Name: Dave Renbarger
I-75 League team name: Bushwood Gophers
Birthdate: June 12, 1957
Currently resident of: Dallas, Texas
Birthplace: Detroit, Mich.
Family: Wife Irene (no kids). One beagle named Frito, age 10. One cat with no tail named Max, age unknown.
Employer: Dallas Morning News
Job title: Senior copy editor
In plain English, what do you do: Edit stories, write headlines and photo captions, design pages, supervise other editors, work nights, weekends, holidays. Basically put out a fresh and exciting sports section every night for our non-digital readers, a dwindling but still avid audience here in Dallas. As of Feb. 8, 2016, however, I will be a retired man of leisure with an emphasis on playing golf, getting back into shape, traveling and trying new things.
Real-life MLB team you are a fan of: Detroit Tigers (also have a soft spot for the Texas Rangers)
Year you first started playing Strat: 1979
Year you first joined the I-75 League: 1980
How you first were introduced to Strat: I saw my college roommate Gary Kicinski play Strat with his boyhood friends (Ken Kuzdak, Steve Bizek and Gerry Yurko). This piqued my interest, and Gary encouraged me to help him form a league upon graduation.
How you became part of the I-75 League: Gary and I were co-founders of the I-75 league. I moved to Tampa, Fla., in June of 1979 and discovered several Strat players there while covering the Tampa Tarpons games that summer. Gary, who had relocated to Vermont, and I decided that winter to form a nine-team Strat mail league with his three friends plus three of the Tampa guys (Larry Pittman, Steve Hart and Joe Brunetti). I recruited my brother Mike as our ninth manager, and the rest is history. The fact that six of our nine original managers are still in the league 30 years later is rather amazing to me and a great source of pride.
Origin of your team name: My team was originally the Vlasic Pickles (a name suggested by Gary off the top of his head that I adopted for its quirkiness). When we shifted league formats from redraft to retention in 2000, I decided to rename the team the Bushwood Gophers as a tribute to the Bill Murray classic Caddyshack. I like how it connects my two favorite sports (baseball and golf) and my favorite movie.
Any Strat involvement outside the I-75 League? No. I did play in a face-to-face Tampa league in the early ‘80s and in a face-to-face Dallas league in the mid ‘90s, but both were short-lived and not as much fun at the I-75 league.
Fondest I-75 League memory (related to Strat competition): There are several, including the Pickles three straight titles in the 80s, the Ernesto Escaragga game between Gary and Larry many moons ago, Don Sutton’s no-hitter for the Pickles and Nolan Ryan’s no-hitter at the draft.
Fondest I-75 League convention moment: Again, there are dozens, but here goes: Gary’s Addicted to Strat, Joe Jansen’s This Year’s Champs, Strat Jeopardy, Nolan Ryan’s no-hitter, the Joe Brunetti dummy in Knoxville, Gerry Yurko’s Great Gatsby suit in Knoxville, Nelson Simmons at Terry Park and on and on and on.
Favorite I-75 League tradition: Meeting every March in Florida (or Arizona) for the draft, spring training baseball, camaraderie and (hopefully) a game of softball. The annual convention trip is still something I eagerly anticipate every year, even after 30 of them.
Trade or draft pick you made that you wish you could have back: My trade of Bobby Abreu to the Volcanoes was ill advised.
Trade or draft pick you made in which you think you hit a homer: I brilliantly drafted Albert Pujols in the second round of our first retention draft, but only after fortunately losing a rolloff for Sammy Sosa to Phil Roselli.
One thing you would do to improve the league: I wish I could wave a magic wand that would make all managers get along with each other better, or at last pretend that they do and act accordingly. Too often in recent years there has been real friction between managers that undermines our league’s mission of fun and good-natured baseball competition.
How you can be reached electronically (e-mail, Twitter, Skype, AIM or other): firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to follow you: Not too big on social media right not. Perhaps this will change in the coming months.
Your chance to self-promote: No thanks.
Name: Dave Renbarger