19
August

NL 1966 Replay: Interesting, Irrelevant and Obscure stats

Yesterday, I posted an overall recap of my basic game NL 1966 replay as of June 15. Before I start rolling again, I thought I’d post a few interesting but perhaps irrelevant stats.  While some don’t always include the stars of 1966, you might get a feel for 1966 NL environment.

Who’s Hot: Current Hitting Streak

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This is interesting to track for me because I’ll see players on this list that aren’t necessarily stars.  Players like Bobby Wine who in real life, didn’t even reach 100 at-bats in 1966.  For some reason, Philly has been playing him a lot in June.  The current hitting streak table just helps me keep tabs on who’s hot.

When I find the time, I may create a table that shows me who has gone the most at-bats without a hit.  That might be fun.

Ninth hitter: Pitchers’ rbis

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Aside from Sadecki who has a monster card, this shows that those pitchers who complete games bat more and have more chances to drive in runs.

As for Ray Sadecki, you can see his card for yourself.

Rally Killers: Most GIDP

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Aaron (one 24) can be given a little slack because he plays every day and has hot hitting Felipe Alou batting ahead of him.    As for Hal Lanier, his four 24s aren’t helping the Giants quest for first place.

Wynn, by the way, has a 41-28.  It’s worth mentioning that Joe Morgan is batting two spots ahead of him.  Morgan is leading the NL in walks and while that helps league leading Wynn’s rbi total, it most likely influences his DPs as well.

You shall not pass! (to first base): WHIP

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I show this WHIP leader table because of this fact.  All six A starters (Marichal, Gibson, Bunning, Koufax, Cuellar, and Maloney) appear here.

Probably not a coincidence.

Hole in the bat: Lowest batting average

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I like to trot this out on occasion.  The Astros’ Jim Gentile was on the “top” of this list for a while but the Astros must have peeked into the alternate universe of APBA and seen his performance and benched him.  Since this list is based on only qualifying batters, he fell off of it.

While I don’t like seeing names like Billy Williams and Bill Mazeroski on this list, I take heart in that their averages have gone up along with everyone else.  Instead of averages in the low .100s, we’re only seeing a couple below .200.

Time to start rolling soon.

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18
August

Reaching mid-June in 1966 replay: LA holding off Bucs, Braves and Giants

I’ve reached the June the June 15 mark in my 1966 NL replay! I’m really excited and don’t look now but the All-Star Game is less than a month away! A lot has changed since I reported in. First, a look at the standings:

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At the beginning of the month, LA was cruising with a 31-14 record. However, for the first two weeks of June, they performed at a lackluster 7-7 rate no thanks to Sandy Koufax’ 0-4 losing streak. The Dodgers are hanging on to first place but just barely.

The potential suitors for the top slot are the Pirates who are 1 ½ games out and the Braves who are just two out. The Giants have been major players throughout the whole season but have slipped a bit and are four down.

The Phillies and the Reds have an outside shot but every game count as we get later in the season.

Highlights from the plate

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When June started, Pirate Bob Bailey was Mr. MVP. He lucked his way into a fantastic spring. He ended May at a league-leading .358 and came in second in OBP (.421) and slugging (.601). Since then, he’s gone into a major league slump. For June, he is 3 for 33 with ZERO rbis.

Ron Santo took over the #1 spot but just briefly. The 1966 season is chock full of corner infielders that can hit and right now, it’s neck and neck between Willie McCovey (.333) and Willie Stargell (.332). Joe Torre (.330) and Santo (.329) are right behind.

Matty Alou is 8th in hitting with a .315 average but I’m surprised it’s not higher. In June, he completed a 23 game hit streak besting brother Felipe Alou’s 17 game hit streak. Matty went ohfer on June 14th but got a hit the next day.

Highlights from the mound

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Los Angeles was all about the pitching in the first two months. By June 1, they had the lowest ERA at 2.17. By the 15th, LA is still tops in hurling with the exact same 2.17 ERA but others are catching up. The Pirates (2.78) and Phillies (2.84) are both under 3.00. Both teams tied for the lead in shutouts with 11 total. Meanwhile, the Pirates have three pitchers in the top ten in ERA with Vern Law’s top mark of 1.40, Bob Veale at fifth with a 1.96 mark and Woodie Fryman at 8th with a 2.13 ERA.

However, LA remains dominant on hill. Despite his four straight losses, Sandy Koufax is #2 in ERA with a 1.43 ERA in 125 2/3 innings and the strikeout king with 123 Ks. Rookie Don Sutton comes in at second with 116, by the way but check out the important stat… he has won every start so far and his 14-0! Atlanta’s Clay Carroll (10-0) and San Francisco’s Juan Marichal (10-3) are the only other double-digit winners as of June 15.

Marichal’s stats are certainly mention-worthy. In addition to his 10-3 record he is third in ERA with a 1.52 ERA as well as strikeouts with 110. So far this year, he has only allowed 3.8 hits per 9 innings pitched. That explains his league leading six shutouts.

Team Highlights

Los Angeles Dodgers 38-21 .644

Among the leaders: Koufax 2nd in ERA (1.43) and 1st in Ks (123), Sutton 1st in wins (14)

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I’ve addressed much of the Dodgers’ pitching strengths earlier but consider this; since May 28th Sandy Koufax has allowed seven earned runs in 37 2/3 innings yet still went 0-4. In the same period, Don Sutton went 5-0. To do that, he allowed just three runs in 47 2/3 innings. That would lead you to believe that the Dodger bats are a bit light and that may be a bit true at least for this month. As of June 15th, no Dodger hitter lands in top ten in batting average, on-base percentage or slugging average.

