Where have I been? Watching baseball, I tell ya!


That’s Casey Fletcher son of Darrin Fletcher… he may get to the majors like his dad

A couple weeks ago, my buddy Doug Schuyler messaged me, “Where ya been?”.  Admittedly, my posting on The APBA Blog has been a little sporadic this spring.  I’d like to profusely thank Bob Gordon for stepping in and filling in the gap a little with his 1979 Postseason write-ups

Spring is always a busy time for me.  It’s college baseball time.  Some of you know that other than APBA baseball, my big love is following the University of Illinois baseball team.  I’ve been going to games since 2005 and even blog about their success, posting photos I take at their games.  Since I started following the Illinois baseball team, they’ve had their ups (Big Ten championships in 2005 and 2011) and downs for the most part they’ve been a mostly solid team. 

IMG_9367 IMG_9368
IMG_9369 IMG_9370

Getting the shot of a grand slam is like rolling a 66

Going into the 2015 season, I knew they were going to be a contending team but I was not prepared for the success the team was going to experience.  It would take a few pages to list everything the team has accomplished so far in 2015.  Suffice to say that at this point, they:

  • are ranked #2 in the nation
  • are on a 27-game winning streak (longest in the nation)
  • have come back in 23 of 46 of their wins
  • have the Big Ten Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year and Coach of the Year
  • have won the 2015 Big Ten Championship

They currently are in Minneapolis’ Target Field playing in the Big Ten Tournament having already won their first game.  Chances are, the NCAA Regional will be held here in Champaign at Illinois Field. 

So long story short, I have been quite busy.  Between attending every home game on top of normal work and family duties, it’s left me quite spread out.  Some days I’ll leave home at 7:30am and not get home till midnight… and I love it!! 


An APBA connection:  I watched Tanner Roark (right) pitch back in 2007.  Now he’s on my APBA team.

Some people will ask me if I follow college sports and I’ll tell them yes.  “So do you follow football, basketball or both?”  Honestly, those familiar with Illini sports know that our spring sports have had a banner year this spring.  Aside from baseball team, Men’s Golf, Men’s Track, Men’s Tennis have all had incredible successes this year.  The Football and Basketball programs have room for improvement.  That’s not a dig.  It’s a statement of fact. 

Those of you who have a college, minor league or even high school baseball team in your area, I encourage you to take in a game or two.  There’s so much we can learn about the team aspect of the game of baseball by watching it up close.  APBA player Beau Lofgren who coaches high school baseball in Minnesota can attest to that. 

Thanks again to Bob and the others who have stepped in while I follow my other passion.  The Illini have hopes to make it far this year.  Is Omaha out of the question?  I’m hoping not!! 

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A not so perfect evening playing APBA with Chuck

IMG_8831-001I like playing APBA with my friend Chuck.  Maybe too much.  He has that friendly, good-natured attitude about him that makes you forget what you’re doing.  You could be having a great time playing a league series and lose all four games and then thank him for the effort. 

…and that’s exactly what happened tonight. 

Over Skype, Chuck and I played four games for our Illowa APBA League season.  His Hitmen quietly out-pitched and out-hit my Thunderchickens and before I knew it, four game were up and I hadn’t won a game yet. 

But I’m not going to dwell on that.  I will talk about Game Three. 

How would you feel if your starter pitched a complete game with 0 ER and struck out 14 batters?  Wow!  Pretty good, huh?  That’s exactly what Stephen Strasburg did for me against the Hitmen. 

But you know what?  It wasn’t enough because the Hitmen had Cole Hamels (AX)going and he did something I’ve rarely seen in APBA play.  With Hamels on the mound, it was 27 up and 27 down.  A perfect game. 


Hamels struck out four in his complete perfect game against us.  I was keeping an eye on his progress pretty early.  I knew that despite his perfect game, Strasburg still had a shutout going through the eighth inning.  The game was still tied!  Unfortunately, Jose Tabata E-8ed with Alexei Ramirez up in the eighth inning and that was followed by a Chase Utley homer, the first two runs of the game.  We went 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth to preserve the perfecto. 

Chuck says he was unaware of the perfect game when the final pitch was thrown.  Typical Chuck. 

