Weird Card Wednesday: 1966 Joe Hoerner


This Joe Hoerner card from my 1966 season set is pretty much all or nothing.  With hit numbers 1-1-8-8-9-9, Hoerner gets his double ones from one homerun in 13 plate appearances for St Louis.   That homerun was Joe’s only hit of the year, too. 

Of course, Hoerner’s true value was on the mound for the Cardinals.  That’s evidenced by his A&C* XZ rating.  Hoerner went 5-1 with a 1.54 ERA and struck out 63 and walked 21 in 76 innings in the 1966 season.  His 13 saves led the Cardinals that year. 

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Terrible Card Tuesday: 1983 Floyd Rayford

Floyd Rayford

Floyd Rayford may have a color nickname but his 1983 card here leaves a bit to be desired. 

In ‘83, Rayford batted a mere .212 with three homeruns in 104 at-bats.  He lined four doubles while stealing one base and walking ten times for the St Louis Cardinals.  That gave him a less than mediocre .278 OBP for the year. 

1983 Totals 56 25 117 104 5 22 4 0 3 14 1 10 27 .212 .278 .337
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/2/2014.


“Honey Bear” has an interesting card but probably not worthy of a third baseman of the 90s decade.  He has power numbers 1-6, is slow and is rated as a 3B-3. 

Despite his slow rating, Rayford does have a generous 15-10.  However, it most likely comes at the expense of the third 8.  He only has two 8s and two 9s to go with his 33-7. 

While he does have three 14s, they appear on a couple traditional dice roll numbers (31, 51) so he has a ugly 13-39. 

Ugly numbers:  33-7, 13-39, 3B-3

Rayford’s year with the Cardinals was sandwiched between two stints with the Baltimore Orioles.  His return to the O’s was slightly more successful.  He had a career year in 1985 hitting 18 homers and hitting .306.  Reality set in the next year when he didn’t even hit the Mendoza line batting .176 for Baltimore and by 1987 he was out of baseball. 

But seriously, I’ll find any excuse to display a card with the nickname “Honey Bear”. 

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Monster Card Monday: 1986 Wade Boggs


For Labor Day, here is one of the hardest working third basemen of our lifetime… not to mention the most superstitious.  Courtesy of Pastor Rich, it’s Wade Boggs of 1986. 

In 1986, Boggs hit .357 and led the AL in hitting.  It was one of five times he won the batting crown (of the 18 years he played, he only hit below .300 three times).  Unlike many high average/no power hitters, Boggs had a knack for inducing the walk.  In 1986, he led the AL with a .453 OBP and 105 walks. 

In his career, Boggs also had a propensity to hit into double plays.  In 1986 though, he only hit into 11. 

1986 Totals 149 693 580 107 207 47 2 8 71 0 105 44 .357 .453 .486
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/1/2014.


Wade Boggs’ 1986 card is perfect for the #2 or #3 spot in your lineup depending on how powerful your team is.  For the Red Sox in 1986, he mostly hit in the number 2 spot though he did lead off occasionally.  His hit numbers are fantastic 0-0-0-7-7-7-7-8-8-8-9-9 but as Rich noted to me it’s his six 14s that make his card so much better. 

Boggs also deservedly gets three 31s on this card as well.  Not only that, he doesn’t have a 33 OR a 34 making the hit and run a very viable alternative. 

The icing on the cake is that he gets a nice 3B-5 fielding rating. 

Fun numbers:  56-14, 26-14, 15-7

Fun trivia:  Wade Boggs’ Twitter handle is @Chickenman3010.  He’s still actively posting if you want to follow him. 

Thanks Rich!

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League update: Locomotives reach 100 wins!

320px-Adrián_Beltré_2011_(2)It’s definitely the tale of two ballclubs with my two league teams right now.  In the inaugural season of the Boys of Summer APBA League (BBW based on 2012 season), my Urbana Locomotives have exceeded all expectations.  We’ve already clinched our division with a 100-57 record, 25 games ahead of second place Hannibal Caveman. 

Meanwhile, the Twin City Thunderchickens of the Illowa APBA League (Basic Game), languish in 9th place with a 39-57 record after a rough August. 

