21
September

Weird Season Wednesday (wait, what?): 1931

IMG_1762 (1)

What’s this?  A weird season?  Well, Rodney Woodward and I were trading emails after he submitted Red Ruffing for last week’s WCW.  He informed me of a very strange anomaly that occurred with the 1931 set that was published in 2012.  

It seems that the pitcher’s stats on the cards particularly the HR, K and BB while correct, are offset by a column.  For example, if you check out Herb Pennock’s HR stats above, you might think something is amiss. 

Here’s Rodney’s take on it…

I’ve been on kind of a "who’s the greatest team ever"  kick the last few weeks and I’ve started a 1927 Yankee replay.

So, that led me to looking at some of the other Yankee teams around that time and I came to this. At first glance, I thought "7 walks in 189 innings, wow". He deserves a ZZZ, then as I looked closer, I couldn’t figure out how he was given a "Y" with only 30 Ks?  Then I saw the 65 HRs and looked around my office to see who was punking me.

That led me to checking other pitcher’s cards and sure enough, I discovered that APBA misprinted every single pitching card I have for this set. Pennock’s line should read: 7 HR, 30 BB and 65 K.

So I think WCW should be ALL of the pitchers cards from 1931. I’m curious if anyone else has found this error also?

Rodney goes on…

HRs, Ks, and BBs are affected.  The hitter’s stats seemed normal and in place.  I’m guessing the printing placard for pitcher’s cards was offset by a column.  I’m not quite sure how they print the cards but seeing as it was every pitcher, I’m guessing there was a misalignment during printing.  It’s the only time I’ve ever seen something like that as well.

A couple more examples:

IMG_1765 IMG_1766 (1)

I agree with Rodney.  It was a simple issue of a column offset by one.  From what I can tell, the actual APBA result numbers are not incorrect and this error will not affect the play of the game. 

So have others with the 1931 set published in 2012 have the same misprints?  I’m just wondering if the problem was eventually rectified. 

thanks, Rodney!

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20
September

Scott Fennessy: Arenado unloads on Arrieta and Cubs in “mile high” fashion

arenadoApril 12, 2015
Coors Field
Denver, CO

It’s the end of the Cubs first road trip of the season and it was a successful one for certain. They are 4-0 as we reach “get away day” and after two straight nights of extra inning ballgames, both teams are dragging a bit.

Although both teams have plenty of hitting, I was not expecting a lot today, especially Colorado as Jake Arrieta (A&C XYZ) is on the mound. He is opposed by right hander Christian Bergman, a D X starter.

As expected the Cubs start off in slow motion with both Dexter Fowler and Starlin Castro going down swinging to start the game and Anthony Rizzo hitting a weak grounder to shortstop Jose Reyes (it’s still odd to me not to say Troy Tulowitzki) to end the inning.

The Rockies however seem prepared for the “Jake Arrieta experience” and Charlie Blackmon, who has tormented the Cubs pitching staff this entire series slaps a single into center on the third pitch of the game. Jake makes several throws to first to try and keep the runner close, but despite the effort Blackmon takes off on Arrieta’s first throw to the plate, and Miguel Montero’s throw was a bit high so Addison Russell had no real chance to make the tag.

D.J. LeMahieu draws a tough walk after fouling off some pitches and Jake already is in trouble. Nolan Arenado gets a hanging curve on the second pitch and he drives this one deep into the left center stands for a towering three run homer to give the Rockies the early lead.

Pitching coach Chris Bosio makes a hurried trip to the mound and settles his hurler down and he gets Carlos Gonzales to ground out before striking out Corey Dickerson and Nick Hundley back to back, but it’s 3-0 Rockies at the end of one inning.

Rookie sensation Kris Bryant drills a 2-2 offering into the left field seats to open the inning and Montero singles up the middle on the next pitch. Maddon sends the signal to sacrifice with Chris Coughlin at the plate. It’s a successful sacrifice, but at a great cost. Nobody got hurt, but the roll was a 66-1. OUCH. Sorry Chris.

Austin Jackson picks him up though, as he slams a slider that just clears the fence in right for a 2 run bomb and suddenly this game is tied at 3 each! Bergman calms down and retires the next two hitters to end the inning with no further damage allowed.

Jake appears to be locked in at last as he strikes out Ben Paulsen and Reyes to start the inning, giving him four in a row and Bergman grounds out and the score is still tied at 3 each after two innings.

