Presenting the winner of the inaugural Quad Cup

As the battle continues to rage for World Champion honors of the 2019 season, we pause to announce the winner of the inaugural Quad Cup.

No, it’s not an athletic supporter for your quadriceps. As we realign our divisions for the 2020 season, we look back at the four years recently concluded (a quadrennial) and recognize the best-performing teams over that stretch. While we close the book on this four-year run, we note that 13 of the league’s 15 franchises made at least one playoff appearance in that time, with the Westbound Division proving to be the most brutal, as four of the five teams notched winning records in the span, and the fifth was not that far off with a .495 mark.

Third place: Applegate Paperclips, with a four-year win percentage of .545 (349-291).  The Clips managed 80+ wins in each of the four seasons while competing in the league’s toughest division, one of only two franchises that can claim to have done so. In fact the Clips have winning records in seven of the eight years since the league expanded to 15 teams. But, only in 2018 did the Clips make the playoffs during this quadrennial. That was the year of their 101-win season and seven-game defeat in the World Series.

Second place: Margaritaville Volcanoes, with a four-year win percentage of .572 (366-274), including playoff appearances and World Series titles in their matching 106-win seasons of 2017 and 2018.

First place: Superior Titans, with a four-year win percentage of .578 (370-270), trips to the playoffs in three of the four seasons, and a World Series crown in 2016. Superior was anchored by the offensive core of Bryce Harper, Anthony Rizzo, Miguel Cabrera, Lorenzo Cain, Corey Seager, Nick Ahmed and Kyle Schwarber over this span, as well as the starting pitching of Noah Syndergaard and Corey Kluber.

 

West 2016 W 2017 W 2018 W 2019 W Total W Total L Pct. Playoffs WS titles
SUP 101 88 98 83 370 270 0.578 18, 17, 16 16
APP 84 82 101 82 349 291 0.545 18
BTH 94 91 50 99 334 306 0.522 19, 17, 16
SAT 82 78 83 84 327 313 0.511 19
DBB 90 85 82 60 317 324 0.495 16
North 2016 W 2017 W 2018 W 2019 W Total W Total L Pct. Playoffs WS titles
MAR 80 106 106 74 366 274 0.572 18, 17 18, ’17
GRZ 94 93 61 72 320 301 0.515 17, 16
BUS 72 83 89 83 327 314 0.510 18
TAT 72 86 60 91 309 332 0.482 19, 17
BIS 67 55 80 70 272 368 0.425
South 2016 W 2017 W 2018 W 2019 W Total W Total L Pct. Playoffs WS titles
SGP 87 78 91 79 335 306 0.523 18, 17, 16
SAV 72 71 90 89 322 319 0.502 19, 18 19
DYT 53 76 88 91 308 333 0.480 19
NNY 95 57 36 102 290 351 0.452 19, 16
WAT 58 72 87 41 258 382 0.403
  • Greendale was East Cobb in 2018 and Springfield in 2017, 2016
  • Tatooine was Michigan in 2016

Also worth noting: Three 90-plus win seasons (and a 50-win season) that led to three playoff appearances for Boulder, and three playoff appearances (including two division championships) for South Grand Prairie. New New York gets the Yo-Yo Award for posting win totals of 95-57-36-102, while Dyersville earns the Best Trajectory Award for going 53-76-88-91. Destin draws “You’re Going the Wrong Way!” honors for its 90-85-82-60 slate, while Satellite Beach captures the Consistency Award for always winning 81 games, plus or minus three (82-78-83-84).

 

Superior caps spectacular surge with record-tying sixth world championship!

Displaying a finishing kick that would make Usain Bolt proud, the Superior Titans and Manager Mike Renbarger completed their late-summer and autumn dominance of the league with their franchise record-tying sixth world championship, fending off the Springfield Isotopes in six games to walk off with top honors as we concluded the 37th season of play in the I-75 league.

Walk off they did, as catcher A.J. Ellis broke a 2-2 tie with two outs in the bottom of the ninth against Springfield ace Clayton Kershaw by nailing a ballpark homer chance on just 1-4 odds, shooting a 2.

A 3-9 ballpark HR roll off Clayton Kershaw, featuring a '2' roll on 1-4 chances, provided the walkoff winning margin.

A 3-9 ballpark HR roll off Clayton Kershaw, featuring a ‘2’ roll on 1-4 chances, provided the walkoff winning margin.

