It might be…it could be… it is! Yes, this is it! The greatest combination of fun known to man: Baseball, people who love baseball, the chance to discover a new ball park or revisit a ball park that you’ve come to know and love, people who play DYNASTY League Baseball who might become your DYNASTY League Baseball buddy, league rival or just your friend for the weekend. I’ll be there. I’m Mike Cieslinski the designer of both Pursue the Pennant and DYNASTY League Baseball and I’ll do my best to insure there is never a dull moment on this very unique excursion. What’s in store?
First off, we’re going first class. Hey, why cut corners and go on a Mario Mendoza line trip when for a few dollars more you can have an Albert Pujols trip! What this means is that on our trip to St. Louis we’ll be on Amtrak’s finest Superliner service and staying near the beautifully renovated St. Louis Union Station only a few blocks from New Busch Stadium.
Why not bring the whole gang and make a weekend outing of it, family and friends are welcome. You will board Amtrak’s Texas Eagle at Chicago’s Union Station on Friday afternoon June 4, see the Brewers and Cardinals play Friday evening and Saturday afternoon and return to Chicago at noon on Sunday.
Connections can be made from other locations and Milwaukee where the trip will originate. St. Louis is one of the most exciting cities to visit. If you are a baseball fan and if you’re a DYNASTY League Baseball fan, this will be a June to remember. Find out why. Get up and go!
Busch Stadium Express / $378 per person double occupancy includes:
Round trip fare on Amtrak’s Texas Eagle and Lincoln
Two nights hotel near St. Louis Union station and Busch Stadium including hot breakfast buffet.
Tickets to the Brewers vs. Cardinals games on Friday and Saturday June 4 and 5
DYNASTY League Baseball Greatest Team tournament
Deadline for reservations is April 23, 2010 so make your reservations now – space is limited. Reservations can be made by calling 561-494-2711. If you have any questions please feel free to call.
On Wednesday, January 20 at the Palm Beach Gardens, FL Marriott, 76 campers were about to have their wildest dreams come true at the Cardinals Legends camp which benefits Hire Heroes and takes place in Jupiter, FL January 20-24 at Roger Dean Stadium (Spring Training and Minor league home of the Cardinals and Marlins).
DYNASTY League Baseball is one of the sponsors of the event providing a free Cardinals Greatest Team tournament for the Campers and Legends and an opportunity to learn and try out the new DYNASTY League Baseball Online version.
In preparation, software engineer extraordinaire Jamie Hall cooked up seven Cardinal Greatest teams to choose from including:
In addition, new code was added to create the actual Greatest Teams brackets that seed, designate the home team and advance teams in the bracket.
I invited Tim Lewis and his son Ivan (named after Ivan Rodriguez) to help with the event. After lunch at the Palm Beach Gardens Marriott it didn’t take long for us to spot our first Cardinal – Bruce Sutter.
Mr. Sutter sitting outside peacefully thinking back some 28 years ago as he fired one his split fingered fastballs only to have the bottom drop out under Brewer’s Gorman Thomas bat and clinch the World Championship for the 1982 Cardinals. Ivan got his photo op with Bruce and a cherished memory meeting the HOF’er with Dad Tim getting the photo credit.
The foot traffic was slow at first, but picked up a bit and I spotted Rick Horton the Camp leader, but better known as one of Whitey Herzog’s top short left-handed relievers. As many of you know from looking at Rick’s 1985 player card, he has a great hold and pickoff move (7/A/-2) that he honed in college while looking at the mirror in his dorm room.
Rick was flying around like a Cardinal in flight trying to get everyting ready for the Patio Party and Staff meeting. He was able to stop by our table and check out the interface and commented that the game looked great and he had a friend that would love the game.
Our tournament got under way with a Final four matchup with the 2004 Cardinals facing off vs. the 2009 Cardinals. Two veteran campers, both Doctors, sat down face-to-face to battle it out in a single elimination bracket tournament with Carpenter starting for the 2004 Cards and Wainwright starting for the 2009 Cards.
DYNASTY League Baseball Online will have several different types of brackets such as Sweet 16 and Final 4. The Cardinals Greatest Team tournament was a shorter Final 4 tournament to fit into the time frame.
Every game counts when you are playing in the Greatest Teams tournaments towards your Managerail ranking level. You will be awarded points based on your performance in each tournament and it will allow you to advance to a higher Managerial level rank. For example, if you are managing the Cardinals the lowest Managerial level is Jack Hendricks, a little known Manager from the 1940 season who finished last with a record of 51-78, You will aspire to reach the La Russa and ultimately the Herzog Managerial level if you prove to be a savvy Manager. You’ll have a separate public ranking for your live games as well as a prviate ranking for your solitaire games.
