Tag Archives: Boston Red Sox

TWISP Notes #77

TWISP Notes
March 4, 2022

• Mets pitcher Jerry Koosman, who’s been struggling as a starter with a record of 5-19 and a 4.18 ERA, will be moved to the bullpen in hopes a change of scenery will turn his luck around. During the actual 1978 season, Koosman made six relief appearances to go along with his 32 starts.

• Also for the Mets, starter Nino Espinosa, who’s been hampered by nagging shoulder pain, was sent to the Tidewater Tides of the International League on a rehabilitation assignment. Right-hander Tom Hausman, who is currently 5-2 with a 1.22 ERA in ten starts with the Tides, was called up to take Espinosa’s spot in the starting rotation.

• The Padres returned pitcher Mark Wiley to their AAA farm club in Hawaii, and called up rookie outfielder Don Reynolds for late-inning defense and pinch-hitting purposes. Wiley was 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA during his short stint with the parent club.

• Reds slugger George Foster clubbed his 30th home run of the season on August 24th, off St Louis starter Bob Forsch in an 8-3 loss at Riverfront. It was the second time in his career he’s reached the 30-HR mark, after connecting for 52 the previous season to lead the major leagues.

• San Diego outfielder Dave Winfield collected his second 2-HR game of the season on August 25th, good for four RBI and a 5-1 Padres win. The pair of homers gives Winfield a total of 28 for the season, already a career high.

• Willie Wilson of the Royals became the ninth SP78 player this season to steal home, doing so off Jon Matlack and the Rangers on August 25th. It was Wilson’s first career home theft.

• Pitcher Rick Honeycutt of the Mariners suffered a pulled groin muscle during the fifth inning of the M’s-Orioles match-up on August 25th, and left the game immediately, down 4-0 in what would eventually become a 7-0 M’s loss. He will likely miss his next 2-3 starts.

• In their meeting with the Red Sox on August 25th, the Angels collected five home runs – from Rick Miller, Don Baylor, Carney Lansford, and Ron Jackson twice – to tie an SP78 record, shared by four other teams. The circuit clouts helped the Halos to a 12-3 win.

• While I’ve been housesitting for my friend Julie in Tucson over the past few months, her AZ21 home has has seen 15 SP78 games played, and has jumped from 106th place – with one game played in 2020 – to 23rd on the all-time games hosted list.

• After establishing himself as the team’s best power hitter over the course of the SP78 season, Braves first baseman Dale Murphy has finally been moved up in the batting order, from the eighth spot to cleanup. His teammate, catcher Biff Pocoroba, is hitting .375 for August, and has been bumped up to fifth.

• It was announced today by the Tigers organization that second baseman Steve Dillard suffered a concussion when he collided with teammate Ron LeFlore in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Blue Jays on August 23rd, which resulted in his immediate departure from the game. Dillard was placed on the 30-day disabled list the following day, while LeFlore – who left the game with an elbow contusion – will be out for at least a week.

Attention Fans! August 27th is Beer Case Stacking Day at Comiskey Park!

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.”

Pole Leads M’s Past Floundering Bosox 3-0

For Seattle pitcher Dick Pole, it was a chance to prove to his former team that his current numbers—a 4-10 won-lost record and a 4.52 ERA—were a fluke, and that his starting performance from a few weeks earlier—a 5-1 complete game win over the Twins—was more indicative of what he could accomplish if given the chance.

The Red Sox, however had other ideas…and none of them were good, as Pole pitched a remarkable 3-0 shutout over the struggling Bosox, allowing just seven hits and striking out seven batters on his way to his fifth win. Not bad for a PB 2-5 pitcher whose last—and up to now, only—shutout came in 1975, when he played for his pennant-winning opponents.

To read more about the game, make comments, and see a few photos, click here.

Inside the SP78 Vault: 1978 Royals Program

For this first entry in this new series of posts, I take a look at my most recent addition to the vault, a 1978 game program for the Kansas City Royals. It’s an unscored copy I purchased off eBay a few weeks ago for $10.50…a full ten bucks more than it cost at the ballpark back in ’78. It’s in near-perfect condition, and from what I can gather from the insert scorecard pages, this copy was sold at a Royals-Red Sox game played on either May 15th or May 16th, when the two teams split a 2-game weeknight series at Royals Stadium.

What I noticed when I first leafed through the program was a photo and bio for pitcher Andy Hassler, included with the listings for other KC players; what’s odd about that is, in my SP78 season, he’s pitching for the Red Sox. A quick check on-line told me that he was purchased from the Royals by the Sox on July 24th. Of course, Avalon Hill chose to include him with the Boston player cards; if I’d known about these wacky AH decisions early on, I would’ve sent him back to Kansas City where he belonged.

With the purchase of this program, I now own all American League team programs for the AL West, and need only one from the Red Sox to complete the AL East. Look for more programs to be spotlighted here—along with other SP78 and 1978 baseball memorabilia—in the coming months!