Tuesday, December 16, 2014

American League - Round 1

MEMPHIS, TNDolly caused quite a commotion at the Chicagoland World Series, but our Tournament Director would not be discouraged.  "The music industry, as a whole, gives us so much.  We need to shay-uh APBA with they-um.  Country music may not be the correct fit, but I won't give up." said Jimmy Carter.  Armed with new resolve, he drove across the Volunteer state and met with the King of Rock-n-roll, Elvis Presley.  The King was a little reserved about learning the game at first, but Carter suggested Elvis travel across the river and into Arkansas to meet with long time APBA enthusiast Kenneth Heard.

Heard and the King have many things in common, but it was quickly learned that their favorite loves were rock-n-roll, dancing, baseball and APBA.  Heard was able to teach the King several things about all of them.  Pictures of the actual dance lessons are not available as of the time of this writing, but the end results were impressive.  Heard taught the King the hip swivel that would propel Presley to the top of the rock charts and make him a formidable APBA dice rolling opponent as well.

Presley was so moved and shook up by all of the tips provided by Kenneth, that he re-wrote a chart topper to showcase his love of the APBA baseball game.

WOODSTOCK, IL - The King's appearance at the Chicagoland World Series provided some moments of concern.  Unfortunately, the security personnel normally employed for most APBA events are not the best.  Budget concerns do not allow for much formal training, but do provide for some cool hats.  The security staff indicated they did not notice anything unusual about Presley as he exited.  Later, it was announced to those in attendance, that "ELVIS AND THE TROPHY HAVE LEFT THE BUILDING."

ANAHEIM, CA - Vida Blue led the 1976 Oakland A's into battle against Rod Carew and the 1979 California Angels.  The 76 A's team was the last remnant of the dynasty that Oakland enjoyed in the early part of the decade before Charlie O' could dismantle it.  With Reggie already departed (and participating in this tourney with the 80 Yankees), the A's still exhibit a formidable lineup.  However, with this matchup, Bert Campaneris, Joe Rudi, and Don Baylor play for both teams.  It made for some interesting challenges in keeping the teams straight.

Game 1 saw the Halos get out front early, aided by a 2 run blast off the bat of Willie Mayes Aikens in the 4th.  Campaneris and Baylor drove in runs in the 5th and 7th for the A's as they tied the game, then took the lead in the 8th when Claudell Washington singled home Sal Bando.  They picked up an insurance run in the 9th with back-to-back-to-back singles from North, Campaneris and Baylor.

In the bottom of the 9th, with Rollie Fingers on the mound, Rick Miller blasted a solo shot to start the inning.  Carew later doubled and would score on a triple by Disco Dan Ford.  Miller would deliver the winning shot in the bottom of the 10th with a double scoring Brian Downing and giving California the Game 1 win.

OAKLAND, CA - The series moved up the coast where Nolan Ryan looked to eliminate the A's and Mike Torrez.  But the bear hurled a 2 hit shutout against the Angels.  Ryan struck out 9 batters over 7 innings, but took the loss giving up 4 runs, 3 earned.

ANAHEIM, CA - Game 3 turned out to be a cake walk for Oakland.  Trailing 1-0 in the 5th, Rudi and Bando singled and Gene Tenance flied out deep enough to Dan Ford in right to score Rudi and tie the game.  Claudell Washington's 2 run homer put the A's ahead  and Lindblad and Fingers combined for 2 innings of relief each to move Oakland into the Quarter finals to face the #1 Seed, the 1979 Baltimore Orioles.

MILWAUKEE / CLEVELAND - Molitor's doubles home Sal Bando in the 7th and 9th innings and beats the Indians in Game 1.  Every Brewer who could grab a bat hit Dennis Eckersley hard in Game 2 as the Milwaukee advances with a sweep, winning 10-0.  Bando is head over heals celebrating the wins with the '76 A's and '79 Brewers.

PLAINS, GA - Running the country and a 26 team APBA tournament, with locations spread out all over the United States, can take a toll on any man.  Our tournament director took some much needed time off and attempted to spend a restful afternoon fishing.  The event was not restful for anyone involved. 

While fishing alone, on Coast Guard One, Carter was attacked by an unidentified wild animal.  Carter was able to hold off the ravenous beast until nearby secret service agents could render assistance.  The official White House account is as follows:

"Upon closer inspection, the animal turned out to be a rabbit.  Not one of your cutesy, Easter Bunny type rabbits, but one of those big splay-footed things that we called swamp rabbits when I was growing up.  The animal was clearly in distress, or perhaps berserk.  The President confessed to having had limited experience with enraged rabbits.  He was unable to reach a definite conclusion about its state of mind.  What was obvious, however, was that this large, wet animal, making strange hissing noises and gnashing its teeth, was intent upon climbing into the Presidential boat." - Presidential Press Secretary Jody Powell.

Swamp rabbit???  With staffers like that, it makes you realize just how much public sentiment had turned against Gerald Ford in order for Carter to win the election in 1976.

"I haven't had much experience with deranged or berserk wild life, but I have been Billy's brother all his life.  I know crazy when I see it." added the tournament director.  After the harrowing event, the President could not wait to get back to the APBA tournament.  "Things rarely hiss or gnash their teeth at you in APBA", said Carter.  Obviously, the director has not been around all of the members in our Facebook group.

CHICAGO - Home runs would be the leading story in the 77 Hitmen v. the 78 Tigers series.  Although, it would not be as anyone would have predicted.  Known for stealing bases and blistering speed, Ron LeFlore's 3 run homer in the top of the 2nd, came as a surprise, and put Detroit ahead in Game 1.  But the Chisox fought back with 2 runs in their part of the inning on an RBI double from Chet Lemon and single from Alan Bannister.  The Chicago fans cheered as Bannister brought home Solderholm in the 4th on a fielders choice to tied the game 3-3.  But in the top of the 8th, another Tiger surprise 3 run homer came off the bat of Lou Whitaker to give Detroit the 6-3 win.

DETROIT - The Hitmen came to life in Game 2.  Slugging 22 hits and scoring 16 runs, Chicago clobbered the Tigers 16-4 in the largest run producing effort by any team in any of the tournaments so far.  Oscar Gamble set an individual tournament record with 3 home runs.  Milt Wilcox had as tough of a start as anyone can. In 3 2/3 innings of work, facing 25 batters, the Sox collected 12 hits, with 1 walk while scoring 10 runs, 9 earned. 

CHICAGO - The series moved back to Comiskey where things started for Game 3. Jason Thompson's 2 run homer in inning 1 helped the Tigers get out to an early lead.  Both teams traded runs in the 4th and 6th innings, and Detroit took a 5-3 lead into the 7th.  Both bull pens worked well.  Jim Essian knocked a solo shot in the 8th to bring the score tight at 5-4.  Essian's homer would be the only one enjoyed by Chicago outside of Gambles 3 blasts in game 2.  John Hiller set the Pale Hose down 1-2-3 in the 9th, as Zisk, Gamble and Johnson are unable to get the ball out of the infield.  Detroit advances into the Quarter Final round to face the #2 Seed, 1980 Yankees.

TEXAS / TORONTO - Gaylord Perry dominated in Game 1 with 8 2/3 scoreless innings. Bert Campaneris' (another former A moving on to much greener pastures and paydays) 2 RBI double in the 4th helped seal the win for the Rangers.  Jim Sundberg used the bat and Doyle Alexander and the Texas bull pen held off a late run by the Jays to sweep the series and move on for a 1977 matchup with division rival Kansas City Royals in the Quarter Finals.

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