18
September

Boys of Summer APBA League: LCS begins!

LocomotivesIt’s playoff time.  The Urbana Locomotives will take on the Portland Microbrewers in the Boys of Summer APBA League National League Championship Series.

Perhaps it was appropriate or even destiny that brought Portland and Urbana to BoS NLCS.  The fans certainly have something in common.  The city of the Microbrewers have their slogan “Keep Portland Weird”  while the home the Locomotives is sometimes disparaging referred to as the “Peoples’ Republic of Urbana”.  The pre-game festivities at both venues will not so much be a tailgate but will probably resemble a Phish concert.

Regardless, the Urbana Locomotives players will be ready.  Our strategy has not changed.  We intend to stick with the lineup and rotation that got us this far and that includes David Price (23-4, 2.35 ERA), Adrian Beltre (.349, 38 HR, 135 rbis) and plenty of timely hitting from Carlos Ruiz, Alex Rios and everyone else. 

Speaking of Ruiz, he is good to go.  During the NL Divisional Series, he rested up from his injury he incurred on the last game of the season.  The commissioner’s file didn’t give me any indication that his head still hurts from beaned.  

Our lineup for the NLDS:

  1. Nori Aoki CF
  2. Nick Markakis RF
  3. Aaron Hill 2B
  4. Adrian Beltre 3B
  5. Alex Rios LF
  6. Tyler Colvin DH
  7. Carlos Ruiz C
  8. Garrett Jones 1B
  9. Jimmy Rollins SS

(BoS season based on 2012 stats)

Our rotation is the same too.  David Price, Cole Hamels, Hideki Kuroda and Jeremy Hellickson.  While we had to cut our roster down to 26 players for the postseason, I just couldn’t cut Colby Lewis who went 11-1 with 2.01 ERA.  He deserves to be on bench when we win the pennant. 

I sincerely wish good luck to series opponent Brad Stark as well as both BoS American League playoff teams.  Bill Gillam and his South Shore Fighting Imps will be taking on Larry Waddell and the Boston Bravos. 

The Imps won 110 games this season so I’m sure Brad Stark joins me as a Bravos fan this week!

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17
September

Weird Card Wednesday: 1975 Bob Locker

locker

Reader Steve Ryan sent this Chicago Cubs 1975 Bob Locker card to me.  At first glance, I thought “yeah, a D*ZZ is pretty rare” until Steve pointed out Locker’s stats to me.  Then it hit me.  It’s probably a mistake on the card. 

Baseball Reference confirms that Bob Locker walked 16 batters in 32 2/3 innings far above what should qualify him for a Z let alone a ZZ rating.  I can only attribute this to a card error. 

Perhaps a W was in order for Bob Locker?

I told Steve that back in 1997, John Burkett was on my league team and he was a DZZ starter.  Our league which limited players to their actual playing time, had a rule which doubled the innings of D pitchers because who would want to pitch a D, right?  So I could essentially pitch Burkett as much as I wanted. 

Thanks for the suggestion, Steve!

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16
September

Terrible Card Tuesday: 1961 Mel Roach

image

In my spare time when I’m out with my laptop, I’ve been playing the 1961 season via APBA Baseball for Windows.  It’s a no-frills set-up that I did real quickly.  While I manage the Chicago Cubs and the New York Yankees teams, the computer plays the other teams. 

Mel Roach is a backup outfielder for the ‘61 Cubs.  Even for the Cubs, his “card” is a bit hard to look at.  Roach batted .147 in 75 at-bats with one homer.  He walked five times and struck out 13 times.  

Split G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
1961 Totals 36 84 75 4 11 2 0 1 7 1 5 13 .147 .217 .213
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/16/2014.
 

Roach’s card has two zeros but they’re not very solid.  There are thirteen 7s or 11s in the second column.  Mel only has two 8s and two 9s after that giving him an ugly 15-14.  Roach does have a 25-42 along with his two 14s though it’s placed at 25. 

Ugly numbers: 15-14, 51-13, 31-40

Not only is Roach rated in the outfield but he’s also tagged as a 1B-2 and a 2B-5.  He actually put in some time in those positions during the 1961 season.  He played nine games at first base (as much as he did in the outfield) and seven at second. 

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15
September

Get your update: BBW 5.75 Update 14

apba_2220_1120310APBA released anther update for APBA Baseball for Windows 5.75.  Here’s the link to download it.  It’s simple enough to do.  Just run the file once you download it. 

