Saturday, January 30, 2010

Series 3: Crawfords take 2 of 3 from X-Giants

Crawfords 5-2; X-Giants 2-6
Pitcher status: Dihigo needs four games, should sit one as position player. Donaldson, Day need three games, Trent and R. Foster need two games, B. Foster needs one. Mathis should be limited to one inning in next game.

Game one: Crawfords 4, X-Giants 2
WP: B. Foster (1-1)
LP: R. Foster (0-2)
HR: R. Foster (1)
Game two: Crawfords 7, X-Giants 3, 10 innings
WP: Streeter (1-0)
LP: Radcliffe (0-1)
HR: Charleston (1)
Game three: X-Giants 6, Crawfords 4
WP: Dihigo (1-1)
LP: Mathis (0-1)
Save: H. Smith (2)
HR: Wright (3), Hughes (1)


The Crawfords' bullpen problems continued, although it cost them only one game.
It wasn't a factor in the first game, as Big Bill Foster outdueled older brother Rube. Bill Foster allowed just three hits, one a homer by Rube. One of the two runs the X-Giants got was unearned.
In the second game, Ted Trent got the start for the Crawfords and left with a 3-2 lead, but Sam Streeter allowed three straight two-out singles in the eighth. The Crawfords won anyway, scoring four times off Double Duty Radcliffe in the 10th. Oscar Charleston capped the rally with a two-run homer.
In the finale for the Crawfords, it was Verdell Mathis who couldn't hold an eight-inning lead. The lefty allowed three runs in relief of Leon Day, wasting Bill Wright's three-RBI game.
The Crawfords have moved Bullet Joe Rogan out of the rotation to take over closing duties. The Mathis and Streeter outings suggest the problem is deeper than that.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

End of Series 2

The standings

Division A
Obamas 3 1 .750 ---
Ikes 3 2 .600 .5
Teddys 3 2 .600 .5
Kennedys 2 3 .400 1.5
Franklins 1 4 .200 2.5

Division B
Crawfords 3 1 .750 ---
Garfields 3 2 .600 .5
Homestead 3 2 .600 .5
Hilldale 2 3 .400 1.5
X-Giants 1 4 .200 2.5

Schedule for Series 3
Ikes @ Hilldale (2)
Garfields @ Homestead (3)
Crawfords @ X-Giants (3)
Obamas @ Franklins (3)
Teddys @ Kennedys (3)

Pitcher of the Series: Whitey Ford, Ikes
Player of the Series: John Beckwith, Crawfords

Series 2: Crawfords sweep Kennedys

Crawfords 3-1, Kennedys 2-3

Pitcher status: Seaver and Brewer need three games off, Rogan and Marichal two, Niekro, Drysdale, Davis one each. Streeter pitched 1-plus inning in finale.

Game 1: Crawfords 9, Kennedys 3
WP: Rogan (1-0)
LP: Marichal (0-1)
HR: Wright(1), Aaron (1)
Game 2: Crawfords 6, Kennedys 5 (12 innings)
WP: Davis (1-0)
LP: Drysdale (1-1)
HR: Beckwith (2), Wright (2), Aaron (2)


The Crawfords may be in first place in Division B now, but a potentially serious weakness — the lack of a reliable closer — may have been exposed.
Sam Streeter, Ted Trent and Verdell Mathis combined to allow five straight Kennedys to reach with two outs in the ninth of the second game, blowing a 5-2 lead.
Roosevelt Davis wound up with the win with three innings of shutout relief — and with nobody left in the Crawfords bullpen, even drove in the winning run with a single off Don Drysdale.
In the first game, the Crawfords pounded Juan Marichal for eight runs in five innings. Wild Bill Wright had five RBIs in that game.
John Beckwith had six hits in the two games for the Crawfords, scoring four times and driving in three. Alejandro Oms had five hits, including two doubles, three runs and two RBI.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Series 2: Ikes sweep Homestead

Homestead 3-2; Ikes 3-2

Pitcher status: Paige, Spahn need three games; Manning, Ford need two. Wilhelm pitched one inning in finale.
Game 1: Ikes 1, Homestead 0
WP: Ford (1-0)
LP: Manning (0-1)
HR: Snider (3)
Game 2: Ikes 3, Homestead 2
WP: Spahn (1-0)
LP: Paige (0-1)
Save: Wilhelm (1)
HR: Suttles (1), Banks (3)


Homestead's lineup appeared unstoppable against Hillsdale in its opening series, but Whitey Ford and Warren Spahn of the Ikes proved otherwise.
Ford tossed a seven-hit shutout in the first game. Duke Snider's first-inning homer off Max Manning was all Ford needed, and all he got, as Manning and reliever Leroy Matlock allowed just two other hits.
Ford escaped a seventh-inning jam — men on third and second with no outs. But Heavy Johnson and Dobie Moore couldn't get the ball out of the infield, and after pinch-hitter Hurley McNair walked, Tubby Scales fanned.
Spahn and Satchel Paige likewise dueled in the second game, with Spahn stranding four runners on third in his eight innings of work. Hoyt Wilhelm worked a perfect ninth for the save.
The suspect Homestead defense cost Paige, as the third and final run was set up by a Mule Suttles error.
For the series, Josh Gibson was four for seven with a walk, a triple and two doubles. He was also robbed of a three run homer by Ted Williams. Stan Musial of the Ikes tripled in each game.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Series 2: Hilldale sweeps Franklins

Hilldale 2-3; Franklins 1-4

Pitcher status: Grove, Redding need three games, Vance and Byrd two games, A. Cooper one game. Dismukes and Hoyt each worked an inning in the last game.
Game 1: Hilldale 7, Franklins 6
WP: Byrd (1-0)
LP: Vance (0-1)
Save: A Cooper (1)
HR: Ruth (1)
Game 2: Hilldale 6, Franklins 4
WP: Dismukes (1-0)
LP: Grove (0-2)
Save: A. Cooper (2)
HR: Waner (1), DiMaggio (1)


With two outs in the ninth inning of the second game, Hilldale put together a four-run inning with four singles, a double and a walk against Lefty Grove and Waite Hoyt to complete a two-game sweep of the Franklins.
Tank Carr — getting his first start of the season — Spots Poles and Quincy Trouppe had the RBI singles, all off Hoyt.
Grove, who was driven from the mound in the first inning of the season opener, was much sharper this time around, and entered the ninth having allowed just six hits and two runs. But after retiring the first two men, he allowed hits to Turkey Stearnes and Willie Wells, then walked Buck Leonard. With closer Dizzy Dean unavailable after working in three consecutive games, Hoyt got the call — and was not effective.
For his part, Cannonball Redding was effective also, with two earned runs (and an unearned on) allowed in seven innings.
In the first game, Hilldale put together 13 hits off Dazzy Vance, Stan Covaleski and Dean.

