20
November

2014 OAPBA Yearbook released

Lately, Rod Caborn has been busy putting together the yearbook for the Orlando APBA Association.  It’s finally done and it’s quite a production.  According to Rod it’s 72 pages of “everything you would ever want to know about the league”. 

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In it, you’ll find this year’s OAPBA wrap-up, stats, records, analysis not to mention photos of the managers.  It’s things like this that help inspire other leagues to help instill and restore tradition in their own leagues. 

You can download the 2014 OAPBA Yearbook here. Give it time to load… it’s a big ‘un.  

Nice job, Rod!

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18
November

Terrible Card Tuesday: 1956 Gino Cimoli

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While visiting Jim Saska’s place after the Chicagoland APBA Tournament, I spotted this 1956 Gino Cimoli card.  Cimoli was a first-year player with the Dodgers at the time and had a pretty rough start.

Looking at Cimoli’s stats, the first thing that popped out at me was his usage.  He was used in 73 games but only accumulated 38 plate appearances.  I checked his 1956 game log and sure enough, he was brought in as a pinch runner 12 times. 

When Gino did bat in 1956 though, he wasn’t too successful.  He was 4 for 36 for a .111 average.  He doubled once and stole one base with one walk. 

Split G GS PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
1956 Totals 73 4 38 36 3 4 1 0 0 4 1 1 8 .111 .135 .139
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/18/2014.

 

Cimoli is another one of those batters that makes it easy to make an APBA card.  That is, he has exactly 36 plate appearances, one for each result number on the card.  He hit one double so he received one 6.  He stole one base so he gets one 11. 

Cimoli struck out eight times and received six 13s.  We all know that strikeouts can occur via strikeout ratings as well as the 12 with a runner on second base so this might give some clue on how APBA rates 13s with batters. 

Ugly numbers:  55-16, 11-8, 25-40

“They set all the records and we won the game.”

Gino Cimoli after World Series Game 7 in 1960

Gino Cimoli did go on to have a pretty decent 10-year career with the Dodgers, Athletics as well as four other teams.  He made the All-Star team in 1957 and led the league with 15 triples in 1962.  Cimoli was on the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates team that defeated the New York Yankees in seven games. 

Gino Cimoli’s bio on SABR

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17
November

Monster Card Monday: 1967 Carl Yastrzemski

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Pastor Rich Zawadzki must have had fun playing with Carl Yastrzemski with the 1967 Red Sox in the Fall Chicagoland Tournament (though he used the original set, I believe).  It’s a great card. 

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Pastor Rich in Red Sox garb taking on Chris Witt’s 1946 version of the Red Sox

In ‘67, Yaz was but a youngster at 27.  For the Red Sox, he claimed the AL MVP and it was well deserved.  He led the league in runs (112), hits (189), homers (44), rbis (121), hitting (.326), OBP (.418) and slugging (.622).  All this while playing 161 games. 

In addition to the MVP award, he was named to the All-Star team and received a Gold Glove award. 

Split G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
1967 Totals 161 680 579 112 189 31 4 44 121 10 91 69 .326 .418 .622
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/17/2014.

 

To fully appreciate Yastrzemski’s card, you have to understand that it’s good for 161 games and 680 plate appearances.  His power numbers 1-1-5-6 over that span are fantastic.  He also receives two 7s out to 55 plus a 15-10. 

Not only that, Yaz has five 14s.  If you’re counting them left to right, you might begin to worry.  Never fear, he has three of them in the diceroll span of 56 and 64. 

If you need more convincing, he got his trademark OF-3 and doesn’t have any 24s.  Only two 13s for a homerun leader ain’t bad either. 

Fun numbers:  33-5, 55-7, 64-14

It was one year later when Yastrzemski won the batting title with a .301 average.  That the lowest average to win the title in modern day history. 

Ironic trivia:  Iconic Red Sox hero Carl Yastrzemski who played his whole 23-year career with Boston, was born in Southampton, New York. 

