Terrible Card Tuesday: 1966 Mel Queen


A timely Terrible Card this week.  I’ve been playing my 1966 replay a bit over the holidays.  Tonight, the Cincinnati Reds defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in the bottom of the ninth on three straight hits from unlikely hitters… Mel Queen, Art Shamsky and Jimmie Coker. 

Mel Queen was a bit of an anomaly.  He came up as an outfielder in 1964.  Around 1966, he started a transition to become a pitcher. By 1967, he went 14-8 with a 2.76 and his days as an outfielder were behind him.  As you can see, the Reds weren’t getting much from his bat anyway. 

1966 Totals 56 69 55 4 7 1 0 0 5 0 10 12 .127 .250 .145
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/29/2015.


With only one double, Queen was struggling to get his one zero.  Reds manager Don Heffner is doing his best to give him a chance in the lineup. 

Ugly numbers:  11-8, 55-14, 51-40

Give it up, Coach.  Mel was just lucky that Pete Mikkelsen, a BY, was pitching and I rolled a 44-9.  Put him on the mound.   

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OAPBA publishes lifetime stats and records

imageRod Caborn is simply a PR machine for the Orlando APBA Association.  Not only has he come out with another fantastic yearbook for OAPBA but now he has a compendium of historical stats for the league. 

OAPBA Lifetime Records 1988-2015

Very impressive and also interesting on how similar they are to many other leagues.  With one exception… Derek Jeter.  Every other league I’ve seen stats for has Jeter leading in career hits. Not OAPBA.  Barry Bonds eclipses Jeter by 26 hits. 

For that matter, Bonds is the dominant offensive player in OAPBA.  According to Rod:

“The only major batting category that Bonds does not lead, surprisingly, is runs batted in. Alex Rodriguez drove in 691 runs, seven more than Bonds.”

Not too surprisingly, Greg Maddux (122-92) and Roger Clemens (98-78) are the two big guys on the mound.  They are one-two in wins and innings pitched. 

Great job, Rod!

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Monster Card Monday: 1975 Joe Morgan

75 morgan tf

I never cared for Joe Morgan as a broadcaster.  As a player though, he was one of the best.  As a kid, I still remember him playing for the Reds.  Tom Fulton posted this 1975 Morgan card recently on Facebook.  It ranks up there as one of his best.  Almost as good as his 1976 card and certainly better than his 1964 card.

In fact, he garnered the MVP award in both 1975 and 1976.  In ‘75, he led the NL in walks (132) and OBP (.466).  He hit .327 with decent power (27/6/17).  He also played flawless defense and scored 107 runs.  He was most definitely a big part of Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine. 

1975 Totals 146 639 498 107 163 27 6 17 94 67 132 52 .327 .466 .508
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/28/2015.


What’s this?  A Monster Card with a 55-9?

Check the numbers.  Morgan has a total of seven 14s not to mention four 11s.  Since the 11 is equal to the 7 in hit value we can surmise that he has the equivalent of a 15-7 (although he only has two 8s). 

Fun numbers:  51-11, 24-14, 2B-9

Yes, the 2B-9 can’t be ignored. 

In 1977, I distinctly remember watching this homerun at a friend’s house as a 13-year old kid. 


That buttslap by Tommy Lasorda had to hurt! 

thanks, Tom F.!

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2015 APBA by the Numbers: Hitting


Dee Gordon leads all full timers with three 11s as well as 13 hit numbers


Yeah, yeah, I’ve done pitching and defense but what about the hitting?  I mean that’s why we roll the dice, right?  Okay, here it is. 

Quite simply the 2015 players with the most first column 1s…

Hitter Team # of 1s
Curt Casali TB 3
Chris Davis BAL 2
Zach Britton BAL 2
David Ortiz BOS 2
J.D. Martinez DET 2
Daniel Norris DET 2
Mike Trout LAA 2
Albert Pujols LAA 2
Mark Teixeira NYY 2
Greg Bird NYY 2
Franklin Gutierrez SEA 2
Nelson Cruz SEA 2
Nathan Karns TB 2
Josh Donaldson TOR 2
Jose Bautista TOR 2
Edwin Encarnacion TOR 2
Kyle Schwarber CHC 2
Carlos Gonzalez COL 2
Nolan Arenado COL 2
Giancarlo Stanton MIA 2
Khris Davis MIL 2
Madison Bumgarner SF 2
Bryce Harper WAS 2


With a 33-1, Curt Casali might be more popular in drafts than probably warranted.  And check out Toronto with their tater trio. 

