Saturday, October 7, 2017

The All Star Game

NL Stars and the opposing Port Ruppert Mundys line up on the base lines.
My 1956 NL replay has reached the All-Star break! 

Standings at the break:

MIL  49-29  ---
BRK  47-31  2
STL  45-35  5
CIN  42-37  7.5
PHI  39-40  10.5
NY  35-44  14.5
CHI  31-49  19
PIT  29-52  21.5 

Come hear Uncle John's Band...
And now, without further fanfare...or, all right, WITH further fanfare, here are your 1956 National League replay All Stars:

P-Newcombe,brk  12-3  1.96
Craig,brk  10-6  2.72
Spahn,mil  11-7  1.77
Burdette,mil  11-2  1.54
Conley,mil  10-4  2.17
Dickson,stl  11-3  2.24
Grissom,ny  2-2  1.69
Freeman,cin  1-1  0.90

C-Bailey,cin  17,46,.306
Smith,stl  5,47,.363
Lopata,phi  12,48,.243

1B-Adcock,mil  27,60,.304
Musial,stl  11,52,.292
Hodges,brk  13,54,.288

2B-Gilliam,brk  1,24,.262
Schoendienst,ny  1,17,.276

3B-Boyer,stl  8,50,.299
Mathews,mil  13,49,.260

SS-Banks,chi  10,44,.268
McMillan,cin  5,35,.285

OF-Snider,brk  20,61,.280
F.Robinson,cin  20,42,.293
Mays,ny  18,46,.295
Aaron,mil  9,40,.292
Moon,stl  10,40,.302
Walls,pit  8,40,.263

Fenway eat your heart out.
And now, meet the Port Ruppert Mundys. The Mundys are from the soon-to-be defunct Patriot League. Their home park was dismantled for war materials, and so today's game is being held at Griffith Stadium, Washington DC. The Mundys are considered the home team, even though they're homeless. All players are original to Philip Roth's "The Great American Novel" except where noted.


King Kelley, looking a lot like Ray Milland.
P--Vernon "King" Kelly (STL) His pitches seem to magically avoid anything made of wood...like bats.


Henry Wiggen (NY Mammoths) Wiggen is the star pitcher of the New York Mammoths in the movie (and novel) "Bang The Drum Slowly." He has had his contract tied to that of catcher Bruce Pearson.

Gil "Sidewinder" Gamish. The player-manager recently returned from Russia where he had been serving out his suspension for intentionally throwing at an umpire. The only Babylonian-American ever to play in the majors.

Chico Mecoatl. A Mexican League reject picked up by the Mundys.

Methuselah "Pops" Jerrasick. (FA) Oldest player on the team. Fastball tops out at 75.

Art Ritus (FA) Sore-armed free agent signing. Went 23-4 as a rookie, 2-17 in the five years since.

Gog and Magog. A relief tandem.

Blaise "Kerosene" Incendiari. (FA) The Mundys' closer, though he has been ineffective. Rumored to have mob ties.

C-"Hothead" Ptah. The peg-legged catcher.

Bruce Pearson. (NY Mammoths) A journeyman catcher, Bruce is dying but only Henry Wiggen knows it.

Piney Woods. (NY Mammoths) Piney is a rookie phenom who can't figure out why they don't give him Pearson's playing time.

1B-John Baal. "The Babe Ruth of the Big House" led the Correctional League in home runs while serving time at Sing Sing. Claims never to have hit a home run sober. 

2B-Nickname Damur. The team's 14 year old second sacker. He was the only one on the team with no nickname, and so...

3B-Wayne "Kid" Heket. 52 years old and still holding on.

SS- Frenchy "Unlucky" Asterte.  French Canadian reject from the Japanese League.

UT- Jesus "Taco" Martinez. (FA) The obligatory Latin shortstop/pinch runner.

OF--Roy "The Natural" Hobbs. (New York Knights) You know who he is.

Roland Agni. 19 year old rookie sensation. He suspects something is fishy with the Mundys. Watch your back, Roland.

Mike "The Ghost" Rama. Fastest runner on the team. Center fielder.

"Lonesome" Luke. Loves triples.

Bud Parusha. The team's one-armed reserve flyhawk.

All players on both teams are wearing a "DR" arm patch in honor of Universal Baseball Association star Damon Rutherford, tragically killed by a pitched ball in Season 56.


Play ball!
THE GAME.

1st inning: Wiggen stops the NL on 1 hit, a single by Gilliam. Burdette allows only a 2-out walk to Roland Agni. 0-0.

2nd inning: Adcock greets Wiggen with a triple. Boyer fans, but Banks singles in Adcock. 1-0 NL. John Baal leads off the home half with a booming home run, then weaves uncertainly around the bases. 1-1.

3rd inning: The NL adds another off of Wiggen when Adcock singles in Gilliam. Mundys down in order. 2-1 NL.

4th inning: Wiggen gives up a lead-off double to Banks, followed by a walk to Ed Bailey. Stan Musial pinch hits for Burdette and slams a three run jack to chase Wiggen and make it a 5-1 game. Gilliam collects his third hit, steals second, and scores on a single by Mays. A lead-off HR by Agni gets one back for the Mundys. 6-2 NL.

5th inning: Gog on the mound for Port Ruppert. The NL stars plate 6 runs, capped by a grand slam off the bat of Duke Snider. Magog comes on to retire pinch hitter Lee Walls. 12-2 NL.

6th inning: King Kelly retires the NL in order. Newcombe is victimized by a Gilliam error and two sac flies. 12-4 NL.

7th inning: No scoring

8th inning: No scoring

9th inning: Kelley completes four perfect innings of relief. Lonesome Luke leads off the bottom of the 9th with a pinch-hit triple (of course!). Two batters later, he scores when Grissom allows a sac fly off the bat of Nickname Damur. Final score: NL Stars 12, Port Ruppert Mundys 5.