There are some highlights from the plate though. Secondbaseman Jim Lefebvre is hitting .303 with a team leading 7 homers. Maury Wills started out June with a 13-game hit streak. He’s currently hitting .278 and comes in third in steals with 21. While hitting just .249, firstbaseman Wes Parker has been solid. Playing every day, he is among league leaders in runs (34), doubles (12) and walks (27).

A final note: starter Claude Osteen started out the year with a 1-8 record. Since May 27, he’s gone 3-1 to up his record to a more respectable 4-9 to match his 2.81 ERA.

What needs to be done: Continue pitching; start hitting

Pittsburgh Pirates 36-22 .621

aluAmong the leaders: Stargell 2nd in BA (.332) and 2nd in rbis (42), Law 1st in ERA (1.40), M. Alou 23 longest hitting streak (23)

Throughout this replay, the Pirates have always been in the upper echelons of the NL standings but in early June, the Bucs’ pitching finally took hold to complement their already tough hitting. The rotation led by ERA leader Vern Law (6-1, 1.40) finally began to win. Bob Veale (8-6) mows them down (102 strikeouts) and is fifth in ERA (1.96). Woodie Fryman (4-2) who is a Cy, barely qualifies but his 2.13 ERA lands him in the top ten.

However, when I think of the 1966 Pirates, I think of their hitting. Bob Bailey’s hot spring was a bonus. He is a solid hitter but he was never meant to sustain that pattern. There were plenty of other Pirates to fill his shoes though.

Bob Clemente got off to a rough spring but he sure made up for it in June. So far, he is hitting .452 (28 for 62) with four homers, 12 runs scored and 13 rbis for the first two weeks of the month. Thanks to this hot streak, Clemente ranks 3rd in homers with nine.

On June 14th, leadoff man Matty Alou concluded a 23-game hit streak going back to May 11th. Interestingly, despite getting a hit in every game except one in the first two weeks of June, Alou is hitting .255 for June (there a lot of 1 for 4 games). Overall, Alou is hitting .315 for the year.

Willie Stargell has been a big part of the Pirates’ success this spring. He has hit well all year then added more in June. At .332, He currently is one point behind the “other Willie” McCovey who is leading the league at .333. Stargell comes in second in rbis at 42.

With a few more at-bats, outfielder Manny Mota would be a contender for the NL batting lead. He is hitting a whopping .395 in 136 plate appearances, Mota also leads the Bucs in slugging with a .540 mark despite just one homer.

The Bucs’ bullpen led by Roy Face (1-1, 1.93 ERA, 9 saves) is getting the job done. Al McBean (0.93 ERA), Pete Mikkelson (1.06 ERA), and Bob Purkey (no ER in 9 IP) all contribute in a positive fashion.

What needs to be done: Lower half of the rotation needs to come through

Atlanta Braves 38-25 .603

Among the leaders: F. Alou 1st in hits (85), 1st in runs (53), 1st in doubles (21), 1st in triples (11), 1st in XBH (39), Carroll 2nd in wins (10)

The Braves have played tough all year with a good combination of powerful hitting and solid pitching. C-1B Joe Torre has produced well. He’s third in the league with a .330 average and hits with 74. While Hank Aaron’s batting average is a little low at .245, he still leads this tough team in homers with 8.

The best output from this team comes from its leadoff man. Felipe Alou has some of the best stats in the league. He leads all NL batters in hits (85), runs (53), doubles (21), triples (11). He already has 39 extra-base hits, which is 8 more than second place Willie Mays. He even ranks sixth in rbis with 36 (tied with teammate Torre) as a leadoff batter.

The star on the Braves’ pitching staff is Clay Carroll (C(A*) who is one of their two A*hurlers. In 19 appearances including two starts, he is 10-0 with a nice 1.45 ERA. As good as Carroll has done, it’s Tony Cloninger (CYW) who has surprised folks. Cloninger has racked up a 9-4 record with a nifty 2.53 ERA. Those nine wins are good enough for fourth in the league. He also boasts a league high 49 walks but he gets the job done.

Denny Lemaster is challenging Sutton for NL Pitcher of the Month. So far, he is 4-0 and has allowed just five earned runs in 32 innings. For the season, Lemaster is 5-3 with a 3.22 ERA. Atlanta’s other A* is Billy O’Dell. While Billy is 3-3 with 10 saves, his 3.60 ERA doesn’t have the luster that Carroll’s stats do.

What needs to be done: Trade for another Clay Carroll.

San Francisco Giants 35-26 .574

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Among the league leaders: McCovey 1st in BA (.333), Mays 1st in HR (15) and 1st in slugging (.620), Marichal 3rd in ERA (1.52), 3rd in Ks (110), 1st in shutouts (6) and Hart 2nd in HR (13)

To round out the trio of teams that have been consistently fighting it out for the #2 spot in the standings are the Giants. The Giants have POWER! They currently lead the NL in homers (57) and slugging (.391). While there some recognizable names in this lineup, one that doesn’t come to mind is Jimmie Ray Hart. For a few days in June, he was leading the league in homers. For now, he has 13 dingers with 35 rbis.

The man who overtook Hart was teammate Willie Mays. Mays (OF-3) can do it all. He’s hitting .319 which is sixth in the NL. Thanks to his 15 homers (tops in the league), he also leads in slugging with a fun .620 mark.

