29
January

Monsters vs. Terribles Poll: Vote for Monsters Catcher!

Now, it’s the Monsters’ turn.

Specifically, you get to vote on who gets to start behind the plate in my Monsters vs. Terribles project (more info here).

Each player’s name is linked to his original Monster Card Monday article written about him and his APBA card associated with it.


Monsters Team nominee


APBA card breakdown

1922 Red Lutz C-5, 6-6-6-6-6-6-6-6-6-6-6-6, zero 14s
1931 Josh Gibson C-8, 1-1-2-3-6-6-7-7-7-8-8-8-9-9-11, three 14s
1934 Grover Hartley C-6, 6-6-6-6-6-6-6-6, nine 14s
1973 Barry Foote C-6, 2-2-6-7-7-7-7-7-8-8-8-8-9-9, zero 14s
2003 Javy Lopez C-8, 1-1-1-6-6-7-8-8-8-8-9-9, two 14s

 

There weren’t as many to choose from the catcher position.  A couple have extremely strong cards based on little playing time.  Lopez is the one full-timer.

Gibson is the wild card in the race.  I’ll be honest, I had a hard time including him given how APBA really pumped his card up (like many of the Negro League stars).  But I couldn’t pass up the possibility of having him on the team.

Go ahead and vote!

Who should start as catcher for the Monsters?

 

If you’re just reading this now, it’s probably not too late to get your vote in for the Terribles backstop.  Right now, 1967 Johnny Bench (of all people) has a slim lead over 1968 Randy Bobb.

Again, thanks all!

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29
January

Weird Card Wednesday: 1953 Ray Scarborough

Ray Scarborough

I ran across this card as I was cleaning out my desk this week.  It’s Ray Scarborough’s card from 1953.  It really got my attention.

1953 was Scarborough’s last season in his ten year career.  As a pitcher, it wasn’t a very eventful year other than that he split it between the Yanks and the Tigers.  He had mediocre year on the mound.  He went 2-4 with a 4.66 ERA in 75 plus innings with just one start.

Scarborough did however, hit his only homerun of his career in 1953.  It was the only hit that year in fifteen plate appearances.

Also worthy of note, he hit into one double play.

Split G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG
1953 Totals 38 15 14 1 1 0 0 1 3 0 2 .071 .071 .286
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/28/2014.

 

Scarborough’s 1953 card goes from power hitter to Mendoza pretty quick.  After his 66-1 and 11-1, things go pretty sour.  Those are his only hit numbers.  APBA gave him a 33-21 and then a 22-23.  After that, it’s out numbers.  Ray gets a nasty 44-13.  He doesn’t get any 14s either with a 45-36.

Scarborough is also cursed with seven 24s on his card.  Ironically, there isn’t one on 41 because this 1953 set has the 12 there.

Ray Scarborough (born “Rae Scarborough”) was actually a decent starting pitcher in his time.  He reached double figures in wins four times and was named AL All-Star in 1950.  His best year was probably 1948 with the Washington Senators when he went 15-8 with a 2.82 ERA.

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28
January

1905 Chicago Cubs replay update: Reds stun Cubs and Weimer

Charlie_Chech (1)by Scott Fennessy

9/1/1905
Chicago, IL

The Cubs have survived the “dog days” of August, and return from a terrific road trip to face the vastly improved Reds. Today sees Charlie Chech against the red hot Jake Weimer. I am expecting big things today from the men in blue.

The score was still 0-0 in the 3rd when Al Bridwell singles to center and the Reds send the runner. Weimer tries to slip a fastball to the outside to help Johnny Kling on the throw, but Fred Odwell crushes this one hard and deep, and right fielder Frank Schulte can only watch as it goes into the stands for his MLB leading 17th dinger of the year.

Jim Seymour then slams Weimer’s next offering deep to left and John McCarthy can’t get to it and it one hops the wall for a ground rule double, and Weimer, who has been struggling today is in big trouble now. He gets Jimmy Sebring on a pop up, but walks Harry Steinfeldt. With two out, and a runners on first and second light hitting Tommy Corcoran hits a grounder through the wicket and Seymour scores and runners are on the corners.

