Sunday, February 18, 2018

Prairieland 3 Informtion

Today, I will post some helpful information for the Prairieland 3 APBA Tournament.

Date: April 28th!

The Theme:  Any team 1920-1960 that did not participate in a World Series and the 1941 Red Sox.

The Draft:  In order to be in the actual team draft for the tourney, you must join on the Facebook event or email Thomas Nelshoppen at:

The deadline to enter the draft is February 26th at midnight.

We will publish a list of managers and update it here and on Facebook.

We will conduct an email draft that begins after February 26th.

If you miss the draft deadline, you may play, however you will have to pick from teams not drafted, first-come-first-served.

There will be a prize for first place!

Where:  The Ramada Inn, Springfield Illinois
3281 Northfield Drive, Springfield, Illinois 62704

Conference room, second floor.
First Pitch: 9am
We have a block of rooms set aside for $94.00 each (w/o tax).
Phone # 217-523-4000

There are other good hotels nearby and lots of food options.

Things to do in Springfield:

The Lincoln Museum is fantastic

The Abraham Lincoln Tomb

Springfield has one of the finest Frank Lloyd Wright homes, The Dana Thomas House

Drive by Robin Roberts Stadium

The Lincoln Museum, the Lincoln Tomb, and the Dana Thomas House are all open and available to tour.  I highly recommend all three.

Cost to manage in the tourney:  $20.00

Questions? Ask on Facebook, email Thomas, or leave them here.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

The Michigan!

March 3rd is the 4th annual Michigan APBA Tournament hosted by the gracious Rich Zawadzki.

This year the theme is the DH era, or any American League team 1973-2017.  I selected the 1988 Twins.

The 1988 Twins finished 91-71, a solid year coming off their World Series win in 1987 and on their way to their next ring in 1991. Statistically, it was one of the best years for the big three: Puckett, Hrbek, and Gaetti.

Here is how they stack up by batting order and position:

1.  John Moses  (F)  RF-2
2.  Kirby Puckett (F) CF-3
3.  Gary Gaetti  3B-5
4.  Kent Hrbek (S) 1B-4
5.  Randy Bush (S)  DH
6.  Tim Laudner  (S) C-7
7.  Tommy Herr (F) 2B-8
8.  Dan Gladden (F) LF-2
9.  Gregg Gagne (F) SS-9

The Michigan tourney uses a three man rotation and each arm must go 5 innings unless injured.

The Rotation:

Frank Viola  Ayz
Allan Anderson Az
Bert Blyleven  Dyz

The rotation is hot or cold with two As at the top and Bert as a D at the bottom with z's up and down.

Bull Pen:

Jeff Reardon  A*xz
Keith Atherton  B*yz
Juan Berenguer C*xyw

The pen looks OK with the z's for the #1 and #2, Atherton and Reardon may get work when Bert takes the bump.


Brian Harper (S)  C-6
John Davidson  (F)  OF-2
Gene Larkin  1B-3
Al Newman   (F) 3B-4, SS-7, 2B-7
Steve Lombardozzi  2B-8, SS-6, 3B-3

Some speed off the bench and the necessary reserves for injuries with a decent pinch hitter or two in Larkin and Lombo.

Defense is almost always a 1.

In a DH tourney, Randy Bush gets the nod for the Twins.

Here are the APBA cards for the starting 9.

Lead-off hitter and short-time Twin Moses playing Right Field.  I like the 11s.

Mr. Twin and HOFer Puckett in CF.  Look at that card!  Try to ignore the 13-13.  Batters 2-6 have a 66-1.

You can't sneak the cheese by The Rat!  A very solid #3 hitter. and great with the glove.

 Heribie!  The hometown hero hitting cleanup and playing 1B.

Randy Bush holding down the DH spot in a DH tourney. Another single column card for this team.
 Tim Laudner behind the dish.

 Another short-time Twin, T-Bone Herr at 2B.  Starring the Speed-at-the-bottom part of the lineup.

The best nickname on the team- Dan "Wrench" Gladden in LF.

Long-time Twin hero at SS-Gags. With some pop, don't miss that 66-1

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Prairieland III Tournament Reveal!

The Prairieland III Tournament is all set and here is the scoop!  These are the basic parameters, a complete set of rules will be available on Facebook and here in a few weeks. 