Bergman clearly does not have his good stuff as he struggles in the third. Fowler hits a single to right and with Dexter running with the pitch Castro hits a grounder right past where LeMahieu was for a single that puts runners on the corners with nobody out. Manager Walt Weiss gets the bullpen started but Rizzo and Bryant strikeout back to back and although Montero draws a walk to load the bases Coughlin fans to end the inning with the score still tied at 3 apiece.

D.J. LeMaheiu draws his second walk of the game with one out in the bottom of the inning and Arrieta throws toward the outside portion of the strike zone as they are anticipating the runner going, but the cutter trails back into the hitting zone, and this one is absolutely powdered.

The ball left the yard so quickly the camera crew could barely keep up with it as it ends in the right field seats just to the side of the hitting background for a two run dinger. Jake gets the next two hitters to end the inning, but the Rockies regain the lead 5-3 and at this rate he won’t be around much longer.

The Cubs seem fired up now as Jackson hits a hard grounder just past LeMaheiu for a single. Russell bunts the runner over, and although Joe should have gone to the bench Arrieta is a good hitter and he leaves him in. He hits a bloop single that scores Jackson and moved to second with two out and Castro rocks a solid single to left center that scores Arrieta. Rizzo flies out to end the inning, but despite the bad outing so far they are only down by a run 5-4 as we enter the bottom of the fourth inning.

Hundley singles to start the inning and Arrieta then strikes out the next three hitters to end the inning and the Cubs still trail by a 5-4 score going to the fifth inning.

Bryant hits a rocket that hits a rock just in front of first base and is headed to the corner for extra bases. No wait! Paulsen made a great diving stab and beats Bryant to the bag for a game changing moment for out number one! Bergman gets the next two hitters and the score is still 5-4 entering the bottom of the 5th.

Jake gets Blackmon swinging for out number one, but LeMahieu, who has been solid this series gets a single to center. Arenado gets handcuffed on the first pitch a bit for a foul ball, so Montero calls for the same pitch again, but Nolan waits on it and launches a Dave Kingman type of shot down the third base line. Is it fair? Is it foul? GONE!!! This one just stayed fair, but it was deep into the upper deck for a two run shot and Mr. Arenado is having one heck of a day.

Unfortunately this ends Arrieta’s day as an unhappy Joe Maddon asks for the ball. Brian Schlitter makes his first appearance of the year and is asked to just stop the bleeding. And he does just that, getting both hitters to end the inning.

Bergman knows he will most likely be done after the inning, having survived beyond all expectations considering the way his day started. He gives his all and strikes out the side, and Schlitter was lifted for a pinch hitter is done for the day too. The Rockies come to bat in the bottom of the sixth inning up 7-5.

Carl Edwards comes in and Hundley greets him with a booming double off the wall in left field for a double. Edwards does not pay much attention and Nick is off with the pitch and because Montero had to shift position to catch the pitch and has to hurry his throw.

Unfortunately this is way over Bryant’s head and rolls into left field and Hundley scores. Paulsen strikes out and Reyes grounds out as Bergman is lifted for pinch hitter Justin Morneau who gets his first hit of the year. Blackmon then gets his second hit of the day and Morneau had been off with the pitch, but Jackson’s throw is a great one and he is out at third to end the inning with the home team on top 8-5.

Boone Logan is in and he looks great. Striking out Fowler he allows a single to left by Castro, which was his third of the day, but he strayed too far off of first and when Rizzo hit a smash that Paulsen had to leap for it was an easy unassisted double play to end the inning and the Rockies are still on top 8-5 at the end of 6 and a half innings.

Edwards is asked to go a second inning and this was not a good idea as he gets two quick outs, but then batting practice ensured as the Rockies ripped 4 straight doubles that scored three runs before Reyes, the only Rockie regular that had no hits today. The inning mercifully ends with the visitors trailing 11-5.

Given the large lead Weiss asks for another inning from Logan and Bryant leads off with a single to left and moves to second on a bunt by Montero to avoid the double play. Coughlin draws a walk. Jackson hits a “Baltimore Chop” that Hundley botches and the error loads the bases with just one out. Javier Baez comes in to pinch hit for Edwards and swings and misses three breaking balls for an easy out. Logan then loses control of the strike zone and walks Fowler and Castro back to back for two quick runs and suddenly the game is on the line and closer Justin Miller comes in for what will have to be a two inning save Rizzo hits a soft single to right that scores a run but Bryant pops up to end the inning and the lead is suddenly cut to 11-9 heading to the bottom of the eighth inning.

