Bob Gordon’s 1979 postseason: Bucs take the National League championship!

StargellBob’s thrilling account of his 1979 postseason continues with Game Four of the NLCS.  -Tom

In Three Rivers again, where the Astros hope to build on yesterday’s 11-4 win and knot the series up. Bill Virdon goes with JR Richard (Grade AXYZ). Chuck Tanner elects to start Jim Bibby (Grade C(B*)YZ ) instead of game 1 winner Bert Blyleven (CG 2 hit shutout, fanning 11). When questioned about this, Chuck said he wanted to save Bert for Game 5 – and have the Candy Man to start the World Series. Or more optimistically, have Bert start Games 1,4 and 7 of the series with Candelaria drawing games 2 and 5. (Any major league teams looking for a forward thinking manager like that can contact me through the comments section of the blog. Just leave your phone number.)

Tanner looks like a genius after Denny Walling flies to Parker in right. But then….Leonard, who moved to the 2 slot with the injury to Reynolds, draws a base on balls. Cedeno beat out a grounder to Madlock for an infield hit and the Astros are in business with 2 on and 1 out. Up steps Cruz who was 5-5 yesterday and is 7 for his last 8. Cruz doesn’t disappoint the Houston fans; he singles to over Foli’s head to plate Leonard, Cedeno stops at second. Cabell drills Bibby’s next offering to the gap in left center. Moreno gets it back to the infield, but it’s a 2 run double and a 3 run Houston lead. Landestoy grounds out to Garner – Cabell holding second. Art Howe gets the start at second today. He’s glad not to see Blyleven – Bert whiffed him 3 times in as many at bats in Game 1. Howe celebrates by singling past Garner and driving in Cabell for a 4-0 lead. Bibby retires Ashby (Garner to Foli for the force) and the Pirates ponder how to come back against Richard. They managed 1 ER and 5 hits off him in Game 1. Richard posted a league low WHIP of 0.82. Moreno gets them started with a liner to left. He takes off for second on the first pitch and is in with his third steal of the series. Tim Foli drills one to almost the same spot that Cabell hit his double in left center. The Bucs pick up a run and have a chance for more. But Richard has other ideas. He fans Parker, then Stargell. Bill Robinson grounds weakly to Howe and we move to the second, Astros leading 4-1. Walling grounds a single to left center with one out, and is stranded there.

The Bucs second starts with Madlock reaching on an Art Howe error. Ed Ott grounds a double play ball to Landestoy – playing short for the injured Reynolds. This one skips off Rafael’s glove and in to left field – first and third for the Buccos, no out. Garner lifts a fly to short center field. Walling makes the catch and holds the runners. Bibby is overmatched by Richard and fans on 3 pitches. Now Moreno with 2 gone. He finds one he likes and its hit to deep left. Back goes Cruz, back, track, wall, leaping ….gone! Moreno hits a three run homer off of Richard – all the runs are unearned. Omar not known for his power – he hit 9 dingers all year. Foli sends another drive to deep left center and it is off the wall. Tim has his second double in as many at bats. Parker grounds to Cabell at third and he makes the throw to stop the bleeding. But we are tied at 4 after 2.

It’s Jose Cruz again. Six straight hits, but Bibby knows how to put an end to that streak. He walks him on four pitches. Not sure that was Tanner’s plan…. Cabell moves him to second with a ground ball to Madlock. Landestoy fans and Art Howe digs in. Art knocks a line drive safely in to right field and the Astros regain the lead 5-4. Ashby grounds to Madlock to end the inning. Richards retires the Bucs in order (did I mention his 0.82 WHIP?) in the 3rd. Leonard walks with 2 gone in the 4th – and gets picked off. Ed Ott leads off the Pirate 4th with a solid single to right. Garner fans and Bibby is due up. Tanner figures he has 4 quality relievers in his bullpen (grade B), so why not pinch hit for Bibby and turn the game over to the pen? Lee Lacy gets a swinging bunt down the third base line and Omar Moreno is coming to the plate again. Omar is 2-2, 2 runs scored, a steal and a 3 run homer. Line drive to second, Howe leaping, over his head. Base hit Moreno. Ott races home and Lacy goes to third. Moreno is off for second on the first pitch to Foli. The throw is not in time. Steal number 4 of the series and second of the game for Omar. He finished second in steals with 79 to Bill North of the Giants who swiped 89. Two on, one out for Foli who has doubled twice. This time, Richards gets him. Foli’s foul ball is caught by Cedeno who whirls and throws home in time to nail Lacy.