I’ve come to the conclusion that pitching alone doesn’t win you ballgames.  The Thunderchickens have one of the better pitching staffs in the IAL but without much of an offense and we just can’t win.  Homer Bailey has a 3.68 ERA in a hitting-heavy league but sports a 6-8 record.  Even my only D pitcher Scott Diamond has a decent enough 4.46 ERA but suffers from a 1-9 mark for his effort. 

Interesting to see these two Thunderchickens’ stats compared

Albert Pujols: .223, 6 HR, 23 rbis, 175 AB

Jose Tabata:  .296, 5 HR, 28 rbis, 230 AB

It’s worthy of note that Tabata has power numbers 3-5-6.  Pujols has been my pride and joy on the Thunderchickens since I drafted him as rookie.  Since he got picked up by the Angels in real life though, he hasn’t been the same. 

Being a dice player all my life, I was a bit skeptical playing in the BBW Boys of Summer league but once I got past the idea of comparing the idea of “computer vs. dice”, it’s been a incredibly fun year.  Now it probably helps that I can’t hardly lose a series (props to Randy Woolley’s Hannibal Cavemen who finally brought us down a notch by defeating us four games to one last week).  I can’t understand why I have a better record on the road than at home.  C’mon Locos!  Let’s please the fans! 

Some updated Locos stats with just one more series left

David Price is 22-4 with a 2.41 ERA (leading the entire league in both categories.  Adrian Beltre still leads the BoS in hitting (.350) and rbis (133) as well as hits (205).  His 37 homers are nine behind Edwin Encarnacion for the league lead though so a Triple Crown is pretty much out of the question. 

I love Carlos Ruiz behind the plate and even more standing at it.  He’s hitting .350 with a .601 slugging percentage.  Aaron Hill (25 HR, 98 runs, 96 runs) and Alex Rios (28 homers, 87 rbis) have both contributed in the shadow of Beltre. 

While Cole Hamels (18-10, 2.70, 227 K) and Hiroki Kuroda (19-11, 3.19) have done their job well, I am continually surprised by Colby Lewis who is a 9Z pitcher.  Currently, he sports a 11-1 record with a 2.01 ERA in spot starter role.  Finally, stopper Jonathon Papelbon is on a 22 save streak and has a microscopic 0.57 ERA to go with that. 

What now? 

The BoS will its conduct postseason soon and once that’s over, we will start the process to begin the new season.  Since our current year is based on the 2012 season, we can delve right into the new year.  Free Agency and draft will commence soon. 

As for the Illowa APBA League, we are planning our annual All-Star weekend.  I just got the ballot in my inbox from commissioner, Mike Bunch.  We just passed our midpoint in the season and while I never say never, I’m already looking to improve my team for next season. 

[photo credit]

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1905 replay update: Giants hold on for win in low scoring game 4

by Scott Fennessy

Cleveland, OH

The Giants and Indians send their aces to the hill in a rematch of game one. The Giants seem much more relaxed after a typical performance in game 3. We will see if this carries over.

The Giants get a two out rally in the first when Mike Donlin draws a walk. He steals second just ahead of Jay Clarke’s throw and this sets things up well. Dan McGann hits an infield single that puts runners on the corners, and John McGraw calls for the hit and run. George Browne executes perfectly and the visitors have the first run of the day and runners still on the corners. Mike Bowerman grounds out to end the inning as the Giants lead 1-0.

Both pitchers are on their game and the score was unchanged until the 6th inning when Donlin gets a single to left. McGann draws a very tough walk and both runners move over on a passed ball by Clarke. Mike Bowerman then hits a sac fly to score another run. The Giants are then quickly stopped by Addie Joss. The Indians go quietly in the bottom of the inning and the Giants lead 2-0.

The Giants strike again in the 7th as Art Devlin gets a one out single and steals second. He is still there when Donlin rips one into the power alley and pulls into third with a stand up triple that scores Devlin. Joss gets the third out, and this game looks over.

The Indians finally stage a rally in the bottom of the ninth. Cotton Turner hits a bloop single to center and Napoleon Lajoie smokes a bullet to right for a hit and run single putting runners on the corners. Elmer Flick then hits a single to left to score Turner and Lajoie to third. Jim Jackson then hits a sac fly to score Lajoie. Unfortunately that is the end of the rally and the Giants win 3-2.