The Hitmen come to Thunderchicken Park on Saturday to finish our May series. 

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Weird Card Wednesday: 1985 Dan Spillner


Dan Spillner walked in his only plate appearance for the White Sox in 1985.  So it shouldn’t be any surprise that he got eighteen 14s on his APBA card. 

The interesting thing is that Spillner was no stranger to the base on balls.  A decade earlier, he walked 18 times in 160 plate appearances between 1974-1978 (not bad for a pitcher!).  In 1975, he walked 8 times in just 59 PA. 

The irony… Spillner has eighteen 14s but doesn’t have one on 45, 42 or 36. 

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Terrible Card Tuesday: 1934 Bennie Tate


Wow, I ran across this Bennie Tate card in my 1934 set.  Yikes! 

Turns out a much more palatable 1925 Bennie Tate card was featured for Weird Wednesday courtesy of Tom Zuppa in the past.  The one you see above was Tate’s last year in baseball and he was just barely hanging on.  He went 3 for 25 for the third place Cubs and didn’t do much else unless you happen to notice his two double plays he grounded into. 

1934 Totals 11 25 24 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 .125 .160 .125
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/19/2015.


When I see a 51-13 for a position player, I take notice.  It doesn’t help that Tate’s 1934 card doesn’t have any power numbers (66-7) and has four 24s also. 

Ugly numbers: 51-13, 31-13, 15-36

Tate played ten years in the majors and the only position he played was catcher.  Never used as a primary starter, he averaged around 170 at-bats per season.   As I’ve mentioned before, catchers always seem to find a place in baseball and their careers are extended because of it. 

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Monster Card Monday: 2013 Hanley Ramirez

shdez rodney-001

Rodney Woodward suggested this juicy 2013 Hanley Ramirez card. 

Any time a shortstop hits well with power, he’s a valuable asset, especially if he has speed.  Hanley Ramirez has all of these things.  Though his time was a bit limited at 304 at-bats, he hit .345 for the Dodgers.  He managed to hit 20 homers with 25 doubles.  He stole 10 bases and walked 27 times. 

2013 Totals 86 336 304 62 105 25 2 20 57 10 27 52 .345 .402 .638
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/18/2015.


Hanley has nice power on his 2013 card with power numbers 1-1-4-6-6.  In addition to his 55-7, he also has a 15-11.  His last hit number is a 42-9. 

Even with just 27 walks, Ramirez has three 14s plus he also gets a 61-22 for his three HBPs. 

Fun numbers:  33-4, 44-6, 42-9

Story time:  My friend Brando had Hanley Ramirez on his Rising Road Bamm Beanos team in the Illowa APBA League.  When the APBA card came out with nickname “Shadez” on it, he misread it as “Sha-dez” as called him that when he was up.  He realized his mistake soon after but the name took and he kept calling Ramirez that all season.  Kids these days and their nicknames!

thanks, Rodney!

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Bob Gordon’s 1979 postseason: World Series ends with a nail-biter

Bob Gordon’s 1979 World Series Game 7 is finally here!  Bob told me it was the “most thrilling Game 7 I’ve ever rolled”.  See for yourself… here’s his color commentary.  -Tom

KikoGarciaSo it all comes down to this….a replay I started in 1982 (yup, last century) is down to Game 7. Someone goes home happy today. The Orioles have fought back from down 3-1. They have used clutch hitting and strong relief pitching as their keys to success. They have won both extra inning games and put Mike Flanagan up today against Bert Blyleven. These two have already hooked up twice this series. In Game 1, both pitchers gave up 3 earned runs and left with no decision. Blyleven threw a five hitter in Game 4 and bested Flanagan and the O’s 6-1. Moreno was 4-4 that day with a homer. Willie Stargell also homered that day. Since then, Bucco bats have been silent – scoring exactly zero runs in the next two games. They did waste 11 hits in Game 6…. Enough! On to the recap already.

