21
November

A chat with former tourney champ Lindley brings up memories of podcast

At the recent Chicagoland tournament, I had a chance to talk to former Chicagoland champion Gary Lindley.  Now Gary may come off as a quiet man but once you start chatting with him, especially about baseball, he is very opinionated and will not hesitate to give you his perspective on the matter.

Well, as the tournament was in the playoff stage, I approached Gary and struck up a conversation.  We got onto the topic of reliever usage in baseball.  Gary told me he got into a 8th inning save situation during the tourney when his opponent’s 3rd, 4th and 5th guys were up.  With the one inning limit in place, he decided to bring in his “closer” even though he wouldn’t be able to pitch the 9th and get the save.

For my part, I thought that was a solid move.  Getting those big guys out of the way is key.  It’s not the first time I’ve heard of this strategy.  I have read articles by SABR-types who wish the save rule would be re-written to accommodate this kind of situation.

Of course, that got both Gary and I going on an “in my day” rant positing that Goose Gossage or Bruce Sutter could last two or three innings if need be (now, get off my lawn!!).

During the conversation, I mentioned to Gary that I once had a baseball podcast and interviewed a staff member of Retrosheet.org.  Mark Pankin from Retrosheet was nice enough to spend some time with us back in 2007.  You can find it here if you want to listen to it.  My good friend and fellow IAL manager Chuck Lucas co-hosted the show with me.

Do keep in mind:

  • The show was recorded 10 years ago
  • I do not have a radio voice (Chuck does though, in my opinion)
  • It was done with cheap equipment and software

Regardless, it was lot of fun and there is some good historical info there and I thought it might be a fun look back into past.

I promised Gary I would get this to him as he is a big Retrosheet fan.  I don’t have his email address so I hope this makes its way to him somehow.

Posted by: | Category: Tournament | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

20
November

Scott Fennessy: 1915 American League Recap

The AL was kind of a unique experience for me. I was not really interested in it, but got kind of drawn in about the time June came around. Initially just for certain game match ups, but eventually for individual performers. I expected the Red Sox to win a pretty easy pennant, and the Sox did indeed run away with it. Except for one minor problem. It was the WHITE SOX that cruised to the flag. (Saying that still kinda hurts)

Final league standings

W L Pct GB
Chicago White Sox 112 28 .800
Boston Red Sox 93 47 .664 19
Detroit Tigers 77 63 .550 35
Washington Senators 76 64 .543 36
St Louis Browns 66 74 .471 46
Cleveland Indians 58 82 .414 54
New York Yankees 52 88 .371 60
Philadelphia A’s 26 114 .186 86

Chicago White Sox (112-28)

Just like my 1901 replay the Sox got off to a blistering start and never looked back. That team set the record for most wins in a season and it lasted until this team set the new record with an impressive 112 victories. They won their final 25 games to destroy any hope of Boston coming back.

This team was solid all around, and the hitting really punished pitching. Led by Eddie Collins (.341 5 HR 98 RBI) and had an impressive mastery of the strike zone with 111 walks and just 40 strikeouts. He also tore up the base paths with 77 stolen bases.

Joe Jackson (.327 5 HR 116 RBI 25 SB), Eddie Murphy (.301 36 SB), Jack Fournier (.335), Ray Schalk (.290),
George Weaver (.273 93 RBI) and John Collins (.284 42 SB) provided more than ample backup.

As solid as the hitting was, the pitching was significantly better. Arguably the best pitching I have seen.

I could make a case that ANY of the 5 starters was the ace of the staff, so I won’t call any of them that, but basically nobody could touch this staff. Jim Scott (18-3 1.78), Joe Benz (22-4 1.71), Red Faber (23-3 1.89) and he hit 8 homers despite hitting just .178! Ewell Russell (18-4 1.96), and Eddie Cicotte (14-4 2.63) were an unstoppable force for certain.

I tried hard to give sentimental favorite Ed Walsh (8-6 4 SV) a chance to be in the rotation, but he lost job in rotation but did hit .412. Mellie Wolfgang (8-2 6 SV 1.20) nailed down any late comebacks and was the bullpen ace.

