TAB Mailbag: What does APBA stand for?

When reader Ed sent me an email with a subject line “What does APBA stand for”, I expected a diatribe on the APBA Game Company’s standing in the tabletop sports community. 

No, that wasn’t the case..

“I have acquired some APBA football cards, what does APBA stand for?? Thanks for the assist.”

…he simply wanted to know what the word APBA stands for. 

It’s a question that gets asked by readers on occasion especially those new to the game.  The official word from the Company is that it doesn’t stand for anything and word stands on its own. 

This shot of an APBA 1964 brochure reveals that there may have been something behind the name. Something “of a sentimental, personal nature that would require lengthy explanation”.  Of course, this was back in 1932 so whatever it was probably went to the grave with APBA founder Dick Seitz. 

And of course, NEVER call it Ay, Pee, Bee, Ay! 

Thanks for the good question, Ed.

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Weird Card Wednesday: 1957 Dixie Howell

dixie howell

Thanks to Jerry Hill and his son Doug for nominating Dixie Howell for this week’s Weird Wednesday card.  Dixie has the look of a monster card up to a point then he just falls apart. 

Dixie had a pretty exciting year at the plate for the Chicago White Sox in 1957.  He only went 5 for 27 but all five of his hits went for extra bases.  He hit three homers, a double and a triple.  He walked twice and only struck out six times. 

1957 Totals 42 29 27 4 5 1 1 3 3 0 2 6 .185 .241 .630
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/22/2014.


I’m not going to post his complete pitching stats but for the record, Howell posted a 3.29 ERA and went 6-5 in 37 appearances with the Sox in 1957.  The B* is warranted. 

Essentially if you can roll double numbers with your dice, you’re golden with Dixie Howell hitting card. His power numbers of 1-1-2-5-5 are pretty nifty.  However, the offensive drop-off between the 55-5 and the 15-23 is one of the biggest I’ve ever seen on an APBA card though. 

1957 wasn’t the first year Howell showed some offensive prowess.  In 1955, he batted .381 in 21 at-bats and in 1956 he hit two homers.  He pitched only one game after the 1957 season though, finishing up his career for the White Sox in 1958. 

Thanks Jerry and Doug!

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Terrible Card Tuesday: 1985 Bruce Benedict


I found this Bruce Benedict card in my 1985 season set. 

While “Eggs” Benedict was a decent catcher for Atlanta, he never was much of a hitter.  That was so true in 1985 when he hit .202 over 70 games and 208 at-bats.  His playing time wasn’t because of his power either.  Benedict didn’t hit any homers and only hit six doubles.  Giving credit where it’s due, he walked more (22) than he struck out (12). 


1985 Totals 70 237 208 12 42 6 0 0 20 0 22 12 .202 .279 .231
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/21/2014.


Benedict gets a 66-6 for his six doubles.  In addition to his 11-7, he’s blessed with four 8s along with the two 9s.  That saves him from getting a unusual result number at 15 or 25. 

Slowpoke that he was, he couldn’t run out the ground balls and received three 24s.  Only one 13 for Benedict though, a rarity for catchers in his era. 

Ugly numbers:  11-7, 33-8, 51-14

Despite his .242 career batting average and 18 total career homeruns, Bruce Benedict did play in two All-Star Games in 1981 and 1983.  That’s one more than Steve Swisher! 

Without looking it up, who was Atlanta’s other catcher in 1985??

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Bruce Norlander’s predictions are out!

Hear ye, Hear ye!  The Soothsayer has spoken! 

That’s right! Bruce Norlander, who has been making predictions of APBA baseball cards for years, has released this year’s predictions.  They’re not official of course but those familiar with Bruce know he gets it pretty close. 

These days, Bruce is posting his grade predictions on his website Archrivals Baseball.  Here are the direct links:

2014 NL Pitching Predictions

2014 AL Pitching Predictions

Bruce predicts Master Game pitching grades as well as strikeout and control ratings and MG Homerun ratings. 

Of course, the first thing I’m looking at with these predictions are my Twin City Thunderchickens.  I decided to compare Bruce’s with those done by Illowa APBA League commissioner Mike Bunch. 

Hoping to find some differences between the two for a source of discussion, I found none.  While they disagreed a bit on the strikeout ratings, Bruce and Mike agreed on all the pitchers’ letter grades for my team. 

  • Roark, T.              B  (Z)
  • Strasburg, S.       B  (XY) (Z)
  • Ryu, H.                 B (Y) (Z)
  • Niese, J.               B  (Z)
  • Bailey, H.             C  (Y)
  • Papelbon, J.        A*  (X) (Z)
  • Torres, A.            B*  (Y) (W)

Perhaps I’ll re-visit this later when the disk comes out.  I have no real disagreements with any of these though Bruce’s prediction Roark to be a 14Z pains me.  Gosh, one more point would be nice. 

Thanks Bruce! 