Dave Roberts (Grade D(B*)Z) on for the Bucs. He walks Cedeno and Jose Cruz is up again. He’s been on base 7 straight times. This time, he grounds back to the box. Roberts gets the next two Astros on infield outs. Pirate 5th…Stargell drills a single to right and Bill Robinson 0-2 on the day steps in. He whacks a soft liner down the right field line. Stargell makes the turn and heads for third (yikes). Safe! Robinson is off on the third pitch to Madlock and steals second easily. Richards comes back to fan Madlock and will face Ed Ott again. Ed reached on an error and singled – scoring both times. This time he lines one just past Cedeno at first. Stargell scores, Robinson heads for home and is in safely. Pirates lead 7-5 after Ott’s 2 run single. Garner grounds to short to end the inning. Roberts retires Houston in order in the 6th. He faced 7, retiring 6 in a row after the lead off walk. Richards gives up a two out single to Foli in the home half of the 6th, but that’s it. It is the Bucs’ 11thhit off Richard, though.

Left hander Grant Jackson (B*) comes on and makes it 9 Astros retired in a row. Buc 7thand Stargell to lead off. He’s struck out twice, singled and scored. Richard’s heater finds the sweet spot on Willie’s bat and it is Chicken on the Hill time!! For you folks who didn’t listen to Bob Prince a lot, Stargell just hit his third homer of the series to make it 8-5. Bill Robinson hits one to deep right center. Walling back – and it’s off the wall. Robinson has a double and Richards is gone. He yielded 13 hits in just 6 innings! JR just didn’t have it today. Bo Roberge (Grade B*W) enters and gets Madlock to ground to Howe, Robinson taking third. Ed Ott singles under Landestoy’s glove at short for his 3rd straight hit and 3rdRBI of the game. He turns for second and Cruz’ throw is waiting for him Landestoy makes the tag. Garner fans to end the inning. Pirates in front, 9-5.

Jackson starts the Houston 8th. He gets Cruz to ground to 2nd for the first out. That’s 10 straight Astro batters without a base runner. Chuck Tanner call on Enrique Romo (Grade B*XZ) to face the right handed hitting Cabell. Cabell still manages a ringing double to right center and this one ain’t over yet. Landestoy pops to Madlock and Howe grounds to Garner at second and the Pirates can smell victory. Randy Niemann (Grade DZ) comes on for Virdon and retires the side in order in the Buc 8th. Tekulve comes out in the 9th in a non save situation to try and nail this one down. Kent was 3-0, with 48 saves and a 1.32 ERA on the season. He gives up a meaningless single to Denny Walling with 2 out and ends it by fanning Leonard. Roberts gets the win and Richards the loss – his second of the series. The Bucs are going to the World Series. They await the winner of the Twins- Orioles match up.

I debated the NLCS series MVP. Ed Ott had a good game four and hit .417 for the series. He scored twice and knocked in three (all off of Richards in Game 4). Omar Moreno seemed to always get the Bucs rolling. He hit .500, scored 7 runs, knocked in 5 (4 in Game 4), stole 4 bases and had a double and homer. Eventually, Willie Stargell was the unanimous selection. (OK the vote was 1-0, but that is still unanimous.) Willie hit .353 and knocked in 6. He scored four runs, had a double and three home runs. Thoughts from anyone?

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Fix your Colon: APBA releases 2014 Baseball corrections


If you have already, you can download the corrected cards for the 2014 APBA Baseball set.  You download them from the APBA Company website

There are six players affected:

  • David Hale
  • Christopher Valaika
  • Homer Bailey
  • Bartolo Colon
  • Jason Frasor
  • Jerry Sands

Some are minor corrections.  I’m still trying to figure out what changed on Bailey’s card. 

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Weird Card Wednesday: 1950 Richie Ashburn

W ashburn

This 1950 Richie Ashburn card was posted by Tom Allshouse to the APBA Baseball group on Facebook.  Thanks to Ken Schulz for bringing it to my attention.  It’s a fun one. 

