2017 Prairieland 2 APBA Baseball Tournament

April 1st, 2017


Location: Champaign Drury Inn and Suites, 905 W. Anthony Drive, Champaign, Illinois

Cost: $15

Prairieland APBA Baseball Tournament rules

Team selection process

o Each participant will choose a team from 1970-2000 AND one fantasy deadball player from 1900-1919. This will be done via a snake draft which will begin on February 18, 2017. The draft will take place online via Facebook messaging and email.

o The draft will last two rounds. Draft order will be announced a few days before the draft. In the first round, each participant may either take a qualifying team or a qualifying fantasy player.

o In the second round, each participant should take a deadball player if they picked a team in the first round or a team if they picked a deadball player in the first round.

o All teams will be limited to 20-man roster including your deadball player. No XCs will be allowed. Bring a roster sheet with you.

Please note: Once a team is taken in the draft, it cannot be taken again. Once a deadball player is taken, that player cannot be taken even from a different season.

Division structure and scheduling

o Once a definitive list of participants is determined, teams will be placed into divisions with a blind draw for divisions.

o Tie breakers; head to head, fewest runs allowed, run differential, most runs scored, coin toss.

o One division head will be chosen to assist in keeping track of scores.

General playing rules

o The basic game will be used with the newest version of the boards (last two versions of the booklet). If both managers agree to use old boards, that will be acceptable.

o No player with 100 at-bats or less may start a game.

o The DH will be used for all games to speed up play for games and tournament.


o A 4-man rotation will be used.

o No J-4 starting pitcher may start

o No pitcher only rated as a reliever (denoted by an asterisk next to the pitcher’s grade) may start.

o Regular APBA basic game pitcher grade advancement will be used

o Starters must pitch at least 5 innings unless affected by grade reduction.

o All relievers regardless of asterisk are limited to two innings or 6 total outs per game.

o Any relief pitcher is advanced one letter grade for only the first batter they face in the middle of an inning only regardless of lefty/righty matchup.

o All pitchers will be grade D starting the top of the 10th inning to ensure speed of game and tournament.

o In the final championship game, any pitcher rated as a starter may start that game. A relief pitcher may not start.

o Pitchers cannot bat but may pinch run.


o Total team fielding and optional fielding ratings will be used.

o Any player who does not have a fielding rating for a position will be considered the lowest fielding rating at that position if placed into the game.

o The manager must declare deep or in with a runner on third base. If not declared, the infield will be considered deep.


o A manager may declare whether or not a runner is playing it safe. If they are playing it safe they would only advance as far as the batter.

o No limit to sacrifice attempts.

Housekeeping rules

o Any injury is only sustained for that game. The player may return to the lineup for the next game.

o No injuries to the starting pitcher in first five innings. Count that as a foul ball.

o Home field advantage in postseason will be determined by W-L record then run diff.

o Re-roll both dice if they go off table or out of box

o If one die rolls off, then only re-roll that die.

Note: if anyone has any issues in obtaining a fantasy deadball player of their choice, please ask around. The APBA community is always willing to help!


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Managers wanted for newly-found Roy Hobbs Baseball Association


Neil Leininger emailed me to let me know that he and Brian Hamilton are gearing to bring up a new APBA baseball league using the Basic Game.  The league is called the Roy Hobbs Baseball Association and currently there’s room for managers!!

If you take a look at the proposed constitution of the RHBA, you can tell Neil has done his homework.  All details have been attended to.  The RHBA will have in-season trading, player contracts, free agency.  The new league will also be using APBA’s new pitching fatigue charts (which some leagues have been slow to adopt). 

If you are an APBA league member, read through the RHBA constitution even if you aren’t looking for another league.  It may give you some good ideas to implement in your current one. 

Neil hopes that games will be played mostly using cards and dice (though BBW will be allowed by consent by both managers.  Remote games will be played either by Skype or via the online dice roller rolz.org. 

If you are interested in the Roy Hobbs Baseball Association, leave a comment and I can put you in touch with Neil.  Good luck to the new league!!