Here is what it fixed according to APBA:

League Manager:
Injury report displaying incorrect number of days if player was moved to farm team.
Year-to-Date injury report not displaying team/league acronyms if players were moved to farm team.
Added button to set all players to SF=100 on the A.I.M. edit dialog. Enabled only in the initial A.I.M. edit dialogs.
Added button to reset all players to original SF ratings on the A.I.M. edit dialog. Enabled only in the initial A.I.M. edit dialogs.
A.I.M. edit dialogs – the player list will now show players on the farm teams as well as the parent teams.
Fixed an uncommon problem with the "Standings – On Day" report. If after viewing the report changes were made and saved then team W/L records could display incorrectly in some dialogs. A.I.M. fatigue status (Rested, Ready, etc.) could also be affected.

Advanced Draft:
Fixed minor display issues in the Lineup Edit dialog.

Baseball:
Resolved an issue with win reassignments for relief pitchers.

StatMaster:
Fixed some minor issues with the "Select" dialog.
Players who qualify for some leaderboards were left off those boards if moved to farm teams.

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15
September

Monster Card Monday: 1985 Don Mattingly

mattingly

Historically, there are very few 1B-5 out there. To find one with a 15-7 on his card is even more rare.  Yankee Don Mattingly of 1985 fits the bill. 

In 1985, Don Mattingly not only hit .324 with 35 homers but he also led the AL with 48 doubles, 145 rbis and 370 total bases.  He started 159 games and racked up 727 plate appearances.

For his effort, Mattingly got his due.  He went to the 1985 All-Star Game, won a Gold Glove and the Silver Slugger award for first base.  Ultimately, he was named the American League Most Valuable Player in 1985. 

Split G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
1985 Totals 159 727 652 107 211 48 3 35 145 2 56 41 .324 .371 .567
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/14/2014.
 

On his card, Mattingly gets the nickname “Donbo” which I frankly, have never heard.  Maybe “Donnie Baseball” wouldn’t have fit on the card. 

Mattingly gets a very solid hitting card that could hit pretty much anywhere in the lineup.  He has power with extra base numbers of 1-5-5-6 and hit numbers of 7-7- 7-8-8-8-9-9.  Because the 12 was placed at 42 in 1985, his last 9 gets pushed all the way out to 64. 

Fun numbers: 33-5, 15-7, 1B-5

Mattingly also likes to move runners along.  He only has one thirteen on his card.

Don Mattingly had the unfortunate timing to be a Yankee during one of their leanest eras.  During his career from 1982-1995, he only saw the postseason once, in his very last year.  In 1995, the Yankees were knocked out the playoffs by Seattle 3 games to 2.  You couldn’t blame Donnie Baseball for the Yankees’ loss though.  He went 10 for 24 with five extra base hits and six rbis for the five-game series. 

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14
September

Too little, too late? Twin City Thunderchickens showing some life in September

Nick TMaybe my Illowa APBA League got wind of the success of their Urbana Locomotives counterparts in the Boys of Summer APBA League.  Or maybe I just took advantage of a last place team down on their luck.  Either way, my Twin City Thunderchickens shook off a 6-12 August to begin their September in a winning fashion. 

Saturday night, the Thunderchickens and I took on Nick Tegeler and his Iowa Oinkers.  Now. both Nick and I are sitting at the bottom of the Illowa APBA League so this series had no real implications (other than perhaps, who was going to get the first pick in the rookie draft).  My ‘Chickens were up to the task.  We certainly didn’t kill the ball but our pitching lived up to its reputation.  The series started ominously enough with the Thunderchickens winning the first game 1-0 on a fielder’s choice rbi in the bottom of the ninth. 

Some series highlights:

  • Three shutouts (Jeremy Hellickson, Jon Niese and Stephen Strasburg)
  • Four pitchers advanced to Grade A. In addition to the above three, Hyun-jin Ryu was scored on in the eighth and finished with a CG win.
  • We outscored the Oinkers 30-9 in six games. 
  • The Oinkers didn’t score until the 8th inning of the third game
  • To top it off in Game 6, Stephen Strasburg (BXY) pitched a three-hit shutout while striking out 16 batters. Almost more amazing, Mark Buehrle, a CZ with no strikeout letters, struck out 11 in the same game. 

The Oinkers defeated us in Game 5 with Scott Diamond (DRZ) making a start for us.  Ironically, he didn’t get the loss.  Long reliever Joe Kelly gave up the winning run. 