Pedro Strop comes in as the Cubs hope to keep this close enough for some heroics in the 9th and unfortunately Pedro didn’t live up to expectations. After striking out Miller, who had to stay in for the save and Blackmon with ease LeMahieu draws his third walk of the day, and is on for the fourth time today. Arenado delivers the final blow with a double that just missed clearing the wall in right field for another run. Carlos Gonzalez walks but is stranded at first as the inning ends with the Rockies on top 12-9.

Miller walks Montero to start the inning, and promptly gets the final three hitters and the game is over. The Cubs head home on a pretty sour note, but it was still a good trip. But kudos to Nolan Arenado who went 4 for 5 with a double, 3 home runs and drove in 8 runs. Logan gets the accidental win and Miller struggled for the save. Jake Arrieta took the loss.

Around the horn

Jared Weaver tossed a two hit shutout as the Mariners beat the A’s 3-0.

John Lackey looked dominant with a two hit shutout of his own as the Cardinals stomped the Reds 7-0.

Francisco Cervelli went 5 for 5 with 5 RBI as the Pirates win a slugfest over the Brewers 12-6.

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19
September

Rod’s Replay Insider: Researching player usage

imageThe information on APBA baseball cards and the APBA’s yellow lineup sheet only gives you a limited amount of information.

Fortunately, with the explosion of SABRmetrics, there is more information now available than anyone can digest. For replayers, the info available is great for helping to create guidelines for player usage.

The two most helpful information resources I have found are:

The website Baseball-Reference.com. Baseball-Reference.com lists the stats for every team, by season. For example, if you go to the 1917 Chicago White Sox, scroll down past Team Batting and Team Pitching to Team Fielding. Voila! Every player is listed by positions played and how many games they played at that position. It’s a great resource tool.

clip_image002

Another great resource is The Sports Encyclopedia Baseball 2007, David S. Neft, Richard M. Cohen and Michael L. Neft, published by St. Martin’s Griffin, New York. As far as I can ascertain, 2007 is the last year it was published, when it was overtaken by what is now available on the Web. The book is still available on Amazon.

If you want a hard copy or quick reference for basic data, The Sports Encyclopedia Baseball 2007 is a terrific resource, listing each player and the number games at which they appeared at each position.

Next: A sample player usage guideline

Read all of Rod’s Replay Insider articles!

Posted by: | Category: replay | Tags: , , , | 1 comment

14
September

Weird Card Wednesday: 1927 Red Ruffing

Ruffing

Rodney Woodward’s suggestion for WCW made me giggle just a bit.  It’s Red Ruffing of the 1927 Boston Red Sox. 

Eventual Hall of Fame pitcher Ruffing is graded a D RXW pitcher on the 2012 release of his 1927 card.  That’s the first (and probably last time) I’ll see that grade.  For the record, Red Ruffing struck out 77 batters in 158 1/3 innings and 703 batters faced. 

Since the R rating turns strikeouts into fielding outs and the X rating does just the opposite, I am assuming it is an error.  My guess is that the R rating is on target.  This does beg the question… What would happen if diametrically opposed ratings appear on the same card?  A W and a Z, for example?  Or like in this case, an X and an R?

Also I happened to note that there is an errant blank space just before the “R” on Ruffing’s card. 

thanks, Rodney!!

Update:

In further email conversation with Rodney, he suggests that Ruffing may deserve the X rating.  Rod says…

I think it’s supposed to be an "X".  I’ve noticed with these 20s  and 30s sets that the K/9 is much, much lower in receiving an "X" or even a "K".  I faced him last night in my 27 Yankees replay and treated him as an "X".  Not sure if I was right but seemed to be what the status quo is during that time period.

What do you all think?

Posted by: | Category: Card Analysis | Tags: , , | 2 comments

13
September

Terrible Card Tuesday: 1966 Jimy Williams

jwilliams

I was beginning a game in my 1966 replay the other day and while I was writing in lineups for the Cardinals that day, I noticed that they were starting a new shortstop for the first time that season, Jimy Williams.  I thought it was interesting that I hadn’t seen his name yet since I use actual lineups and transcribe them from Baseball Reference. 

I didn’t give it much thought till later when I brought it up to my buddy, Chuck Lucas.  “You mean Jimy Williams, the manager?”, he said. 

Sure enough, the Cardinals shortstop who batted 13 times in two years, was indeed the same Jimy Williams who won Manager of the Year in 1999 for the Red Sox.  In all, Williams had a combined 910-790 record for the Blue Jays, Red Sox and the Astros. 

Split G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
1966 Totals 13 12 11 1 3 0 0 0 1 0 1 5 .273 .333 .273
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/13/2016.