Posted by: | Category: League Opening | Tags: , | 1 comment


Full moon? No just fun APBA in my 1966 NL replay

I’ve been having some unusual games in my 1966 NL replay.  So much so that I even researched to see if it was a full moon during the time I’m replaying (no, it was a new moon at this time). 


some of the fun stuff happening…

May 19th

St. Louis and Philadelphia had a battle of the Jacksons.  Larry Jackson pitched a shutout and won over Al Jackson.  Johnny Callison went 3 for 3 with two doubles and two rbis. 

bo_belinsky_autographMay 20th

The Braves win on a pinch hit by Sandy Alomar.  The Braves were lucky since Sandy has a 15-13.  Also, reliever Clay Carroll got the win.  He is now 7-0 and second in the league in wins. 

On the same day, St. Louis got their revenge over Philadelphia.  That in itself is strange as the Cardinals are suffering a 9-22 record.  But like the Braves, they had help from the bench.  Pinch hitter Mike Shannon drove home the game winning hit. Joe Torre got four hits in a losing cause. 

This is one the weirdest events so far.  On what would be his only start of the year, Bo Belinsky, a D(C*) pitcher, pitched a complete game shutout versus the Astros and their star pitcher Larry Dierker.  Appropriately, this game was played on New Year’s Day.  Belinsky apparently did not have any problem pitching for me after the celebrations the night before. 

Don Sutton wins his league leading 9th game against Pittsburgh.  Move along.  Nothing to see here. 

Gaylord Perry shuts out the New York Mets.  See above. 

May 21st

Ernie Banks, now hitting .333, collects his second game winning hit in three games on a ninth inning double against the Braves.  Bill Hands records his first win but in relief when Fergie Jenkins can’t do the job in his first start of the season. 


This, that, and the other

Probably the hardest thing for me to comprehend is that the Cubs are now in 7th place!  That’s the highest they have been all season.  They haven’t been stringing wins together.  Mostly, they have traded a win for a loss in the past two weeks.  They are 7-6 for the last 13 games with the Mets and the Astros having a rough time of it, that is enough to move up a notch. 

At four games back, San Francisco took two of three from LA and seem poised to make an attack on first place.  Perry’s aforementioned shutout is the first of a four-game set against the hapless Mets.  Watch out, Bums!

Bob Bailey is yesterday’s news.  He has been not been in the Bucs lineup for the last week.  The big news is SF’s Willie Mays who now leads in homers (9), rbis (26) and runs (27).  Tied with Mays for runs is Atlanta’s Felipe Alou who is also coming on strong.  He also leads the NL in hits (51), doubles (15), triples (7), and extra base hits (28). 

[A side note:  the three Alou brothers are all in the 1966 season. Felipe, Jay and Matty are all good.  A  couple are just better at being good. ]


Finally, strange stat of the season so far.  Ron Herbel has given up eight homeruns in just 23 2/3 innings to lead the league. 


[My 1966 NL replay uses the APBA Basic Game with little modifications.  I use actual lineups, rotations and transactions.]

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To run, or not to run?

by Scott Fennessy

For those of you who don’t do replays of the dead ball era, (and the return to running in the 80’s) then you really in my opinion missed a truly interesting period of baseball. Those days there were power hitters, although not by today’s standards, but there were still hitters you did not serve a first pitch fastball to.

Those were the days of pitching, fielding and running. Most games featured one or two pitchers and the scores most of the time were 4-2, 2-1 with the occasional wild scoring game, or blowout thrown in. When rolling my original season replay of 1901, the minimum number of steals to get into the top ten was 47 in each league. Most were scattered between 47-60 with Frank Chance (92) and John McGraw (95) the leaders.


These games were rolled on the “old charts”. To get a better idea of how most of my lineups looked at the top I will use Chance, the leadoff hitter and NL stolen base record holder and the number two hitter Charlie Dexter. Charlie does not have the type of card I would “prefer” to have bat second, but Topsy Hartsel, who IS what I would prefer was better suited for the third spot with his 3 sevens were needed as the rest of the lineup was pretty bad and despite the three 31’s he ended up batting third, and was arguably as valuable to the team than Chance was.

Anyway looking at the charts that were made to use with these cards Charlie’s card actually is pretty good on the hit and run chart. The 13-41 normally would be bad, and while my screenshot does not show it, it is actually a single, runner to third, which is just like having three 31’s. The 13’s don’t cause the runner to be out stealing so it’s like having 3 14’s on the card. Additionally, the dice result of 1 is still a home run, so other than the 45-37 there is really not any reasons not to run every chance I could.