The 2009 vs. 2004 match-up ended up being a see-saw game that came down to the last out as the 2009 Cardinals won and advanced. Both campers caught on quickly to the game and had a blast playing it. Note that with the Online version you have your own screen, you are not sharing a screen or mouse. When your opponent goes to the bullpen or makes a substitution, a message pops up saying that the opponent is calling the bullpen or making a substitution so you know at all times what is happening.
Look! Steve Kline is right next to us at the registration desk. As Steve made his way to the elevators I approached him and let him know about our Cardinals Greatest Team tournament. I invited him to play and Kline remarked “You need to get Mike Matheny to play! Do you have the 1979 Pittsburgh Steelers?” Only Steve Kline can be this daffy and hilarious. Kline is a throw back to earlier times when the players spent time in the locker room lighing players feet on fire and a whole array of pranks. Kline asked if the 2004 Cardinals won and one of the Doctors said “Kline you just gave up a HR and lost me the game for my 2004 Cardinals.” I told the left-handed Kline that the Doctor had left him in to pitch vs. three straight RH batters.
The pitcher who is the “poster boy” for the OFF Situation rating (rarely walks the lead off man) strolled by next. I’m talking about Bob Tewksbury who had two excellent years back-to-back in 1992 and 1993. Bob was helping us identify some of the players including Brian Jordan who looked like he still could play in both the NFL and MLB. Ivan sure is making a lot of friends isn’t he?
I just feel sorry for these campers. They are going to get smoked in the games vs. the
Cardinals Legends. Everyone recognizes our next guest who just arrived at the Marriott. The very classy Lou Brock. I told Lou as he was heading for the elevator that his 1967 Cardinals just beat the 1985 Cardinals in the other bracket with Bob Gibson pitching a shutout. Lou grinned knowlingly of Gibson’s dominance as the elevator doors closed and he waved to us. Steve Carlton continued the 1967 Cardinals pitching dominance by only allowing one run vs. the 2009 Cardinals in the Finals. Between
them, Gibson and Carlton pitched two complete games and allowed one run over those 18 IP. The new Greatest Teams brackets worked perfectly in their first test as did all the games we played. The Cardinal Legends were scheduled for a team meeting at 7:00P, but before the meeting up walked the great All-Star and Gold Glover Andy Van Slyke. I had met Andy once before in October of 1985 in the Cardinals locker room after the Cardinals clinched the Division title vs. the Cubs. MVP Willie McGee had
borrowed me his sharpie and Andy signed my prized champagne celebration bottle. After Ivan got his photo with another Cardinal Legend, we started showing Andy the new Online version. One of the first things I told Andy was how the weather effects come into play and how at Wrigley Field in the Summer the wind tends to blow in while in the Spring and Fall in tends to blow out. Andy was really interested in this and reflecting on it now I discovered that Andy
had wanted to be a meteorologist and is a huge fan of the Weather channel like myself. Andy Van Slyke and I then proceeded to make out the 1985 Cardinals lineup vs. the 2004 Cardinals in a new game. Andy caught on real fast to the interface and lineup selection and studied the ratings intently. Once the game started I moved the mouse over his defensive player ratings in right field to display the tool tips that explain the rating. “A+ outstanding Range and -3 outstanding Throwing Arm” the tool tip indicated. Andy Van Slyke nodded intently as he watched himself out in right field in Busch Stadium. Van Slyke took over as skipper of the 1985 Cardinals and I had to pinch myself a bit as I felt transformed back to 1985 as we continued our DYNASTY League Baseball Online game. The team meeting was nearing, but Andy was captivated by the game as he came to bat. The dice roll came up and I winced as I saw a bizarre play result get accessed and I thought to myself “Now what?”. Van Slyke struck out on a called strike and was ejected by the umpire for arguing the call. Seemingly right on cue, the game ejected Andy Van Slyke right out of his seat into the team meeting. Andy gave me a nudge on the shoulder, stood up, and pleaded “I never was thrown out of a game!”.
Last Saturday, August 1 at 6P ET, Jamie Hall and I got together for the launch of the first ever live face to face game ever played with the new DYNASTY League Baseball Online version.
The launch was as perfect as a Mark Buehrle perfect game and maybe even more exciting to watch and play.
I sent my 2006 Cardinals vs. Jamie’s 2006 Tigers in Game 1 of the 2006 World Series at Comerica Park. OK, these are both our favorite teams so this was like Baseball nirvana for us with the Tigers and Cardinals not having played vs. each other in the World Series since 1968 and 1934.
The missing “League” is now found
Before we started the game, I was telling Jamie that the “League” in DYNASTY League Baseball has been missing since DYNASTY League Baseball debuted in 1994. By that I mean a really easy way for people to join a league, for Commissioners to run leagues and for people to connect and play vs. each other across long distances and have standings, stats and scores updated in real time without having to export or import any files.