It starts out ok but once you get to 55 and you see the 7, you wonder “wait a minute!”.  Not only that, the 10 is on 25 but there is no speed number on 15. 

Theoretically, I suppose the card is correct.  It just isn’t right. 

Here are Ashburn’s 1950 stats in case you want to check…

1950 Totals 151 670 594 84 180 25 14 2 43 14 63 32 .303 .372 .402
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/18/2015.


and just for kicks, a Richie Ashburn Gillette commercial…


thanks Tom and Ken!

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Bob Gordon’s 1979 postseason: Twins ride roller coaster to ALCS Game 3 victory

Bob Gordon’s 1979 ALCS heads into Game 3.  Here’s his wrapup.  – Tom

40-roy-smalleyThe series shifts to the Charm City (I lived there, liked it and still don’t know why it got dubbed the Charm City) with the Twins down two games to none. They’ve been outscored 18-4 and are looking to Geoff Zahn (Grade CZ, 16-17, 4.59) to best Steve Stone (Grade C, 16-7, 3.49). Stone has shown flashes of brilliance this year, and could even win the Cy Young someday if he can keep that curve ball working (Wink. Nod.)

Rivera leads off for the Twins and fouls out to Dempsey at catcher. Rob Wilfong, a .333 hitter this year, sends a single to right center field. Smalley doubles in to the right field corner scoring Wilfong standing up and the Twins are up quickly, 1-0. Landreaux flies to Roenicke – who drops it! – scoring Smalley. Adams sees a pitch he likes and singles to put runners on the corners with one down. Powell (still Hosken, not Boog) grounds to Dauer at second and Rich starts a 4-6-3 double play. The O’s will bat trailing 2-0. Zahn got them in order in the first, and got the first two batters in the second. Benny Ayala walloped one over the fence in right field and Memorial Stadium started to come to life. DeCinces singled, and Dauer singled to left as the O’s third baseman took third. Rick Dempsey drew a base on balls and the bases were loaded for Bumbry. Al hit a one hopper to Smalley who threw to Wilfong for the force and Zahn had dodged a bullet.

Wilfong starts the Twins 3rd with his second single of the day. Smalley comes to the plate, he doubled in a similar situation in the first. He drills Stone’s pitch past a diving Eddie Murray and in to the right field corner again! 3-1 Twins. Stone settled down. Landreux grounded to Eddie unassisted, Smalley taking third. Adams struck out swinging (Weaver finishing his first pack of the day during the at bat) and Powell flew to Bumbry in center. O’s third, one down and Singleton the batter. Ken drives one to left center and makes the turn at first but holds there. Murray, who homered twice yesterday, strides in and gets in to his crouch. Zahn slips one past him for a strike out and the 2nd out of the inning. On comes Roenicke looking to make up for his first inning error. He hits one to deep left and you can kiss that one good-bye. Roenicke has homered in all three games – this one has tied it at 3. Ayala flies to Rivera in center to end the inning.

Stone takes the mound in the fifth after setting the Twins down in order in the 4th. Rivera greets him with a single to left center. Wilfong works a walk (Earl working on his 3rdpack…), Smalley 2-2, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs steps in. He walks. (Earl calling bullpen and sending out for more cigarettes). Landreaux singles over Dauer’s head and 2 runs score. 5-3, Minnesota. Glenn Adams due up and Earl wants the left hander, Scott McGregor (Grade CZ) to face him. Scott gets Adams, Powell and Jackson to fly to Singleton in right. Singleton ties Denny Walling for most put outs in an inning – Denny did the same in the 6th inning of the Bucs Astros game. O’s come to the plate in the 5th down by 2. Singleton up with one out and he swats a drive to right – if it’s fair it’s out of here. Fair ball, home run Singleton, his 3rd in 2 games. Murray singled through the box and the tie run was on with one down. Roenicke to the plate. He homered earlier today….this time all he can manage is a grounder to Wilfong that forces Singleton at second. Benny Ayala, who homered earlier today (is it me, or am I typing that often?). Benny scorches one down past Jackson at first and in to the right field corner. Roenicke scores and the Birds have evened the score at 5.

