THE REPLAY ZONE – AUGUST 2013
By Jeff Polman
August ruminations from your trusty Strat-O-Matic replay addict. Check out my current 1938 replay blog at Dear Hank.
’94 Tournament World Series and ’38 All-Star Action
It’s the Part 3 conclusion to my Best of 1994 Tournament report! In case you missed Part 1 and Part 2, I’ve been running a summer version of my yearly 16-team, NBA/NHL-style “Best of” event using the best teams from the 1994 MLB season. Strat fans from around the country served as “absentee managers” and supplied me with rotations and lefty-righty lineups before I began rolling.
And it came down to this: The 12-2 1994 Expos, absentee-managed by Dave Kaufman of Montreal, against the 12-4 White Sox, managed by mystery Strat fan Joe C. of Chicago. Let the Best of ’94 World Series begin!
Great pitching by Jack McDowell snuffs out the Expo bats, and the ChiSox break a scoreless tie with four runs in the 7th on a walk, three singles and Lance Johnson triple off reliever Tim Scott. Jose DeLeon with the five-out save.
CHX 000 000 401 – 5 7 0
MTL 000 000 100 – 1 8 0
W-McDowell L-Hill SV-DeLeon
Carnage! Big Hurt Thomas clubs homers in each of the first two innings off Jeff Fassero, and Chicago goes up 2-0 with a pulverizing win. Jeff Shaw and Denis Boucher (noted Strat player!) give up six more runs in the 9th, and the Expos can get nothing going against Wilson Alvarez.
CHX 310 000 106 – 11 16 0
MTL 000 000 001 – 1 7 2
W-Alvarez L-Fassero HRS: Thomas-2, Ventura
Back at New Comiskey Park, it takes 13 innings but Montreal gets back in the series with a thrilling win, scoring three times off Kirk McCaskill after Chicago blows multiple scoring chances throughout. Alex Fernandez out pitches Pedro Martinez earlier, but it’s an error by Mike Lansing in the 6th that ties the game.
MTL 021 000 000 000 3 – 6 6 1
CHX 000 201 000 000 0 – 3 8 3
W-Wetteland L-DeLeon SV-Rojas HR: Webster
Moises Alou re-explodes, breaking a 1-1 tie in the 7th with a three-run bomb off McDowell, and the Expos hang on after Butch Henry surrenders back-to-back jacks to Johnson and Darrin Jackson in the 9th. Series is tied!
MTL 000 010 320 – 6 14 0
CHX 010 000 003 – 4 5 0
W-Henry L-McDowell SV-Rojas HRS: Alou, Webster, Ventura, Johnson, Jackson
In the first game won by a home team, Chicago beats up on Kirk Rueter, Gil Heredia and Jeff Shaw for 16 hits, to take a 3-2 series lead back over the border. Thomas goes nuts again with two singles, a walk and a homer in six trips.
MTL 101 000 200 – 4 9 2
CHX 002 500 21x – 10 16 2
W-Bere L-Rueter HRS: Jackson, Thomas, Ventura
Needing to win the last two, the Expos get the comeback going in dramatic style. Blowing a 2-1 lead in the 9th after consecutive errors by Berry and Cordero help Chicago tie the game, Alou singles and Larry Walker doubles into the gap for the bottom of the 9th walk-off. On to Game Seven!
CHX 000 000 101 – 2 5 0
MTL 020 000 001 – 3 6 2
Walker keeps it going with two homers and four RBIs, Fassero bails himself out of a bunch of jams, and Montreal takes the final game easily to win the World Series they were never given a chance to appear in! Moises Alou garners MVP honors for the tournament, and Dave Kaufman, who is actually a notable radio host in Montreal, deserves praise for his expert lineups and rotation.
CHX 100 200 010 – 4 10 1
MTL 012 132 00x – 9 13 0
W-Fassero L-McDowell HRS: Walker-2, Grissom
Thanks to ALL sixteen managers who participated, and I’m looking forward to my Best of 2012 derby, which will happen in the fall. Stay tuned!
* * *
While Paul Dylan of the great One-for-Five gaming site has been running my 1938 replay games with the Strat computer version, I insisted on rolling the All-Star Game with dice and cards after letting him choose the rosters.
To get my feet re-wet with the ’38 cards and decide on the best lineups and matchups, I rolled three practice games first, and the American League performed horribly in all of them, dropping the first contest 15-0 and making five errors. For the official game I ditched Bob Feller and his walk-friendly card for Lefty Grove, and inserted Rudy York, Harlond Clift and Earl Averill into the American lineup against lefty Carl Hubbell.
It paid off right away, as York doubled in the first run of the game after walks to Clift and Jimmie Foxx. But Lefty Grove had nuthin’, honey. Arky Vaughn, Stan Hack and Mel Ott all singled to start the bottom of the 1st, and after Medwick fouled out, Frank McCormick singled, Hank Leiber hit a sac fly and Ernie Lombardi, who homered three times in the practice games, belted another one in front of his home Crosley Field fans and just like that it was 5-1!
Thankfully, the A.L. fought back once Hubbell was gone after three. A single, double and pinch-hit single by Buddy Myer made it 5-2 off Van Lingle Mungo (Is that the best baseball name ever or what?), and after a Hack sac fly got the run back, a DiMaggio triple, Greenberg single and two-run Averill triple off Danny MacFayden cut the National lead to 6-5.
But that was the American League’s last hurrah, as Johnny Vander Meer, Dizzy Dean and Russ Bauers threw a 2-hit relief shutout the rest of the way. Enos Slaughter hit a pitch-hit homer off Monty Stratton for the last run of the game, and the Nationals were victorious for the fourth straight time. In real 1938, they won this game 4-1, so realism certainly pervaded. With all the slugging power in the A.L., it wasn’t enough to overcome the superior pitching and fielding of the N.L.
Pennant-race wise, the Red Sox are still the surprise at the break with a seven-game cushion over the Yankees, though Boston is in a current slump that has seen that lead shaved from a season-high eleven games. The National League is a thrilling five-team battle, with the Giants holding a slim lead over the Reds. Stay tuned for further dispatches from the world of "Dear Hank"!