TCABT-VI … The Results


(TOP ROW from L to R:  Joe Pavlicek, Steve Ryan, Leroy Arnoldi, Fred Johnson, Pat Martin, Dan Skillings, George Adams, Kevin Cluff, Phil Geraffo, Chris Shores, Garth Anderson, Roy Langhans, John Kalous, Dave Norlander.  BOTTOM ROW from L to R:  Craig Christian, Gary Borthwick, Bruce Tyler, Jeff Boeding, Beau Lofgren, Ben Lofgren, Ron Emch, Darrell Skogen, Jim Fraasch)

TCABT-VI is in the books.  23 teams took their chances on a beautiful Saturday October 1st in the Twin Cities.  After the usual opening where 1st-timers are introduced, a quick rules Q&A, and the big group photo, the dice rolling commenced by around 8:45am.  We had 3 divisions of 6 teams playing 10 games each (HHH Metrodome Division, Nicollet Park Division, Target Field Division), and 1 division of 5 teams playing 8 games each (Metropolitan Stadium Division).  The top 2 from each division would advance to the 8-team best-of-three Championship Bracket.  We also held a consolation bracket for the teams not in the Championship bracket.  11 teams played in the consolation one-and-done bracket.  110 divisional games were rolled.  Divisional play was wrapped up by 3:00pm.


(Consolation play:  George Adams with one of his “generic” ballparks battling Dave Norlander)

In the HHH Metrodome Division, Bruce Tyler’s 1930 Cardinals led the way with an 8-2 record.  Steve Ryan’s 1998 Braves were just 1 game back at 7-3, good enough for 2nd place and a berth in Championship Bracket play.  In the Nicollet Park Division, Leroy Arnoldi’s 1977 Phillies win it, with a 7-3 record.  For 2nd place, Roy Langhans won a 3-way tie-breaker with a record of 5-5, tied with the 1930 A’s (Garth Anderson) and the 5-5 1946 Red Sox (Chris Shores).  In a 3-way tie for first in the Target Field Division, the 7-3 ’53 Dodgers managed by Fred Johnson winning the run-differential tie-breaker.


(Sitting foreground, Fred Johnson on left vs Gary Borthwick on right)

Gary Borthwick’s 1911 Giants (also 7-3) would gain 2nd place in that division with John Kalous drawing the short straw (also at 7-3).  In the Metropolitan Stadium Division, the only division with 5 teams, saw the tightest race, with all 5-teams neck-and-neck, especially when you look at their run-differentials.  Host Darrell Skogen’s 2014 Orioles went 5-3, winning the division.  A 3-way tie for 2nd, with the Championship Bracket berth going to Ben Lofgren and his ’95 Indians (4-4, with a +1 run diff).  Phil Geraffo’s 2001 Mariners were also 4-4, as were Jim Fraasch’s 1930 Senators, both teams with a 0 run diff.  Last place in the division, was Craig Christian and his 1981 Expos, at 3-5, and a run diff of just -2.  Darrell’s 1st place run diff was +1.


(Divisional play:  Darrell Skogen on right, vs Jim Fraasch on left)


(Divisional play:  starting all the way in the back:  Phil Geraffo vs Craig Christian, Jeff Boeding vs Garth Anderson, and foreground, is APBA HoF’er, Roy Langhans)

Championship Bracket play saw 8 teams fight it out in 7 best-of-three series.  The Quarter-finals saw all series go 2 games to none, with the 1930 Cardinals, the 1977 Phillies, the 1911 Giants and the 1998 Braves advancing to the Semi-finals.  In the only 3-game series of the Championship Bracket play, in the Semi-finals, Bruce Tyler’s 1930 Cardinals defeated Gary Borthwick’s 1911 Giants, 2 games to 1.  Game 3 of that series saw the 1911 Giants with a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the 9th, give up 3 runs as the 1930 Cardinals stormed back to win the game and the series.


(Bruce on left, Gary on right)

Leroy Arnoldi’s 1977 Phillies took care of Steve Ryan’s 1998 Braves, 2 games to none.


(Darrell watching as Steve on left, takes on Leroy’s 1977 Phillies on right)

The TCABT-VI Championship came down to Bruce’s ’30 Cardinals vs Leroy’s ’77 Phillies.

1930_cardinals VS 1977_phillies

The ’30 Cardinals won in 2 games, by scores of 9-8 and 7-5.  Bruce Tyler wins his 1st TCABT Championship, and the 1930 Cardinals are now eliminated from TCABT competition.  Leroy’s (we call him Mr. October) loss was the first time he did not bring the trophy home in October.  It was only fitting as the 2 managers, Bruce and Leroy, have played together in the same face-to-face APBA league since they were kids in the early 1960’s.


(Standing, Jeff Boeding on left and Ben Lofgren on right watch, as Leroy Arnoldi sitting on the left faces off vs Bruce Tyler on the right for the TCABT-VI Championship Title)


(Bruce on left with his pile of dice, Leroy on right going for his 3rd October title)


In consolation play, Garth Anderson’s 1930 Athletics won the one-and-done bracket, over John Kalous’ 2015 Astros.



A look at some interesting numbers which played out in TCABT-VI:

  • 23 Attendees in all (24 if you count Mr. Gregg Nelson stopping by early in the AM to take our group photo – thank you Gregg!)
  • 7 Attendees from out of state.
  • 2092 Miles, the round-trip distance traveled by car, with the majority of those miles driven by Steve Ryan’s wife (Harrison, TN to Maple Grove, MN)
  • 110 Division games rolled.
  • 15 Championship bracket games rolled.
  • 10 Consolation bracket games rolled.
  • 135 Total games rolled.
  • 2 No-hitter’s, one pitched by Dallas Keuchel (2o15 Astros, John Kalous) and the other by Lefty Grove (1930 A’s, Garth Anderson, during the consolation play)
  • 2 The number of almost no-hitters (thru 8-2/3rds) broken up by George Adams and his 1966 Astros.
  • 2 The number of triple-plays that Albert Belle grounded into for Ben Lofgren’s 1995 Indians.
  • 3 The number of times Jeff Boeding’s 1933 Pirates were shut-out consecutively, and Jeff’s team scored just 1 run in their 1st 4 games.  Jeff’s Pirates also records back-to-back 2-0 shutouts.
  • 4 Consecutive HR’s by Evan Gattis, coming in 12 inning of last pool game, then first 3 AB in Consolation bracket (2015 Astros, John Kalous)
  • 6 The number of hits in 1 game by Chick Hafey (6 for 6) of the 1930 Cardinals (Bruce Tyler) while completing the cycle.
  • 7 The number of double plays turned by Garth Anderson’s infielders in a single game vs Chris Shores’ 1946 Red Sox (the AL record is 6 in a game).
  • 8 The number of errors committed in 10 games for SS Jose Pagan, of Dan Skillings’ 1962 Giants.
  • 17 Games rolled by eventual TCABT-VI Champion Bruce Tyler and his 1930 Cardinals (finishing with an incredible 14-3 overall record).
  • 19 Runs, the most runs scored in a game, thanks to Fred Johnson and his 1953 Dodgers.
  • 18 Runs, the 2nd most runs scored in a game, ditto, Fred Johnson.
  • 72 Degrees, the high temp in Maple Grove, MN for TCABT-VI.