Date: April 28th
Location: Springfield, Illinois, Ramada Inn (3281 Northfield Drive) 
We have a block of rooms set aside at a rate of $94.00

Teams must come from The Golden Age of Baseball: 1920-1960
No World Series Teams and the 1941 Red Sox are ineligible because they are a past Prairieland winner.
A 4 man rotation must be used. J4 rule relaxed for D pitchers: you can use any Starting Pitcher rated J4 and D (xyzkrw ok) in your rotation.

Draft Type: On-line entry - deadline February 26th - instructions to follow on the draft.
Cost: $20 per manager

How do I enter?  Sign up on Facebook, leave a comment here, or email me at @

If you enter by February 26th you will be randomly assigned a draft position and will be notified when you are up and what teams have been taken via email. If you enter the tourney after 2/26 you will be able to take any eligible non-drafted team. 

Do not make your team selections on Facebook, here, or in email. All we need is your name and email address.

These rules are subject to modification.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Twin Cities APBA Tourney Early Returns!

Don't we all love draft day? I do.  All the research, waiting for you turn, or waiting to see what teams are left, making a strategic team selection, or jumping on an overlooked team and toss the research and numbers out the window and go with the gut!

The Twin Cities Neil Ess Memorial APBA Tournament draft day is today (Saturday the 6th of January) and the first 21 team selections are in. Here they are:

5.       1950 RED SOX – BEN LOFGREN (HAWLEY, MN)

There are some interesting teams taken, some predictable (not a bad thing) and to my great pleasure, I know most of these fine managers. 

The Neil Ess Memorial APBA Tournement is held in the Minneapolis area twice a year and it is well attended and organized by a gracious group of guys.  Here is a link to the blog that typically handles all the details:  Jim's APBA Barn

Chris Kaufman is the first across the line with the team that won the First Wisconsin APBA Tournament hosted by the wise and gracious Kurt Bergland (selection 21).  I managed those Twins in that tourney; they can hit and pitch and they are a fun team to manage, a good choice Chris.  Here is a link to my blog entry on that team:  1970 Twins.

Two Yankee teams go next, the '98 and '38, look out for these tough teams managed by wise men.
Craig Christian takes the 1976 Big Red Machine, a team I have faced many times in tournaments and face-to-face with my friend Chris Strangeman, those Reds are a well constructed team top to bottom. 

One of the Lofgren's takes the 1950 Red Sox, I will have to take a look at that team to refresh on the pitching but the offense is loaded. Former winner Kevin Cluff and Guru of the APBA Delphi chat page takes another modern team in the 2017 Nationals.  I like taking modern teams for the bullpen, it is usually deep and lights out.  Chris Shores takes the 2016 Sox and my mountain climber friend Scott Egge takes a very fun team, the 1980 Expos! Better grab that Expos gear for the tourney, it is sweet.  

Jumping down a bit, those tough managers from Kansas and Missouri take the 1957 Braves (my team in the Wisconsin Winter this year), the 2001 Mariners (Ichiro .350), and Jeff takes the killer '32 Yankees.  Could the hardware travel to the Kansas City area this year?  

And finally, for this quick blog entry, Kurt Bergland takes the '06 Padres.  They have some pop with three hitting more than 20 HRs, some speed on the bases, and a bull pen from hell. 

One shocking observation: Where are all the Twins Teams?  Or at least Senators??? No loyalty up there? 

Gardy is not impressed with this development.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Winter Barnstorming for the Linemen

Another project over Christmas break. A few years ago I purchased (PDF - $10) an interesting set from CompuDuck : the 2003-4 Mexican League Teams.   CompuDuck is run by Steve Stein of the Card Computer and he has produced some excellent sets.  Here I will do a short review of the set and consider a tournament option.

I considered running a small tourney with these Mexican teams facing each others but then I read a few articles about barnstorming teams in the 1930s and decided to take my Wilkin County Linemen on the road out of Minnesota to Mexico for some winter work.  For those of you new to this blog, the Linemen team is my team of favorite players, not the best players at each position, but my favorites from my lifetime.

Here is a good look at my Linemen team, just follow this link to the Wilkin County Linemen.

One change, I am swapping out Pedroia at 2B for the original starter, Nishioka.