NL  011 460 000--12 13 1
PR  010 102 001---5  7  0

Robinson, LF  4 1 1 0
Gilliam, 2B  3 3 3 0
Mays, CF  4 1 1 2
Snider,RF  4 1 1 4
Adcock,1B  3 1 2 1
Boyer, 3B  3 0 0 0
Banks, SS  5 2 3 1 
Bailey, C  4 1 0 0
Burdette, P  1 0 0 0
Musial, ph, 1B  3 2 2 4
Walls, ph  1 0 0 0
Moon, LF  1 0 0 0
Mathews, 3B  2 0 0 0
S'dienst, 2B  1 0 0 0
Aaron, ph  1 0 0 0

E-Gilliam 2B-Banks 2 3B-Adcock HR-Musial, Snider SB-Gilliam

Burdette (W) 3ip, 1h, 1r, 1er, 0 k, 1 w
Dickson  1ip, 3h, 1r 1er, 0 k, 0 w
Newcombe  2ip, 1h, 2r, 0er, 2 k, 2 w
Freeman  1ip, 1h, 0r, 0er, 0 k, 1 w
Grissom  2ip, 1h, 1r, 1er, 0 k, 0 w


Rama, CF  4 0 0 0
Damur, 2B  4 0 1 1
Agni, LF  4 1 1 1 
Hobbs, RF  3 1 0 0
Baal,1B  4 2 3 1 
Heket, 3B  4 0 1 0
Asterte, SS  3 0 0 1
Ptah, C  2 0 0 1
Wiggen, P  1 0 0 0
Woods, ph  1 0 0 0
Kelley, P  1 0 0 0
Luke, ph  1 1 1 0

3B-Luke  HR-Baal, Agni  GIDP-Asterte  SF-Asterte, Ptah, Damur

Wiggen (L)  3+ip, 7h, 5r, 5er, 2 k, 2 w
Gog  1.2ip, 6h, 7r, 7er, 0 k, 2 w
Magog  0.1ip, 0h, 0r, 0er, 0 k, 0 w
Kelley  4ip, 0h, 0r, 0er, 2 k, 0 w

This was a lot of fun.
 


 

Friday, September 29, 2017

We Have A Winner!

Ermagerd! We have a winner! As those few haggard and heavily medicated souls who keep tabs on my replays know, the last position player--on a roster from opening day--to not have a hit wins the coveted (?) Paul Schaal Award. The award is so named because, in my very first Cadaco All-Star Baseball spinner league, Paul Schaal was that guy. Don't be that guy! (But someone always is. Someone always must be!)

On July 1st, 1956, the New York Giants played the Pittsburgh Pirates at Forbes Field. The race for the PSA was down to two contestants: George Wilson of NY and Gino Cimoli of Brooklyn. As the Giants pounded Pirate pitching for four home runs (Mays 16, White 13, Thompson 13, Rhodes 3) and sprinted out to a big lead behind their ace Johnny Antonelli, the rest of the story was that NY outfielders were getting scarce. Brandt batted once before getting injured for 6 games. Then Mueller got tossed by plate umpire "Hell" Enkeller for beefing about a called third strike. With Dusty Rhodes already in the game in place of Brandt, the choice was between Lennon and Wilson. Seeing that Lennon was still in bed with Yoko, Giants skipper Bill Rigney gave the nod to George Wilson. His second trip to the plate, with two runners on, George muscled a long drive to the far depths of spacious Forbes Field. He didn't stop until he was standing on third base with a triple and two rbi! You can see the look of wild excitement on his face:
The fact that George never hit a triple in his entire--albeit brief and unheralded--career does not diminish his moment of glory! He got his hit off of the Orsino Board, the potential inside the park HR. "If only I hadn't stopped for sandwiches," lamented George, "I might have gone all the way!"

And so, the Paul Schaal Award for 1956 NL goes to Gino "Not Ready For Prime Time" Cimoli, a raw kid who has only had two official at bats so far, draped in failure though they may have been.  Congratulations, Gino! Kind of.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Newcombe Rules The Mound (But The Braves Are Still In 1st) : 1956 NL End of June Report

Don Newcombe was silly good for Brooklyn in June, with two 2-hitters and a 1-hitter. His no-hitter into the 9th at Milwaukee was broken up but what a month Don (12-3) had!

The standings:

TEAM W-L GB 
MIL  42-26  --- 
BRK  40-29  2.5  (tied for least times shut out, 3)
STL  40-31  3.5  (best 1-run record 13-7, tied for least times shut out, 3)
CIN  38-32  5  (best x-inn record, 5-0)
PHI  36-35  7.5  (best June record, 19-12)
NY  32-38  11 
CHI  28-42  15  
PIT  25-48  19.5  (worst June record, 10-19. Worst 1-run record, 8-14. Most times blanked, 16.)

TEAM CAPSULES, with June record.

MIL (13-15) The offense, good in April and lousy since, slipped to 7th in the league, barely ahead of sad-sack Chicago. However, the Braves do lead the league in home runs, and that, combined with their stellar pitching, has them still clinging to the lead. Bob Buhl had a rough month, seeing his e.r.a. jump from 2.70 to 4.53, but the big three of Spahn, Burdette and Conley rolled on. Home run hitting machine Joe Adcock hit 7 more in May, giving him 27. However, it was Eddie Mathews who led the Wisconsinites in rbi for the month, with a cool 21. Flyhawk Andy Pafko, hitting .368 in limited duty, will begin platooning with disappointing Billy Bruton (.187) in center. Here's an oddity: Chuck Tanner, babbling something about wanting to manage the Pirates and White Sox, is still perfect, at 4-for4!

The defending World Champs don't want to talk about sharing.
BRK (13-14) Like the Braves, the offense was spotty. If Snider (16, 50, .252) and Hodges (11, 42, .262)  didn't do it, it didn't get done. Carl Furillo (.276, 16 doubles) failed to hit a homer all month. Jackie Robinson is still hitting .315, but lacks a few at bats from qualifying for the leader board. Gino Cimoli (0-for-2) remains locked in mortal combat with George Wilson of the Giants for the coveted Paul Schaal Award. Pee Wee Reese (.268) can't seem to stay on the field. "I'm old," he revealed under questioning.

