Prairieland APBA Baseball Tournament: Team selection by March 1

It’s less than 2 1/2 months away from the Prairieland APBA Baseball Tournament.  The tournament is scheduled for April 16th at the Hampton Inn in Urbana, Illinois. 

Right now we have at least ten participants with eight confirmed teams taken.  Here is the latest roll call:

Dick Butler 1908 Chicago Cubs
Lew Ramey 1908 New York Giants
Tom Fulton 1911 New York Giants
Thomas Nelshoppen 1930 New York Giants
Bob Eller 1948 Cleveland Indians
Eric Berg 1969 Minnesota Twins
Lance Freezeland 1977 LA Dodgers
Dave Rueck 2015 Pittsburgh Pirates


There a few attendees still deciding what team they would like to bring.  I mean, that’s part of the fun!

I am going to establish March 1st as a “soft” deadline for new participants to register and let me know which teams they would like to play at PABT.  If you want to take on the Prairieland APBA Baseball Tournament, feel free to email me or let us know on the tournament event page on Facebook.  Remember, only teams with less than 100 wins are eligible to be chosen.  Full rules can be found here.  

We will certainly accept registrants after the March 1 date but this will help give the organizers a better sense of who is coming and what teams will be used. 

Looking forward to this! 

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1966 replay: Sammy Ellis rebounds against ‘Goliath’ Dodgers

66ellisIt was like David versus Goliath 1966-style. 

The Cincinnati Reds were taking on the dominant Los Angeles Dodgers in my 1966 basic game replay.  The Reds (8-11) lost the first game of the series 10-3 to give the Dodgers a commanding lead in the NL with a 18-5 won-loss record. 

Going into the second game of the series, the Reds had Sammy Ellis on the mound.  So far, it is safe to say that Ellis has been the worst pitcher in my replay.  A DY, he had a 0-5 record.  Worse than that, he has the absolute worst ERA among all qualifiers by a long shot.  In 22 innings, he has given up 30 earned runs for a nasty (and I don’t mean that in a nice way) 12.27 mark.

To make matters worse, Ellis was going up against Dandy Don Drysdale.  With a 4-0 record, Drysdale (CYZ) has helped LA surge this early season with a 2.00 ERA.  Yes, the baseball pundits had all but written off this game that took place on May 7th, 1966. 

But Sammy Ellis gave those pundits something to write about.  He got into a groove and threw a four-hit shutout against the Bums.  Drysdale actually didn’t pitch too bad either giving up just one run.  Tommy Helms rbi single drove home Pete Rose who reached on a leadoff double in the sixth inning.  That one run was just enough to take down the seemingly unstoppable Dodgers as Cincinnati won 1-0.

Ellis’ ERA went down a full three and a half points in that one game from 12.27 to 8.71.  For that matter, Drysdale’s did too.  His 1.88 ERA now ranks fifth in the league. 


In other news:  Once I get my May 7th set of games done, one of the biggest trades will happen in my 1966 replay. 

The Giants will send Orlando Cepeda to the Cardinals for Ray Sadecki.  It can’t happen soon enough for the last place Cardinals (7-13).  They have experimented with George Kernek and Tito Francona at first with no luck.  Getting Baby Bull with help with their depth at that position.  As for Sadecki and the Giants, well, at least SF will get a decent hitting pitcher. 

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TBL previews this Saturday’s draft

One thing I’ve found is that there are a lot of good writers among the APBA crowd.  You’ve already read Rod Caborn’s write-ups on his OAPBA league or his 1911 replay.  There is something about playing the game that makes you want to tell others about it. 

Well the Transcontinental Baseball League is having their annual draft this Saturday.  Steve Stein always forwards me the draft previews written by the league members and I’m glad he does.  Not only are they informational but they are quite funny.  It’s probably no coincidence that they are so well-written.  TBL is home to Walter Hunt who is a science fiction writer (read his APBA Blog fan profile here).  It must run in the league.

So here are TBL’s draft previews.  They come highly recommended by me. 

