Friday, August 7, 2015

The Last Day: All Tied Up

On the next to the last day of the 1950 APBA baseball season I'm replaying, home runs were the lead story. And when the baseballs all cleared the fences, two National League teams were left tied for first place with one day remaining.

I've played 1,224 games and have reached Oct. 1, 1950, in this replay that I began on March 7, 2014. It comes down to the last two games I've got scheduled for the day to determine who faces the Yankees in the World Series. Either the Brooklyn Dodgers or the New York Giants will represent the National League when these games are completed.

For those not initiated in the APBA game, a brief recap: The game uses cards that replicate baseball players' stats for a particular season. An APBA player rolls dice, matches the result to numbers on the player card and then checks those results to corresponding numbers in a play book. It may sound repetitive, but it's actually an ingenious game that has given me and scores of others a lot of enjoyment.

It gives us opportunities to recreate baseball seasons and to make our own history in the alternate world the game creates.

All that to say that going into Sept. 30, 1950, in my replay, Brooklyn led the Giants by one game and Boston by two games.

It all came down to home runs.

In Game 1,220, the Boston Braves took a 2-0 lead over New York in the fifth inning as Warren Spahn held the Giants to three hits. But in the bottom of the fifth, Spahn walked Carroll Lockman with two outs and gave up a single to Ray Mueller, moving Lockman to third. Giants' first baseman Monte Irvin then launched one out of the Polo Grounds, giving his team a 3-2 lead. Sal Maglie held that lead, giving up only two hits in the ensuing four innings and won his 20th game of the season.

Later, in Game 1,224, Brooklyn took a 4-0 lead after two innings against hapless Philadelphia.The Phillies won the National League in the real baseball season, but in my APBA replay they have been very subpar and the best they can finish the season is with a 77-77 record.

In the top of the fourth inning, the home runs returned. Del Ennis opened the inning with his 35th homer of the season. Willie Jones followed immediately with his 23rd home run and the Phillies tied the game at three. After two outs, Mike Golait popped his 10th home run of the season to give his Phillies the lead for good.

Now, both the Dodgers and the Giants have records of 86-67. The Giants host the Braves again in Game 1,231 and Brooklyn is home for the season finale against Philadelphia in Game 1,232.

Home runs prevailed in the last games, will they again? Will there be a Bobby Thomson moment for the Giants? Will Gil Hodges or Duke Snider or Jackie Robinson come through for the Dodgers? And, if the two teams were to each win, or each lose, there'll be a playoff and more chances for heroics.

The possibilities are what makes me return to the dice each day and roll, waiting to see how it plays out.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, I got my wish. Extra drama possibly, exciting.