THIS DAY IN SP78 HISTORY
October 17, 2003

After nearly three weeks of living in my new AZ8 apartment in Peoria, Arizona, I finally played my first SP78 Replay game there, a humiliating 9-0 Reds loss to the Giants at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati. Giants starter Bob Knepper (10-6) pitched the complete game shutout, easily controlling the meager Reds offense and contributing to his own cause with a single and double in four at-bats. Jack Clark ripped two home runs and a double, with four runs scored, while Mike Ivie went 4-for-5 with three RBI. Reds starter Paul Moskau (6-6) lasted six innings, allowing five runs, while Pedro Borbon demoralized his ERA by giving up four runs over just two innings.  (Game #1111,  7/8/78)

Major League Baseball

All NL Statistics Are Now Current!

Believe it or not, for the first time since 1989, statistics for the National League are up-to-date to the current point of my SP78 season: August 16th, 1978. No more will I have to take the collected stats for June (which I completed while playing July games, well after June had wrapped up), add them to the stats for July, then add them to the current stats for August, just to get up to the minute stats for a particular player or team. Let me repeat: the NL is CAUGHT UP!

I know it may not seem like a big deal, but trust me, it is; having gone nearly thirty years without current stats, and to suddenly (well, after a few months of relentless work) now have them full and complete at my fingertips, well, that’s definitely something for me to celebrate. Which I think I’ll do later this afternoon with a bike ride to a nearby Barro’s for pizza.

These updated stats can be found by clicking the ‘Statistics’ drop-down on the main page header, hovering the pointer over an NL division and team, then clicking on ‘Current Season Stats’. You’ll find that some stats and stat totals are blank; those will remain that way until the end of August. Right now, figuring out those numbers game-by-game is much more time-consuming than I’m willing to commit to.

And later today I’ll begin work on the American League pages, which hopefully won’t take very long now that I have a system and rhythm down. Though NL games for the 17th are complete, I’ll let you enjoy these stats from the 16th for a bit before I add those other numbers in. And don’t forget to take a look at the Cardinals stat page and see how that 15-year-old rookie sensation is doing thus far in the ’78 campaign!

The SP78 Table of Mystery

So what the heck is going on here? Take a look at the photo below, taken in late December of 2016, and tell me why I played an SP78 game under these strange but necessary conditions:

Yes, I played the entire Padres-Mets match-up for August 15th with three of the four chairs pulled away from the table. But the question is, why? Did I leave the game for a bathroom break before the first pitch, only to find poltergeist activity had taken place while I was away? Did the table shrink during the first inning? Did three impolite friends I’d invited over to watch the game suddenly stand up and leave, without bothering to push in their chairs?

Before clicking on the ‘continue reading’ link, see if you can come up with a plausible (or perhaps even not-so-plausible) answer to this puzzler, then tell me in the comment section below what you’ve guessed. Continue reading

Inside the SP78 Vault: McDonald’s Baseball Quiz

It was a summer evening in 1978, perhaps on a calendar day close to where I am right now in my SP78 season, and my parents had taken my brother, sister, and I out to dinner at our local McDonald’s in Escondido, California. Their current promotion, apparently available only at Southern California restaurants, featured a baseball quiz card given to customers with every Big Mac purchase; the prize was a free Big Mac to fans who answered the multiple-choice quiz question correctly. As you can see, I did just that, during the drive home after leaving the restaurant:

And it wasn’t guesswork, either: I actually knew the answer to the question, without the luxury of on-line stats, scores, and game recaps instantly available at my fingertips. Instead, I studied the daily sports pages and the annual Street & Smith baseball guides, and I watched ABC’s Monday Night Baseball and the NBC Game of the Week on Saturdays, and went to Padres games at San Diego Stadium whenever I could. I actually cared about baseball back then, which made answering this question a cinch.