Moreno leads off. Omar, coming off his Game 4 performance against Flanagan, could set the tone for the entire game right here. He pulls an outside fastball and taps to Dauer at second. On to Murray and the Bucs are hoping it doesn’t set the tone. Foli drills one to left, and he is off and running on the first pitch to Parker. Safe! Safe at second. So Foli does his best Moreno impersonation and the Bucs are in business. Parker gets fooled by the pitch and pops weakly to Belanger at short. Stargell is up and the Bucs need his bat to get them rolling. Ground ball, right side. Dauer to his right. Scoops and throws in time and the Bucs are scoreless in their last 22 innings. Blyleven is unfazed. He gets Bumbry and Belanger to fly to Robinson in left. Singleton steps in. His 11th inning single plated the only run in Game 6. Bert paints the outside corner with a back door curve and Ken is down on strikes.

The Pirates go in order in the second. Blyleven doesn’t look like he feels the pressure as he takes the mound in the second. He has to be thinking giving up a run is one run too many, but he looks cool and collected. Murray is the batter and Memorial Stadium is rocking with “Eddie, Eddie” chants. He lines one to center…Moreno on his horse and flags it down (a stolen 8). Ayala skies to right and there are two down. DeCinces steps in. Bert busts him inside with a fastball and its ball one. Now the curve, but it’s a bit of spinner. Doug turns on it and hits a towering drive down the left field line. Robinson goes to the corner, leaps, can’t get it. It is just fair and just over the wall. The O’s take a 1-0 lead and win the World Series! What? Yeah, guess you’re right. We should play the other 7 innings in case the Bucs go from the Slumber Company back to the Lumber Company. Dauer settles in and the crowd is still buzzing. He hits one in the gap in right center and it one hops the wall. Parker gets it back to the infield, but Dauer is at second. Tanner decides to go after Dempsey rather than walk him and pitch to Flanagan. (Flanagan doesn’t have a hit number and only has six 14’s). Bert’s first pitch is one of those 62 feet curve balls and Nicosia chases it to the backstop. Wild pitch, Dauer to third. Pops Stargell pays Bert a quick visit, settles him down and trots back to first. Dempsey bounces back to Blyleven to end the inning. Maybe Willie should think about coaching when his playing days are done.

Garner starts the third by striking out. Blyleven is trying to put the Buccos on his back. He drills a one out single past a diving Belanger and the Bucs have one on, one out. Flanagan whiffs Moreno and the Bucs are hoping Foli can keep things alive. Ground ball up the middle. Belanger flashes to his glove side, spears it and tosses to Dauer covering at second and the Pirate third is in the books. Flanagan strikes out to start the O’s third. Bumbry works a walk. Earl wants to rattle Blyleven’s cage so calls for the hit and run (you think he would have learned from the 71 series when he tried to rattle Steve Blass…). Belanger swings and misses but Bumbry beats the throw. Stolen base. Belanger tries to inside out one to move the runner up and pops to Parker in short right. Singleton comes to the plate with a runner in scoring position. Another run here could be huge. Tanner doesn’t like the looks of things and pays Bert a quick visit. They decide to walk Singleton to get to Murray. The crowd is nearly frothing at the mouth now (could be the National Bohemian they are drinking, I can’t tell.) Murray tops a ground ball to Madlock who fires to first for the inning ending out. Tanner’s unconventional move paid off.

Parker starts the Pirate fourth with a sinking liner to center. Bumbry coming hard….reaches down and makes the (stolen 8) catch. Stargell nexts and he hits a liner to center. Bumbry turns and gets this one with his back to the plate for out number (stolen 8) two. And you Pirate fans have to be thinking its going to be one of those days… Robinson strikes out to end the third – fourth K for Flanagan. Blyleven keeps the Bucs in it with a strong fourth. The O’s go one two three with Blyleven picking up his third K of the day – Dauer looking to end the inning.

Madlock fans to start the fifth. These two pitchers are looking tough. Nicosia lines on between DeCinces and Belanger and the Pirates have their third hit of the day – all singles. Garner flies to Ayala in left and Blyleven pops to Dempsey and the Pirates fail to score yet again. Blyleven fans Dempsey to start the fifth. He loses Flanagan on a full count fast ball (it is one of those days for Bucs fans) and Mike trots to first and puts on the jacket. Bumbry hits a hard grounder to Garner. He pivots and fires to Foli – for one (are you kidding, Flanagan wasn’t even running hard….) over to first – not in time. Al was flying down the line. Now Belanger – who has skied to left and flown to right. Ground ball – Madlock up with it and sidearms to Garner for the force.