Free installation!
STL (17-11) The Redbirds made a big move in June, both in the standings and on the trade scene. They moved past the Reds into third place, and even briefly passed the Dodgers into second before falling back. The big trade was with the Giants: basically old stalwart Red Schendienst (.255) and kid flyhawk Jackie Brandt (.238) for shortstop Al Dark and picket Whitey Lockman. A pair of pitchers and catchers also changed addresses. Dark (.302) and Lockman (.294) seem to like it in St. Louis, and now Frank "Trader" Lane can realize his beautiful dream of installing Don Blasingame (.236) at second base, though no one sees why. If the Cardinals can get any pitching besides relic Murry Dickson (7-2, 2.57 w/ Stl) to go along with their crazy gap hitting, the Cards may be a factor. We'll see. 

"What are these 'saves' you speak of, person from the future?"
CIN (12-17) Things went sideways for the Reds in June. After posting a fine 20-9 mark in May and blasting the ball like nut cases, the Reds settled in for a 4-week snooze at the plate in June, only awakening at month's end and remembering how to hit home runs. They have 70 in 70 games--good, but not good enough if they want to win this thing. They aren't going to get there on their pitching, though Herschel Freeman saves what he can. He did not give up an earned run all month and his e.r.a. sits at a nifty 1.09! "Saves? What are saves?" he inquired. Wally Post (8, 30, .225) went so cold that Bob Thurman began getting all the starts in right against right-handers. Big Klu still leads the circuit in hitting, but he stopped even slapping out singles for the most part, and came into the last week of June with just 3 HR all season! He went yard in three straight contests at month's end to double his total, but he just has to wake up for real. The bench is no help. Smokey Burgess (1, 8, .140) and George Crowe (1, 6, .117) have been invisible.

"Omg. Imma explode now, dude."
PHI (19-12)  Good times in the City of Brotherly Love! The acquistion of right fielder Elmer Valo (2, 16, .306) from the American League seems to have sparked the Quakers. He is certainly an upgrade from silly Jim Greengrass (1, 10, .242). "Fire that clerk who delayed the trade for 2 weeks!" came the cry. Even though Stan Lopata (11, 42, .243) poled but a single home run in June, Del "The Black Hole" Ennis went supernova all of a sudden and hit everything in sight! He raised his average from .188 to .255 and sprayed x-base hits all over creation. "It was time," he opined. 

"Trade 'em all!" crows Horace Stoneham.
NYG (15-11) As soon as the Giants quit laughing over dumping Whitey Lockman (1, 7, .217) and Alvin Dark (9 errors) on the Cardinals for Red Schoendienst (.390 post-trade) and Jackie Brandt (.333, ditto), they couldn't wait to run onto the field and see how Willie Mays would do with actual men on the bases! But the devil fools with the best laid plans, and 2, 8, .240 from Willie in June wasn't what they had envisioned. Luckily for them, Hank Thompson (12, 42, .291) went nutty and drove in over 20 runs in the month. In any event, there is no denying that the post-trade Giants look a whole lot more competitive than the sad sack edition from before. And don't forget George Wilson (0-for-4) and his knightly quest to outlast Gino Cimoli! "Hitting isn't nice," he reported to assembled grade school teachers.

The Mighty Moron, straddling the earth like a god.
CHI (14-14)  For a month, at least, the baby bears attained mediocrity! Like all the bottom feeders, their team average rose quite a bit in June, and stopper Turk Lown (1.77) nailed down whatever he was handed all month. Walt Moryn (11, 40, .275)  lost his mind, and Ernie "Sesame Street" Banks finally woke up and hit well over .300 for the month, powering a Cub rejuvenation. Even Jim "From A Jack To A" King  raised his batting mark to .271. 

The Good Shepard entertains kids while recuperating.
PIT (10-19) The Buccos started hitting in June! After being blanked 14 times by the end of May, it only happened twice in June. Bill Virdon (.335 as a Pirate), Dick Groat (.267) and Lee Walls (.275) led the charge. Unfortunately, their pitching, which had been pretty good before, took a dive, and the Corsairs remained the league's doormat. It's just that now they lose 9-7 instead of 1-0. Reserve infielder Johnny O'Brien made his mound debut, and though he gave up one run in one inning of work, the Pirates rallied and he got the win! Catcher Jack "The Good" Shepard broke his neck while trampolining, and was replaced by Hank Foiles, who cranked a pair of 3-run bombs while handling the catching duties. 

PITCHING
MIL 2.46  (Most cg's, 30. Least runs against, 190. Least K's, 287.)
BRK 3.15
PHI 3.38 
CIN 3.48 (tie for least HR against, 45.)
PIT 3.83 
STL 3.85 (most HR against, 71)
NY 3.96 (most K's, 373. Tie for least cg's, 12.)
CHI 4.15 (Tie for least HR against, 45. Tie for least cg's, 12. Most runs allowed, 327.)

HITTING
STL .267 (Most doubles, 127. Most runs, 332.)
CIN .261 (Most GIDP, 58.)
BRK .246 
PIT .237 (Least runs, 236. Most caught stealing, 20.)
PHI .236 (Least HR, 42. Least caught stealing, 9.)
NY .233 (Least triples, 13. Most steals, 44.)
MIL .228 (Most HR, 79. Least doubles, 72. Least steals, 5.)
CHI .227 (Most triples, 35. Least GIDP, 33.)

FIELDING: Least errors: BRK 35. Most, PIT 60. Most DP's turned, PHI 72. Least, BRK and MIL 52 each. 

WINS: Newcombe-brk 12-3, Burdette-mil 10-2, Dickson-stl 10-3, Spahn-mil 10-6, Lawrence-cin 9-6.