Boston Red Sox (93-47)

It appears that the big problem with the Bosox is they had a lack of everyday starters. Chester Thomas (.292), Del Gainer (.297), Dick Hoblitzell (.298), Larry Gardner (.297), Hal Janvrin (.270) were all solid players, but only got to play platoon roles for some reason. Tris Speaker (.327 36 SB) however did NOT have to platoon. This young star always seemed to be at bat when the game was on the line and came through.

Ernie Shore (27-17 2.00) was the most dominating of the Boston trio of starters and had solid 247 strikeouts as well. George Foster (29-14 1.88) was a solid number three pitcher. But it was Babe Ruth Ruth (34-12 1.81) who the big wins seemed to fall to. Unfortunately, after this trio the rest of the staff was very ineffective and probably did the most damage to their pennant chase.

In addition to being good pitching, they all swung the bat well too. Foster hit .294 with a pair of homers, Mays hit .300 with a pair as well, but it was the bambino, even before he was the “Sultan of Swat” that did it all. The babe hit a dominating .357 and drove in 34 RBI. His 6 homers had him finish in the top 10 in the league. Sorry roiders when you can do this and win thirty then you can talk.

Detroit Tigers (77-63)

Detroit is a team on the rise it would seem. While they still have some weaknesses, they have a solid young core and if the pitching ever comes around it will be difficult for the AL teams to stop them. But for now, they are still a little bit short of what they need.

Ty Cobb finally had that breakout year I have been hoping for. He hit .378 with 4 homers, drove in 86 RBI and stole 83 bases on the way to his first MVP. Sam Crawford (.278 7 HR 101 RBI) had what is a down year for him, but still a solid year for anyone else. Young Bobby Veach (.327 8 HR 108) is someone I want to read up on, because in the few times I have seen his name it’s with seasons just like the fine one he had this year. He finished second in a very heated MVP ballot.

Marty Kavanagh (.279), Ralph Young (.270) and Ossie Vitt (.274) were part of the supporting case and
Ray McKee hit .304 in a part time role.

The pitching was good, but they need more arms to compete at this point. Harry Coveleski (13-7 1.97)
George Dauss (15-8) were the starters that held the team together, and George Boehler (2-2 24 SV 1.97) had one of the best seasons by a closer for me ever.

Washington Senators (76-64)

How the Senators didn’t finish last is still a surprise. They had almost no hitting and pitching. Also, they were one of the worst defensive teams of the year.

But things were not all bad. Joe Judge (.363) and Turner Barber (.283) were only able to play half the schedule. Chick Gandil (.295) was the teams leading hitter that played the whole season. Eddie Foster hit .279, and Clyde Milan was the team leader in homers with 3 and 41 stolen bases. That was not a typo. This team only had 7 homers and Milan had basically half of them. Very embarrassing for.

Walter Johnson (19-11 1.80) was the king of the staff and Bert Gallia (18-13 1.70) was a solid number two. Unfortunately, the rest of the staff was not much help.

St Louis Browns (66-74)

A weak pitching staff doomed this team to a bottom division finish. Thankfully for Brownie fans there was a little hitting to cheer on.

Ivan Howard (.311 46 SB) was the catalyst at the top of the order, allowing George Sisler (.309) and
Del Pratt (.297 29 SB) to drive in the runs. Jimmy Austin (.296) also chipped in his share.

Of the bad pitching staff only Carl Weilman (16-16 2.51) was usefull.

Cleveland Indians (58-82)

The tribe has some good players, but unfortunately this is another thin pitching staff that just couldn’t help out much. Led by Jay Kirke (.334 25 SB) and Ray Chapman (.281) the team appears to be on the rise hitting wise. Joe Evans (.271), Jack Graney (.282) and Robert Roth (.289) provided plenty of opportunities. Billy Southworth was a bit of a statistical anomaly. He hit 27 homers but only had 30 RBI and hit just .166.

