The Nation's Pastime ...
The Beckmans, Jack and Bill, one from
Michigan and the other from South Carolina, meet for the first
time in Lancaster, PA to play baseball.
A tripleheader with three decks following
the team draft; Bruce Young vs James Terry, Ilan Woll vs Mike
Lam, and Pete Stein vs Bruce Wigdor.
Superstar Baseball continued its recent record growth;
increasing by nearly 24 percent - to 52 managers, with nearly
227 total games played.
The tournament saw a change in the format this year - rather
than a free-form, week-long tournament, each 'day' was its own
heat. The format was still free-form; but each day would reset,
and each day's heat would advance its own winner, with second
place finishers added, as needed to round the playoff field to
The six teams making it to the playoffs (sorted by winning
percentage) were 1) Rich Moyer (1931 Philadelphia As); 2) Terry
Coleman (1927 New York Yankees); 3) Bill Beckman (1948 Cleveland
Indians); 4) Bill Ashburgh (2004 Anaheim Angels); 5) Doug Galullo
(1961 New York Yankees); 6) Harry Flawd (1986 Houston Astros).
Throughout the heats, the Indians and the As looked like the
most formidable teams, routinely scoring double-digit runs. The
Indians scored 19 and 20 runs in two games.
In the first game of the playoffs, Galullo's Yankees took
on Ashburgh's Angels. The Yankees jumped out to an early 2-1
lead, behind a two-run homerun by Yogi Berra. In the top of the
6th, the Bombers put some gap into the game, scoring four runs
off Clete Boyer and Mickey Mantle homeruns, and chasing Jarrod
Washburn from the game. The Angels made a game of it, scoring
three runs in the bottom of the 9th, but Garett Anderson struck
out with the tying runs on base, and the #5 seed had upset #4,
The second playoff game pitted Flawd's Astros against Beckman's
Indians. The game - incredibly - became a pitchers duel, pitting
Mike Scott against fellow flamethrower Bob Feller. In one of
the least realistic representations of the tournament (at least,
given today's ultra-conservative pitching coaches), both pitchers
pitched complete games, tallying 11 innings each! Scoreless until
the 11th inning, the Astros drew first blood. Kevin Bass reached
on a fielder's choice, and - with two outs - Steve Mizerak doubled
him home to give the 'Stros a 1-0 lead. It was all Scott would
need, as he gave up a pinch-hit walk in the bottom of the 9th,
before getting the last batter on a strikeout. Each team had
five hits, while Feller gave up no walks and struck out ten.
Scott was even more dominant, giving up two walks but striking
out 14. The second first-round upset was complete.
The first semi-final game saw Galullo's Yankees taking on
Moyer's As. The As jumped out to an early lead and dominated
all the way through, scoring at least once in each inning but
the 5th, en route to a 15-4 win. Mantle and Maris contributed
a pair of homers, but they were no match for the firepower of
the As, who racked up hits galore, flexing their muscle before
In the other semi-final, the overachieving Astros went up
against Coleman's Yankees. The Yankees suffered an early loss
when starter George Pipgras left the game after one batter, due
to a freak arm injury. The Astros capitalized in the 2nd, scoring
one run off reliever Wilcy Moore. In the 5th inning, a 3-run
blast from Tony Lazzeri gave the Yanks some room, chasing Nolan
Ryan from the game. Lou Gehrig powered another shot over the
wall in the 7th, giving the Yankees a 4-1 lead. A 2-run triple
by Craig Reynolds cut the gap to 4-3 in the top of the 8th, but
pinch-hitter Billy Hatcher struck out with Reynolds on 3rd, and
the Astros couldn't get into scoring position in the 9th, giving
the Yankees the 4-3 win.
In the Final, any expectation of a slugfest between the two
teams was quickly put to rest, as only one of the teams, apparently,
got that memo. The As rushed out to a 5-1 lead after three innings,
behind eight hits, including a 2-run homer by catcher Mickey
Cochrane. Only a Jimmy Collins homer prevented a shutout. In
the 4th, Lou Gehrig homered to get it closer, but the As responded
with a sac fly by Jimmie Foxx, and added three more in the 5th,
thanks to a blast from Max Bishop, making the score 9-2. The
Yankees put three up on the board in the 6th, stringing together
five hits, including two doubles, to momentarily make the score
more respectable (9-5), but the As rubbed it in, doing their
best interpretation of "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better,"
tallying three runs of their own in the bottom of the 8th, behind
four hits. The final score was 12-5.
Rich Moyer, who - since the reformat of the SSB tournament
has made this his own personal playground - continued his dominance.
In the four years since the reformat, Rich has made the playoffs
each year; made the Final three times, and is the first back-to-back
winner of SSB (and only the third multi-title winner) in the
history of the event, dating back to 1991.
Sadly, I may be unable to attend next year in which case Superstar
Baseball is going to need a new GM if it is going to continue
its renewed popularity.
John Welage and Roderick Lee trade
Terry Coleman and Rich Moyer in the