The cards from CompuDuck come as PDFs and I print them on heavy cardstock and will soon round the corners as I received a corner cutter for Christmas! Here is a link to that product:  Corner-cutter

As you can see below, the cards have nice three color print and stats with all the info needed for APBA game-play and the team they played for in 2003-4 season. I was able to tinker with the settings on my printer and get them to fit 9 to a page and used perforated heavy cardstock from The Perforated Paper Company. They separate well, and soon will have rounded corners.  The cardstock lacks any gloss or finish on the paper so the cards do tend to stick together, I solve this using sleeves when I am playing games.  It is not easy to find perforated paper, 9 to a page, with a decent finish on the paper and if you do, expect to spend a small fortune for 50 sheets give or take.  

Pitching is thin for the Mexican teams, so I am limiting the seats on the Linemen's team bus to 19 for the road-trip: 9 position players, back-up catcher, utility infielder,  pinch runner (Prime Time), one pinch hitter (Erstad), a 4 man rotation, and two in the pen. 

This should turn out to be an interesting, short, and manageable project.  a 16 game run against many Mexican players I have never heard of before and 16 games with my favorites on the same field.

Here is an example of cards from the Mayos de Navoja team, one familiar face for sure.

A few from the Aguilas de Mexicali squad:

The cards are rated for inter-Mexican League play so they will have an odd transfer effect and will not accurately represent if the two teams actually played.  However, it will keep the games from being a blowout in favor of the Linemen. I will play double headers against each of the 8 teams included in the set and allow for injuries. That makes 16 games total each starter throwing 4 games and I will pay attention to the bullpen's workload.

The Linemen will be excited to get out of Minnesota, as at the time I am writing this the temperature in Campbell, Minnesota is currently -12 (December 26, 2017).

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Chicagoland Summer Draft Preview

We are a long way from the Chicagoland Summer Tournament but the theme has been announced and it is very interesting. Rob Spatz has me thinking....again.

The theme is any carded team, with a catch.  We will be using a forced 4 man rotation and the rotation shakes out like this:

#1 Any grade
#2 No higher than a B
#3 No higher than a C
#4 No higher than a D

Your rotation must follow the above formula.  This presents several demands for the manager including team selection, rotation, and bullpen.

Teams must possess D starting pitchers to qualify for the tourney.  That should not be a huge problem, especially with the J4 rule relaxed and the availability of XC cards.  However, most managers want the best rotation possible so a team with all 4 grades is highly desirable and that narrows the field significantly.   The games featuring D arms will be interesting, at least through 5 innings.  It is very attractive to get a "z" with that D starter or at least an "x".

Team selection is wide-open with many powerful teams qualifying for the tournament.  As I looked them over, the 1927 Yankees (from my GTOP set) qualifies. This is not the tournament to select a weak team just to see how they do, the answer will be "not well."  The two boys below will come to play, and eat up C and D pitching.

The bullpen will play a role in this tournament.  As I see it, most older teams do not have much of a pen and modern teams have good bullpens, with current teams (2015-17) having killer pens.  Can a weaker modern team survive 5 innings of brutality from an older team and then recoup losses under the protection of a powerful pen?

Thus, some of the older teams may have to ride C and D arms deep into games and modern teams will be able to go to the pen in games, this is an advantage for the modern teams and makes them attractive options.   It could be a long 5 innings for some arms waiting for the pen to take over.

This brings us to draft order.  With 30+ managers in the mix it will be a wild draft. I have that dread of pulling 1-4 as the pressure is really on to win and I will be forced to take one of those nasty Yankee teams.

The 1927, 1937, and 1998 Yankees are all solid options for any pick 1-3.  Unfortunately for me, there are no legit Twins teams in the top 10 or even 20 if I really look at it objectively.  A mid-range draft number has less pressure, and of course, the end of the draft sucks.

I can't give away the teams I have been scouting for the draft, but there are many solid choices even if one doesn't have many full sets. One way to look this over and narrow the field is to look at the results of the Neil Ess Memorial Tournament held in Twin Cities. A great tourney run by an excellent group of folks (I actually finished second up there one year). They run an open tournament with all former first and second finishers permenently ineligible.  Check out Jim's APBA Barn blog for all the scoop: link is live at Jim's APBA Barn.  The Neil Ess results will show you how these great APBA teams have done in a live tournament.

The Chicagoland Summer tourney promises to be a lively mix of deadball,

raw power,

starting pitching,



and managerial skill.