[photo credit]

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The oddness of the First and Second board: Hints to memorizing APBA Baseball’s more unusual results and ratings

David Smith-001What is it about Runners on First and Second board that makes it so unusual?  It seems to be full of so many anomalies and strangeness.  A 12 isn’t a double play no matter how good the defense is and an 11 won’t get you steal, either.  Not only that, a 13 is a strikeout even against an R pitcher and there are no results affected by the X or Y rating.  Then of course, there is the 41- Triple Play.

Like the game of baseball itself, APBA Baseball is full of patterns and consistencies.  For some of us, that is why we like the game so much.  The 66 dice roll is always the best.  Fielding One usually makes the better play than Fielding Three.  Thirteens are almost always strikeouts and ones are always homers (unless you decided to call the bunt or hit and run of course!). Then we run into the Runners on First and Second board and it throws us into a loop.

We use the new boards in the Illowa APBA League and I think that most of us are pleased with them.  There is still a learning curve when it comes to the pitchers’ ratings though.  I recently played Rob Moore who had Yu Darvish, a BK starter, which made that very evident.

This article started out as a simple way to remember where the K ratings are with the Bases Empty and sort of grew from there.  Below you will find some helpful tips and quick guides to help memorize some of the more difficult result numbers to internalize.  I hope it’s helpful.


A simple way to remember the K Rating with the Bases Empty

Let’s start with the K rating with the bases empty.  Just remember the numbers 26 and 31 and it’s easy.
The K rating converts all standard out result numbers (numbers 24-34) into strikeouts with the Bases Empty UNLESS:

  • the X rating or the Y rating already affects that number
  • or the result is a 26 or 31



Remembering the R rating

The R rating is a slightly easier to memorize since it only affects just one result number, the 13.  It doesn’t take effect in every base situation though.
The R rating converts all 13 result numbers from strikeouts into batted outs EXCEPT:

  • Bases Empty with less than two outs only
  • Runners on First and Second
  • Runners on First and Third
  • Bases Loaded

It’s worth mentioning that all results converted from strikeouts by an R rating are outs that do not advance the base runner(s).



Key plays affected by the K rating

(with result number and original play result that gets changed to a strikeout)

While the K rating is desirable for the pitcher from a stat perspective, it can also prevent a run via a sac fly in some situations.  Alternatively, the offensive may happily accept a K-SO instead of the default double play result.  The 25 with a runner on first is one to keep an eye on.
  • 25 with a Runner on First – Double play
  • 30 with a Runner on Third – Sacrifice fly (depending on speed of baserunner)
  • 27 with Runners on First and Second – Double play (depending on fielding)
  • 31 with Runners on First and Third – Sacrifice fly (depending on fielding)
  • 30 with Runners on Second and Third – Sacrifice fly (depending on fielding)
  • 32 with Bases Loaded – Sacrifice fly (depending on fielding)


Key plays affected by the X rating

(with result number and original play result that gets changed to a strikeout)

As with the K rating, the X rating has its advantages and disadvantages.
  • 27 with a Runner on First – Double play (depending on fielding)
  • 31 with Runner on Third – Sacrifice fly (depending on fielding)
  • 30 with Runners on First and Third – Sacrifice fly (depending on fielding)
  • 32 with Runners on First and Third – Sacrifice fly (depending on fielding)
  • 27 with Runners on Bases Loaded – Double play (depending on fielding)
  • 30 with Bases Loaded – Sacrifice fly (depending on fielding)


W rating

By now, you would think I would know where the W lies with the 35 and 12.  I was surprised to find that the 12-W shows up in only two base situations.
The W rating converts the 35 result into walks in all situations EXCEPT:

  • Bases Empty
  • Runners on First and Third


The W rating converts the 12 result into walks ONLY in these situations:

  • Runner on First
  • Runners on First and Second


Sacrifice Flies on 33 and 34

Ahh, the joys of a Y pitcher!  If I recall correctly, these results have changed since the newer boards.  The pop fly numbers of 33 and 34 have the potential to drive in a run.
  • With a Runner on Third and Runners on Second and Third, a 33 is a sacrifice fly (to CF and RF respectively) no matter the fielding.
  • With Runners on First and Third and Bases Loaded, 34 is a sacrifice fly to LF no matter the fielding.

