New video exhibit for MWBL Hall of Fame

imageCheck out this nifty production put together by Stray Corrado of the Mid-West Baseball League.  It’s a video exhibit for the league’s Hall of Fame depicting the prowess of the Chicago Mobsters’ “Super Seven” as they are dubbed. 

The video features players Chipper Jones, Ivan Rodriguez, C.C. Sabathia, Billy Wagner, Derek Jeter, Josh Beckett and Felix Hernandez who all played for the Mobsters.

Awesome video!  Now, the other MWBL managers will have to step up their PR game. 

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IAL’s Twin City Thunderchickens look forward to new year

Jason Kipnis: Chicken of the Year

Homer Bailey: Chicken Hurler of the Year

Well, the Twin City Thunderchickens’ 2014 season is over in the Illowa APBA League.  By over, I mean no, we’re not making the playoffs next month.  As if we had a chance.  With our 62-100 record, we’ll be lucky to avoid last place in the IAL’s ten-team league.

Here are the team leaders in some the main categories:

Player AVG Pitcher W
Tabata, J. .277 Bailey, H. 11
Maxwell, J. .274 Ryu, H. 10
Kipnis, J. .264 Strasburg, S. 7
Torres, A. 7
Player HR Pitcher ERA
Zimmerman, R. 26 Siegrist, K. 1.70
Kipnis, J. 17 Roark, T. 1.80
Reyes, J. 15 Ross, R. 2.45
Pujols, A. 15
Player RBI Pitcher ERA (100 IP)
Zimmerman, R. 77 Kelly, J. 2.84
Markakis, N. 66 Bailey, H. 3.59
Kipnis, J. 51 Ryu, H. 3.86
Player R Pitcher SO
Kipnis, J. 79 Bailey, H. 216
Zimmerman, R. 61 Strasburg, S. 191
Markakis, N. 58 Ryu, H. 166


For all my whining, Albert Pujols did make a comeback in the last two series.  He hit .363 with five homers in his last 18 games.  He ended the season with 497 IAL career homeruns.  No hard feelings about losing you eh, Albert?

I’d have to say Jason Kipnis ranks up there as the best offensive player on the team.  He had the highest batting average among the starters (.264) and led the team in runs (79), walks (81) and steals (30).  Thirdbaseman Ryan Zimmerman was a mixed bag.  He hit a paltry .187 but led the team in homers (26) and rbis (77).

Our strength was obviously our pitching though they didn’t get the support they deserved.  We had a decent 3.96 team ERA which wasn’t bad for a team that lost 100 games.  Homer Bailey led the team in wins (11), strikeouts (216) and led all qualified starters in ERA (3.59).  Our pen was pretty amazing with four sub-3.00 relievers.

Other notables

Jose Tabata put in a decent year in a limited role.  He led all players with a .277 average and led the whole league with eleven triples.  With power numbers 3-5-6, he managed to hit six homers in 303 at-bats.

Kevin Siegrist, the famous A&BKW pitcher who I couldn’t resist picking in the draft to my regret, actually did pretty well in his rookie year.  He struck out 41 in 37 innings and had a 1.70 ERA.  His control was kept in check mostly with “only” 17 walks.

Innings eater Scott Diamond had a hard luck year in his last season in the IAL.  He had a respectable 4.96 ERA (there were others with higher) but he went 1-13 for a team that just wouldn’t give him support.

There’s not much nice I could say about Pujols’ platoon-mate, Adam LaRoche.  If this were real life, I be putting him in the Terrible Tuesday column soon.  In 114 games and 291 at-bats, he batted a miniscule .137.  To put that in perspective, Thunderchicken pitchers batted a full nine points better than he did (and actually scored more runs).

Thunderchicken no more

Thunderchicken management would like to thank Scott Diamond, Vernon Wells, Justin Maxwell, Geovany Soto and John Buck for their service to the organization.  They are eligible to be dropped and will not be signed for the coming year.

In addition, firstbaseman Albert Pujols and reliever Jonathan Papelbon have been traded to other organizations.  The Thunderchicken organization felt the need to move in different direction.  Both Albert and Jonathan are quality players and we wish them the best on their new teams.