The new draft room will allow you to draft live and show which players have been selected, which players are left in the draft, what your roster currently looks like, how many dollars of your budget you have left to bid on players and which roster slots you still need to fill.
Dan Mintz, Reede Stockton, Jamie and myself have been planning and talking about an Online version for a long time. It really wasn’t until the past two years that the Baseball stars and sun were in perfect alignment to create the opportunity to develop what is a truly cutting edge technological marvel.
Realizing that most DYNASTY League Baseball and Pursue the Pennant fans have never played an Online game the question is “What is this and why do I need it?”
There are three type of ways you will play your opponent:
- You vs. another live opponent
- You vs. computer manager
- Computer manager vs. computer manager
Which type of game you will play depends on you and your opponent.
“Series” allow you to play a series solitaire vs. the computer manager or with a friend from any season in the DYNASTY League Baseball library.
There will be two primary play options:
- Greatest Team bracket tournaments
- Continuous draft leagues that use the Official DYNASTY League Baseball rulesYou always have time for DYNASTY League Baseball Online
The neat thing is that there is always time to be in a league or tournament no matter how busy you are with work, family and friends. If you find you are getting busy you can always have the computer manager take over and play games for you until you have more time to play the games live.
DYNASTY League Baseball Online runs on Windows or Apple Macintosh
How do I install the Online version and start playing? You don’t install it – it is all ready to go for you.
You start your Internet Explorer, Fire fox or if you are on an Apple Macintosh, your Safari browser, and log on with your user name and password at a new web site being created just for DYNASTY League Baseball Online TBA.
If you are already in a draft league or Greatest tournament the first thing you’ll see is your up to date draft league standings and Greatest Teams tournament results and rankings. If this is your first time logging in you will choose your Greatest team for the Greatest Teams tournaments. You also will be able to select a franchise for a continuous private or public draft league.
So now what after I select my team? Click on the join game link to the game you want to play. That is as easy as it was for me to connect and play Jamie. One click and the first thing you will see on your screen is the outside of the ball park that you are playing in. Click enter and you enter the ball park just as if you had walked into the ball park.
Similar to the Windows version, the next thing you will do is select your starting pitcher. DYNASTY League Baseball Online includes injury and pitcher rest tracking as well as Use rating tracking so you can easily see who is available for the game.
You can see any players player card while you are selecting your pitcher and lineup. You also have the OBP and SLG vs. LH and vs RH breakdowns. Previously I would pull out my Bill James Handbook to look up these stats, but now they are all there. Click on the Magglio Ordonez player card screen below to check it out.
Next we enter Comerica Park. It is one thing to see screen shots and another to actually see the game interface on screen. One word left my mouth. “WOW!” Joe DiMaggio would call it the Marilyn Monroe screen interface. Gorgeous!
You control your own mouse all of the time – you don’t have to share the mouse even though the game is turn based.
What I absolutely loved were the new tool tips. When you roll over a player rating on screen a tool tip comes up describing the rating.
Want to see a player card? Just move your mouse over the player name and the player pops up for you. The player cards look identical to the player cards in the board game in every respect.
The Cardinals struck first in the 1st when Albert Pujols launched a Justin Verlander pitch to center field for a home run. I flipped when I saw the red target flash in center field where Pujols had just deposited the ball and then watched as Pujols circled the bases.
The screen shot below is from another Pujols HR in a different game, but if you click on it you’ll get the full size image.
The game is far from a static text game and that is one of the first things you will notice. There are all kinds of things flashing and moving during the game that really adds to the enjoyment of playing. Also helps when your team is winning as mine was 2-0.
Worried about a disconnection or crash? Don’t be. Your game is automatically saved and will take you right back to where you left off so a game will never be lost.
Scott Spiezio opened up the top of the 2nd inning with a solo shot to right. Gee that flashing target is cool! Cardinals 3 Tigers 0
For each play result either the pitcher card or hitter card will come up on screen depending on which player card the result is on. The dice roll is shown below the player card and the play results flashes right on the player card. Click below to see a play result on Nate Robertson’s player card:
During the game, you’ll also see the various Situation ratings highlight when they are in effect with a description of the Situation rating. In the screen shot below, the ON rating (rarely allows HR with runners on base) is in effect for Justin Verlander.
Top of the 3rd and Spiezio hits a solo shot to center field to make it 5-0 Cardinals.
Top of the 5th and Spiezio homers to right field for his third HR of the game! Cardinals 6-0
Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter is just dominating until the 8th when Craig Monroe slams a two-run home run to left.
Final score Cardinals 6 Tigers 2
No exporting or importing needed for instant updated stats and standings
Now think of youself playing in a tournament or league where other players are playing and the scores are updated instantly for everyone to see along with the current standings, stats and league leaders. No exporting or importing of files. How cool is that?