Series 2: Obamas sweep Garfields

Obamas 3-1, Garfields 3-2

Pitcher status: Young, Plank need three games; Keefe, Nichols need two. Radbourne pitched two innings in last game.

Game 1: Obamas 4, Garfields 0
WP: Nichols (1-0)
LP: Keefe (0-1)
Save: Willis (1)
HR: Mantle 2 (2)

Game 2: Obamas 5, Garfields 2
WP: Plank (1-0)
LP: Young (1-1)
HR: Schmidt (2), F. Robinson (2)


Kid Nichols dominated the Garfields in the opener, allowing just two singles in seven innings. He came out for a pinch-hitter in the seventh, a move that helped the Obamas pick up their third run, and Vic Willis finished the shutout with two innings of one-hit ball. Tim Keefe went the distance for the Garfields, albeit only eight innings; he allowed just six hits, but five were for extra bases.

In the finale, Eddie Plank scattered nine hits for the Obamas while striking out six and walking one. Cy Young became the first Garfields hurler to require relief. He was pulled after allowing five runs in six innings.

Series 2: Teddys, X-Giants split

Teddys 3-2; X-Giants 1-4

Pitcher status: Mendez off four games, one game as position player; Jones, Alexander off three games; Brown off two games. Smith can work two innings in next game.

Game 1: Teddys 4, X-Giants 2
WP: Brown (1-0)
LP: Jones (0-1)
Save: Bender (1)

Game 2: X-Giants 3, Teddys 2
WP: Mendez (1-0)
LP: Alexander (1-1)
Save: Smith (1)
HR: Monroe (1)


Jose Mendez and Hilton Smith combined to limit the Teddys to six hits in the finale as the X-Giants got their first victory of the season. Bill Monroe hit a two-run homer off Pete Alexander in the fifth inning.

In the first game, the Teddys used a pair of perfectly executed hit-and-runs to set up their scores — one by Eddie Collins in a three-run first, the other by Honus Wagner in the third. Three-Finger Brown allowed just four hits in eight innings, and Chief Bender debuted with a hitless ninth.

Monday, January 25, 2010

End of Series 1

The standings
Division A
Kennedys 2 1 .667 -
Teddys 2 1 .667 -
Obamas 1 1 .500 1/5
Franklins 1 2 .333 1
Ikes 1 2 .333 1

Division B
Garfields 3 0 1.000 -
Homestead 3 0 1.000 -
Crawfords 1 1 .500 1 1/5
Hilldale 0 3 .000 3
X-Giants 0 3 .000 3

Series 2 schedule
Garfields at Obamas (2)
X-Giants at Teddys (2)
Hilldale at Franklins (2)
Homestead at Ikes (2)
Crawfords at Kennedys (2)

Stars of Series 1
Walter Johnson of Obamas (no-hitter), Josh Gibson of Homestead (three homers, seven runs, six RBIs)

Series 1: Kennedys take two of three from Ikes

Kennedys 2-1, Ikes 1-2

Pitcher status: Lemon, Spahn and Seaver one game, Wynn and Carlton two games, Gibson and Roberts three games. Niekro and Newhouser each pitched one inning in finale.

Game 1: Ikes 11, Kennedys 4, 11 innings
WP: Bunning (1-0)
LP: Koufax (0-1)
HR: Snider (1), Mathews (1), Bench (1)
Game 2: Kennedys 7, Ikes 6
WP: Drysdale (1-0)
LP: Lemon (0-1)
Save: Fingers (1)
HR: Mays (1), Musial (1), Snider (2), Yastrzemski (1)
Game 3: Kennedys 11, Ikes 6
WP: Gibson (1-0)
LP: Roberts (0-1)
HR: Banks 2 (2), McCovey (1), Yount (1)


It was a series marked by big innings.
  • The Ikes had a seven-run explosion in the 11th inning of Game 1 against Sandy Koufax and Phil Niekro.
  • The Kennedys, trailing 5-3 in the eighth inning of the second game, got a grand slam from Carl Yastrzemski to victimize Bob Lemon.
  • The Kennedys followed up by blowing open a 4-3 third game with four runs in the sixth and three more in the seventh.
Starting pitchers struggled. Warren Spahn and Tom Seaver each allowed four runs in the first five innings of the opener. Steve Carlton gave up five runs in less than eight innings. Bob Gibson also allowed five runs in eight innings — and he got the win, because Robin Roberts gave up eight runs in seven innings, and Hal Newhouser allowed another three.
Ernie Banks, after opening 0-for-nine, went four-for-five with two homers in the finale. Ted Williams was 5-for-13 for the series and Willie Mays scored five runs for the Ikes. Duke Snider had four RBIs, including a pinch-hit homer.
The Kennedys offense was led by George Brett, 8 for 15 with three doubles but with just two runs and one RBI. Johnny Bench was 4 for 10 with three runs, and Joe Morgan scored four runs. Yastrzemski had six RBIs.

Series 1: Teddys win two, Franklins one

Teddys 2-1, Franklins 1-2
Pitcher status: Alexander, Rixey and Pennock need one game, Hubbell and Matthewson two, Feller and Waddell three. Dean should not pitch more than an inning in the Franklins next game.
Game 1: Teddys 12, Franklins 3
WP: Alexander (1-0)
LP: Grove (0-1)
HR: None
Game 2: Franklins 4, Teddys 2
WP: Hubbell (1-0)
LP: Mathewson (0-1)
Save: Dean (1)
HR: None
Game 3: Teddys 8, Franklins 7
WP: McGinnity (1-0)
LP: Pennock (0-1)
Save: Rixey (1)
HR: Hartnett (1), Cronin (1)


The bullpens got a workout in this series.
Franklins starters Lefty Grove and Bob Feller combined for 4 1/3 innings. Grove was chased in the first inning of the opener, and Feller was removed with injury after batting in the fourth inning of the finale.
The Teddys jumped on Grove for six hits, three walks and seven runs before Waite Hoyt got the last out. That was plenty for Pete Alexander, who cruised to the complete game 12-3 win.
Ty Cobb had four RBIs; Honus Wagner scored two, drove in two and had a triple and a double; and everybody in the Teddy lineup, including Alexander, had at least a run scored or an RBI.
The second game started as if it would be a slugfest. The Teddys opened with two runs off Carl Hubbell. and the Franklins responded with four off Christy Matthewson. But the two Giants legend settled in after that. The Franklins never again got so much as a man to second against Matty or reliever Eppa Rixey, but the Teddys couldn't dent Hubbell either.
The Teddys did get the first two on in the eighth, but Hubbell induced Tris Speaker to bounce into a double play. And when the Teddys loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, Dizzy Dean came in to get a double play from Cobb to end it.
The finale was a hard-hitting affair. Gabby Hartnett and Joe Cronin hit consecutive homers off Teddys starter Rube Waddell in the second to give the Franklins a 3-0 lead. The Franklins lead 6-3 after the sixth, but the Teddys pounded reliever Herb Pennock for five runs in the seventh.
Joe McGinnity staggered through two-plus innings of relief for the win, with Rixey retiring the last five Franklins for the save.
Teddys catcher Roger Bresnahan was 6 for 12 in the series with four RBIs and a pair of doubles. Wager was 6 for 11 with four runs, four RBIs, a steal, a triple, a double and two walks.
Babe Ruth was held to one single, but he did walk five times.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Series 1: Homestead sweeps Hilldale

