Tag Archives: SP78 Replay

A Dilemma in Detroit

As many of you know, I stopped following major league baseball in 1994, when the players went on strike mid-season and basically killed my enthusiasm for the sport. Luckily I had my Statis Pro season, video and audio tapes of old games, and the minor league Lake Elsinore Storm to quench my thirst, but I would never again be a fan of baseball—current baseball—after that season.

Of course, someone had to pay the price for this indiscretion, and when I saw a newspaper photo during the strike of Lou Whitaker emerging from a limousine, smartly dressed with several gold chains hanging from his neck as he headed for a players meeting, he became that someone, and I immediately suspended him for the remainder of my SP78 season. Fair or not, he became my scapegoat, and since that day he’s missed 62 games of the Tigers season, and with Detroit in a tightly-contested AL East pennant race, he’ll not only miss the remainder of the regular season, but possibly some post-season games as well.

It’s now been twenty-five years since the players went on strike and—along with the owners—ended the ’94 season; obviously it’s also been that long since Whitaker last played an SP78 game (his final appearance was on June 10, 1978). Until he was suspended, Whitaker was batting .303, with six errors in 48 games played. During his absence, utility infielders Mark Wagner and Steve Dillard have platooned at second, batting a combined .276 with only five errors over 62 games; for the month of August, however, they’re both hitting under .200, and have turned just 33 double plays with shortstop Alan Trammell since June, compared to the 31 that had been turned by Whitaker and Trammell before the suspension, in a fewer number of games.


I’ve been asking myself this question for the past several years now, and figured it was time to ask my legion of SP78 followers as well: what should I do with the conundrum that is Lou Whitaker? Should he finally be returned to Detroit’s active roster, and be allowed to play again after having paid his dues for the past twenty-five years? Or should I honor my commitment and continue punishing him, as well as the Tigers, for what baseball did to me a quarter century ago? Is it fair to Wagner and Dillard to suddenly oust them from their starting roles, after they’d worked so hard to fill the void left by their teammate, and throw Whitaker back into a starting mix? And though it may be too late for him to do so, should I give Whitaker a chance to earn the Rookie of the Year award for the SP78 season that he’d actually won for the American League in 1978?

Click your preference of these possibilities in the polling box below, and help me decide how to handle Sweet Lou’s situation. I can’t say the final results will outright determine his fate, but they will help to steer me in one direction or another. The poll will close in one month, on October 9th; feel free to discuss your decision in the comment area below. And as always, thanks for taking part!

 

SP78 and the Blues

Just a photo of what I was up to recently at a hotel in Grand Rapids on a quiet Sunday evening: working on the SP78 site and watching the Blues take on the Bruins in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, with some liquid refreshment in a West Michigan Whitecaps cup in the background.

 

The New Scoresheets Are Here!

I’ve had some free time open up recently that pulls me away from my current behind-the-scenes SP78 work, so I’ve taken the opportunity to begin adding to the collection of game scoresheets found in the Classic Scoresheets section of the SP78 Museum header on the main page. Here you’ll find some of the more interesting, more memorable, and overall favorite scoresheets from my season; a short description of the game can be found under each thumbnail image, and if you click on the image, you’ll get a larger view, plus a brief history of the game and/or scoresheet underneath.

I last updated the page with a scoresheet from the game played during the trip my friend Steve P and I took to see the 1987 All-Star Game in Oakland, though I never did type up a history for it. That history has now been added; six additional scoresheets and their histories have also been added, with more to come over the next several days. And though I solved the earlier problem of a blank gap between the thumbnail images, it has now happened again, so I’ll be working on that little irritant as well.

Eventually, I hope to have over fifty scoresheets available to view on the site, with a few more sprinkled among the existing sheets when I get them scanned and finalized. Keep an eye on the Recent Site Updates column on the bottom-right side of the main page to keep track of my progress.

Inside the SP78 Vault: Phillies Tastykake Pin

I acquired this 2¼-inch pin sometime in the 1980s, at one of the many baseball card shows I’d attended in San Diego and LA, and besides programs and pocket schedules, is one of my earliest additions to the SP78 vault. I know very little about the pin itself, except for the obvious: it was a Philadelphia Phillies souvenir, it was sponsored by Tastykake, and it was released during the 1978 season.

I did a quick search on-line before typing this post, and could find no information related to the pin itself: was it sold at stadium gift stands, or maybe given away as a promotion at a game, or was it included in packages of Tastykake products? I couldn’t even find one for sale on eBay, so its current value is unknown; I can tell you that back in the ’80s, I probably wouldn’t have paid more than five bucks for it (however, if it had been a Reds pin, sponsored by Frisch’s Big Boy or Hudepohl Beer, I might’ve allowed myself to spend ten).

And 1978 was indeed ‘the year’ for Philadelphia, at least in the NL East; they won the division with a 90-72 record, besting second-place Pittsburgh by a mere 1½ games, and went into the post-season as favorites over rival LA. But they would go on to lose the best-of-five NLCS to the Dodgers in four, and thus the Phillies’ baked goods totem would proudly be worn no more.