The Twins made some noise in the 6th. Cubbage reached on an error by Rich Dauer. Wynegar singled to left and Cubbage tried for 3rd. Roenicke’s throw easily beats him for the first out of the inning. Rivera then grounds in to a 5-4-3 double play and Weaver looks brilliant for going to McGregor. (He still has some left in his 3rd pack!) Wilfong walks to start the Twins 7th. Smalley singles for first and second. Roy is 3-3 with a walk and 2 RBIs. McGregor kicks and fires to Landreaux – strike 3. One gone. Up comes Adams. Ground ball to Belanger – who had just come in to the game. Over to Dauer and on to Eddie (you can chant Eddie yourself, I’m not gonna keep typing it) for the inning ending double play. Singleton walks to start the home 7th. Up steps Eddie (hope you’re still chanting). Mauch decides he has gotten all he can from Zahn and goes to Pete Redfern (Grade BXZ). (And you don’t have to chant Eddie through the pitching change unless you want to.) Murray nubs one towards Cubbage at third and it’s an infield hit (if it makes you feel better, I do feel guilty making you chant all that time for just an infield hit). Up comes Roenicke and he does his Ron Hunt imitation. The sacks are loaded (or the bases are drunk if you prefer) for Ayala. Ayala hits one to deep center. It stays in the park, but is deep enough even Singleton can tag and score from third. The O’s will take the field in the 8th with a 6-5 lead.

McGregor on for his fourth inning of work. He walks Powell to start the inning. Earl goes to the pen for Jim Palmer (Grade C) and to the 7-11 for a carton. Palmer to the stretch. He whirls and throws to Belanger at second and they pick off Powell. (Maybe it was Boog…) Jackson hits Palmer’s next pitch all the way back to Palmer. Who calmly throws it in to the dugout – Jackson goes to second on the error. Cubbage and Wynegar then hammered back to back doubles and the Twins had taken a 7-6 lead. Palmer restores order getting Rivera to pop to DeCinces at third and Wilfong to ground to Eddie at first, who tossed to Palmer covering.

Redfern puts the Orioles down in order in the 8th. First time since the first inning. The Twins come to the plate in the 9th looking for more. Tippy Martinez (Grade BX) on for the home side. Smalley skies to Singleton for the first out. Landreaux singles over a leaping Mark Belanger and Adams stands in. He rips a single to center and the charging Bumbry boots it, Landreaux taking third on the error. Powell comes on and lofts on to Roenicke in left. A sac fly gives the Twins a 2 run lead and they want more. Earl calls on Don Stanhouse (Grade BW) to face the right hand hitting Ron Jackson. Always an adventure with the guy they call Full Pack. But Stanhouse gets Jackson to fly to Singleton on one pitch. Cue the Orioles Magic for the 9th…

Mauch goes to Marshall to try and save this one. Mike was 3-5 with 29 saves and 2.03 ERA in the regular season. Singleton to lead off (Murray on deck so warm up your vocal cords…). He bloops one safely in to left field and the tie run comes to the plate. Murray swings – and it’s a ground ball to Wilfong. 4-6-3. (you guys must not be chanting right…) Lowenstein comes in to hit for the right handed Roenicke, but can only muster a fly to Powell in right. Redfern gets the win, Marshall the save. Palmer gives up 2 runs, 1 earned and takes the loss. The teams have combined for 63 hits and 12 homers in 3 games, so tomorrow’s starters – Koosman (0-1) and Martinez (1-0) have their work cut out for them.

thanks, Bob. I’m enjoying these more and more!

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Terrible Card Tuesday: 1978 Tony Muser

T Muser

I guess it’s appropriate that most of these Terrible Tuesday cards come at the beginning or at the end of player’s careers.  That’s the case with this 1978 Tony Muser card.  It’s at the tail end of his nine year career when he finished up with the Brewers.

In 1978, he went 4 for 30 (.133) with a double and a triple.  He drove in five runs and walked three times. 

1978 Totals 15 34 30 0 4 1 1 0 5 0 3 5 .133 .212 .233
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/17/2015.


Muser only received six hit numbers so you would have to roll double numbers for a chance to get a hit.  He got 2-6-8-8-9-9.  In addition, he has three 14s. 