The victory gave Superior its third straight win in the series, as it had to battle back from a 2-1 deficit, much as it had to shake some early-season doldrums when it failed to deliver on some pretty high preseason expectations. Despite a superstar-laden lineup that included reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper, plus Miguel Cabrera and Anthony Rizzo, Superior was plodding along with a good-but-not-great 56 wins after 100 games, which at the time landed the Titans in the middle of the competitive Westbound Division, five games off the pace set by John Renbarger’s Boulder Tree Huggers.

Then the Titans caught fire, reeling off 17 wins in August and 14 in September to climb into a first-place tie, and end up winning the division by a seven-game margin following a 14-win October. Superior’s 101 regular-season wins earned a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

A six-game victory over those Tree Huggers in the semifinals lifted Superior into the finals against Dave LaMont’s Isotopes, who were vying for their first World Championship in their 19th year in the league. Continue reading

Never happened in MLB, but it’s happened in Strat: 5 HRs by…

Giancarlo Stanton slugged a record 5 homers in a 23-4 win. (Photo by Corn Farmer/Flickr)

Giancarlo Stanton slugged a record 5 homers in a 23-4 win. (Photo by Corn Farmer/Flickr)

It’s never happened in the history of major league baseball, and certainly not in the 37 years of the I-75 Strat-O-Matic League. But in their May series against the Dyersville Treblemakers, the South Grand Prairie Warriors’ Giancarlo Stanton had a historic accomplishment as he cracked a record five home runs in SGP’s 23-4 rout.

Stanton clubbed an eighth-inning grand slam in his sixth at-bat of the game to cap the epic performance that saw him rack up 10 RBIs. The Warriors stroked nine homers in the blowout en route to a 12-8 record in May.

Stanton bashed three homers off Dyersville starter Wade Miley, going deep in the first inning (solo), second (two-run blast) and fourth (two-run shot). Then with Vidal Nuno on the hill in the eighth, Stanton hit both a solo homer and grand slam as part of an eight-run inning.

In his other at-bat, Stanton struck out in the fifth inning.

Paul Goldschmidt also had a strong game, with a 4-5-3-5 line that included two homers. The game was played in Fenway Park, a Warriors home game on a night the weather was rated ‘bad.’

Sixteen major league players have had four homers in a game, most recently Josh Hamilton for the Texas Rangers in 2012, but no one has ever had five.

“It was a crazy game for sure,” said Warriors manager Garth Lewis.

Longtime league observers could not recall a four-homer game taking place in the league. Gary Sheffield had a three-homer, 12-RBI game for the Michigan Drifters in a July 1997 game against the Bismarck Bombers.

[1]BOXSCORE: 2016 Dyersville Treblemakers At 2016 S Grand Prairie Warri 5/9/2016

[1] Treblemakers        AB R H RBI AVG       Warriors                AB R H RBI AVG
A.Eaton RF                    5  0   1    0   .220       D.Lemahieu 2B     4   2  3    1    .311
S.Piscotty LF                 1  0   0   0    .286       C.Santana DH       5   3   2    2   .214
A-J.Gallo PH,LF          2  0  0   0    .333         P.Goldschmidt 1B  4   5   3    5   .401
F-A.Sanchez PH          1   0  0   0   .000         G.Stanton RF      6   5   5   10   .277
K.Wong 2B                   5   0  0   0    .253         C.Gomez CF           6   2   3   1   .389
J.Abreu 1B                    5   1   3   1    .281         D.Valencia 3B        3   1   0   0   .136
K.Seager 3B                  3   1   1   0   .265         D.Norris C              5   2   1   2   .258
M.Kemp DH                 4   1   2   0   .229        G.Blanco LF           4   1   1   1    .206
B.Swihart C                  4   1    2    2   .333       D-M.Scherzer PH  1   0   1   0  1.000
G.Polanco CF               3   0   0   0   .244        E-A.Ethier LF        0   0   0   0   .250
A.Simmons SS             3   0   1   1    .232         A.Russell SS           2   0   0   0   .197
B-P.Gosselin PH         0   1   0   0   .273
C-M.Duffy SS               2   1   0  0   .293
— — — — — — — —
[1] Totals                     36   4   10   4                   Totals                     42   23   19   22