I haven’t even gotten to Willie McCovey yet. “Stretch” is leading the NL with a .333 average and places second in slugging (after Mays) at a .579 pace. Big secret here… Mays, McCovey and Hart bat in order in the Giant lineup and they all are rated 3 for their fielding. I just call them the “Three Threes”.

Juan Marichal is doing his best to keep the Giants in the race. He paces the NL with six shutouts. He is one of only three pitchers with 10 wins (10-3) and one of only five with 100 strikeouts (110). His hits per 9 IP is only 3.8. Each game he pitches, I feel it has to higher but he comes through with another great game.

Of the top four teams, the Giants’ pitching is the most suspect. Aside from Marichal, the Giants have Bobby Bolin who is surviving at 6-3 with a 3.41 ERA. Other than that, Ron Herbel (3-5, 6.29 ERA) and Ray Sadecki (3-2, 5.54 ERA) are not cutting it. Even Gaylord Perry is having a rough time of it (2.66 ERA but 4-5).

In the bullpen, Lindy McDaniel has been perfect with a 1-0 record, 8 saves and a 0.00 ERA. Bob Priddy helps set things up with a 1.69 ERA.

What needs to be done: Marichal should teach the rest of the rotation how to pitch.

Philadelphia Phillies 32-28 .533

Among the league leaders: Allen 5th in HR (8) and 6th in rbis (36), Bunning 5th in Ks (100)

The Phils have had a grueling June so far with 18 games in 16 days. It’s paid off as they went 10-8 and they are starting to make some ground in the NL standings. One thing the Phillies bring to the table on most days is good fielding. They are one team that reach Fielding One on a consistent basis thanks in part to Bill White (1B-5), Cookie Rojas (2B-8) and Johnny Callison (OF-3).

The biggest contribution by a hitter is someone who doesn’t yet qualify. Dick Allen is finally getting some playing time. In only 142 at-bats, Allen still leads the Phillies in runs (31), hits (55), triples (4), homers (8) and rbis (36). He is only 10-20 plate appearances away from qualifying so his .387 batting average will blow away McCovey and Stargell once he does.

Bill White has been a solid hitter. He is second on the team in rbis at 27 and leads with 12 doubles. He also leads with 4 stolen bases (Philly is not a running team).

The one-two punch of Jim Bunning and Chris Short have gotten the job done. Bunning is 8-4 with a 2.08 ERA. He’s also reached the century mark in Ks on the nose. Short leads all pitchers not named Marichal in shutouts with three. With a 7-4 record, his ERA is approaching the top ten at 2.49.

Bullpen ace Darold Knowles has eight saves but his 2-6 record and 4.08 ERA might mean Philly management might look elsewhere for late inning help.

What needs to be done: Keep Dick Allen in the lineup.

Cincinnati Reds 30-27 .526

Among the league leaders: Harper 4th in OBP (.407), Maloney 6th in ERA (2.05) and 6th in wins (8)

The Reds have been humming along at a .500 pace for a while now just enough to keep alive. They have some exciting players but there are some holes that prevent them from making their move.

Tommy Harper is a great leadoff man (.323 BA, .407 OBP)… when he plays. His durability is an issue. Pete Rose has been solid at the plate hitting .285 with 34 runs scored. Deron Johnson provides some pop with 8 homers and 28 rbis.

Jim Maloney is the star of the rotation. He dots the leaderboards with an 8-2 record, 84 Ks and a 2.05 ERA. Milt Pappas does ok for himself too with a 7-4 mark. Cincy has the dubious honor of having the worst pitcher in the league. Sammy Ellis (5-6, 6.45 ERA in 67 innings) has the worst ERA among qualifiers.

Cool Billy McCool finally gave up his first earned run in June. With one earned run in 24 2/3 innings that works out to a miniscule 0.86 ERA to go with his league leading 14 saves.

What needs to be done: Ellis needs a break.

Chicago Cubs 26-31 .456

obp

Among the league leaders: Santo 4th in BA (.329), 1st in OBP (.426), 3rd in rbis (40), Phillips 1st in SB (24)

Now to the Cubs who I am secretly favoring but am not consciously helping in any way (really!)…

First, I am amazed at how many players the Cubs are using. Because of trades and the size of their original roster, the Cubs have had 40 players come to the plate and 17 pitchers trot out to the mound. That is much more than every other team (in contrast, Los Angeles have had 24 batters and 10 pitchers).

That said, I’m proud of the Cubs’ performance so far. They were a 100-loss last place team in real life and at this rate, they’ll finish at 74-88. The season is young though and there are plenty of starts by Bill Hands left.

Ron Santo is a big reason why the Cubs are scoring runs. He recently just gave up his #1 spot in batting average. He’s now four points below McCovey at .329. He’s still tops in the league in OBP at .426. Batting cleanup, Santo is one of four hitters with 40 rbis. Keep it up Ronnie!!

When Don Kessinger is fifth in the league in hitting, check your dice; maybe they’re loaded. Yep, Don is hitting .323. Can’t figure that one out. Firstbaseman Ernie Banks is doing well too. If it weren’t for the 1 for 12 streak he just went through, he’d be up with Kessinger. As it is, Banks is hitting a nice .309 with 5 dingers.

Glenn Beckert has been raking at the plate too. That’s a little more believable though with his 44-7. Beckert is hitting at a .307 pace. Adolfo Phillips was a nice pickup from the Phillies. Hitting .290, he’s tied with Lou Brock with 24 steals.