With 34 plate appearances (pretty close to the 36 result numbers on the APBA card), a lot of numbers are easy to calculate for his card.  One 6 for his one double, one 2 for his triple, three 14s for his three walks etc. 

Ugly numbers:  15-37, 25-41, 44-9

If I remember correctly, Muser was always a defensive whiz at first.  APBA didn’t shy away from giving him a 1B-4 even in his last year. 

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Monster Card Monday: 1965 Willie Mays

65 mays

Pastor Rich brings us this Monster Willie Mays card of 1965. 

1965 was about midway through Willie Mays’ career/  In terms of his offensive value though, Mays’ first part of his career was definitely his salad days.  He hit 481 of his 660 homers before the 1966 season.

In 1965, Mays was on fire for the Giants.  Not only did he lead the league with 52 homeruns (a career high) but he batted .317 with 112 rbis and 118 runs scored.  By the mid sixties, his steals had decreased a bit but he managed to steal nine in 1965. 

In 1965, Willie Mays won the National League MVP, was named an All-Star and received a Gold Glove for his work in center field. 

1965 Totals 157 638 558 118 177 21 3 52 112 9 76 71 .317 .398 .645
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/16/2015.


The measure of clutch is Willie Mays so it’s appropriate that he would get power numbers 1-1-5-5.  Watch out with runners on base! 

It doesn’t stop there, though.  1965 Mays gets two 7s and one 10 plus four 14s.  He can be forgiven for getting only two 8s to go along with his two 9s.  Look at it this way… he hits Sandy Koufax as well as Cal Koonce. 

Fun numbers:  22-5, 55-7, 33-5

Bonus for the Say-hey Kid, he has three 31s!  He has a 21-31.  Raise your hands if any of you would H&R with this card! 

thanks, Rich!

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Bob Gordon’s 1979 postseason: Astros stay alive in Game 3 of NLCS

Astros-JCruzBob Gordon continues his recap of his 1979 postseason.  He’s in Game 3 of the NLCS.   Tom

The series moves to Pittsburgh and the Astros have their backs to the wall. In game 2, they put 7 runs on the board against one of the best hurlers the NL has to offer. And they like the pitching matchup – Andujar (Grade B, 17-13, 2.89) against Kison (Grade CYZ, 24-6, 3.66).

Even the first inning feels different. Walling leads off with a single over Foli’s head and in to center field. Bill Virdon gets aggressive and calls for the hit and run. Walling is thrown out at second by Ott – but the ‘Stros are feeling it. Reynolds lines one to center. The fleet footed and (usually) sure-gloved Omar Moreno boots it, and Reynolds is aboard. Cedeno grounds Kison’s offering to Foli for the force at second. Reynolds isn’t getting up….he’s twisted an ankle and will miss the rest of the series. (For those of you following at home, those last two rolls were a 13-23 and 62-41.)

Julio Gonzalez was hitting the ball well during the last regular season series and will come on in the bottom half to play short. Cruz is the batter with two gone. He drives one to right field and Cedeno is heading for third on Parker’s arm. (Anyone think that sounds like a good idea?) Parker comes up firing and the Bucs come up to bat. Cedeno out at third. Felt like the Astros could have put up a crooked number. The Bucs start with a single by Moreno. One out later, Parker walks. Up comes Stargell – he hit 2 dingers in Game 2. Andujar goes right at ‘em. (Anyone think that’s a good idea?) And Willie whiffs. Milner skies to right and the Pirates are gone in the first.

Cabell starts the second with yet another Astro base knock – and steals second on the first pitch. Leonard skies to right and Cabell thinks better of running on Parker and holds second. Landestoy grounds to the sure-handed Foli at short and – you guessed it – it caroms in to short left field. Cabell scores an unearned run and Houston has its first lead of the series. Ashby bangs in to a 4-6-3 and the Pirates come to bat. Once again, they waste a chance – Madlock walked and Ott singled, but Garner rolled in to a 6-4-3 double play. Andujar got Kison to ground out to Gonzalez to end the inning.