Bucco sixth. Still 1-0 Orioles and the Pirates looking for their first run in 26 innings… Moreno starts it with a line shot the other way. That will drop in front of Ayala. O’s faithful are trying to help Flanagan by telling him Moreno is gonna steal. Flanagan throws over a couple of times, then fires to the plate. Foli fouls it back. Dempsey tosses the mask. One out. You can hear the groans in Pittsburgh…. Parker steps in. He chops one to the box. Omar to second, but Parker is out at first. Two out for Stargell. He lines this one. Right at Dauer. Dauer in short right never moved . The Bucs are down to 9 outs… Singleton, Murray and Ayala in the Oriole sixth. Lots of power coming to the plate. But they go one, two, three on infield grounders. Blyleven hasn’t given up a hit since Dauer’s double.

Pirate seventh. Y’all placing bets? Robinson starts it with a strike out. Sixth of the day. Madlock shocks the crowd with a drive to right center. Bumbry gives chase. He won’t get there . It goes to the wall and Mad Dog cruises in to second with a double. Tie run is on for the Pirates. Flanagan loses Nicosia on a 3-1 heater. The free pass is the first of the day. Two on and one out. (Who had the Pirate seventh in the pool? Anybody?) Garner has struck out and flown to Ayala in left. Flanagan bears down and fans him for the second out. Now Tanner has to go to his bench. Romo is warm in the pen (Grade B*XZ) and will come on for Blyleven in the bottom half. Bert allowed the home run and double in the second inning and has kept the O’s in check. Lacy comes out to try and put the Bucs on the board. He fouls a fastball back. He was right on that one. Curve ball swung on…Belanger racing to his left, scoops and tosses to Dauer for the force. Oriole seventh….an insurance run would be big. Huge. Humongous. DeCinces homered in the second. And he drills a Romo fast ball to left center field for a base hit. Earl goes to the hit and run….its outside and Nicosia’s throw is off line. Stolen base for DeCinces. Romo comes back to fan Dauer. Now Dempsey. Breaking ball is in the dirt and skips past Nicosia. DeCinces goes to third with just one down. Dempsey turns on the next pitch and hits a screaming drive to left. No I can’t believe it. Madlock somehow caught that ball. And DeCinces can’t believe it either – he gets doubled off third and the Pirates and Romo get out of it.

Top of the eighth and Oriole fans are raucous. Its loud hear, you almost can’t hear Wild Bill Hagy. Moreno to lead things off. Flanagan pitches too carefully to Moreno and walks him. Foli grounds one back to the box, Moreno taking second. Parker is 0-3 today and looking to tie the game up. Big swing and a major league fly to right. Singleton camps under it and there are two down. Four more outs. Stargell is the batter. Flanagan moves him off the plate, ball one. He sets. Checks Moreno at second and deals. Uh oh. That’s hit a long way. Singleton just turns and looks. Willie ahd just put the Bucs up 2-1 in the eight with a drive to the bleacher seats in right. Robinson grounds to Murray unassisted. Suddenly, it’s the Orioles that are down to their last six outs. Pat Kelly will bat for Flanagan – who pitched very well . Just that one pitch to Stargell…. Anyway, Kelly is hitting .500 for the series with a double and homer. Romo’s screwball breaks away from Kelly and he hits a can of corn out to Robinson in left. Five outs left. Bumbry drills a line drive to center. Moreno is charging hard….and gets (stolen 8) there. Momentum has shifted…four more outs. Weaver sends Lowenstein to bat for Belanger. Tanner counters with Grant Jackson (Grade B*). Lefty on left. Lowenstein hits a drive to deep right. Parker back. To the track and makes the catch. The O’s have three outs left.

