2014 carded player lists released!

sea-buckThe carded player list is out for the 2014 APBA baseball season set.  This is the roster sheet that tells us what players will be represented on the APBA card set and disk for the 2014 season when it comes out. 

You can download the carded player list from APBA’s download page.  Here is the direct link to the list which is in Microsoft Excel format.

The release of the carded list is a big deal for a lot of leagues including the Illowa APBA League.  For each uncarded player on our respective teams, we get a draft pick in the upcoming rookie draft.  For players like Vernon Wells and Scott Diamond (to use my Thunderchickens team as an example) who didn’t play at all, they’re automatic.  We know we get a rookie draft for them. 

But there are some Major League Baseball players who play just a little.  Take John Buck for example.  He played 32 games and had 89 at-bats.  Or Darin Ruf who had 52 games and 102 at-bats.  I wasn’t holding much hope for Ruf being uncarded and sure enough, he did get one.  However, Buck was left off the list and I will get another draft pick because of it. 

So what goes into APBA’s decision about who gets a card and who doesn’t?  Just a guess on my part but this is what I think:

  • Overall playing time (obviously)
  • Size of MLB team roster
  • MLB team’s position needs and requirements
  • Proximity of playing time to the end of season
  • Amount of time played on last team if player played on multiple teams

Overall, a player’s impact to the team has to play a role too. 

Personally, I’m pleased with this year’s list.  I’ve had the same catcher tandem of John Buck and Geovany Soto for a while now.  They both haven’t been able to hit for a few years.  Last year, I drafted Yan Gomes to get myself out of this funk.  Now just magically, both Soto and Buck are eligible to be dropped for draft picks.  No more pot jokes from Chuck. 

There’s nothing so nice as dropping deadweight on your team.  (but seriously guys, we loved you) *snicker*

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Terrible Card Tuesday: 1987 Luis Quinones


In honor of my Chicagoland Tournament choice of the 1987 Chicago Cubs, here’s Luis Quinones (that’s “kee-Nyo-naze” for you gringos) from the team. 

For the Cubbies, Luis hit .218 in 101 at-bats with six doubles and ten walks.  He didn’t break the .300 mark in either slugging (.277) or OBP (.288). 

1987 Totals 49 111 101 12 22 6 0 0 8 0 10 16 .218 .288 .277
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/28/2014.


To be fair, Quinones’ 1987 card isn’t totally useless.  He’s a fast base runner and he plays three infield positions.  However, don’t expect him to hit unless perhaps, there’s a runner on third base.  He has power numbers 6-6. 

His batting average is bad enough to warrant a 51-39 as well. 

Ugly numbers:  51-39, 66-6

As bad as this card is, Quinones’ .218 average in 1987 was actually an improvement from his previous two years of .190 and .179.  He didn’t get much better throughout his eight-year career with a lifetime .226 average. 

Quinones is probably best known for his game-winning rbi in the final game of the NLCS for the Cincinnati Reds.  The Reds (who always seem to get the most out of their players in the postseason) defeated the Pirates 2-1 and won the Series 4-2. 

Maybe Luis will make the final cut for me. 

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Getting a headcount for Nov. 15th tournament

These are current registrants for the November 15th Chicagoland APBA Tournament.

Name Team
Jim Welch 1961 Detroit Tigers
Fennessy, Scott 1993 Toronto Blue Jays
Zawadzki, Rich 1967 Boston Red Sox
Schuyler, Doug 1994 White Sox
Saska, Jim 1935 Chicago Cubs
Eller, Bob 1908 Chicago Cubs
Bartel, Curt 1922 St. Louis Browns
Nelshoppen, Thomas 1987 Chicago Cubs 
Witt, Chris 1946 Boston Red Sox


The registration form was working fine as of yesterday but one person did say they couldn’t submit their team via the form.  If you registered and your name is NOT on this list, please email and let Jim Saska know. 


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Monster Card Monday: 1993 Curtis Pride


Scott Fennessy passed on this extra-special Curtis Pride card from 1993 from when he played with the Montreal Expos.  This was three whole years before he reached rookie status with the Tigers.  No doubt, his APBA cards never got as good as this.