Andujar starts the third by striking out. Walling grounds out Foli to Stargell. Gonzalez hits a 27 hopper to Madlock at third and Kison is easing to the dugout. Madlock can’t make the play and it’s an E5. The Bucs with three errors in three innings. Without a caught stealing, a runner thrown out at third and the DP ball, this could be really ugly. Cedeno hopes to make the most of his chance at bat. Kison’s pitch catches the barrell of Cesar’s bat and that one is just over the wall in left! Cedeno had all of 6 homers on the year (the team had 47 – one less than Stargell and 15 less than Kingman who led the majors with 62). Three zero Houston. Cruz singled to left center, but was stranded there. The Buccos waste Moreno’s leadoff single and stolen base in the third, and strand Ott after a two out single in the 4th.

Meanwhile, Kison gets 7 in a row and hasn’t allowed an earned run through five innings of work. He’s due to lead off the 5th, but Tanner sends up Lee Lacy to try to eat in to the 3 run deficit. No dice for Lee – he grounds to Landestoy at second. Moreno picks up his third hit of the game – and his second steal. Foli walks – the third walk by Andujar. Parker hits a can of corn to Walling in center and here comes Stargell. Willie lines it to left field for an RBI single – Foli stopping at second. Milner walks to load them up for Madlock. Madlock hits a screamer , but right at Landestoy and the Astros get out of it. The lead is down to 3-1. Bill Robinson comes in to play left field and bat 9th. Dave Roberts (D(B*Z) will bat in the five hole and take the hill.

Cedeno starts the Astro 6th with a single. Cruz is 2-2 on the day, but he beats out a slow roller to third for an infield hit. Pirate fans getting nervous. Cabell lines one over second base and in to center field – Cedeno scores, Cruz to third. Enos takes off on the first pitch and beats Ott’s throw easily. Second and third and no out for Leonard – and he works a base on balls. Sacks loaded, no out. 4-1 Houston. Landestoy batting righty against the lefty Roberts. And Roberts fans him. Up steps Ashby – he’s 0-2 and hit in to one DP already. And here is the pitcher’s best friend – a grounder to Foli – who lets it go through his legs and on to left field to score 2! Andujar grounds to Garner, to Foli, to Stargell. Inning over, but Houston with a comfortable 6-1 lead. Andujar gets the first two Bucs (stealing 8’s) before Robinson takes him over the wall in right. Moreno flies to Walling in center – and I think Walling just tied the record for put outs in an inning….

Astros bat in the 7th looking to build on their 6-2 lead. Walling leads off – and gets a free pass to first. Gonzalez singles to right and Walling is safe at third – no throw by Parker. Cedeno lifts one to short right. Parker makes the catch and Walling thinks better of it. Cruz on with 1st and 3rd, 1 out. Jose is 3-3, make that 4-4. Chuck Tanner comes out to get Roberts (and glares at Cruz standing at first base). Don Robinson makes his first appearance of the series. He was the Pirates #4 starter for most of the season. Cruz takes off on the first pitch and swipes second. Then Robinson gets Cabell to fly to right and the runners hold. Up comes Jeff Leonard and he drills a single to left scoring both runners. Pirates trail 9-2. Landestoy fouls out to Ott to end the 7th. Foli flies to Walling in center (another 8 stolen….) and Walling has 4 putouts in a row. Andujar gets the next 2 hitters and retires the Bucs in the 8th giving up just a lead off walk to pinch hitter Rennie Stennett in the 8th.

Joe Coleman – the ex Tiger hurler comes out to pitch the top of the 9th. The Astros get 3 straight singles from Cedeno, Cruz and Cabell. Cruz has gone 5-5 and 7 for his last 8. Tanner calls Tekulve to try and stem the tide. Coleman was unable to record an out. Leonard hits a SF to left and its 11-2 Houston as the home team comes up for their last at bats. Manager Virdon has gone to Sambito to finish for Andujar. Joaquin allowed 2 ER on 7 hits in his 8 inning effort. He walked 5 and fanned 1. Sambito (Grade AXZ) worked to a 2.56 ERA with 35 saves in the regular season. Robinson strikes out and Moreno pops to Cabell at third (a stolen 9). Two gone and Foli draws a walk. Parker singles over Cedeno and in to right field, Foli taking third. Parker takes off for second (down by 9? I think Chuck might have a chat with him…) and is in with a stolen base. Stargell doubles to deep right to score two. Steve Nicosia pinch hits for Teke and flies to Cruz in left. The Astros stave off elimination. Their 3,4,5 hitters were a combined 11-15 with 8 runs and 5 RBIs.