Corcoran is one of Cincinnati’s faster runners and he steals second easily, and equally light hitting catcher Charles Street strokes a single just past Johnny Evers glove and another run scores. Chech delivers the third straight hit and another run scores. Kling comes to the mound to calm Weimer down, and he gets Bridwell, who is the 10th and final batter of the inning, and the Reds have a 5-0 lead.

The Cubs begin their comeback in the bottom of the inning when Chech walks Hans Lobert. Lobert then steals second to start the action. Weimer, who despite having a weak hitter’s card seems to always come through and he does again with an RBI single to right. Billy Maloney then moves him over with a sacrifice bunt and Evers then walks and runners are on second and third with two out when Frank Chance walks to load the bases. The unusually wild Chech then strikes out Jim Casey to end the threat and the score is now 5-1 Reds on top.

The Reds keep on hitting though as Jim Seymour gets a one out triple, and is now 3 for 3 and needs just a home run to be the first player to hit for the cycle for me. This gets the bullpen going as Jimmy Sebring, who is starting to come on in the last few weeks then hits a deep fly ball to McCarthy in left and Seymour tags and scores after the catch. The score is now 6-1 Reds, and Chance has seen enough. Carl Lundgren, one of the better men in reserve comes in to close the inning out and he does what he was brought in to do.

The Cubs go down scoreless in the bottom of the 4th. Lundgren stays in the game and gives the Cubs a solid inning and the Cubs close the gap in the 5th when Billy Maloney gets hold of a curve ball and sends it to the wall. Odwell gets the throw in and Billy is in with his 14th double of the year. This is probably his first extra-base hit in two weeks, and I have noticed him starting to come around a bit. He probably needs a day off, but the bottom of the order is really struggling so Chance is going to ride his speedy center fielder as long as possible.

Evers then gets and RBI single scoring Maloney and he then steals second to set up a suddenly improving Schulte; who delivers with a single of his own scoring Evers and the lead is suddenly cut in half. Chech settles down though and the inning ends with the Reds on top 6-3.

Neither team scores again, and the Reds stun the Cubs 6-3. Seymour did not get the cycle, and the Reds worst hitters all did well for a change, but for the Reds it was not all good news as Steinfeldt was injured in the 6th inning and will make his 3rd trip to the DL. This time was just a sprained ankle and he will miss 5 games. Chech picks up his 11th win of the season.

The Cubs saw Weimer have one of his worst outings of the year and pick up just his 4th loss of the season. Joe Tinker, who has been on the bench for the last 4 days did get a pinch hit double, and Lundgren and Bob Wicker looked great in relief. Wicker’s performance was especially heartening as he has really been pounded in relief this season, so three hitless innings is a big moment.

[photo credit]

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28
January

Terrible Card Tuesday: 1978 Lou Brock

78 lou brock

Just when I was about to comb through my own APBA collection for a suitable card for today’s column, regular reader Mel M comes through with a great one.  It falls into the “great ones that played one too many season” category.  It’s St Louis left fielder Lou Brock’s card from 1978.

Granted, it wasn’t a HORRIBLE season for Lou.  At .221, he batted above the Mendoza line.  But it was the first time since his first year in 1961 that he didn’t hit a single homerun.  While 17 steals is pretty good for most, it was his lowest total since 1962.

Despite his .263 OBP that year, he led off for the Cardinals for 68 games.

Split G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG
1978 Totals 92 317 298 31 66 9 0 0 12 17 5 17 29 .221 .263 .252
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/28/2014.

 

Lou’s power is left to his 66-6 which he earned from nine doubles in 317 plate appearances.  While he has four 8s and two 9s, don’t forget he also has two 11s as well.

Brock’s 1978 card only has two 14s but get this, he only has two 13s too.  Very atypical for the free swingin’ leadoff hitter.

Ugly numbers: 11-8, 13-40, 66-6

Note that APBA placed the 12 at 36 in 1978.  Brock’s 33 was moved to 63 and his (suspect, in my opinion) second 31 was placed at 24.  Once again, the placement of the 12 forces APBA to play a little musical chairs with the numbers.