Homestead 3-0; Hilldale 0-3

Pitchers status: Paige and Redding need one game, Williams and D. Brown two games, R. Brown and Winters three games.

Game 1: Homestead 7, Hilldale 6
WP: Matlock (1-0)
LP: Powell (0-1)
HR: Stearnes (1), Gibson 2 (2)
Game 2: Homestead 4, Hilldale 3
WP: D. Brown (1-0)
LP: S.J. Williams (0-1)
Save: Bell (1)
HR: None
Game 3: Homestead 16, Hilldale 8
WP: R. Brown (1-0)
LP: Winters (0-1)
HR: Wells (1), Smith (1), Gibson (3), Wilson (1), W. Brown (1) OH Johnson (1)


The potent Homestead offense served notice on the league: It's going to be tough to outslug them.
Hilldale couldn't.
Homestead pounded Hilldale pitching for seven home runs, nine doubles, 16 singles and 15 walks in the opening series, winning all three games. The scores were 7-6, 4-3 and 16-8.
Homestead catcher Josh Gibson had three homers, including a walk-off shot off Hillsdale reliever Piggie Powell in the opener. That was Gibson's second home of the game; he also had a three-run homer off Cannonball Redding in his previous at-bat.
That seventh-inning dinger gave Homestead a 6-2 lead, seemingly plenty with Satchel Paige on the hill. But Hilldale struck back with four runs in the eighth, opening with a Turkey Stearnes homer and concluding with a two-run single by Willie Wells. Paige finshed the eighth but gave way to Leroy Matlock for the ninth.
In the second game, Homestead jumped on Smokey Joe Williams for four runs in the first inning. Jud Wilson had a two-run double and T.J. Young had a two-run single.
Williams and reliever Dizzy Dizmukes held Homestead to just three singles fomt he second inning on, but the damage had already been done. Homestead starter Dave Brown went eight innings, allowing three runs on five hits; William Bell had a perfect ninth for the save.
The finale was pure slugfest. Homestead starter Ray Brown staggered the distance, giving up 14 hits and six earned runs. He walked five, hit two, stuck out one and was a picture of dominance compared to Hilldale starter Nip Winters, who walked seven en route to allowing seven runs, all earned, in four innings. He was followed by Powell (five runs in two innings) and Eggie Hensley (four runs in two innings).
Heavy Johnson iced the third game with a grand slam off Hensley in the seventh after Hilldale scored four in the top of the frame. Brown shut the door on Hilldale the rest of the way.
Gibson had three doubles and a homer in Game 3; for the series, he was 7 for 12 with three walks, three homers, three doubles, seven runs and six RBIs.
Other homers in the series came from Tubby Scales, Chino Smith, Wilson and Willard Brown of Homestead and Wells of Hilldale.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Series 1: Garfields sweep X-Giants

Garfields 3-0, X-Giants 0-3

Pitcher status: Dihigo needs four games off, Galvin 3, Welch, Donaldson 2, R. Foster 2, Young 1. Dihigo should sit a game as position player.

Game 1: Garfield 8, X-Giants 3
WP: Young (1-0)
LP: R. Foster (0-1)
HR: J. Collins (1), Dihigo (1)
Game 2: Garfields 8, X-Giants 1
WP: Welch (1-0)
LP: Donaldson (0-1)
Game 3: Garfields 4, X-Giants 0
WP: Galvin (1-0)
LP: Dihigo (0-1)

Those old guys can sure pitch.
Cy Young, Mickey Welch and Pud Galvin threw consecutive complete games for the Garfields as the 19th Century squad dominated the X-Giants at Rickwood Field. The scores were 8-3, 8-1 and 4-0.
The X-Giants never held a lead. Only once, and for just one batter, did the Garfields begin to warm up a reliever. That game with two out in the ninth of the first game, when Young allowed three singles.
Young gave up 10 hits and one walk. Welch threw a seven-hitter, and Galvin outdid them all by allowing just two baserunners, one of whom was immediately erased by a double-play.
The Garfields hit too. Ed Delahanty went 9-for-12 with a walk in the three games; he drove in three runs and scored twice. Sam Thompson had five RBIs. Monte Ward was 5 for 10 with two runs and three RBIs. Hugh Duffy sat the first game but went 5 for 9 the other two, scoring four times.
For their part, the X-Giants did little well. Rube Foster was shelled in the opener, allowing seven runs on 10 hits in five innings. John Donaldson allowed just two earned runs in six innings in the second game, but was victimized by a Pop Lloyd error that allowed three unearned runs in the third inning. And Martin Dihigo couldn't work out of the only jams he had in the finale.

Series 1: Big Train no-hits Crawfords; series split

Obamas 1-1, Crawfords 1-1
Pitchers rest: B. Foster, Mathis and Davis need one game, W. Johnson needs two games, Ryan and Day three games.

Game 1: Obamas 12, Crawfords 0
WP: W. Johnson (1-0)
LP: B. Foster (0-1)
HR: Lombardi (1)

Game 2: Crawfords 6 Obamas 3
WP: Day (1-0)
LP: Ryan (0-1)
HR: Beckwith (1), F. Robinson (1), Schmidt (1)

In a midnight season-opening tilt at Greenlee Stadium, Walter Johnson fired a no-hitter at the Crawfords in a 12-0 Obamas victory.
The Crawfords, behind a complete game by Leon Day and three RBIs from John Beckwith, won the second game 5-3.
In the opener, Frank Robinson drove in five runs, Charlie Gehringer went four for five while scoring twice, and Ernie Lombardi homered. The visitors chased Big Bill Foster after the third inning, plating six runs off the star lefty. But the star for the Obamas was Johnson, who fanned five and walked three.
The Crawfords came close to hits twice in the five inning, first on a difficult catch in center by Mickey Mantle off the bat of Louis Santop, then by left fielder Sliding Billy Hamilton, who lived up to his nickname as he robbed Ray Dandridge of a double.
As good as the Obamas defense was in the opener, it hurt in the second game. Lou Bordreau's error on leadoff hitter Alejandro Oms opened the door to a three-run inning off Nolan Ryan in which the Express also wild-pitched a run home.
The Obamas got solo shots from Robinson and Mike Schmidt, but Beckwith widened the Crawfords lead to 5-3 with a two-run bomb off Ed Walsh in the seventh, and Dandridge started a nifty double play in the ninth to end it.