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

17
November

Nine standout memories about the Fall 2014 Chicagoland APBA World Series Tournament

… in no particular order, mind you. 

1. Doug Schuyler’s friendly competiveness

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I’ll play APBA with some people and it will be a nice relaxed game.  Not with Doug.  His personality brings out the most in you and you want to play your best.  Fortunately, I was able to split with his 1994 White Sox.  It wasn’t easy though.  He walloped me 11-0 in the first game and we had to come back with another D pitcher.  But when you score 14 runs, even Jamie Moyer’s Dy can win. 

Watch out for Doug’s rolling style too.  Those dice go flying!

2.  Having lunch with Curt Bartel

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I’ve briefly chatted with Curt at previous tournaments but this weekend, we had a chance to really talk as we sat down during lunch.  I learned about his carpentry business up in Wisconsin and how his sons help him in their spare time. 

I also learned that he and Craig “Tower Fiend” Christian are boyhood friends too. 

Thanks for chatting, Curt!

3.  Coleman and Co. Tavern

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Speaking of lunch, Jim Saska picked us a great location for the tournament. 

While the Woodstock Public Library worked fine for the past tournaments, the Coleman and Co. Tavern just seemed better suited for our type of event.  Nice tables to roll on, great food and good location. 

4.  Sharing a room with Scott Fennessy

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Since there isn’t a train that comes out early enough, Scott Fennessy decided to share a hotel room with me in Woodstock.  I’m glad for the company and splitting the costs help.  I found out soon after we got there that he was giving me one of his 1984 card sets.  Wow!  We went through EVERY team reminiscing about players from the 80s and their strengths and shortcomings. 

My favorite:  Willie Upshaw’s nickname on his APBA card… “Mr March”

5.  Seeing some new blood at the tourney

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There were some new people at this tournament.  Of course, there was tournament winner Cale Mannesto.  Ryan Strauss was another new participant too.  He had the 1993 Phillies and his matchup with Scott Fennessy’s 1993 Blue Jays (above) was especially interesting. 

Chris Witt attended for the first time too but his name wasn’t new to me.  He and I have been in touch for a couple years over email and Facebook.  It was good to finally meet him. 

6.  Clark Eichman’s enthusiasm

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There’s no one I’ve played APBA who shows more enthusiasm for the game of APBA than Clark Eichman.  He takes a fun dice game and makes it real to anyone watching.  When the day comes that I make it to the final, I want him to be the announcer. 

He gets excited about a 14-30 fly out to left field.  It’s refreshing to see, simple as that. 

7. Watching the Gaubatz managerial tandem in action

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I have to hand it to the husband and wife team of Julie and Michael Gaubatz who managed the 2013 Kansas City Royals.  Not only did they pilot the Royals to a divisional win but from my viewpoint they did it with cooperation and seemed to have a lot of fun doing it. 

I love my wife dearly but I don’t think neither of us could put up with each other while managing an APBA baseball team.  That’s a special relationship that those two have going.  I talked to Michael briefly and he seemed like a stand up guy.  Both of them were good natured in victory as well as defeat and I’m looking forward to seeing them at future tournaments.

 

8.  My tour of Jim Saska’s basement

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After the tournament was over, Scott and I had an hour or so before our train left for Chicago so Jim graciously invited the two of us to his house rather than wait in cold.  I’m glad we did. 

Jim has an amazing collection of APBA cards that he has very organized in a library card catalog-style drawers.  By my guess, he has 50 or 60 sets, organized and labeled for easy access.  Very impressive and very motivating for someone like me to get my collection organized too.

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I was quite impressed by the whole setup.  While the three of us were talking baseball and APBA, we wondered aloud, what does so-and-so’s card look like?  With Jim’s organized method, it was so simple to find the card set we needed to find the exact card we wanted to look at. 

Not only that, we saw Jim’s very nice baseball book library and compared notes on which books we had read. 

Thanks for the invite, Jim!  Sure beats waiting out in the cold!