As for the Cubs’ pitching, I’ll start with the good news. Bill Hands has gotten his ERA below 6.00. At 5.90, he actually has .500 record at 3-3. However, Ernie Broglio may need to have a talk with Leo. He’s 1-7 with a 5.34 ERA (that one win was a shutout if you can believe it).

Workhorse starter Dick Ellsworth has pitched his heart out. A DZ, Dick doesn’t want to go 8-22 like he did in real life. He’s starting ok as he is 6-4 with a 4.58 ERA so far. Speaking of trade pickups, Fergie Jenkins enjoys being on the Cubs. He’s 1-2 with 6 saves and a adequate 3.38 ERA. Recent trade acquisition Chuck Estrada has done well in limited play (2.08 ERA in 13 innings).

What needs to be done: Not much. The Cubs are probably doing as well as they can.

Houston Astros 24-36 .400

rbiAmong the league leaders: Wynn 1st in rbis (48), 3rd in HR (9) and 1st in Ks (57), Morgan 1st in BB (52)

The Astros have fallen a bit in June, going 4-10 in the first two weeks. They have three standout offensive stars that have kept the team exciting though. Joe Morgan doesn’t hit that well (.257) nor does he hit for power (1 homer). But boy, he can coax a walk. With 52 base on balls, he leads second place Hank Aaron by a total of 16. As a result, Morgan has scored 39 times, fourth in the league.

My bet is that many of those runs were driven in by center fielder Jimmy Wynn. While only hitting .250, Wynn has the sole lead in rbis in the NL with 48. Hitting 9 homeruns is helping Wynn’s case too.

Shortstop Sonny Jackson has more hits other than Felipe Alou with 77. Hard to believe that he’s not hitting .300 but he registers at just .295.

Logic would dictate that Miguel Cuellar (AXZ) would be the star of the Astros pitching staff. Cuellar sports a nice 2.97 ERA but with little support, he’s left with a 3-5 record. It’s Larry Dierker who got off to a very hot start and continued to pitch well. He’s 5-4 with a 2.46 ERA. Late man Claude Raymond has registered 9 saves with a 1.80 ERA.

What needs to be done: Give Miguel Cuellar a little more support, si?

New York Mets 18-36 .333

Among the league leaders: Hunt 1st in HBP (12), Hamilton 1st in Games (22) and 1st in losses (11)

If it weren’t for the hapless Cardinals who are playing way below their potential (and the Cubs who are playing way above theirs), the Mets would be in last place. With mediocre hitting and ineffective pitching, they unexciting and unproductive. They experienced an upswing in May but so far in June, they have gone 5-12.

No Met has more than four homeruns (Ed Kranepool, Ken Boyer, and Ron Swoboda are all tied). Only one regular is hitting over .275 and that’s Boyer with a .280 mark. Ron Hunt is having a notable season. He leads the NL with 12 HBP, twice as many as Al Ferrara the next in line. That’s helping his .389 OBP which is 8th best in the league.

Among the ten worst ERAs in the league, the Mets have three. Meet Jack Hamilton (3-11, 6.37 ERA), Rob Gardner (2-8, 6.09 ERA) and Jack Fisher who somehow has a winning record (3-2, 5.25 ERA). Hamilton leads the NL in losses with 11.

The one bright spot among the New York arms in Dennis Ribant. His 2.44 ERA and 4-2 record almost seem out of place in the staff.

What needs to be done: Pitch more strikes and less balls (I’m looking at you, Hamilton).

St. Louis Cardinals 16-41 .281

Among the league leaders: Brock 1st in SB (24), Gibson 2nd in H/9IP (4.4)

I can’t figure out the Cardinals in my replay. The have hitting (Brock, McCarver, Flood and Cepeda) not to mention pitching (Gibson, Jackson, Jaster plus one of better bullpens in the league) yet they still continue to lose. In last place on June 1, they have gone 4-12 for the first two weeks of June. Though I’m not a Cards fan, I am almost rooting for them for the sake of accuracy.

Starter Bob Gibson was a force in real life but he hasn’t gotten a lot of support. His 2.54 ERA speaks for itself but his 6-6 record doesn’t do him justice. Meanwhile, Larry Jaster has just come on for the Cardinals. He’s got a 1.88 ERA in 43 innings but again, no support. He’s just got one win.

It’s the bullpen that is the Cardinals’ downfall. Nelllie Briles (1-9, 5.25), Hal Woodieshick (0-7, 4.23 ERA), and Joe Hoerner (1-3, 5 saves, 4.30 ERA) simply can’t be trusted with a lead.

Lou Brock is the big star on the Cardinals’ lineup. He is tied with Adolfo Phillips in steals with 24. Not only that, he is batting .301 and has 7 homers from the leadoff spot. Charley Smith leads the team with 23 rbis (which tells you how dire their offense is). Number 3 man, Curt Flood is only hitting .225 and for some reason, the Cardinals have benched highly sought Orlando Cepeda for the last week. Interestingly, Jerry Buchek comes in second in the league strikeouts. The shortstop has struck out 51 times in 46 games.

What needs to be done: Pitch complete games. The bullpen can’t be relied on.

Going into the second half of June, there are some personnel changes. Most of the recent ones involve the Mets and the Braves. The Mets acquired starter Bob Shaw from San Francisco for some cash. In addition, they bought Bob Friend from the cross-town Yankees. To make room on their roster, they released Dick Stuart. He won’t be missed as he was hitting just .229 with no homers.