A-Pinch Hit For Piscotty In 3rd Inning
B-Pinch Hit For Russell In 5th Inning
C-Subbed Defensively (SS) For Gosselin In 6th Inning
D-Pinch Hit For Blanco In 8th Inning
E-Subbed Defensively (LF) For Scherzer In 9th Inning
F-Pinch Hit For Gallo In 9th Inning

Treblemakers…. 0 1 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 –  4 10 3
Warriors……..      4 3 0 2 6 0 0 8 x – 23 19 1

[1]Treblemakers (11-33)          IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA SCORESHEET
W.Miley LOSS(0-4)                   5 13 15 14   4    4    6    8.16   A1 D5
V.Nuno                                          3  6   8   8   3    3    3    9.00  D6
[1]Totals                                        8 19 23 22   7  7    9

[1]Warriors (27-17)                   IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA SCORESHEET
J.Hammel WIN(5-2)                 5  6    1   1     2    4    1   4.31 A1 C3
M.Estrada SAVE(1st)                4  4   3   3    2    4    0    4.61 C4
[1]Totals                                       9 10  4   4    4    8    1

ATTENDANCE- 26,081 DATE- Thursday, May 9th 2016 TIME- Night WEATHER- Bad
T- 3:36
LEFT ON BASE- Treblemakers: 9 Warriors: 3
DOUBLE PLAYS- Treblemakers: 2 Warriors: 1
ERRORS- K.Wong, A.Simmons, V.Nuno, G.Stanton
DOUBLES- B.Swihart(1st), C.Gomez(1st)
TRIPLES- B.Swihart(1st), D.Lemahieu(1st)
HOME RUNS- J.Abreu(5th), P.Goldschmidt-2(10th), G.Stanton-5(13th), C.Gomez(1st),
D.Norris(6th)
RBIs- J.Abreu(19th), B.Swihart-2(2nd), A.Simmons(15th), D.Lemahieu(16th),
C.Santana-2(30th), P.Goldschmidt-5(44th), G.Stanton-10(28th),
C.Gomez(2nd), D.Norris-2(20th), G.Blanco(11th)
CAUGHT STEALING- M.Kemp
SACRIFICE FLIES- D.Lemahieu
WALKS- J.Gallo, K.Seager, G.Polanco, A.Simmons, D.Lemahieu, C.Santana,
P.Goldschmidt-2, D.Valencia-2, P.Gosselin
STRIKE OUTS- A.Eaton, J.Gallo-2, K.Wong, J.Abreu, B.Swihart, G.Polanco,
A.Simmons, P.Goldschmidt, G.Stanton, C.Gomez, D.Valencia-2,
G.Blanco, M.Duffy
GIDP- K.Wong, C.Santana, D.Norris
WILD PITCHES- W.Miley

A look back at Expansion Era, Chapter One

With the conclusion of the 2015 regular season, we close Chapter One on the 15-team Expansion Era of the I-75 League.

Next year we begin Chapter 2, with reshuffled divisions, so let’s look back at the four years since we ballooned from 12 to 15 clubs.

Quick quiz: Only two teams made the playoffs all four years. Can you name them?

Not Chatfield. Although the Choo-Choos won three division titles with 100-plus-win-seasons, and had the most wins of any club over the four-year span with 387, they also posted a clunker in 2013, winning just 55 games.

Actually, 11 of our 15 teams made the playoffs at least once. Three of the four who didn’t were expansion teams (English/Destin, Michigan, Satellite Beach).

And then there’s Hickory.

The Nuts last cracked the postseason in 2011, when they won the World Series, but since have hit the skids, due in part to a series of high draft picks that have either been injured or haven’t realized their potential (Wil Myers, Michael Pineda, Gregory Polanco).

The team with the second-most wins in the Expansion Era might be a surprise. It’s Applegate, with 358, thanks to two division titles sandwiching two mediocre years.

So who could it be? Four straight playoff appearances and not among the top two in wins over that time period?

How about never-seems-to-be-rebuilding Savannah? Ding! The Scorpions are one of the two clubs that made the playoffs all four years, and had the third-most wins with 353. The Scorps in fact have made the playoffs in six of the last seven years, and the one year they missed (2011) was only due to a Game 161 tiebreaker loss to Applegate.

OK, give up on the other club?

Continue reading

In our 36th season, our first perfect game: Applegate’s Tim Hudson whitewashes Hickory

Applegate’s Tim Hudson hurled what is believed to be the first perfect game in the 36-year history of the I-75 League, holding Hickory without a baserunner — or even a close call — in a 6-0 victory July 3.