The Stat-Drunk Computer Nerd looks at the 2016 TBL draft

2016 Giuseppi’s Tip Sheet

Whitey’s Rap Sheet

Steve says that TBL will be drafting at noon on Saturday February 6 in Milford, Massachusetts.  Those interested can follow the draft at their online draft tracker

Good luck, TBL and thanks for the info and the laughs… not to mention doing our draft homework for the rest of us.

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Correa, Bryant top RCMBA draft


RCMBA draft day (Left to right: Bob Fenili, Ken Brand, Joe Jutzi, Mark Gaudiano, Ed Morgans, John Briggs, Joe Reagan, Randy Pritchard, Joe Skovran, Mike Fisher)

It’s February 2nd and at least here in Illinois, the groundhog didn’t see his shadow.  So if you believe in the folklore, we won’t have long to wait for spring.  Another tell-tale sign of spring is APBA leagues getting ready for their annual drafts.  My basic league will be gathering in a couple weeks for our rookie draft.  The Boys of Summer have finished their postseason and Shawn Baier has promised that we’ll be starting the drafting process soon. 

But what’s this?  The Roberto Clemente Memorial Baseball Association has already drafted?  No sooner had John Briggs sent me his press release on the event than emails about the RCMBA draft last Saturday were being sent to the Illowa League list. 

It wasn’t just idle curiosity that prompted our league’s interest in the RCMBA’s draft.  As fellow IAL manager Don Smith says, “Their player pool is similar to the ILLOWA League.”  See, every league has different rules on who is eligible to picked.  I’ve noticed throughout the years that certain leagues’ draft rules resemble the Illowa’s more than others.  RCMBA is one them.  The IAL managers may not admit it but I’ll bet they’re perusing through the RCMBA draft, stroking their chin. 

A quick snippet from the press release from RCMBA:

“Dowrick informs us that it’s 70 degrees at his house. I tell him what I think of that and that it’s 40 in Lancaster. At exactly noon Chris Uhlhorn joins the Rolz.org room and we are ready for free players. Mark makes it official with Carlos Correa being named pick #1. Then Bryant followed by "Thor", Seager, Sano & the first surprise of the day being my selection of Mike Conforto at #6. Then it’s Lindor, McCullers and yep Randy takes two pitchers as advertised.

On it goes with about 20 minutes per round. Isn’t it fun to be targeting someone in a round and he’s still available when it’s eight picks from your turn. Five to go and still there. Three more and my man is available. One more and then he gets taken right before your pick. Sigh. We got to bonus picks around 2:25PM and at 3:08, Joe Skovran makes Vidal Nuno Mr Irrelevant. That’s 169 selections in 188 minutes! We have to rearrange the draft room chairs and table back to the HIE status and it’s time for trading! I get to land my 2nd round pick of Ty Walker for 1st round Luis Severino. America! What a country.”

Honestly John, it sounds a lot like an Illowa APBA League draft weekend.  A great time!!

You can see the full RCMBA draft list here but for the link lazy, here are top ten:

  1. Carlos Correa
  2. Kris Bryant
  3. Noah Syndergaard
  4. Corey Seager
  5. Miguel Sano
  6. Michael Conforto
  7. Francisco Lindor
  8. Lance McCullers
  9. Carlos Rodon
  10. Luis Severino

Good luck to the RCMBA members this season!!

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Terrible Card Tuesday: 2015 Kris Negron


I’ve had a couple calls for 2015 Kris Negron for Terrible Tuesday the latest which came from fellow IAL manager Todd Ventresca.  Indeed, utiilityman Negron hit only .140 in 93 at-bats for the Reds with a couple steals and as many doubles. 

2015 Totals 43 93 5 13 2 0 0 2 2 9 23 .140 .238 .161
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/2/2016.


While Negron’s card is none too pleasant with an 11-8 and a 55-40, it has some interesting quirks about it too.  He has a 42 at 31.  In addition, APBA decided to give him a 14* rather than a speed number at 15. 

Plus, Negron has a 53-21 which is common for fielders who play multiple positions.  That is probably Negron’s most valuable asset, the ability to play every position except pitcher and catcher.   

Ugly numbers:  11-8, 51-13, 55-40

Interestingly, Negron DOES have two 31s. 