What makes this card so special?  Even though Pride got in only 9 at-bats for Montreal, he managed to squeeze in a lot of stats.  In primarily a pinch hitting role, he homered, doubled, and tripled.  Yes, he singled too if you were wondering.  He even stole a base. 

1993 Totals 10 9 9 3 4 1 1 1 5 1 0 3 .444 .444 1.111
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/27/2014.

Pride gets a card to be proud of with power numbers 1-1-2-3-6*-6.  In addition to an 11 and a 10, he also has a 36-14* to go along with the 6*.  Appropriately, he only gets two 8s with his two 9s.

But I keep looking at the 36-14* and thinking “he didn’t get a walk that year”.  Perhaps it was just a vehicle by the cardmakers to add a few more chances to steal a base. 

Fun numbers: 33-2, 22-3, 55-6

Curtis Pride went on to have an 11-year career for six teams.  His best year was with Detroit in 1996 when he hit .300 with 10 homers in 267 at-bats. 

thanks, Scott!

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More 2014 predictions: Bill Evans chimes in

imageIn light of all the talk of predicting the 2014 APBA cards, reader Bill Evans has sent me his work.  He crunched the numbers and has predicted the pitchers’ grades for the NL and AL hurlers.  Bill has taken a different approach than previous ball-gazers, Mike Bunch and Bruce Norlander.  His grades are based on a league-adjusted ERA.  Take a look at his results. 

Bill Evans 2014 Pitching Summary for the AL

Bill Evans 2014 Pitching Summary for the NL

A quick look at Bill’s predictions show that his are results are little different from Mike’s and Bruce’s.  Like I did previously, I search for my Thunderchicken pitchers first.  While Mike and Bruce have Strasburg, Ryu and Roark as a Grade B, Bill Evans has them tagged as C pitchers. 

There’s no doubt Bill Evans has done his homework.  I’m sure he won’t take it personally if I hope he’s wrong though. 

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Does APBA factor in postseason stats in making the cards?

Does a baseball player’s performance in the postseason affect what their APBA card will look like?  Will Eric Hosmer’s card look a little more juicer in the upcoming set?  How about Madison Bumgarner?  Will APBA add a few points to his MG grade? 

The short answer to this question is no.  APBA does not as a general rule take postseason play into effect when formulating the APBA cards.  The cards for all seasons are based on regular season play. 

Historically, there have been exceptions though.  Take 1973 Ken Holtzman for example.

73 holtzman

Holtzman, a solid hitting pitcher with the Cubs was traded to the Oakland A’s in 1972 (sigh!).  Of course in 1973, the designated hitter rule took effect for the American League.  So Holtzman only came to the plate once in 1973… and walked. 

As it turned out, Oakland went to the World Series that year to face the Mets.  Holtzman had his chance to show he could hit as well as pitch.  In Game 1 of the World Series he went 1 for 1 with a double.  He didn’t bat in Game 4 but in Game 7, he went 1 for 2 with another double. 

Holtzman’s postseason batting stats in 1973:

1973 ? OAK NYM 3 3 2 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .667 .667 1.333
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/24/2014.

Looking at his APBA card, the Game Company obviously didn’t ignore Holtzman’s postseason performance when crunching his card numbers.  As you can see, there are plenty of 6s.  Ten to be exact.  It’s worth noting that APBA also didn’t forget about his regular season walk either.  He has six 14s. 

As Mike Bunch, my IAL commissioner says, “Nice hitter with a runner on third.” 

I know there are other examples out there.  Most of them tend to be pitchers.  Perhaps others can point them out. 

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TAB Mailbag: What does APBA stand for?

When reader Ed sent me an email with a subject line “What does APBA stand for”, I expected a diatribe on the APBA Game Company’s standing in the tabletop sports community. 

No, that wasn’t the case..

“I have acquired some APBA football cards, what does APBA stand for?? Thanks for the assist.”

…he simply wanted to know what the word APBA stands for. 

It’s a question that gets asked by readers on occasion especially those new to the game.  The official word from the Company is that it doesn’t stand for anything and word stands on its own. 

This shot of an APBA 1964 brochure reveals that there may have been something behind the name. Something “of a sentimental, personal nature that would require lengthy explanation”.  Of course, this was back in 1932 so whatever it was probably went to the grave with APBA founder Dick Seitz. 