Box score and Game Summary are easily accessible during and after the game
I absolutely love the new Game Summary!
Shown below is the final game screen with the Cardinals winning 6-2 over the Tigers. You can click on the screen to see Jason Isrinhausen warming up in the bullpen in the 9th inning – just in case. The bullpen is right on the main game screen and shows you who it warming up and if they are ready.
Well, there you have it – Game 1 of DYNASTY League Baseball Online and there are so many more features still to come! Amazing as the 1969 Mets don’t you think? I sure think so.
With the All-Star game returning to St. Louis for the first time since 1966, you might be amazed at how differently that game was managed compared to recent All-Star games.
Check out the box score from the 1966 All-Star game held in Busch Stadium in 105 sweltering degrees:
What do you notice about the starting lineups? Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, Hank Aaron, Willie McCovey and Ron Santo all played not only the entire nine innings, but also the tenth inning when Maury Will’s single to right-field scored Tim McCarver to notch another victory for the NL 2-1.
If Joe Torre and Bob Brenly had managed the 2002 All-Star game the same way Sam Mele of the Twins and Walter Alston of the Dodgers managed the 1966 All-Star game, Bud Selig would never have come close to having to throw up his hands and declare it a 7-7 tie.
One thing that jumps out from the 2009 All-Star game roster, is that among the 33 players, there are only two regular catchers on each team. On the 1966 All-Star game roster, there were three catchers on each team among the 27 man roster. The strategy and injury implications are huge here. With only two catchers, you are forced to use your starting catcher for all nine innings in the St. Louis heat because you will have no back up catcher if you use your second catcher. Imagine a scenario where the back up catcher gets hurt? Will Bud Selig instruct Bob Uecker to come out and put on the catching gear?
Late in the game, if catcher Yadier Molina comes up to bat in a crucial game situation, AL Manager Joe Maddon has several great right-handed relief options vs. the right-handed hitting Molina that can’t be countered with a left-handed pinch hitter like Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder or Adrian Gonzalez by NL Manager Charlie Manuel. Manuel could gamble if he wants to roll the dice and use up his last catcher, but can you imagine the backlash on “This time it counts” if backup catcher Brian McCann is injured? Note also that there are four first basemen for the NL in a game that Albert Pujols should play all nine innings in his home park – at least he would have in 1966.
In 1966, Walter Alston pitched Sandy Koufax for three innings for the NL followed by Jim Bunning (2 IP), Juan Marichal (3 IP) and Gaylord Perry (2 IP). That’s four pitchers leaving you with plenty of bullpen match-up options and no need to walk down to Bud’s field box and tell him you are out of pitchers. The 1966 extra inning game also was finished in a crisp 2:19 minutes. Are you taking notes Charlie and Joe for Tuesday’s tilt?
Our simulated DYNASTY League Baseball 2009 All-Star game was retro-managed with tactics similar to the way All-Star games were managed in the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s. The game summary follows:
Teixeira’s 5 RBI’s lead AL to 6-1 win
Mark Teixeira was a one man wrecking crew wreaking havoc in the first inning by hammering a pitch from jittery Tim Lincecum into left field for a 3-run HR. Lincecum walked two batters in the first before Teixeira’s HR. Ryan Braun hit a 375 foot HR to right-center off Roy Halladay to close the gap to 3-1 in the bottom of the second. Teixeira struck again in the top of the fifth clearing the bases with a 2-run double to left-center off Johan Santana.
The relief trio of Jonathan Papelbon, Joe Nathan and Mariano Rivera shutdown any comeback hopes for the NL in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings.
Analysis: If Tim Lincecum can avoid first inning jitters and control problems he should settle down for a good if not dominating outing. The Teixera HR was the only hit of the 1st inning for the AL, but was the crucial blow of the game.
Who is not on the NL and AL rosters is going to play a factor as much as who is on the roster. Without injured Carlos Beltran, the NL outfield lacks depth in power, speed and defense (Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth are the only CF). The 2009 NL outfield of Ryan Braun, Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez hardly compares to the 1966 NL outfield of Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente.
Beltran could have provided excellent defense in CF with his A Range and -2 (very good) Throwing Arm and been a threat to take the extra base with his 9 Baserunning rating on his DYNASTY League Baseball player card.
The three top AL relievers Papelbon, Nathan and Rivera all give up a very high success rate on stolen base attempts (rated +4, +4 and +2 on their DYNASTY League Baseball player cards) so the NL needs to take advantage of this with the runners that they do get on base vs. the terrific AL bullpen trio.
Most of the NL left-handed power (Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard and Adrian Gonzalez) will be log jammed on the bench behind first baseman Albert Pujols so although Charlie Manual has some great pinch hitting options vs. the RH dominated AL pitching staff, it will be unlikely any of the trio will get more than one AB.