(Leroy’s field with Charlie Brown shown hurling from the mound)

Each year, the TCABT is held on the first Saturday of April and the first Saturday of October.  TCABT-VII will be held April 1st, 2017.  TCABT-VIII will be held October 7th, 2017.


(Ron Emch on left vs Kevin Cluff on right)

Ron Emch posted a terrific video on Youtube, showing the “announcement show” for the 8 teams qualifying for the Championship Bracket portion of the tourney.


(Gary Borthwick, top, vs Dan Skillings, bottom)


(Steve Ryan on left, vs Beau Lofgren on right)


(Phil Geraffo on left, vs Craig Christian on right)

Friday morning I was able to meet Roy Langhans for breakfast at Al’s Breakfast, located in Dinkytown (on the University of Minnesota campus).


Thanks to George Adams, another ballpark addition … Griffith Stadium in D.C.





Saturday, October 1st, 2016
1930 CARDINALS (BRUCE TYLER) 8 2 71 35 36
1998 BRAVES (STEVE RYAN) 7 3 43 29 14
1990 ATHLETICS (BEAU LOFGREN) 5 5 42 32 10
1972 ATHLETICS (JOE PAVLICEK) 4 6 36 44 -8
2008 CUBS (PAT MARTIN) 3 7 22 42 -20
1966 ASTROS (GEORGE ADAMS) 3 7 39 71 -32
TOTALS 30 30 253 253 0
2014 ORIOLES (DARRELL SKOGEN) 5 3 28 27 1
1995 INDIANS (BEN LOFGREN) 4 4 26 25 1
2001 MARINERS (PHIL GERAFFO) 4 4 34 34 0
1930 SENATORS (JIM FRAASCH) 4 4 35 35 0
1981 EXPOS (CRAIG CHRISTIAN) 3 5 24 26 -2
TOTALS 20 20 147 147 0
1977 PHILLIES (LEROY ARNOLDI) 8 2 49 26 23
1985 CARDINALS (ROY LANGHANS) 5 5 54 47 7
1930 ATHLETICS (GARTH ANDERSON) 5 5 36 39 -3
1946 RED SOX (CHRIS SHORES) 5 5 37 41 -4
1948 INDIANS (DAVE NORLANDER) 4 6 39 49 -10
1933 PIRATES (JEFF BOEDING) 3 7 31 44 -13
TOTALS 30 30 246 246 0
1953 DODGERS (FRED JOHNSON) 7 3 79 43 36
1911 GIANTS (GARY BORTHWICK) 7 3 48 41 7
2015 ASTROS (JOHN KALOUS) 7 3 40 37 3
2010 TWINS (KEVIN CLUFF) 4 6 47 49 -2
1962 GIANTS (DAN SKILLINGS) 4 6 38 45 -7
1998 PADRES (RON EMCH) 1 9 29 66 -37
TOTALS 30 30 281 281 0


8 1995 INDIANS (BEN LOFGREN) 1 6 0
5 1998 BRAVES (STEVE RYAN) 8 4 2
1 1930 CARDINALS (BRUCE TYLER) 6 8 6 2
6 1911 GIANTS (GARY BORTHWICK) 8 7 5 1
5 1998 BRAVES (STEVE RYAN) 1 2 0



(Garth Anderson show here during divisional play, facing off vs Jeff Boeding on the left)

11 1998 PADRES (RON EMCH) 0
9 2008 CUBS (PAT MARTIN) 13
9 2008 CUBS (PAT MARTIN) 2
9 2008 CUBS (PAT MARTIN) 3

Where the action is:



The 1930 Washington Senators

Photo is of the 1931 Senators opening their season at Philadelphia.

TCABT-VI is almost upon us.  Last April, I took the 1930 Washington Senators with me to compete at TCABT-V.  The actual 1930 Senators finished in 2nd place in the American League of 1930, with a decent 94-60 W-L record, 34 games above .500.  However, they were 8 games behind the dynasty that was, the 1930 Philadelphia Athletics.

For whatever reason, the 1930 Athletics have not performed particularly well in our Twin Cities APBA Baseball Tournament.  Nor have the 1929 Athletics, or the 1931 Athletics.  Those 3 Philadelphia clubs are considered to be one of the strongest dynasties in baseball history, partly because they took down the 1926-1928 Yankees teams, that were the dynasty of all dynasties.

So why the 1930 Washington Senators you ask?  If the Senators, why not the 1924 World Champions or the 1933 AL Champions?  Well, while those other 2 Senators teams may have won more glory, than their 1930 counterparts, they do not look as strong when you start to analyze the 1 thru 8 in the batting order hitting strengths.  With the 1930 Senators, the pitching does leave you wishing for more.  There is no Walter “Big Train” Johnson, pitching for the 1930 Senators (he was their manager that year).


(Circa 1930:  Walter Johnson shaking hands with Athletics Mgr., Connie Mack)

What the 1930 Senators have with APBA, is a lineup that can hit and get on base, although the hitting is more singles, doubles and triples, instead of the long ball.  They steal some bases, though not like the deadball era bandits.  The pitching?  It just has to be good enough, with the lineup that can put up some runs, fairly consistently.

April 2nd, 2016, the 1930 Senators were ready to roll.  While I had rolled a few games at home with my squad, I really did not know what to expect.  My starting rotation was ok by APBA standards, and good for a hitting year like 1930, but not so great when you consider the teams entered in our 5th Twin Cities APBA Tournament.  My rotation consisted of the following:

Alvin “General” Crowder (BZ)

Bump Hadley (BY)

Ad Liska (B)

Sam Jones (CZ)

Like I said, just has to be good enough … and in many respects, they were good enough.  I did not have much for relief pitching either.

Firpo Marberry (CZ)

Lloyd Brown (CZ)

I have actually decided to use Firpo Marberry as my 4th starter, in place of Sam Jones, for TCABT-VI.  Grade-wise, it really does not matter.  I just make sure I leave 1 LHP and 1 RHP in the bullpen, just so that I can use the 1st batter grade-bump, if I bring my reliever in during the middle of an inning, and the first batter they face bats from the same side.  A small consolation for not having a bullpen worth using much.  Meanwhile, most of the teams these 1930 Senators face, have at least 2 Grade-A pitchers in their bullpens, meaning every game, according to our TCABT rules, these Grade-A relievers can be used in all games after 5 IP by the starter, for 2 IP each game.  A little generous, but since these are tournaments, we assume the pitchers are going to be used to their fullest, in pool play games and best-of-three bracket play series.


(Alvin “General” Crowder)

Ok, so we have documented the fact that my 1930 Senators do not have much pitching, what about the hitting?  With the DH, I have a lineup, where 1 thru 9, there really is not a weak batter.  Does this mean the entire lineup is going to hit?  Especially vs a lot of Grade-A pitching?  Not necessarily.  While my 1930 Senators compiled a 7-3 record in division play in TCABT-V, and a 10-5 overall record after advancing to the TCABT-V Semi-Finals, the scoring was good, but I also saw my team fail to score more than 2 runs, in the last 14 innings they batted vs Kevin Cluff’s 2011 Texas Rangers, the eventual TCABT-V Champions, during the Semi-Finals.  In fact, after defeating the 2011 Rangers in Game 1 of their best-of-three Semi-Final series, by the score of 7-5, and having a 4-1 lead after 4 innings in Game 2, the Senators went on to lose Game 2, 7-5 and then lose Game 3, 7-1, to get knocked out of the tourney.  The hitting stopped, and my pitching gave up runs in bunches, to a tough hitting Rangers team.