My wife, who is far more patient with me and this nonsense than I deserve, found the charts and pitchers cards within minutes this evening. So I could, and did, get started.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Parks and other stuff

The rosters are set. The bookshelves have been completed, the table cleared.

And I settled on home parks for the teams.

The NeL set came with a list of prominent NeL parks, and I stuck to that list when selecting parks for those teams. The HoF set came with the 2008 park effect sheet. I found the 1993 and 1988 sheets plus an undated one that I believe was the first set of park effects, probably 1987. The HoF teams can use any park from those four, plus the major league parks on the NeL list.

Here's the list and details (team rosters updated):

Division A
Teddys: PNC Park (2008): Single 1-12 L&R; HR 1-7 L, 1 R
Franklins: Old Yankee Stadium (NeL): S 1-2 L, 1-2 R; HR 1-3 L, 1-8 R
Ikes: Wrigley Field (2008): S 1-10 L&R; HR 1-13 L&R
Kennedys: Montreal (1988): S 1-10 L&R; HR 1-10 L&R
Obamas: US Cellular (2008): S 1-2 L, 1-5 R; HR 1-17 L, 1-17 R

Division B
Crawfords: Greenlee Field: S 1-8 L, 1-10 R; HR 1-14 L, 1-4R
Garfields: Royals Stadium (1993): S 1-11 L, 1-14 R; HR 0 L, 1-2 R
Hilldale: Hilldale Park: S 1-6 L&R; HR 1-14 L, 1-16 R
Homestead: Stars Park (NeL): S 1-16 L, 1-19 R; HR 1-12 L, 1-19 R
X-Giants: Rickwood (NeL): S 1-2 L, 1 R; HR 1-5 L, 1-2 R

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Home park: Greenlee Field

Frank Duncan (c)
Louis Santop (c/rf/1b)
John Beckwith (3b/ss/1b/c)
Ray Dandridge (3b/2b/ss)
Sammy T. Hughes (2b)
Home Run Johnson (ss/2b)
Dick Lundy (ss/2b)
Frank Warfield (2b/3b/ss/cf)
Oscar Charleston (cf/1b)
Fats Jenkins (lf/cf)
Alejandro Oms (cf/lf/rf)
Wild Bill Wright (rf/cf/lf)
Chet Brewer
Roosevelt Davis
Leon Day
Big Bill Foster
Verdell Mathis
Bullet Joe Rogan (p/cf/2b/lf/rf)
Sam Streeter
Ted Trent

Projected standard lineup
1) Oms, lf
2) Lundy, ss
3) Charleston, cf
4) Beckwith, 1b
5) Wright, rf
6) Santop, c
7) Dandridge, 3b
8) Hughes, 2b

Comments: Beckwith the worst defender of the regulars, and he's better than a few 1b in this league ... the rest of the infield (and the outfield) is all 1s. ... Charleston, Beckwith and Wright a formidable middle of the order ... Rogan a realistic OF option ... Johnson may take some time from Hughes ... Oms not really a leadoff hitter ... Five quality starters (Rogan, Foster, Day, Trent, Brewer) but no real obvious bullpen ace.


Home park: Hilldale Park

Larry Brown (c)
Quincy Trouppe (c/lf/rf/2b)
Newt Allen (ss/2b)
Sam Bankhead (ss/lf/cf/2b)
Tank Carr (1b/cf/3b/rf)
Judy Johnson (3b/ss)
Buck Leonard (1b)
Willie Wells (ss)
Jelly Gardner (rf/cf)
Spot Poles (cf/rf/lf)
Turkey Stearnes (cf/rf/lf)
Cristobal Torriente (cf/rf/lf)
Bill Byrd
Andy Cooper
Dizzy Dismukes
Eggie Hensley
Willie Powell
Dick Redding
Smokey Joe Williams
Nip Winters

Projected standard lineup
1) Wells, ss
2) Johnson, 3b
3) Leonard 1b
4) Stearnes cf
5) Torriente rf
6) Trouppe c
7) Poles lf
8) Allen 2b

Comments: A real-life manager would probably put Poles leadoff, Wells second and drop Johnson into the bottom half, and that might be what happens ... Very LH in the middle ... No weak point on defense ... Williams and Redding head a deep starting staff ... May put those two on four-man rotation, run Byrd, Dismukes and and Winters around them ... Cooper the clear relief ace ...


Home Park: Rickwood Field
Biz Mackey (c/ss/2b/3b)
Bruce Petway (c/1b/lf/rf)
Double Duty Radcliffe (c/sp/rp)
Bingo DeMoss(2b)
Pop Lloyd (ss/2b/1b)
Bill Monroe (3b/2b/ss)
Ben Taylor (1b)
Candy Jim Taylor (3b/2b)
Bernando Baro (cf/rf/lf/1b)
Cool Papa Bell (cf/lf/rf)
Rap Dixon (rf/lf/cf)
Pete Hill (cf/lf/rf/1b)
Martin Dihigo (sp/rp/ss/1b/cf/2b/3b/rf/lf)
John Donaldson (sp/rp/cf)
Rube Foster (sp/rp)
Slim Jones (sp/rp)
Webster McDonald (sp/rp)
Jose Mendez (sp/rp 3b/ss/rf/2b)
Hilton Smith (sp/rp)
Tom Williams (sp/rp)

Likely standard lineup
1) Bell, lf
2) Hill, cf
3) Lloyd, ss
4) Dixon, rf
5) B. Taylor, 1b
6) Monroe, 3b
7) Mackey, c
8) DeMoss, 2b

Comments: Dihigo will play considerably, probably at second, and hit in the cleanup slot. ... This team was born to run ... other than the pitchers, the catchers and Ben Taylor, everybody's an A stealer or better, and even Mackey and Petway are Bs ... The lineup above is all 1 defense. ... Dihigo will drag it down with his 2e11 at 2b ... Four pitcher/position players; I listed Radcliffe as c, Dihigo, Donaldson and Mendez as p; only Dihigo and Radcliffe have a chance to start games in the field ... No pitcher can start every fourth game ... Five man rotation: R. Foster, Dihigo, Jones, Mendez, Donaldson ... Smith will be the relief ace ...