ERA (68ip): Burdette-mil 1.52, Spahn-mil 1.52, Newcombe-brk 1.81, Conley-mil 2.03, Dickson-stl 2.40, Friend-pit 2.60, Rush-chi 2.69, Lawrence-cin 2.71, Craig-brk 2.85, Simmons-phi 2.90

Losses: Kaiser-chi 3-10, Friend-pit 4-9, Roberts-phi 5-9, Kline-pit 6-9

SHO: Newcombe-brk 5, Spahn-mil 5, 5 tied with 3

K's: Spahn-mil 93, Jones-chi 84, Friend-pit 79, Haddix-phi 79, Antonelli-ny 73, Newcombe-brk 73

IP: Newcombe-brk 144.1, Spahn-mil 142, Dickson-stl 135, Friend-pit 131.2

CG: Newcombe-brk 11, Spahn-mil 11, Dickson-stl 10, Burdette-mil 8

HR: Adcock-mil 27, Robinson-cin 18, Snider-brk 16, Mays-ny 15, Crandall-mil 14, Bailey-cin 13

RBI: Adcock-mil 58, Snider-brk 50, Musial-stl 49, Boyer-stl 45, Hodges-brk 42, Lopata-phi 42, Thompson-ny 42

AVG (184 ab): Kluzsewski-cin .319, Adcock-mil .311, Boyer-stl .305, Robinson-cin .305, Aaron-mil .300, McMillan-cin .300, Musial-stl .300, Mays-ny .299, Moon-stl .299, Bailey-cin 292, Fondy-chi .292

RUNS: Bell-cin 48, Musial-stl 47, Boyer-stl 46, Robinson-cin 46, Aaron-mil 43, Adcock-mil 43, Moon-stl 43

2B: Jablonski-cin 22, Boyer-stl 19, Musial-stl 19, Snider-brk 18

3B: Bruton-mil 8, Musial-stl 8, Whisenant-chi 7

SB: Mays-ny 26, Gilliam-brk 16, Bell-cin 11, Robinson-brk 10, White-ny 9

GIDP: Jones-phi 11, Jablonski-cin 10, Bell-cin 9, Campanella-brk 9, Musial-stl 9

ERR: Banks-chi 17, Groat-pit 16, Blasingame-stl 15

Goodbye for now from your Impartial Goddess wearing her Braves cap.

 
 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Reasons Why Jim Price Needs To Be Bludgeoned With A Hammer

The Detroit Tigers' radio color commentator is, and has been for many years, Jim Price, a former reserve catcher who played (a little) on the 1968 champions. He kept the ball from rolling to the screen when all-star receiver Bill Freehan needed a day off.  However, for lo these past twenty years, he has been making Tigers radio broadcasts unlistenable. Really, do yourself a favor and have a friend drive a railroad spike through your head, rather than subjecting yourself to Price's inane remarks.

Here is a list of why Price needs to be bludgeoned with a heavy object:

  1. "Nice area, great folks!" Price says this about every area that comes up. Upon learning that the opposing team's interim third base coach hails from Slag Heap, Michigan, Price will invariably chirp, with Jaycee-like enthusiasm, "Nice area, great folks!"  in hopes of one day receiving complimentary tickets to the annual Slag Heap Nuclear Fall-Out Festival. At this point, Price seems to think this phrase is a charming personal trademark. Blatant, indiscriminate sucking up isn't that charming.
  2. "He really put the buggy whip on that one!"  When any Tigers batter hits any ball hard, at any time, Price trots out this tired old chestnut of his. It only makes me want to take a buggy whip to him
  3. "Wow!" This one is reserved for things that happen that amaze Jim Price, and that he does not wish to share with the radio audience. "Wow!" is normally followed by a long silence during which the frustrated listener will normally be screaming "Wow WHAT!?" at their innocent radio. This leads us to
  4. "You can see that he might have been safe on that play." No, Jim, we can't see anything because this is radio. We can't see the replay that you are obviously watching.  Please describe what happened. Des-cribe. Deeeeescriiiiiiibe. Oh, forget it.
  5. "That's the art of pitching, folks!" See "buggy whip" except for pitching.
  6. Yellow Hammer. In the bizarre world of Jim Price, curve balls are "yellow hammers." In case you missed it the first four thousand times he recounted it, he and former Tiger Pat Dobson supposedly came up with the term in the late 60's. So, unfortunately, a yellow hammer isn't something you can stave in his stupid skull with.
  7. Catcher ego trips. According to Jim Price, catchers run the game, figure all the angles, eat all the sandwiches, and sing Yankee Doodle while jumping through flaming hoops riding on the backs of giant, winged hippopotami.  
  8. Jim Price, hero of 1968. Although Price was probably an adequate back-up catcher, that's all he was. To hear him rattle on...and on...and on about it, however, one is left wondering how he is not enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame with his own special wing.  Too bad he is not aboard an airplane, at great height, with no wings.
  9. His friendships with notables. Price is constantly recounting his recent encounter with his good friend Al Kaline, or Boog Powell, or John Glenn, or Abraham Lincoln, or Jesus Horatio Christ on a hand car. He taught Mariano Rivera his signature pitch while playing catch. Babe Ruth to slug homers and eat hot dogs. The sun to rise and the world to revolve around it. Moreover, these notables always "look great!", even the alcohol-ravaged wrecks who weigh 92 or 455 pounds and get around on Amigos.
 And I didn't even mention Zuber Buick Jack's Place For Kids Faygo The Party Pop For Over A Hundred Years and all that, stuff he is presumably required to say. So, please Grasshopper, if you meet Jim Price on the road....well, you know what to do. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

1956 NL APBA Replay, End Of May Report !

Joe went yard 16 times in May!
May is over in the happy alternate universe of my 1956 National League replay. Joe Adcock set (or tied... can't find what the record was in 1956, but I know he at least tied it) the NL mark for home runs in a month with a whopping 16 long balls! Go, Joe!