Stoddard will open the ninth for Baltimore (Grade B*XZ). He faces Madlock who has doubled and struck out twice. Mad Dog also has an unassisted double play to his credit. Swing and a line drive to center. Bumbry takes a step back then charges in to make the (stolen 8) catch. Nicosia flies to right, two down. Tekulve is warming in the Bucco pen. He has had a shaky post season, but was 3-0 with 48 saves and a 1.48 in the replayregular season. Garner hits a drive to right center. It is off the wall. Double for Garner. Now Tanner sends Milner to the dish. Weaver counters with lefty Tippy Martinez (Grade B*X). Milner grounds weakly to third and the season is down to three outs in the Oriole ninth. Singleton to lead off against Tekulve. He is 0-2 with a strikeout and an intentional pass. Tekulve’s pitch. Long drive, deep right. O’s fans to their feet as one…Parker to the track…gone! Its three rows deep and we are tied at 2. Murray comes up and you can hear “Eddie” in Pittsburgh with the mute button on. He turns on one. High drive, but Parker has room. One out. Ayala hits a smash to Madlock, over to first, two out. DeCinces is 2-3. Tekulve walks him on four pitches. I don’t think he wanted any part of him, but he put the lead run on in the bottom of the ninth. Dauer has a double in three trips, but he flies to Parker to end the inning.

Extra innings in Game 7 of the World Series. Wow. And it’s the third extra inning game, too.

Moreno leads off against Martinez. He lines one to left center. Bumbry racing to his right and makes a running (stolen 8) catch. Foli works Martinez for a walk. Up comes Parker who is 0-4. He grounds to Dauer for one, back to first, not in time. Garcia – who entered the game in the 9th after Belanger was lifted for a pinch hitter – just couldn’t get enough on the throw to catch the Cobra. Two out for Stargell. Willie has four dingers in the World Series (including one today) and three in the LCS. Martinez stretches. And he caught Parker leaning. Parker is picked off first. Tekulve back to the mound for his second inning of work. Roberts start to loosen in the Bucs pen – Stanhouse in the O’s pen. Dempsey grounds out Garner to Stargell to lead off. Weaver goes to Roenicke to hit for the pitcher. Gary is 0-14 on the series. And Tekulve walks him. Teke was distracted by those single column ones at 11 and 66. Bumbry flies to Robinson in left and that will leave it to Garcia. And Kiko hits a drive down the right field line. Roenicke is off like a prom dress from first…. (don’t make me explain that). It rolls to the corner and Parker has no chance. A walk off double for Kiko Garcia ends the World Series. The O’s came back from a 3-1 hole. They held the Bucs to 2 runs over those last three games. I don’t know about you, but I enjoyed it.

Series MVP is tough. The O’s lacked a dominant hitter. Ayala hit .429 with 2 HR, but just 3 RBI. McGregor was 1-0, 0.00 with a save in games 5 and 6 when the Orioles had to have it. Palmer’s start in Game 5 turned the tide. Blyleven was 1-0 with a 1.90 in three starts. Stargell hit 4 homers and knocked in 10 of the 24 runs the Bucs scored. But he hit just .207 (the Bucs hit .225 as a team). I’d lean to McGregor. How about y’all.

Oh, and Scott, your Orioles in six guess was pretty darn good.

Thanks Bob for your fantastic write-ups!  Let’s see some series stats! 

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Terrible Card Tuesday: 2013 B.J. Upton


Rodney Woodward sends B.J. Upton’s 2013 card this way.  By the way, his actual name is Melvin and that’s how he’s listed in Baseball Reference.  It threw me for a loop.  I guess “B.J.” sounds cooler than Melvin, right?

Anyway, in his first year with the Braves, B.J. Upton hit .184/.268/.289 in which is probably bad enough but Upton maintained this kind of average over 126 games and 391 at-bats. 

He did hit for some power (nine homers) and ran the bases a little (12 steals) but you can’t get around the “not hitting the ball” part.  Upton struck out an amazing 151 times. 


2013 Totals 126 446 391 30 72 14 0 9 26 12 44 151 .184 .268 .289
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/12/2015.


The 2013 Upton card does get two zeros with 12 second column 1s.  He is Fast with an 15-11 and an OF-3.  So he does have redeeming qualities. Putting the bat on the ball is not one of them. 

