8
February

Weird Card Wednesday: 1974 Phil Gagliano

2860

My friend Don Smith has been conducting a little Illowa APBA League “spring training” for his Molly Putts Marauders before our regular season starts.  I’ve seen some of his writeups on Facebook.  Quite enjoyable. 

Don told me that in his quest in finding teams to play Molly, he ran across this 1974 Phil Gagliano card from the Reds.  Now Phil was in his last year of his career and didn’t hit much.  However for some reason, he managed to draw a fair amount of walks in his short playing time.  He went 2 for 31 for a dismal .065 average but still walked 15 times! 

 

Split G GS PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
1974 Totals 46 0 46 31 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 15 7 .065 .370 .065
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/8/2017.

 

Hitting-wise, Phil’s card is pretty much like your standard American League pitcher’s card (7-8-9).  Then you get to the 14s.  He has a total of 12 of them. 

I guess if you absolutely, positively need that runner on base, right?

I told Don that I was familiar with Gagliano.  He plays for the Cardinals in my 1966 replay.  Gagliano was never a full-time star but 1965-1967 was as close as he would come to being a big part of the team.  APBA-wise, his 1966 card is pretty tame compared to this one. He has 0-0-7-7 plus a 15-10.  Oh and he only has three 14s.

I happened to notice that Phil Gagliano passed away just a month and a half ago on December 19, 2016.  I happened to notice it on Baseball Reference’s front page recognizing recent deaths.  While I had no previous connection with him, I felt a twinge since he no longer was around only because of my 1966 replay.

thanks, Don!

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7
February

Prairieland 2 is nearing!

IMG_2524

It is getting close to April 1st and that means Prairieland 2 tourney time!  More to the point, in less than two weeks, tourney participants will be selecting their teams and fantasy players in a two-round snake style draft. 

The draft will begin on February 18 and Eric Berg is taking over the process.  Here is his write-up on the matter on his blog, Red 11. 

Again, the details:

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

We’re currently at 22 participants right now.  We don’t plan on turning anyone away even after the selection process so if you decide you want to have some fun, we would love to have you! 

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6
February

Monster Card Monday: 2016 Zach Britton

britton2016

When Pastor Rich Zawadzki sent me this Zach Britton card for last season and said “Monster card”, I first thought he was referring to Zach’s hitting skills.  I’m a little behind the times though.  It was in 2011 when Britton was a C starter but had double 1s and a 25-7

Of course, once I saw Rich’s card, I was instantly reminded of Britton’s excellent season out of the pen last year.  His 0.54 ERA and 47 saves for the Orioles qualified him for the rare A&B* grade. 

I Split W L W-L% ERA G GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO
  2016 Totals 2 1 .667 0.54 69 63 0 0 47 67.0 38 7 4 1 18 74
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/6/2017.

By the way, Britton’s grade translates to 28* if you’re playing the Master Game.  That’s two points less than the highest MG grade of 30 given out by APBA.  In addition, Britton struck out 74 batters and only walked 18 in 67 innings.  For that, he will receive the additional threat of the XYZ ratings.  Batters beware!

Did Zach get a monster hitting card?  Nope, he received a standard 7-8-9 American League pitchers’ card.  That’s ok.  Hitting isn’t in his job description anymore. 

thanks, Rich! 

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1
February

Scott Fennessy: Pirates extract revenge on Cubs

457px-Andrew_McCuthen_during_Spring_Training,_March_8,_2016Wrigley Field
Chicago, IL
April 27, 2015

The Cubs return home after a terrific home stand and face the Pirates in the opening game of the series. Tonight’s game features a solid matchup between Gerrit Cole (2-1) who lost to Chicago last time out on an Anthony Rizzo homer late in the game. He faces Jon Lester (3-0).

The Pirates score first, and Lester did most of the work for them. He was unusually wild, walking two hitters, hitting a batter and threw a wild pitch that allowed a run to score. Catcher Miguel Montero had a conversation with his hurler and gets the next two hitters, but the Pirates get a 1-0 lead, and honestly Lester should be glad it was not a lot more.

The wild bug must be in the air tonight as Cole also struggled in the first inning. He walked Dexter Fowler, hit Rizzo, which lead to a heated exchange between the two and the umpire issued warnings to both teams. Miguel Montero singled but Fowler was nailed at the plate as the inning ends with the Pirates still holding a 1-0 lead.

The score was still the same as we head to the fourth inning, and while neither pitcher seems to have good control tonight Cole is starting to game command of his breaking ball while Lester seems to be having “one of those nights”.