The standings through May 31st, 1956: 

MIL  29-11  ---
BRK 27-15  3
CIN  26-15  3.5
STL  23-20  7.5
PHI  17-23  12
NYG 17-27  14
PIT  15-29  16
CHI  14-28  16

Best teams in May: MIL 20-8, CIN 20-9
Worst: NYG 9-21 despite winning their last three.

PITCHING
MIL 1.80 (most cg 19, least RA 89, least HR 24)
BRK 3.24
PIT 3.48
PHI 3.49 (least K's 163)
CIN 3.55 
NYG 3.91 (tied most K's 222)
STL 4.08 (tied most K's 222, most HR 44)
CHI 4.63 (least cg 7, most RA 209) 

BATTING
CIN .283 (most runs 224)
BRK .259 (most doubles 76, most steals 23, most GIDP 35)
STL .258 
MIL .229 (most HR 52, least CS 5)
PHI .228 (least HR 23)
PIT .223 (least runs 120, least steals 1, most CS 14)
NYG .218 (least triples 6)
CHI .218 (least doubles 36, most triples 18, least GIDP 17) 

FIELDING
Fielding has been superb league-wide; not sure why except that there are very few "1" starting outfielders, and most of the pitchers are "2." STL and BRK have the least errors with 23, but four teams also have less than 30, NY has 31 and PIT has the most at 36. STL and CHI have turned the most DP's with 39, and BRK the least with 28. 

The TEAMS

MIL--Two things have the Braves in first place: their unbelievably good pitching, and the power bat of Joe Adcock. Apart from him, the team didn't hit well in May, with Aaron disappearing from the batting leaders (leader board to follow team reports) and dipping below .300 at .297. Del Crandall vanished as well, slumping and also spending some time on the shelf with an injury. Del "Rice Is Nice" Rice just isn't the same. Billy Bruton suffered through an awful month, seeing his average settle at a horrible .156 for the season. In May, he scored only 2 runs and has 9 for the season, batting lead-off! Andy Pafko (.318 in 44 ab's) will be seeing starts in center against lefties starting in June. Eddie Mathews (5, 17, .228) Johnny Logan (.230) and Bobby Thomson (4,10,.188) just aren't doing enough. But the pitching is sublime! Only one pitcher--Ray Crone, at 4.50--has an e.r.a. above 2.92! 

He's didn't get there for getting doubled up!
BRK--The Bums have been nagged with injuries to some of their second-tier players, and in some ways are showing the team's age, but still and all, they are one tough bunch. Don Newcombe has fireballed his way to an 8-1 log, while Don Bessent (2-2 0.92) has put out any fires that arise. Jackie Robinson fell just 4 at bats short of qualifying for the leaders with his stellar .337 average to go with being 7 out of 9 in steals. They have needed Jackie due to injuries to third sacker Ransom Jackson (.282) and flyhawk Sandy Amoros (.261) who faded in May after his excellent April. Reserve Dick Williams (2,5,.319) made the GIDP leaders despite only having 47 ab's! He keeps muttering something about wanting to manage.

Klu is dreaming of a 16-hopper through the infield!
CIN--After an uninspiring 6-6 April, the Redlegs exploded in May! Frank Robinson went from .209 to .340, and wore out NL pitching with his extra base power. Big Klu continues to lead the league in BA at  a gaudy .382 despite having only 2 homers all year. "I'm a slap hitter!" he crowed. Speaking of, his caddy Big George Crowe went 0-for-17 for the month and is hitting .071 with no homers. After George ate some bad bird seed, and Klu fell off an embankment, Stan Palys had to play first base for a few games and responded with 1,7 and .286. Even shortstop Roy McMillan went insane, lifting his average to a nifty .333 with 26 runs and 23 rbi from the 8th spot. The Rhinelanders smoked the league with a 20-8 record. Let's see if they can continue their winning ways. Klu coming back on June 1st should only make them scarier.

The man with the total 1950s baseball name.
STL--Like scoring? This is your team. The Redbirds have scored 195 runs and surrendered 188 so far. Let's start with the pitching staff, which except for acquisition Murry Dickson (3-2 2.92 as a Card) is in complete disarray. Already, nine different chuckers have toed the slab for St. Louis, and they join the sad-sack Cubs as the only staffs with ERA's above 4. When your "ace" is Tom Poholsky (5-4 3.54) it will be a long season. The Cards have a triple threat in the middle of the order, consisting of Ken Boyer (7,35,.318), Stan Musial (8,32,.304) and Wally Moon (7,19,.289) who have accounted for all but 7 of the team's homers so far.  Catcher "Cura" Smith has been limited to 61 ab's due to injury, but he boasts 2, 17, and .426! On the down side, All Name Team captain Rip Repulski languishes with 1, 10, and .195.

"Field goal!"
PHI--The league has divided neatly into the haves and the have nots. Now we begin with the nots. The Phillies are not a terrible team, and would be a lot better if Del "The Black Hole" Ennis would improve upon his 2, 12, and .188 stinko numbers. Stan Lopata (10 homers) and Granville "Granny" Hamner (29 rbi) have tried. First sacker Blaylock went insane in May, raising his average to a salutary .312, but with only 13 rbi. These Quakers just don't score. Lead-off man Richie Ashburn, coming off a dreadful .149 April, got as far as .216 for the season in May, but that's still not nearly enough. Of course, handing half their rotation to St. Louis didn't help. Skipper Mayo Smith babbles that he dreamed he won the World Series. Yeah sure, Mayo, what ever you say! 

"I am made of cardboard but i KNOW if you try to bat me lead-off!"
NYG--the Giants placed a very respectable third in April, but the wheels came off in May as they dropped 21 of 27 before sweeping three at Pittsburgh to end the month. Bill White, the scourge of the National League in April, dropped off the map in May. Hank Thompson (6,21, .279) took the first two weeks off, though his body kept going up to bat without him, before waking up in the latter half of the month. New York has no one to get on base in front of Willie Mays. Mueller (.207) and Lockman (.208) aren't getting on base and have zero power. Alvin "Yes, Dave?" Dark (0,10,.271) hits well lower in the order, but goes poof when placed at lead-off. Ace pinch hitter Dusty Rhodes suffered through a godawful 2-for-34 month, leaving him at .085. At one point, the team sank to the cellar, but when they beat the Buccos they rose back to the giddy heights of 6th place. Whee.  