Guy Morton (12-13 2.96) pitched much better than his numbers would indicate, but he was about it as far as starters go. Allan Collamore (5-1 2.09) and Oscar Harstad (6-4 2 SV) were awesome from the bullpen. Sad Sam Jones sets a new record with 30 saves.

New York Yankees (52-88)

It’s hard to believe the Yankees were only a few years from greatness, because this team is pretty devoid of talent. Team leader Wally Pipp (.274 7 HR) whom I am starting to really appreciate was the only true threat, but Roger Peckinpaugh (.230 9 HR 29 SB) was helpful at times. Fritz Maisel (.241 90 SB) struggled at times was very dangerous once he reached base.

Ray Fisher (14-18 2.24) deserved much better numbers than he got. He lost many games by one run and had the bullpen lose several games for him also.

Philadelphia A’s (26-114)

American League cellar, population A’s!!!!!!! So far this is the third season I have done in windows and the A’s have finished with the worst record in baseball every single time. Not just dead last, but SIGNIFICANTLY worse than everyone else. Not only did they break their previous record for most losses in a season they were the worst defensive team too. Oddly enough they set the record for most double plays turned in a season with 163.

There was not much to speak of on this team, but James Thompson (.318 26 SB) was the team star, although aging veteran Napoleon Lajoie (.265 5 HR) still had enough to make pitchers pay at times. Ruben Oldring (.211 9 HR) led the team in homers.

There was no pitcher worthy of mention as the team ERA was 6.84.

Posted by: | Category: replay | Tags: , , | 5 comments

15
November

Checking in post-Chicagoland

Reader Jerry Hill writes:

Is every thing OK with you and the APBA Blog?

I admit I’ve slacked off a bit lately.  A job transition/promotion, focusing on my family (my youngest is in her senior year of high school) and working on some other projects has taken a little of my time away.

Jerry, don’t worry.  Rob Spatz’ Chicagoland Tourney was just what I needed to get me on track.  As you can see I’ve posted a bit this week and there are a few articles by Scott Fennessy that are queued up to post too.

Stat-keeping

“When will you post the next episode, Tom”

At Chicagoland this past weekend, Dick Butler (above) complimented me on my Excel stat tutorials a while back.  I enjoy doing them and still plan on continuing that project (I promise Brett Cline, Pivot Tables are coming!).

Speaking of keeping stats, I had a chance to watch Dave Rueck keep stats on iScore on his iPad at Chicagoland.  While, I love keeping score with a pen and paper, iScore looked intriguing.  Using iScore, Dave was able to tell me exactly what his team was hitting.  That kind of real-time stats is pretty awesome.

Maybe a review is forthcoming.

 

Tournament history

Last weekend at Chicagoland, Bob Eller and I got into a discussion about collecting an archived history of regional tournaments.  After a year or so, winners of the tournaments are fresh in our heads.  However, now that they have been going on for years and we have tournaments all over the country, we have some accumulated history that we do not want to lose.

Take a look at APBA’s Wikipedia page and you can find National Convention tournament winners and runners-up for each year.  Someone is being diligent about updating its page.

Bob said it would be great to have a similar history recorded for all of the regional tournaments.  The APBA Blog will do its part in helping out.

 

Prairieland III

Finally, the Prairieland organizers (and a few of the regulars) were starting to talk about Prairieland III in 2018.  First up, we’ll be picking a date and a theme. Stay tuned!

 

thanks for writing, Jerry. It is much appreciated.  Say, when are those new cards coming??

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

15
November

Weird Card Wednesday: 1967 Allan Lewis

 

Q:  How does an APBA card reproduce 14 steals in just 6 plate appearances?

 

A: Any way that it can.

Season Totals
Split G GS PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG
1967 Totals 34 0 6 6 7 1 0 0 0 0 14 5 0 3 .167 .167 .167
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/15/2017.

 

thanks, Brett Cline!

 

Posted by: | Category: Card Analysis | Tags: , , | 10 comments

14
November

“Happy to play APBA” Pastor Rich wins 2017 Fall Chicagoland tournament

On Saturday, a total of 34 APBA fans descended onto the Comfort Inn-O’Hare in Des Plaines, Illinois to play APBA, talk baseball and have some fun.  Thanks to the tireless efforts of organizer Rob Spatz this tourney could not have happened.  APBA fans came as far as Michigan, Iowa and Wisconsin.

