Sunday, January 5, 2014

Update: Sept. 4, 1942

With a little over three weeks remaining in my 1942 baseball replay with APBA, the American League pennant race is pretty much locked in. The National League, though, is still up for grabs as St. Louis and Brooklyn battle it out.

The Dodgers are two games behind the Cardinals as of Sept. 4, 1942. The two teams will play a two-game set in Brooklyn on Sept. 11 and 12; the games loom on the horizon like an approaching gleeful holiday or, pending the outcome if your team loses, a scheduled balloon payment on a house note. This is one of the many reasons why APBA is amazing.

The Yankees have gone on a 45-17 winning tear, stretching a one-game lead they had of the St. Louis Browns on June 30, 1942, to their current 9.5-game cushion. Boston has played well lately as well. They've gone 43-24 since June 30, but barring mishap, i.e. Joe DiMaggio and Joe Keller quitting the team, for instance, the Yanks will make the World Series, just as they did in the real 1942 season.

Here are the standings at the end of the day on Sept. 4, 1942:

                       W   L  GB
New York       89 43    –
St. Louis         80 53   9.5
Boston            80 57   11.5
Cleveland       68 66   22
Detroit            65 70   25.5
Chicago          52 79   36.5
Washington    52 80   37
Philadelphia   50 88   42

                        W  L  GB
St. Louis         91 42   –
Brooklyn         88 43  2
New York       70 64   21.5
Cincinnati       67 67  24.5
Chicago           65 71  27.5
Pittsburgh        61 73  30.5
Boston             56 82  37.5
Philadelphia    36 92  52.5

A few observations: Ted Williams continues to knock the cover off the ball. He's hit 38 home runs so far. I've found a phenomenon occurs during replays — there's always one player who defies the statistical logic of their card produced by APBA. For those unaccustomed, APBA issues cards for players during a particular season, basing their number formulas on the results produced during the actual season. Replayers roll dice, corresponding the rolls to those numbers on the baseball players' cards to determine outcomes. Ted Williams had a great season in 1942. In real life, he hit 36 home runs. In my replay, it seems whenever he comes to bat there's a good chance the dice roll will result in a homer.

I had this happen with Harmon Killebrew in my 1964 replay, Gil Hodges in 1957 and Greg Vaughn in 1998 to name a few. They all hit more dingers in the replays than they did in the actual season and when each came to bat, I'd expect and even feel a home run was coming.

On the inverse, the Chicago White Sox have clubbed only 19 home runs this season in my replay — Williams has hit twice as many as the Slight Sox alone. True to APBA form, though, in 1942, the real Sox trotted the bases only 25 times.

The saddest tale of the year belongs to Tiger pitcher Hal Newhouser. He' received an “AX” rating on his card, meaning he's one of the better pitchers with a higher-than-average amount of strikeouts. But rather than sporting a great record, Newhouser is 7-14 so far. When he pitches, it seems Detroit does not give him run support. In fact, in a recent loss, Newhouser held Cleveland hitless in 8.1 innings, only to lose, 1-0, when Oris Hockett dribbled a single and scoring Oscar Grimes, who had reached base on a walk.

In the National League, Brooklyn's Dolph Camilli leads the league with 31 home runs. Pitcher Curt Davis is 18-1 for the Dodgers. Tiny Bonham of the Yankees holds the same won-lost record. Coincidentally, both Davis' and Bonham's lone loss of the season came in St. Louis. The Cardinals beat Davis and the Browns edged Bonham.

The Philadelphia Phillies have the worst pitching staff I've ever seen. Three of their starters have only one victory each this year. Lefty Hoerst (rhymes with “worst”) is 1-11. Cy Blanton, sigh, is 1-8, and Ike Pearson has one win with his seven loses. Had ABPA issued cards for managers, I'm sure Phillies skipper Hans Lobert would have a lot of his hair pulled out by now.

Mort Cooper of the Cardinals leads the National League with a 22-5 record and he's thrown two no-hitters. If the league issued Cy Young awards back then, Cooper would be a shoo-in to receive it. And Johnny Vander Meer, he of the back-to-back no-hitters during the real 1938 season, has one of his own in my 1942 replay. He's also thrown 15 strikeouts in two games this year.

I began playing this replay on April 14, 2013, which was the same day in 1942 that the season actually started. I should wrap this one up in mid February and then, like all the game replayers do, I look ahead for the next adventure the APBA cards will bring.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post Kenneth, made me feel like I was in the 1940's reading a Baseball Digest MLB report with little less than one month remaining of the season! You have to give the Browns props for making it interesting, but that's the beauty of APBA, reality eventually wins on the most part. The Cards/Dodgers race living to form, loved your piece on the Phils. Also true on the APBA monster year by a player on top of their monster MLB year, there is always one guy. Hal Newhouser never did good for me as well, I believe that APBA for some odd mysterious reason may not like him LOL!