The Braves made a one-for-one trade with the Reds. Hank Fischer goes to Cincy for Joey Jay. They also made a big move by trading one of their A* relievers, Billy O’Dell to the Pirates. In return, spot starter Don Schwall (BW) comes to Atlanta. This is a huge deal for two teams who are both competing to take on the Dodgers. O’Dell will strengthen an already strong Pirate bullpen that yet doesn’t have an A*.

The race is on!!

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9
August

Chicagoland post-tourney wrap-up

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There is something about APBA that brings people together.  Whether it is the basic game league I’m in, the Illowa APBA League which is now going on its 43rd year or forums like Between the Lines or Facebook APBA Baseball group (which I hear is now at 2,400 members), APBA fans of all backgrounds want to meet and talk sports and they game they love. 

That was no more apparent than last weekend at the Chicagoland APBA Tournament organized by Rob Spatz.  I’ve been to seven of these and every time I attend, I’m still amazed by the people I meet and get re-acquainted. 

This weekend, I got an early start and came down on Friday afternoon.  Why?  Tournament-goer Don Smith and I had a nine-game series to play for the Illowa League.  When we went downstairs to the “tourney room” in the hotel, diligent Rob Spatz was preparing for the next day.  Don and I were originally planning on playing in our room but we thought, “hey, this room is set up to play APBA” and we rolled away. 

We even had an audience for a few games.  Rob, Jeff Boeding, Ron Emch and Dick Glisinski were biding their time till they went to the ballgame in Gary.  That made it that much more fun.  Well, as fun as it could be with Don winning the first four.  Never fear, the Thunderchickens won four of the last five (we blew a 8-1 lead in that loss, too). 

So how did my Mets do?

champions

The Champions of Chicagoland: I faced five of them in divisional play

On Saturday, it was tourney time for my 1976 Mets.  I was in the Smoky Burgess Division which had the distinction of having FOUR former Chicagoland champions in Curt Bartel, Scott Fennessy, Bill Lilley and Vince Bianco.  By the end of the day, it would have one more in Tom Johnson who won it all. 

My Mets started out slow but with a three-game winning streak toward the end, we actually ended up with a winning record at 5-4 and one game out of the playoffs.  It was Bill Lilley’s 1965 Pirates led by Vern Law who put down Tom Seaver (who was 2-0 with a shutout until then). 

My main slugger Dave Kingman (1-1-5-5) clouted five homers in nine games but only drove in eight runs.  It seemed Milner was hitting his 14s a lot.  Perhaps if I had batted him ahead of Kong?

Regardless, even though I come to compete, the most satisfying aspect of these tournaments is the social one.  It was fantastic to see us fill the room. 

Superstitious?

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Above, reigning tourney champion Vince Bianco explains that he wore the same shirt when he won the championship the last time.  Not only that, those bite-sized candies that Vince is using as baserunner markers are the same ones from last time also. 

Alas, Bianco’s 2011 Cardinals only went 2-7 in regulation play. 

Chicagoland APBA Hockey??

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I saw Craig Christian walking with an APBA Hockey box in his hand while the playoffs were going on.  One thing led to another and before you know it, he was giving me a demo of the game.  As he talked about it, a crowd gathered around the table. 

It’s the first time I’ve seen APBA Hockey and really appreciated the tutorial. 

Worth mentioning are the people who traveled distances to play in this tournament.  The Silvis family, Brian, Kate and Phillip came from Pittsburgh as did Ken Schulz.  John Roels and GF Korreck journeyed from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Ron Emch (glad to finally meet you!) drove from Toledo and Mike Hill came all the way from Louisville, KY.  Jeff Boeding came from KC and my buddy Don Smith drove I-80 from Iowa. 

Most importantly, we all owe Rob Spatz a big thanks for this.  He has taken a great thing that Doug Schuyler and Jim Saska put together and not only kept it alive but making it grow.  Rob is humble about it but I know he put a lot of work into it.

Chicagoland Fall Tournament date set for November 11! 

A side note:  In my Illowa series on Friday, Don Smith’s Freddie Freeman hit a homer in each of the last four games.  When I returned home, I played my Boys of Summer Urbana Locomotives against Brad Stark’s Portland Microbrewers.  Freeman also plays for him.  He went homerless in Game 1 then homered in five straight.  That means against me, he hit a homer in 9 of ten straight games. 

For the weekend, Freddie Freeman hit 11 homers with 27 rbis in 15 games against me. I’m glad I didn’t face him in the tourney!

4 comments

7
August

Monster Card Monday: 2016 Javier Baez

baez2016 morrison

I don’t award Monster Cards on fielding ratings too often.  Ryan Morrison wrote me.  He says…

Here’s a card I know you will appreciate because you and I know very well how big a role he played in the Cubbies’ run to the World Series last year. It’s a solid hitting card with a 15-11. I love a good power-speed combo, but these reasons are not the main reasons why I’m submitting this card to you. I’m submitting this because not only is this card a good hitter and runner, but add that in with ridiculous defensive ratings! And at every position besides pitcher and catcher! I would recommend this card to any fantasy draft league out there because Javy Baez can do it all! He could stand to walk a little more though.

Billy Beane wouldn’t appreciate this card!

I won’t even bother putting Baez’ hitting stat up.  To me, the amazing thing of this card is that he is rated Fielding One at all four infield positions (1B-4, 2B-8, SS-9, and 3B-5).  As far as I know, he is the only player with that distinction. 