Hudson struck out nine and retired all 27 hitters he faced, striking out pinch-hitter Javier Baez to close the contest. Tim_Hudson_14Hickory had three split roll chances at singles, all at 1-10 odds or less, and missed all three.

Hudson, a 4e15 pitcher, also fielded a Pitcher (X) roll cleanly with one out in the ninth. Hudson, who improved to 7-5 on the year with a 3.18 ERA, was making his first start since May, having been inactive in June.

“I wasn’t even really aware he had a no-hitter going until about the sixth inning,” said Paperclips manager Gary Kicinski. “We grabbed an early lead and got our defensive guys in there early, and I noticed in the sixth Hudson hadn’t allowed a hit, but I couldn’t really remember if he’d walked a guy or not.” Continue reading

1992 Convention: The Uncut Video

Our longtime managers are quite familiar with one of the most remarkable moments in I-75 League history, that being the no-hitter that Nolan Ryan pitched for the Tropical Heat against the Ansbach Angels at the 1992 convention — a moment caught on tape and preserved for the ages.

We uploaded that video to YouTube in 2010, tagged it “Strat-O-Matic” among other things, and to date it has amassed more than 3,000 views.

Today we present the uncut, unedited, 24-minute version of the video from that convention, which marked the start of our 13th season. We were blessed to have a full turnout of all nine managers that year.

The video shows, among other things:

* Softball action, and batting practice with a young David Hart. His dad captures a popup of David’s with a nifty behind-the-back catch at the 3-minute mark.

* Off-the-wall predictions from each of our nine managers.

* Early-season Strat action, including that no-hitter tilt between managers Jamie Turner and Steve Hart. (Note that it’s after 1:30 in the morning and Steve Hart is still awake.)

* A Steve Bizek headstand.

* And lots of other condo scenes.

Enjoy.

A look back at our 2012 expansion

Part I of a five-part series looking back at the 2012 expansion draft.

“And with the 217th pick in the 2012 Draft, the English Pigdogs select…. Nathan Eovaldi.”

History does not record whether anyone proclaimed, “Good pick!” or cursed and muttered, “I was just looking at him.” More likely, most of the league had stopped paying attention since they were done drafting. After Eovaldi, only five picks remained.

Nathan Eovaldi

Nathan Eovaldi

Yet Eovaldi is notable as one of just 19 players among the four expansion teams who was selected or acquired prior to the 2012 season and remains with his original club as our 2014 season winds down. That’s 19 out of 145 players — just 13%. Eovaldi was the latest player chosen to hold that honor.

That’s right. In less than three full seasons, 87% of the players who were originally drafted or acquired by the four expansion teams prior to Opening Day 2012 already have been cut or traded.

In this five-part series, we look back at the league’s expansion plans at the time and examine the status of each of the four clubs that came into being that year — the Iowa Cyclones, Michigan Moneyballers, Satellite Beach Brawlers and English Pigdogs, now known as the Destin Beach Bums.

If the goal of the structure of the expansion draft was to allow the clubs to build for the future, the player turnover seems to indicate either a flaw in the plan or an impatience on the part of the new franchise GMs. But does that even matter?

Continue reading

Draft countdown: 7 days remaining

As 2012 draft fever builds, we reach into the archives for this photo of what appears to be the winning team in one of our annual softball clashes. Can you name the team members — and the year???

 

Meet the new managers: Rick Lackey

Rick Lackey, manager of the expansion English Pigdogs, has already been associated with the I-75 League for several years, having assisted Garth Lewis with the general manager aspects of the South Grand Prairie Warriors.

He’s also been active and successful in another long-running Strat league, NASOMA, where he has earned 10 league titles since 1987 and also serves as league Webmaster.  Like the I-75 League, NASOMA also began in 1980; now it is a 16-team league.

Rick is a lifelong Texan but a fan of both the Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals. He has been teaching English to middle- and high school students since 1984. Rick is married with two grown daughters.

Read his complete managerial profile here.

Meet the new managers: Steve Nieroda

Steve Nieroda, manager of the expansion Satellite Beach Brawlers,  joins the I-75 League in 2012 as a 15-year Strat veteran who is also managing clubs in three other leagues.

