Divisions set for Prairieland 2!


The Prairieland 2 Tournament is less than two weeks away.  The teams and fantasy deadball players have been chosen (thanks, Eric Berg for handling that!!).  Now, the divisions are set!  Divided into two leagues and four divisions, the 23 teams will vie for eight playoff spots.

Here is what the divisions look like…


Sparky Anderson League

Tom Lasorda Division


Gordon Rodell

1990  A’s

Rube Waddell


Thomas Nelshoppen

1985 Dodgers

Nap Lajoie


GF Korreck

1977 Dodgers

Ed Delahanty


Mike Hill

1987 Tigers

Christy Mathewson


Kyle Daniels

1998 Braves

Eddie Collins


Doug Bedell

1975 A’s

Grover Alexander

Joe Torre Division


Eric Berg

1991 Twins

Joe Jackson


Joe Schall

1994 Indians

Ty Cobb


Ron Casey

1970 Reds

Honus Wagner


Chris Strangeman

1975 Reds

Addie Joss


Mark Dyel

1970 Orioles

Cy Young


Dave Rueck

1982 Brewers

Tris Speaker

John McGraw League

Connie Mack Division


Ty Daniels

1999 Diamondbacks

Ed Walsh


Dick Butler

1977 Phillies

Babe Ruth


Bob Eller

1977 Yankees

Hod Eller


Ryan Daniels

1999 Braves

Joe McGinnity


Jim Welch

1981 Dodgers

George Sisler


John Kalous

1985 Cardinals

Walter Johnson

Hughie Jennings Division


Dennis Daniels

1997 Mariners

Joe Wood


John Roels

1978 Dodgers

Roger Bresnahan


David Kagel

2000 Yankees

Mike Donlin


Todd Daniels

1998 Yankees

Chief Bender


Tom Fulton

1994 Expos

Jack Chesbro


Participants drafted teams and players one month ago.  They are now beginning to reveal which season they will be using for their fantasy player.  I can tell you now which Napoleon Lajoie card I will be using.


This one from 1901…

Regulation play will include two games against each opponent except for the Jennings Division.  There will be a special schedule for them to ensure that they play the same amount of games as everyone else.  Printed schedules will be available at the tourney.

We will be trying to connect up with the Neil Ess Memorial Twin Cities APBA Baseball Tournament via a video link at some point.  They are playing their tourney on the same day.  There will be prizes and a trophy for the overall champion.  Tom Fulton says he may even bring something for the winner, too.

Details again for those who are coming…

Date: April 1st, 2017
Time: Starts at 9am
Location:  Drury Inn, Champaign, Illinois
Cost: $15.00

Prairieland 2 Tournament rules

Looking forward to this!!

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Lucas’ Hitmen win IAL championship; Sanchez goes #1

2017 ial draft-2011

Last weekend the Illowa APBA League held their 42th annual Draft weekend in Downers Grove, Illinois.  The weekend was quite busy with playoffs, the IAL World Series, rookie draft and the start of the season.  Each team got in 30 games played to start the 2017 season. 

First of all, congrats to Northside Hitmen manager Chuck Lucas (above left with Commissioner Mike Bunch) who battled it out seven games against Molly Putts Marauders skipper Don Smith in the Illowa World Series.  Down 3 games to 2, Hanley Ramirez gave Molly a second life with a walk-off homer in game six.  Shelby Miler outlasted Johnny Cueto to give the Hitmen the game and the Series. 

Congrats Chuck! 

2017 ial draft-2016

Chuck wasn’t the only manager to come home with some hardware.  First place Marcus Bunch of the Moline Upperdeckers was voted Manager of the Year based on his 95-67 record.  Not only did he get to take home the official traveling plaque but was awarded a Joe Maddon bobblehead. 

Nice going, Marcus! 

Draft time!

2017 ial draft-2030

The draft took place Friday night after the postseason but there is a story to be told.  See, I had the first pick in the draft (again).  I was ready to deal and my buddy John Brandeberry wanted it.  We had talked about dealing my first pick for his first which was the third pick overall. In return, he would give me outfielder Joc Pederson. 

While I was sitting on that, Rob Moore was asking about Jung-Ho Kang.  With the potential of Pederson in the outfield, I could keep Kris Bryant at third.  Kang was expendable.  Rob was ready to deal his 3rd round pick for him. 

It happened so fast.  Within ten minutes, I made those two deals. 

2017 ial draft-2020

Long story short, catchers were picked in the first picks, Sanchez and Contreras.  That’s Brando above holding his first pick proudly.  With my newly acquired third pick, I took outfielder (and soon to be shortstop) Trea Turner.  I now have a leadoff man!