With all the emphasis on Albert Pujols and his place as the best hitter in Baseball (and deservedly so), Mark Teixera his AL counterpart may be overlooked, if that is possible as a Yankee in New York. Texiera is tearing up right-handed pitching at a .352 BA/.463 OBP/.591 SLG rate.
DYNASTY League Baseball from the designer of Pursue the Pennant is a landmark baseball simulation lauded for it’s high level of realism and is available in a Board version, Windows version and an upcoming Online version featuring Greatest Teams tournaments and continuous Draft leagues. This year marks the 25th Anniversary of Pursue the Pennant and DYNASTY League Baseball.
More information is available at designdepot.com
Thank you to all of the great fans of Pursue the Pennant and DYNASTY League Baseball for 25 fantastic fun years of playing!
Some of the history is captured at the DYNASTY League Baseball reviews and feature link with a new column just added “Yanks Control Board Meeting” from Michael Bauman of the Milwaukee Journal and MLB.com that left us all smiling.
We are celebrating 25 years of Pursue the Pennant and DYNASTY League Baseball during the AT&T Park Tour Tournament Express September 11-13. Your invitation to this amazing event is at the DYNASTY League Baseball League link.
If you are on Facebook, you can read about the AT&T Park Tour Tournament event at the DYNASTY League Baseball Fan page.
The Tour Tournament leads off Friday, September 11 from Union Station in Los Angeles, CA with connections from San Diego, Anaheim and Santa Barbara where we will board Amtrak’s Coast Starlight premier train with first class accomodations and private roomettes.
If you live in the San Franciso bay area there is an opportunity to join us on Saturday, September 12 for the Tour of AT&T Park, Greatest Teams bracket tournament and Dodgers vs. Giants game.
All of you native Giant and A’s fans in the bay area we want you to join our group coming from Los Angeles!
If you live in other parts of the country please contact us so we can help you connect into Los Angeles or San Diego.
As our on-board chef prepares breakfast, we’ll watch some of the most spectacular scenery in the USA roll by in the Dining car. After breakfast, we’ll head to the one of a kind Pacific Parlour car (the only passenger Parlour car on Amtrak) accessible to first class passengers only and ideal for gaming. In fact, it has a cabinet of board games. The Pacific Parlour car will be serving appetizers, wine and cheese so prepare to be pampered. This doesn’t even happen in the Legend seats at Yankee Stadium!
Our Greatest Teams tournament will allow you to select from any of the great teams. I’ll be on the tour tournament event of course and will be skippering the 1985 Cardinals. You’ll have your chance to play me with your favorite greatest team as well as all the other fans on the trip which will be some of the top competition.
On Saturday September 12 we’ll head out to AT&T Park for a tour. On your behind-the-scenes ballpark tour of sensational AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants, you will get to go places only the players and staff go including:
The Field Warning Track
Indoor Batting Cages
The Visitors’ Clubhouse
The Press Box
The Luxury Suite
Ballpark Features and Views
After the tour, we’ll be starting up a local mini-Greatest Team bracket style tournament right at AT&T Park that DYNASTY League Baseball fans from the Bay Area can join in with the group from San Diego and Los Angeles.
The tournaments will include play with the Board version, Windows version and the debut on the new Online version using the Giants Wi-Fi broadband wireless network at AT&T Park.
After the tournament our group will see the Dodgers battle the Giants at AT&T Park.
At the league page there are links to recaps of previous tour tournaments which have some incredible stories to be told.
Stadium Express are just a few of many stories. Above, Dan Treuden (middle) and Mike Mack (right) join me with the Green Monster looming behind before the hurricane hit on the Fenway Park Oympic Stadium Express Tour Tournament.
AT&T Park Express Tour Tournament includes:
– Greatest Teams tournament
Team selections are at this MLB.com News Blog:
– Round trip first class rail fare with private roomette and chef prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner on both Friday and Sunday.
– Two nights San Francisco Hilton Garden Hotel
– Tour of AT&T Ball Park
– Club Level ticket to Giants vs. Dodgers September 12, 2009
Double occupancy: $448
Tour, Tournament and Game only on September 12 for local DYNASTY League Baseball fans in the Bay area: $124
Space is limited…
Team selections on first come basis.
Deadline for reservations is Monday June 15, 2009
Call 561-494-2711 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
See you in September!
The DYNASTY League Baseball 1957 season board version card set is being re-released this Summer in the new color format with updated vs. LH and vs. RH batting and pitching splits. The 1957 season Windows version will also be updated with new vs. LH and vs. RH splits.
What would have it been like to sit in the empty chair and have dinner with Eddie Mathews (middle) in what looks like a typical German restaurant in Milwaukee?