New guys

Twin City is happy to announce the acquisition of 3B Pablo Sandoval, 1B Eric Hosmer, OF J.D. Martinez,  OF Dayan Viciedo, OF Desmond Jennings and SP Francisco Liriano during the off season.  As part of our youth movement, we hope Hosmer, Jennings, Martinez and Sandoval will make our lineup a little less “grayer”.

The Illowa APBA League rookie draft will take place in Downers Grove, IL on February 21, 2015.

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#TBT Chicagoland tourney organizer Jim Saska in his wilder days

jim saska

I decided to post this week’s Throwback Thursday photo to the blog instead of directly to Facebook.  I just wanted Jim Saska to see it since he is the subject of it.  Jim sent me this awesome 1980 photo of himself. 

Yes, the indubitably reliable organizer of the Chicagoland APBA Tournaments was quite the hippie back in the day.  As someone who used to have long hair, I’m almost jealous of your golden locks, Jim!.  In the photo, he is shaking the hand of Cardinal speedster Lou Brock at a sporting goods store in Richmond, Virginia. 

Jim, long hair or no, you are still rockin’ the APBA look!  Thanks for sharing the photo!

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Weird Card Wednesday: 2008 Willie Bloomquist


Courtesy of Keith Reifsnyder who posted this on Facebook, this 2008 Willie Bloomquist card is weird enough with a total of twenty-three 11s in the second column. 

But look closely at the 51 and you’ll see that he should actually have twenty-four.  He has a 51-9-1.  It’s an odd place for a second column 1 and Bloomquist didn’t hit any homers anyway.  I think the printers missed a ‘1’.

How many ones?

Despite the missing numero uno, I’ll wager that Willie Bloomquist’s 2008 card has the record for the most ‘1’s on an APBA card.  He has a total of 83 (yes, I counted them).  It helps that he is 5’11” and was born on 11-27, by the way.  Ironic, that for all his ones on his APBA card, he didn’t hit a homerun for that year. 

As someone commented on Facebook, the 25-11-11 is something fun to look at, too. 

thanks Keith!

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Monster Card Monday: 1947 Gil Coan

gil coan 47

Bob Hadier posted this 1947 Gil Coan card on Facebook.  What a card and honestly, what a performance in an admittedly limited season.  For the Senators, Coan batted .500 in 1947.  He didn’t go 1 for 2 or 3 for 6 or anything like that.  No, Coan collected 21 hits in 42 at-bats. 

1947 Totals 11 47 42 5 21 3 2 0 3 2 5 6 .500 .553 .667
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/19/2015.

For his 1947 performance, Gil Coan is rewarded with some nice numbers.  He gets a 35-7, a 62-8, and even a 26-9. 

He has a 15-11 and a 25-10 and has no 24s (he gets a 41-13 instead).  He also has five 14s though you have to hunt for them since they’re in unconventional spots like 24, 21, and 56. 

Fun numbers:  13-9, 35-7, 62-8

Coan’s name wasn’t unfamiliar to me.  I think I recognize him from APBA’s 1949 season set.  That was the very first season of the past that I ever bought.  If I recall correctly, Coan played a lot more in 1949 but didn’t have quite the card that he did in 1947. 

thanks, Bob!

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Weird Card Wednesday: 1981 Bill North

Bill North 81

Harry Hamels nominated 1981 Bill North for Weird Card Wednesday on the APBA Baseball Facebook group.  He counts a total of 34 asterisks on North’s card (I’ll take his word for it :) ). 

With the Giants, it was Bill North’s last year in the majors.  While hitting only .221, he still went out doing what he did best, stealing bases.  In 46 games, he stole 26 bases during the strike shortened year. 

46 161 131 22 29 7 0 1 12 26 8 26 28 .221 .354 .298
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/14/2015.


What Harry Hamels doesn’t know is that Bill North was on my first Illowa APBA League back in 1981.  I remember my first draft weekend in the league.  I had Cesar Geronimo slated for CF.  Former manager Tedd Mallasch smooth-talked me into trading me North for Geronimo straight up.  “It was a deal already in the works”, he assured me.  I was young and naïve.  “Sure!” 