And as you’ve noticed, I kept this particular game card, which means I did not get myself a free Big Mac on my next visit to McDonald’s that summer. But that’s okay…I’m glad I still own this rare piece of baseball memorabilia, since that Big Mac would’ve been long gone and forgotten by now. I tried to find another quiz card like this one on-line, but even eBay doesn’t have one to offer, so maybe mine has some real value to it. Or maybe it’s worth nothing more than a Big Mac…just as long as I redeem it before October 8, 1978.

July AL Award Winners Announced!

And now it’s time for the American League award winners for July, coming on the heels of current AL stats recently being finalized through the end of that month. Check out the complete list below; for a more detailed look at prior recipients, a description of each award, and photos of the trophies and plaques awarded, check the ‘SP78 Awards’ section of the Statistics dropdown link on the main menu above.

AL Player of the Month
Graig Nettles, New York Yankees
.333 BA, 39 hits, 10 home runs, 23 RBI, 2-HR game, Diamond Glove

AL Pitcher of the Month
Mike Caldwell, Milwaukee Brewers
4-0, 0.68 ERA, 4 CG, 3 shutouts, pitched the second SP78 no-hitter

Fire Chief Trophy
Don Stanhouse, Baltimore Orioles
4-0, 5 saves

Crystal Slugger Award
Reggie Jackson, New York Yankees
.712 slugging percentage

Barnes Memorial Trophy
Buddy Bell, Cleveland Indians
.364 batting average

Bradley Memorial Trophy
Mike Caldwell, Milwaukee Brewers
0.68 earned run average

Diamond Glove Award
C – Jim Sundberg, Texas Rangers
1B – Andre Thornton, Cleveland Indians
2B – Bobby Grich, California Angels
SS – Luis Gomez, Toronto Blue Jays
3B – Graig Nettles, New York Yankees
OF – Steve Kemp, Detroit Tigers
OF – Rick Manning, Cleveland Indians
OF – Dwight Evans, Boston Red Sox

Iron Glove Award
Robin Yount, Milwaukee Brewers
10 errors – SS

Hothead of the Month Award
Ross Baumgarten, Chicago White Sox
1 ejection and 1 suspension

As mentioned before, two additional awards that were presented during the SP78 All-Star Game were discovered while I was researching historical notes from the game, and have now been included on the All-Star Game awards page.

Plus-.500 July Gives Jays Something to Celebrate

It’s been a long season for the second-year Toronto Blue Jays, who’ve struggled for wins after opening the SP78 campaign with a promising 4-1 won-lost record. Currently, however, they’re a woeful 43-60, the second-worst record in the American League, and good for last place in the AL East. And with no hope of capturing a division crown, the Jays of ’78 can only play out the string, acting as possible spoilers to the Tigers, Brewers, and Yankees and looking ahead to 1979. With nothing to boast overall but Bob Bailor’s current .308 average and John Mayberry’s 16 home runs, the Blue Jays can at least be proud of their hard work in July, which netted them not only their first winning month of the season, at 15-13, but the first of their short existence as well.

Leading the way in July was third baseman Roy Howell, who batted .355 with 38 hits, outfielder Bailor, who went 36-for-107 and hit .336, and utility player Doug Ault, who banged four home runs in just 13 games, good for 11 RBI. And though starting pitchers Tom Underwood and Jim Clancy both went 1-4 for the month, Jesse Jefferson surprised everyone with a 4-1 mark and a 2.87 earned run average, while spot starter Jerry Garvin finished the month with three wins, three complete games, and a 2.48 ERA. In the bullpen, closer Victor Cruz continues to impress, saving four games and leading the team with a 1.13 ERA; middle reliever Joe Coleman was also a surprise, going 2-0 with an ERA of 1.59 in seven games. And kudos should also go to Rick Bosetti, who with a base stealing rating of D stole Toronto’s only base of the month, and just the fifth for the team this season.

To take a look at the Blue Jays team page for results and statistics through July, click here. The boxes for league leaders, team rankings, and award totals have been left blank; these numbers will now be added to each AL team throughout the coming weeks, and award winners for July will be posted soon.