The first round in the 2017 IAL draft:

  1. Sanchez
  2. Contreras
  3. Turner
  4. Fulmer
  5. Story
  6. Bregman
  7. Maeda
  8. Gray
  9. Davies
  10. Devenski


2017 Season

Most of us got started playing the 2017 season on Saturday morning but Brando and Don Smith couldn’t wait.  They played late into Friday night. 


The bulk of the rolling was done on Saturday.  We even had a special guest come to visit us. Chicagoland tournament organizer Rob Spatz stopped by and helped manage a few games!  Watch out Rob, that’s how Scott Fennessy got into the league.  Truth be told, it already sounds like Spatz is going to help Montana resident Brando play a few local games. 


The standings are already out for March and it looks like Marcus’ Upperdeckers are off to another good start.  Max Scherzer had a pretty memorable game for him against the Kentucky Kernels.  Scherzer (an AKZ pitcher) gave up just one hit in 9 innings and struck out a total of 18 batters! 


Moline Upperdeckers 20 10 .667 0 0
Molly Putts Marauders 20 10 .667 0 0
Colona Hustlers 18 12 .600 2 0
Northside Hitmen 17 13 .567 3 0
Kentucky Kernels 15 15 .500 5 0
Twin Cities Thunderchickens 15 15 .500 5 0
Green Rock Bombers 14 16 .467 6 0
Missoula Rattlesnakes 14 16 .467 6 0
Chicago Highlanders 10 20 .333 10 0
Des Plaines Dragons 7 23 .233 13 0

My Twin Cities Thunderchickens went a very acceptable 15-15 for the weekend.  We’re tied for fifth place!!

I may not have that first pick in next year’s draft.

More photos here

Thanks everyone for a great time! 



Aaron Radlinski’s 1902 Pirates win Greater Michigan tourney!

GMABT III Final Aaron-WellsLast weekend was the third annual Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament which was founded, organized and hosted by Pastor Rich Zawadzki.  If all the reports are true, he puts on quite a tournament. 

A total of 38 teams participated in the tournament which might be a record for a regional tourney.  When it came down to it, Greg Wells’ 1909 Cubs and Aaron Radlinski’s 1902 Pirates were left standing.  APBA Hall of Famer Greg Wells has had plenty of tourney fame winning a national tournament and two at the Linda B. Schultz Memorial APBA Baseball Tournaments in Pittsburgh.  When the dust settled though, Aaron’s Pirates came out the winner. 

Shawn Baier attended and has an excellent recap with division standings and plenty of photos at the Boys of Summer blog.

Congrats to Aaron Radinski and nicely done, Rich!!

Coming soon… Prairieland 2 and the The Neil Ess Memorial Twin Cities APBA Baseball Tournament – VII on April 1st!



Monster Card Monday: 1957 Stan Musial

57 musial schuyler

Doug Schuyler suggested this 1957 Stan Musial card and what a beaut! 

What makes this amazing is that this wasn’t even one of Musial’s best years.  Yes, he did lead the league with a .351 average as well as OBP (.422).  He even slugged .612. He drove in 102 runs on 29 homeruns. 

He came in second in the MVP voting behind someone named Henry Aaron.  Man, the more I think about it, 1957 is one of the best seasons.   

Season Totals
1957 Totals 134 579 502 82 176 38 3 29 102 1 66 34 .351 .422 .612
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/6/2017.


The only knock on Musial is his fielding.  He’s a 1B-3.  Other than that, he’s a perfect #3 hitter.  He hits for average (15-7), he hits for power (1-5-5-6) and he can get on base with a walk if you need him to (four 14s).

Fun numbers: 33-5, 15-7, 61-41

Maybe it’s me but I think Musial is one of the most underrated Hall of Famers.  Other than his last year, he didn’t have an unproductive season.  Sure, he slipped a bit in his last five years but from the very beginning, he was good and for 22 years, he contributed. He hit over .300 for his first 17 years. 

When I was a kid, there was a popular question…

“Which two players hit 400 career homeruns without hitting 40 in a season?” 

Musial was one of the answers (Billy Williams was the other).  I’m sure that trivia question has become obsolete by now with so many homerun hitters.   

thanks, Doug!

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No foolin’! Two APBA tourneys on April 1


First of all, I want to wish everyone who is attending Pastor Rich Zawadzki’s Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament good luck.  You might think the “Greater” is a geographical reference but from what I hear, it is indeed one of best tournaments out there.