Casali is also among the players who lead with five extra base hit numbers (0-6).

Hitter Team EBH #s
Curt Casali TB 5
Franklin Gutierrez SEA 5
Nolan Arenado COL 5
Giancarlo Stanton MIA 5
Bryce Harper WAS 5
Ryan Raburn CLE 5
Corey Dickerson COL 5
Yoenis Cespedes NYM 5
Randal Grichuk STL 5
Andres Blanco PHI 5


Just for fun, here the only four players to receive a first column 2…

Hitter Team # of 2
Michael Lorenzen CIN 1
Eddie Rosario MIN 1
Rajai Davis DET 1
Anthony Bass TEX 1
Raisel Iglesias CIN 1


Is it me or should Zach Britton have been an outfielder?  He always seems to get juicy hitting cards.  These are the players who have the most hit numbers (0-11). 

Hitter Team Total Hit #s
Zach Britton BAL 14
Dee Gordon MIA 13
Josh Tomlin CLE 13
Chris Colabello TOR 12
Corey Seager LAD 12
Francisco Lindor CLE 12
Xander Bogaerts BOS 12
Jose Altuve HOU 12
Alexi Ogando BOS 12


There are going to be some tasty middle infielders in this set. 

One of those middle infielders is Dee Gordon who was the only one to receive three 11s. 

Hitter Team # of 11s
Dee Gordon MIA 3
Jose Altuve HOU 2
A.J. Pollock ARI 2
Charlie Blackmon COL 2
Jonathan Villar HOU 2


Similarly, these players received the most combined 11s and 10s. 

Hitter Team Speed #s
Dee Gordon MIA 4
Charlie Blackmon COL 3
Starling Marte PIT 3
Billy Burns OAK 3
Ben Revere TOR 3


Patch these guys up!  They are the only two players to get two 42s in 2015. 

Hitter Team # of 42s
Jon Jay STL 2
Brandon Guyer TB 2


Hit ‘em where they ain’t.  Three players got three 31s. 

Hitter Team # of 31s
D.J. Lemahieu COL 3
Joe Mauer MIN 3
Jose Altuve HOU 3


Finally, be careful where you bat these boys in the lineup.  While some are pitchers, these players received the most 24s. 

Hitter Team # of 24s
Austin Adams CLE 12
Brandon Drury ARI 10
Adam Loewen PHI 9
Corey Kluber CLE 8
Zach Mcallister CLE 8
Jordan Pacheco ARI 8
Casey Mcgehee MIA 8


See the whole 2015 By the Numbers Series here!

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Tournament Organizer Roundtable #5: The Reward Factor


Fall 2013 Chicagoland Tournament championship game about to begin between Clark Eichman and Scott Fennessy


It’s the final segment by the APBA Tournament Organizers Roundtable.  I’ve really enjoyed this whole project and working with all these guys.  This last question is simple but it got some of the best responses.

My final question for the roundtable is…

What did you find the most rewarding about getting a bunch of people together to play APBA?

…here are the responses from all nine organizers. I also asked each organizer to plug any upcoming tournaments.

Skeet Carr – APBA Game Company National Tournament


“The most rewarding thing to me is to sit back and observe all these grown men rolling dice and having a lot of fun with a game that has also given me great pleasure for 60 years. Especially knowing that I had at least a small part in it.”


John Cochrane – Robert Henry Memorial Tournament


“Any excuse to get the APBA community together is a valid goal in and of itself; we never get enough time together. That having been said, watching the kids interact with us, and vice versa, and hearing what Brian tells me every year about what it has meant to the kids, is the part that has kept me at this. The example that literally had me in tears was at this year’s tournament, which took place about 7 weeks after Veryl Lincoln’s death. We added a plaque to each trophy this year in his honor, and I addressed the group with a few wholly inadequate words about him during lunch break. The part that left me in awe was when one of older kids who had met Veryl multiple times asked if he could get up and address the crowd further in Veryl’s honor.