Home park: Stars Park

Josh Gibson (c/lf/1b/rf)
T.J. Young (c)
Rev Cannady (2b/ss/1b/3b)
Dobie Moore (ss)
Tubby Scales (2b/ss/3b)
Mule Suttles (1b/lf)
Jud Wilson (1b/3b/lf/2b)
Willard Brown (cf/lf/ss)
Heavy Johnson (lf/rf/c/cf)
Jimmie Lyons (lf/cf/rf)
Hurley McNair (lf/rf/cf)
Chino Smith (rf/2b)
William Bell
Dave Brown
Ray Brown
Max Manning
Leroy Matlock
Satchel Paige
Harry Salmon
Frank Wickware

Projected standard lineup
1) Scales, 2b
2) Smith, rf
3) Gibson, c
4) Wilson, 3b
5) Suttles, 1b
6) Johnson, lf
7) Brown, cf
8) Moore, ss

Comments: Big bats, small gloves. The lowest OPS in the regular lineup is .901, Dobie Moore, and he hit .346. ... Six of the eight have SLG of .600 or better ... But Scales, Wilson, Suttles and Johnson are dismal defensively ... Paige anchors the staff, of course, with the Browns and Manning close behind ... Matlock looks impressive ... Will try to avoid starting Bell at home. He may wind up as the bullpen ace.

Setting up the NeL teams

I have solved the problem of how to divvy up the Negro Leaguers among four teams.

The key concept was the notion of making one a big-offense, minimal defense team; another a high defense, small-ball team. As it worked out, the stars were fairly well distributed by the time I got done.

The NeL teams will bear the names of legendary squads of Black ball and will play in Negro League parks.
  • Homestead (Stars Park) is the minimal defense team.
  • X-Giants (Rickwood Field) is the small-ball squad; it also got no pitchers allowed to start every fourth game, and it got most of the pitcher/position players. It is the one team in the league with nine pitchers.
  • Hilldale (Hilldale Park) and
  • Crawfords (Greenlee Park) fill out the group.

Since I did not conduct a draft per se, the rosters will not be presented in draft order.

The Obamas

Home park: New Comiskey

First round:
1) Kid Nichols (sp/rp)
2) Walter Johnson (sp/rp)
3) Mickey Cochrane (c)
4) Mickey Mantle (cf/lf)
5) Mike Schmidt (3b/1b)

Second round:
6) Billy Hamilton (cf/lf/rf)
7) Ed Walsh (sp/rp)
8) Jimmy Foxx (1b/3b/c)
9) Jackie Robinson (2b/lf/1b/3b)
10) Frank Robinson (rf/lf/1b)

Third round:
11) Joe Kelley (lf/cf/1b/3b)
12) Eddie Plank (sp/rp)
13) Charlie Gehringer (2b)
14) Lou Boudreau (ss)
15) Nolan Ryan (sp)

Fourth round:
16) Ernie Lombardi (c)
17) Lefty Gomez (sp/rp)
19) Tony Lazzeri (2b/3b/ss)
20) Vic Willis (sp/rp)
21) Jack Chesbro (sp/rp)

Projected standard lineup
1) Hamilton, lf
2) Gehringer, 2b
3) Foxx, 1b
4) Mantle, cf
5) F. Robinson, rf
6) Schmidt, 3b
7) Cochrane/Lombardi c
8) Boudreau, ss

Comments: Four 500-HR guys. ... Hamilton may lose PT to Kelley, a much better defensive OF ... J. Robinson a better defender than coded. I think he and Hornsby should swap defensive ratings. ... Four man rotation (Johnson, Nichols, Plank, Ryan) of 300-game winners, with Walsh in the bullpen ... Will play in major hitters park ... No NeLs made the squad. The fourth round picks were all better, or at least no worse, than the NeL leftovers.

The Kennedys

Home Park: Olympic Stadium (Montreal)

First round:
1) Johnny Bench (c/1b/rf/lf/3b)
2) Robin Yount (cf/ss/lf)
3) Joe Morgan (2b)
4) Hank Aaron (rf/1b/cf)
5) Tom Seaver (sp)

Lost to Obamas: Mike Schmidt (3b/1b)

Second round:
6) George Brett (3b/1b)
7) Sandy Koufax (sp/rp)
8) Bob Gibson (sp)
9) Carlton Fisk (c)
10) Pete Rose (rf/2b/3b/1b/lf/cf)

Lost to Obamas: Frank Robinson (rf/lf 1b)

Third round:
11) Steve Carlton (sp)
12) Carl Yastremski (lf/1b/cf)
13) Reggie Jackson (rf)
14) Juan Marichal (sp)
15) Rollie Fingers (rp)

Lost to Obamas: Nolan Ryan, sp

Fourth round:
16) Don Drysdale (sp/rp)
17) Phil Niekro (sp/rp)
18) Willie McCovey (1b/lf)
19) Harmon Killebrew (1b/3b/lf)
20) Luis Aparicio (ss)

Provisionally lost to Obamas: None

Projected standard lineup
1) Morgan, 2b
2) Yount, ss
3) Brett, 3b
4) Aaron, cf
5) McCovey/Killebrew, 1b
6) Jackson, rf
7) Yastremski, lf
8) Bench, c

Comments: Defense at 1b soft, but otherwise good despite playing Aaron out of position ... Aaron a 2 (-1) e5 in CF ... Plenty of power ... Projected rotation of Seaver, Gibson, Carlton, Marichal leaves no room for Koufax, who shouldn't go in four-man rotation anyway. Hard to leave Koufax out of rotation. ... Fingers to close. Duh ... Two 300-game winners in rotation, a third in the bullpen (Niekro),a fourth drafted by the Obamas and two more (Gaylord Perry and Don Sutton) out of the league.