Final series score Thunderchickens 5 Oinkers 1

Nick and I are old friends and win or lose, it was great to see him even it was over Skype.  After our series was over, he picked up his webcam and panned it across his man-cave and showed me his APBA setup.   I’m envious of his method of storing APBA cards using a used library card catalog he had bought (send me some photos, Nick!). 

The Thunderchickens are now 44-58 and still well out of the playoff race.  The IAL All-Star Game weekend is scheduled for October 3-5! 

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8
September

Monster Card Monday: 1953 Carl Furillo

furillo

If you had done a search previously on The APBA Blog, Carl Furillo’s name wouldn’t have shown up.  I aim to rectify that today. 

Carl Furillo was a key part of the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers lineup.  As a right fielder, his cannon arm gunned down 11 unsuspecting base runners while he contributed greatly with his bat.  Among many other superstars in the ‘53 Dodgers lineup (Snider, Robinson, Reese, Campanella, etc), Furillo not only led the team in hitting but the entire league with a .344 batting average.

Furillo had some power too.  He hit 38 doubles, 6 triples and 21 homeruns while driving in 92 runs. 

Split G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
1953 Totals 132 518 479 82 165 38 6 21 92 1 34 32 .344 .393 .580
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/7/2014.

 

The only knock on Furillo’s 1953 card is his slow rating.  Other than that it’s a pretty tasty card.  His power numbers 1-4-5-6-6 are sure to drive in runs and he has plenty of other hit numbers as well (7-7-7-9-9). 

While “Skoonj” only has two 14s on his cards, he also only has two 13s making sure he moves that runner along.  If you’re rolling for him, make sure you avoid his two 24s, though. 

Fun numbers:  44-6, 15-7, 64-9

The best part about Furillo is that if you’re playing him with the 1953 Dodgers, he actually batted in the 6th, 7th and sometimes 8th spots in the lineup.  It’s hard to believe that this kind of card can bat that low but credit goes to the quality of the ‘53 Dodgers’ offense. 

Note that Furillo has a 23-17 on this card.  This set has the 12 on 53 which prompted the move of the error number to 23. 

I believe credit goes to Pastor Rich for suggesting Furillo.  Thanks Rich!

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6
September

Locos chuggin’ into the playoffs: A regular season recap of the Urbana Locomotives

locosPut it in the books. The regular season of the first year of the Boys of Summer APBA League (BBW, based on 2012 season) is now over.

Fortunately for my Urbana Locomotives, there’s more work to be done. Finishing at 104-58, we took first place in the National League East Division, quite handily, I may add. We were only team with a winning record in the NL East and were 25 games up on the second place team.

How did we do it? Tough pitching and some key hitting. Position-by-position, here’s a wrap-up of our team’s success.

standings

 

Hitting

One of the biggest surprises was backstop Carlos Ruiz. He ended the season with a tasty .362 batting season while hitting 24 homers. Not only that, he always seemed to hit in the clutch. J.P. Arencibia was an adequate backup for Ruiz early on but we brought on sure-handed Yorvit Torrealba as a call-up. Yorvit proved he could do more than catch with his hands as he drove home eight runs in one game. We may need him to keep that hitting frame of mind in the playoffs. Ruiz was injured in the very last game of the season and will be out for nine days (I literally gasped when that happened). Depending on how long the wild card series takes, Torrealba will need to step up.

At first, Garrett Jones was a key player especially early on in the season. He took the Player of the Week in the first month. Overall, he had a solid season batting .246 but hitting 22 homers and driving home 71 runs. Backup Mitch “not Keith’s son” Moreland was a viable defensive replacement but didn’t provide much offense (.198). At second, Aaron Hill drove in 103 runs and scored 100. Batting mostly in the second spot, Hill still managed to provide plenty of pop (29-12-27) while hitting .277. Jimmy Rollins put together speed (22 SB) and a little power (19 HR) while lending a good glove at short. His backup, Zack Cozart, was no slouch with the leather either.

imageTo say third baseman Adrian Beltre had a good season is putting it mildly. His stats for the season were quite phenomenal. In 152 games and 608 at-bats, he batted .349 with 38 homeruns. He drove home 135 runs and scored 101. He banged 212 hits, 40 of them doubles. I lost count of how many times he was awarded the BoS Player of the Week. He was just THAT good.