Barring something unforeseen, the 2016, Fourth Annual Robert Henry Memorial Tournament will take place, somewhere near Philadelphia sometime next summer, but we currently have no exact date (Brian will give me a list of available dates early next year; we obviously have to use a date he and his charges can be there), no venue (we need to upgrade from the one we have been using), and a possible change in tournament director (after three years of taking credit for other people’s good work, I’ve clearly proven the Peter Principle, and I’m no longer fooling anyone).”


Ron Emch – Glass City APBA Baseball Tournament


“I am a gamer at heart. I play lots of other board games that are not sports related. So the most rewarding about getting together is being with others who share the same passion. It’s like immediate friends, and discussions happens so naturally.

I don’t get to play games with other folks as much as I’d like, so having a full day of APBA baseball is really enjoyable. Plus, it’s great to see all the different mannerisms that people have when playing this game. Some are quiet, some are louder, some play fast, others slow, some emotional, and so forth and so on.

I also learn a lot at these gatherings about APBA. I feel like a neophyte around some of these guys.

Last, but not least, I enjoy seeing people having a good time. If I’ve had something to do with that, then I’ve had a good day. Putting on an APBA tournament is a no lose situation.”


Jim Fraasch – Twin Cities APBA Baseball Tournament


“Meeting the various people and personalities that I have has been the most rewarding aspect.  These are terrific guys, each coming from a different background, not to mention several guys coming from other nearby states to play.  I would have never have met any of these guys if it was not for APBA and the fact that there is this much interest in playing in the tournament.  I think that is ultimately the draw for all of these guys.  You love baseball.  You love playing APBA.  The common bond, the comradery.

I’ve also seen some interesting life “reunions” occur.  One story I had written about after our TCABT-III, was meeting Fred Johnson for the first time, when I was purchasing a few APBA sets he had acquired from an old friend who had passed away.  Fred had posted an online ad on Craigslist for these 2 APBA sets.  The sets were 1976 and 1977.  Sets I already owned, but I figured what the heck, it will give me a chance to meet another APBA guy.  So after I met Fred, I mentioned that several of us play in an APBA Tournament, twice a year.  Fred had not rolled an APBA game since 1959.  Remember, he only had these 2 APBA sets for sale because one of his old buddies was an APBA guy, and after he passed away, the wife gave the APBA items to Fred.  Fred, who happens to be a local Minnesota historian, was curious enough about our TCABT event, he decided “why not” and entered our 3rd tourney.

After I announced Fred Johnson, of Cottage Grove, MN had entered our tournament, another entrant, Gregg Nelson, recognized the name Fred Johnson, and was sure this must be the same Fred Johnson who used to write the local sports column for the Cottage Grove newspaper, the town where Gregg Nelson grew up during the 60’s/70’s/80’s.  Sure enough, this was the same Fred Johnson, and both Gregg and Fred were able to reunite.  Fred had actually written about the brothers, Gregg and Jeff Nelson, when they were both playing high school basketball for Cottage Grove.


The reunion between Fred and Gregg


Jeff Nelson is the current Major League Baseball umpire (who also played APBA in his youth, although Gregg is the one who stuck with it).  Gregg and Fred faced off for a 2-game series in TCABT-III.  Picture attached.  Gregg has played in 3 of our 4 and is a regular.  Fred has now played in our last 2 tourneys, and plans to make them from here on.  BTW, Fred has authored several books on Minnesota history.  Here is a link listing most of his books.

The meeting between Fred and Gregg is the example of the meeting would have never taken place had it not been for the TCABT.  I plan to meet Fred this week for lunch, as we might talk a little bit about teams to bring to our next tourney ;)

The Neil Ess Memorial TCABT-V is scheduled for Saturday, April 2nd, 8:15am, Maple Grove, MN (Darrell Skogen’s home)”


Geoff Giordano – APBA Football Club Tournament


“The ultimate goal of the AFC tournament in Canton in 2013 was to get the most important APBA football minds in the same room. Ray Dunlap, Greg Wells, Greg Barath and Jerry Zajack had not met — and only Wells had met (now fellow) Hall of Famer Cochrane at the official tourneys. John not only provided us key tips and an exceptional overview of APBA’s futbol game — for which he served as a tester — but also regaled us with his personal tale of Canton’s history.