When it was it all over, it was Pastor Rich Zawadzki and his 2011 Philadelphia Phillies who were left standing.  His Phils defeated Todd Daniels and the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks.

 

A thrill for me was playing Rich’s son, Eric.  I believe this is Eric’s first Chicagoland tourney and wow, he really did well.  He wasn’t in my division but my 2016 Nationals had one inter-division game with his 2016 Red Sox.  Eric and the Sox had no problem scoring runs against the tough Nationals pitching (A-B-B rotation, five A*) and he came out the winner.

My scoresheet is still buried but I can tell you the Sox’ had their hitting shoes on.  When I finished, Eric told me he was “Happy to play APBA”.  Indeed. Eric made the playoffs and almost made faced his father in the final.

 

First-timer Ron Glos went 1-8 for the day…

 

…but Joel Koppenhoefer’s (right) first time included a playoff game against champion Pastor Rich.

Eric was one of several new Chicagoland tournament participants.  Like Eric, Joel Koppenhoefer also made the playoffs with his 2015 Toronto Blue Jays.  Others like Ron Glos, Alec Otto and John Gedwill cut their teeth on our tournament play.  Regardless, it seemed like all had a great time all time!

How did my 2016 Washington Nationals stand up to the rest up of Chicagoland?  Well, we started out 0-2, then won a few and got up to 4-3.  We ended up losing the last two (thanks Eric Z.) and finished with a 4-5 mark.  We were disappointed by AKZ starter Max Scherzer who enjoyed giving up runs (13 in the first two games).

Todd Daniels was in our division and represented us well.  He made it to the final round.

“Son, stop hamming for the camera. It’s time to play.”

It’s worth noting that two father-son combos faced off in Saturday’s tournament.  Organizer Rob Spatz played his father Bob Spatz.  In addition, Larry Eichman and his son, Clark Eichman at the next table.  Had Eric Zawadzki advanced in the postseason and faced Rich Zawadzki, that would have three father-son combos.

Awesome APBA videomaster, Ron Emch took a video of Chicagoland action and uploaded it to YouTube.  Check it out!

Photos from the day here

A final thank you to Rob Spatz who pours his life and soul into this tournament.  Rob, you provide us all a great service and continue a wonderful tradition that Doug Schuyler and Jim Saska began years ago.  You should be proud.  From all of us, thank you!

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

21
September

Scott Fennessy: XC – Ecstasy or Excessive?

I was recently purchasing a season for the upcoming Chicagoland Tournament and I chose the 2016 Chicago Cubs.  But since I don’t have the team and also wanted to own the first Cub world championship roster in my lifetime I went ahead and ordered it.

However, when I went to APBA’s site to purchase the team and then added the XC cards to the cart I was sort of floored by the total cost.  No, I am not slamming APBA for the cost of the set, but was somewhat surprised as I have usually purchased deadball era teams and they are a lot less.

I realize the difference is the number of teams, therefore the much larger number of cards, hence the cost.  But the question remained, do I really need to spend $100 dollars on a set if you include the XC’s?

I looked at the rosters and then the XC’s.  This brought about the subject matter.  Do I or don’t I want or even NEED the XC cards.  In the two seasons that I have purchased since APBA has begun to reissue the sets I did get the XC cards.

In all honesty, I find that while you get some monster cards here and there, they are mostly cards that won’t see much past a defensive replacement or blowout relief appearance.

Back in the “old days” when APBA had 20 -25 card rosters and 10 XB cards that you had to tear apart as an option; I always ordered the XB’s as I always needed them as the seasons progressed.

Maybe I am just lazy, but I really don’t need the set for replay purposes.  80% of the cards end up in an envelope stuffed so full it can barely hold them and never get used.

But I realize they play a vital role for those that do actual game day lineups (and for putting THAT much work into a replay I salute you.)  So to those of you who read this, how important to you is the XC card set to you?