Francisco Cervelli rips a one out double off the left center field door, and it looked like the Cubs could still get out of the inning but Gerrit Cole slips a two strike grounder that is just out of Javier Baez’s reach for an RBI single. Fowler makes a strong throw but Cervelli was off with the pitch and slides in just ahead of Montero’s tag. Cole had moved to second on the throw and he scores on Sterling Marte’s single to right. Lester gets the third out, but the lead for Pittsburgh is now 3-0.

The Cubs go down quietly in the fourth, but the Pirates continue to hit. (probably remembering last week’s whippings laid on them) Jung Ho Kang draws a one out walk. The bullpen is now in action as Neil Walker, returning from a brief DL stint hits one that Starlin Castro boots and runners are on the corners.

Pedro Alvarez hits a single to center and Kang scores. Montero comes to the mound again as the bullpen is not ready yet. Jordy Mercer ends Lester’s terrible night with an RBI double into the left field corner and two more runs score. Brian Schlitter comes in to finish the inning, but he Pirates are well ahead now with a 6-0 lead.

Cole finally gets control of the strike zone and the Cubs are pretty much toast at this point. Schlitter is replaced by C.J. Edwards who really gets hit hard in the sixth inning. After striking out Marte he grooves a pitch that Gregory Polanco powders for a solo homer to left field. Andrew McCutchen singles and is erased in a fielder’s choice by Kang, and Kang moves to third on Walker’s first hit of the evening. Alvarez hits a soft single to center that scores another run and the inning ends shortly afterward with the Pirates now leading 8-0.
That was still the score in the bottom of the ninth when Chris Coghlan hits a two run shot to finally put the Cubs on the scoreboard, but the final ended up Pittsburgh 8, Chicago 2. The Cubs are still ahead of the surprisingly strong Phillies, but the Pirates move into third place.

For the Cubs pitching it was not all bad, as Rafael Soriano and James Russell each chip in a scoreless inning.

Andrew McCutchen is still the heart of this team, hitting .406 with 6 HR and 20 RBI, but Jung Ho Kang is quietly hitting .314.

Around the horn:

Matt Garza of the Brewers had a great night by anyone’s standards, but for a D starter, going the distance and allowing just 1 run on three hits is a masterpiece.

Clayton Kershaw is starting to go on a roll. After a 10 strikeout performance last time out he strikes out 15 as the Dodgers beat the Padres 6-1 in San Diego.

Just a week ago Zach Duke of the White Sox set the consecutive strikeout record. The previous record had stood for 4 years. It took Danny Salazar of the Indians a week to break it. He struck out 7 straight against the tough Kansas City Royals, who have been playing better ball lately.

[photo credit]

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29
January

Starting from scratch: a video tutorial on setting up replay stats with Excel

I received some good feedback on my video tour of my Excel stats setup of my 1966 National League replay so I thought I’d put together a series of videos on how I got to the point where I’m at now.  Here is the first one.

The best place to start is at the beginning.  This current video starts with a blank Excel worksheet and essentially recreates the player stats sheets.  As I mention in the video, once you get a good template created, it can be copied and used over again.

 

[note: make sure you watch this video in full screen]

There is nothing elaborate or mystical shown in this video.  While this shows only the player entry sheets of my stats setup, it is the important part.  This is where all the data comes from.  Without it, there are no leaderboards, standings, team stats or anything else.

I will go into how that is set up in future tutorials.

Formulas used

Average=E3/C3

…where E3 = hits and C3 = At-bats

 

Slugging Percentage=(E3+F3+(2*G3)+(3*H3))/C3

…where E3=hits, F3=doubles, G3=triples, H3= homeruns and C3=At-bats

 

On-base Percentage: =(E3+J3+M3)/(C3+J3+M3)

…where E3=hits, J3=walks, M3=HBP, C3=At-bats

 

Earned Run Average: =9/E3*H3

… where E3=innings pitched and H3=earned runs.

Keep in mind that formatting can be done to personalize the page the way you want it.  The exercise file (which you can download here) is pretty drab but you can give it a little color and flair.

Next time around, I’ll focus on using pasted links to display one team’s roster and stats on one page.

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26
January

Rod’s Replay Insider: More on the fielding range chart

RC-fielding-chart

Here’s quick primer on what you will find in the Fielding Range Chart.

 

1) Numerical breaks that quickly define Fielding One, Two, and Three

Each position is listed, accompanied by the numbers that define Fielding Two.