How was the hitting?

Joe Judge had a phenomenal tourney, leading the 1930 Senators with a .379 batting average, 11 doubles, and tied for the lead with 3 triples.  He led the team in runs with 12.  He also led the team in OBP at .397.


(Joe Judge)

While the 1930 Senators are not known for their HR power, they did manage to hit 10 HR in the 15 games.  But more importantly, they ended up with 59 XBH, in the 15 games.  Their 82 runs scored equates to 5.47 runs per game, which is not bad considering the amount of Grade A pitching they faced in this tournament.  So score they did.  The surprise was that Joe Cronin, hit only .183.  While he still managed to be tied for the lead in RBI with 13, I wonder how many RBI he could have had, if he had been hitting like he should.  Cronin batted cleanup for me, and will remain my cleanup hitter for TCABT-VI.  Sam West should hit much better than the .196 that he did, so I like my chances to see some better run scoring in TCABT-VI with a few of my hitters coming back to hit like they should.

Cronin Joe 1456.68 = WTD_act_ PD
(Joe Cronin)

How was the pitching?

The pitching was not bad.  The team ended up with a 4.09 ERA, which is not bad considering that every lineup they face, is a run producing lineup.  Bump Hadley (BY), not quite Sandy Koufax like, still managed to go 4-1 with a 3.51 ERA in his 5 starts.  He was 4-0 until he lost the Game 2 Semi-Final to the 2011 Rangers.  A game in which he had a 4-1 lead after 4 IP.  The ace of the staff, General Crowder (BZ) limped along to gain a 3-2 record, but his ERA was a bloated 4.43 in his 5 starts.  Hadley and Crowder twirled the 2 shut-outs, which was 2 more than I expected playing vs the run-generating lineups in TCABT-V.


(Bump Hadley)

One under-rated aspect of playing APBA Baseball, is having a good defense.  Having a good defense in APBA means that you are going to gain more outs, especially with a “Fielding One” defense, thus giving up fewer runs.  Since my pitching staff is not the greatest, I was counting on my defense to make my pitchers perform “better”.  I think that played out to be true.  We use the “Advanced Fielding Rules” in our TCABT.  So individual fielding really matters.  Having a Fielding One third-baseman means you are going to turn more DP’s from balls hit to 3B.  Also, we have our own innovation which limits the errors made by 2B, SS and 3B when the bases are empty.  Otherwise, Fielding One players at these 3 positions make too many errors when the bases are empty.


(Ossie Bluege applies the tag as Babe Ruth slides into 3rd)

How was the fielding?

The 1930 Senators committed just 8 errors in the 15 games played, which is pretty stout.  The 8 errors did lead to 6 unearned runs, as the Senators pitching staff gave up a total of 66 runs, with 6 of those unearned.

Can the 1930 Senators win a coveted TCABT crown?  They played well enough in TCABT-V to earn another shot.  The field will be tough.  If this squad can make bracket play again, anything can happen.


TCABT-V 1930 SENATORS Game Results:


Game 1:  2001 ATHLETICS 3, 1930 SENATORS 2

Game 2:  1930 SENATORS 11, 2001 ATHLETICS 9

Game 3:  1930 SENATORS 5, 1998 YANKEES 2

Game 4:  1930 SENATORS 7, 1998 YANKEES 6

Game 5:  1976 ATHLETICS 9, 1930 SENATORS 6

Game 6:  1930 SENATORS 3, 1976 ATHLETICS 0

Game 7:  1930 SENATORS 6, 1922 BROWNS 2

Game 8:  1922 BROWNS 5, 1930 SENATORS 1

Game 9:  1930 SENATORS 4, 1977 PHILLIES 0

Game 10:  1930 SENATORS 6, 1977 PHILLIES 3





Game 1:  1930 SENATORS 7, 1954 INDIANS 5

Game 2:  1930 SENATORS 11, 1954 INDIANS 2

1930 SENATORS WIN Best-of-three series, 2 games to none.


Game 1:  1930 SENATORS 7, 2011 RANGERS 5

Game 2:  2011 RANGERS 7, 1930 SENATORS 5

Game 3:  2011 RANGERS 7, 1930 SENATORS 1

1930 SENATORS LOSE Best-of-three series, 2 games to 1.

1930 SENATORS finish TCABT-V with overall record of 10 WINS, 5 LOSSES




TCABT-VI: Divisions and Schedules are set … October 1st, 2016


Hard to believe it is that time again … TCABT-VI takes place on October 1st, 2016 in Maple Grove, MN, at the home of Darrell Skogen.  23 APBA fanatics will take aim at the October Championship trophy, currently being held by Mr. October himself, Leroy Arnoldi.  Leroy has won each of the 2 October championships, managing the 1954 Giants (in 2014) and the 1937 Yankees (in 2015) to October championships.  This time, Leroy will make his run at a 3rd October championship with the 1977 Phillies.  Defending April Champion, Kevin Cluff, a two-time winner of the April Championship (1927 Yankees and 2011 Rangers), will be looking for his 3rd TCABT championship, bringing the 2010 Twins club with his original standard issue tiny APBA dice.

TCABT-VI features 3 APBA Hall of Famers in attendance:  1st time attendees, Roy Langhans and Jim Sce, and regular attendee Kevin Cluff.


Above:  (Roy Langhans – 2nd from left, and Kevin Cluff – on right)

Below:  (Jim Sce – 2nd from left)



The number of “out-of-state” attendees includes the following 8:

  • Roy Langhans (Cockeysville, MD) – 1st timer
  • Jim Sce (Burbank, CA) – 1st timer
  • John Kalous (Shiloh, IL) – 1st timer
  • Steve Ryan (Harrison, TN) – 1st timer
  • Ron Emch (Toledo, OH) – 3rd tourney
  • George Adams (Kansas City, MO) – 3rd tourney
  • Craig Christian (Eau Claire, WI) – 5th tourney
  • Jeff Boeding (Platte City, MO) – 6th tourney

The 23 total attendees for TCABT-VI will match last October’s TCABT-IV attendance … we had 30 at TCABT-V last April.  The trend has been for the April tourney to out-draw the October tourney.  But sometimes the smaller number is alright.


