Some are mathematicians,
I had my first introduction to APBA mail leagues in 1967, when Woody Studenmund's North East League was the only one around. They wouldn't give me a franchise then, because I was only 15 years old, but I joined the long-forgotten NABA in 1968 and proceeded to win its first season's championship. After a few years, that league folded and I joined Ernie Charette's ABA. By 1974, I built a strong team but became disenchanted with the league because it was not run democratically, and the rules seemed to change arbitrarily in midseason. I gave notice that I would resign at year's end, but won that year's championship on my way out the door.
Seven years in draft mail leagues had caused me to reach some strong opinions about what I liked and didn't like in leagues, so I decided to form my own league by advertising in the APBA Journal. My plan was to start an 18-team league with three divisions of six, since the major leagues had 24 teams then, and 18 teams seemed to allow for a good distribution of player strength. The plan was to run a draft league with the current season's players, but to allow for replays of past seasons later if the interest was there. Because I wanted to encompass the possibility of using the entire range of teams published by APBA (which then was 1906 to present), I chose the name Twentieth Century Baseball Association.
This plan was soon modified for two
reasons. First, there was no strong interest in replaying past seasons
until Stu McCorkindale brought that idea to life in
1994; second, the response to my APBA Journal ad for a present-day draft
league was overwhelming. Over 60 people inquired about the new
organization, so I had to develop a screening process. What I came up
with was a questionnaire and test of sorts. The questionnaires (which I
still have) asked about APBA Baseball and league experience as well as
general background, while the test was directed at ability to keep a boxscore, put together a team (out of two real-life
rosters combined) and come up with some trade proposals. About half of
the 60 who inquired actually completed the application process, leaving me
with a dilemma: 26 of the applicants were too good to exclude, but I only had
18 franchises. I couldn't fit all 26 in one league,
but there weren't enough for two, and I couldn't bring myself to reject any
of the best 26.
The charter managers were an interesting group, differing considerably from the present roster both in age and diversity. The average age was about 25, ranging from 16 to over 40 (very unusual then!), and the geographic spread was impressive. We soon had teams from coast to coast, in both French and English speaking parts of Canada, at a classified location on board a navy ship in the Pacific, and later in Saudi Arabia and Europe. In the early years, we had a black manager and a female manager, both rarities in the APBA world for some reason. Probably the most outstanding member in those early years was Dave Brown because of his superb and tireless efforts producing the TCBA newsletter, which became our trademark to the APBA community.
Formation of the TCBA was a major development in the 1975 APBA world, as it instantly, with 26 members, became the largest APBA mail-league organization in history. Nevertheless, even more surprising developments were to come that season. We recruited the managers for the 10 idle teams, and adopted the newly-announced but still unseen APBA Baseball Master Game for exclusive league use. This sent us into the bicentennial year with 36 teams, using a new game product none of us had ever tried. We succeeded, and the venture in friendship and competition which we have helped to build had been launched.
- Jim Lafargue, July 1995