He only gets two 8s so he relegated to a 25-22. 

Maybe it’s me but I’m thinking this card should have more 13s.  It has ten.  My guess is that maybe it should a couple more even with pitchers’ strikeout ratings and other strikeouts on the boards. 

Ugly numbers:  25-22, 44-9, 51-14

  Upton didn’t improve much in 2014 either, hitting .208/.287/.333 in a full season. 

thanks Rodney!

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Monster Card Monday: 1977 Dirty Kurt Bevacqua

bevacqua craig fb

That’s Craig Christian’s thumb you see holding Kurt Bevacqua’s 1977 card.  This is a fun one and interesting too. 

“Dirty Kurt” hit .333 in 96 at-bats with five homers and 14 extra-base hits.  He drove in 28 which isn’t bad for his playing time.  He walked six times, struck out 13 times and had six GIDPs. 


1977 Totals 39 104 96 13 32 7 2 5 28 0 6 13 .333 .365 .604
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/11/2015.

It’s not often that you see two 4s on a hitter’s card since it is so base situation dependent.  Though Bevacqua’s power numbers (1-4-4-5-6) are pretty strange anyway.  Kurt has some hit numbers to go along with that too.  He has two 7s to give him a 15-7 and a nice 64-9. 

Fun numbers:  33-4, 44-6, 64-9

Watch out for Dirty Kurt’s double play numbers though!  He has six 24s including a 21-24 and a 63-24. 

Bevacqua was the epitome of a journeyman.  He played for six teams and no more more than three years for five of those teams.  Only the San Diego Padres did he stay for six years.  On baseball-reference.com, Bevacqua is listed as a pinch hitter first though he did play all the infield positions and outfield. 

thanks, Craig!!

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Bob Gordon’s 1979 postseason: Orioles stay alive in Game 6 extra inning pitchers’ duel

Bob Gordon’s 1979 World Series APBA replay works its way into Game 6.  -Tom

Ken SingletonJim Palmer and Scott McGregor teamed up to shut the Bucs out in Game Five.  The O’s face another do or die game today here in Pittsburgh.  (While I might be a brilliant manager, my travel agent skills are lacking. Game 3 was mistakenly played in Baltimore.  What?  You think I’m a batter travel agent than manager?  You could be right….no teams have called me.). Martinez (Grade BZ) and Kison (Grade CYZ) match up again.  Kison came out on top in Game 2 and has pitched well in the post season.

Kison has a good first inning.  Singleton collects a two out single, but is forced at second by Murray.  Up come the Bucs.  Martinez steals an 8 from Moreno, and gets Foli on a liner to center.  Parker comes up and strokes on to the gap in right center.  Lead run is in scoring position for Willie Stargell.  Willie circles the bat waiting for Martinez’ pitch. Dennis has a better idea.  He whirls and throws to Belanger, who snuck behind Parker at second and tags him out to end the inning. 

Kison strikes out Lowenstein and DeCinces to start the second.  Dauer grounds one towards the hole at short.  Foli backhands… long throw…. got him.  Martinez keeps the Bucs off the board in the second as well.  Stargell rolls out to Murray unassisted (Parker feels a little better…) and Robinson bounces back to the box.  Madlock lines one over Belanger for a two out single but is stranded there. 

With two gone in the Oriole third, Bumbry gets a bug on the rug.  (You Bob Prince aficionados are picturing a ground ball in the gap speeding along the astroturf). Bumbry stops at second with a double.  Belanger swings mightily and tops one towards Stargell at first.  Pops grabs at, waves off Kison and steps on the bag in time to retire the side.  Martinez is overpowering the Buc batters. (Extra credit for alliteration?). He K’s Kison and Moreno for his second and third of the game as he sets them down in order.