9.  My 1987 Cubs’ performance

cubsscore

Finally, I can’t ignore the performance of my 1987 Chicago Cubs.  Ok, we didn’t win the tournament and we didn’t even have a winning record (2-4).  However, we split against the tough 61 Tigers and the 94 White Sox.  We ended up losing both against the 53 Dodgers putting them in the playoffs.  That said, we won two which isn’t bad for a last place team.  Rafael Palmeiro put on a show against Doug’s 94 Sox by hitting two homers and driving in five runs in one inning (see Doug’s score sheet above). 

For the record, Rick Sutcliffe got one win and Jamie Moyer got the other. 

We also were in first place in the homerun derby before the playoffs started.  Clark’s Brooklyn Dodgers kept on hitting dingers in postseason play and eventually won the Derby. 

Most of all, I was happy to see APBA folks of all ages, backgrounds (and dice rolling methods) get together for the purpose of playing APBA and talking baseball.  A lot of fun was had by all! 

Here’s more info on the Fall 2014 Chicagoland APBA World Series Tournament.  More photos from the tournament here

Posted by: | Category: Tournament | Tags: , , | 8 comments

16
November

Cale Mannesto wins Chicagoland Tourney with 1968 Tigers

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Champion Cale Mannesto after winning the Fall Tournament…

Congratulations to Cale Mannesto who won yesterday’s Chicagoland APBA World Series Tournament in Woodstock, Illinois.  As the flashes were firing, many of us were inquiring “what’s his last name again?” for he was a newcomer to the tournament.  I’m sure we won’t forget it soon.

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…it didn’t take long before Cale was texting his agent

Cale won the APBA Baseball tournament with the 1968 Detroit Tigers behind the fine pitching of Denny McLain and his Grade A&B.  We’re all happy that Cale won and the fact that he takes home the trophy means he’ll be back at the next tournament to return it.  Nice going, Cale!

IMG_0857

Second place Clark Eichman still brought home some hardware

To win the tournament championship, Cale defeated Clark Eichman and the tough 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers in the final game.  It wasn’t the first time Clark was a bridesmaid.  Last fall, he brought the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates to the championship game only to be defeated.  Clark didn’t go home empty handed though.  He won the newly implemented Homerun Trophy as his Dodgers hit the most dingers for the day. Congratulations to Clark on his hard fought run! 

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The cream of the crop.  L to R: Chris Witt (1946 Red Sox, Mike and Julie Gaubatz (2013 Royals), Clark Eichman (1953 Dodgers), Cale Mannesto (1968 Tigers)

In addition to Cale and Clark, two other teams made it to the playoffs.  The 1946 Boston Red Sox went 5-1 under Chris Witt’s leadership. Mike and Julie Gaubatz  paired up to pilot the 2013 Kansas City Royals to upset their division.  Nice going everyone! 

In all, 16 teams participated with Rich Zawadzki traveling the furthest coming all the way from Jackson, Michigan.  He even brought a huge box of APBA cards including Great Teams of the Past (I took a few minutes to browse through them and Rich and Doug Schuyler played a pickup game during the playoffs. 

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Organizers Doug Schuyler and Jim Saska

Finally, a big thanks to Jim Saska, the logistics man, and Doug Schuyler, Public Relations man extraordinaire.  Without them, this event wouldn’t be happening and wouldn’t be near as fun.  Jim, the venue was fantastic and Doug, thanks for continually plugging this event. 

I’ve posted some photos here and I’ll be posting more thoughts on the tournament later. 

Posted by: | Category: Tournament | Tags: , , | 6 comments

13
November

1987 Cubs roster finalized for Chicagoland Tournament

jamie-moyer-1986Who’s making the cut for my 1987 Chicago Cubs for this weekend’s Chicagoland APBA World Series Tournament in Woodstock, Illinois?  I just sat down at a campus coffee shop and pared the team down to the 20-man roster. 

It wasn’t too hard to do.  I’m leaving it to the original regular cards.  No XBs will make the team.  There were only seven pitchers on the Cubs who got regular cards so that made the decision a little too easy. 