Here are the divisions for TCABT-VI:

Saturday, October 1st, 2016
2008 CUBS (PAT MARTIN) 0 0 0 0 0
1966 ASTROS (GEORGE ADAMS) 0 0 0 0 0
1930 CARDINALS (BRUCE TYLER) 0 0 0 0 0
1998 BRAVES (STEVE RYAN) 0 0 0 0 0
TOTALS 0 0 0 0 0
1995 INDIANS (BEN LOFGREN) 0 0 0 0 0
2001 MARINERS (PHIL GERAFFO) 0 0 0 0 0
1981 EXPOS (CRAIG CHRISTIAN) 0 0 0 0 0
1930 SENATORS (JIM FRAASCH) 0 0 0 0 0
TOTALS 0 0 0 0 0
1946 RED SOX (CHRIS SHORES) 0 0 0 0 0
1933 PIRATES (JEFF BOEDING) 0 0 0 0 0
TOTALS 0 0 0 0 0
2015 ASTROS (JOHN KALOUS) 0 0 0 0 0
1953 DODGERS (FRED JOHNSON) 0 0 0 0 0
2010 TWINS (KEVIN CLUFF) 0 0 0 0 0
1962 GIANTS (DAN SKILLINGS) 0 0 0 0 0
1998 PADRES (RON EMCH) 0 0 0 0 0
1911 GIANTS (GARY BORTHWICK) 0 0 0 0 0
TOTALS 0 0 0 0 0


APBA’view: Greg Barath (OGuard62)


(Greg in his high school playing days, #62)

Greg Barath is known today as one of the premier APBA Football guru’s, especially when it comes to the season replay.  In my opinion, his replays are the best ones documented, thanks to his game by game posting of his replays at the APBA Between The Lines forum and his own blog site, OGuard62:  APBA Football Replay website.

(Note:  Greg’s OGuard62 blog site has received well over 90,000 views from almost 15,000 visitors.  These visitors come from all around the world, 89 different countries to be exact, everywhere from Albania to Venezuela … Thanks to Greg for providing these blog stats)

I have witnessed Greg offer help to anyone looking for advise or answers on anything to do with APBA Football, whether it be a rule interpretation or an innovation to use, etc.  He has also played a vital role in the APBA Football Convention held in Canton, OH, in 2014 as well as making a habit of attending the regular APBA Convention which is currently held in Alpharetta, GA every June.

Speaking of the APBA Convention, if you were in attendance this past June (I was not unfortunately) you would have witnessed Greg Barath being inducted into the APBA Hall of Fame, earning the award thanks to his never wavering support and encyclopedic wealth of knowledge for the game of APBA Football.  His methods used in his season replays are well documented, and are a perfect illustration for how to make your replays organized, realistic, relatively simplistic and most important, fun.  Greg’s contributions to APBA Football include several Youtube videos demonstrating different features using the APBA Football game.  I have included a few links throughout this interview, including this link:

Greg was inducted along with another APBA Football guru, Ray Dunlap, and APBA Game Co. owner/CEO, John Herson.


(Ray Dunlap on left, Greg Barath on right)

While Greg received an early introduction to APBA through his father, I would say that Greg’s APBA trail was blazed a little later in life and perhaps more profound than many of us, as you will discover through the following interview questions.  On to the interview ….

Jimsapbabarn question #1:  Tell us about yourself, your youth, etc (outside of APBA).

Greg Barath:  I was born and raised in Gary, Indiana.  Being a typical kid in the pre-internet or video game age, I played outside from dawn to dusk participating in unorganized and organized sports. From 8 to 12 years old my life revolved around baseball (Little League) and the Chicago Cubs.  I can remember putting the Cubs cap on the minute I got dressed and removed it only at dinner time or when going to bed.  I wish I had a dollar for every time over the years my Dad would ask me “Do you have a test today?” and I would reply “No” and we would be heading to Wrigley Field.  My fondest memory was all the games we went to during the 1969 season and being able to see Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal or Tom Seaver dual Ferguson Jenkins, Bill Hands or Ken Holtzman.  My mom’s favorite player was Ron Santo but my dad’s and mine was the great Ernie Banks. Tremendous memories!!  I was a very accomplished catcher at a very young age.  From the time I was 8-years old my Dad would have me put on my protective equipment and his friends and him would fire away at me. I learned really quick not to whimper or I would face his ridicule.  He daily worked on my arm strength for eventually throwing to second.  Countless times we sat behind home plate at Wrigley to watch Randy Hundley work.


All I can say is his methods worked; I was the only 10-year old starting in the majors (ages 10-12) and made the All-Star squad as an 11-year old.  Back in Gary at the time they had an All-City team which consisted of two, 12-year olds from each team in the city.  It was a real big deal and I can remember my heart breaking when I learned that our star pitcher and the coaches’ son would be representing our team.  After that season, I never had the desire or urge to ever pick up a glove or bat again. After that, football became the only sport that I have ever been interested in.

Once I turned 13-years old, I discovered a passion that would rule me for the next 25 years.  I walked into my first poolroom.  Over the next four-years, my game and life experiences increased ten-fold. Every waking minute was spent on improving my game.  When I turned 17-years old, my parents decided to move to Naples, Florida.  Trust me when I say there is a monumental difference between “The Region” (northwest Indiana) and Naples, Florida. The first two things I did were locate a poolroom and try out for the football team.  I ended up becoming the starting left guard my first year (junior) and making the first-team, All Southwest Florida squad my senior year.  My jersey number was #62 and that is how Oguard62 came to pass. However, my real education took place at Brookside Billiards were I learned the art of nine-ball, southern style.

After my first semester in college, I decided to quit and pursue my dream of becoming a professional pool player.  For the next seven-months, I would be spending 10 to 12 hours a day either practicing on drills or gambling.  Needless to say, my game took off. I could walk into any poolroom and run five racks with a cue off the wall.  During this time, I met my backer, Billy Angel, who was a 45-year old ex-con.  We traveled a lot of miles together and he staked me in a lot of matches. One of my fondest memories is when we were at a Pro-Am Tournament in Melbourne, Florida.  The place was littered with hustlers, Jimmy Reid, “St. Louis” Louie Roberts, Steve Cook, etc.  The tournament format was double elimination, race to eleven. Steve Mizerak (Lite Beer Commercials) put me in the losers’ bracket after beating me 11 to 8.

My next match was against this fellow named Bill Stegall, who had been the Florida state champion on numerous occasions.  I eliminated him from the tournament after winning 11 to 5 and he was fit to be tied.  To make matters worse, all the other players were busting his chops about losing to some 19-year old kid.  He wants me in the worst way but if you know anything about pool players is they will bicker for days on trying to obtain that “edge” before ever picking up a cue.  Billy asked me how much better he was than me and I honestly answered “a ball and half”. With that said, Billy said we needed the seven and the break to even consider playing him.  He would only give me the eight ball which was a bad proposition so the game never occurred.  We were just beginning our road trip to Sheffield, Alabama, to play in another Pro-Am tournament when fate took over.  Billy was driving and we get pulled over, next thing I know we are surrounded by police cars.  When they ran his license, it was red-flagged for having an outstanding warrant in the state of Pennsylvania for a book-making charge.  He gets taken to county jail for an extended stay while they decide if he is going to be extradited or not. I remember going to visit him and listening to him laugh about being on vacation.  He said “Greg I spent 22-years in cell block “C”, I can do this time standing on my head”.

From there I decided to drive up to Tampa to check out “Bakers” poolroom which was owned by Bill Stegall. After some small talk, he gives me the seven but not the break and we start playing “one-hundred dollar freeze out” which was a race to 5.  I win the first four matches and he said that the seven was too much weight and he would only spot me the eight.  I agreed and over the next five hours I’m more than holding my own and I’m up about a grand.  The spot goes away and the bet goes up and something magical happened, I went into the “zone”.  Over the next five-hours, I played the finest pool of my life.  There I was beating Bill Stegall straight up in his own poolroom on his own table.  At that moment, I actually felt like Paul Newman in the Hustler.  To make a long story short, after 26 consecutive hours, I felt like Fast Eddie Felson again because I left there completely and utterly broke.


