The Nation's Pastime ...
Eighteen players gathered to contest this year's tournament.
The format was changed this year. For the first time ever an
auction was held to determine which team each participant would
manage. Each team was rated based on the strength of its hitting
and pitching. The best team was the 1949 Red Sox (rated an 11)
and the worst team was the 1927 Red Sox (rated a -13). The ratings
determined how many outs a team would forfeit to make a game
competitive. So if the '49 Red Sox played the '27 Red Sox the
'49 team would forfeit 24 outs. That's right, the '49 team would
bat one inning while the '27 team would play nine innings. It
would have been great to see that match-up but the '27 team was
too bad for anyone to even consider playing them.
auction saw mostly conservative bidding (of additional out handicaps)
with only the 1976 Cincinnati Red's (The Big Red Machine), producing
spirited bidding. Five leagues were formed and round robin play
determined the eight teams that would advance to the single elimination
playoffs. Each league winner advanced automatically then a complicated
lottery system that gave the more successful teams in round robin
play a greater probability of advancement determined the wild
The four league winners were the 1936 Yankees (3-0), the 1978
Yankees (3-0), the 1986 Red Sox (3-0), the 1949 Red Sox (3-0),
and the 1994 Braves (2-1), the First Wild card was the 1965 Cleveland
Indians (2-1) (tied with the Braves as division champ), then
the 1931 Athletics (2-1), and lastly the 1984 Cubs (2-1). The
first round pairings were '78 Yanks vs. '31 A's (Yankees win
2-1), '86 Red Sox vs. '49 Red Sox ('49 Sox win 1-0), '36 Yanks
vs. '84 Cubs (Yankees win 8-2), and lastly, '94 Braves vs. '65
Indians (Indians win 3-2 reversing a previous one run defeat
to the Braves in league play). The second round pitted '78 Yanks
vs. '49 Sox (Sox win 2-1), and '36 Yanks vs. '65 Indians (Indians
win 4-2). The finals would pit the '49 Sox against the wild card
The final game was marked by lots of hitting and poor pitching.
Both team's starters tired early but remained in the game due
to depleted bullpens. The Sox jumped out early slapping the ball
all over the field and building a 4-0 lead early only to see
the Indians rally on a grand slam ... all this was before the
end of the third inning. The Red Sox bats were relentless the
rest of the game scoring in almost every inning but the Indians
never quit. The light hitting Indians scrapped together enough
hits to keep the game close but eventually fell, 12-9. It seemed
like the Indians were pitching a softball to the Red Sox hitters.
Their tired pitching staff could just not get the powerful Red
There were plenty of highlights in the tournament including
the masterful pitching duel between Lefty Grove and Ron Guidry
in the first round playoff game between the '78 Yanks and '31
A's. Grove gave up three hits and got eight K's only to lose
to Guidry who gave up four hits with 14 K's! This write-up is
already beyond the limit but there was so much more excitement.
Come play in the 2004 event where the greatest all-star team
from each franchise will be pitted against each other to determine
the WBC champion.