First off, you haven’t eaten unless you’ve been to one of Milwaukee’s famous German restaurants the king of which is Karl Rausch’s.
Most of you are like me. We never had the chance to see the great stars of the 1950’s. So here is your chance to learn a bit more`and take in some of the images of what Baseball was like in 1957.
My Grandfather from my father’s side of the family owned an Optical company near Mitchell St. in Milwaukee. In the 1950’s, Mitchell St. was a thriving area and some of the Milwaukee Braves would come in as customers including Eddie Mathews. The unique thing about the Milwaukee Braves and their fans is that it was a mutual love affair. It was more than the Milwaukee attendance records that were set while outdrawing larger markets in Chicago and New York. The fans loved the Braves and the Braves loved the fans.
From the new book “Milwaukee Braves: Heroes and Heartbreak” author William Povletich explains the love affair: “People ask me what the common theme is for all the guys I talked to, and it’s almost like they all have been brainwashed with the same script,” Povletich said. “It’s ‘We loved Milwaukee. When we came here our money was no good. They installed lockers in the dugout and filled it with meat and dairy products and ice cream. When we came home from a game, there’d be cases of beer on our front porch.
Shortly after Pursue the Pennant began in September of 1984, Bob Allen and I took the Amtrak train from Milwaukee to Chicago to meet with the Advertising agency that we were designing the Pursue the Pennant logo and Ad campaign with. Bob was the Milwaukee Braves PR Director for all 13 winning seasons of Milwaukee Braves history from 1953-1965 and was also Hank Aaron’s agent. He actually had the Milwaukee Braves Championship trophy in his house! Bob did not want to have the Braves memorabilia taken to Atlanta when the Braves were hijacked to the deep south.
Bob Allen borrowed his 1957 Official scorebook to me so I could research the Milwaukee Braves vs. LH and vs. RH splits. I sent copies of his scorebook to retrosheet.org to help with the project of finding original scorebooks from past seasons.
Bob Allen appears in the dugout at the start of this incredible video with rare color footage of Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Joe Torre and Eddie Mathews in Milwaukee County Stadium. How lucky is this kid? Best day ever? You bet. When you get right down to it isn’t this really what Baseball is all about?
My parents took me to St. Louis to see the Cardinals play vs. the Atlanta Braves in August of 1973. I became a Cardinals fan in 1967, but had never seen them play in St. Louis. We went to the historic Chase Park Plaza hotel that the Braves were staying at and sure enough here comes Hank Aaron walking through the lobby. Hank was in the midst of his chase of Babe Ruth’s home run record. I went up and told him I was from Milwaukee and Hank signed my baseball.
Later that day we went to Stan Musial’s restaurant and as soon as we walked in there was “Stan the Man”.
Stan was extremely friendly and asked me where I was from and “Can you hit?” I said, “Yeah!” Stan signed the same baseball Hank signed. Best day ever? Certainly right at the top of the list.
This Spring while at the St. Louis Cardinals camp in Jupiter, FL I ran across Peter Gammons and told him about the 1957 Milwaukee Braves winning the DYNASTY League Baseball ESPN.com Greatest Teams bracket style tournament. Peter’s reaction was, “How did that happen?”
Peter would put the 1939 Yankees at the top of his list, but what about the 1957 Milwaukee Braves?
Below are Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract rankings for the Milwaukee Braves:
BILL JAMES POSITIONAL RANKINGS INDEX
Del Crandell, C____________30
Red Schoendienst, 2B_______28
Eddie Mathews, 3B___________3
Johnny Logan, SS___________39
Hank Aaron, RF______________2
Joe Adcock, 1B_____________43
Bobby Thomson, RF__________59
Warren Spahn, P_____________5
The big three of Eddie Mathews (3), Hank Aaron (2) and Warren Spahn (5) may be the highest ranking trio of any greatest team.
By comparison, the 1939 New York Yankees big three had Joe DiMaggio (5), Joe Gordon (16) and Bill Dickey (7) as their highest ranking trio. Below: Joe DiMaggio playing casino on a train trip with teammates. Too bad Joe and the rest of the Yankees didn’t have a copy of the DYNASTY League Baseball board version on the train to have their own tournaments! The 1950’s marked the last decade that players would travel by train. In 1957, the furthest most western team was still Kansas City.
From the Wisconsin Historical Society:
The Milwaukee Braves were already a very good baseball team when Albert “Red” Schoendienst joined them in June of 1957. Featuring future Hall of Famers Warren Spahn, Eddie Matthews and Henry Aaron and a strong supporting cast, the Braves had dueled the Brooklyn Dodgers for the 1956 National League pennant, losing by a single game on the last day of the season.