Brock must have gotten a boost from his attempt at 3000 hits the next year in 1979.  That year, he hit .304 in 405 at-bats.  His performance was enough to land him on the All-Star team that year.  He indeed reached the milestone finishing out with 3023 hits in his career.

Thanks Mel!

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27
January

Monster Card Monday: 2001 Barry Bonds

2001 bonds

As Steve Stein commented in last week’s post on Babe Ruth’s 1921 card, I still hadn’t gotten around to posting Barry Bonds’ 2001 card.  I’m not sure why.  It wasn’t intentional or any sleight because of substance allegations.  That didn’t prevent me from featuring his 2004 card one week.

So here it is.  Bonds’ HR record-breaking APBA card.

Bonds of course, hit 73 homeruns that year, best of all time.  He also walked a season best 177 times. That mark of 177 is third best of all time.  No one Bonds has no more as he broke his own record twice.  That was the first year of the embarrassing movement by NL pitchers to start walking him an inordinate amount of times.  He led the league for five straight years.

Bonds did manage hit .328 and even steal thirteen bases as well.

Split G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
2001 Totals 153 664 476 129 156 32 2 73 137 13 177 93 .328 .515 .863
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/26/2014.

 

This is indeed a Monster Card but in some ways, it’s a “weird” card as well.  How many .328 hitters do not get a 7 on their card AND get just two 8s and just one 9?  Without any speed numbers either?  Not many, I’m sure.

Two reasons come to mind for the strangeness.  One, Bonds’ power numbers are 1-1-1-0-0-0 which gives him a 55-0.  No 7 there but he can be forgiven.

Two, he has an incredible nine 14s.  A lot of walks go a long way to helping out the batting average.  I did a quick and dirty calculation of his APBA card and he should hit around .311 with this card.  A little lower than his actual .328 but his offensive value is in his power and on-base not his batting average.  In my opinion, it’s close enough.  If I were king of APBA, I may have given him an extra 10.

Fun numbers:  33-1, 55-0, 21-14

Bonds is even better with a runner on first.  With the 53-15 and the 61-22, he has two chances for get hit by the pitch.  You might have noticed that he isn’t hurt by any 24 double plays either.  He has a 41-13.

Some might think this is a gift but Barry Bonds was given a OF-3 in 2001.  It’s just gravy on the top.

An interesting note about Bonds’ 2001 season… despite breaking the all-time record in homeruns and doing so handily (he had nine more than second place Sammy Sosa), he was fourth in rbis.  Walks don’t drive in runs, apparently.

Thanks to Pastor Rich who knows his monster cards!

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26
January

MCM vs. TCT Poll: Vote for Terribles Catcher!

mcmtctaHere’s the first ballot of the Monsters-Terribles season which you get to vote for the participants.  Details on this project are here if you missed it.

Today, we’re (and I’m including myself because I’m going to put in a vote, too) going to select the Catcher for the Tuesday Terribles.  As you can guess, there were a fair amount in this category and I had to pare it down a bit.

Each player’s name is linked to his original Terrible Card Tuesday article written about him and his APBA card associated with it.


Terribles Team nominee


APBA card breakdown

1901 Bill Bergen C-7, 0-0-8-8-8-8-9-9 one 14
1967 Johnny Bench C-6, 0-0-8-8-8-9-9 two 14s
1968 Randy Bobb C-5, 7-7-8-8-9-9 four 14s
1978 Don Werner C-6, 0-8-8-8-9-9 three 14s
1987 Jeff Reed C-7, 6-6-7-8-8-8-9-9 two 14s

 

I’ve chosen five.  There’s one deadball catcher and four more from slightly more recent eras.  A few are no-names and there’s one you MAY have heard of.  One (Bergen) is even somewhat well-known for his inadequacies.

Now, here’s your chance to vote!  Click the button next to the name you want to vote for.

Which card should start as catcher for the Tuesday Terribles?

The poll will be open for a week so get your vote in.

thanks for your help!!