 

Those who can’t do, teach… others not to hit into double plays. 

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12
September

Monster Card Monday: 1970 Johnny Bench

bench

I’ve posted about 1970 Johnny Bench before but Chris Esposito’s card is from the actual ‘70 set.  The one from before was from an All-Star set I believe.  This image is much clearer too (with a cool background!). 

Bench had a career year in 1970 with the Reds.  Playing in 158 games while starting 152, he led the NL in 45 homers and 148 rbis.  He managed to even score 97 runs which is pretty amazing for a catcher in his era. 

Of course, Bench’s value was in his glove too.  He won his third of ten consecutive Gold Gloves. 

Split G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
1970 Totals 158 671 605 97 177 35 4 45 148 5 54 102 .293 .345 .587
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/12/2016.

 

Ok, the first thing that struck me THIS time was Bench’s 23-12.  Of course, this was before APBA had mandated that all seasons would have the 12 at 23.  The season just happened to have 23 picked as the year to have the 12 on it. 

Anytime a player has five power numbers especially with double ones, it’s a monster card.  Couple that with a defensive position like catcher (or shortstop or secondbaseman) it is even better.  The icing on the cake is that Bench has the absolute best fielding C-9. 

Fun numbers:  44-6, 11-1, C-9

I will get on my soapbox now and say that this particular format of APBA card is one of my favorites.  I know it’s dated simply because it came out so long ago but I still like it.  Bold font, easy to read. 

Thanks Chris!

Posted by: | Category: Card Analysis | Tags: , , | 5 comments

9
September

Rod’s Replay Insider: Regulating player usage during a replay

scoresheet-ialReplayers wrestle with how to govern player usage during a replay.

There is no precise or totally correct answer. Your choice depends solely on how much work you want to put into the replay and how much precision or realism you want to try and generate. Any once of the choices is perfectly acceptable.

1.  The first choice is to generally follow the positions listed on the cards and the positions listed on the APBA yellow lineup sheet and totally ignore the actual player usage in terms of games played

2.  A second choice is to adhere to a precise measurement like plate appearances, at bats, or innings pitched. I use plate appearances and games pitched as guidelines, but, as I have gotten to the end of a replay, have exceeded these by as much as five percent.

3.  The third choice is to sort of create a hybrid measurement somewhere in between the positions listed on the cards and the lineup sheet and real life.

Another factor influencing player usage is what you want from your replay.

For example, how would the 1957 Cleveland Indians performed if Herb Score had not been hit in the eye by a line drive hit by Yankee infielder Gil McDougald? What would the 1950 Red Sox have done if Ted Williams had not broken his elbow in the 1950 All-Star Game? If you want to play Score or the Splendid Splinter for the entire season and find out how their presence might have changed things, then do it. In fact, one of the most enjoyable aspects of replays is exploring “What if…” questions like Herb Score and Ted Williams.

In some of my replays, I have integrated some teams with the old Negro League players to get some idea of how their presence might have changed MLB. I took a common sense approach to using the Negro Leaguers, respecting batting splits, position assignment, and probable usage. Many of the Negro League cards are rated J4 for injuries, so the results actually turned out to be self-governing, as the Negro Leaguers were more prone to lengthy outages due to injury.

Instead of seeking to precisely duplicate a player’s number of appearances at a particular position, I have always taken a common sense approach player usage at each position. If I can come close, that’s fine with me. Anything more requires too much work and can take away from the fun of a replay.

Next: Researching player usage

Read all of Rod’s Replay Insider articles!

Posted by: | Category: replay | Tags: , , | 3 comments

30
August

Rob Spatz does a quick review of the new APBA Online Baseball game

Chicago APBA fan Rob Spatz had a chance to beta test the new APBA Online Baseball game.  The new game has new features which many fans have been clamoring for. 

Here is Rob’s quick review of the game…

APBAgo3

I have the pleasure of being one of the beta testers for the online APBA game which allows the ability to play with anyone face-to-face while being across the street or across the world.

I will try not to get to technical but give a quick review. Ad someone on a computer league, the ability to play with my people who have relocated intrigued me. Overall, the game play is solid, but with some tweaks could be great.

The biggest issue I have with the current computer game option is that you see the action, but no card and dice is really part of the play. Also, being the master game, with all of the options, it can overwhelm a master game novice.

What I love about this new option is it is a basic game. Each batter shows their card, and you see the dice result on screen. It feels like you are actually rolling a game. It also gives you the option to play it safe with runners, sacrifice, hit and run, and play in with the runner on third.

