The regular season of my 1950 APBA baseball replay ended today when Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Granny Hamner grounded out to Brooklyn Dodgers' second baseman Jackie Robinson.
Robinson scooped the dribbler up, tossed it over to Gil Hodges and the Dodgers grabbed the pennant, taking it by one game over the New York Giants. Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella drove in three runs, including one on a second-inning home run, and Brooklyn won, 4-2.
That, coupled with a New York Giants loss in the game before, punched Brooklyn's ticket to the World Series to face the New York Yankees.
It was the closest finish to a replay I've ever done. The Dodgers and Giants were tied going into Oct.1, 1950, the last day of the season. It was almost foreshadowing what really happened in 1951 when the two teams faced off in the memorable playoff and Bobby Thomson hit the home run and the Giants won the pennant, the Giants won the pennant.
But it wasn't to happen in my replay. In the first contest, the Giants took the lead over Boston, 1-0, and held it through five innings. But Walker Cooper hit a two-run homer off Giants starter Jim Hearn in the top of the sixth. Cooper added an RBI single in the eighth and Vern Bickford pitched a complete game for the Braves and won 3-2.
Philadelphia actually led the Dodgers twice in the season's final game, but couldn't contain Campanella.
So, the 1950 season ended in a great finale. The APBA game is simplistic in that it uses cards and dice and basic rules; a game can be completed in 15 minutes, but the results of these games are pretty complex. I spent the week doing the “What-ifs” and figuring out how four teams could end up winning the National League with only a few days remaining to play.
Here are the final standings:
AMERICAN W L GB
New York 106 48 -
Boston 95 59 11
Cleveland 91 63 15
Detroit 90 64 16
Washington 64 90 42
St. Louis 62 92 44
Philadelphia 57 97 49
Chicago 51 103 55
NATIONAL W L GB
Brooklyn 87 67 -
New York 86 68 1
Boston 85 69 2
St. Louis 85 69 2
Pittsburgh 79 75 8
Philadelphia 76 78 11
Chicago 64 90 23
Cincinnati 55 99 32
Remember, I didn't keep full stats. At times, lots of times really, I regret that. But I mostly play the games for the peace they bring at the time and the standings. I've always loved standings and watched them daily in the Minneapolis Tribune when I was a toddler. I still love them.
Here are the leaders of the limited stats I did keep:
Home runs: 41- J. DiMaggio. NYY; 37- Stephens, Bos; 36- Mize, NYY; 34- Williams, Bos, and Rosen, Cle.
Wins: 23-3– Wynn, Cle; 23-4– Lopat, NYY; 22-6– Houtteman, Det.
Saves: 19– Calvert, Det; 18- Page, NYY; 15- Aloma, Chi; 9- Hooper, Phil.
Home runs: 46- Kiner, Pit; 43- Sauer, Chi; 37- Snider, Bro; 35- Ennis, Phil; 34- Pafko, Chi.
Wins: 23-7- Newcombe, Bro; 21-10- Chambers, Pitt; 20-7- Maglie, NYG.
Saves: 27- Konstanty, Phil; 16- Brazle, StL; 15- Hogue, Bos; 14- Werle, Pit; 11- Leonard, Chi.
Before I began this replay, I looked over the cards, as we APBA guys always do, and, based on the numbers on the cards, I expected the Yankees and the Dodgers to be the front runners for their pennants. It ended up that way, but not without the drama that ensues during a good season.
Now, the World Series are next. It's late here and, although I'm cranking Fleetwood Mac and Pink Floyd on the stereo as I write, I ought to consider sleep; the cards are in their envelopes waiting for the contest to begin. Eighteen months and a day after I began this journey, the 1950 season draws near a close. But the new questions are ahead. Will DiMaggio have a Series to remember? Will Roy Campanella continue his pace? Will pitching — stellar on both teams during the regular season— be the main story?