Schoendienst, a 12-year veteran and 10-time All-Star, was just what the Braves needed. Acquired from the New York Giants, Red brought sharp hitting and excellent fielding to the second base position, along with a wealth of baseball knowledge and understated experience. Many people consider Scheondienst the player who transformed the Braves from a competitive team in 1956 to World Champions in 1957.
Henry Aaron recalled, “I’ll never forget it. Red came in to the clubhouse and put on the Braves’ uniform, and it made us all feel like Superman. We knew he was going to mean so much to our ballclub that wouldn’t show up in the boxscore. He provided the leadership in the clubhouse and on the field. He was never a rah-rah college kind of guy, but he definitely became the leader of that ballclub.”
Above: 1957 World Series hero Lew Burdette and wife celebrate winning the championship in Milwaukee.
What about some of the great stars of the 1950’s that Eddie Mathews and the Braves played against? Let’s take a look:
Above: Pull up a chair. Ted Williams, Stan Musial and Mickey Mantle all part of the new 1957 season DYNASTY League Baseball re-release.
Above: Mickey Mantle had one of his best seasons in 1957. .421 BA with A Power vs. LH and .339 with A Power vs. RH on his DYNASTY League Baseball player card. Where do you think this ball is heading?
Above: Maybe the bleachers in Old Yankee Stadium, one of the parks included in the new ULTIMATE Ball Park charts for the 1957 season.
Above: Before his knee injury, Mickey Mantle could really run and was the fastest player in the AL earning a 10 Baserunning rating on his 1957 DYNASTY League Baseball player card.
Above: Ted Williams hitting in Old Comiskey Park. Williams had one of his best seasons in 1957 hitting .388 with an OBP of .528 and SLG of .731. With RSP, Williams hit .373 with an .800 SLG easily earning him a Clutch hitting rating on his 1957 DYNASTY League Baseball card.
Left: The joy of Willie Mays playing for the New York Giants in Wrigley Field. 1957 was the last year the Giants would play in New York before moving to San Francisco. Has there ever been a better defensive CF (Mays A+/65/-3 defensive player ratings)?
What couldn’t Willie Mays do? Run (10 Baserunning rating),
hit (.333 BA), hit for power (A Power), get on base (.411 OBP), and hit in the Clutch (Clutch hitting rating earned in part by hitting .361 with a .701 SLG in Close and late situations).
You’d be hard pressed to come up with better CF than in the 1950’s with Mantle, Mays and Duke Snider.
Above: Polo Grounds DEEP CF distance of 430 feet for a HR off the DYNASTY League Baseball ball park chart.
Left: Duke Snider hit 40 HR in 1957 (A Power) in the last year the Dogers would play in Brooklyn.
Above: Ebbets Field. Has anyone hit a 395 foot HR into the DeSoto car dealership in RF using the DYNASTY League Baseball Greatest Team Ball Park charts?
Left: Frank Robinson in the Crosley Field clubhouse. The clubhouse is typical of what they looked like in the 1950s’.
I had the chance to meet Frank Robinson while working for the Baltimore Orioles and he is a super guy – friendly and open. On the field he was a tremendous team leader (A Intangible rating) and a fierce competitor who would cut your heart out.
Perhaps one of the most overlooked stars. Somehow he was not elected on the MLB All-Century team even though his 586 HR ranked him 5th on the All-Time HR list. Bill James ranks Frank Robinson as the third best RF of All-time.
Left: Frank Robinson is ripped! Robinson was a tremendous athlete and fierce competitor having played with Celtics Bill Russell on his high school basketball team.
In 1957, Robinson was coming off his previous rookie of the year season with the Reds and hit .322. Robinson was also an outstanding outfielder with the Reds (A+/80/-2).
Above: Ernie Banks playing shortstop. Other shortstops had more range (Banks has B range on his 1957 player card), but how many hit 43 HR?
Above: Mr. Cub. Fans could literally reach out and touch the players at Wrigley Field.
Hope you enjoyed dinner with Eddie Mathews and remember this is the Milwaukee Braves in the 1950’s so remember to pick up the check!
Many of the great St. Louis Cardinal Legends are in Jupiter, FL January 21-25, 2009 playing against 102 Cardinal fantasy campers at Roger Dean Stadium to benefit Hire Heroes USA. Hire Heroes USA is dedicated to providing job assistance to our wounded and disabled military personnel returning from conflicts overseas.
St. Louis Cardinal Camp coordinator Sara Trask invited me to camp for a meeting with St. Louis Cardinals left-hander Ricky Horton. First, I had a chance to see the Cardinal Legend team play and I spotted pitcher Ken Dayley in right field and also said “Hi” to catcher Mike Matheny. Many former Cardinals participate in camp including Lou Brock (instructor), John Tudor, Mike Lavalliere and Joe Magrane just to name a few.
This is Field of Dreams Cardinal style.