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26
January

1905 Chicago Cubs replay update: Cubs crush Braves to conclude excellent road trip

Chick_Fraser (1)by Scott Fennessy

8/30/1905
Boston, MA

The Cubs face the Braves in the final game of the series and the end of their road trip. Today’s matchup features Mordecai Brown against Chick Fraser. I am expecting another solid pitching matchup.

The Cubs threaten in the first but come up empty as Billy Maloney singled and moved to third and Frank Chance drew a two out walk and runners were on the corners, but Jim Casey hits a rocket right at Bill Lauterborn at third to end the inning.

The Braves however, take it to Brown right away. Harry Wolverton rips a two out double, and has been hitting more consistently after his recent return from another stint on the DL and scores as former Cub Jim Delahanty slips a single just under Art Hofman’s glove and the Braves take the lead 1-0. Tom Needham flies out to end the inning.

And just as I expected the pitching duel ensues. Both pitchers look shaky in the process as they walk several batters without allowing any runs. Eventually the Chicago bats wake up with a Hans Lobert single to start the 5th. The speedy reserve steals second ahead of Pat Moran’s throw and the tying run is in scoring position. Brown continues to amaze me as he has a weak hitter’s card, but he still finds ways to get to the few hit numbers he has and gets an single to shallow left field putting runners on the corners with nobody out. Fraser continues to walk a fine line as he gets two outs with no run scored, but he pours more gas on the fire with a bases filling walk to Frank Schulte to bring up the red hot Frank Chance with two out, and the peerless leader comes through yet again with a two run single. Fraser shuts the door, but not until the visitors have taken a 2-1 lead.

The game remained unchanged, and the two starters continue to struggle, but hold the line through 8 innings, and I was concerned about watching this game slip away in the last inning after fighting so hard to come back. But at long last the Braves do what they do best, and that is find ways to lose close games. Lobert, who came in only hitting .154 draws a leadoff walk and Brown continues to surprise with his second single of the day. Either Brown missed a sign, or the Braves just did not pay much attention, as Brown gets a walking lead and takes off for second and ends up with his first steal of the season. Maloney grounds out to Fred Tenney at first, and the runners hold, but that only held off the inevitable as Johnny Evers draws a 5 pitch walk to load the bases and “Wildfire” Schulte continues to have a decent road trip with an RBI single to give the Cubs an insurance run.

Chance then strikes out, and Fraser looks to be out of the inning again, but Jim Casey smokes a fastball into the opposite field corner, and both runners score and the close scoring game is now in the past. Irvin Wilhelm comes in to close the inning, and fares no better allowing a first pitch single to Johnny Kling scoring Casey to make the lead 7-1, and Hofman gets an infield single, but Lobert ends the inning with the Cubs now comfortably on top 7-1.

Brown takes the mound in the ninth with a huge lead, and can finally relax. He gets a perfect inning to close this out and the Cubs finish the road trip with a sweep of the Braves and go 11-1 overall. The pressure is mounting on the Giants to say the least.

Giants 75 29 .721 0
Cubs 77 31 .713 0

[photo credit]

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26
January

A winter APBA project: the Monsters vs. the Terribles

mcmtctaOkay, I’ve decided to embark on a little off-the-wall project to get me through the cold months.  I might need a little help from all of you though.  As you readers know, I’ve written a weekly column devoted to Monster Cards for the past few years and another one about well, Terrible Cards

Here’s the plan… a twenty-one game season between a team made up of players selected from the Monster Cards I’ve written about vs. the players from the Terrible Card Tuesday column.  I’m calling it the Monsters vs. the Terribles Series.  Imagine 1930 Puccinelli vs 1968 Oyler!  Or 1921 Babe Ruth vs 2011 Adam Dunn!  And 1931 Grove vs. well, some DW.

The big question… can the Terribles win a game?  Maybe even two?

You get to vote!

As I’ve done both columns on this blog for quite a while so I have more than I need to fill both rosters.  To have a bit of fun with it, I thought I’d open it up to you readers to vote on who gets to start and play for each team.  I’ll be setting up a poll for each position and let you vote on who gets to start.  For most positions, the second place vote-getter gets to be the second stringer (I’ll keep two OF subs). 

