Dan Warren - Jim McEneaney’s wildcard Long Islanders knocked off Stu McCorkindale’s Barflies. Eastern Division champ (on a tie breaker) Greylock topped Rockford and the Islanders en route to not only the AL Championship, but also a victory over the Manchester Whalers to gain the TCBA Championship.
Shiloh’s Rod Carew turned in the league’s first .400 season, a spectacular .437, far outclassing Pete Rose’s .376. San Francisco’s George Foster set league records with 62 home runs and 170 RBI.
There were eight 20-game winners, despite the batting heroics. Steve Carlton (29), Jim Palmer (26), Phil Niekro (23), Rick Reuschel (22), John Candelaria (20), Mike Torrez (20), Dennis Leonard (20), and Frank Tanana (20). Norfolk’s Jim Rooker tossed a no-hitter against Bradenton.
Another familiar name joined the managerial ranks, as Larry Smith’s Mimosa Mirth Makers replaced Bob Moore’s Shiloh Spurs. Marty Fiehl started a couple of years’ sabbatical, Bob Braun bemoaned his 1975 trade of Carlton Fisk for George Mitterwald, and Bob Wood bragged about getting Foster from Greylock.
Stu McCorkindale acquired Ron Guidry for $104,000. Pitcher Mark Lemongello (who received 8 bids???) went for $106,000 to Harbor Beach (ed. note: so Dick Gorney wasn’t perfect after all!); and Eddie Murray for $111,000 to Connecticut. On the other hand, Dennis Martinez, still active in 1995, went to Ruskin for $33,000. Frank Tedeschi paid $13,000 for somebody named Thormodsgard. (ed. note: We told you he wasn’t qualified!)
Jim McEneaney - Buoyed by trade acquisitions Bill Buckner, Lyman Bostock, Mickey Rivers, Ted Sizemore, and Gary Lavelle, and rookie outfielder Andre Dawson, the Isles emerged from the ashes of the previous season's cellar-dwelling finish to capture a wildcard berth in their first full season of existence. In their very first playoff series, Long Island rallied from a 3-0 game deficit to stun Bergen in the AL semi-finals before bowing out in 7 games to the Greylock Gators.
Fiehl Facts - League founder Jim Lafargue defects to the American League to start off the season. Mr. Lafargue made some comment about wanting to get to know the AL managers better. I sure hope he wasn’t disappointed.
Bob Braun -
I first became aware of Marty Fiehl during our first year in TCBA, when I was a long-haired hippie in the Health Food store, and Marty was a skinny 19-year old kid. He wrote me a letter in that dreadful handwriting of his; pencil scrawled on yellow paper. A charter member of TCBA, he guessed that I might be a Mets fan; took a chance - and made a friend for life. From that simple beginning has developed a special friendship, one that has gone beyond the basic boundaries of baseball.
My daughter Sarah was six months old when we traveled to Binghamton for my first visit to Fiehl-dom, meeting Mother Fiehl, and Frank Tedeschi. Marty had this rubber alligator named Ainspan, his team mascot, that he gave to Sarah. She took to it right away, loving to chew on Ainspan’s long green tail. Somehow that alligator survived Sarah (now a college student) and a cyclone named David (a first round draft choice in 1981). Ainspan’s got a broken jaw and a bobbed tail now, but his spirit is alive and well. Ainspan is a very special name in our family mythology, and both of my children have grown to appreciate the generosity and delightful humor that is Marty Fiehl.
The paths of fate that brought Marty and I together were well marked by founder Jim Lafargue. TCBA has evolved far beyond its original purpose; far beyond our ability to comprehend. It continues to be a memorable experience, creating complex, lifelong friendships out of a simple game called baseball.
Ainspan in Silhouette