Alex Rios played a solid left field and while his batting average wasn’t great (.246), his power (28-7-28) more than made up for that. He drove in 87 runs. I always think of Nori Aoki as the outfielder that I should have picked in the Illowa APBA League. He wasn’t the perfect leadoff man (.339 OBP) but he hit .270 and scored 91 runs while stealing 24 bases. Right fielder Nick Markakis is a personal favorite of mine and he didn’t disappoint. In limited play, he batted .275 with 18 homers with 51 rbis. Nate McLouth provided an excellent defensive replacement while stealing 12 bases in 13 tries.

Tyler Colvin and Justin Maxwell both got their chances in the field but many times they were relegated to the DH role. Colvin did a fine job hitting .280 and homered 23 times while driving in 72 and scoring 72. Maxwell (.220) had less success.

Super sub alert: Austin Kearns went 6 for 11 with a double and a homer for the year.

David_Price_on_August_19,_2013Pitching

As much as Adrian Beltre was a factor for our offense, David Price was for our pitching. Like Beltre, our first round pick made the headlines on the league website on a regular basis. Price went 23-4 with a 2.35 ERA topping the league in both categories. He completed 12 games and struck out 227 in 226 innings.

Hiroki Kuroda wasn’t as flashy as Price but he got the job done. With a 3.13 ERA, Kuroda finished with a 21-11 record. And while Cole Hamels didn’t win 20 games (19-11), he struck out 231 in just over 226 innings. Jeremy Hellickson (3.38) was a victim of lack of offensive support with an 8-14 record. On the other hand, Mike Fiers (3.58 ERA) went 10-3 and even had a six game winning streak. I just can’t explain Colby Lewis though. In 15 starts and 5 relief appearances, he went 11-1 with a 2.01 ERA and three shutouts. Not bad for a 9Z pitcher.

We used a host of relievers during the year but not many racked up too many innings with the exception of Ryan Cook (3.54, 5-3, 7 saves) and Wilton Lopez (4.66, 3-2, 1). Jonathon Papelbon was our main go-to guy and he really did the job. In 32 2/3 innings, he only gave up 2 earned runs for a 0.55 ERA. Not only that, he ended the season with 23 consecutive saves.

Not-so Super sub alert: Late season call-up Zach Britton appeared in just inning in one game for the season and gave up seven runs. That gives him an ERA of 63.00 for the year. Sorry Zach!

For complete stats for our Urbana Locomotives, here is the link to the hitting stats and here are the pitching stats.

Time for the player awards. I really didn’t have to think about this too much. Both players obviously stood out and made a difference for our team.

Urbana Locomotives Player of the Year – Adrian Beltre

.349, 152 G, 608 AB, 101 R, 212 H, 40 2B, 38 HR, 135 rbis, .605 SLG, .384 OBP

Urbana Locomotives Pitcher of the Year – David Price

23 wins, 4 losses, 2.35 ERA, 30 starts, 12 CG, 6 SHO, 226 IP, 227 K, 68 BB

Our toughest opponent for the year was Bill Gillam’s South Shore Fighting Imps. We got swept by them 6-0 earlier in the season. I’m just glad they weren’t in our league or we would have played them a lot more. At 110-52, they were the only team in the Boys of Summer APBA League to win more than the Urbana Locomotives. We just may see them again in the World Series if both of us are lucky. On the flipside, we decimated division-mates Traverse City Panthers 20-2.

Playoffs are next! Both Bill and I wait the first round out since as the top winners, we get a bye. While we wait, Locomotive trainers will be nursing Carlos Ruiz back to health. Meanwhile, the Fairgrove Tigers and Boston Bravos fight it out in the AL while the Portland Microbrewers and Seattle Rainiers battle in the NL. Good luck to all!

Finally, many thanks to Commissioner Shawn Baier for everything he did. He handled all the first-year issues so well.

[photo credit]

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3
September

Brian Cavanaugh: 1993 Phillies Break my Heart Again

lenny-dykstra1Brian Cavanaugh of The Bridesburg APBA League took on a solo replay project, one that involved his beloved Phillies.  Here’s his recap.  -Tom

I have never been more excited to play  a replay than I was to replay the 1993 Phillies season. This team is my all-time favorite Phillies team, even more than the 2008 team. As a life long Phillies fan, I grew up watching some pretty bad teams. I was too young in 1980 (3 years old) and 1983 (6 years old) to remember the thrill of a pennant chase. However, in 1993, I was 16 years old and experiencing winning baseball for the first time. Yes, there was distant second place finish in ’86 and the exciting 3rd place finish (I was at the game where they clinched 3rd place, you would have thought we won the world series). I fell in love with Macho Row and will probably always have a small crack in my heart because of what Joe Carter did.