Steve was born in Union, N.J., and grew up a fan of the New York Mets. He now lives in Satellite Beach, Fla., where he sells real estate property for EXIT 1st Class Realty. He is married with three older children.

Don’t get him angry in face-to-face action. He’s a youth wrestling coach and mixed martial arts afficionado.

Read Steve’s complete managerial profile here.

‘Baseball Dentist’ Ken Kuzdak drills off into the sunset

After 31-plus seasons as a manager in the I-75 League, Ken Kuzdak is hanging up his spikes.

In an interview conducted in 1989 for the I-75 League’s 10th anniversary, Ken Kuzdak famously pledged, “I’ll never quit this league. I’ll die before I quit this league.”

Well, things change, and Ken hasn’t died, but he has retired from the league.

After 31-plus years as the manager of the Detroit Drill Team and Demolition Dogs, Ken is bowing out and saying he won’t be back.

Ken had taken leave of the Demo Dogs after May, but given the option to return for 2012, he has decided to decline, leaving behind a legacy that included three World Championships, three regular season titles and a division title.

One of the league’s original nine managers who had formed the league in 1980, Ken will long be remembered as the manager who more than any other had a zest for the annual March convention, often being the first to arrive and the last to leave, spurred by a desire to see baseball, mash a softball, renew acquaintances and flee the Michigan winter.

Ken’s love of Florida prompted him to purchase a condo in Kissimmee, which he provided for league use for the conventions of 1994-1998.

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His 1986 Drill Team, led by the likes of Dale Murphy, Pedro Guerrero and Dave Winfield, plus a 12-1 season from Oil Can Boyd, won both the regular-season title and the World Series title, knocking off the vaunted Washington Senators.

The Drillers repeated as regular-season champs in 1988, again with an 89-71 mark, marking the era of Detroit’s fascination with the long ball. The ’88 Drill Team socked 328 homers, a league record at the time, with eight Drillers finishing with 24 or more. George Bell hit 52 homers and Andre Dawson 50; even the catching combo of Alan Ashby and Bill Schroeder teamed up for 46 homers, 123 runs scored and 111 RBI.

Continue reading

Scorpions, Clips go retro for July series

Name that cat (click for larger image)

Savannah manager Steve Hart and Applegate manager Gary Kicinski sported a retro look for their July series, complete with short shorts, hideous facial hair and a replica of Steve’s Newburgh, N.Y., dining room circa 1985. The Clips took three out of the five games.

Regarding our photo trivia from May, commissioner Dave Renbarger reports those photos were taken during the Captiva Island draft of either 1987 or 1988 and that the photo was taken by Mike Renbarger’s wife Lynn. The before-and-after nature of the two photos was scripted by Larry Pittman, who you will notice has a ball in his hand in the ‘before’ shot but not one in the ‘after’ shot. And everyone else is looking rather exhausted in the after shot. And Gerry Yurko lost his hat. And umpire Steve Bizek appears to be taking an outside position instead of an inside position. And Ken Kuzdak needs Larry’s support to keep him from collapsing.

Dave further recalls that the first field we found was so tiny that the first couple batters crushed balls easily over the fence and we had to move to find more competitive space.

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.

Expansion voted in for only second time in league history!

After a flurry of e-mails and several days of debate, the managers of the I-75 Strat-O-Matic league have voted to expand for only the second time in league history.

The league that was born with 9 teams in 1980 and expanded to 12 in 2003 will now grow to 14 or 15 teams beginning in 2012. The vote to expand was 10-2 in favor.

Managers will now vote first on whether to expand to 14 or 15 teams, and then will vote on issues pertaining to the league’s revised structure, including expansion draft procedure, retention process for 2012, where to slot 2012 expansion teams in the draft, and possible supplemental draft picks for new managers.

Update: By a 10-2 vote, league voted to expand to 15 managers for the 2012 season.

Belated farewell to Jamie Turner and the Tropical Heat

Even though Jamie Turner didn’t join the I-75 League as a manager until the third month of our sixth season, those who were there on that Sunday night in March of 1980 know that Jamie played a key role in a successful launch of the league.

Jamie Turner celebrates 1992 Nolan Ryan no-hitter

Classic video: Jamie Turner celebrates Nolan Ryan no-hitter at the 1992 I-75 League convention in Kissimmee, Fla.