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Monster Card Monday: 1993 Sam Horn

93 sam horn

Scott Fennessy sent me this 1993 Sam Horn card.  Now, I’ve heard about Sam Horn’s monster card from some of you readers but this is the first time I’ve seen it.  Yeah, it’s quite a doozy. 

Left-hitting part-timer Horn was playing for Cleveland by 1993.  He only got in 36 plate appearances (all as a DH) for the Indians but made the most of them.  He went 15 for 33 (.455) with four homeruns.

1993 Totals 12 36 33 8 15 1 0 4 8 0 1 5 .455 .472 .848
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/20/2014.


Horn received power numbers 1-1-5-5, a slight decline from what he mathematically should have gotten.  With 36 PA, it’s easy to calculate that he should have gotten the equivalent of four 1s (perhaps a 1–1-1-1-6?).  After that. he also got five 7s all the way out to 51.  That gives this card a nice 62-9. 

1993 Horn only received one 14, justifiably so.  However, he does get a handy 45-42 for his one HBP. 

Fun numbers: 22-5, 51-7, 62-9

1993 Sam Horn is rated as a 1B-2 though he is probably lucky to get that.  In fact, in his eight years in the majors, he only played 12 games in the field all at first base. 

Horn was your definitive platoon player.  He knew how to hit righties and managers knew not to bat him against left-handers.  In 1993, he faced a lefty starter just once.  Overall, he went 0 for 4 against southpaws that year (giving him a .517 batting average against righties!).  For his career, his righty/lefty split was still pretty pronounced at .248/.152.

thanks Scott!

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Is it time for a comprehensive World Series set?

The brochure from the original World Series Baseball Game

Pastor Rich Zawadzki posted a an interesting thought on the APBA Baseball group on Facebook.  In essence, it was a plea to the APBA Company to:

“… put out a World Series set (The teams that faced off in each World Series) from each decade (IE: 1960-1969). Other than the first set there will be 20 teams in each set, and APBA could sell it for $40 or $50.”

This post got a lot of attention with plenty of comments almost all favorable.  I’m finding that while leagues and full season replays are still popular, there seems to be upward trend in shorter seasons as to how we play APBA.  The fact is, whether because of our busy schedules and the sense of getting something accomplished, many APBA fans are moving towards a shorter season replay or a tournament method to satisfy their solo APBA fix.  As Rich says, I just don’t play entire seasons, but love to play with the GTOP (Great Teams of the Past).” 

APBA hasn’t produced a true World Series set since the 70s.  I purchased the set along with my very first set as a kid.  You can see a few photos of the brochure courtesy of fan John Williams here

I’m curious if APBA Football fans (or even Soccer or Hockey fans) are feeling the same way.  I’m guessing that since a 16 game season may not be as daunting as a 154 or 162-game schedule, the demand might be as dire.  Yet, the concept of a “Super Bowl Set” does have appeal. 

In the past few years, APBA has been trying out the concept of “pre-play” which involves selling current postseason teams of various sports so that we can simultaneously play with the actual professional postseason.  I have heard some positive feedback from a few readers on this.  What many are clamoring for, I think, are historical seasons which shouldn’t be too difficult for the APBA Company to assemble assuming they have already been printed at one point. 

The interest is there.  Methods of how APBA baseball is being played is somewhat trending towards a shorter series/tournament style of play.  I’m wondering if APBA might look into this as a viable marketing strategy. 

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


Ken Brand wins the RCMBA’s 40th Championship

The league postseason updates are rolling in.  John Briggs sends us an update on the Roberto Clemente Memorial Baseball Association. 


clip_image001In an epic run of comebacks, Ken Brand guided his Union County Unicorns, to his seventh title. You can see he’s “pumped” about finally getting some justice. The RCMBA has a three tier setup just as the MLB does. All RCMBA playoff series’ are played “on-line” using either an AOL chatroom or a Rolz.org room. In the opening best of five series between two wildcard entries, The Unicorns were down 2-0 in games to Syracuse with the next two games being played in Syracuse. In game three they were tied 2-2 entering the bottom of ninth. Syracuse fails to get a walk off 66. In the 10th both teams score one. In the 11th and 12th Syracuse again doesn’t get the walk off hit that would end the Unicorn’s season. In the 13th both teams score two and finally in the 14th, the Unicorns score four and win 10-6. Ken’s boys then twice crush Syracuse 8-3 and move into the next round. In the best of seven, the Unicorns sweep Ottawa 7-5, 3-2 (11inn), 4-3, 5-4 and it’s on to the Championship round where arch rival Mike Fisher’s Albuquerque Horsemen waited. The Horsemen had also swept their way into the title best of seven round. In the 2011 RCMBA World Series, Albuquerque swept the Unicorns 3-0, 6-1, 9-0, 4-3. In the 2013 RCMBA World Series, Albuquerque swept the Unicorns 13-7, 5-3, 3-1, 9-4. Would the Unicorns be happy just winning a game? Here’s what happened.

G1 at ALB> UnC wins 3-2: back-to-back bases loaded HBP’s give Unicorns lead in 5th. Pen locks down the final 3 innings and the Unicorns finally get a win against the Horsemen.