Bob Tassinari’s attendance with the ’71 Raiders was another great thrill, as he discussed the ins and outs of purchasing and digitizing the APBA Journal. It’s also gratifying that the AFC tournament planted the seeds of making football part of the official APBA tournament, which has seen Dunlap, Barath and Cochrane reprise their presentations from Canton and now promises tournaments featuring all the company’s sports, including football.”


Jim Saska – Chicagoland World Series APBA Tournament


“The most rewarding aspect of holding the tournaments was meeting and getting to know the participants.  I can’t say enough about the quality of the people I have met through the Chicagoland tournament.  Now that I have moved away from the Chicago area, I really miss those folks (Hello, Chicagoland tournament participants).

I have kept in touch with several of the players via email and am considering joining Facebook.  I am looking forward next year (2016) to begin holding APBA tournaments in the Richmond, Virginia area, my new home.  Anyone out there interested in participating in a tournament in the Richmond area can email me to express their interest ().”


Ken Schulz – Linda B Schulz Memorial APBA Baseball Tournament


“The most rewarding part is getting to know some Hall of Famers such as Greg Wells our first champion and Roy Langhans, spending more time rolling games, and meeting new people who love the game I have loved for over 30 years.

Those who are interested in coming to our next LBS Memorial can reach me at .  I will be plugging the tournament starting in January on the APBA Baseball Facebook group and Delphi Forums Between the Lines as well.”


Doug Schuyler – Chicagoland World Series APBA Tournament


“The most rewarding part is just standing back and watching people have a great time and fostering great relationships.  Some amazing friendships have been forged!  Watching Bradd Romant jump up like a 12 year old when Steve Garvey hits a walk off homerun to win the game is pretty cool!

We also really need to push this game with the younger generation!  My son does enjoy playing the game.  He can take most any team from any era and at least put them in a pretty good lineup just based on reading the cards and he is only ten years old.   We had Andy Bartel win a tournament in the Twin Cities I.”


Rich Zawadzki – Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament


“Everybody had such a great time; it is difficult to describe the great feeling of meeting and playing a game, that you have enjoyed mostly by yourself, with others who enjoy it just as much.




TIME: 9:00 AM



COST: $15.00


Much thanks to the Fellowship of the Dice!

I owe a big thanks to Skeet, John, Ron, Jim F, Geoff, Jim S, Ken, Doug and Rich.  Their time and contribution made this whole series a fantastic reflection on APBA tournaments.  I hope everyone enjoyed the interviews.  You can read them all here.

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2015 APBA by the Numbers: Defense

Andrelton_Simmons_2014aOn the heels of By the Numbers: Pitching, here is my submission for the defensive angle of the 2015 APBA baseball set.

I’ll take a look at the distribution of the defense ratings in the 2015 APBA baseball season and point out some of the highlights (and maybe some of the lowlights too!).

Note: ratings noted are all positions listed on players not just their primary position.

Let’s get started.


There was only one Catcher-5 in the 2015 set.  The interesting thing was that it was Colorado’s Wilin Rosario who was a starting catcher only a year ago.

Rating Distribution
C-5 1
C-6 4
C-7 31
C-8 27
C-9 4


These were the top catchers in the 2015 set with a Catcher-9 rating.  All were full-time.

Catcher Team Def at C
Russell Martin TOR 9
Yadier Molina STL 9
Buster Posey SF 9
Salvador Perez KC 9


Just to throw this in here.  Here are the best arms in the majors.  None of these catchers corresponded with those with C-9 ratings.  In fact, most had J-4 ratings.

Catcher Team Cat. Thr.
Christian Bethancourt ATL 5
Chris Herrmann MIN 4
Sandy Leon BOS 4
Jesus Sucre SEA 4


First base

As typical with most years, 1B-2 tends to dominate not only because of second stringers but because designated hitters who tend to get the low fielding rating.

Rating Distribution
1B-2 72
1B-3 46
1B-4 19
1B-5 8


Second base

The second base position sees a more even bell curve with 2B-7 getting a high number of the total secondbaseman.

Rating Distribution
2B-5 5
2B-6 25
2B-7 58
2B-8 20
2B-9 4


The best secondbaseman in the majors…

Secondbase Team Def at 2B
Danny Espinosa WAS 9
Dee Gordon MIA 9
D.J. Lemahieu COL 9
Ian Kinsler DET 9



Again, a more even curve for the shortstops.  A total of eleven SS-9 or better in the MLB.