Standard Fielding

Year Pos G GS CG Inn Ch PO A E DP Fld% RF/9 RF/G lgFld% lgRF9 lgRFG
2016 3B 62 36 33 370.2 125 27 91 7 4 .944 2.87 1.90 .956 2.52 2.50
2016 2B 59 38 33 383.0 221 88 127 6 23 .973 5.05 3.64 .982 4.59 4.56
2016 SS 25 21 14 194.0 103 40 61 2 13 .981 4.69 4.04 .975 4.18 4.15
2016 1B 6 2 2 21.0 22 18 4 0 1 1.000 9.43 3.67 .994 9.04 8.98
2016 OF 2 0 0 2.1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 1.93 2.05
Pos G GS CG Inn Ch PO A E DP Fld% RF/9 RF/G lgFld% lgRF9 lgRFG
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/7/2017.

Thanks Ryan!!

3 comments

7
August

Is this Heaven? No, it’s APBA. Tom Johnson’s 2005 Astros take 2017 Summer Chicagoland tourney

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Tom Johnson and Phillip Silvis get ready to face off in the final game

On Saturday, August 5, Chicagoland crowned its ninth champion.  At the Chicagoland Summer APBA Tournament, Tom Johnson and his 2005 Houston Astros defeated Phillip Silvis and the 2014 Pittsburgh Pirates to win the tournament championship. 

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John Roels’ 1929 Giants v. Larry Eichman’s 1963 Giants

To get the final, Tom and his Astros had to defeat Chet Wazio (1974 Oakland A’s) and Dave Rueck (2015 Houston Astros).  Phillip beat Don Smith (1977 California Angels) and John Roels (1929 New York Giants).  Three Giants teams made it to the playoffs.  Tournament veterans Curt Bartel (2001 Giants) and Larry Eichman (1963 New York Giants) also made it as far as the first round. 

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The veteran (Don Smith) and the kid (Phillip Silvis)

Congratulations to Tom and Phillip as well as Chet, Don, Dave, Don, John, Larry and Curt! 

Tom was one of two managers pitcher to have a no-hitter.  Roger Clemens hurled a no-no for him in the Smoky Burgess Division in regulation play.  In addition, Masahiro Tanaka of the 2015 New York Yankees also pitched a no-hitter for manager Kate Silvis. 

It must have been karma for Tom Johnson.  He took the time to prepare a nice thank you card for organizer, Rob Spatz.  He somehow got everyone to sign it during the early part of the tourney then presented it to Rob before we broke for lunch.  During his presentation, Tom made a nice speech saying that “this tournament is heaven to me”.  I think that echoed the sentiments of many in the room.  It was a very nice thought on the part of Tom and very well deserved by Rob. 

Rob turned this empty room…

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into this…

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and this…

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thank you!!

Congrats again to Tom Johnson!! It was great to meet you.  Thanks for representing our division!!

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2
August

Weird Card Wednesday: Charles Gipson aka “Fred Rivers”

Thanks again to Ryan Morrison for suggesting another card this week.  There’s nothing too odd about the actual numbers on this card of “Fred Rivers” except for perhaps the single column ‘2’.  The strange thing is that his name is not really Fred Rivers.  It belongs to a player named Charles Gipson, a utility man who played around the turn of the century for mostly AL teams.

Why the different name?  For one reason or another, the MLB Players Association protected Gipson’s name to be used in licensing agreements such as games like APBA.  A good many of the “fake name” cards belong to those who were replacement players.

You can find a list of most APBA cards that have fake names here.  While the names that the APBA Co. used are fake, they all had a baseball “feel” to them.  There is a “Ruth”, a “Grove” and even a “Bleacher”… but just with different first names.

Season Totals
Split G GS PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
2001 Totals 94 14 72 64 16 14 2 2 0 5 1 4 20 .219 .282 .313

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table

Generated 8/2/2017.

You may notice that not only is the name fake but there is no stats listed on this card.  Those who have played APBA for more than a few years will remember when the player result was placed on a dice result each year (instead of at 23 like it is now).  That is how APBA fans could determine what year a card set was published.

There is a 12 Publication list put together by Doug Burg which not only lists which number the 12 is at for each year but other publishing info for each set.  Here it is if you want to check it out.  I get requests from many APBA fans who want to identify older sets or cards and this is the first thing I suggest.

One piece of interesting trivia… As I was checking out info on the 2001 set, I realized that APBA put the 12 on the 21 (as seen above) twice in three years.  They did so in 1999 and 2001 on both of the original sets.

thanks Ryan!!

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1
August

RIP APBA fan Mike Miller 1952-2017

Mike Miller (left) poses with Howie Mooney at the 2016 Chicagoland tourney

These are the toughest articles to write.  Mike Miller, a baseball and APBA fanatic, passed away last week.

I had the privilege to meet at the 2016 at the 2016 Chicagoland APBA Tournament.  Mike traveled all the way from California to Grayslake, Illinois for the tournament.  We had a few moments to chat alone.  In fact, it was Mike who made sure I got home.  When my taxi did not show up on time, he graciously gave me a ride to the train station with minutes to spare.

A native Californinan, Mike Miller was a die-hard San Francisco Giants fan but had an overall love of baseball history.  From the little time I spent with him, I found him to be very friendly, someone who you could become friends with immediately.  And Mike LOVED to talk… about anything.  It was amazing how many topics we hit in the short time we were together.  To me, he seemed fascinated with the Midwest and how our ways were so different than the West Coast (you’re probably right, Mike).