 

Thanks to Craig Christian for the photo!

Posted by: | Category: opinion | Tags: , , | 11 comments

20
September

Kevin Burghardt: APBA connects the dots of our lives

Thanks to Kevin Burghardt for submitting this article!  It really hit home. -TN

So many of us that play this wonderful game called APBA Baseball have stated how it’s changed our lives for the better. I was thinking the other day just how true that is for me personally.

As I was taking my daily after work walk recently, I was struck by a new and sudden thought: APBA Baseball has not only changed my life for the better, one can firmly state it’s changed my son Eric’s life for the better as well.

Check out my personal APBA edition of connect the dots:

  • I started playing APBA Baseball as a kid. In my 20’s I put an ad in the APBA Journal looking for a mail league.
  • A guy named Sam answered the ad and told me about his league, which I joined shortly thereafter.
  • Several months later I met Sam and two other league members for the first time in Seattle for a weekend of LDBA league play and sight-seeing.
  • I struck up a close friendship with Dan, one of the other two league members I met that weekend.
  • The years went by and eventually Dan and I left the league, but remained close friends.
  • I took my son Eric on college tours the summer before his senior year of high school. Purdue was included in the campus visits and it only entered my radar (and in turn, Eric’s) because Dan is a Purdue graduate and raved about how much he loved the school.
  • Eric ended up receiving and accepting a magnificent scholarship offer from Purdue the following spring.
  • My son is still on scholarship, now in his junior year in West Lafayette.
  • All indications are that Eric will graduate with honors with a double major in math and computer science come spring of 2019. Where life takes him after that is anyone’s guess, but of course I couldn’t be prouder!

Sure, my son was accepted at other schools and likely would have done well wherever he went, but I don’t know that this could have turned out any better: Happy with the campus, going to school for (practically) nothing, and promising job opportunities awaiting him in a couple of years.

Safe to say that if I don’t play APBA, I don’t meet Dan, and I don’t think twice about Purdue.

So many great things about APBA that I’ve lost track. Feels like this one is right at #66 on the list though………….

Posted by: | Category: People | Tags: | 4 comments

13
September

Weird Card Wednesday: 1981 Doug Bair

It always seems that the strangest cards come from sets during shortened seasons.  In this case, this Doug Bair card hails from 1981 which was infamous for its split season due the labor dispute (sorry Reds fans!).

Bair’s 1981 card is the ultimate in all-or-nothing.   In six plate appearances, he struck out four times and hit a homer (in case you’re curious like I was, he also popped to first base).  His homer on May 20 was a key one in the Reds’ 10-7 victory over the Cubs.

Season Totals
Split G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
1981 Totals 35 6 6 1 1 0 0 1 3 0 0 4 .167 .167 .667

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table

Generated 9/13/2017.

Bair’s card in 1981 was pretty much on the money.  He received twenty-one 13s but also five 1s.

In addition, he received these numbers:

  • 12-25
  • 14-30
  • 15-23
  • 45-36
  • 52-27
  • 55-21
  • 64-12
  • 65-35

That means even numbers like 34 and 54 result in 13.

Like the Major League, Bair split his time in 1981.  He played for 24 games the Reds before St. Louis acquired him.  Either way, the Grade D is deserved in this case as Bair had a combined unusually high 5.10 ERA in 54 innings.

The homerun in 1981 would be the only one he would hit in his career.  In fact, it would be one of only five hits in the 15 years he would play pro ball.

Posted by: | Category: Card Analysis | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

12
September

Terrible Card Tuesday: 2016 Russell Martin

When Scott Fennessy rolled a 33 on catcher Russ Martin against me at last weekend’s Illowa APBA League weekend, I cringed.  I thought for sure, Russ banged out an rbi double.  Fortunately for me, I had a B pitcher going and it was an out.  My curiosity was piqued though and I asked to see his card and took the above photo.

This is not what I expected from a four-time All-Star.  I had forgotten about Martin’s rough year with Toronto in 2016.  This looks more like Yan Gomes’ 2016 card and not the former IAL first round pick.