For example, for catchers and 2b rated 5, anything between 14-21 is Fielding Two. Dice rolls between 11-13 are Fielding One. Dice rolls from 22-66 are Fielding Three.

Another example: for outfielders rated 2, or team totals and infield totals rated Fielding Two, a dice roll between 31-46 is Fielding Two. Dice rolls between 11-26 are Fielding One. Dice rolls between 51-66 are Fielding Three.

 

2) Catcher wild throws

The chart shows each catching grade, accompanied, in superscript (the little number next to the dice roll), the single die roll that defines a potential wild throw, and the necessary single die roll that would result in a wild throw.

For example, suppose you have a C-8. If an opponent steals a base, you would roll two dice. If the result was 22, 53, or 61, you potentially have a wild throw. If you rolled a 22 and then rolled a 3, you would have a wild throw. You would then you would consult APBA’s Wild Throws to Second with Runners on First Only to get the result of the wild throw.

 

3) A bases empty RP listing of dice rolls that result in a ball, strike, or foul ball

This only works with the bases empty.

With the bases empty, 14 numbers result in either a ball, strike, or foul ball all the way across the RP results board. They are listed under Bases Empty, saving you the time required to consult the RP board. To clarify, this does not apply with men on base, only with nobody on.

The shorthand version of the Fielding Chart does not totally eliminate the Fielding Chart but once you use it for a while, it’s a great time saver.  Click here for a pdf version of the Fielding Chart.

 

Next: Tracking pinch hitting

Read all of Rod’s Replay Insider articles!

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25
January

Scott Fennessy: Road trip ends with huge victory

298px-Miguel_Montero_on_July_16,_2016 (1)Great American Ballpark
Cincinnati, OH
April 26, 2015

The Cubs conclude their eastern road trip today as Jake Arrieta (3-1) faces Jason Marquis (1-3). The Reds bats have been extremely quiet this season, and while Chicago has a great start going, but despite their excellent defensive ratings across the board they have played terrible defense so far.

Marquis, who is not exactly known as a “fireballer” gets off to a great start by striking out the first two hitters, but lets his guard down a bit and Anthony Rizzo, who had been slumping of late rips this into the right field bleachers for his 4th homer of the year. Marquis gets the next hitter, but the inning ends with the visitors leading by one.

Jake gets a bit of a tough start in the bottom of the inning. Skip Schumaker rips a double into right center field with one out and Joey Votto draws a two out walk to put runners on first and second, but Eugenio Suarez whiffs to end the rally and the score is still 1-0 Cubs.

The score was unchanged as we reached the third inning. Dexter Fowler, who was struggling at .231 coming into this game slaps an opposite field single and steals second after a bit of cat and mouse at first base. Starlin Castro, who has been the team’s MVP for the month of April so far hits a single to center that scores Fowler with the second run of the day for Chicago. Castro had to hold at first, but he steals second soon afterward and ends up stranded there as the inning ends with the home team losing by two runs.

Arrieta gets a quick inning in the bottom of the third and the game is still close, but that all changed in the fourth inning. Miguel Montero, who has really come through in the early going smashed an opposite field homer to start the inning. Chris Coghlan hits a floater over second for a single. Chris Denorfia, who was in for the slumping Austin Jackson hits a single that puts runners on the corners with one out, and they were still there with two outs when Dexter Fowler walks to load the bases.

Castro pulls a fastball into left field and two runs score and the lead is now 5-0. The pitching coach comes out to calm Marquis down and it worked as he gets Rizzo to end the inning.

Arrieta is really starting to come around (I guess a five run lead will do that) and he gets another 1-2-3 inning. The Cubs come to bat in the top of the fifth inning and now things come undone at last for the Reds. Montero gets his third straight hit with a single to right. Coghlan follows up with a single to center, but Montero is gunned down at third for out number two. Javier Baez, who is in for the struggling Addison Russell and his .207 average smokes a drive that hit the wall just under the basket in left for an RBI double.

The manager has seen enough and Collin Balester is in. He walks Denorfia, and Arrieta hits a sure inning ender right at him, but he bobbles the ball and the error has loaded the bases. Fortunately he gets Fowler to fly to right and the inning is over with the Reds losing 6-0.

The Reds go down quickly in the fifth and now Nate Adcock is in and shuts the Cubs down for the first time in the sixth inning. The Reds don’t score after the sixth inning ends and Adcock comes in for his last inning of work.