And of course, NEVER call it Ay, Pee, Bee, Ay! 

Thanks for the good question, Ed.

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Weird Card Wednesday: 1957 Dixie Howell

dixie howell

Thanks to Jerry Hill and his son Doug for nominating Dixie Howell for this week’s Weird Wednesday card.  Dixie has the look of a monster card up to a point then he just falls apart.

Dixie had a pretty exciting year at the plate for the Chicago White Sox in 1957.  He only went 5 for 27 but all five of his hits went for extra bases.  He hit three homers, a double and a triple.  He walked twice and only struck out six times.

1957 Totals 42 29 27 4 5 1 1 3 3 0 2 6 .185 .241 .630
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/22/2014.


I’m not going to post his complete pitching stats but for the record, Howell posted a 3.29 ERA and went 6-5 in 37 appearances with the Sox in 1957.  The B* is warranted.

Essentially if you can roll double numbers with your dice, you’re golden with Dixie Howell hitting card. His power numbers of 1-1-1-2-5-5 are pretty nifty.  However, the offensive drop-off between the 55-5 and the 15-23 is one of the biggest I’ve ever seen on an APBA card though.

1957 wasn’t the first year Howell showed some offensive prowess.  In 1955, he batted .381 in 21 at-bats and in 1956 he hit two homers.  He pitched only one game after the 1957 season though, finishing up his career for the White Sox in 1958.

Thanks Jerry and Doug!

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Terrible Card Tuesday: 1985 Bruce Benedict


I found this Bruce Benedict card in my 1985 season set. 

While “Eggs” Benedict was a decent catcher for Atlanta, he never was much of a hitter.  That was so true in 1985 when he hit .202 over 70 games and 208 at-bats.  His playing time wasn’t because of his power either.  Benedict didn’t hit any homers and only hit six doubles.  Giving credit where it’s due, he walked more (22) than he struck out (12). 


1985 Totals 70 237 208 12 42 6 0 0 20 0 22 12 .202 .279 .231
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/21/2014.


Benedict gets a 66-6 for his six doubles.  In addition to his 11-7, he’s blessed with four 8s along with the two 9s.  That saves him from getting a unusual result number at 15 or 25. 

Slowpoke that he was, he couldn’t run out the ground balls and received three 24s.  Only one 13 for Benedict though, a rarity for catchers in his era. 

Ugly numbers:  11-7, 33-8, 51-14

Despite his .242 career batting average and 18 total career homeruns, Bruce Benedict did play in two All-Star Games in 1981 and 1983.  That’s one more than Steve Swisher! 

Without looking it up, who was Atlanta’s other catcher in 1985??

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Bruce Norlander’s predictions are out!

Hear ye, Hear ye!  The Soothsayer has spoken! 

That’s right! Bruce Norlander, who has been making predictions of APBA baseball cards for years, has released this year’s predictions.  They’re not official of course but those familiar with Bruce know he gets it pretty close. 

These days, Bruce is posting his grade predictions on his website Archrivals Baseball.  Here are the direct links:

2014 NL Pitching Predictions

2014 AL Pitching Predictions

Bruce predicts Master Game pitching grades as well as strikeout and control ratings and MG Homerun ratings. 

Of course, the first thing I’m looking at with these predictions are my Twin City Thunderchickens.  I decided to compare Bruce’s with those done by Illowa APBA League commissioner Mike Bunch. 

Hoping to find some differences between the two for a source of discussion, I found none.  While they disagreed a bit on the strikeout ratings, Bruce and Mike agreed on all the pitchers’ letter grades for my team. 

  • Roark, T.              B  (Z)
  • Strasburg, S.       B  (XY) (Z)
  • Ryu, H.                 B (Y) (Z)
  • Niese, J.               B  (Z)
  • Bailey, H.             C  (Y)
  • Papelbon, J.        A*  (X) (Z)
  • Torres, A.            B*  (Y) (W)

Perhaps I’ll re-visit this later when the disk comes out.  I have no real disagreements with any of these though Bruce’s prediction Roark to be a 14Z pains me.  Gosh, one more point would be nice. 

Thanks Bruce! 

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