But who will be on the starting roster?  I’ll have an ‘A-list’ for each position primed for you to pull the lever.  I just need for you to place your vote for each position.  Every few days, I’ll place a poll to choose players for each position.  I’ll keep the polls open for about a week or so.  On each ballot article, there will be a quick card breakdown of all the players.  There will also be links for each player so you can read their original write-ups and see the cards you’ll be voting on. 

Place your votes and I’ll go with who gets the most votes.  It’s up to you!

I won’t tell you how to make your decision.  You can pick your favorite player, pick the best card (or worst card in the case of Terrible Tuesday roster), or pick whichever card tickles your fancy.  I guess if you’re looking for guidance, vote for the APBA card that epitomizes the Monster Card or Terrible Card genre.  I’m looking forward to the series but I’m also looking forward to the selection process and the discussion that ensues.  It should be a lot of fun. 

As for the game playing itself, there will be simple rules otherwise.  I’ll use the APBA Basic Baseball Game with very few modifications.  Most notably, I will ignore rainouts.  Unlike most of my replays, I will play the injuries as they are on the board.   

So keep an eye out.  Soon, I will be posting the first ballot for the Terribles catcher. 

Happy voting!

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24
January

1905 Chicago Cubs replay update: Reulbach cruises to victory in another pitching gem

by Scott Fennessy

8/29/1905
Boston, MA

The Cubs take on the Braves in game two of this series. The Giants and Cubs are easily the two hottest teams in the game and this battle continues to rage with the Giants just percentage points ahead of the Cubs.

Today sees Ed Reulbach against Vic Willis in another expected duel, and neither pitcher disappoints. Reulbach is perfect going into the 4th inning and the score is still 0-0 when Harry Wolverton gets a two out double, but is stranded at second to keep the game scoreless.

The Cubs finally break this open in the 5th, and it is a familiar story for Willis and the Braves. A leadoff error opens the door as Art Hofman is now at second with one out and the light hitting Reulbach slips a Seeing Eye single up the middle scoring “Circus Solly” with the first run of the day. The Cubs threaten for more, but Willis shuts it down and the Cubs only score the one run, but this could be big considering how well “Big Ed” is pitching today.

Reulbach gets another 1-2-3 inning and the Cubs press the advantage again in the 6th. Frank Chance rips a leadoff triple to right, and is now 3-3 on the day. Jim Casey hits one to deep center field, and sends Virgin Cannell to the warning track where he makes the catch, but Chance tags and scores and the lead is now two. Johnny Kling gets a single and is stranded, but it appears he is starting to come around a bit.

The score was still 2-0 visitors with one out in the 8th, and the Cubs with runners on the corners when Johnny Kling hits a sac fly to bring the lead to 3-0. That would end the scoring for the day as Willis pitched very well in the loss, but Reulbach allows just 3 hits and gets the shutout victory.

Frank Chance goes 4-4 with a stolen base as the Cubs keep the pressure on the Giants to win.

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24
January

Flashback Friday: 1989 instruction manual for APBA Pro League Football for DOS

APBA Football for DOS

I found this on my bookshelf in my basement office.  It’s the instruction manual for the APBA Pro League Football Game aka APBA Football for DOS.  I barely remember playing this game so I guess it didn’t make a big impression on me.  I’m sure it was a fine game for its time but like the APBA Baseball game, I just preferred the dice version. 

APBA Football for DOS3

It’s a 58 page manual and was initially published in 1989.  It covered installation, setup and playing the game. Credit was given to Sam and Diane Bigger and Gridlock Associates. 

As you can see from the first page of the table of contents, the game was delivered via 3 1/2 or 5 1/4 inch floppy disks and ran on MS-DOS. 

APBA Football for DOS2

Chapter 7:  Understanding APBA ratings.  Note the disclaimer by APBA if you’ve “tampered” with the offensive indexes. 

APBA Football for DOS4

The last page gives due credit to Sam and Diane Bigger and Gridlock Associates.  Above, you get to see some of the old DOS commands that we had to endure as end users to install the game, play it and create organizations.

APBA Football for DOS1

The back cover lists all of the games offered by APBA in 1989. 

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