Rating Distribution
SS-6 8
SS-7 30
SS-8 44
SS-9 10
SS-10 1


Atlanta’s Andrelton Simmons is the lone wolf on the hill with a SS-10 rating.  I’m including those with a SS-9 rating so he won’t feel alone.

Shortstop Team Def at SS
Andrelton Simmons ATL 10
Troy Tulowitzki TOR 9
Nick Ahmed ARI 9
Addison Russell CHC 9
Francisco Lindor CLE 9
Alcides Escobar KC 9
Adeiny Hechavarria MIA 9
Jordy Mercer PIT 9
J.J. Hardy BAL 9
Zack Cozart CIN 9
Brandon Crawford SF 9


Third base

I left the zero by the 3B-6 there intentionally.   There is no top rated third baseman in the 2015 set.  There IS a player with the rare 3B-2, however.  Cincinnati shortstop Kris Negron has that rating.

Historically, third base has more players rated 3B-3 than any others combined.  This year is no exception.

Rating Distribution
3B-2 1
3B-3 80
3B-4 34
3B-5 10
3B-6 0


Third Base Team Def at 3B
Kris Negron CIN 2



The outfield position is pretty evenly distributed between OF-1 and OF-2 with slightly less outfielders getting the top OF-3 rating.

Rating Distribution
OF-1 89
OF-2 90
OF-3 47


At 38, LA’s Yasiel Puig has the top Master Game arm among outfielders with seven more tied for second.

Best OF Arm Team Arm
Yasiel Puig LAD 38
Carlos Gomez HOU 37
Jeff Francoeur PHI 37
Gregory Polanco PIT 37
Josh Reddick OAK 37
Kevin Kiermaier TB 37
Nick Markakis ATL 37
Yoenis Cespedes NYM 37



If anyone cares, here is the distribution of Pitcher-1 to Pitcher-2.

Rating Distribution
P-1 227
P-2 246


Next up… Hitting!


Link to the 2015 by the Numbers series

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Scott Fennessy’s 1903 replay: Boston wins on the road

Buck_FreemanOctober 11, 1903

Pittsburgh, PA

As the series moves to Pittsburgh, the fans in Pennsylvania were waiting with a huge gathering as the team train brought home their heroes with a 2-0 series lead. Today’s game faces Bill Dinneen (A Y) vs. Sam Leever (A Z).

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the second when Fred Clarke led off with a single and was on second with two out when first baseman Bill Bransfield hits a grounder up the box for an RBI single. The inning ends with the home team ahead 1-0.

The Pirates extend the lead in the bottom of the third when Leever draws a leadoff walk and Honus Wagner hits a two out double, followed by an RBI single by Clarke to make the lead 3-0 Pirates.

The Red Sox get their first hit of the game and more in the 4th as Chick Stahl walks to open the inning and Jimmy Collins comes to the plate and calls for the hit and run. Leever’s 1-1 pitch is bashed into the left field corner and Stahl scores on the RBI double. John Freeman slams another double a couple of pitches later and the Red Sox lead 2-1. Shortstop Freddy Parent then hits a floater just out of Claude Ritchey’s range at second for an RBI single.

Leever appears to have settled down and gets the next two batters, but light hitting Candy LaChance hits one into the right field corner for an RBI triple and as Dinneen strikes out to end the inning, the score is now 4-3 Red Sox.

The visitors finally break this wide open in the 6th inning as Parent hits a one out double, and light hitting Lou Criger gets a hanging curve and crushes a two run homer and that ends Leever’s day. George Merritt comes in and ends the inning, but Boston is now comfortably ahead 6-3

Nothing changes from here as Dinneen has settled in and Merrit looks unusually sharp. Merritt gets lifted for a pinch hitter in the 7th and Bill Scanlan has come in as the Red Sox come to bat in the top of the 9th. Boston goes to town as LaChance gets his second hit of the day on a one out single. Dinneen hits a grounder that Wagner throws into the seats and runners are on second and third with just one out. Pat Dougherty strikes out, but Stahl hits a single to center and both runs score and Stahl moves to second on the throw. Collins slaps a single past third and Stahl scores with Collins taking second on the play at the plate.