Red Munger. He may be dead, from the looks of him.
PIT--Grr. The league has seen a spate of shutouts, and here is the main offender, having been blanked an incredible 14 times in 44 games. There were 21 shutouts in 50 games in April (!), but then the rate slowed to 21 of 118 games in May, no thanks to these punchless pikers. Frank Thomas (7,25,.248) doesn't show up half the time and Lee Walls (.276, 16 x-base hits) is their only other competent hitter. Dale Long set a record in real life for consecutive home runs in 1956, but for me he "boasts" 4, 15, and .238. Roberto Clemente (.230) and Bill Mazeroski (.168) aren't ready for prime time, evidently. It's too bad, because the pitching has been very good. Ancient "Red" Munger (2-4), salvaged from the Pacific Coast League, even took a no-hit bid into the 8th inning against Philadelphia before imploding. But this team just does anything it can to avoid scoring. They run into outs, bang into double plays, get tossed out stealing (1 of 15 in steal attempts.). I hate them. At least they suckered the Cardinals into taking Bobby Del Greco (.169 with PIT) for Bill Virdon (.250 since coming over).

"Watch me almost hit .300!"
CHI--The Cubs have the worst pitching, by far, to this point. Emblematic of their system-wide failure is "bonus baby" Don Kaiser, owner of an 0-8 log to go with a 6.04 e.r.a. Don began the season as the number two starter! Then he was banished to the pen, but necessity required that he start again. He lost, of course. But what about Ernie Banks? You know, Mister Cub, "Let's play two!" He's hitting .230 with 4 homers, and is tied for the league lead with 10 errors. The one bright spot was first sacker and spray hitter Dee Fondy, who lit it up in May and raised his average to .299.  He even played one game in left field when the team ran short of pickets. I wonder if he can pitch?

LEADERS

WINS: Newcombe-brk 8-1, Spahn-mil 7-4, 5 tied with 6.

ERA: Spahn-mil 1.06, Burdette-mil 1.11, Conley-mil 1.99, Newcombe-brk 2.08, Kline-pit 2.17, Friend-pit 2.21, Dickson-stl 2.46, Klippstein-cin 2.59, Buhl-mil 2.70, Margoneri-ny 2.83

IP: Spahn-mil 93, Newcombe-brk 91, Dickson-stl 84, Friend-pit 81.1, Rush-chi 79

CG: Spahn-mil 8, Dickson-stl 6, Burdette-mil 5,  Newcombe-brk 5

LOSSES: Kaiser-chi 0-8, Roberts-phi 2-8

K's: Spahn-mil 66, Jones-chi 49, Haddix-phi 46, Newcombe-brk 46, Antonelli-ny 45, Dickson-stl 45

SHO: Spahn-mil 4, Burdette-mil 3

AVG: Kluszewski-cin .382, Robinson-cin .340, Mays-ny .355, Adcock-mil .333, McMillan-cin .333, Boyer-stl 318, Blaylock-phi .312, Musial-stl .304, Bailey-cin .303, Fondy-chi 299

HR: Adcock-mil 20, Robinson-cin 14, Mays-ny 13, Snider-brk 11, Lopata-phi 10, Crandall-mil 9

RBI: Adcock-mil 38, Boyer-stl 35, Musial-stl 32, Snider-brk 31, Lopata-phi 30, Mays-ny 30

RUNS: Bell-cin 33, Robinson-cin 33, Musial-stl 32, Adcock-mil 30 

2B: Jablonski-cin 16, Boyer-stl 12, Robinson-cin 12, Snider-brk 12

3B: Banks-chi 5, Post-cin 5

SB: Mays-ny 15, Gilliam-brk 8, Bell-cin 7, Robinson-brk 7

GIDP: Jablonski-cin 7, Bell-cin 6, Jones-phi 6, Williams-brk 6

ERRORS: Banks-chi 10, Blasingame-stl 10

Paul Schaal Award "hopefuls": (The PS Award goes to the last position player with a team from opening day to not have a hit.) Cimoli-brk 0-for-1, Gorbous-phi 0-6, Wilson-ny 0-1, Kindall-chi 0-5. Wilson will be traded to the AL eventually. If the award is not yet "won" by then, he will be disqualified.

See you in June!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

My APBA Playing Space, Updated

It's been a while since I showed my playing space for my baseball game. 

Here we see the Milwaukee Braves in town for a May 18th, 1956 contest against the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds

1956 Sporting News Guide, schedule, and vintage brown sacrifice book at the ready!

And of course, music, spare pencils and what-have-you. . .

. . . not to mention the new stadium clock. Play ball!

Friday, July 28, 2017

They Must Be In The Front Row! : Mid-May 1956 Replay Mini-Update

7 homers in May so far for Frank.
The Braves continue to lead the world, the Great Shutout Plague abates, and the Pirates manage to start scoring (a few) runs. Here's my 1956 NL replay through May 15th.

MIL  20-5  ---
BRK  17-10  4
CIN  16-10  4.5
STL  13-13  7.5
PHI  10-14  9.5
NY  11-17  10.5 
PIT  9-18  12
CHI  8-17  12

Except for Milwaukee and Brooklyn being flip-flopped, my teams are in the exact spots in the standings that their actual counterparts finished in.  

"Watch me win the game!"
Braves--Milwaukee continues to steamroller the league, going 11-2 so far in the month. The only speed bump was two straight losses at Cincinnati, but the Braves came back and swept a doubleheader the next day. The injury bug has bitten a bit, with Bruton, Crandall and Covington out, but even with Joe Adcock returning to earth, it doesn't seem to slow this squad. The team enjoyed a pair of walk-off hits from unlikely heroes Felix Mantilla and Danny "The Irish Cop" O'Connell.  