My ’93 Phillies were an unstoppable offensive juggernaut during the regular season, steamrolling to what would be a franchise record 108 wins. There were times when it seemed like this team couldn’t lose. They just got on base so much and always seemed to come up with a clutch hit.

My heart break though came a bit earlier in my replay than in real life. The series that Tom Glavine dubbed "America’s team vs. America’s most wanted" did not play out as it did in real life. My Phil’s little engine that could ran out of gas and fell to Atlanta 4-2 in the N.L.C.S. I was positive that if I beat the Braves, the Phil’s would have also beaten Toronto and mend that crack in my heart just a little bit.

Just as in real life, Lenny Dykstra was the sparkplug leading the team in hits, at bats, batting average, doubles, stolen bases, walks and runs. Dave Hollins out performed his card and led the team with 43 HR’s and 116 RBI. Darren Daulton was a rock behind the plate hitting a career high 30 HR’s with 103 RBI.

Terry Mulholland was the ace posting a team high 20 wins and 3.36 ERA.The rest of the staff performed much like they did in real life, except that both Danny Jackson (5.26) and Ben Rivera (5.66) had considerably higher ERA’s. I loved playing with this team and it was kind of sad to put them back in the box. They have been retired and will now see play in future tournaments.

It’s now time to move on to another Phillies team to replay. Since my past replays have been with good Phillies teams (1950,’64,’93), I am going to try my hand with Nick Leyva’s disastrous 1989 team. That should be fun!!

1993 Phillies Stats

  • Lenny Dykstra – .295, 18-66 (141 R, 136 BB)
  • Mariano Duncan – 270, 14-75 (40 2bh)
  • John Kruk – .282, 17-96 (108 R, 122 BB)
  • Darren Daulton – .263, 30-103 ( 97 R, 89 BB)
  • Dave Hollins – .257, 43-116 (110 R, 11 3bh)
  • Jim Eisenreich – 281, 17-88 ( 10 more HR, 37 more RBI than real life)
  • Milt Thompson – .218, 4-34
  • Juan Bell – .208, 1-14 (couldn’t wait to get rid of him)
  • Kim Batiste – .229, 5-18
  • Wes Chamberlain – .266, 11-37 (top pinch hitter)
  • Pete Incaviglia – .242, 17-61
  • Ricky Jordan – .259, 7-31
  • Mickey Morandini – .267, 2-49
  • Todd Pratt – .284, 8-16
  • Kevin Stocker – .277, 3-28
  • Jeff Manto – .128, 0-0
  • Terry Mullholland – 20-7. 3.36
  • Curt Schilling – 15-7, 4.45 (actual 16-7, 4.02)
  • Tommy Greene – 17-5, 3.87 (team high 193 K’s, actual 16-4, 3.42)
  • Danny Jackson – 13-9, 5.26
  • Ben Rivera – 13-6, 5.66
  • Larry Anderson – 7-3, 2.57
  • David West – 6-2, 2.94
  • Mitch Williams – 4-2, 4.37, 43 SV
  • Jose DeLeon – 3-3, 3.52
  • Bobby Thigpen – 0-2, 9.62 (he was as useful to me as he was in real life)
  • Brad Brink – 1-1, 6.23
  • Paul Fletcher – 1-1, 9.00
  • Kevin Foster – 1-2, 6.23
  • Donn Pall – 1-1, 4.03
  • Roger Mason – 3-0, 3.69
  • Tim Mauser – 3-0, 2.83
  • Mark Davis – 0-3, 5.09 (see above, Thigpen, Bobby)
    Thanks for the recap, Brian.  Better luck next time with the Phillies! 

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3
September

Weird Card Wednesday: 1966 Joe Hoerner

66hoerner

This Joe Hoerner card from my 1966 season set is pretty much all or nothing.  With hit numbers 1-1-8-8-9-9, Hoerner gets his double ones from one homerun in 13 plate appearances for St Louis.   That homerun was Joe’s only hit of the year, too. 

Of course, Hoerner’s true value was on the mound for the Cardinals.  That’s evidenced by his A&C* XZ rating.  Hoerner went 5-1 with a 1.54 ERA and struck out 63 and walked 21 in 76 innings in the 1966 season.  His 13 saves led the Cardinals that year. 

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