Category Archives: Inside SP78

Busby Gets Emergency Call-Up to KC

Needing a rested starter for their Friday night game against the Rangers, the Royals called up pitcher Steve Busby from their AAA affiliate in Omaha, where he’ll meet the team at Arlington Stadium in time for their 7:35 pm match-up against division-rival Texas.

Busby is currently 3-7 with a 5.45 ERA in 12 starts for Omaha this season, and though his numbers aren’t necessarily worthy of promotion, he represents the most well-rested starter currently on the Omaha roster, after last pitching on August 20th against Oklahoma City. Another draw for KC manager Whitey Herzog are his five years of major league experience with the parent club, where he went 22-14 in 1974 and hurled a pair of no-hitters in 1973 and 1974.

After making his emergency start tonight, Busby will fill the bullpen void left by struggling reliever Doug Bird, who was sent to Omaha to make room for Busby. Bird was 2-4 with one save and a 5.06 ERA in 23 games for the Royals this season; he will likely return to Kansas City when major league rosters are expanded to 40 players on September 1st.

Happy Birthday, #5!

Jim Rice and the First BD-2 HR

There are two things to know about the home run Red Sox slugger Jim Rice hit against the Mariners on August 22nd, in the fourth inning of their game at the Kingdome in Seattle. First, it was his 19th home run of the season, a 2-run shot that gave the Sox a temporary 2-1 lead in a game they’d eventually lose to the lowly M’s. But second, and more importantly, it was the first-ever BD-2 home run hit during my SP78 Replay season…a streak that lasted forty years and over 1,600 games played.

Hard to believe perhaps, considering the number of BD cards that are turned during an average SP78 game, but it’s true; I can’t say for certain whether one was hit in the first few years of my season (after some research, it appears unlikely), but once I began paying attention to the possibility of such an occurrence—probably in 1988, when my statkeeping efforts improved—I’d never had one take place until now. But what makes a BD-2 in particular so special is that Rice is one of just two players in the game to possess such a rating, the other being a slugger from the National League who’s also well known for his home run hitting prowess:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But what exactly is a BD home run? For those uninitiated with the ‘clutch batting’ aspect of the game, each player in the league possesses a BD rating of either 0, 1, or 2 (don’t ask me why Avalon Hill chose to use ‘BD’ instead of the more logical ‘CB’ designation), signifying how well a particular batter does in clutch situations, when one or more runners are on base. These ratings allow the player, when a certain Fast-Action card and number are drawn, to connect for a double, triple, or home run, with any of these options succeeding in clearing the bases of  all runners.

What’s also amazing about Rice’s recent home run is the simple fact that he hit one at all; during the actual 1978 season, he led both the AL and NL in homers (46), games played (163), hits (213), triples (15), runs batted in (139), and slugging percentage (.600), all helping him to earn AL MVP honors. But in my SP78 season, he’s nowhere near those lofty totals, even with that devastating Statis Pro player card at his disposal: currently his 19 home runs are well behind the 34 he’d hit at this juncture in 1978, while more than a dozen other players already have more triples, and his current batting average (.249) will never catch up to the one he finished the ’78 campaign with (.315).

And here’s another odd aspect to the situation: I understand why Rice was awarded BD-2 status, since he led the AL in home runs, total bases, and slugging percentage in 1978, but why Luzinski? If those three categories are to be considered the deciding criteria for BD-2 status, then Luzinski is definitely a no-go: he was second in the NL in home runs behind Reds outfielder George Foster, and just sixth in total bases and slugging percentage, well behind Dave Parker of the Pirates. Either one of those players should’ve been bestowed with a BD-2 classification instead, especially since both are having far better seasons offensively right now than Luzinski.

Anyway, there you have it…a BD-2 home run has finally been struck after all these years, leaving only a triple play, a perfect game, and a postponement due to insect infestation left to accomplish on my SP78 ‘to-do’ list. As Rice told reporters after the historic game, “I don’t know why you’re talking to me…you should be asking Greg what’s taking him so long.”

AL League Leaders Updated

The current League Leaders and Team Leaders for the American League have now been updated for games played through August 23rd, and can be found by scrolling down the right-hand column of this page. And like the National League leaders posted a month ago, most of the players and teams among the Top 5 categories have remained the same, with a few notable exceptions.

Royals third baseman George Brett moved into the Top 5 for batting average, displacing NY catcher Thurman Munson, and Twins star Rod Carew jumped from the fifth spot to first in the hits category; he’ll need 31 more to reach 200 for the fourth time in his career. Also, a pair of milestones were achieved, as Minnesota’s Roy Smalley was the first in the AL to reach the 100 RBI mark, and Brewers ace Mike Caldwell was the first in either league to reach 20 wins, with Jon Matlack and Scott McGregor close behind at 18.

M’s speedster Julio Cruz stole three more bases this past week, giving him 92 for the year…just four shy of Ty Cobb’s AL record of 96, established in 1915. Also during the week, A’s DH Rico Carty slugged three home runs to move within two of 30 and three of his 1978 total of 31; Don Baylor of the Angels still leads in that department, with 35. And though he’s struggled of late, going 1-2 over his last four starts, Yankees starter Ron Guidry still leads SP78 in earned run average, with 1.28.

Kansas City and Minnesota continue to dominate the team categories, while Baltimore still holds the lead in the team HR department, with 135, just nineteen away from their 1978 season total. And somehow, the Indians are still leading in team batting average and total hits, though they’re still mired in sixth place in the AL East; they also made the Top 5 in doubles and triples, as well as pitcher strikeouts.

The next league-wide update will take place in one SP78 calendar week, after games have been completed for August 31, 1978.