They’ll be looking to keep their hot hitting going tomorrow to back JR Richard as he takes the mound for the second time in the series.

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John Roels pilots 1937 Yanks to victory at GMABT

I want to say congratulations and well done!

John Roels and Chris Baier

Congratulations to John Roels who won the Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament championship last weekend.  He took the 1937 New York Yankees and defeated a host of worthy teams.  That included Chris Baier’s 2006 Tigers in the final game.  Nice going, John! 


And well done, Pastor Rich Zawadzki!  From the photos I’ve seen and the video above, it looks like every one had a blast at GMABT!  You really know how to plan a tournament.  The comments I’ve been reading since last weekend made me wish I had gone. 

Now I hear you are already planning next year’s event. 

By the way, thanks for great video by Ron Emch.  It’s a great one for the archives! 

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Terrible Card Tuesday: 1987 Buddy Biancalana


Browsing through my 1987 set, I ran across Buddy Biancalana.  He was in the Houston Astros envelope but as it turns out, he split the season with the Kansas City Royals in his last year in the majors. 

Now Buddy went 1 for 2 in his first year in the bigs in 1982.  In the five seasons that followed, he hit over .200 only once.  The 1987 season was definitely the death knell for his career.  In his combined season, he batted .155 (11 for 71) though he did hit one homerun and one double. 

Houston saw the need to let him go though.  For the Astros, he went 1 for 24 with no rbis but with 12 strikeouts. 

1987 Totals 55 74 71 5 11 1 0 1 7 0 2 22 .155 .178 .211
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/10/2015.


Long story short, if you’re playing Biancalana’s card with Houston, he should feel very lucky. 

Buddy has hit numbers 5-7-8-8-8-9-9.  The way I figure it, with his one 14, he should around .171.  That’s good for his whole season let alone for his 1 for 24 Astro performance.

Ugly numbers:  25-39, 31-13, 51-13

Buddy Biancalana was actually a first round draft pick in 1978.  He was chosen #25 overall by the Royals in the same round as Kirk Gibson, Tom Brunansky, Mike Morgan, Rex Hudler, Nick Esasky, Hubie Brooks, Bob Horner (the #1 pick), and Lloyd Moseby. 

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Monster Card Monday: 1916 Babe Ruth


Even in the midst of hosting the Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament, Pastor Rich Zawadzki had time to forward this card to me.  Rich acknowledged that while I’ve posted plenty of Monster Babe Ruth cards before (he’s right, there are five), this one is worth a look. 

Indeed it is.  It’s Ruth’s 1916 card before he even played with the Yankees.   He was still with the Red Sox and his primary position was still pitcher though you can begin to tell he had a mean stick. 

What a season on the mound though!  Ruth went 23-12 with a nifty 1.75 ERA in astounding 323 innings pitched.  He completed 23 of the 40 games he started. 

Ruth never played in the outfield in 1916.  That “experiment” didn’t start until 1918.  However, it was apparent that the Bambino had an aptitude with the bat.  At the plate, he hit .268 with five doubles, three triples and three homeruns. 

First, his hitting stats of 1916…

1916 Totals 68 152 138 18 37 5 3 3 16 0 9 23 .268 .318 .413
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/9/2015.


and of course, his pitching stats…

1916 Totals 23 12 .657 1.75 44 40 23 9 1 323.2 230 63 0 118 170
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/9/2015.


This is first time that I have sat down and studied Babe Ruth’s pitching career as intensely as I just did.  He had a couple of really amazing seasons with the Sox!

Some baseball historians and other baseball experts posit that Babe Ruth should never have become an outfielder and he was more valuable as a pitcher.  It’s moot point but I agree that is possible that Ruth could have been a Hall of Fame pitcher in his own right.  I would argue though that he would not have fundamentally changed the way the game of baseball was played had that happened. 

If Babe Ruth not had hit his homeruns at the pace he did and forced the other teams to catch up, would the deadball era have been delayed for a few years?  Now whether or not you think that is a positive thing is entirely your opinion. 

thanks, Rich!

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