Rich has an amazing total of 36 teams participating in the tournament this year at Gene Davis and Sons Steaks Eatery in Jackson, Michigan.  Safe travels everybody and have lots of fun!! Looking forward to will win that trophy up there!

It is certainly APBA tournament season.  In fact, in less than a month on April 1st, two tournaments both in the Midwest will be taking place at the same time.  Jim Fraasch’ Neil Ess Memorial Twin Cities APBA Baseball Tournament – VII will be rolling dice in Maple Grove, Minnesota.  A little further south, the Prairieland 2 APBA Baseball Tournament will be competing in Champaign, Illinois (you can find the registrants and their teams here at Eric Berg’s blog, Roll 11).  Jim Welch (right) will be attending to defend his Prairieland crown.  IMG_2523-001

Both tourneys have 25 participants registered and ready to roll and as Jim wrote up on his blog, Jim’s APBA Barn, I think this a big thing for APBA!  As far as either of us know, it’s the first time two regional tournaments have happened on the same day. 

The organizers of both tournaments are talking and we’re trying to think of some creative ways for the two tourneys to interact on the big day.  At the very least, we’ll have a video linkup between the two tournaments.  Who knows?  Maybe more. 

Let’s keep it going folks!  If you don’t have a tournament in your area, do what Jim Saska did and start your own.  He moved to the Virginia area in the past couple years and his Capital of the Confederacy APBA Tournament has been grown up to 14 participants.  Just remember, the very popular Chicagoland Tournament started out with just five guys on the first year. 

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Rod Caborn impresses again with 1912 AL replay documentation


Rod Caborn (yes, the one who pens the popular column Rod’s Replay Insider) emailed the other day to tell me that he just finished his 1912 AL replay. It was a 154-game feat complete with roster changes and actual schedule.  Rod used the 2010 version of the Master Game boards.  He also sent me a complete summary of his project.

First of all, congrats to Rod.  To me, finishing any full schedule APBA replay is quite an accomplishment. 

Second, Rod’s documentation of his replay is nothing short of amazing.  I’m still reading through it but Rod covers not just the standings and stats but also the background and guidelines for his replay.  The team-by-team recaps hearken back to Sporting News’ Dope Book (anyone remember those?).  Here is Rod’s full recap of his replay.  Definitely read this.  Not only is it full of info, it is visually pleasing to the eye and entertaining to read.




If you’re wondering, Boston won easily in Rod’s replay with 114 wins thanks in part to MVP Tris Speaker who hit .398 and pitcher Smokey Joe Wood went 30-6.  Speaker didn’t win the batting title, though.  That honor went to Joe Jackson who bested the Grey Eagle by two points at .401.  Walter Johnson was the Cy Young honoree with an even 1.00 ERA and a 30-9 record.  

Some notes from Rod:

Boston went 114-40…winning over Philadelphia by 17 games. Both teams were tied on July 31, which gives you some kind of idea what kind of stretch run Boston had.

Chicago’s Morrie Rath made the first unassisted triple play I have ever see in APBA.

New York had a 19-game losing streak and then somehow rebounded to actually pass St. Louis and move into seventh place….before receding back into the cellar by season’s end.

Walter Johnson 30-9, ERA 1.00, fifteen shutouts! Joe Wood 30-6, 1.21 ERA.

Joe Jackson wins batting crown at .401, but Tris Speaker was the dominant player in the replay (one error all season long, hitting .398).


Thanks for sharing this, Rod.  This is great example for the rest of us!  Rod says that 1912 National League is beckoning so we’re looking forward to the results. 

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Terrible Card Tuesday: 1973 Rich Reese


Rob Spatz shared this 1973 Rich Reese card with me.  In Rob’s words, it is very “J4-esque”.  That said, Reese did manage to get this card with 140 plate appearances so this wasn’t an oh for 10 deal. 

It was Reese’s last year in the majors and he split it between the Twins and the Tigers.  For the year, he hit a paltry .144, a far cry from his career high of .322 in 1969.  He also hit just six extra base hits, three of them homeruns.  It’s worth noting that of Reese’s 81 games, he came in as a substitute in 56 of them. 

Season Totals
1973 Totals 81 140 125 17 18 2 1 3 7 0 13 23 .144 .225 .248
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/28/2017.


Ok, let’s get this out of the way.  Rich Reese is a 1B-5 and there is nothing terrible about that.  The 1B-5 has always been one of the more rare and coveted fielding ratings.  Reese did not let his glove get rusty in latter years. 