APBAGo2

Now the negatives… It takes a few seconds (5-10) after hitting the button for the results. Also, some of the pitching ratings are off. Finally, when you go to the second column, the pitching result plays (have had an inordinate number of 65-8’s that have been outs.

Other than that I like the game, and look forward to having a draft option and playing many a game, rolling dice with my computer.

thanks for the review, Rob! 

Posted by: | Category: Computer APBA | Tags: , | 5 comments

29
August

The Butler did it: Dick Butler and the 1969 Orioles win the Glass City APBA Baseball Tournament

butler

The Toledo Glass City APBA Baseball Tournament is in the books!  On Saturday after the dust settled, Dick Butler and his 1969 Baltimore Orioles were left standing out of the 22 teams that participated.

I’ve gotten to know Dick pretty well in the last couple years and I can say that he one of the nicest guys in APBA.  Well, done sir!  Dick beat John Roels and his 1927 New York Yankees in the championship game by a close 3-1 score.  Dick tells me that even shortstop Mark Belanger blasted a homer in the game.

Organizer Ron Emch does a great job of documenting these tournaments in video format.  In fact, his YouTube channel has plenty of APBA related videos to watch.

Here were the Glass City tournament highlights of the day…

 

Ron even recorded the entire championship game between Dick and John.  For those of you who don’t know John Roels, he has quite a fun, quirky sense of humor.  It plays out during the video.

Congratulations to Dick Butler!  I’m sure Ron is already planning Glass City III.  He’s been doing a great job with this tourney.  Keep up the great work, Ron!!

Posted by: | Category: Tournament | Tags: , | 2 comments

27
August

1966 replay: Orlando Cepeda leaves the Giants a going away present

imageIt seems like I’ve been stuck on May 8th of my 1966 NL replay for a while now. I know I’ve played a couple games here and there but it just took a while.  But now I can cross it off. 

May 8th is a big day in baseball history as far as the 1966 season is concerned.  Why?  That’s when one of the biggest mid-season trades of year took place.   Straight from Baseball-Reference’s transaction page:

The San Francisco Giants traded Orlando Cepeda to the St. Louis Cardinals for Ray Sadecki.

Even before I started the replay, I had all the relevant transactions marked so I wouldn’t miss them.  May 8th was a big date and I wasn’t going to miss that trade.  So before this day started, I switched the Cepeda and Sadecki cards into their respective teams. 

Then, as I was writing their lineups into my score sheets, I realized that Cepeda and Sadecki were not actually traded till AFTER the May 8th game.  *SIGH* I switched them back.  Cepeda will get one more game with San Fran.  And boy were they happy about that. 

Bob Shaw (CY)was pitching for the visiting Giants and Larry Jaster (BY) was on the mound for the Cards.  Talk about a pitchers’ duel!  Mike Shannon and Lou Brock banged a couple singles and so did Jay Alou but it was goose eggs after 10 innings.  Both Shaw and Jaster hadn’t given up a run. 

Jaster was pinch hit for in the 10th and Hal Woodeshick (A*) came in relief in the 11th.  He never got an out.  A walk to Ollie Brown, a Willie Mays single and another walk to Jimmie Ray Hart meant the showers for Woodie.  Joe Hoerner (A&CXZ) came in to face Orlando Cepeda with the bases loaded. 

Now I don’t know if Cepeda knew of his impending trade.  My guess is that he did.  He sent a message with his last at-bat for the Giants with a 33-6 bases loaded triple. 

Cepeda later scored on Hal Lanier’s double.  Reliever Bob Priddy (C*) kept the Cardinals to one run and the Giants won 4-1 to improve to 13-12 and tied for third place.  The Cardinals will have to wait one day for Cepeda to help rectify their last place 7-15 won-loss record. 

image

In real life, Cepeda did very well in his last game for Giants, as well.  While pinch hitter Willie McCovey was the big hero, breaking the 5-5 tie with a 3-run homer, Cepeda went 2 for 4 with a two-run double and scoring once.  In fact, St. Louis ended up intentionally walking Baby Bull in the seventh inning. 

As a Cubs fan, I’ve been secretly enjoying St. Louis’ rough start in my replay.  Looking at their roster, they had an obvious hole at first base using players like George Kernek and a lean Tito Francona.  They’ve finally found their solution.  Cepeda has done well for the Giants in my replay hitting .340 and 14 rbis in 53 at-bats. 

I suspect it’s time for the Cardinals to make their move.

Posted by: | Category: replay | Tags: , | 1 comment

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