Note: In both of these situations, no other runners advance.  Also, if a pitcher has a Y rating and the result is a strikeout.


Steal numbers

Another obvious one but it doesn’t hurt for a reminder.  I find myself checking occasionally with the less common base situations.
An 11 is a single and a steal in all base situations EXCEPT with Runners on First and Third

A 10 is a single and a steal ONLY with:

  • Runner on First
  • Runner on Third
  • Bases Loaded


Miscellaneous Strikeout Rating Info

  • The X rating does NOT take effect at all with a Runner on Second or Runners on First and Second.
  • In fact, neither the X or Y ratings take effect with Runners on First and Second.
  • Bases Loaded is only situation with runners in scoring position where the X rating takes effect with a ground ball number (#27).


Final note: Throughout this document, I’m not including the sacrifice and hit and run booklet results for simplicity’s sake.

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1905 replay update: Giants bats awaken in game three

Hooks_Wiltseby Scott Fennessy

Cleveland, OH

The World Series comes to shifts to Ohio and the Giants appear to be on their heels. The press was not allowed into the Giants club car on the entire train ride to Cleveland. It was not necessary. They could stand outside the door and hear McGraw’s rantings.

This important game sees George Wiltse, a solid #3 and innings eater face Robert Rhoades. Rhoades is a decent pitcher, but has been at times out pitched by Otto Hess, whom many felt should be today’s starter. Hess has been solid in a swing role and led the AL in saves with 3, and pitched well in spot starts due to injuries, or when Lajoie felt Rhoades needed to miss a start.

The Giants come out swinging and Art Devlin rips a double to left on the first pitch. Sam Mertes then hits a rocket down the first base line that a diving George Stovall can’t stop. It rolls to the corner and Mertes has a triple, and the Giants lead for the first time in this series. Mike Donlin, who had been shut down in New York hits one through the hole between short and third and Mertes scores easily. Rhoades has to work hard afterwards but does not allow any more runs, but the visitors have a 3-0 lead.

The Indians get one back in the bottom of the inning when Bay leads off with a single and moves to third on the hit and run. Lajoie sends the runners again and he hits a grounder to second and Bay scores as he is retired at first. Wiltse gets the next two hitters and it is a 3-1 lead now.

Both pitchers take control for a while until the Giants bats come back in the sixth inning. Dan McGann hits a single over Lajoie’s head and George Browne rips a double to left to score the run. Mike Bowerman then hits one that looked to be through the middle, but Lajoie makes a great play, but trying to make the throw while doing a jumping pivot makes his throw off the mark and Browne scores as Bowerman slides into second just under Turner’s tag. After two quick outs Wiltse then strokes a single to right to score Bowerman and officially end Rhoades’ day. Hess comes in and gets the final out.

The score was still 6-2 Giants in the ninth when they get to Hess at last as Mertes singles and steals second base. Donlin gets his third hit of the day with an RBI single. The inning ends with no more runs, and after the tribe goes down in order the Giants pick up the win 6-2.

This was more of what I expected of the Giants coming into this series. Donlin had three hits, and as a team they collected 5 extra base hits. Wiltse is a bit of an oddity as a hitter. He has 14’s on his card at 13, 42, 45, 56, and 64. He seems to hit them all the time. He drew 27 walks and only struck out 4 times as he has no 13’s. I don’t think I have ever seen a pitcher without at least one. This was the first time in 7 starts he did not draw a walk.

[photo credit]

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Weird Card Wednesday: 2002 Kenny Rogers

kenny rogers

Tom Zuppa alerted me to a very odd Kenny Rogers card that Keith Reifsnyder was commenting on a Facebook post.  The card is from 2002 and The Gambler gets a Henderson-esque APBA card despite just one stolen base.

Rogers went 13-10 with a 3.84 on the mound for the Rangers in 2002.  At the plate though, he went 2 for 3 with one walk, a stolen base and one rbi in interleague play.  Rogers also won the Golden Glove in 2002.

2002 Totals 3 4 3 0 2 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 .667 .750 .667
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/27/2014.