The Ikes

Home park: Wrigley Field

First round:
1) Willie Mays (cf)
2) Stan Musial (1b/lf/rf/cf)
3) Warren Spahn (sp/rp)
4) Yogi Berra (c)
5) Ernie Banks (ss/1b/3b)

Lost to Obamas: Mickey Mantle (cf/lf)

Second round:
6) Ted Williams (lf/rf)
7) Eddie Mathews (3b)
8) Enos Slaughter (rf/lf)
9) Roy Campanella (c)
10) Whitey Ford (sp/rp)

Lost to Obamas: Jackie Robinson (2b/3b/lf/1b)

Third round:
11) Duke Snider (cf/rf)
12) Al Kaline (rf/cf)
13) Red Schoendinst (2b/ss)
14) Bobby Doerr (2b)
15) Robin Roberts (sp/rp)

Lost to Obamas: Lou Boudreau, ss

Fourth round:
16) Early Wynn (sp/rp)
17) Bob Lemon (sp/p)
18) Jim Bunning (sp/rp)
19) Hal Newhouser (sp/rp)
20) Hoyt Wilhelm (rp/sp)

Provisionally lost to Obamas: None

Likely standard lineup:
1) Mays, cf
2) Williams, lf
3) Musial, 1b
4) Banks, ss
5) Mathews, 3b
6) Berra/Campanella, c
7) Snider/Kaline, rf
8) Schoendienst/Doerr, 2b

Comments: Very LH lineup. ... Slow. ... Williams may be the single worst defensive regular on the HoF teams. ... All other OFs are 1s at all positions, except Kaline's 2 in CF ... Not a lot of position flexibility. ... Likely four-man rotation of Spahn, Roberts, Wynn and Ford, with Wilhelm as relief ace.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Series 1:
Obamas at Crawfords (2)
Garfields at X-Giants (3)
Hilldale at Homestead (3)
Teddys at Franklins (3)
Ikes at Kennedys (3)

Series 2:
Garfields at Obamas (2)
X-Giants at Teddys (2)
Hilldale at Franklins (2)
Homestead at Ikes (2)
Crawfords at Kennedys (2)

Series 3:
Ikes at Hilldale (2)
Garfields at Homestead (3)
Crawfords at X-Giants (3)
Obamas at Franklins (3)
Teddys at Kennedys (3)

Series 4:
Ikes at Garfields(2)
Kennedys at X-Giants(2)
Obamas at Hilldale(2)
Teddys at Homestead(2)
Franklins at Crawfords (2)

Series 5:
Teddys at Garfields (2)
X-Giants at Homestead (3)
Hilldale at Crawfords (3)
Franklins at Kennedys (3)
Obamas at Ikes (3)

Series 6:
Garfields at Franklins (2)
X-Giants at Ikes (2)
Hilldale at Kennedys (2)
Homestead at Obamas (2)
Crawfords at Teddys (2)

Series 7:
Garfields at Ikes (2)
X-Gaints at Kennedys (2)
Hilldale at Obamas (2)
Homestead at Teddys (2)
Crawfords at Franklins (2)

Series 8:
Homestead at Kennedys (2)
Garfields at Crawfords (3)
Hilldale at X-Giants(3)
Teddys at Obamas (3)
Ikes at Franklins (3)

Series 9:
Kennedys at Homestead (2)
Crawfords at Garfields (3)
X Giants at Hilldale (3)
Obamas at Teddys (3)
Franklins at Ikes (3)

Series 10:
Franklins at Garfields(2)
Ikes at X-Giants (2)
Kennedys at Hilldale (2)
Obamas at Homestead (2)
Teddys at Crawfords (2)

Series 11:
Franklins at X-Giants (2)
Teddys at Ikes (3)
Obamas at Kennedys (3)
Garfields at Hilldale (3)
Homestead at Crawfords (3)

Series 12:
Kennedys at Garfields (2)
Obamas at X-Giants(2)
Teddys at Hilldale (2)
Franklins at Homestead (2)
Ikes at Crawfords (2)

Series 13:
Obamas at Garfields(2)
Teddys at X-Giants(2)
Franklins at Hilldale (2)
Ikes at Homestead(2)
Kennedys at Crawfords (2)

Series 14:
Crawfords at Obamas (2)
X-Giants at Garfields (3)
Homestead at Hilldale (3)
Franklins at Teddys (3)
Kennedys at Ikes (3)

Series 15:
Garfields at Kennedys (2)
X-Giants at Obamas (2)
Hilldale at Teddys (2)
Homestead at Franklins (2)
Crawfords at Ikes (2)

Series 16:
Hilldale at Ikes (2)
Homestead at Garfields (3)
X-Giants at Crawfords (3)
Franklins at Obamas (3)
Kennedys at Teddys (3)

Series 17:
X-Giants at Franklins (2)
Ikes at Teddys (3)
Kennedys at Obamas(3)
Hilldale at Garfields (3)
Crawfords at Homestead (3)

Series 18:
Garfields at Teddys (2)
Homestead at X-Giants (3)
Crawfords at Hilldale(3)
Kennedys at Franklins (3)
Ikes at Obamas (3)

Shoeless Joe, Carl Mays and Max Carey

There are three players in the Hall of Fame set who aren't actually in the Hall: Shoeless Joe Jackson, barred for his role in the fixing of the 1919 World Series; Pete Rose, under lifetime suspension for his gambling transgressions; and Carl Mays, widely believed to be unofficially blackballed for killing Ray Chapman with a pitch.

That probably had something to do with Mays' exclusion, but there are two other factors:
  • His is a marginal case to begin with;
  • Fred Lieb, a longtime writer and member of the Veterans Committee, said the Yankees suspected Mays of throwing World Series games in the early 1920s. Those suspicions were supposedly reported to Commissioner Landis, who took no action against Mays. One should presume him innocent, but Lieb's writings clearly indicate that he doubted Mays.
For purposes of this league, I assigned Mays to the Teddys (he could have gone into the Franklins). He didn't make the Teddys or the Obamas, and wouldn't have make the Franklins either.

Jackson did make the Teddys. I wanted to skip him, but
  • I needed a fourth outfielder;
  • He was the best in the group; and
  • There were no right-handed options.
The Teddys' starting OF is Cobb, Speaker and Crawford, left-handed hitters all. Oddly enough, every HoF outfielder in that group is left-handed.

I had put Max Carey into the Franklins group. It's a tough call; he split his career pretty evenly between the 1910s and the 1920s, and his Win Shares are split pretty closely too (171 in the '10s, 180 in the '20s).
Carey's a switch hitter, plays all three OF positions with a 1 (Jackson is a 1 in the corners). But all three starters can play CF, and Jackson is by far the better hitter.

I may change my mind before the season starts, because Carey (who didn't make the Obamas either) is a historical favorite of mine, one of the handful of guys in the running for the title of "greatest leadoff hitter pre-Rickey Henderson."

But for now, Shoeless Joe gets to lace 'em up.