Season Totals
Split G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
2016 Totals 137 535 455 62 105 16 0 20 74 2 64 148 .231 .335 .398

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table

Generated 9/12/2017.

To be fair, 2016 Russ Martin is a Catcher-9 which is a rarity. On top of that, he has four 14s and a 42 which even a Z pitcher can’t stop.

Yet somehow, rollers for Martin are to coax 20 homers from this card in 535 plate appearances and I’m not sure if they can do that.  Martin’s .231 batting average will be easier to replicate if he faces more C and D pitchers rather than A or B pitchers since he has the 8-8-8-8-9-9 combination.  That extra 8 will make the difference.

That said, Martin’s 31-36 and 51-38 are pretty painful.

Looking ahead, Martin’s numbers for 2017 (.223/.354/.381) are pretty similar to 2016 (.231/.335/.398) so don’t look for any drastic improvements on his card.

Posted by: | Category: Card Analysis | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

11
September

In strange ending, City Boys hold off Country Gents in 2017 IAL All-Star Game 6-5

A tense moment during the 2017 IAL All-Star Game

In one of the closest Illowa APBA League All-Star games in history, the City Boys held off the Country Gents in a 6-5 contest.  The City Boys had the lead the whole game but the Gents made a comeback scoring a run in the ninth inning bringing the score within one run.  That brought about one of the strangest endings to an All-Star game I’ve ever seen.

With two outs in the 9th inning and runners on second and third, Jose Altuve was up for the Country Gents and Aroldis Chapman was on the mound.  Manager Dennis Jennings rolled a 64-22 on Altuve.  Everyone was scrambling to look that up on the charts and once they did, it was necessary to double check the defensive fielding.  It didn’t really matter; the game was over either way.

Here was the result of the last play:

22–C-Runner picked off 3rd; A-C PO-3B

D-SINGLE; runner on 2nd hit by batted

ball; other holds 3rd; PO-SS

For probably the first time in IAL history, the last out was made on a base hit.  Altuve gets credit for a hit but Buster Posey who was on second, is called out which ended the game.

Northside Hitmen Nolan Arenado thirdbaseman was voted All-star Game MVP.  Arenado went 3 for 4 with a double, two rbis and a run scored.

The ‘Boys were also helped by a two-run shot by Adam Duvall.  Freddie Freeman hit a two-run homer for the Country Gents.

Back to your Regularly Scheduled Season

Of course, we all ended up playing some regular season APBA too.  We each had 30 games to play for the weekend.

John ‘Brando’ Brandeberry’s Missoula Rattlesnakes was the big winner this weekend going 19-11.  Brando moved firmly into playoff position from 4th place to 2nd.  He essentially traded positions with normally tough Chuck Lucas and his Northside Hitmen who suffered a 13-17 weekend.

Since Brando lives in Missoula, Montana, we used Skype on a mobile phone so Brando could participate in the All-Star Game.

Brando, if you’re reading this, this is how we saw you during the All-Star Game.  The photo doesn’t pick up your image well but we saw you fine.

Yes, you were propped up against the cookie jar.  It actually worked pretty well until Chuck wanted a cookie and forgot it was holding you up (sorry about that, buddy!).

 

After the win, the City Boys gave him high fives (and the Country Gents big congrats).

 

A Founder Returns

 

You may recognize the man on the left in the photo above.  That’s Don Smith who has attended many APBA tournaments (note the famous duck call).

The man on the right is Dennis Jennings.  Both are original founders of the Illowa APBA League going back to 1975 (along with current President Mike Bunch). Dennis has a rich history with the IAL including (but not limited to) a run of four years in first place (1985-1988). His year in 1985 was pretty phenomenal.  He went 115-47 with the help of MVP Harold Baines.

Now, Dennis has decided to make a return to APBA and the Illowa APBA League after a 29 year absence!  Denny will be helping out the league when we have a need for a pinch-manager.  We’re glad to have you back, Dennis!

Congrats to the City Boys especially game manager Keith Smith.

Posted by: | Category: League Updates | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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