Freeman rips his third extra base hit of the day with his second double of the afternoon to right and Collins scores easily. Parent rips a single past Bransfield and the Red Sox get their 5th and final run of the inning. The Pirates don’t score in the bottom of the inning, and the hammer falls as Boston wins 11-3 to make this a 2-1 series lead for Pittsburgh.

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Tournament Organizer Roundtable #4: Challenges

AFC tournament

I’m sure these guys at the APBA Football Club Tournament weren’t a challenge (From L to R: Patrick McGregor, John Cochrane, Ray Dunlap, Bob Tassinari, Greg Wells, Greg Barath, Jerry Zajack and Geoff Giordano)

We’re now on the fourth roundtable question with our awesome tournament organizers.  They told us about the origins of their respective tournaments as well as some of the creative methods they’ve implemented for their tournaments.  Last time, we found out about their approach to tournament rules.

Now organizing a tournament is a lot of fun and very rewarding (I’m beginning to find that out myself).  However, there is a lot of work involved and sometimes, there are a few bumps in the road.  When you get a group of APBA fans at one event, unexpected things happen and quite honestly, it doesn’t always go as planned.

My question this time around to everyone is…

“What is the most challenging aspect of organizing an APBA tournament?  As much as you love doing it, what keeps you up at night?”

…here are the responses from all nine organizers.

Skeet Carr – APBA Game Company National Tournament


“Probably to make sure you have enough help. With a large number of participants things can get pretty backed up if you don’t have enough help.

However, it doesn’t keep me up at night. These days, at the conventions, you are only playing for a little trophy. Being with friends and getting bragging rights is what you are looking for. This makes it pretty easy to keep things going and not having to uncover people cheating. There are always some people who still take it way too seriously but you will always have this. The convention you were at in Lancaster years back, there was a $500 first prize. That is the only time we have ever done that.”


John Cochrane – Robert Henry Memorial Tournament


“For this tournament, making sure that the adults I invite will stay within the spirit of the thing, which is, again, wholly unlike any other tournament that I know of. I need people who are more worried about the kids having a good time than they are about their own win/loss records. This is why it has always been invitation-only, in spite of the occasional aspersions that have been cast my way as a result.

Within this context, I need at least as many adults as the number of people Brian brings from the BGC. These kids have their own league at the BGC and play against each other every day all summer. The point is for them to play against the adults, most of whom are people who have been active in the APBA community for many years; that’s the big thrill for the kids. To make this happen I need every division to be at least half adults, so that each kid plays a majority of his group games against “us.”


Ron Emch – Glass City APBA Baseball Tournament


“First and foremost is obtaining a decent venue. Fortunately, that fell in place for me when I joined the local Elks club. It was not that expensive, had room to easily accommodate 32 players, good lighting, food available onsite, etc.

Next is just getting enough firm commitments from the players. My fear was that no one would want to play at my tournament. Fortunately, that was not the case. I was hoping for at least 16, but would have loved 32. I think I ended up with 20 or 22. What really helped me was that I probably had 5 or 6 friends locally of mine who had not played at all or had played very little of APBA baseball join us for the day. The experienced APBA players were very helpful and guiding when playing these guys.

I had some last minute add/drops which can also cause some angst, but I felt had that covered. I had my brother lined up as a swing man to make sure we would end up with an even number of teams. Also, if need be, I was prepared not to play.

If anything kept me up at night, it was the little kid in me that couldn’t wait until the day came for the tournament.”


Jim Fraasch – Twin Cities APBA Baseball Tournament


“I really look forward to our 2 TCABT events each year, so really any time I put into organizing is not really a challenge at all.  Guys that know APBA, and realize these tournaments are going to be a regular occasion, have all added their support as far as helping communicate, helping recruit new players, etc.

The one downside, or just part of the deal is that with encouraging guys to enter the tournament, you also are aware that “life” commitments arise, sometimes at a bad time, so as an organizer you are going to have to manage handling an entrant dropping out before the tournament.  I think all of us have had to deal with this at our tournaments.  In the big scheme of things, it really is not that big of a deal.”