The Franklins

Home park: Old Yankee Stadium

First round:
1) Babe Ruth (rf/lf)
2) Gabby Hartnett (c)
3) Lefty Grove (sp/rp)
4) Joe DiMaggio (cf/lf)
5) Rogers Hornsby (2b)

Lost to Obamas: Mickey Cochrane (c)

Second round:
6) Bill Dickey (c)
7) Lou Gehrig (1b)
8) Carl Hubbell (sp/rp)
9) Bob Feller (sp/rp)
10) Mel Ott (rf/3b/cf)

Lost to Obamas: Jimmy Foxx (1b/3b/c)

Third round:
11) Frankie Frisch (2b/3b/ss)
12) Joe Cronin (ss)
13) Arky Vaughn (ss)
14) Dazzy Vance (sp/rp)
15) Dizzy Dean (sp/rp)

Lost to Obamas: Charlie Gehringer (2b)

Fourth round:
16) Stan Covaleski (sp/rp)
17) Herb Pennock (sp/rp)
18) Pie Traynor (3b)
19) Waite Hoyt (sp/rp)
20) Paul Waner (rf/1b)

Provisionally lost to Obamas: Ernie Lombardi (c), Lefty Gomez (sp/rp), Tony Lazzeri (2b/3b/ss)

Likely standard lineup:
1) Ott, rf
2) DiMaggio, cf
3) Ruth, lf
4) Hornsby, 2b
5) Gehrig, 1b
6) Hartnett/Dickey, c
7) Cronin/Vaughn, ss
8) Frisch/Traynor, 3b

Comments: No real leadoff hitter here ... A real-life manager would probably go with Frisch, but his OPB is about 70 points lower than Ott's. ... Likely to pick a hitter's park ... Platoons very likely in bottom half of lineup ... Hornsby gets too much credit defensively (2 e17) ... Might be weakest defensive team from HoF pool. ...Power rotation of Grove, Hubbell, Feller, Vance ... Dean should be relief ace ... Covaleski could easily have been placed in the dead ball pool — and if he had been, would have been picked for that team ...

The Teddys

Home Park: PNC Park

First round:
1) Ty Cobb (cf/rf)
2) Honus Wagner (ss/3b/1b/rf)
3) Nap Lajoie (2b/1b)
4) Tris Speaker (cf)
5) Roger Bresnahan (c/cf)

Taken by Obamas: Walter Johnson (sp/rp)

Second round:
6) Christy Mathewson (sp/rp)
7) Pete Alexander (sp/rp)
8) Three-Finger Brown (sp/rp)
9) Eddie Collins (2b)
10) Ray Schalk (c)

Taken by Obamas: Ed Walsh (sp/rp)

Third round:
11) Home Run Baker (3b)
12) Sam Crawford (rf/lf/cf)
13) Chief Bender (sp/rp)
14) Rube Waddell (sp/rp)
15) Bobby Wallace (ss/3b)

Taken by Obamas: Eddie Plank (sp/rp)

Fourth round:
16) Addie Joss (sp/rp)
17) Eppa Rixey (sp/rp)
18) Joe McGinnity (sp/rp)
19) George Sisler (1b)
20) Joe Jackson (lf/rf)

Provisionally lost to Obamas: Vic Wills (sp/rp), Jack Chesbro (sp/rp)

Likely standard lineup:
1) Cobb, rf
2) Collins, 2b
3) Wagner, ss
4) Speaker, cf
5) Lajoie, 1b
6) Crawford, lf
7) Baker, 3b
8) Bresnahan, c

Comments: Bresnahan/Schalk is clearly the weakest catching combo of the HoF pool, maybe in the entire league. ... Bender figures to be bullpen ace; pretty clear four-man rotation of Matty, Alex, Brown and Waddell. ... Lost more than 1200 wins to Obamas, and the staff is still really good ... Lajoie is coded as a pretty good defensive 1b, and I'd rather have him or Collins in the lineup than Sisler. ... Jackson deserves a post unto himself.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Garfields

I have completed the HoF draft to my satisfaction. I'll start posting rosters in chronological order, starting with the Garfields.

Home Park: Royals Stadium

First round freezers:
1) King Kelly (rf/c/3b/ss/2b)
2) Buck Ewing (c/rf/1b/3b)
3) Ed Delahanty (lf/cf/1b/2b)
4) Cy Young (sp/rp)
5) Sam Thompson (rf)
Taken by Obamas: Kid Nichols (p)

Second round:
6) Hughie Jennings (ss/1b/1b)
7) George Davis (ss/3b)
8) John Ward (ss/2b)
9) Jimmy Collins (3b)
10) Hugh Duffy (lf/cf/rf)
Taken by Obamas: Billy Hamilton (of)

Third round:
11) Roger Connor (1b)
12) Old Hoss Radborne (sp/rp)
13) Mickey Welch (sp)
14) Amos Rusie (sp/rp)
15) Cap Anson (1b)
Taken by Obamas: Joe Kelley (of)

Fourth round:
16) John Clarkson (sp/rp)
17) Tim Keefe (sp)
18) Pud Galvin (sp)
19) Al Spalding (sp/rp)
20) Jesse Burkett (lf/rf)

Likely standard lineup
1) Jennings, ss
2) Davis, 3b
3) Connor, 1b
4) Delahanty, lf
5) Thompson, rf
6) Ewing, c
7) Duffy, cf
8) Ward, 2b

Comments: Perhaps should have frozen Nichols over Thompson, but wanted to keep what power was available ... Welch, Keefe and Galvin are not coded for relief; Spalding, Rusie, Clarkson and Radbourne will carry the bullpen load. ... Five 300-game winners (Young, Keefe, Welch, Galvin and Clarkson) for the rotation ... No LH pitchers. ... I suspect Kelly will find his way into the lineup with some frequency ... This actually looks like a good defensive team. That lineup is 1s and 2s throughout. Duffy is a 1 at all three OF positions... It's kind of amusing to put Cap Anson in a division with four all-black teams. Not that Anson was unique in his racial views; I would guess that pretty much everybody on this team would have agreed with him. ... Some noted boozers here.

Implications of the 20-man roster

There are three reasons behind the decision to use the 20-man rosters.
  1. It's pretty much in line with roster sizes for the Negro League teams, the 19th Century teams, and even teams in the deadball era and during the Depression.
  2. It limits the opportunities for oddball platoons — Hank Greenberg and Johnny Mize, for example. There'll still be some of that, but with just four reserve players, it's tough to run multiple platoons.
  3. A number of teams couldn't use 10-man pitching staffs anyway.
Just as the current fad of 12- and 13-man pitching staffs have put a premium on versatile bench players, these constricted rosters will add value to certain multi-position players in this league. It will be my goal as I construct the rosters to have each position backed-up on each team.

Along the same lines, some pitchers are going to be more valuable than some superior pitchers because they are coded for relief work. This is particularly true among the Kennedys and the Garfields player lists, each of which contain a high percentage of starter-only pitchers.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Outlining a likely league format

Under the assumption that I'm going to be playing solo, here's the plan:

1) A 10-team league, split into two divisions.

2) 20-player rosters; each team to have two catchers and eight pitchers.

3) Four of the teams will be drawn from the Negro League set, six from the Hall of Fame set.

4) I don't know yet how I'll divvy up the NeL players.