Jamie, then working as a sportswriter at a newspaper in Natchez, Miss., and vacationing in Tampa, was persuaded by Dave Renbarger to help out during the league’s inaugural draft.  Jamie served as draft moderator, manning the phone connection between the Tampa Times newsroom, where five managers had gathered, and Ken Kuzdak’s kitchen, where four Northerners had assembled.

One of the league’s most treasured artifacts, the inaugural draft list, was penned that night by Jamie. 

It was more than five years later before Jamie joined the managerial ranks, stepping in three months into the 1985 season when Buddy Taylor couldn’t cut it (see May 1985 newsletter announcement). He proceeded to take a 29-31 team to the playoffs, tieing for fourth (82-78) and beating the vaunted Washington Senators in a one-game playoff (see Nov-Dec. 1985 newsletter), knocking off the first-place Ansbach Angels in four games (first-round playoff series were best-of-five then), before falling to the Michigan Drifters in a six-game World Series.  

Twenty-five seasons later, Jamie has announced he is bowing out of the league, leaving behind a trail of accomplishments and contributions that will mark a lasting legacy.

In his first 15 seasons as manager of the Tropical Heat (1985-99), Jamie made 14 playoff appearances, and only once in that stretch did he fail to win 80 games (1992).  His Heat club captured regular-season titles in 1987, 1989, 1990, 1993 and 1998.

Since expanding to two six-team divisions in 2003, Tropical has notched division titles in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2010. Tropical finished second in 2007, and in two of the years it missed out on the playoffs (2008 and 2009) the club still posted 80 or more wins.

Continue reading

This month in Strat history

Remember stooges, instruction sheets, typewritten newsletters? News You Can Use, Notes and Quotes, Player/Pitcher of the Month?

30 years ago this month: (click to view newsletter) The June 1980 newsletter, from the home office at 181 Archibald Street in Burlington, Vt., brought news of the I-75 Strat-O-Matic Mail League’s first no-hitter:

Our inaugural season is just three months old, but already history has been made in the form of Steve Comer’s no-hitter over the Bismarck Bombers in the first game of the month of May.
     Comer’s gem came in the Bombers’ own ballpark, with with Bomber manager Steve Bizek serving as the Paperclip stooge.
     Comer faced just 28 hitters, one over the minimum. He walked no one and fanned just one Bomber.

Reflective of someone’s still-flowering journalism career, the newsletter fails to note the name of the player who got the hit off Comer… we only have one side of the historical Form B: Click to view

Update: Not sure what I was thinking when I wrote that last paragraph… in a no-hitter, no one gets a hit. So why was I looking for the name of the player to get a hit off Comer? Losing my mind…

Great moments in Strat: Game 160 Clips-Senators showdown, 1983

Face-to-face action is always exciting, but usually it occurs at the beginning of the season when many of us are gathered for the annual convention.

Rare is the instance when face-to-face action takes place in the season’s final month, with a playoff berth on the line. But that was the case in 1983, when the Applegate Paperclips and Washington Senators hooked up in a 10-game series with fourth place at stake. After Game 7, Applegate needed to win just one of the three remaining games to advance to the playoffs, but the plucky Senators recorded wins in Games 8 and 9.

Game 10 was scoreless through four innings before the offenses came to life. Dale Murphy’s grand slam gave Washington a 4-0 lead; Applegate battled back and tied the contest in the bottom of the eighth.

In the top of the ninth, Washington got a two-run homer from Kent Hrbek and an insurance run on an RBI double by Gorman Thomas to take a 7-4 lead. As the Clips got out of the top of the ninth and came to bat for what could be their final three outs of the season, the tension was palpable.

Listen to 9th-inning audio. (After clicking, find link at bottom of page)
View Form B scoresheet

Historic stats unearthed!

During some spring cleaning today I came across a floppy disk containing some treasured data:

A complete set of statistics — compiled in year-by-year fashion as well as 20-year totals, for all players, and all teams during the I-75 Strat-O-Matic League’s total redraft era.

These stats were painstakingly compiled by Mike Renbarger in the era before the game was computerized, meaning he had to enter in by hand every player’s stat line and every team’s stat lines from each season. Now, all of that data is available online as well.

Back in the day, managers kept their own statistics on paper, and they were tallied up in monthly newsletters.

The preservation of these stats allows us to revisit fascinating facts such as:

* The Ansbach Angels were the winningest team over that period with a 3202-game record of 1659-1543. Continue reading