For McGraw, and number two hitter “Turkey Mike” Donlin it was even more devastating. Now look at the “old charts” with runners on the corners.

As you can see there really is no reason NOT to use it is if you get that gut feeling that you are going to roll the 13, or 45 (and at times I got that feeling) there is almost NO punishment for running like mad. 1 is still a homer, and you get the 31’s for singles, but look at 13 and 14. If your runner had at least one first column 11 they are safe anyway.

Fast forward to 1903 when I purchased the “new charts” and the “new cards” By new cards, I mean that unlike the original issue 1901 set which I can only assume was printed sometime in the 1980’s (those more familiar when the number 12 was at 52 can better verify) and used what limited stats were available to them at that time. The 1903 cards were made in 2012, with significantly more advanced data. Unfortunately, because they were made to be used with the “new charts” you get a much different set of results.


I give to you the 1903 Pirates leadoff hitter Jimmy Sebring. As you can see, Jimmy has a solid card, although nothing that will put you in Rickey Henderson conversations. On the “old charts” he probably would have had 50 steals, which is granted much more than the 20 he actually had, but if you don’t have the “old charts” and have an original issue set, like my 1901 and 1908 seasons then your steal results won’t come close. In fairness to APBA, the results for my replay were somewhat close. (of course having second slot hitter like Ginger Beaumont, who won his only batting title helps) By that, I still had a couple of jackrabbits who never got tossed out, but the overall averages dropped.

In 1903 the league average to get into the top ten still was about 47 in the NL, but the AL dropped to 38. Frank Chance actually passed his 1901 mark with 95 steals, but the AL leader dropped to 59.

Fast forward even further to my 2015 ILLOWA debut and I have Francisco Lindor at the top of the lineup and Danny Espinosa batting second (my team batting average is well below what it should be) almost out of habit, I call for the hit and run, it’s a 13, and neither I or the manager I played think anything about it at first, but before I roll again we take a look at the charts and sure enough he is out. You are only successful on a 14. Also, note that while you cannot see it on the photo, the home run is now dropped to a double, and the double results that were also good on the old charts are now singles.

Additionally, using hit and run with runners on the corners is now like asking “may I please have my runner thrown out?” There are no successful steals except for the 65-35, and again all the power numbers are reduced to singles.

So if you do venture to old school baseball, please be sure to use the charts that are “era accurate” for lack of a better term.

Posted by: | Category: strategy | Tags: , , , | 9 comments


Monster Card Monday: 1979 Keith Hernandez



Happy New Year!!  Pastor Rich Zawadzki thought that Keith Hernandez’ 1979 card would make a nice intro to the 2017. 

At first glance, Hernandez wasn’t your stereotypical 1970s firstbaseman.  He didn’t hit many homeruns; he only hit 11 for the year.  Hernandez was more of the slick-fielding, hit the gap kind of hitter.  He also fooled enough pitchers to collect 210 hits and bat .344 to lead the league.  He did manage to drive in 105 rbis for the Cardinals while scoring a league-leading 116 runs. 

All that was enough to award Hernandez the NL MVP.  He had to share it with Willie Stargell though.  It was the only time the MVP award was given to two players in one season (bit o’ trivia: in 1969, the Cy Young award was shared between Mike Cuellar and Denny McLain). 


1979 Totals 161 698 610 116 210 48 11 11 105 11 80 78 .344 .417 .513
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/2/2017.


First, let’s get this out of the way.  Keith Hernandez’ 1979 card has a 1B-5, something Stargell never had. 

Hernandez didn’t have a first column 1 but he had power numbers 0-0-0-0 and three 7s and an additional 10 to go along with it.  The 25-7 is pretty fun to roll on, I’m sure. 

He has four 14s against only three 13s and no 24s. 

Monster numbers:  25-7, 64-14, 31-8

Note: the 12 was on the 16 in the 1979 set so APBA moved the standard 28 to 23 which proves to be the catch-all dice number. 

In the 70s era of statistical moderation, this card really does stand out. 

thanks Rich!!

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