The New York Yankees clinched the American League crown on Sept. 19 when they beat Boston.
The way things were heading, it appeared the Brooklyn Dodgers would pass the Cardinals in the last few days of the season and create a different World Series match up than what actually happened. I've played eight replays since rolling the games in 1998 and I've only had one other replay World Series that featured the same two teams as were in the real Series.
But Crespi made sure that didn't happen.
For those uninitiated in the game I enjoy, APBA is a statistically-based game that uses player cards and dice. Gamers roll two dice, match the numbers to the player's card and then match a corresponding number to a board for play results. I've played 1,216 of 1,230 games for the 1942 season, beginning on April 14 and and wrapping it up probably by the end of this week.
As I always say when I near the end of a season: This was a good season. The Yankees took off in the summer, coasting to their easy pennant. Although, during a stretch, they lost four of five games and the Red Sox shut them out in three consecutive games. Their double-digit game lead dwindled to four and a half games over St. Louis with two days remaining in the season.
But the draw to this season was the Cardinals-Dodgers chase. The two teams played neck and neck through most of the season and, in fact, the Bums led the National League on June 30, with a 48-20 record. Then Brooklyn went 16-15 and the Cardinals responded by winning 25 of their next 31 games. Still, it came down to the last week, and that's where Crespi came in.
On Sept. 24, 1942, Cincinnati came to Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. The two aces faced — Johnny Vander Meer for the Reds, Mort Cooper for the Cardinals. By the top of the third, it looked like the Reds were going to run away with it. Bert Haas, the 5-11 third baseman, hit a double and a home run and drove in all the runs to give Cincinnati a 3-0 lead. But Enos Slaughter the doubled in three runs of his own, clearing the bases in the bottom of the third, and the two teams were knotted.
It was a pitchers' duel, too. Both went the distance. Vander Meer notched 14 strike outs, Cooper had 12. Cooper gave up only three hits. Vander Meer gave up four. The last one, Crespi's double, was the game decider.
This is why we play the APBA game. There are historical moments in the real game of baseball that become legend. Bobby Thomson's home run in 1951 to give the Giants the pennant, Bill Mazeroski's clout to end the 1961 World Series, giving Pittsburgh the upset over New York. Bucky Dent's home run in 1978 to help the Yankees edge Boston in the American League tie-breaker game. Those are real. In APBA, we create moments like that as well. Crespi, who played second base instead of regular Jimmy Brown that day, created his own APBA moment.
I have 14 games to play before the season is finished and then the World Series begins.
It should be a good contest.