It was a mistake the Reds manager would regret. Montero gets his fourth straight hit and Coghlan hits a fly ball that hits the wall and rattles around in the corner for an RBI triple. The bullpen is starting to work for the Reds, but it’s not in time. Baez slams his second double of the day that scores Coghlan. The pitching coach comes to the mound to stall for time. Castro gets an RBI double and Rizzo makes the merciful final out and the inning ends with the Cubs comfortably on top 10-0.

Arrieta struggles a bit and is finally tiring a bit, but he still has a shutout as the seventh inning closes. Donovan Hand is in for the Reds and he is the first Cincy pitcher that has an answer to the Cubs bats. He strikes out two of the three hitters he faces and the Reds now need to do something to make this close.

Billy Hamilton hits a single to left. He was on second with one out when Jay Bruce crushes a fastball for a two run shot and the Reds are on the board. One out later Suarez crushes a towering homer to right that nearly left the stadium, but Brandon Phillips strikes out and the inning is over with the Reds now trailing 10-3.

Hand stays in the game and looks great again. He gets the Cubs in order, and Joe Maddon has decided to let Jake Arrieta go the distance, and he does that in style. He strikes out the side and the final four hitters overall. The Cubs get a big win and remain in first place.

For the Cubs Jake Arrieta walked two and struck out 8 and allowed just the three runs. Miguel Montero was the star on offense (there were many) with a 4-5 night. Starlin Castro and Chris Coghlan had three hits apiece.

Around the horn:

Zack Greinke lost on a game winning homer by little Alexi Amarista with two out in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Jason Kipnis of the Indians continues to impress with a .388 average and 18 RBI’s in 17 games.

Joe Kelly of the Red Sox, a C starter continues to pitch well. He is 3-1 with a 3.21 ERA after shutting out the Orioles 8-0.

Eddie Rosario of the Twins is overcoming a slow start and is now hitting .324 with 6 homers.

[photo credit]

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25
January

Weird Card Wednesday: 1968 Cesar Tovar

tovar 68

No dashes for 1968 Minnesota Twin Cesar Tovar’s APBA card.  There is no room with every position listed on his card. 

All told, Tovar is rated as a 3B-4, OF-2, SS-6, 2B-6, C-5, 1B-2, and a Grade DXW P-1.  Whew! 

While Tovar is quite the versatile player (I count at least eleven years when he played at least four positions), he did play all nine positions (including all three outfield spots) in one game towards the end of the 1968 season. 

tovarNot only did Tovar play every position but he almost did so in order of number designated to each fielder (P-C-1B-2B-SS-3B-LF-CF-RF). 

Here is the boxscore of the Twins’ 2-1 win over Oakland on September 22nd.  Tovar went 1 for 3 with a stolen base and a run.  Tovar started the game and went one inning in his only appearance of the year.  He allowed one walk and struck out one in the scoreless inning. 

Because of the shenanigans involving Tovar, other players’ involvement looks a little strange too.  In the game, Graig Nettles went from first base to center field to third.  Carew took a break from playing second to cover short.  And look at Bob Allison who started in left, went to center, back to left and ended the game in center again. 

Thanks Kevin Weber!

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23
January

Monster Card Monday: 1973 Hank Aaron

73 Aaron

No doubt, Hank Aaron is recognized as one of the all-time greats.  Yet, in some ways, he is still underrated.  Here is a man who was hitting double-digit homers ten years before I was born.  He still managed to have a superstar year as I was entering junior high school.  Lance Freezeland was excited to see this card when he opened his package from APBA.  Of course, Hammerin’ Hank was first one on top. 

Aaron’s year in 1973 prompts a popular trivia question.  That year, the Braves were the first team to have three players to hit at least 40 homeruns.  Aaron (40), Dave Johnson (43) and Darrell Evans (41) all helped to accomplish the feat. 

Aaron’s 1973 season turned out to be a chase for the all-time homerun record.  What should have been a glorious event for Hank turned out to tainted by threats and racism.  Aaron handled it with grace and got the job done but not till the next season in 1974. 

Overall, Aaron hit .301 with 40 homers, 96 rbis with a nice .643 slugging percentage. 

 

Split G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
1973 Totals 120 465 392 84 118 12 1 40 96 1 68 51 .301 .402 .643
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/23/2017.

 

Three ones.  You don’t see that often especially on a starter.  In addition, Aaron received a 44-7 plus four 8s (making him especially dangerous against C and D starters). 

Aaron only doubled 12 times in relation to his 40 homers so his one 6 is justified (watch out with a runner on third base, though!).

