Weird Card Wednesday: 1939 Charley Gehringer


In the days when APBA put the 12 on a different number each year, my friend Don Smith would joke about the possibility of putting it at 66.  “I never roll that number”, he would say. 

This 1939 Charley Gehringer card published in 2015 and posted on Facebook by Ken Schulz has been getting some attention.  It’s isn’t quite the same thing as Don’s dilemma but you get the drift. 

gehringer (2)Some APBA fans commenting on this card are wondering if is this the only APBA card that doesn’t have the best result number at 66.  Gehringer has a 66-6 yet has an 11-1.  Not only is the 11-1 better than the ultimate roll of 66 but so is the 33-3. 

Possibly the strangest thing about this is that the 2012 print of this same card (seen left) has same arrangement.  Tom Goodell submitted the 2012 version of card a couple years ago for Weird Card Wednesday and it has the same 6-1-3-6 power number combination.   

Possibly this is a correct card technically but the power numbers at 11, 33 and 66 should be interchanged to a more palatable 66-1, 11-3, and 33-6.   

Still a fun card but definitely an odd one. 

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Thunderchickens roll a lot more fun in 2017


Eight HR for April

So I’m in the middle of Big Ten baseball season (Go Illini!) and planning for the Prairieland 2 Tournament which is this weekend so it is quite busy.  But it’s March 28th and that means Illowa APBA League stats are due.  My time management skills must be getting better because last night, I powered through all through 30 games from our draft weekend in one sitting. 

So how are we doing?  Well, we’re 14-16 for the young season.  I’ll say one thing though.  Win or lose, the Thunderchickens of 2017 are a lot more fun.  Up and down the order we have production.

Hitting is fun…

A couple newcomers are making waves.  Recent acquisition Asdrubal Cabrera (his former manager Marcus Bunch was fond of calling him “ass-dribble” or “ass-dribs” for short.  Maybe that was bad for motivation).  His hitting .287 with 7 homers and leads the T-chix in rbis with 17 and hits with 35.  Catcher Wilson Ramos who was also acquired in a trade from Don Smith, started his season out by hitting in his first ten games.  He has 17 hits and nine runs in 16 games.  Joc Pederson who was part of a first round pick swap with the Missoula Rattlesnakes, has 26 hits including four homers and 15 rbis. 

The team’s homerun leader may surprise you.  It’s not JD Martinez nor is it Kris Bryant. Jason Kipnis currently leads the squad with 8 dingers.  Kip has been leading off most of the early season. 

I did give first round rookie pick Trea Turner a trial run for ten starts.  He’s 10 for 45 but is easily leading the team in stolen bases with four. 

…but pitching wins games!

There are some surprises on the pitching staff.  They are actually holding their own.  Four of our fourteen wins were shutouts.  Rookie Tyler Anderson pitched one in his first career start.  For the season, he is 2-2 with a 2.57 ERA and 41 Ks in 35 innings.  Tanner Roark (go Illini!) is doing fine with nifty 2.72 ERA and 3-2 record.  Set-up man Kevin Siegrist has allowed just one run in 13 innings and has struck out a total of 21 batters.  Closer Jeurys Familia (3.95 ERA) was doing fine until he blew two saves in a row. 

Jon Niese (2.84 ERA) hasn’t gotten the memo that he is a D pitcher this year.  Please don’t tell him. 

The Trea Turner experiment during the opening weekend was just that… an experiment.  I’m going to rest him a lot more and start using him more in the later half of the season.  His card is limited at 73 games and 307 at-bats but is quite nice with power numbers 1-4-5-6 and three 11s and a 10.  It’s been a long time since I led off a player with a first column but I can afford to do that with this team.  Until he comes back, Brandon Drury (1-0-0-0, 44-7) will fill in nicely). 

The Thunderchickens have the month of April off before they take on the Bunch brothers, Marcus and Dan. 

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Monster Card Monday: 1986 Don Robinson


Ryan Morrison sent me this juicy 1986 Don Robinson card.  I know some of you don’t like Monster cards with few at-bats (especially pitchers) but Don Robby is a deserved selection.  He’s not a one-hit wonder.  He was one of those pitchers who learned to leverage his bat during the game.  While going 109-106 in his 15-year career, he also hit .231 with 13 homers. 

He didn’t hit any homers in 1986 but he went 4 for 6 with a double.  We’re entering Lou Gehrig territory now (Pastor Rich is cringing now). 

Season Totals
1986 Totals 50 6 6 1 4 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 .667 .667 .833
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/27/2017.


What strikes me most is the 9s at the 26 and 46.  A 61-7?  Whoa!  This Don Robinson card has more single digit numbers than not. 

If my memory serves, I faced this card in the Illowa APBA League and Don Robinson was on Chuck Lucas’ Northside Hitmen.  If only our league kept pitching stats. 

thanks Ryan!

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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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Scott Fennessy: Brewers hammer Cubs

325px-18brewer2014aKhris_DavisToday’s game features Jimmy Nelson and Kyle Hendricks. The Brewers have been pretty bad so far, but the Cubs have been struggling a bit of late.

Milwaukee jumps on Hendricks right from the start. Ryan Braun, easily the best player on the team so far draws a one out walk. Khris Davis gets a single that puts runners on the corners and Adam Lind draws a walk to load the bases.