This is one of the strangest pitcher’s hitting cards I’ve seen in a while.  As Keith R says, “the (numbers) are just in a completely weird order”.  Rogers’ card has a definite offensive bent to it with six 11s and a 10.  However, his sixth 11 is at 35 and the 10 is found at 66. 

To add to the weirdness, Rogers’ 2002 card has three 14s all with asterisks. 

Weirdest to me is that he has a 44-9 but his second 9 doesn’t show up until his 42.  Not many hitting cards have that.  In fact, this is the only card I know of that has the two 9s that are separated by a factor of six.

If case you’re wondering, Rogers stole the base in a game against the Houston Astros.  The Rangers were ahead 4-2 in the 4th inning.  The Astros eventually won the game 7-6.

Thanks to Keith and Tom!

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1905 replay update: “Lajoie Day” in Game Two

Nap_Lajoie_plaque_HOFby Scott Fennessy

New York, NY

The Indians and Giants meet for game two after a thrilling game one. Today’s game features Earl Moore (32-10) and Joe McGinnity (37-10). Considering how great these two are, I am expecting another low scoring game.

The Indians strike quickly as they used their standard formula. Harry Bay leads off with a single and moves to second on a Cotton Turner ground out. Napoleon Lajoie then gets a single to center and just like that the Indians have a run. McGinnity stops the rally and the Indians lead 1-0. The Giants waste a first inning opportunity of their own as they had runners on second and third with two outs, but come away empty handed.

The score was the same until the Indians come back for more in the third. Turner ropes a two out single to right and the hit and run is on as Lajoie rocks one to right center for an RBI double. Elmer Flick grounds out to end the inning, but the score is now 2-0 Cleveland. The Giants try to get the run right back again, but the rally falls short as a great play by Turner at shortstop cuts down a runner at third and the rally dies off again.

From this point on both pitchers are strong and the score was still 2-0 in the bottom of the ninth when the Indians finally give in. Dan McGann hits a grounder that Turner throws into the seats to put a runner on second with no outs paves the way as he moved to third on George Browne’s ground out. Mike Bowerman then hits one deep to center field and Bay finally makes a running catch near the track. This allows McGann to score the Giants first run of the series. Sammy Strang grounds out weakly to Bill Bradley at third and the game is over.

Both teams have had great pitching, but the Indians bats have provided just enough to win. Lajoie went 4-4 with two RBI and a stolen base. He now has 5 hits in two days. The show moves over to Cleveland where the Giants hope to put together something quick or this will be a short series indeed.

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Terrible Card Tuesday: 2012 Austin Kearns


When Austin Kearns came up as a rookie, he had a lot of potential.  I certainly thought he did.  I drafted him early in the Illowa APBA League.  He was a “five tool player”, the experts said.  “He’ll be better than Adam Dunn”. 

Okay, let’s stop right here.  I can hear all you Dunn-haters giggling.  Well, Adam Dunn may have struck out like we take breaths and his batting average rarely reached .250 but consider this… how many hitters can claim to hit 40 homeruns six seasons (five in a row)?  Plus, he’s not afraid to take a walk now and then. 

Okay, I’ve had my say about that.  Back to Kearns.

Everything comes full circle because I ended up drafting Kearns very late in the Boys of Summer APBA League early this year.  Of all the 2012 “cards” on my Urbana Locomotives, his is rated the lowest. 

He didn’t bat horribly, a .245 average with four homeruns in 147 at bats.  He did hit into eight double plays though.  You can see APBA BBW’s representation of his 2012 card above.


2012 Totals 87 175 147 21 36 6 0 4 16 2 22 44 .245 .366 .367
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/26/2014.


Kearns’ speed is gone (he’s rated a 6) and he’s not much in the field either (OF-1).  And among all my hitters, he is the worst.  He has two zeros and a 33-7 plus a 15-10 thrown in. 

All that could be forgiven maybe if it weren’t for Kearns’ five 24s.

Ugly numbers:  33-7, 63-24

The oddest number on his card is his 21-40 which I think would be reserved for more offensive cards. 

Now that the Locos have clinched the NL East in the Boys of Summer APBA League, Austin is getting some playing time for old times’ sake. The funny thing?  He’s batting .545 (6 for 11) with a double and a homer so far. 

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