(Above:  Pool great, Earl Strickland, with a young Greg Barath)


I headed back to my parents’ house with my tail tucked between my legs. After being home for about a week, one afternoon my Dad and I are playing gin rummy and he starts to ride me. Listen, when Jack Barath got on you, he was relentless.  It was a verbal barrage of what a no-account loser I was and how I was going nowhere in life, on and on and on.  Just to stop the madness, I blurted out that I was going to enlist in the military. Now, I absolutely had no intention of going into the military but just wanted to shut him up.  Than a funny thing occurred, two days later I’m sitting at a recruiter’s office and six months later I’m getting my head shaved.

I entered the United States Air Force on May 2, 1983.  I went into the Security Police career field and my first duty assignment was Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota.  I’ve never been in a place colder in my life, I remember from Jan 1 thru mid-February 1984 the temperature never got above natural zero and I’m not factoring in the wind chill factor. I literally watched my Florida car die piece by piece until it imploded in flames on US Route 2. In August 1985, my permanent change of station was Ramstein, Germany where I spent 8 glorious years.  It was during these years that I really grew as a person and a professional.  I enjoyed the various cultures, cuisine and especially that fine German beer.  Professionally I started making a name for myself at Command level for operating and managing electronic security systems for nuclear laden areas.  I met my soul mate in 1991 and she followed me to Great Falls, Montana in July 1993.  We were married in August 1993 and started our life together.  One of my future replay projects will be “93” season because the Jets were solid and it was just a great year for me personally.  In 2000, I got my dream assignment to Eglin AFB, Florida to work directly for the Secretary of the Air Force as one of only three enlisted Test Directors for the Air Force Operational Test & Evaluation Center.  My job was to determine the operability and suitability for any security sensor or system being considered for the Department of Defense.  My mantra for my last three years was “Plan, Execute, and Report”. All of my final test reports were reviewed by the decision makers at the Pentagon to determine if the item-under-test would go into full or limited production or never see the light of day. In April 2003, I retired from the Air Force as a 20-year Master Sergeant. The following week Becky and I moved up to northern Virginia and I began my career as a Defense Contractor. Ten years later, I changed companies and we relocated to the “Rocket City” Huntsville, Alabama where we reside today.


Jimsapbabarn question #2:  How did you discover APBA and what APBA games do you own?

Greg Barath:  My dad was a big APBA guy, he played the football game some but he was all about APBA baseball.  He had stacks of spiral notebooks were he would have all his box scores and statistics from his replay projects. I’ll never forget when my dad says to me, “Hop in the car, we are going to the library to get the Baseball Encyclopedia.”  Well he wasn’t kidding, we walked directly to the card file station to determine the location and then proceeded to appropriate book shelf and there it was.  He looked at me and said, “Son, this is the holy grail” and he picked it up and walked directly out of the library while waving at the librarian like nothing was wrong.  On numerous occasions over the years, I would walk up to him while he was playing and ask if I could also play.  The response was always the same, he would put up his big hand in front of me and say, “Son, this is not for you, this is SERIOUS”. I eventually was allowed to dabble some with his football game.


I only own the Football game and have no desire to play any other game.  The only other board game that I played from “nuts to bolts” was “Title Bout”. Let me share how I got back into the game.  One day in early 2001, Becky and I were sitting at the bar in a poolroom in Fort Walton Beach, Florida and I turned around to observe my fellow patrons. While looking around I had an epiphany, that not a single person in this room was a credit to society in any way, shape or form.  I looked at Becky and said, “Get me out of here because there is not a person besides you in here that I give two flips about”. When we got home, I put my custom-made cue away and have not used it in a meaningful way since that date.  The next day I placed my order for the APBA 2000 Football game.  It’s ironic because I’m now using those cards for my current 1999 NFL replay.


Jimsapbabarn question #3:  What was your first complete NFL replay?

Greg Barath:  I always viewed a full NFL replay as a marathon, so I completed numerous smaller projects as stepping stones before undertaking a full replay. My first full NFL replay was the 1981 season, being a life-long Jets fan this season was near and dear to my heart.  I owned the original card set but I wanted to be able to use the modern boards without having to use conversion tables.  So I repeatedly pestered my dear friend, Mark Zarb, to card the season and he finally did for me.


(Greg’s good friend, Mark Zarb)

The season was a joy to replay and I learned so many things all the way.  The team and league statistics can be viewed on my site to include the play-by-play of Super Bowl XVI.


Jimsapbabarn question #4:  Tell us about the APBA Football “convention” that was held in Canton, OH, at the Pro Football HOF in 2014?

Greg Barath:  It was an absolute joy! The entire event was the brainchild of Geoffrey Giordano and he did a fabulous job organizing it.  We not only had a tournament but he slotted presentations and even offered them to be viewed on-line.  Although we all contributed money, I know that he paid a substantial amount of his own to reserve the great room we had.  The Hall of Fame is an incredible exhibit but when you truly the love game of football, it’s hallowed ground.


The best part for me was actually meeting folks that I’ve known virtually for years through the Delphi forum or articles in the APBA Journal.  I can remember back in ’01, I spent three-nights at the kitchen table writing out index cards for Ray Dunlap’s match-up system and there he was sitting in front of me.  Had the opportunity to meet Johnny Cochrane and his better half and of course, my good friend, Greg Wells.  This is when I realized that the APBA community is family.


(The 2014 APBA gathering at the Pro Football HOF in Canton, OH: From left – Pat McGregor, John Cochrane, Ray Dunlap, Robert Tassinari, Greg Wells, Greg Barath, Jerry Zajack, and Geoffrey Giordano)

The one other important part of that trip was on the last day; all participants discussed how we could incorporate football somehow into the APBA Convention.  Well, the following convention, Ray Dunlap and I were there demonstrating our methods of play for whoever was interested. .  At last year’s convention, John Herson had Ray and I give presentations on the football game and this year we are having our first football tournament.

NOTE:  Greg has made it a habit to share his wealth of APBA Football knowledge, which is the “shirt-off-his-back” genuine nature of Greg Barath.


Jimsapbabarn question #5:  What is your favorite NFL moment?

Greg Barath:  That’s a tough one, of course eliminating New England in the divisional round of the playoffs in 2011 was a big deal, especially after they humiliated us on the Monday night game a few weeks earlier.  I don’t know if everyone feels this way but for me the games of your youth just resonate more than when you are older.  The first truly memorable moment I experienced as a kid was November 28, 1971.  Of course, this was light years before the “Sunday Ticket” so it was surprising that the Jets – 49ers game was being televised.  I can remember sitting on my grandfather’s couch watching Bob Davis flop around on the ground in agony and all of a sudden, Joe Namath removed his jacket and trotted onto the field.  I was cheering with all the fans at Shea Stadium.  Once he got warmed up it was a magical to watch, it was the first time in my life that I watched greatness.  However, my all-time favorite moment happened when I was in college on November 22, 1981. The Jets just came off of a decade of failure and here they were facing their arch rival in a game for first place.  Richard Todd had broken ribs and this was the first game that a QB wore a flak jacket for protection.  The Dolphins were winning late in the game and were about to put it away when Abdul Salaam stuffed the Dolphins ball carrier on a third and one to force a punt.  The Jets got the ball back with a little over a minute remaining.  Richard Todd started marching them down the field.  I can’t adequately describe the elation and exhilaration I felt when Richard Todd found Jerome Barkum in the end zone for a touchdown with 16 seconds left.  Once Pat Leahy made the extra point for the Jets to take a 16-15 lead, I got up and kissed the television.