By the age of 39, Aaron had lost his Fast speed rating and his OF-3 defensive rating but he still showed good bat control.  Unlike today, three 13s was probably considered a lot back in the early 70s but it is balanced by four 14s.

Fun numbers:  33-1, 11-1, 64-14

I see that that the 12 on this set is placed on the 42.  I believe that is the “best” dice roll number that APBA has historically placed the 12. 

If anyone is interested, I recommend reading this SABR bio by Bill Johnson.  It’s a good snapshot of Aaron’s life. 

thanks to Lance!

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18
January

Scott Fennessy: Reds edge Cubs in series opener

336px-Todd_FrazierGreat American Ballpark
Cincinnati, OH
April 24, 2015

The Cubs come to Cincinnati having moved into first place after the Dodgers loss last night. Tonight Travis Wood (1-1) faces Anthony DeScalfani (1-2), who beat the Cubs earlier this year. The Cubs get things started quickly as leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler pulls a fastball that rattles around and he pulls into third with a triple.

Starlin Castro hits a 2-2 fly ball to deep center field. Speedy Billy Hamilton makes a great running catch, but has no chance at the runner and the Cubs are on top 1-0. Anthony Rizzo hits a fly ball that Skip Schumaker catches in left for out number two. Kris Bryant gets a one out single but the inning ends with no more runs.

Wood comes out and gets the Reds in order and both pitchers look in top form today. There was not much happening for either side until the Reds tie the game. Todd Frazier doubled and Brayan Pena was hit by a pitch. Billy Hamilton singles in Frazier and Wood settles down and stops the rally, but the game is tied.

The Cubs regain the lead in the sixth inning. Just like earlier today Fowler hits the ball hard again. This time on a 0-2 breaking ball that lands on the warning track. The ball one hops over the wall in right for a ground rule double. Castro strikes out and Rizzo pops up to Brandon Phillips at short, and it looks like the Reds are going to get out of trouble until Bryant hits a shot up the middle for a single to give the Cubs a two run lead.

Bryant catches DeScalfani sleeping and steals second on a close play. This seems to throw the Cincy hurler who grooves a flat slider that Miguel Montero deposited deep into the left field seats for a two run homer and the Cubs are now on top 4-0. Chris Coghlan strikes out and the inning is over at last.

The home team seems to have plenty of fight left in them however; Joey Votto draws a leadoff walk. Eugenio Suarez hits a hard grounder that Castro snags, then turns to fire to Addison Russell at the bag for a sure double play. Unfortunately he drops the ball and gets charged with an error. The runners move to second and third with two outs when Pena hits a towering fly ball that drops into the power alley for a two run double. DeScalfani is lifted for a pinch hitter and the inning is over soon afterward, but the Reds are still in this game, down by just one run after six innings.

The score was unchanged as we head to the bottom of the eighth inning. Travis Wood had been lifted for Jason Motte who had shut the Reds down for one inning but was not able to get through a second inning. Votto walks again and was moved to second by a Suarez sacrifice and was still there with two outs when Todd Frazier hits a massive shot that bounces off the roof of the center field hitting background for a two run homer and suddenly the Reds have a 5-4 lead. Pena grounds out to end the inning and the Cubs now have the difficult task of facing Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning. After walking Austin Jackson he gets the next three hitters with ease and the Reds earn a hard fought victory.

Manny Parra came in for DeScalfani for the victory after two solid innings of relief and Chapman gets his second save of the year. The loss was somewhat difficult for Jason Motte, as Todd Frazier came into this game with a .160 average.

Dexter Fowler had to well hit balls for extra bases. Combined with his performance in Pittsburgh it looks like he may finally be coming around. That is good news, as Anthony Rizzo, Austin Jackson and Addison Russell are struggling badly. Russell and Jackson will most likely not start in the next game.

Around the horn:

The first place Houston Astros had great all-around performance against the Oakland A’s. Houston punished the A’s 15-0. They scored all of the runs after the sixth inning. Scott Kazmir tossed a three hit shutout. Carlos Correa hits another homer, giving him 13 in 15 games. He and “Instant Offense” Jose Altuve are both hitting over .400.

The Tigers got a rare win tonight as Miguel Cabrera hits a two run homer in the bottom of the 10th inning as the Tigers beat the Indians 5-3.

Andre Ethier of the Dodgers is having a terrific start. He is hitting .436 with 10 RBI’s in the early going.

[photo credit]

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