As it turned out I got the better of the deal anyway.  For his last two years with me, Bill North stole 105 bases including 46 in this last very limited year.  For Tedd’s Champions, Cesar Geronimo hung on till 1984 as a pretty limited player. 

Thanks Harry! 

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Terrible Card Tuesday: 1979 Rudy Meoli


Bob Gordon suggested this 1979 Rudy Meoli card a long time ago.  I’m finally getting around to using it. 

Meoli was your typical 1970s no-hit infielder only more so.  With the Angels, Cubs and Phillies, he played second, third and short but never hit over .250.  In fact, in his six years, he only hit over .225 once. 

His saving grace in his last season in 1979 was that he actually hit better than his previous year with the Cubs.  While .178 is nothing to write home about, he hit .103 with the Cubbies in 29 at-bats in 1978.

Meoli didn’t hit a dinger in 1979 either.  He settled for four doubles and one triple in 73 at-bats. 

1979 Totals 30 84 73 2 13 4 1 0 6 2 9 15 .178 .268 .260
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/13/2015.


One thing I’ve not brought up before is the lone ‘4’ or ‘5’ in the second column on players who didn’t hit any homers in real life.  Such is the case with Meoli’s card here with his 55-9-4.  Some purists might take issue with this since Meoli didn’t hit a homer in 1979 and the existence of the 4 would give him a remote chance to do that. 

Personally, I like this practice by APBA.  While it certainly won’t skew the stats too much, it adds a randomness factor since most anyone (Duane Kuiper excepted) has the capability to hit a homerun at any time. 


Finally, if anyone’s hairstyle typified the 70s, it was Rudy Meoli.  

Thanks Bob!

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Sign up for the 1st Annual Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Basic Tournament!


There are a couple of big tournaments in the Midwest coming up.  Pastor Rich’s 1st Annual Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Basic Tournament is just around the corner and if you want to get in on it, now’s your chance.  Pastor Rich says there are already teams slotted for the tourney!

Don’t worry, there are five more spots if you are interested. 

Here is the initial press release

Date: Saturday, March 7, 2015
Time: 9:00 am
Place: Gene Davis Steaks Eatery – 4243 Oaklane Road – Jackson, MI 49203
(exit 34 off of US-127 – 7 miles south of I-94)
Cost: $10.00

Coffee and donuts will be provided by me
You are welcome to bring your own snacks and beverages (non-alcoholic) 
Please bring $10 dollars (and a good tip) for a great lunch (around 2:30 pm)
The lunch is part of the package for letting us use the venue off hours
Trust me…you will not be disappointed (a sirloin steak, smoked pork chop or marinated chicken breast, 2 sides & a non-alcoholic drink)

Deadline for firm commitment and team selection is February 1, 2015. 
Please e-mail me at pastorichz(at)gmail.com (Only one “r”) or send me a message on Facebook with your name, cell phone number and your team (first come, first serve, as we don’t want 6 guys playing with the 1984 Detroit Tigers)

This will greatly assist in the determining of amount of divisions and round robin play (I will do my best to prepare an even amount of home and away games during round robin play).

We will be giving a uniquely Michigan-esque trophy to the winner to be brought back each year and given to the new champion. I will also be contacting John Herson (owner of APBA) about some prizes as well.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.  However, all complaints must be submitted in writing on February 30th of the current calendar year.

Thanks and we look forward to a great tournament!


More recent info from Rich

The format will be…

8 divisions of 4 teams each with each team playing 6 round robin games against 3 divisional opponents (3 home – 3 away)

Then the Elite Eight division winners will be seeded play down to the…

Final Four

Terrific Two

Hail to Chief (Champion)