Geoff Giordano – APBA Football Club Tournament


“Keeping everyone interested during downtime was my nightmare scenario. Dr. Rebecca Peterson, known to all at the official APBA tourneys, was a tremendous help and moral support, as was Pat McGregor, who could only attend on Saturday. Had we had the hoped-for turnout of about 24 people, with some players serving as “refs” and stat-keepers for games others were playing, the room would have been abuzz with a bit more activity. You also hope everyone likes the food if you preorder.

We went with a basic light-lunch package, which included free admittance to the museum and the room rental, including basic the basic AV podium and Internet access. We used an online-based signup sheet, but it’s easy to see how something like that could get out of hand if people begin to email you their team(s) for the tourney instead of using the sheet — so basic administrative details are certainly a constant for any organizer. it was fairly easy to ensure we had enough dice, boards, fields and cups. Zajack and Barath brought their own dice towers.”


Jim Saska – Chicagoland World Series APBA Tournament



Saska vs. Schuyler at the July 2014 Chicagoland Tourney

“One of the challenges that Doug and I faced was the venue.  We started off holding them in the Woodstock Public Library which offered a great big comfortable meeting room and a small kitchen, and for the right price (free).  However, we were restricted to the hours that the library was open 9am to 5pm, which didn’t leave a whole lot of extra time for socializing or extending the time in case the tournament ran over.

That is what kept me up at night.  What if it was 4:45pm and we still had not finished our tournament?  My backup plan was to move the tournament to the basement of my house, which was only a block and a half away from the library.  After our first couple of tournaments, we decided to look to secure another venue where we had more flexibility.”


Ken Schulz – Linda B Schulz Memorial APBA Baseball Tournament


“Well I don’t recall anything keeping me up at night haha but I suppose that the most challenging thing for this first year was finding a nice venue that didn’t break my bank account.  Unfortunately it was a little pricier than I expected but I learned and now our second tournament on July 9, 2016 will be much cheaper without jeopardizing the quality.

I give a shout out to my best friend and oldest brother Darren “the Stat-master” for hooking us up with a new location.  He introduced me to the game when I was 5 years old and still does a lot for our league and tournament behind the scenes.  I am better looking so I am the frontman!”


Doug Schuyler – Chicagoland World Series APBA Tournament


“As we have done more tournaments the challenges seem to be fewer and fewer.  No shows are tough because then you have to make changes last minute.

Jim Saska found a great location at the Grayslake Historical Society that makes things easy and people have enjoyed the venue.  At the end of the day, you just want people to come and have a great time and I think we have been successful with that 95% of the time.”


Rich Zawadzki – Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament


“Nitpickers: this is a “bone of contention” for me; namely that there are nit-pickers out there who you have spend all your time accommodating, and would rather win in a “cheap” way, than just doin’ the right thing.

Thankfully, I did not have any issues. The guys at the GMABT were great!

Cancellations; no-shows. There are certainly things that nobody can help (Funerals, family emergency, flu, etc.), but last year, I had someone who committed to come, and was an absolute no-call and no-show.”

One last one…

…and it’s probably one of the best.  Another thank you to the nine guys for their great responses!  You can find all of the Tournament Organizer Roundtable interviews at this link.

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2015 APBA by the Numbers: Pitching


Zack Greinke’s 21 MG rating leads all starting pitchers


The APBA Baseball disk is out!  And with the disk come the data. 

Each year after the APBA baseball disk comes out, I do a series of articles which looks at the APBA baseball disk data and summarize it.  It’s not meant to be comprehensive but rather an overall look at the season set.  I start with an article on pitching then one on defense and I conclude with hitting.  I call it “APBA by the numbers”.  This first one is the pitching data. 

Initial thoughts

The first thing I do when I look at the baseball disk data is to look up my own players.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that all my pitchers on my IAL Twin City Thunderchickens who were “on the fence” had gotten the advantage on their grade.  Then I realized, that my co-managers were probably getting the same advantage.  In short, pitching is up in 2015. 

Case in point:  Tony Cingani with a 0-3 record and 5.67 ERA in 33 innings is a CXW.   I can quote other examples like Jeremy Hellickson’s C rating with a 9-12 record and a 4.62 ERA but you will see for yourself.  Pittsburgh’s staff is amazing all by itself.  Or St. Louis’.  I could go on but enough talk.  Here are the numbers. 

The best of the best.  These are highest graded starting pitchers in the 2015 set.