Among the position players:

Pos Name
C Jody Davis
1B Leon Durham
2B Ryne Sandberg
SS Shawon Dunston
3B Keith Moreland
LF Jerry Mumphrey
CF Dave Martinez
RF Andre Dawson
LF Rafael Palmeiro
1B Manny Trillo
CF Bob Dernier
MI Paul Noce
C Jim Sundberg

 

…and the pitchers. 

Pos Name Gr
SP Rick Sutcliffe By
SP Jamie Moyer Dy
SP Greg Maddux Dy
SP Scott Sanderson Dyz
CL Lee Smith B*xyz
RP Ed Lynch Dy
RP Frank DiPino B*y

 

Yes, we’ll have to rely on pluck and luck rather than our pitching.  You’ve heard of “Spahn and Sain and pray for rain”?  Well for us, it’s Sutcliffe on the hill and two days to kill”. 

Right fielder Andre Dawson is ready and raring to go.  Don’t be making any iffy calls or he’ll have something to say about that. 

 

Some of the XBs who didn’t make the cut were real stinkers.  I’ve already featured infielder Luis Quinones on Terrible Tuesday.  I’m saving Chico Walker for a later date, too.  He’s got a 66-6 and an 11-8.  They’ll be staying home this weekend.  Sorry guys.

But two of my favorite players did make the cut and will be playing this weekend.  Ryne Sandberg?  Andre Dawson?  Nope.  I like those guys plenty but I really have soft spots for Keith (not Mitch’s dad) Moreland and Jamie Moyer.  Both played for my Thunderchickens way back when.  Moreland was a draftee as a catcher and I acquired Moyer in a trade with Don Smith for Delino DeShields.  I think both Don and I both thought Moyer was ready to retire at the time.  Little did we know. 

Looking forward to a great weekend! 

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

12
November

Weird Card Wednesday: 1947 Jim Tabor

tabor 1947

Bob Haider posted this most unusual card on Facebook a couple days ago.  James Tabor’s 1947 card looks like it went through a blender.  As Bob asks, “How many unusual things do you see in this 1947 Jim Tabor card?”.  An apparent victim of a printing error, he has plenty of them.

The most glaring errors on Tabor’s 1947 card: 

  • 21-7
  • 22-26
  • 24-9
  • 43-8
  • 44-14
  • 55-34
  • 62-31
  • 64-35

After studying the card a bit, it seems to me that every number in the ranges 21-25, 41-45 and 61-65 was inadvertently moved up one spot and the last one was repeated.  All other numbers seem to be appropriate including 25-26, 45-46 and 65-66. 

Tabor batted .235 for the Phillies in 1947, his last season of his 9-year career.

Again, this card which was published in 2012 was an obvious error and most likely corrected by the APBA Company at some point.  Regardless, this is one of the weirdest cards I’ve ever seen. 

thanks, Bob!

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11
November

Terrible Card Tuesday: 1963 Tony La Russa

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This is Tony La Russa’s second visit to TCT.  You can find his 1970 card here.

Today it’s his rookie card from 1963 from the KC Athletics.  Truth be told, it wasn’t a horrible year for La Russa batting .250 in 44 at-bats.  His card just looks kind of nasty. 

Split G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
1963 Totals 34 53 44 4 11 1 1 0 1 0 7 12 .250 .346 .318
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/11/2014.

 

While the future Hall of Fame manager does have some decent hit numbers (he has a 22-7), his lack of power and a bad fielding rating puts this card to shame.  He hit a double and a triple in 53 plate appearances.  These days, I think he would have received a 0-0 power number combination. 

His SS-6 and SS-5 don’t help matters any.

After his 1963 year, Tony La Russa took a full four years off before returning to baseball with the newly rebranded Oakland A’s.  In 1970, he got in 106 at-bats, his career high. 

As they say though, those who can’t do, teach.  And LaRussa took that to an extreme.  

thanks to Scott Veatch!