G2 at ALB> ALB wins 4-1: Two runs in 6th & 8th even the series behind stellar start by Fister.

G3 at UNC> ALB wins 1-0: The only run is a two out rbi single by Tulo in the 8th scoring Trout, who reached on an error by LF Rasmus to open the inning.

G4 at UNC> ALB wins 5-4: Beltran/Castro back-to-back HR’s in 2nd gave the Unicorns the lead. Miguel Cabrera counters with 3-run HR in 6th for a 3-2 lead. In the 8th with two outs CarGo & Chris Davis go deep back-to-back and are up 4-3. They turn it over to Uehara to close it out. He strikes out the 1st 2 then walked Votto & Trout. Carpenter hit a shot back to Uehara but he boots it to load the bases. H-Ram then capped the rally with a 2 run single to win it. The Unicorns are down 3 games to 1. It’s not looking good.

G5 at UNC> UnC wins 7-4:.. Unicorns mash their way to victory. Cuddyer/CarGo/Davis hit consecutive HRs in 3rd to go up 4-2. H-Ram ties it with 2 run double in 5th. Edwin Encarnacion then went to work. He follows an intentional walk to Chris Davis in 5th with an rbi single to break the tie. In 7th following another IBB to Davis he hits a 2 run double. The bullpen slams the door over the final 4.2 innings.clip_image003

G6 at ALB> UnC wins 6-3: Union Co forces a deciding game 7 behind Everth Cabrera’s two hit, 3 steals, 3 run and Chris Davis 2r bomb. The bullpen 3 more shutout innings. Is there something about Missouri teams and their bullpens?

G7 at ALB> UnC wins 1-0: Big fat Bart Colon is the story here.  He throws 7 no hit innings before leaving with a blister. Shane Victorino provided all the offense with a PH leadoff HR in the 8th. The Horsemen get their first hit in the 9th on a two out single by Cabrera but Uehara gets Longoria and the comeback from the 3-1 deficit is complete.

clip_image004The Unicorns win their 1st title since 2003! Party on in Missouri’s Union County.

This is Ken after he’s calmed down a bit.


Roberto Clemente Memorial Baseball Association (www.rcmba.com)

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APBA announces 2014 baseball product release schedule

logoThe APBA Game Company has announced its 2014 Baseball season product release schedule.  Get your credit card ready because you can order the season disk the day after the MLB World Series is over!

From APBA’s website:

“We will start taking pre-orders for the 2014 season disk for APBA Baseball 5.75 the day after the World Series is done. The plan is to start shipping the disks around Thanksgiving. The price remains at $28 plus shipping and handling.

We’ll have to wait a little longer to order the 2014 season card set, though. 

We will start taking preorders for 2014 APBA basic and master game card sets on the first Monday in December, (December 1st). The prices are the same as last year: $64 for the basic card set and $68 for the master card game. Either set has 900 cards, 30 cards per team. The XC set will be $33 and includes all the remaining players.”

The card sets are scheduled to ship January 5th, 2015. 

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Weird Card Wednesday: 1910 E. Cooper


I was about to feature this “E. Cooper” card from the 1910 Chicago Leland Giants on my Terrible Tuesday column but as Tom Zuppa indicated, there wasn’t a lot to be known about this gentleman.  “There’s no statistical record of him being on the Giants that season … or that he had a first name.” 

Indeed, it’s a pretty odd card.  His first name is listed as “E.”.  His birthdate is “Unknown”.  Both his height and weight are shown simply as “Unk”.  It’s amazing that we know that he bats right and throws right (or maybe APBA just made a guess). 

That all said, his card is pretty atrocious for a firstbaseman/outfielder.  He has hit numbers 7-8-8-9 with a 44-37. 

thanks Tom!

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Rod Caborn’s Beefers win OAPBA Championship

clip_image002I want to send a heartfelt congratulations to Rod Caborn.  For years, Rod has faithfully sent me updates about his league, the Orlando APBA Association (OAPBA) and I’ve dutifully posted them. 

Now, Rod gets his due.  He gets to submit some good news about HIS team.  The Beefers, the second oldest team in OAPBA, won their first league championship!  The Beefers who went 43-35 in 2014, defeated Jonathan Stillwell’s Otters in a four-game sweep in the OAPBA World Series. 

“The Beefers, seeded fourth in the 2014 playoffs, roared through the playoffs, taking four of six to upset Dave Larson’s top-ranked Taz Devils (46-32), and then sweeping the Otters in four games to win the 2014 World Series. Caborn’s (left) 2014 crown ended a remarkable stretch of six consecutive OAPBA championships (2008-2013) by Joe Passiatore, who retired from active play at the end of the 2013 season, guaranteeing a different team would win the league championship in 2014.”

Congrats to all the managers of OAPBA, too.  They just finished their 27th season.  Rod forwarded on this great season wrap-up detailing their 2014 campaign that is a fun read. 

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