If you are on Facebook and knew Mike, you have probably already seen the outpouring of support and love he has gotten on his page since his passing.

keep rollin’ 66s and thanks for the for ride, Mike.

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19
July

Official Linda B. Schulz Memorial APBA Baseball Tournament recap: Boxscores, recaps, championship play-by-play

The following press release covering the Linda B. Schulz Memorial APBA Baseball Tournament was submitted by Darren Schulz. 

thanks Darren!! 

-Tom

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Hosting players from Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Florida, Illinois, Virginia, Texas, Wisconsin, Canada as well as good old Pennsylvania, the ROCK was a soundboard for rattling dice. As players were greeted by tournament director Ken Schulz and yours truly during registration, the coffee and conversation began over donuts, bagels, and the sounds of game 7 of the 1979 World Series as presented on the big screen by Mark McDonel. Shortly after 9 AM, the final total was 44 participants which was narrowed down to 42 as Ken and I decided to drop our entries this year in hopes of being more available for questions, concerns, and most importantly, sharing our appreciation for those who traveled to support our efforts in remembering our late mother and the love we share for this great company. Once two time defending champ and APBA Hall of Famer Greg Wells was presented with his championship plaque with an affectionate round of applause along with some amicable trash talking, the schedule was simple: seven divisions of six players for a round robin schedule resulting in 10 games. When the playing fields were cleared for playoff preparation, ten managers were left to determine the next LBS champion.

The top 10

#1 seed 1975 Cincinnati Reds (Greg Wells- Maddog Division – 10-0 record!!!)

#2 seed 65 Pittsburgh Pirates (Bill Lilley – Teke Division – 2017 APBA Convention Runner up)

#3 seed 1962 San Francisco Giants (Matthew Pike – Maz Division)

#4 seed 1974 Los Angeles Dodgers (Steve Skoff – Cobra Division – APBA Hall of Famer and two time convention winner)

#5 seed 1968 Detroit Tigers (Phillip Silvis – Manny Division – youngest playoff qualifier at 10 years old!)

#6 seed 1963 New York Yankees (Rob Spatz – Candyman Division – Chicagoland regional tourney director)

#7 seed 1976 Kansas City Royals (Brian Silvis – Pops Division)

#8 seed 1976 Cincinnati Reds (Mel Maricic – Wild Card 1)

#9 seed 1970 Baltimore Orioles (Tim Rounds – Wild Card 2)

#10 seed 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates (Brian Murphy – Wild Card 3 – 2016 LBS runner up)

A major change for this year: the championship finale would be a Best of Three series!

After some amazing wild card battles and close quarterfinals, the final four found the hall of famers Skoff (74 Dodgers) at Wells (75 Reds) on the top half of the bracket and Spatz (63 Yankees) at Lilley (65 Pirates) on the bottom portion. The surprising results – two complete game shutouts for Don Sutton of the Dodgers and Bob Veale of the Buccos! Wells’ remarkable run at the LBS comes to a close as Skoff had the hot hand from a first inning Steve Garvey two run bomb in a 10-0 rout. Lilley, a former Chicagoland tourney champion, fresh off his outstanding performance in Alpharetta, clawed his way back into another finale with a 3-0 triumph. The 2017 LBS Championship series was set!

Game 1: 74 Dodgers (Andy Messersmith Ax) at 65 Pirates (Vern Law Az) – After a scoreless first inning by both squads, Jim Wynn opened the top half of the second with a leadoff walk. After reaching third on a couple of groundouts, catcher Steve Yeager (keep his name in mind) induced a base on balls as well. From there, Skoff’s hot dice from the semifinals continued with consecutive hits by Ron Cey (rbi single), Bill Russell (two run double), and Davey Lopes (rbi single). Then in the top half of the third, the onslaught continued. After Law walked Steve Garvey, Wynn and Willie Crawford hit back to back long balls to make the score 7-0! Then the Dodgers really sealed the deal in the fifth with five safeties by Joe Ferguson, Yeager, Cey, Billy Buckner, and Garvey. After five complete, the Dodgers had a 10-0 lead behind their ace. The Buccos did manage to avoid the shutout with a one out single by Jerry Lynch that knocked in Donn Clendenon in the 7th inning. That was the only blemish in Messersmith’s complete game 5 hit, 10-1 game one victory. Now for the cross country trip to LA for game two.

Click here for Game 1 box score

Game 2 65 Pirates (Bob Veale Axyw) at 74 Dodgers (Don Sutton Byz) – The pitching heroes of the semifinals did not disappoint the fans of either team in this one. Veale looked like he may have been nervous from the bottom half of the first when Davey Lopes took the first pitch over the right field fence for a 1-0 Dodger lead! On the other hand, Sutton seemed poised in giving up only one hit through the first four innings. With the score still 1-0 heading to the top half of the fifth, Clendenon ended Sutton’s playoff scoreless inning streak at 13 with a leadoff bomb of his own. Both pitchers were masterful in silencing the bats of these potent lineups that included franchise legends like Clemente, Stargell, Garvey, and Buckner. Sutton retired 22 of 26 hitters during his nearly dominant 9 innings of four hit ball. Meanwhile, after serving up the leadoff homer to Lopes, Veale managed to retire 23 of the next 29 batters he faced before leaving in the bottom half of the ninth with Buckner standing on second with one out. Closer Al McBean was called upon, and he easily dispatched Wynn and Crawford to silence the LA crowd. For the third year in a row, a potential title clinching LBS finale was heading to extra innings. Skoff made his first call to the bullpen this series by sending in his closer Mike Marshall who gave up a one out single to Jerry Lynch but then set down Jim Pagliaroni and Bob Bailey by way of the strikeout. McBean still looked fresh going out for this second inning of mound work by getting DH Ferguson (who, by the way, hit four consecutive homers between two games during round robin play) on a routine fly ball. Then Steve Yeager etched his name into LBS tourney immortality with a walk off blast that sent manager Steve Skoff and his 1974 Dodgers into championship glory!

