The Nation's Pastime ...
Terry Coleman feels a homer coming
Andy Lewis' Red Sox take on Mike Lam's
the third consecutive year, the Superstar Baseball tournament
established a new attendance record. 42 managers drafted a team
and played more than 200 games. The coaches have established
a friendly rivalry and sports is as much a topic of discourse
as games. There is even the possibility of a few lost wagers,
Using the quality points system, Andy Lewis finished first,
followed by Mike Lam and John Welage. Rounding out the 8 playoff-eligible
spots were Bob Menzel, Bill Beckman, Marshall Collins, Rich Moyer
and Roderick Lee.
Just missing playoff eligibility were James Terry, Ilan Woll
and Harry Flawd, who'd sported an impressive 11-1 record.
The second year of the new system -- where players earn points
for playing games, but then, are sorted by winning percentage
-- worked to help and hurt players. Harry Flawd, who benefited
from the system last year (when a playoff-eligible team went
on a massive losing streak, qualifying Harry for the playoffs),
was the victim this year, as he didn't earn enough points to
qualify (not wishing to tarnish his record).
The eight teams were sorted, with the final order: 1) Beckman
(Indians) -- for the second year in a row, 2) Moyer (Giants),
3) Lewis (Red Sox), 4) Lee (Astros), 5) Menzel (Red Sox), 6)
In the first game of the playoffs, Welage's Reds took on Lewis'
Red Sox. The Reds used a 6-run 4th inning, inspired by George
Foster's homerun, to upset the Sox 9-7. Jim Maloney went the
distance (as Welage rested his bullpen. The only threat came
in the 5th, when the Sox scored 4 runs to cut the lead to 6-5,
but the Reds added three more runs in the top of the 6th, to
take a commanding 9-5 lead.
In the next game, Menzel's Red Sox took on Lee's Astros. The
game was scoreless for the first four innings, as Roger Clemens
and Nolan Ryan faced off. In the top of the 4th, Ryan tired,
and was replaced by Mike Hampton, which backfired for the 'Stros.
Hampton, also tired, gave up three runs in the 5th and two more
in the 6th to stake the Sox to a 5-0 lead. Clemens coasted to
a 6-2 win, allowing solo runs in the 6th and 8th innings. The
Astros manager learned what most ball fans already knew -- always
better to take your chances with a tired Nolan Ryan, than a Mike
Hampton in any condition!
In the first semi-final, Beckman's Indians proved they belonged
in the top spot, as Bob Feller pitched no-hit ball for 7 2/3
innints, ending up with a 3-hitter and 14 strikeouts. Barry Larkin
broke up the no-hitter, but the Reds were unable to put a run
on the board, falling 8-0 to the Tribe. Jim Thome's 3-run homer
and Al Rosen's 2-run shot led the Indians' attack.
the second semi-final, Gaylord Perry of the Giants also pitched
a shutout over the Red Sox. Willie Mays led off the Giants' first
at-bat with a monster homer and the Giants never looked back,
beating the Sox impressively 12-0. The Sox used five pitchers;
none of whom proved exceptionally effective, as the Giants racked
up 17 hits and five walks.
This led to a final game between the top two teams, but it
was anti-climactic, as the Indians were no competition for the
Giants who continued their torrid offensive display with 16 hits
and 11 walks, en route to a 14-5 win. Rich Moyer, who has led
three teams to the SSB tournament playoffs (and two to the World
Series) walked away with his first championship, and in so doing
doubled his wood by leading the St Paul Rejects to victory in
the Team TRournment as well.
The regular season was not without several offensive displays
(which may or may not be investigated in a future steroid investigation).
Beckman's Indians beat up on their counterparts, managed by Carrie
Lewis, 17-2; and later, beat up on Boston (managed by Bob Menzel),
16-4. In his last regular season game, Beckman faced off against
Moyer's Giants, possibly portending the future, as Moyer triumphed
14-12, avenging an earlier 13-4 defeat.
Pete Staab's Reds, in back-to-back games, lost games late.
In one game against Moyer's Giants, the Reds scored 2 runs in
the top of the 9th to take an 8-6 lead, only to give up 2 more
in the bottom of the 9th. In the top of the 10th, they scored
4 runs, but gave up 5 in the bottom of the frame to lose 13-12.
In the next game, against the Mets, trailing 5-3, the Reds scored
5 in the top of the 9th to take an 8-5 lead, only to give up
4 in the bottom of the inning to fall 9-8.
The Giants always seemed involved in large-scoring games,
falling earlier in the year to Marshall Collins' Braves, 17-14
("paging George Mitchell"). In 17 games, the Giants
scored 9+ runs in 10 games (and allowed 9+ runs in five games).
Jordan Flawd led his late Negro Leaguers over Max Jamelli's
Blue Jays, by a 17-3 score, as well.
The bright spots for the pitching fans were few and far between:
The Orioles and Yankees faced off with Mike Cuellar taking on
Ron Guidry in a pitchers' duel for the ages. Guidry pitched a
1-hitter, allowing only a solo home run to Orioles' catcher Chris
Hoiles, but he still ended up on the losing end, as Cuellar tossed
a no-hitter, winning 1-0.
Randy Cox's updated team charts make
it all possible.
Bill Beckman and Rich Moyer in the