Clip Files for April

A staple of league newsletters in the 1980s and ’90s, team notes are back! If you have team notes you’d like to submit for your club each month, e-mail Gary

CLIP FILES: Joel Peralta burned 22 of his 49 available innings in April, but at least he made them count. In 11 appearances. Peralta was unscored upon, allowing 12 hits and five walks while striking out 15… First-round pick Trevor Cahill pushed his record to 6-0 with a 3.27 ERA. He’s benefitting from 6.5 runs per game of offensive support… Brian McCann has played in 35 games, usually batting fifth, and has just 8 RBIs despite a .291 batting average… Andrew Bailey saved 7 of Applegate’s 10 wins in April… The Clips lead the league in hit-and-run attempts and stolen base attempts, and are second in sacrifice bunt attempts.  They have scored 170 runs and allowed the exact same number.

First known photo of I-75 League surfaces!

Managers assemble for '81 draft at Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge in Knoxville, Tenn.

At the recently concluded 32nd annual convention of the I-75 Strat-O-Matic League, Mike Renbarger presented an envelope postmarked July 3, 1982, from Shirley, Mass., with a 15 cent stamp on it.

Inside were six photos from the 1981 convention in Knoxville, Tenn., the site of the convention that started our second season, and the first time many managers had met face to face.

Mennen Speedsticks manager Jerry Yurko snapped photos from that convention and Mike recently discovered the envelope, turning them over to the league web site for historic preservation.

The convention took place at a Howard Johnson’s at the intersection of Merchant’s Drive and I-75, so chosen because of its mid-point approximation between Michigan and Tampa. Eight managers attended, all save Berlin Bullets manager Joe Brunetti, whose overseas Army commitment required a ‘stand-in’ instead.

See more photos here and read more about the 1981 convention at the bottom of our “Past seasons” page.

Tope Dope for March

A staple of league newsletters in the 1980s and ’90s, team notes are back! If you have team notes you’d like to submit for your club each month, e-mail Gary.

TOPE-DOPE: Springfield is known for its starting pitching but absorbed two brutal beatdowns in Bushwood and Margaritaville. Topes pitching surrendered 30 homers, 26 on the road, 14 of the ballpark variety in a pair of wind tunnels…King Felix was taken over the wall 11 times, his ERA is 7.02…Clayton Kershaw led the Topes hurlers with 28 K….Top draft choice Brett Gardner had a mixed debut, sterling in the field, he managed 11 walks, but also fanned 21 times and batted .176… Justin Morneau has fewer than 300 plate appearances available…how much better could the Topes be if he was around full-time? Well in March he batted .455 with 12 RBI in 33 AB with a .535 OBP. …  Dr. Choo was magnificent, batting .395 with a .483 OBP and a team-high five steals. Springfield has swiped 20 bases already, well ahead of any previous season pace. Ian Kinsler was on base 44.7% of the time. … Strat luck? Not this month, minus 20 on pitcher/batter card rolls, an even split between offense and defense….Expect walks when the Topes play, 83 by SI batters, 72 surrendered by pitchers…an average of nearly eight walks per game in March…Gio Gonzalez will make his Springfield debut in April.

Gopher Holes for March

A staple of league newsletters in the 1980s and ’90s, team notes are back! If you have team notes you’d like to submit for your club each month, e-mail Gary.

GOPHER HOLES:  The Gophers had plenty of heroes in March en route to a 15-5 record, but let’s give the nod to slick-fielding 3B Scott Rolen as team MVP for the month.  Rolen hit .356 with a team-high 7 homers and 14 RBIs.  His OBP was .441 and his slugging was .831 … With 5 homers and 14 walks in 26 ABs, DH Jim Thome actually trumped Rolen in average (.385), OBP (.600) and slugging (1.044) in part-time duty … RF Delmon Young collected 11 doubles on the month to grab the league lead … Top pick Buster Posey debuted with a disappointing .220 average … With a league-low 3.43 team ERA, the Gophers’ new-look pitching staff passed its first test.  The set-up tandem of Brandon Lyon (14.1 IP) and Rafael Soriano (6.1 IP) combined to toss 20.2 innings without allowing an earned run … And long reliever Justin Masterson logged 19 innings with an impressive 1.89 ERA … Top starter Tim Hudson (4-1, 2.81 ERA) and Mat Latos (3-0, 2.22 ERA) worked 6 or more innings in all nine of their starts … In a 5-0 sweep of Detroit, the Gophers outscored the Dogs 37-9.  Utility guy Emilio Bonafacio went 5-for-5 in one game against the Dogs, catapulting him to a .538 month (7-for-13) … The Gophers’ April schedule includes early showdowns against Superior (16-4) and Margaritaville (14-6).  The Gophers will make one small roster adjustment for April, replacing lefty Travis Wood (1-2, 7.80 ERA) with righty Rick Porcello as No. 5 starter.

One month into books, only four teams break .500

Twenty-game records admittedly produce aberrations. But at this rate, the Superior Titans will finish 128-32, the Bismarck Bombers will finish 80 games out of first place, and Nelson Cruz will hit 72 homers.

Nobody expects any of those things to happen, but after one month of play it is somewhat surprising how dominant three of our teams have been, resulting in eight teams with losing records on the month.

Superior (16-4), Bushwood (15-5) and Margaritaville (14-6) breezed through their opening schedule, while South Grand Prairie also delivered an impressive 12-8 mark.

Ubaldo Jimenez toed the slab for 30 1/3 innings, posting a 3-0, 1.78 ERA to lead the Titans.  Joe Mauer hit .377 for Superior, which scored 114 runs.

Bushwood raked at the plate to the tune of a league-high .288 team average, and also lead the league in team ERA at 3.43, outscoring their foes 113-67.

Margaritaville mashed a league-high 40 homers but their shocking stat was swiping 17 bases in 20 tries, with all three caught stealings debited to Brandon Phillips. Carlos Gonzalez scored 20 runs for the Volcanoes.

Coming up in April: Springfield, Savannah and Wisconsin have chances to nudge themselves over the .500 mark with relative easy schedules (based on preseason power rankings).

Tough roads are ahead in April for Bismarck, Detroit, South Grand Prairie and Applegate.

Clip Files for March

A staple of league newsletters in the 1980s and ’90s, team notes are back! If you have team notes you’d like to submit for your club each month, e-mail Gary.

CLIP FILES: Applegate went 8-12 in March, but that included eight losses by one run and two more losses by two runs… The Clips outscored foes 104-94. Forty-three of those runs came against Chatfield, more than any of their other two series combined… Applegate lost three games by a 1-0 count in March, with Brian Matusz being the hard-luck loser in two of those. In the other, Stephen Strasburg took a no-hitter into the seventh against Detroit, ultimately going 11 1/3 innings before the Demo Dogs broke through for the 1-0 win in 12 innings… Strasburg was KO’d in the second inning vs. Chatfield, giving up six earned runs… Fellow first-round draft pick Trevor Cahill got off to a 3-0 start, with a 4.24 ERA…  Josh Hamilton got out of the gate with a .382 month, but Nelson Cruz was the team’s big gun with a league-leading nine homers and 23 RBI. … Jose Reyes was caught stealing in all three of his attempts vs. Margaritaville, with the Volcanoes rolling a 19 each time…Evan Meek pitched 21 innings of relief and Neftali Feliz 15 1/3. They’ll be deactivated for April as the Clips shuttle in Joel Peralta and Andrew Bailey into the setup/closer roles… Feliz had as many losses (3) as saves in March… Phil Hughes struck out a league-high 12.73 batters per nine innings.