As for his bat, well, a 44-9 is not what your firstbaseman should be boasting.  Neither is a 51-41. 

Ugly numbers: 44-9, 31-37, 51-41

An interesting note about Reese:  he was a longtime fixture in Minnesota but actually started out the 1973 season with the Tigers.  He was traded mid-season back to his old team.  

thanks, Rob!

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Monster Card Monday: 1957 Hank Aaron


I know it hasn’t been long since I posted an Aaron card on Monday but as Doug Schuyler says, this 1957 card is “a thing of beauty”.  This 1957 card is from the  original 1957 card GTOP set published in the 1980s and it is something.

I checked Aaron’s stats for 1957 Braves.  He hit 44 homers four times (appropriately) and 1957 was one those years.  He also hit .322 with an even .600 slugging percentage.  Hard to believe but Aaron was only 23 years old at the time and it was his fourth full season.  Before the season started, he had already led the NL in hits, doubles, and hitting.  In 1957, Aaron really began to show his power leading the league in homers. His 118 runs and 132 rbis also paced the league.


Season Totals
1957 Totals 151 675 615 118 198 27 6 44 132 1 57 58 .322 .378 .600
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/27/2017.


Very rarely, does APBA give out three first column 5s.  With runners on base (especially first, second, or first and third) this card is lethal with power numbers 1-5-5-5.  Aaron isn’t done yet.  He also has a nifty 55-7.

I keep looking over Aaron’s 57 card and expecting to find a hidden 13 somewhere but no, he really does have just two 13s (he seems to have a couple extra 32s to fill the void).

Fun numbers: 33-5, 22-5, 55-7

Doug can correct me but if memory serves, the entire 1957 Milwaukee Braves team is a lot of fun.  Schoendienst has a nice card (2B-9 and 55-7??) and very decent pitching led by Warren Spahn.

thanks, Doug!



Weird Card Wednesday: 1985 Carlton Fisk


Courtesy of Rich Selg, this 1985 Carlton Fisk card appears like your prototypical slugging catcher.  Until you look a little harder.

Season Totals
1985 Totals 153 148 543 85 129 23 1 37 107 17 52 81 .238 .320 .488
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/22/2017.


Fisk, who had by 1985 had migrated to the Southside, is rated slow, and has plenty of power with numbers 1-1-0-0.  He doesn’t hit much else (he has a 25-9). 

But wait. What is a slow catcher who played 153 games doing with a 15-11?  Sure enough, Carlton Fisk stole a career high 17 stolen bases (he also stole 17 in 1982). 

Fisk has three 14s but can add a 61-42 HBP to the mix.  Fisk is due the 42 because of (yes) 17 hit-by-pitches. 

He also has a 14-30, a 21-30 and a 23-30 giving him three 30 result numbers in a range of six dice roll numbers on the card. 

thanks, Rich!



1975 Reds and Joe Jackson top Prairieland Tournament selection draft!

joe jacksonWho will be playing in April’s Prairieland APBA Baseball Tournament?  Well, we know now!  The Prairieland Draft selection finished in less than three days thanks to draftmaster Eric Berg.  You can see the results here at Eric’s blog Red 11

The 1975 Reds were the very first choice made by Chris Strangeman.  The second pick made by Eric Berg, was Shoeless Joe Jackson.

I was very interested to see how this draft would shape up.  I was pretty sure I was going to pick a fantasy deadball player in the first round but I was in the minority.  Only eight players out of 24 were chosen in the first round.  The others opted to choose their team and waited till the second round to pick their deadball player. 

The Los Angeles Dodgers were the most popular team from the 1970-2000 era chosen.  In order, the 1977, 1978, 1981, and 1985 LA teams were taken.  The New York Yankees were the next popular with three (1998, 1977, 2000). 

Among the fantasy deadball players, there was a mix of position players and pitchers taken.   In addition to Jackson, Walter Johnson was taken third overall followed by Napoleon Lajoie sixth overall.  It wasn’t until the 22nd and 23rd pick when deadball hotshots Wagner and Cobb were chosen.  Indeed, it shouldn’t be surprising there were plenty of deadball pitchers such as Brown, Bender, Joss, Young and Waddell to balance out some of the hitters. 

The most interesting pick?  Hurler Hod Eller was taken in the second round by none other than Bob Eller.  Any relation, Bob?

Many thanks to Eric Berg who managed the draft like a pro this weekend! We now have 24 participants! 

The Prairieland 2 APBA Baseball Tournament will take place in Champaign, Illinois on April 1.  If you are still interested, let me know by March 1 and we will fit you in! 

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