Click here for Game 2 box score

Congrats to Steve Skoff in capturing his first LBS Memorial tourney title in memorable fashion. The 1974 Los Angeles Dodgers are now officially retired from future tournaments. Mr. Skoff will have his name and team etched into the championship plaque. Skoff also took home a brand new 1979 World Series/All Star APBA Baseball Card set. Skoff will receive his own personal championship plaque at the 2018 LBS tournament. Additional congrats goes to Bill Lilley’s great tourney performance. He officially retires the 1965 Pittsburgh Pirates teams from tourney play and took home a 1960 World Series/All Star APBA Baseball Card set . By virtue of winning the consolation third place game, Greg Wells earned a Negro League Baseball Card set and promptly delivered it to 15-year-old Ontario resident Reese Mooney. Final four member Rob Spatz received a copy of the APBA Baseball Game with the 2016 Playoff teams. Special thanks goes out to Ken Schulz for organizing the event, Mark McDonel for providing the side entertainment of the 1971 All Star Game as well as the 1979 and 1960 MLB World Series game 7 broadcasts, Jackie Schulz for all of her help with the food preparation, and Melissa Schulz for providing lodging information for our out-of-town guests. As for me, I was in awe at the number of participants we gathered (20 in 2016 to 42 in 2017), which included an amazing number of father-son and mother-son combinations (eight total) managing in this year’s event. It is a blessing to be a part of this APBA community, and I end this summary with the same line I will every year. Our mother, Linda Schulz, loved to hear the dice rattle, so for all of you who have supported the tourney the past three years, there is a special place for all of you in the hearts of the entire Schulz family.

2018 UPDATE: The fourth LBS MEMORIAL APBA BASEBALL TOURNAMENT will take place at the Slippery Rock Township Building and will include teams from 1950-2017. The 1965 Pittsburgh Pirates, 1974 Los Angeles Dodgers, and the 1977 Philadelphia Phillies are banned as retired championship finalists. First come, first serve so contact Ken Schulz at schulzka02@gmail.com with your team selection.

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18
July

Determining the standings: Games back or Win Pct?

I opened up my Excel stats spreadsheet for my 1966 National League replay tonight after a Pirates-Reds game and saw something I hadn’t seen before. 

standings1

Take a look at the above June 13 standings and see if you can spot the weirdness.  Well, besides the Cardinals stinking it up in last place, I mean.  What I’m talking about is this… Check out the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Atlanta Braves and pay attention to their win percentage and Games Back (or Games Behind). 

standings

Despite appearances, the Pirates and Braves do not have identical win percentages.  The Pirates are 34-22 and comes out to a winning percentage of .607143.  The Braves’ record of 37-24 works out to .606557.  Both round to .607 but the Pirates’ is obviously higher. 

But that’s not the strange part.  It’s that the Pirates have a higher Games Back number even though their win percentage is higher.  This is the first time I’ve encountered this. 

This is my sorting algorithm for my standings in Excel.

sort

I sort by Winning Percentage first.  In case of a tie between teams, I sort by Games Back and in the rare chance that both are tied, I sort by total wins.  I should say that I do not know if this is the correct method.  It just seemed to make sense to me. 

The cause of this issue here is most likely that Pittsburgh has played five less games than Atlanta (due to the weather in East in 1966, I’ll bet.  You’ll see the Mets are down a few games as well).  The question is this:  According to MLB rules, are the Pirates in 2nd place or are the Braves? 

My gut instinct says Win Pct. but I’ve never seen standings with Games Back out of order. 

thoughts?

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17
July

Monster Card Monday: 1927 Ben Paschal

paschal 27-001

It’s kind of amazing that Ben Paschal hasn’t made an appearance on Monster Monday yet.  While there are certainly better cards out there and ones that are more deserving (Paschal only managed 87 plate appearances for the 1927 Yankees), he was a bit of an APBA legend.  Since the 1927 Yankees and subsequently the entire 1927 season were one of the first APBA baseball seasons published, Ben Paschal was a bit of anomaly.  “Wow, he’s got SIX extra-base hit numbers!”.  Since then more and more monster cards with limited playing time have been published but he was one of first. 

Of course, he had to compete with players like Ruth and Gehrig on his own team. 

Paschal only played eight seasons but those years were spread out from 1915 to 1929.  From 1924 to 1929, he played for the Yankees and competition was tight. He did get in over 200 at-bats in 1925 (wasn’t that Ruth’s stomach-ache heard ‘round the world?) and 1926.  In ‘25, he hit .360 with 12 homers.

But in 1927, he batted .349 with nine doubles, two triples, and two homers in just 82 at-bats.  Looking at his gamelog of 1927, his time was split between pinch hitting and playing the field. 

Season Totals
Split G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
1927 Totals 50 87 82 16 26 9 2 2 16 0 4 10 .317 .349 .549
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/17/2017.

    

The card shown was published in 1998 but I know I had one from the World Series set put out in the 1970’s. There was also the 1927 season set published not long after.

Thanks to Ryan Morrison to passing this card on me. Great memories!!

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