Oh yeah, and while I was waiting for Rick Horton we had to find a glove for Lou Brock so he could play in the afternoon game. Pinch me am I dreaming?
Rick Horton is the St. Louis Cardinals Legends Camp Commissioner and also is one of the Cardinals television color commentators. He arrived in his golf cart by the batting cages where we met for our interview. I shook Rick’s hand and told him this was not the first time we had met and that I had something to show him.
I had boxed and packed what I was about to show Rick like it was the Ark of the Covenant from Raiders of the lost ark. Rick watched wide-eyed as I unwrapped a champagne bottle from the Cardinals locker room on Saturday October 5, 1985. The Cardinals had just clinched the NL East Pennant in a 7-1 win vs. the Cubs with John Tudor getting the win. On the bottle are the signatures signed in the champagne drenched locker room of John Tudor, Andy Van Slyke, Jack Clark, Joaquin Andujar (#47), Ozzie Smith, Willie McGee (1985 MVP) and Ricky Horton
Rick’s reaction was “WOW! This is so cool! We have to show this to John Tudor and the rest of the guys.”
Rick’s signature was the only one in ink (the rest were from a sharpie that Willie McGee was nice enough to borrow me) and was faded. After our interview, Rick re-signed his signature with a sharpie so this one of a kind piece of Cardinal memorabilia would not forget him.
The champagne was flowing that day in the Cardinal Busch Stadium locker room. I was in the locker room after meeting with Mike Rappaport of the old St. Louis Globe Democrat who wrote a column in which we pre-played the key October 1-3 series vs. the rival New York Mets in a thrilling pennant race that went right down to the wire.
After Willie McGee borrowed me his sharpie, I went locker to locker to congratulate the players and record the moment on the champagne bottle. As I walked out of Busch Stadium with my prize firmly in hand, waiting outside were thousands of fans. I was like Moses parting the red sea of Cardinal fans as they cheered loudly realizing what I had in hand had come from the victorious locker room. What a moment!
Rick was one of the key pitchers out of Whitey Herzog’s bullpen for the 1985 Cardinals. The 1985 Cardinals are part of Greatest Teams 1 so everyone pull out your Ricky Horton DYNASTY League Baseball player card or fire up the DYNASTY League Baseball Windows version and load a game with the 1985 Cardinals (maybe vs. the 1986 rival NY Mets?) to view Rick’s player card.
I handed an uncut sheet of 1985 Cardinal player cards to Rick with the Ricky Horton card in the upper left-hand corner of the sheet. Rick studied his player card and immediately asked if his Pickoff/Hold rating of 7/A (-2) was good?
I explained that the 7 Pickoff rating was excellent on a scale of 1-10 and that the A Hold rating was excellent at preventing runners from attempting to steal and the (-2) reduced the SB success percentage of opposing base stealers.
I then went on to show Rick the Deep Drive Ball park chart distance numbers in feet with the various power ratings, wind and temperature adjustments along with the Ball Park charts of Busch Stadium 2 from both 1966-1969 and 1977-1991.
“I used to play Strat-O-Matic, but DYNASTY League Baseball is much more realistic.”, said Rick.
Then we went on for a few questions:
MC: You were especially tough vs. LH batters (.219 BA vs. LH in 1985). Which pitches did you feel were your best pitches vs. LH batters?
RH: “Slider away and fastball in were the pitches that I used most to get LH batters out.”
MC: Did you feel that the Cardinals had an advantage over other teams with Whitey Herzog managing?
RH: “Absolutely.” “I saw many times how Whitey boxed other Mangers in.” “Whitey was an incredible Manager and always was thinking one step ahead.”
I followed up by saying that Whitey Herzog has to be in the Hall of Fame as a Manager and Rick agreed that there is no question he has to be in the Hall of Fame.
MC: You were an excellent fielder. Is fielding ability something that you took extra pride in given that the Cardinals were such a great defensive team?
RH: “The bar was set high with the Cardinals.” Rick said that there was a team influence and emphasis on defense. Since he was not a power pitcher, fielding was one of the things he focused on.
MC: In 1985 you lead the Cardinal staff with 3 pickoffs pitching only 89 innings.
You had a very good pick off move and ability to hold runners. Were you especially conscious of stopping the running game since it was such a big part of the Cardinal attack?
RH: “When I was in college I would look in the mirror to work on my pickoff move instead of studying for calculus.” Whitey Herzog told Rick that since he was not an overpowering pitcher that it was important to do the little things right. Rick mentioned that in 1986 he was voted Best Move in the League by NL Managers.
We ended exchanging contact info and the real prospect of DYNASTY League Baseball becoming a sponsor of St. Louis Cardinals Legends Camp. So stay tuned and hopefully we’ll have much more with Ricky Horton and the rest of the Cardinal Legends with their take on DYNASTY League Baseball.