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.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

HOF Christmas Mini-Tournament

I am doing what a lot of you have done, I have broken the APBA Hall of Fame set into various configurations and settled on birth month.

Not sure who they would play initially, I grabbed a couple of All-Star Negro League sets and decided they would make for an interesting tourney. 

All games in either Kansas City Municipal Stadium:

Or Kaufman: 

The HOF December team: 

Position Players in Batting Order: 

Rickey Henderson (12-25-1958) Designated Hitter (F)
Ty Cobb (12-18-1886) Center Field 2 (F)
Larry Walker (12-01-1966) Left Field 3 (F)
Johnny Bench (12-07-1947) Catcher 9
Al Kaline (12-19-1934) Right Field 3 (F)
Craig Biggio (12-14-1965) Second Base 9 (F)
Joe Kelley (12-09-1871) First Base 4 (F)
Tony Lazzeri (12-06-1903) Third Base 4 (F)
Ozzie Smith (12-26-1954) Shortstop 10 (F)

Fielding 44

Pitching Rotation:

Steve Carlton (12-22-1944) Bxy
Sandy Koufax (12-30-1935) Bk
Ferguson Jenkins (12-13-1942) Cxyz
Ed Reubach (12-01-1882) By

Lee Smith (12-04-1957) B*kw

The Competition:

All-Star K.C. Monarchs


All-Star Homested Greys


All Star Chicago Giants