Dan Warren - This season the world was finally deemed to be ready for the Scranton Spanish Flies. The former Boston club led its division as the first sub-.500 division winner. Scranton joined the other division winners; Bergen, Harbor Beach and Winnebago, along with wildcards Bradenton and Horseshoe Bay. Winnebago, who went on to a second TCBA crown, topped Bergen for the American League championship.
Bradenton’s Mike Hargrove was the top hitter at .364.
Joe Niekro won 30 for Bergen, including a no-hitter on the road, joining brother Phil in the league’s pitching elite. Burt Hooten (25), Fernando Valenzuela (23), Dennis Leonard (23), and Ray Burris (21) were the other 20+ winners. Valenzuela, and Norris each tossed a pair of no-hitters.
Evanston’s Fernando Valenzuela dueled Morgantown’s Tommy John to a standoff while no-hitting the Raiders. John lost his no-hitter in the 8th, and then lost his shutout in the 10th when Morales pinch hit for the rookie from Mexico, driving in the go-ahead run. Unfortunately for Fernando, Ford and Murphy hit back-to-back home runs off Corbett and the Bee’s lost!
Dan Warren’s Pilots suffered a 25 inning scoreless streak, to which Dan cried, “I’ll be glad when this season’s over.” A 55-107 record can do that to you.
Harbor Beach pounded out 83 hits in a series against an obviously inferior, weak, and shameful Scranton team.
Bob Wood - In one two year period, we won 200 games - and still were 40 games behind Winnebago’s pace. I still talk to Dick pretty regularly. It is not true that he and Zarse are only one person, despite what those people from the East Coast might tell you.
Marty Fiehl - It didn’t take me much time to notice there had been a major change to the whole tone of the league in my absence. Turnover was high, protests were abundant, and the league newsletter consisted of sniping, name calling, and petty bickering. People were constantly at odds with each other over minor rules issues or interpretations.
We also may look back at ‘81 as a year where a heck of a lot happened, some good and some not so good. No one was bored.
Marty Fiehl - Cobleskill! We had our first TCBA convention this year in Cobleskill, NY. What a precursor to Lancaster that was. Instead of getting a group together to go to the Gameco, we had a caravan going to the Hall Of Fame in nearby Cooperstown. This was also the first chance that most of us ever had to interface with not only managers in our own league, but those of the National League as well.
David Brown in the 8/11/82 TCBA Report - What a treat! To finally connect faces with names. The first of what I hope are many more TCBA conventions was great fun. No less than 13 managers made the trip complete with many families. The beautiful Cooperstown area was really special to the Texas folks who think a freeway overpass is a mountain. The convention was complete with dinners, a golf tournament and a special NL-AL All-Star game. A certain unnamed rookie journalist reported that Scott Brown rolled the big, lucky inning which gave the upstart AL managers a lucky, undeserved, unearned victory over the competent, professional, unlucky, richly deserving NL managers. It was in fact one Martin Fiehl who sneaked in the dice rolls that scored those five runs. The unprofessional AL managers resorted to APBA-ball to win on the Heise squeeze with the bases loaded. Boo!
Scott Brown, whose TCBA team is batting under .200 despite Schmidt, Murray, Wilson, Foster, Milbourne, Bench, Armas, etc. couldn’t roll five runs in an inning if Schmidt were all the batters vs. Jesse Jefferson’s career pitching card. Let me report that it was one Mr. Lafargue who even called the hit & run with 1st and 2nd occupied and his team down 6-2???? We must certainly pass some new rules about overuse of the hit & run in All Star games!! Far be it from this impartial, unbiased observer to report any other details of the farce. Star of the Game was Ken Griffey, alias Frank Lentine, who was 3-4. Yours truly was Johnny Bench, but the chicken AL managers had me walked three consecutive times after a double early in the game.
The TCBA golf champion is Frank Lentine (ed. note: who else?), who shot a brilliant 77 at the famed Leather Stocking Country Club in Cooperstown.
I was deeply grateful for the plaque which was presented at the dinner. It will take its proper place in my study next to my TCBA Championship trophies (well, maybe someday!!) I have enjoyed those eight years and look forward to many more and frankly, I get a lot of pleasure out of the Report and yearbook. I certainly second the motion for more conventions and would like to see a regularly scheduled convention every other year so that we can all plan in advance and maybe get 25 or 30 of us there some year.
Hair was certainly not a problem in 1982!
Jim McEneaney - Yes, we all had much more hair back then. By the way....that's a box of toothpicks in my pocket in the picture. One date I'm certain of was December 18, 1979....that was the day I finally quit smoking for good.
Bob Braun - In response to the many cards and letters I’ve received (two to be exact) requesting the “true story” about what really took place in Cobleskill, I’ve decided to end my vow of silence and tell all. The previous account of the weekend’s activities was obviously ghost-written by the girl at the front desk, who was delighted that someone (anyone) had actually found Cobleskill.