Jimsapbabarn question #6.  Why the NY Jets?

Greg Barath:  That’s easy, Broadway Joe Willie Namath!


He was my idol as a kid and for that matter, he still is today. You have to realize that my nationality is Hungarian and so is Namath’s.  The church I grew up in was Hungarian-American, meaning there was a Hungarian service followed by an English service.  So he was a real big deal to a lot of the folks I grew up with. Unfortunately I’ve betrayed a lot of things in my life; however, I’ve never betrayed my football team. I will bleed Kelly green to the day that I die.



Jimsapbabarn question #7:  What would you like to see APBA Game Co. produce in the future for the APBA Football game?

Greg Barath:  APBA Football is a very simple but effective game engine that renders outstanding results when played correctly.  So, how do you make it the best football game on the market?

Simple, you repackage the Master game in the same print/format as the Basic game.  The Basic game is formatted by field position, not play type, so there is minimal page flipping resulting in quicker play time.  Secondly, the black and white print is easier to read and appears not to fade.  I understand that I play a high volume of games; however, I go through four Master game booklets per year because the print wears off from all the page flipping.


(Denny Hodge on left, going head-to-head on the gridiron with Greg Barath)

Greg, it is easy to see why you are so respected and highly touted in the APBA Gaming community.  Without your involvement in APBA Football, there is no doubt the interest level in the APBA Football game would not be quite as avid as it is today.  Congratulations on your well deserved, recent induction into the APBA Hall of Fame.  Thanks for giving us your time.

As a “Hail Mary” attempt, I would like to send a shout out to NFL head coach, Rex Ryan, a noted SOM Baseball fanatic ( … if you come across this Greg Barath interview, please send us a note if you would be interested in taking part in an APBA Football game between yourself and Greg Barath.  Of course, Greg will be coaching the NY Jets …😉

For you APBA Football fans, please make sure you check out the following APBA Football websites:

Greg Barath’s site – OGuard62’s Replays:

The APBA Football Club:

(*Note:  For the APBA Football Basic Game, Greg has added “How to” videos, you can find each of the links here:  APBA Football, the Basic Game, How to )






The Thunderbird Motel, The Mick and #534 … Bloomington, MN


After viewing the following home movie, posted on Youtube, a home movie by a fellow named Jim Campbell, circa August 22, 1968, showing the visiting Yankees staying at the Thunderbird Motel in Bloomington, MN, I decided to write a new blog post about the soon to be demolished structure of the old Thunderbird Motel.

Very rare footage, but a common occurrence of the visiting American League ballclub staying at the Thunderbird Motel when playing the Minnesota Twins, which, due to its close proximity to Metropolitan Stadium made it a no-brainer travel decision for the visiting club.

For some of you reading this, perhaps you had a chance to stay at the Thunderbird Motel, during a Minnesota trip, with tickets to the Twins game.  I grew up in Minnetonka, MN, about 30 minutes away from Metropolitan Stadium, which meant my family would not need to stay at a hotel to go to a Twins game back in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  So I missed out on my chance to stay at the popular, Native American Indian themed motel, which became in more modern times, an over the top marketing scheme which played in the 60’s and 70’s and somehow lasted into the politically correct times of the early 2000’s.

thunderbird_1967(Circa 1967, from the front of the hotel, side facing 494)

tb_sign_1(6/16/2016, what remains of the Thunderbird sign, from the opposite angle, on side facing 494)

thunderbird_thru_2000(The Thunderbird in the year 2000)

tb11(Same view, 6/16/2016, during the “removal” of junk via the junk trucks)


The old Thunderbird Motel, which became the Ramada-Mall of America after 2005 …

Ramada2-600x330(Post 2005, The Ramada was just as busy, with its close vicinity to the Mall of America)

tb20(6/16/2016, the junk trucks taking their hauls of junk from the abandoned Thunderbird/Ramada)

closed its doors for the last time in the winter of 2016.  The motel is marked for demolition later this summer, 2016.  I took advantage of a beautiful summer afternoon in June (the hotel is just a mile or so from the office building in Bloomington that I work at) to walk around the fenced off motel complex, taking as many pictures with my iphone as I could.  You will see some of the photos I took, and in contrast with older photo-clips from the 1968 home movie youtube video , to show the last “breath” of the 1960’s in the professional sports corridor known as the Metropolitan Sports Complex in Bloomington, MN.  The 3 physical structures included Metropolitan Stadium, where the Twins and Vikings played from 1961-1981.  The Met Center where the North Stars played from 1967 to 1993.  And the Thunderbird Motel, of which the physical structure existed from 1962 to today, that is, until it is torn down later in the summer of 2016.

rizzuto_mingles_with_fans_outside_of_thunderbird_08-22-1968(Phil Rizzuto mingles with fans outside of Thunderbird Motel on 8/22/1968)

tb14(View on opposite side of Motel on 6/16/2016)

rizzuto_signing_autograph_thunderbird_08-22-1968(Rizzuto signing autographs for fans outside of the Thunderbird Motel, 8/22/1968)

rizzuto_walking_on_sidewalk_by_outdoor_pool_thunderbird_08-22-1968(Rizzuto walks along the sidewalk near the outdoor pool, Thunderbird Motel, 8/22/1968)

Mickey Mantle’s final season, 1968, meant one last stay for the Mick at the Thunderbird Motel.

mantle_leaving_thunderbird_08-22-1968(Mickey Mantle exiting the Thunderbird Motel on 8/22/1968)


tb3(Doorway exit to the external parking lot of the Thunderbird Motel, on the Metropolitan Stadium side of the motel, 6/16/2016)

mantle_entering_car_thunderbird_08-22-1968(Mantle getting into his “ride” parked outside of the Thunderbird Motel – note the sign, 8/22/1968)

Mickey Mantle would not disappoint Yankees or Twins fans for that matter, in what would be The Mick’s final game played at Metropolitan Stadium.  In fact, in his very last at-bat at Metropolitan Stadium (as seen towards the end of the youtube video), Mickey pinch-hits in the top of the 9th, down 3-0 with nobody on, facing Jim Merritt, who he had homered twice off of earlier in the month, and smacks his 16th HR of the 1968 season, a solo-shot, the 534th HR of his career.  He would hit just 2 more HR’s as his career ends a few weeks later.

mickeys_last_AB_at_metropolitan_stadium(Mickey steps on plate after homering in his last AB at Metropolitan Stadium, 8/22/1968)

The surroundings have changed, while the ghostly structure of the Thunderbird remains.  The following panoramic photo shows the Motel’s present location in relation to the Mall of America:

tb_pan_4(Mall of America on left, the old Thunderbird on right, 6/16/2016)

In-between the Mall of America and the old Thunderbird Motel, sits the IKEA store, which takes up the old location of the Met Center where the North Stars played from 1967 to 1993.

ikea_site_of_old_met_center(6/16/2016, The IKEA store, and note the street sign, “Thunderbird Rd” which leads to the parking lot for the old Thunderbird Motel location)

Thunderbird_Hotel_Near_Met_Center_large(The Thunderbird Motel advertising of the late 1960’s)


(Ad from a 1969 Twins program for the “Totem Pole” bar at the Thunderbird Motel)

As you can see from the above advertisement from 1969, for the “Totem Pole” bar, political correctness was still several years into the future.