Singleton starts the Oriole fourth with a walk.  Murray puts a charge into one to right.  Parker runs back to the track, the wall and makes the catch.  Singleton hustles back to first.  Now Lowenstein.  Ground ball to Madlock.  Bill guns to first for the second out.  DeCinces manages a weak grounder to Garner at second and the O’s are retired.  Foli starts the Pirate fourth with a base hit to left.  Parker comes up. Doubled in the first and was picked off, so he is looking for redemption.  Martinez throws a curve ball and Parker grounds it to short.  Belanger to Dauer, one, to Murray….not in time.  The Cobra was flying down the line.  Now Stargell.  He checks his swing and rolls on to DeCinces.  Doug fires to Dauer and the Orioles get the lead runner again. Milner whacked a Martinez fastball to DeCinces, who fired it to Dauer for the force again.  O’s pitching has strung together 14 scoreless innings over three games. 

The Orioles go in order in the fifth.  The Pirates would have as well, but Belanger booted Garner’s grounder.  Kison grounded out, but Moreno will lead off the sixth, not Kison.

Kison looks confident out there.  Bumbry leads off with a liner that drops in front of Moreno in left center field.  Third base hit off Kison, two by Bumbry.  Belanger squares to bunt and bunts one towards Stargell.  Willie throws to Garner at first and he drops it!  Two on, no out and Singleton coming to the dish.  Ken has singled and walked.  Chopper towards the mound. Kison up with hit…throws to Foli cutting across the bag for one…..to Stargell….Two.  Big double play for the Bucs.  Bumbry at third – a wild pitch scores him, so Ott wants a fastball.  So does Murray.  He smokes a line drive to right.  Parker doesn’t even have to move.  Tough break for Baltimore. Moreno drills one to right center. That’s in the gap.  Bumbry gets ther in a hurry and holds Omar to a double…he was thinking three.  Now Foli.  Martinez looking to keep this on the left side of the infield.  Foli trying to go to right with it.  (Like Earl, I’m not a big bunt guy…). Foli strikes out.  Up comes Parker.  Big swing…Skaggs tosses the mask off and makes the catch in foul ground. Two out, Stargell due up and Robinson waiting on deck.  Earl out to chat with Martinez. Do they walk him or pitch to Milner? I think Earl just wanted to remind him that Stargell is 0-6 against Martinez in the series.  Dennis works the outside corner through the at bat and gets a called third strike.

The O’s go in order in the seventh.  Kison fans Lowenstein for his third K of the day.  0-0 as we stretch.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait. 

Ok, Buc seventh.  Milner scorches one back through the box and in to center field.  The Pirates have now outhit the O’s five to three.  Here comes Madlock.  Bill drills on to center field, that’s gonna drop….Milner rounds second and he’ll make third easily. Madlock takes off on the 0-1.  Ott takes strike two…..Skaggs’ throw…..Safe.  Second and third for the Pirates, no out.  (Hope Chuck Stein isn’t reading this….close your eyes, Chuck). Earl is wiggling four fingers, he wants to put Ott on to load them up.  Martinez does not look happy.  I’m reading lips, but I think he said I got him oh and two, skip.  And Earl said, wait, I can’t print THAT.  I’ll go with, "don’t make me come out there".  Bases loaded for Garner.  The infield is in.  Ground ball right at DeCinces.Throw to the plate……out.  One gone, bases loaded and Robinson will hit for Kison.  Bruce did his job today, no runs on 3 hits, a walk and 3 strikeouts. Robinson can’t catch up to Martinez’ fastball today and he takes a long, sad walk back to the bench. Sixth K for Denny.  (Ok, Chuck, I think you can open your eyes).  Moreno is the batter and he is 1-3.  Line drive… Dauer dives…. and makes the catch!  We are scoreless going to the eighth.  Robinson stays in the game and goes to left field.  Tanner brings in Jim Bibby (Grade C(B*)YZ) who will bat in the five hole. 

