Mike McClurg sends us info on the Mason Dixon TableTop League. The name of the MDTL, which started back 1973, is not new to me. Indeed with names of APBA players like McClurg, Tom Heiderscheit and Jim Boylan, I remember seeing this league referred to in the old APBA Journal many times.
Info on the MDTL:
Mason Dixon TableTop League
||Mike McClurg Jr
|# of teams
|Year of inception
|Does your league play…
||Primarily Virginia but managers in NC, RI, IA, MS, OH and AL
Here is Mike’s fantastic history of the MDTL:
The MDTL was created in 1973 by Bud Funk and Glenn Hampton, two law students at William & Mary. The first season was an eight team League. All eight Managers were friends of Funk or Hampton. The APBA Baseball board game was chosen for League play.
After the first season it was decided to expand the League to 12 teams and some Managers dropped out so an ad was placed in the (now defunct) APBA Journal to fill the vacancies. Answering that ad and joining the League in Season Two was (now Commissioner) Mike McClurg Sr. During Season Two another vacancy occurred and that team was taken by Mike McClurg Jr. who was 14 years old at the time.
Season 3 saw Jim Boylan join the League.
After Season 3 a convention was held in Richmond, VA with Bud Funk hosting what became the annual event that continues today. The League Convention now includes voting on Rule changes proposed by the Managers as well as the Money Draft and Secondary Draft where the teams are formulated for the following season.
Howard Frey came into the League for Season 6.
Season 8 welcomed Don Litewski, Charlie Tibbs, Keith Riggs and Elliott Atherholt.
The League expanded to 16 teams in Season 9 and Brian Devine came on board.
Gary Hartman joined in Season 10, Nick Sellman started in Season 11 and Greg Freaney began in Season 12. Greg’s brother Pat became a Manager in Season 15.
Terry Evans joined for Season 21. Season 22 saw the League expand to 18 teams and 3 six team Divisions were formed. Steve Allen joined the League along with the expansion to 18 teams.
Nellwyn Tibbs joined for Season 23 and the rivalry in the Tibbs household was born.
Season 27 saw another expansion of the League to the present total of 20 teams divided into 4 five team Divisions. Expansion Managers joining were Robbie Riggs and Dan Litewski.
Scott Egge and David Bardo entered the League for Season 32 and Mike McCoobery joined the group during the off-season prior to Season 34.
Tom Heiderscheit joined for Season 36 and Todd Davis joined for Season 37. Gregg Hansen, Jimm Smedley along with Larry Wilson became Managers for Season 38 replacing Nick Sellman, Mike McCoobery and Tom Heiderscheit.
The MDTL has evolved into a ‘family’ type arrangement where several Managers have resigned from the League for various reasons but have returned in subsequent years. Mangers that left and returned are Charlie Tibbs, Nick Sellman, Keith Riggs, Terry Evans, Pat Freaney, Mike Freaney, Liam Freaney, Gary Hartman and David Bardo. A total of 63 different Managers will have participated starting with the League’s 38th season.
Sadly, Greg Freaney passed away in 2007. Greg was a MDTL manager for 24 years. His team, the Star City Giants, was taken over by his nephew, Liam Freaney.
While the APBA Baseball Basic board game continues as the foundation of League play many adjustments have been incorporated into the General Rules as voted in by Managers at yearly conventions. Newer APBA products such as the Master Game and 66! are given consideration and are adopted or rejected by a vote of the League Managers at an annual convention. The new 66! Boards were voted in for use beginning with Season 34 along with MDTL enhancements.
Following our Convention on February 28, 2010 as teams were preparing for Season 38, we received the terrible news that Don Litewski, a 30 year member of the League, had passed away in his sleep. The League will miss one of its most loyal participants. Don was a true southern gentleman and always made positive contributions to the MDTL. The League will find a way to truly honor Don that recognizes his love for this baseball league and its Managers. The League has decided to rename the Tidewater Division to the Litewski Division.
Season 39 welcomed a new Manager Ray Couch along with the return of JAC Cales, a 10 year veteran of earlier seasons who twice was a World Series champion. Season 40’s Manager roster adds Ed Voshall and Rick Larson.
As the 2012-40 season was starting, we all received the devastating news that our leader, friend and commissioner for 38 years Mike McClurg Sr. lost his battle with cancer. To honor Mike we have renamed the league, Mike McClurg Sr. Mason Dixon Tabletop League MM-MDTL.
Thanks for passing this bit of APBA history on, Mike!
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