Most conspicuously absent from the previous accounts was Friday night’s “I know a restaurant not far from here” episode. Thirty minutes later, after miles and miles of interstate, Dave Brown edged his van (you had to see this van. Pink and black it was, with lots of stuff all over it like chrome Texas Longhorns on the hood, two - that’s right, two - air horns on the roof to go with the sun roof and air conditioner, wire wheels, and large chrome exhausts down the side panels. All the windows were tinted in Number 3 Crude, and - oh yes, I forgot about the CB antenna, the TV antenna, the AM-FM antenna, the Bell telephone antenna, and the ship-to-shore radio antenna. Inside was covered with all this shaggy kinky stuff, so I didn’t get too close. But I did see two fuzzy dice tied to the rear view mirror in a “66” disposition. A man of discriminating taste, Dave is.)...anyway, Dave edged his van along side the lead car with his arms outstretched in a “where the gall-darned-tootin’ are we, boys?” manner. I think Mike Bravard, who had earlier been given the Harry Rasmussen Alias Award for changing his name for no apparent reason, was beginning to.....well, never mind. Fortunately for the guy whose idea it was, the appropriate exit suddenly appeared, and we arrived safely, hungry, and without reservations. I don’t recall everyone who was there. I was trying to remain as quiet and unobtrusive as possible, but I do remember Jeff David and Bill Stamper getting locked into a roll eating contest which ended when they ran out of butter; Dave Brown standing up and announcing to the table of 15 that he had to go water his horse and then meandering off across the room ( a man of discriminating taste, David); and the waitress who couldn’t take her eyes off quiet, good-looking Scott Brown. (ed. note: Is this our Scott Brown?) I was greatly relieved that my daughter was safely back at the motel with her mother, but Jim McEneaney was less than comfortable however. He kept one eye on Scott, one on his daughter, and the other on his box of toothpicks. That Scott was trouble, it was obvious. The Lafargue’s were busy wrestling with the highchair at the other end of the table. When Jim was finally strapped in, Joshie had a steak, and Lori ordered ribs for her and the quiche du jour for Jim. I could see all this clearly through the window. Everyone admitted that they would be too embarrassed to be seen with a guy in a Bozo the Clown costume, but it was all I brought! I thought Marty Fiehl was going to be there and that he’d take me disco dancing. No fool, Marty.
All of this has nothing to do with baseball, except that it was the reason we were there. I missed the All Star Game on Saturday, but I hear that the AL managers once again proved their superiority over an obviously inferior NL contingent. I was off at Cooperstown gathering pictures and autographs, but wishing that I could have been in Cobleskill. My American League compatriots did not share my wishes, however, and I was thanked profusely later for not showing up.
Saturday night’s banquet was so glossed over in the earlier accounts that I thought maybe I had been at the wrong party. Of course I understand that most folks were too embarrassed by a certain reporter’s behavior to ever mention it again. Hey, it’s not MY fault that someone told the waitress to expect 12 when in fact there were over twenty people. I was only trying to relax her! I’m sure the gravy washed out of her dress. Besides, I think she liked me. She even asked me if I liked to walk. I refuse to believe she said “Then take a hike!!” when I said yes. It’s also not my fault that Jesse Elicker brought along two guests, one of whom claimed to be Director of Minor League Player Development. And how did I know that the waitress had broken up with her boyfriend and stubbed her toe just moments before asking me if I was ready to order, which I wasn’t. Besides, you’d be silly too if you sat opposite Marty Fiehl for two hours.
I left right after the dinner, much to everyone’s relief. Marty says that I missed a great league orgy in which Jim Lafargue did a dandy Nestor Chylak impersonation in black garter belt. “The count is three balls and no strikes on Klein.”
Bob Braun - Hyde Park trades bum pitcher Lamaar Hoyt to Boston for Oakland’s thirdbaseman of the future.
Marty Fiehl - Before the season started, a minor deal between Boston and Hyde Park would turn into a swap to be brought up at least once a year by either manager. It would be known on the Hyde Park end as The Dave McKay Disaster. While on the Boston, soon to be Scranton, side we called it The Hallelujah Hoyt deal.
The Vita-men were looking for middle infield help, McKay could play all three positions respectably, start 3 or 4 games, and bat an admirable .263. Boston was at the start of a 5 year building plan and was just looking for any kind of pitching arm in return. Hoyt was about 25, strictly middle inning relief fodder at that point, and came with no glowing reviews or phenom labels. Looked like an easy 1 for 1 deal with little downside.
Bob Braun - Dave McKay hits .235 for Hyde Park.
Marty Fiehl - Turns out the White Sox are short starters so they throw Hoyt in there to soak up some innings. They can’t get him out of the rotation the rest of the year and he ends up leading the league in wins with 19. The following year he clocks in with 24 wins and the Cy Young.