Pitcher Team St GR
Zack Greinke LAD 21
Jake Arrieta CHC 20
Clayton Kershaw LAD 17
Jaime Garcia STL 16
Sonny Gray OAK 16
Dallas Keuchel HOU 16
David Price TOR 16


If you get in a jam, these guys can help.  The highest graded relievers in this year’s set. 

Pitcher Team Rel GR
Wade Davis KC 27
Dellin Betances NYY 25
Aroldis Chapman CIN 24
Jason Frasor ATL 23
J.P. Howell LAD 23
Jeff Manship CLE 23


For those not familiar with Master Game grades:  1-4 = D, 5-9 = C, 10-14 = B, 15-19 = A, 20-24 = A&C and 25 and up = A&B 

So yeah, that means Greinke and Arrieta are an A&C grade.  Also, Wade Davis and Dellin Betances get the coveted A&B* grade. 

Let’s do some distribution analysis.  How were the grades and ratings distributed among both leagues?

Let’s start with starting pitchers’ grades

Starting Grades Distribution
D 78
C 91
B 50
A 7
A&C 2

Here are the distribution numbers for relievers

Relief Grades Distribution
D* 46
C* 80
B* 70
A* 49
A&C* 12
A&B* 2


Note:  Pitchers with split grades (there were 33 of them in the 2015 set, by the way) are represented in both subsets.

With the disk, we can’t find out about the K rating but other strikeout ratings are revealed to us.  Here they are. 

Strikeout Letters Distribution
Y 131
X 88
XY 76


It seems with control ratings, the W is inching closer to the Z. 

Control Ratings Distribution
Z 138
W 102


With the Master Game HRA ratings, it’s not surprising that the extreme ratings (M and H) are more rare. 

Homerun Ratings Distribution
L 90
M 26
G 89
H 36


Something different for this year’s By the Numbers series… what teams fared the best? 

I used a simple metric.  Which MLB teams have the most Grade B or better pitchers?  In addition, how many have the most A* or better relievers? 

First the starters.  Six teams had at least four B or better starting pitchers on their rotation.  However, St. Louis had five.  They were Jaime Garcia, John Lackey, Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha, and Lance Lynn.  Garcia by the way, is an A (MG 16). 

Most B (or better) starters in rotation
St. Louis 5
Cleveland 4
Houston 4
New York (NL) 4
Pittsburgh 4
Tampa 4


Which team had the best bullpen?  An amazing nine teams had at least three relievers rated as an A*.  But check out Pittsburgh with an incredible five A* coming out of the pen!  That includes Mark Melancon, Tony Watson, Jared Hughes, Joakim Soria and Antonio Bastardo.

Most A* (or better) in bullpen
Pittsburgh 5
Baltimore 3
Kansas City 3
Miami 3
New York (NL) 3
San Francisco 3
St. Louis 3
Texas 3
Toronto 3


Pittsburgh, the New York Mets and St. Louis all show up on both lists so their pitching look to be pretty solid in APBA’s 2015 set.

Stay tuned for the defense segment next!

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Weird Card Wednesday: 1912 Owen “Chief” Wilson

wilson zuppa

Tom Zuppa submitted this 1912 Owen Wilson APBA card for today’s Weird Wednesday column. 

He says:

Attached is a 1912 John Owen "Chief" Wilson, Pirates right fielder. It’s part of an all-star set the game co. released a few years back for download.

Wilson hit 11 HR and a league-leading 36 triples that season, carded with a rare (unusual?)  2-2-5-5. Even stranger, Wilson never had more than 14 triples elsewhere in his nine-year career.


1912 152 643 583 80 175 19 36 11 94 16 35 67 .300 .342 .513
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/16/2015.


The bio on Wilson on SABR’s website is worth a read (most of them are, by the way).  From that I gathered these pertinent facts: 

  • Even without Owen Wilson’s 36 triples, the Pirates would have still led the league in triples. 
  • Not much was made of Owen’s 36 triples at the time.  Napoleon Lajoie was mistakenly attributed 43 triples in 1903 instead of the 11 he actually hit.  Lajoie was assumed to have the record. 
    Many of Wilson’s 36 were doubles stretched into triples.  Others were triples that he tried in vain to stretch into inside-the-park homeruns such as his 36th and last one. 

thanks Tom!

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