February 24, 1983

A controversial game at site RB4 between the Twins and Angels saw two Halo batters, Ron Jackson and Lyman Bostock, ejected from the proceedings when they were caught using illegal bats in the sixth and 13th innings; meanwhile, the Twins ignored the indiscretions and pounded 15 hits and 12 runs off three pitchers to topple the host Angels 12-8. After California had opened their half of the first with two runs, the Twins responded with two runs in the fourth and a six-run rampage in the sixth, compliments of Roy Smalley’s second career grand slam (his first as a Twin) and Bob Randall’s two-run triple. The Angels battled back with a run an inning later, then added five more in the eighth to tie it, capped by Carney Lansford’s bases-loaded, bases-clearing double. Minnesota then tallied four runs on six singles in the 13th to make a winner of short relief ace Mike Marshall, who endured over five innings of work to improve to 2-0.  (Game #58,  4/11/78)

Major League Baseball

Carbonic Spray: The Sad Case of Ken Holtzman

CHI-N - Ken Holtzman poseFor pitcher Ken Holtzman, it’s a moment from his past he’s not likely to forget: standing in the Cubs’ bullpen between innings, staring up at the scoreboard looming high over the center field seats, and suddenly feeling a misty coolness settle softly on his face, neck, and arms. Above him, leaning over a railing surrounding the bleacher section, was a fan holding a large cup of soda, its bubbly carbonation splattering down onto Holtzman like a drizzly, sticky rain. And before he could do anything about it—before he knew it was even happening, actually—Holtzman had become permanently marked, like a man whose adult case of chicken pox had left his body riddled with scars.

sp78-carbonic-drink-80And so it was with my pristine Statis Pro player card of Holtzman, who during an SP78 match-up that was played sometime in the early-1990s, had been situated a little too close to the rocks glass of cola I’d been drinking during the game, and whose white cardstock had thus become stained with dozens upon dozens of tiny caramel-colored pinprick dots. And like so many other player cards damaged during my season—from creases to rubber band marks to potato chip stains—his was now stricken with this unique blemish for the remainder of his career, a constant and ugly reminder that taking part in a baseball board game is not always as safe as it looks.

Since that fateful day, whenever I’d play a game and would have a glass of Pepsi or Coke Classic with me at the desk or table, I would always make sure to place it at a reasonably safe distance from the board and cards. Thankfully, after 2008, when I stopped drinking soda altogether, the game and its players were never again in danger of accidental carbonation damage. Of course, that’s of little consolation to our tainted friend Mr. Holtzman:



AL June Stats are Complete!

American LeaguePlayer and team statistics for all fourteen American League teams through the month of June have been completed, and are now available for review. The AL pages took a bit longer to complete than the NL (c’mon, I had two extra teams to deal with!), but now with both leagues finished, I can now begin work on July stats, which for the most part are already done and ready to be added to the site. Only stolen base statistics need to be compiled, and I already began work on those today. Look for July stats to be posted here soon.

Also updated on each team’s page were league leaders in many offensive and defensive categories (red fonts for leader, orange if tied for a lead), as well as team rankings for attendance, batting average, slugging percentage, and earned run average.

As mentioned in the previous NL June stats post, three new monthly award categories have been created for each league: the Crystal Slugger Award (individual slugging percentage leader), the Barnes Memorial Trophy (highest batting average for the month), and the Bradley Memorial Trophy (lowest ERA for the month). The winners of these three awards for April and May have been included as well.

Which June stats done, and July nearly ready to go up, it won’t be long until I’m able to add August numbers to the site, which would make my SP78 season stats current for the first time since the late-1980s…nearly thirty freaking years ago. Trust me, it’ll be nice to finally be able to reference stats that are truly up-to-date for that day’s slate of games, and have them up-to-date for you as well. From there, I’ll begin updating, adding to, and creating other sections of the SP78 site.

TWISP Notes #66

December 8, 2016

• June stats have finally been calculated and finalized, and teams are currently being updated on the SP78 site. All National League teams are complete, and American League teams have been updated through the Kansas City Royals, with seven AL teams left to fill out. After that, work will begin on July stats.

• Giants veteran Willie McCovey drilled his 499th home run in a game against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on August 12th. McCovey connected off LA reliever Rick Sutcliffe, a solo shot in the eighth inning that gave the Dodgers some insurance in an eventual 4-2 win. McCovey also had two singles in the game to complete a 3-for-4 night.

• The Brewers have lost five in a row, and have dropped to five games back of the first-place Yankees in the AL East.

• A’s rookie pitcher Tim Conroy, an eighteen-year-old fresh out of Monroeville High School in Pennsylvania, was called up from the Vancouver Canadians of the PCL on August 13th and pitched his first major league game the next day, a 5-3 victory in the second game of a twinbill against the Twins. Conroy lasted five innings, allowing three runs on five hits, and picked up the win thanks to a tie-breaking 2-run home run from Mitchell Page in the fifth.

• Manager Ken Boyer of the Cardinals, having to choose between two hot-hitting shortstops—Garry Templeton and newcomer Todd Benefiel—and finding it difficult to sit either one of them, will experiment with moving the rookie to left field for the next few weeks, a position that has been deficient in the St Louis hitting department all season. Though he was batting .389 going into the August 14th game against the Astros, Benefiel went 0-for-3 in his outfield debut, with a walk and a run scored. “Give it time,” Boyer told skeptical reporters. “It’s only the first day, for chrissake.” Benefiel will once again be in left when the Cards face the Astros on Tuesday.

• With ace Scott McGregor going for his 18th win for the Orioles, rain postponed their August 14th game against the Yankees at Memorial Stadium after three innings. The game will be replayed as part of a doubleheader on August 30th.

• During an October trip to San Diego to take part in my friend’s wedding, I played a trio of SP78 games at two new California sites: my friend Durand’s house in Poway (SD9), and the Marriott Marquis & Marina near Seaport Village in downtown San Diego (SD10). The first game, at SD9, was perhaps the first-ever SP78 game to be played on a bed.

• Without any starters rested for their game against Cincinnati on August 13th, the Padres made an emergency call-up from their AAA affiliate in Hawaii, bringing right-handed pitcher Mark Wiley up to the parent club to start against the Reds that afternoon. In six innings pitched, Wiley allowed four runs on four hits (three of which were home runs) in a 4-2 loss. Wiley last pitched in the major leagues in 1975, as a member of the Twins.

Fans! August 19th is J. C. Penney Team Jersey Night
at Anaheim Stadium!


Happy Birthday, Johnny!


AL Award Winners for June Announced

With work underway on compiling and updating American League stats through the month of June, it’s now time to reveal the AL award winners for the month. Like those in the National League, these players are the same who were announced as winning their respective awards back in 2001, after the June games had wrapped up. New to the list are winners for the three newly-created award categories: the Crystal Slugger Award (individual slugging percentage leader), the Barnes Memorial Trophy (highest batting average for the month), and the Bradley Memorial Trophy (lowest ERA for the month). Continue reading