Catcher Miguel Montero goes to the mound to talk to his pitcher and Jonathan Lucroy then gets a sac fly to bring home the first run of the day.

Ryan Gennett smokes a double high off the wall in left center field for two more runs. Shane Peterson grounds out to end the inning but the Brewers are up 3-0 after a half inning of play.

The Brewers and Cubs both hit a series of doubles, as the wind is blowing out pretty hard, but the score was still 3-0 Brewers as the Cubs bat in the bottom of the second.

Montero gets a leadoff single and Chris Coghlan bunts the runner into scoring position and Jorge Soler rips a double to left that scores Montero for the first run of the day. Javier Baez then gets another double to cut the lead to one. Hendricks whiffs to end the inning but the lead is Brewers 3, Cubs 2 after two innings.

The Brewers deliver the killing blow in the fourth inning. Elian Herrera draws a leadoff walk. Jimmy Nelson strikes out. Hernan Perez hits a double and runners are on second and third with one out. Braun then hits a single to right and two runs score as Braun takes second on the throw.

The pitching coach comes to the mound to stall for time and Davis then hits a single to score Braun and Hendricks is done for the day. Lind hits a single and runners are on first and second. Lucroy hits another in a seemingly endless line of hits that scores a run. Gennett gets a single and the bases are now loaded.

Peterson hits a fly ball to medium left field and another run scores. Herrera and Nelson are retired and the inning is mercifully over.

The score remained 8-2 Brewers on top as we reach the 8th inning. Nelson is still in and looking sharp as Dexter Fowler draws a leadoff walk. He was off with the pitch and Castro rips one into left center that rolls all the way to the wall to score Fowler. Castro then steals third and was there with one out when Kris Bryant hits a sacrifice fly to score another run. Montero strikes out and the inning is over and the Cubs trail 8-4. This was the final score as the Brewers continued to pound away at the Cubs bullpen but fortunately no further runs scored.

Kyle Hendricks takes the loss while Jimmy Nelson gets the victory. Khris Davis was the star of the day going 5 for 5 with a walk and oddly enough only 1 RBI.

Around the horn:

The Nationals get a rare win against the Mets as Bryce Harper goes 4-5 with a HR and 4 RBI

Carlos Santana of the Indians hits his second grand slam of the season. He is the only player in my replay history with two career slams.

Kevin Gausman throws a 5-0 shutout of the Tampa Rays

photo credit

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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! 

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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!

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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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Scott Fennessy: Lester shuts down Brewers

jon lesterWrigley Field
Chicago, IL
May 2, 2015

Fresh off of last night’s victory the Cubs face the Brewers in the second game of this series. Today sees Jorge Lopez and Jon Lester match up. Lester, fresh off a solid performance last time makes quick work of the Brewers and the Cubs come to bat in the bottom of the inning. Dexter Fowler, who has suddenly remembered how to hit lately gets a single on the very first pitch of the game. Dex is off with the pitch and Starlin Castro rips a double into left that scores the runner. Anthony Rizzo gets a inside fastball and he hits this one hard. It’s high and deep and hits off the wall for another double that scores Castro.

Kris Bryant strikes out for the first out of the inning. Miguel Montero slaps a single to left and another run scores. Chris Coghlan draws a walk to put runners on first and second. Lopez calms down and gets the next two batters and the inning ends with the Cubs on top 3-0.

The Brewers had a chance in the second inning, but the Cubs defense, which has been much worse than expected so far finally comes into play Adam Lind hits a single to left, and Jonathan Lucroy rips a hard grounder to Starlin Castro who makes a nice toss to Javy Baez at short, who fires the throw to Rizzo for a rally killing double play. Ryan Gennett then hits a bullet down the third base line, but Bryant makes a terrific diving stop and throws him out on a bang bang play at first to end the inning.

Both pitchers then take control for a while and the Cubs then strike again in the bottom of the fourth inning. Austin Jackson draws a leadoff walk and after a single by Baez puts runners on first and third. Lester moves the runner to second while Jackson holes third and he scores on a ground out by Fowler. The inning ends with the Cubs on top 4-0.

Nothing changed until the top of the sixth inning when Bryant boots a grounder by Jean Segura, who then steals second base with two out. Ryan Braun hits a single up the middle to score the first run of the day for Milwaukee. Khris Davis flies out but the Brewers have cut the lead to 4-1 in the of the sixth inning.

Chicago gets the run right back in the bottom of the inning when Lester hits a soft single to left with one out. Corey Knebel, who has come in relief of Lopez then loses command suddenly and walks Fowler and Castro to load the bases. Rizzo hits another deep blast, but this one to center field that is caught at the wall and Jackson scores. Bryant hits into an inning ending double play, but the score is now 5-1 Cubs on top after six innings.

Things remained the same until the top of the eight inning when Domingo Santana pinch hits for Knebel and hits an epic blast onto Sheffield Avenue on a Lester fastball. Jon settles down though and gets the next two hitters and the inning ends with Chicago on top 5-2, which is how the game ended as neither team added anything.

Around the horn:

Christian Bergman of the Rockies tosses a 3 hit shutout against the Padres in San Diego
Nathan Evoldi strikes out 11 as the Yankees beat the Red Sox 9-4
Minnesota’s Eddie Rosario hits a GW HR in bottom of 9th inning atainst the White Sox
Jake Odorizzi ties record with 7 straight K’s in Baltimore. The Orioles still win 6-1

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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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