About a year ago, I had hatched a plan to replay the 1965 All-Star game (my 1965 APBA Baseball replay is currently heading into the month of June), by renting a room at the Ramada, and with a view of the Mall of America where Met Stadium once stood.  With the Thunderbird Motel/Ramada’s impending demise, I’m looking into a back-up plan …


tb16(Photos taken June 16th, 2016)

TCABT-VI: Team Selection to begin 7/2

St. Louis Cardinals Stan Musial's Last Game
#6 – Stan “The Man” Musial

Team selection will begin this coming Saturday, July 2nd, 2016 for TCABT-VI:


What – The Neil Ess Memorial Twin Cities APBA Baseball Tournament – VI (TCABT-VI)

When – Saturday, October 1st, 2016 (dice rolling to begin around 8:30am)

Where – Darrell Skogen’s home

9575 Glacier Lane

Maple Grove, MN 55369

As team selections start to filter in on Saturday AM, July 2nd (after midnight), I will update this post with the entrants and their selections.  We plan to get to 32 entrants.  Once we get beyond 32, we will have a waiting list, with the possibility of expanding the tournament to 36 teams.  Also, any person on the waiting list would be asked to enter the tournament if their is a late drop-out.  Thanks!




  1. 1946 Red Sox – Chris Shores (Minneapolis, MN)
  2. 1930 A’s – Garth Anderson (Ramsey, MN)
  3. 1911 Giants – Gary Borthwick (Crystal, MN)
  4. 1948 Indians – Dave Norlander (Bloomington, MN)
  5. 1939 Yankees – Paul Van Beek (Winona, MN)
  6. 1995 Indians – Ben Lofgren (Hawley, MN)
  7. 1990 Athletics – Beau Lofgren (Hawley, MN)
  8. 2014 Orioles – Darrell Skogen (Maple Grove, MN)
  9. 1957 Braves – Jim Sce (Burbank, CA)
  10. 2001 Mariners – Phil Geraffo (Minnetonka, MN)
  11. 1953 Dodgers – Fred Johnson (Cottage Grove, MN)
  12. 2010 Twins – Kevin Cluff (Apple Valley, MN)
  13. 2015 Dodgers – Dan Walker (Woodbury, MN)
  14. 1981 Expos – Craig Christian (Eau Claire, WI)
  15. 1988 Twins – Eric Berg (Jacksonville, IL)
  16. 1930 Senators – Jim Fraasch (Savage, MN)
  17. 2008 Cubs – Pat Martin (Brooklyn Park, MN)
  18. 1977 Phillies – Leroy Arnoldi (Prior Lake, MN)
  19. 1930 Cardinals – Bruce Tyler (Elk River, MN)
  20. 1933 Pirates – Jeff Boeding (Platte City, MO)
  21. 1966 Astros – George Adams (Kansas City, MO)
  22. 1998 Padres – Ron Emch (Toledo, OH)
  23. 1985 Cardinals – Roy Langhans (Cockeysville, MD)
  24. 1962 Giants – Danny Skillings (Edina, MN)
  25. 1998 Braves – Steve Ryan (Harrison, TN)
  26. 2015 Astros – John Kalous (Shiloh, IL)

APBA’view: Darrell Skogen


(TCABT-I, Darrell on right, sizes up his opposition)

In my 6th “Jim’s APBA Barn” blog interview, I am finding it is hard to not find something remarkable about the people involved with APBA, with a variety of different backgrounds.  Darrell Skogen’s story is no different.  I came to know Darrell Skogen through the Twin Cities APBA Baseball Tournament group.  Back in 2013, 6 of us APBA devotees (Bruce Tyler, Leroy Arnoldi, Neil Ess, Darrell Skogen, Kevin Cluff and myself) met for lunch for the first time at O’Gara’s in St. Paul.  Upon meeting Darrell for the first time, I knew this was the same Darrell Skogen who had his various replays published in the APBAlone column in the APBA Journal back in the 1970’s/1980’s.  Darrell’s friendly manner is evident with the first firm handshake and smile.  If I had to give a quick 2-word description of Darrell, it would be “People Person”.  His friendly nature, quick-wit, and accommodating ways, only demonstrate a first impression, which is ultimately proven to be a very accurate description of a guy who has meant so much to so many in his 45 years of teaching.

Darrell’s home in Maple Grove, MN (northwest suburb of Minneapolis) has been home to each of our first 5 Twin Cities APBA Baseball Tournaments.  Darrell’s home has seen anywhere from 8 to now 30 tourney entrants make his home their tourney day home, which is the first Saturday every April and October.


(The 30 attendees of TCABT-V)

The availability of Darrell’s home means we are not held hostage to a “time limit” for a reserved locale, nor are we confined to just one area, or one room.  Between the kitchen, the dinette, the family room, the den, the library and more recently the basement, the dice have been flying throughout Darrell’s wonderful Maple Grove abode.  With the increased number of attendees, Darrell has yet to flinch.  Apparently 32 possible attendees for TCABT-VI will be accommodated as well.  The tourney day for the attendee is long.  But for Darrell, it is even longer.  Prep for the house, might begin to take place in the weeks leading up to the tourney.  I know that Darrell’s nephew, Rob Skogen, has provided much appreciated help for the pre-tourney prep at the house.  And when the day is done, and the attendees have all left, the house is, well, full of stuff from 30 guys eating food, rolling dice, and leaving personal items behind.  Bill Lilley plans to return to TCABT-VI, and he will find his Detroit Tigers jacket waiting for him, which he left behind the previous October while attending TCABT-IV.


(Darrell on left battles for the TCABT-V championship vs Kevin Cluff on right, the first time the Championship series was held in the basement)

Darrell even keeps his APBA collection, which is massive, open for viewing by the various attendees.  I’m not sure I would be able to do the same.  Cards which go back to original sets from the 1950’s, to the most recent seasons, are all available for viewing.  All he asks, is that you place the cards back to the season you pulled them from.  I believe Darrell is still looking for his 1938 Yankees which apparently were misplaced after one of the earlier tourneys.


(The 3 extra large storage bins, above, contain just half of Darrell’s APBA Baseball collection, with the remaining half below)


Darrell just retired from 45 years of teaching this June.  However, he has accepted a part-time position with his High School, St. Michael-Albertville.  This is a big-time blessing to those students and teachers who appreciate his ever vibrant personality and attitude walking the halls.  Darrell also plans to remain on the football staff as his STMA’s football statistician.

Onto the questions for Darrell Skogen, of Maple Grove, MN …

Jimsapbabarn question #1:  Tell Us About Yourself, Outside Of APBA.