5) The HoF set is divided into five relatively distinct historical periods, which will make the basis for five teams: The Garfields (19th Century); the Teddys (deadball era, 1900-1919); the Franklins (lively ball, 1920-1941); the Ikes (WWII/integration, 1942-1961); and the Kennedys (expansion era, 1961-on). The team names, of course, come from the presidents of the era.

6) Each era protects five players. The sixth team, the Obamas (because our current president once described himself as a mutt), will then select one player from each era in chronological order. The other five will then protect five more players each; the Obamas again pick one player from each era. Same thing for the third round. After the fourth round, the Obamas can select their final five from any era or from the NeL leftovers.

7) A few restrictions are needed.

a) The Teddys, Ikes and Kennedys have just two catchers apiece. The Garfields have just one primary position catcher (Buck Ewing), although King Kelly is a legitimate catcher and Jim O'Roarke isn't terrible. The Franklins, on the other hand, have five primary-position catchers (Mickey Cochrane, Bill Dickey, Rick Ferrell, Gabby Hartnett and Ernie Lombardi) plus Jimmy Foxx.
Solution: Each team is required to protect a catcher in the first round and second rounds. The Obamas must take somebody coded to catch in each of the first two rounds, and at least one must be a primary-position catcher. As a practical matter, they'll have to draft two catchers off the Franklins roster.

b) The Ikes have only eight pitchers — and to get that many, I had to shift Jim Bunning, a borderline case, from the expansion era to the postwar era.
Solution: The Obamas are prohibited from picking pitchers from the Ikes, and the Ikes are required to protect a pitcher in each round.

c) The Garfields' eligible list contains at least four cards of players who are in the Hall for reasons beyond their play (Candy Cummings, Al Spalding, Charles Comiskey and Tommy McCarthy), which thins them out of quality players pretty quickly. The Obamas are prohibited from taking any infielders other than first basemen from the Garfields, and are limited to selecting one pitcher.

d) Late addition: The Obamas may not take any relief-coded pitchers from the Kennedys.

8) I will devise rules for handling these thin pitching staffs later; they will be based on the guidelines in the SOM rules posed on the sidebar. Teams will have to use their backup catcher at least once in any six-game period.

9) One division will be made up of the four NeL teams plus the Garfields; the other will be the Teddys, Franklins, Ikes, Kennedys and Obamas.

Teams will play a pair of three-game home-and-away series within the division, and a pair of two-game home-and-away series outside the division. That's a 44-game season for each team, which doesn't sound like much but adds to to 220 games for me to play.

10) Assuming I maintain enthusiasm for the project all the way through, a best-of-seven series for the championship will follow.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Exercising patience

There appears to be limited enthusiasm among Da Boyz for a reprise of the old FP Strat League. Jim, I think, is for it; Chad, probably not.

And I'm not going to push it. My life is busy enough now that I don't really need the complications of trying to find a time that works for both me and Kimba to squeeze in a series.

The situation is this: They know I have the cards. I've floated the idea of a reborn league. If they bring it up in the next four days — especially CC or Kim — then it's worth pursuing. Otherwise, I'll go it alone.

Nothing much can happen, frankly, until I get caught up on a few manual labor projects. I did one high-priority one Saturday — I shoveled the remains of the Christmas storm off the (flat) garage roof. There's still a thermostat to replace, and then the one that matters — assembling the shelves we purchased last summer as Ikea.

That matters for the Strat project because today the old kitchen table down in the basement is being used for Linda project stuff that is supposed to go on the shelves. If the shelves are built, I can reclaim my old table — it's the one I used in my apartment-dwelling days — to set up the Strat game on an essentially permanent basis.

I need that in any case.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Charging the NeL batteries

There are 103 players in the new Negro Leagues set. That's enough, obviously, to create four 25-man squads, which would be the size of current major league rosters, and have three cards left over.

Or five 20-man squads, which would be closer to what NeL teams really had. (Might still be large; they were pretty bare boned operations.) To get to six teams, we'd have to cut roster sizes to 17.

But that assumes that there are sufficient catchers and pitchers to support such a division. Since the FP Strat league fell apart, I've played quite a bit in a simulation game (Bill James Classic/ STATS Classic Fantasy baseball, now defunct), and I learned there that when exploring a theme team the first thing to check is if there's enough qualified catchers and pitchers to support it.

There are 36 pitchers in the NeL set. This includes five two-way players, who have cards as both pitchers and position players: Double Duty Radcliffe, who also catches; Martin Dihigo, who also plays shortstop, outfield, second, and third; Jose Mendez, third and short; Bullet Joe Rogan, outfield; and John Donaldson, center field. (I'm a bit puzzled as to why Donaldson is a two-way player but Leon Day isn't.)
Anyway, 36 pitchers, 31 of them "just" pitchers and 5 who who represent extra bench strength when not on the mound.

That's enough for four nine-man staffs, five eight-man staffs (four pitchers left over), and six six-man staffs, a thought that would probably give Ron Gardenhire nightmares and Tony LaRussa the cold sweats.

The aforementioned Classic Game required at least seven pitchers on a team; less than that gave the computer manager fits. I suspect six is a truly more realistic NeL staff.

Then there's the catching situation. There are 10 primary-position catchers, 11 counting Radcliffe. Plus there are three other position players coded to catch as a secondary position, although John Beckwith is a disaster back there. Eleven "real" catchers and three emergency guys. At two catchers a squad, we can — barely — support up to six NeL rosters.

Which is a possibility down the road, a six-team NeL league. I'd rather do something first that involves the Hall of Fame set as well.

Friday, January 15, 2010

What am I doing here?

Years ago — almost two decades, now that I think of it — I was part of a long-running Strat-O-Matic baseball league centered around The Free Press. Participants came and went, but there was a steady core of us — me, Jim Rueda, Kim Hendrickson, Chad Courrier.

Then the Freep switched from afternoons to mornings, and work shifts changed. Family needs grew. Real life took over. The league died a natural death.

But this month I got Strat's Negro League set — cards based on the players of the old segregated black leagues — and its 2000 Hall of Fame set. Having spent the money to get those cards, I'm going to do something with them.

Right now, I don't know exactly what that something will be. I have a couple of ideas. One is to talk the other three into reviving the league, with them drafting teams out of the Hall of Fame set and me making a roster out of the Negro leaguers. But that will require a commitment from each of us, and I'm not sure that's feasible.

The other — the more likely — is a solo league.

Whatever I do, I am going to use this space to chronicle it — not because I believe outsiders will be interested, but because it will make the league easier to manage.

If anybody else is looking at this, welcome. If you want to tell me to get a life, keep it to yourself. I have a life. This is just a small slice of it.