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10
November

Monster Card Monday: 1987 Andre Dawson

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In honor of this weekend’s Chicagoland APBA World Series Tournament in Woodstock, Illinois, I’m featuring outfielder Andre Dawson of my team of choice, the 1987 Chicago Cubs. 

I wish I could say that the “Hawk” carried the Cubs in 1987.  He didn’t.  The Cubs came in dead last with a 73-88 record.  That’s not to say that Dawson did try his best.  So much so that he ended up with the NL MVP award to go along with his Silver Slugger, Gold Glove and All-Star nomination. 

Dawson led his league in a major category three times in his career and he did it twice in 1987.   He banged out 49 homers and drove in 137 rbis, both NL best that year.  He also hit .287 and even stole 11 bases despite his crippling knees (he was always a smart baserunner regardless of his speed). 

Split G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
1987 Totals 153 662 621 90 178 24 2 49 137 11 32 103 .287 .328 .568
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/10/2014.

 

Dawson’s 1987 card is no Babe Ruth or Rogers Hornsby but it got the job done for the Cubs.  His power numbers are great at 1-1-5-5.  With a 44-7 and 15-10, he’s not all power either. 

Andre was never known to walk much so I’m feeling lucky to get two 14s from him. 

Remember when 100 strikeouts was a lot for a hitter?  Dawson struck out 103 times and gets four 13s.  Unfortunately, one is a 42-13. 

Fun numbers:  22-5, 44-7, OF-3

Since I announced my selection of the 1987 Cubs for this weekend’s tournament, I’ve been getting a lot of jokes and faux condolences.  Thanks but I’ll have fun with this team.  Before you count us out, remember that the Chicago Cubs led the NL with 209 homers in 1987.  Interestingly, the NL champ St Louis Cardinals were last with 94 dingers. 

Jo-Deee!  Jo-Deee Davis! 

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

7
November

A little variety in my replay lineups… But how?

I’ve been quietly replaying the 1961 season using APBA Baseball 5.75 Baseball for Windows.  It all started with a question Scott Fennessy had about setting up leagues in BBW and I quickly set up a “test” league using the 1961 season to test my scenario.  Since I had it all set up, I decided to continue to play it out.

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A Cub fans hell:  the Cardinals AND the White Sox are both in first place. 

I’m not putting a lot of prep or even a lot of thought into it.  I’m not using actual lineups or rotations and transactions are thrown out the window (once I realized that Vic Wertz was on the Detroit Tigers, however,  I used the Advanced Draft program to Boston where he spent most of the season). 

The concept is simple for my 1961 replay.  For the National League, I’ll manage the Cubs for the whole year.  For the American League though, I’ll occasionally switch teams that I will manage.  I’m already on the third team already having gone through the Yankees and the Tigers.  I’ll be honest, the Tigers were a lot of fun.  I may go back to them at some point. 

The season disks that are used with APBA Baseball 5.75 do come with a stock lineup and a rotation which will suffice.  However, sometimes they’re not perfectly accurate and I also like to add some random variety.  As I take over a team, I add some appropriate lineups.  The best place to go for that is Baseball Reference.  I found a feature on that site I didn’t know existed (maybe it’s new) called “Batting Orders”. 

Batting Orders on Baseball Reference is exactly what it sounds like.  It lists the starting batting order for the entire season for the team in question.  Each lineup spot is sortable so it’s easy to establish a count for how often a player batted in that spot.  Essentially, it can give replayers a good idea of the most used lineups for any team.  B-R also delineates which games were pitched by a left-hander if you want to come up with a left-handed lineup too. 

Here’s an example of the first two weeks of the Detroit Tigers Batting Order (click to enlarge)

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Where can you find Batting Orders?  It’s on the right side of any team page in Baseball-Reference under “Other”. 

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Here is the direct link to the 1961 Detroit Tigers Batting Orders page as an example. 

It’s definitely a good tool for replayers whether you’re a dice or computer player.  I remember as a college student (cough) before the Internet and I had to go to the library to search 1970 boxscores on microfiche. 

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