Gill Man knocked in 5 against the Cubs.
Dodgers--The Bums started the month horribly, dropping 6 of 7, but have since reeled off 7 wins in a row. Superannuated infielder Pee Wee Reese, who couldn't buy a hit in April, is a .300 hitter in May, and contributed an 11th inning walk-off single against St. Louis. Jackie Robinson, pressed into every day duty by an injury to Ransom Jackson, has hit a solid .300 as well, while Gil "Gill Man" Hodges and Roy Campanella have provided plenty of muscle.  

The kid just might stick.
Reds--Rookie sensation Frank Robinson has socked 7 dingers so far in May, giving him 9 for the season and the team lead. He also has 5 doubles, 14 rbi and 15 runs scored in the month.  Reds fans have already forgotten last year's left field platoon tandem of Stan Palys and George Thurman! Joining the young star with 14 rbi in May is Big Klu, who continues to hit over .400 for the season. "I'm Ichiro!" he crowed, pooh-poohing his meager 2 home runs. On May 8th against New York, the Rhinelanders exploded for a 21-2 destruction of the visiting Giants. Robinson drove home 6, and even pitcher Brooks Lawrence managed to score 4 times. 

Cardinals--Stan Musial shows no sign of slowing down, as he has knocked home 16 tallies and scored 14 himself in May while slugging 10 x-base hits. Ken Boyer has chipped in with 15 rbi. Hitting hasn't been what's keeping the Cardinals treading water. However, GM Frank "Trader" Lane has already jettisoned disappointing starter Harvey "The Stupid Little Kitten" Haddix and has more deals in the works. However, his recent acquisitions of crap utility men Bobby Morgan and Grady Hatton seem perplexing at best. 

He gets the max for the minimum at TJ Maxx.
Phillies--For some reason, the Phillies found it necessary to trade half their rotation to St. Louis for. . . . The Stupid Little Kitten. Why? Goddess knows. Gone are effective artifact Murry Dickson and stingy anchor man Herm Wehmeier. Arrived, in addition to Haddix, are two crap relievers. Whee. Causing further worries in Philadelphia is the continued non-production of Del Ennis, who hit 1 homer in April and still sits goggling at it and refusing to hit any more. There was a little bit of good news, though. Robin Roberts notched his first win of the year and faced only the minimum 27 batters in destroying the Pirates 10-0 on the 11th. The Bucs did have three runners, but hit into one double play and the other two got caught bumbling around between bases and were tagged out. 

He can even stand on his own shoulder!
Giants--Hard times have befallen the Giants following their very presentable April. A dismal 3-11 log in May has sunk them to sixth place. Willie Mays is 22-for-52 in the month with 5 HR, but he can't do it alone. April basher Hank Thompson has turned into a May pipsqueak, and Bill White, dominant last month, is merely serviceable so far in May. 

They're two, two, two mints in one!
Pirates--After suffering through being shut out a whopping 11 times on the season, the Buccos seem to have finally gotten the knack of scraping up a run or two every now and then, but they still stink. What seemed to snap them out of their offensive coma was a 3-run inside-the-park homer by little Eddie O'Brien, one half of the Pirates' twin pairing at the end of the bench along with brother Johnny. It was the league's 2nd such blast of the year, along with one by Whitey Lockman of N.Y. (For the record, in over 550 major league ab's, Eddie never hit a single home run. Johnny hit 4. "I owe it all to the Orsino Board!" he crowed to assembled reporters.) Still, it's been a circus of incompetence in Pittsburgh. To wit: they have been unsuccessful in 11 out of 12 steal attempts. Throw in clean-up hitter Dale Long's failure to drive in even ONE run so far in May, and you see why they are virtually tied for last.

Cubs--Ah the lovable losers, those Cubs, etcetera etcetera. Take it from me, they'll never win a pennant! What they did have in early May '56 was two walk-off hits from Dodger reject Eddie Miksis and Giants cast-off Monte Irvin. What, you want more? There IS no more!

See you at the end of May for leaders and all of that. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

1956 NL End Of April Report

April is completed in my new APBA baseball project, the 1956 National League. It's been kind of a surprising month in some ways, and a lot of fun to send these old players back onto the field. I was only a year old in 1956 and so most of these players are new to me, and my 1956 Baseball Register is getting a work out!

The most surprising thing--and one I am not very thrilled about--is the preponderance of shutouts in the early going. I have played 50 games and 21 of them have ended in shutouts. Part of this can be attributed to top starters going more often at the beginning, what with the rotations being set for Opening Day, and the frequent off days. Also, I am still learning the players and doodling around with the line-ups. But 42% shutouts? (My 1969 NL replay started out with an avalanche of errors, and I was worried about that, but over the length of the replay, it came out right on the money. So, maybe this is an aberration, too.) By contrast, there have only been 9 games decided by one run, and only 2 extra inning games. (Both went into extras tied at 0!) But for all of the zeroes, there was only 1 low-hit game, a 2-hitter by Bob Friend on Opening Day. 

Lou Burdette: 3 starts, 3 shutouts!
Milwaukee (9-3, 0 gb)  The Braves shot out of the gate like gangbusters, winning 9 of their first 10, and riding unbelievably good starting pitching. The team e.r.a. is a microscopic 1.18--well over a run better than any other team. Braves chuckers completed 10 of 12 starts (again well ahead of the league) and tossed a whopping 6 blank jobs, allowing only 16 runs against total. Del Crandall and Joe Adcock paced the offense with a 5 and a 6 rbi game respectively (leader board to follow team reports) while Spahn and Burdette headed the staff. In a total 50's move, the Braves did not even attempt a stolen base so far.