It’s certainly a far cry below his rookie season when he hit .279/.331/.479. 

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Brad Stark’s Portland Microbrewers take a swig of World Series victory


Here’s a toast to Brad Stark and his Portland Microbrewers of the Boys of Summer APBA League.  After sweeping my Urbana Locomotives in the NLCS, they went on to win the BoS World Series by winning four games of six against Stray Corrado’s Chicago Nine.  This was Brad’s third time to the dance and his first World Series win! 

It was a long battle all year for some but both Brad and Stray had their divisions wrapped up early.  Both teams won 98 in the regular season.  The Chicago Nine ended up 17 games up on their nearest opponent and the Microbrewers, well, they dominated with a 23 game margin.  Congrats to both on a great season! 


Not only did Brad and Stray do well with their great teams but they are good asset to the league.  Through the three years of the league history, they have helped BBW newbies like myself with advice and tips. 

The Boys of Summer APBA League will soon be drafting for their fourth season soon. 

Congrats again, Brad! 

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Monster Card Monday: 2000 Glenallen Hill


Beau Lofgren sent me this Glenallen Hill card from 2000.  I’ve heard about this card a lot but I don’t think I have seen it since the year it came out.  Hill’s card is pretty ordinary with one obvious exception.  Hill has three single column ones. 

For the Yankees and the Cubs, Hill banged out 27 homers in an even 300 at-bats.  There was no middle ground with Hill either.  He only managed to hit nine doubles.  The rest of his stats were good but not out of this world (.293 BA/ .336 OBP). 

2000 Totals 104 321 300 45 88 9 1 27 58 0 19 76 .293 .336 .600
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/1/2016.


I wouldn’t quite say that its all or nothing with Hill’s 2000 card but his three ones are definitely the main attraction.  The 44-7 is a nice addition. 

Fun numbers:  66-1, 11-1, 33-1

Stats on APBA cards

pedro martinezA while back there was a discussion on Facebook about the introduction of stats of stats on APBA cards.  I had originally thought it was 2002 but I was wrong and this card is proof.  The year 2000 may be the first year that APBA put stats on the cards. 

To the left is Pedro Martinez’ card from 1999.  Note he does not have stats listed on his card.

thanks, Beau!

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Urbana Locomotives crash against Portland


Portland’s Corey Dickerson hammers a HR in Game 3 of the NLCS

As manager/GM of the Urbana Locomotives in the Boys of Summer League, I was riding pretty high as of Sunday.  We had clinched the NL wild card with 97 wins.  We barely defeated Shawn Baier’s Traverse City Panthers in the NLDS with the help of D.J. LeMahieu’s 10 hits and Cole Hamels’ two wins.  We were psyched!

Then on Monday, it all came crashing down. 

Monday night, Brad Stark and I played our NLCS series head-to-head via join.me.  It didn’t take long.  Brad’s Portland Microbrewers swept my Locomotives 4 games to none. 

The first three games were close (4-2, 3-2, 5-3) and we even had the lead in two of those games.  But by game 4, Cole Hamels had pretty much given up hope.  The same Hamels that shut out the Panthers in the NLDS gave up 8 runs in one and third innings against the Microbrewers.  By the time the laughable game was up, Portland had won the game (and the series) 10-1.  Adrian Beltre’s rbi double accounted for the only Loco run in the game. 

For the series, we were outscored 22-8.  I will point out that Nick Markakis went 6 for 15 and D.J. LeMahieu (yes, the NLDS co-MVP) went 6 for 17.  Brad dubbed D.J. “The Gnat” for how annoying he was. 

Brad was a gracious winner and I will root for my fellow National League manager to win against Stray Corrado’s tough Chicago Nine in the Boys of Summer World Series. 

Good luck to both!

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Monster Card Monday: 1946 Monte Irvin


monte irvin


Rich Zawadski sent this Monte Irwin APBA card not long after Irwin passed away on January 11th.  This card is from his time on the 1946 Newark Eagles, one of his best seasons ever.

1946 was quite a year for Irvin.  He hit .375 with six homers and 36 rbis in 152 at-bats for the Newark Eagles.