Earl goes to his bench in the eighth. Pat Kelly bats for Skaggs.  He drills one to right center.  It one hops the wall for a lead off double.  Now Terry Crowley bats for Martinez. El Presidente gave up zero runs on 6 hits, an intentional pass and fanned 6. Crowley’s pinch double in Game 1 drove in two…. but Bibby fans him, and gets Bumbry on strikes as well.  Lee May will hit for Belanger.  His pinch hit two run homer in the eighth yesterday broke a scoreless tie. He hits a high drive to left….Robinson has lots of room and Bibby is out of trouble.  Earl goes to Tippy Martinez (Grade B*X) to deal with the Bucs lefties.  Foli (the righty before the lefties) bangs a single over Garcia – who replaced Belanger at short – and in to left field.  Parker takes a mighty cut a dribbles one down the third base line. No play for DeCinces and the Pirates are threatening again.  Stargell. Has three fingers in the series and Buc fans would love to see one now. This one is off the end of the bat and DeCinces’ only okay is at first.  One out, second and third.  Rennie Stennett will bat for Bibby.  Pop foul down the right field line. Murray turns and chases. Foli tagging….Murray makes the catch, whirls and throws to Dempsey.  The ball and Foli get there at the same time, but Dempsey blocks the plate.  The O’s turn two and momentum is swinging their way. 

Dave Roberts (Grade D(B*)Z) comes in to pitch the ninth.  He gets the side in order, ending the inning by striking out Gary Roenicke pinch hitting for Lowenstein.  Tim Stoddard (Grade B*XZ) is on to pitch the ninth.  Bill Madlock singles to left center to start the inning.  Ott pops to short and Garner fouls out to Dempsey.  Two gone and we are one out from extras.  Robinson lines one to right field. Singleton takes a step back, now he charges, it drops in front of him and off his glove.  Base hit for Robinson… Singleton’s error puts runners on second and third.  The Pirates look to break an 18+ inning scoring drought and win the series.  Up steps Moreno.  Some felt he was the NLCS MVP.  Weaver must agree, he puts him on intentionally. Foil comes up with two gone.   He lifts one to left and Roenicke is there. We go to extra innings in Game Six. 

DeCinces reached on Madlock’s error to start the tenth.  Dauer grounded in to a 6-4-3 and Dempsey popped to short.  The Buc tenth start with a Parker walk. Weaver wants McGregor to pitch to Stargell.  Willie grounds into a force DeCinces to Dauer for the second time today.  Lee Lacy bats for Roberts….and McGregor strikes him out. Two down.  Bill Madlock is 3-4 with three singles. He lines his fourth hit of the day to left field.  Parker makes a turn at third, but wisely holds.  The left handed Ed Ott due up. Chuck Tanner looks down he bench and sees Manny Sanguillen. Chuck thinks, I should have bunted with Foli in the sixth and shouldn’t have sent him on that pop up in the eight.  What the heck, let Ed hit.  Ott grounds out, third to first.  (Ouch).

Enrique Romo on for the 12th. (Grade B*XZ). Ayala bats for McGregor and flies to center.  Bumbry drills his third hit of the day and second double to put the lead run in scoring position.  Garcia grounds to Garner, who holds the runner and fires to first.  Two out.  Here’s Singleton, 1-3 today.  And he bangs a base hit past a diving Foli for a 1-0 Oriole lead.  Murray flies to right and the Orioles pitchers will look for their 22nd straight scoreless inning.  Stanhouse (Grade B*W) comes on for the save.  He fans Garner and Robinson.  Moreno the batter. The Pirates are one out from seeing their 3-1 game advantage disappear and facing a Game 7 in Baltimore.  Moreno lines one to center.  Bumbry coming hard and makes the catch (a stolen 8).  The Orioles have new life.  Game seven pits Blyleven against Flanagan.

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Weird Card Wednesday: 1979 German Barranca


This card comes courtesy of Ken Schulz.  It’s German Barranca who played for four seasons for the Royals and the Reds.  This is his 1979 card, his first year in the majors. 

Barranca only came to the plate five times but attempted four steals in 1979.  He was successful three of those times.  He also went 3 for 5 with a double.  Suffice to say it is good chance that with this card, if he gets on, safely, Barranca won’t stay on first. 

1979 Totals 5 5 5 3 3 1 0 0 0 3 1 0 0 .600 .600 .800
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/6/2015.


For the record, I count four 11s, one 10, three 6*s and one 14*s on Barranca’s card. 

Barranca pinch ran in four games in 1979.  The one game he started at second base for KC, he went 3 for 4 with a double and scored three runs.  Of course, that was September 29th, the second to last day of the season.  Needless to say, he appeared in the next game as well. 

thanks, Ken!

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