Gil thought the rbi's would just never come.
Brooklyn (9-4, 1/2 gb)  The Dodgers twirled 5 blanks of their own, headed by Roger Craig and 4-game winner Don Newcombe, who had a little luck in the form of booming Dodger bats. Brooklyn is second in the league in batting average (.252) and leads in doubles with 29. Sandy Amoros and Duke Snider paced the attack. Jim Gilliam is always on base, and third sacker Ransom Jackson did his share. Veteran shortstop Pee Wee Reese struggled to get above .100, and legendary Jackie Robinson has been relegated to utility duty in his final season, but is hitting north of .400 in that role. Gil "Gill Man" Hodges took forever to get his first rbi, but ended the month with 5.

"I want to be league president!" crowed a delirious Bill White.
New York (8-6, 2 gb) The Giants want to say just one word to you, young man. No, not "plastics." They say, "Power!" The Giants paced the loop with 17 round trippers and placed 4th in runs (50) despite being 6th in average (.217). Bill White, who would have been player of the month if they had that in 1956, sprayed the ball all over the Polo Grounds, and despite a disappointing .236 average, Willie Mays did plenty of damage, too. Add in timely blasts from Hank Thompson and Dusty Rhodes (2 pinch hit home runs, including a grand slam!) and the New Yorkers found themselves in third place at month's end despite having lost their first two games at home to Pittsburgh.  

Cincinnati (6-6, 3 gb) As expected, the Reds pounded the ball, leading the circuit in average (.265) runs (62) and even stolen bases (8). The pitching was suspect, placing 7th with a 4.29 e.r.a. The attack was remarkably balanced, with 9 different players hitting either 1 or 2 home runs. Ace Brooks Lawrence would like to forget April, after having gone 0-3. 

"Call me. Don't be afraid you can't call me..."
Philadelphia (5-7, 4 gb) The Quakers had surprisingly good pitching, placing second with a nifty 2.47 team mark despite being last in strikeouts (45). The problem in Philly was a lack of scoring. The Phils plated just 32 runs (7th) and were tied for last in homers with just 6. Stan Lopata and Granny Hamner (who had a 2-homer, 8 rbi game against Brooklyn) did their bit, but Richie Ashburn--after stroking 3 hits on opening day--hit just .149 and Del "The Black Hole" Ennis hit a mere .125 with 1 HR and 2 rbi. Saul Rogovin came out of nowhere to post a zero e.r.a. based on one shutout start and a few innings of relief. 

St. Louis (5-7, 4 gb) The Cardinals pitching was so awful that even a double shutout of the Braves on the 29th only lowered the team e.r.a. to a dismal 5.43, worst by far in the loop.  Redbird pitchers gave up a league-high 65 runs and 17 homers against. The offense was capable of exploding, but was spotty. They hit only 9 homers, and were 0-2 in steal attempts. Catcher "Cura" Smith started hot, going 7-for-14 with 6 rbi's including a grand slam, but then he was kicked in the head by a Missouri mule and will miss several weeks. Expect GM Frank "Trader" Lane to start dealing soon if the cards don't start flying a little higher. 

Pete rocks a 1926 vibe for the 1956 Cubs.
Chicago (4-8, 5 gb) The Cubbies had one remarkable stat at the end of April, quite an amazing one, in fact: they grounded into only 1 double play. The next least in the league was 7. Perhaps part of the reason is that they hit just .215 (7th). However, they did get a big performance from journeyman flyhawk Pete Whisenant, who had the audacity to hit for the cycle against St. Louis. "The Whiz" scored 4 runs that day, and cemented his place in Cubs history. There wasn't much else to crow about except for ace Bob Rush's three wins.

Pirate skipper Bobby Bragan keeps searching for solutions.
Pittsburgh (4-9, 5 1/2 gb) The Pirates won their first two games, then dropped 9 of their next 11. The problem is, that in a league starved for runs, the Pirates were the most anemic of all, plating just 28, last in the circuit. They were also last in average at .203, and tied for last in HR with 6 and triples with 2. Did I mention they were last in fielding as well, with 17 errors? Dick Groat and first sacker Dale Long were a comedy team on the Pirate infield, each charged with a whopping 6 miscues in just 13 games. The one bright spot was the pitching, which clocked in 5th at 2.99.  

LEADERS

WINS: Newcombe-brk 4-0, Burdette-mil 3-0, Rush-chi 3-1, Spahn-mil 3-1

ERA: Burdette-mil 0.00, Rogovin-phi 0.00, Spahn-mil 0.25, Wehmeier-phi 0.60, Craig-brk 0.88, Nuxhall-cin 1.15, Gomez-ny 1.17, Friend-pit 1.43,  Conley-mil 1.50, Dickson-phi 1.67

CG: Spahn-mil 4, Burdette-mil 3, Dickson-phi 3

Shutouts: Burdette-mil 3, 3 tied with 2

IP: Spahn-mil  36, Newcombe-brk 33, Friend-pit 28, Burdette-mil 27, Dickson-phi 27, Kline-pit 26.2, Rush-chi 26

K's: Spahn-mil 27, Fowler-cin 19, Kline-pit 19, Haddix-stl 16, Burdette-mil 15, Newcombe-brk 15

Losses: Kaiser-chi 0-3, Law-pit 0-3, Lawrence-cin 0-3, Roberts-phi 0-3

AVG: Kluszewski-cin .409, Adcock-mil .400, Aaron-mil .373, Lopata-phi .357, Crandall-mil .342, Jones-phi .317, Jackson-brk .311, Musial-stl .311, Thompson-ny .310, White-ny .306

HR: Crandall-mil 5, Snider-brk 5, White-ny 5, Adcock-mil 4, Amoros-brk 4

RBI: Crandall-mil 13, Adcock-mil 12, Snider-brk 11, Mays-ny 10, 5 tied with 9

RUNS: White-ny 13, Aaron-mil 10, Snider-brk 10, Bell-cin 9

2B: Jablonski-cin 8, Snider-brk 6, 6 tied with 5

3B: Bruton-mil 3, 7 tied with 2

STEALS: Mays-ny 5, Bell-cin 4, Gilliam-brk 2, McMillan-cin 2

ERR: Groat-pit 6, Long-pit 6, Spencer-ny 5

See you next time for the end of May report!