1946 Newark 162 152 34 57 6 1 6 36 3 10 .375 .414 .546

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table

Generated 1/25/2016.


Irvin’s card is going to satisfy everyone unless you’re a stickler about his defense at short (SS-7).  He is an OF-3 and a 3B-4 though.

But his hit numbers!  Yum!  His power numbers are 1-4-6-6 and he has three 7s and 15-11.  No wonder they called him “Mr Murder”!

Fun numbers:  51-7, 26-14, 42-8

They say Irvin was one of the forgotten greats of his time.  But thanks to APBA, I knew of him even as a kid.  The 1949 set was one of the first sets I bought.  It was his first year in the MLB.  He didn’t have a fantastic card for the New York Giants that year but for some reason, I do remember him.  Irvin did come back to lead the NL in rbis with 121 in 1952.

RIP Monte Irvin

thanks, Rich.

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Locomotives advance to Boys of Summer NLCS!

imageSaturday was quite a day baseball-wise.  Last night was the University of Illinois annual Hot Stove Banquet which is always one the highlights of my winter.  It was especially exciting since Dodgers star Steve Garvey was the keynote speaker. 

Earlier in the morning though, my Urbana Locomotives were facing off against Shawn Baiers’ Traverse City Panthers in the Boys of Summer National League Division Series finale.  It was an away game but Shawn and I decided to play via join.me so we could both play on his computer.  It was Cole Hamels struggling all year till the last month when he got red hot against the Panthers’ Julio Teheran. 

And whatta game.

Hamels really didn’t give the Panthers much of a chance.  He was spot-on for the whole game.  The Locos scored first on a Markakis sac fly.  DJ LeMahieu added some insurance with a 2-run homerun.  That homerun was one of four hits of the game for DJ. 

Hamels ended up giving up just five hits for the game, pitching a 4-0 shutout.  The Locomotives win the NLDS and will advance to the NLCS and will face Brad Stark’s Portland Microbrewers for the right to compete in the World Series. 

Urbana management has deliberated over this and have decided to give co-MVP awards for the NLDS.  DJ LeMahieu went 10 for 23 with six rbis.  His triple in Game 4 won it for Urbana and his homerun in Game 6 gave them the insurance they needed. 

Cole Hamels went 2-0 allowing just three runs in 16 innings.  His shutout in Game 6 clinched the series for the Locos.  Both LeMahieu and Hamels will be adding some hardware to their respective mantles.  

IMG_9163Last night, Garvey spoke a lot about his past as a batboy for the Dodgers, a player for the Michigan State Spartans and the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Throughout the speech, he emphasized what it took to find success both on the field and off.  He thought that it was little things that mattered even on the ballfield.  “Teams that live and die by the three-run homerun will most likely not succeed”, he said.  

It was then when I thought about my Locos.  Why?  Some may look at my choice of players from my roster and turn a cynical eye.  The hitter with the best average on my roster (in real life) is sitting on the bench.  The outfielder with the most homeruns (again, real life) rides the bench.  Delmon Young hit .301 in real life.  His APBA card has a 55-7.  That said, he is  slow OF-1.  Yoenis Cespedes hit 22 homeruns in 2014.  That’s more than any other outfielder on my team.  He is fast and a OF-2 and his card has power numbers 1-0-0-0. 

Neither player started on my playoff lineup as an outfielder or DH.  Who started ahead of them? 

  • Nick Markakis (0-0-0-7-7)
  • Nori Aoki (0-0-7-7-11)
  • Alex Rios (0-0-0-7-11)
  • Josh Reddick (1-3-6-7)
  • George Springer (1-1-6-10, four 14s, 42)

These guys aren’t superstars to be sure.  But they get on base, move runners along, can play the field, and do the little things that win games.  More importantly, they are the outfielders who I’ve played WHEN I’ve won. 

Call me crazy but I’m not changing my strategy against Portland.  I do carry three weak-hitting catchers so Young and Cepesdes will most likely get into the game as a pinch hitter when times get tough. 

Get ready Brad.  We’re going win, Garvey-style. 

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