Darrell Skogen:  I grew up in North Minneapolis, and my family moved to working class suburb Coon Rapids in 1961 when I was in 6th grade. Graduated from Coon Rapids High School, then Augsburg College in 1971, with masters degree from Hamline University in 1988. Two brothers, older one David who passed away last fall, and younger one Tom, who lives in Coon Rapids still. Majored in History and English at Augsburg, and am retiring this spring after 45 years teaching, 4 years in Wabasso, MN, and the last 41 at St. Michael-Albertville High School in St. Michael, MN. I live in Maple Grove in the home my wife Ruth and I purchased in 1981; she died of Lou Gehrig’s Disease, ALS, after an 8 year illness in 2002. I have done football stats for high school and college teams since my senior year in high school in 1966, and last fall STMA football won the class 5A championship in MN with me on the sidelines charting the game–first championship in my 50 years! I have also done stats for high school and college basketball 25 of the past 50 years. But my first love is baseball, which I started following closely in 1958 when I was 9 years old and began collecting baseball cards.

(Ed note:  the following link says it all about Darrell Skogen)

The direct video link contained in the article … a MUST SEE tribute!!!


Jimsapbabarn question #2:  How did you discover APBA?

Darrell Skogen:  I saw an ad in Baseball Digest for the game in the fall of 1961 and got my parents to buy the game for my birthday. First set of cards was the 1961 set. I began playing solo and taught my best friend Dave to also play the game, and we collaborated to complete 1965 shortly after I had played 1959 NL and 1957 AL by myself in the mid sixties. I continued to do replays, and after taking time off to go to college and not really touch the game, I got back into playing during the summers in the early years of my teaching career. I bought a bunch of original sets before reprints began, and by the early 90’s had every original set either in reality or copied by xerox machine. I purchased a bunch of the older seasons, and then Ruth got ill and the purchase of cards was limited to new sets only. I have six huge drawers full of sets now. I started playing in mail leagues in 1979, and currently I am in TBL (won the World Series in this 24 team master league in 2009) and NABL (just joined last season to have a non-master game league for more fun too). I have been the commissioner in several leagues, and have replayed a bunch of seasons in the basic game with no amendments to rules.




Jimsapbabarn question #3:  You recently retired from 45 years of teaching … what are your plans?

Darrell Skogen:  I ended a 45 year teaching career this spring and will collect full pension and social security. Since I am really old, I can also work pretty much unlimited amounts and triple dip, and I have been hired half time by my school district to continue teaching several AP college level classes to high schoolers. I will keep doing this as long as the part time work exists and I am well enough to do it.



Jimsapbabarn question #4:  I consider you a “Replay” guru, based on the many replays you have completed, and I recall reading about several of them in the old APBA Journal. List the replays you have completed. What replays are planned?

Darrell Skogen:  I have replayed every season from 1958-1970, as well as three original replays in which I traded players willy nilly (57 AL, 59 NL, and 65), which I am replaying to have “real” seasons. I just finished replaying 1959, and now I am working on 1965, 1971, 1972, and 1973 all at the same time. Going back and forth from year to year allows me to stay fresh, and as I get into the replays, one will stand out and then I will kick butt to finish it. Right now, I am really enjoying the 1965 replay, so it might get some pretty serious play this summer. All the replays are original game, basic rules, no adaptations other than the injury card. I use the boards from the sixties, the small book from 2006, and the new big book, depending on what kind of play I am doing. If the cards are original, I prefer the 06 booklet or the original boards. Just personal preference–I don’t get into questions about which ones might be more accurate for each replay. I move players from roster to roster during the season based on real life trades, and sometimes I have to make some cards to make a team able to have a bench until trades increase the size of their rosters enough. NO attempt to mirror the real season with lineups from Baseball Reference–I know a lot of guys like that, but I am not fanatic about it.

Below is Darrell’s 1968 replay published in the October, 1982 issue of the APBA Journal:





Jimsapbabarn question #5:  As the 5-time host of the Twin Cities APBA Baseball Tournament, what can you say is the best part of having 30+ APBA fanatics take up space in your home twice-annually?

Darrell Skogen:  It is cool to see all these guys come out of the wood work. We play in obscurity and don’t really know how many guys in our own area play–and then here are all these local guys, new friendships get made, great ideas for play get shared, and there is lots of camaraderie as you play games and eat/talk baseball between pool play series. It has been great fun to start this with Jim, Kevin, Leroy, Bruce, and Neil and see it take off. The guys who come in from greater distances have been great additions, and we have a nice blend of young and old players at the house. When I tell people about this, they can’t believe there are people as geeky as I am about a kid’s game I have played all of life since I was 12 years old!


(TCABT-III:  Darrell on left, Eric Berg and Scott Egge on right)


Jimsapbabarn question #6:  Your nephew Rob Skogen plays APBA. Has anyone else in the “family” shown any interest in your APBA hobby?

Darrell Skogen:  Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. My wife Ruth used to tell me she felt sorry for me and married me because I spent my time playing the game alone, so she assumed I had no friends and no life.


(The baseball library of Darrell Skogen, is another great room for rolling TCABT games within)



(Fred Johnson on left vs Gregg Nelson on right in the Skogen “Library”)


Jimsapbabarn question #7:  What would you like to see APBA Game Co. produce in the future (involving any of the sports)?

Darrell Skogen:  I am pretty much a baseball guy. I did play the football game in the sixties, and with the 1962 set, I played five seasons, trading players, creating expansion franchises…that led to the football stats as a senior in high school. I have the 1957 and 1958 cards as well, with the old football boards. But I am pretty satisfied with what Mr. Herson is providing at present for baseball, and if I have my cards, I don’t need much else to have all the gaming fun I am looking for.


(The game set-up at the Skogen home in the Den)


A quick “Around-the-horn” with Skogen:   around_the_horn




– Your favorite team and player of all-time?

Minnesota Twins, toss up on Harmon Killebrew and Kirby Puckett


– Your single best day as a school teacher?

Too many to have a permanent answer, but the day we won the state high school football tournament last fall is right up there with all time favorites.


(Darrell Skogen pictured on far left of football staff photo after St. Michael-Albertville 5A State Championship game won at TCFBank Stadium in Minneapolis)


– Your favorite ballpark?

Kansas City is beautiful; Twins Target Field is awesome; loved old Yankee Stadium, Fenway, and Wrigley. Hard to top Dodger Stadium. Hey, if it’s a ball park, I love it.



– Your favorite baseball announcer?

Vin Scully, hands down, all time, forever!



– Your favorite baseball movie?

Old time — Pride of the Yankees

New time — Bull Durham

I want to thank Darrell Skogen for taking the time to be part of my series of “APBA’view’s”.  Darrell’s generosity is ever-flowing.  I can only imagine what a wonderful woman your wife Ruth was.  The heavy irony of a die-hard baseball fan like yourself, ending up with a wife named Ruth, who tragically dies from ALS – Lou Gehrig’s disease.  It is easy to see why you leave the impression you do, as evidenced by the school produced retirement video.  You have touched a lot of peoples lives in a profound and positive way.

BTW, for those of you on the APBA Delphi Between-the-Lines forum, Darrell’s handle is “guru1987”.