Currently the teams (and managers) are as follows…

1906 Chicago Cubs (Mark Hanisch)
1908 Detroit Tigers (Richard Butler)
1915 Boston Red Sox (Jeremy Kelley)
1917 Chicago White Sox (Shawn Baier)
1927 New York Yankees (Brian Wells)
1931 Philadelphia Athletics (Rich Zawadzki)
1934 Detroit Tigers (Randy Egan)
1937 New York Yankees (John Roels)
1953 Brooklyn Dodgers (Doug Schuyler)
1961 Detroit Tigers (Bill Lilley)
1962 San Francisco Giants (Wendell Watkins)
1962 Los Angeles Dodgers (David Watkins)
1968 Detroit Tigers (Steve Steinhardt)
1969 Baltimore Orioles (Charles Modzinski)
1976 Cincinnati Reds (James Dickey)
1976 Philadelphia Phillies (Ian Kabell)
1977 Chicago White Sox (Greg Tews)
1981 Los Angeles Dodgers (Dave Palladini)
1984 Detroit Tigers (Thomas Tucholski)
1985 St. Louis Cardinals (Robert Mosher)
1988 Oakland Athletics (Bob McCurdy)
1990 Cincinnati Reds (Chris Short)
1998 New York Yankees (G.F. Korreck)
1998 Atlanta Braves (Allen Shock)
2005 Chicago White Sox (Stephen Dickey)
2006 Detroit Tigers (Christopher Baier)
2006 Minnesota Twins (Eric Berg)

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Monster Card Monday: 1999 Pedro Martinez


In light of last week’s Hall of Fame balloting, here’s Pedro Martinez’ 1999 APBA card. 

Between 1997-2003, P.J. Martinez had a string of seven outstanding years (with the possible exception of his injury-plagued 2001 season).  In that time, he went 118-36 with a 2.20 ERA and struck out 1761 batters in 1408 innings.  He also won three Cy Young awards in those seven years. 

One of those Cy Youngs came in 1999.  Pedro was pretty much unhittable and unbeatable.  He went 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA.  He averaged 13.2 strikeouts per 9 IP.  For the Red Sox, he led the AL in wins, ERA, strikeouts (313) and WHIP. 

23 4 .852 2.07 31 29 5 1 213.1 160 56 49 9 37 313
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/12/2015.


How dominating was Martinez in 1999?  He won AL Pitcher of the Month in April, May, June AND September.  Not only did he win the Cy Young award, he also came in a close second place to Ivan Rodriguez for AL MVP

For his career, Martinez led his league in ERA five times, strikeouts three times and won 20 games twice with a 219-100 record. 

On his 1999 APBA card, Pedro Martinez gets all the good pitching ratings and none of the bad ratings… almost.  He’s graded an A&C plus he has letters KXZ (he’s only missing the Y for the trifecta).  It is incredibly rare for a starter to get the K rating.  Martinez’ card is over the top with an X tacked on to that. 

If you’re wondering about the 66-6, Pedro did bat twice in interleague play with Boston.  However, he went 0 for 2 with a strikeout.  For his last double before 1999, you have to go back to 1997 when Martinez was with the Expos. 

Thanks to Pastor Rich for making this suggestion a long time ago.  This week, it is ever so relevant.   

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Scott Fennessy: Opinion on the 2015 HOF results

IMG_2481by Scott Fennessy

Well the results are in, and while I personally was thrilled for Johnson, to a lesser extent Smoltz I was surprised to see Martinez get such a high percentage of the votes considering how short his career was for injuries.  I have no problem with his numbers during his times on the hill, but does this open the door for lesser "injury prone" players?  I just don’t want to hear a presentation start with "When healthy, he was one of the best in the game", because to me "When healthy" translates to "usually on DL".

I am not either thrilled or upset with Biggio, as he was a good player, but his numbers only started to rise when they acquired one of the king ‘roiders in Caminiti, and his last years were really only devoted to staying on a roster to get 3,000 hits.  That said we can all agree Ruth and Aaron did the same, and I doubt anybody doubts their place in the hall.

I am happy to see that for the most part the obvious cheaters are actually moving further from induction, though Bonds seems a bit of a different case as he seems destined to be inducted similar to Santo, the committee will wait until he dies before they finally let him in (hopefully never in my book).

My big gripe is when does Lee Smith get his due.  He remains continually at the same point total despite being one of the most dominant closers ever.  Do we really have to wait until Rivera goes in 5 years from now?

Hope this did not sound like a rant.  Hope you are all doing well and rolling 66’s.

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