Saturday, April 10th, 2021
Another beautiful day for APBA Baseball in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. 20 APBA fanatics were in the running for the 15th TCABT Championship. The Neil Ess Memorial Twin Cities APBA Baseball Tournament has been held semi-annually since April of 2014. Over the years, 22 participants have been from out-of-state. From Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin and from all 4 corners of the state of Minnesota.
Due to Covid, and Covid restrictions, our numbers have been down over the last 3 tournaments, including XV. Although with 20, we have our highest number since the Pandemic began. We have our sites set on 30+ for next October.
After the usual pre-tournament announcements, Q&A, and group photo, the dice began rolling non-stop (109 games) from about 8:45am to 6:00pm when we crowned our TCABT-XV Champion.
|DICK ALLEN DIVISION||W||L||R||OR||RDIFF|
|1998 BRAVES (BARRY BOEVERS)||6||3||33||24||9|
|1911 ATHLETICS (DAVE NORLANDER)||5||4||39||41||-2|
|1916 ROBINS (GARTH ANDERSEN)||4||5||34||37||-3|
|1980 EXPOS (CRAIG CHRISTIAN)||3||6||29||33||-4|
Barry Boevers and his 1998 Braves won the Dick Allen division outright with a 6-3 record and a +9 run diff. This was good enough for a #5 seed entry into the best-of-three 8-team bracket play round. Dave Norlander with his 1911 Athletics finished a close 2nd in the division, with a 5-4 record and a -2 run diff which landed him as the #8 seed (wild card) in the bracket play round. Dave had started the day 4-0, but dropped to 4-4 before winning his final division game, a 5-2 win over Craig Christian and his 1980 Expos. The 1916 Robins managed by Garth Andersen, finished 4-5 and in 3rd place. Garth had a tough time winning enough games after dropping his first 3 games of the day to Dave’s 1911 A’s. Craig’s 1980 Expos finished 3-6, after a 1-1 start followed by losing 4 straight, before winning 2 out of his final 3.
|CECIL COOPER DIVISION||W||L||R||OR||RDIFF|
|1928 ATHLETICS (BRUCE TYLER)||6||3||47||26||21|
|2019 DODGERS (BEN LOFGREN)||5||4||33||43||-10|
|2019 TWINS (FRED JOHNSON)||4||5||32||37||-5|
|1969 ORIOLES (PHIL GERAFFO)||3||6||26||32||-6|
Record wise, the Cecil Cooper Division was close. 1 game separated each place in the division. However, the run differential tells a different story where Bruce Tyler and his 1928 Athletics amassed a +21 run diff. Meanwhile, the 3 teams missing the cut each had a negative run diff, and most surprising would be the 2019 Dodgers with their -10 run diff, while their record was above .500. The 1928 A’s, wins were by modest margins, the biggest being a 9-2 win over the 2019 Dodgers. In 9 games, the 1928 A’s gave up only 26 runs in attaining their division crown with a 6-3 record. Meanwhile, Ben Lofgren with the division favorite, 2019 Dodgers, after starting the day 2-0 with 2 close wins over Bruce’s ’28 A’s, the wheels came off, and the Dodgers lost 3 straight, before managing to win 3 of their last 4 games, finishing with a 5-4 record, and failing to make the 8-team bracket play due to the their negative run diff. Fred Johnson and his 2019 Twins, 4-5, finished in 3rd place, as the 2019 Twins were unable to generate enough runs with that potent offense. Their high score on the day was 7 runs, twice. The 2019 Twins were on the brink of a playoff birth with a win in their 7th game to get to 4-3, but then dropped their final 2 games to Bruce’s 1928 A’s. Phil Geraffo and his 1969 Orioles, after getting shutout in their first game vs the 2019 Twins managed to win their next 2, with a shutout of their own in game 3. But 3 straight losses to Bruce’s ’28 A’s, was a hole too deep to climb out of.
|DAVEY LOPES DIVISION||W||L||R||OR||RDIFF|
|1936 YANKEES (LEROY ARNOLDI)||6||3||58||47||11|
|1922 GIANTS (JERRY JACOBS)||4||5||44||46||-2|
|1951 DODGERS (DAVID JONES)||4||5||46||48||-2|
|1982 BREWERS (KEVIN CLUFF)||4||5||36||43||-7|
It was a slow start for Leroy Arnoldi and his 1936 Yankees, going 1-2 in their first series of the day vs Jerry Jacobs and his 1922 Giants. But scoring runs at a consistent pace was the name of the game for Leroy. His 3 runs in the first game of the day would be the low, while never scoring fewer than 5 runs in his remaining 8 division games. 58 runs total in 9 games was good enough for a 6-3 record and a +11 run diff. Meanwhile, Jerry’s 1922 Giants, David Jones and his 1951 Dodgers and Kevin Cluff with the 1982 Brewers, slugged it out for a 3-way tie at 4-5. Jerry’s Giants after getting off to a 3-1 start, then melted away winning just 1 of their final 5 games. David Jones and the 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers, won their first game but then lost 4 straight before winning 3 of their final 4 to finish 4-5. Kevin Cluff and the 1982 Brew Crew were looking strong at 4-2 after their first 2 series, only to get swept in 3 by Leroy’s 1936 Yankees in the final series of the day for Kevin.
|THURMAN MUNSON DIVISION||W||L||R||OR||RDIFF|
|2014 DODGERS (DAVE DAWN)||6||3||56||39||17|
|1901 PIRATES (JIM FRAASCH)||5||4||44||34||10|
|1995 INDIANS (BEAU LOFGREN)||4||5||32||51||-19|
|1906 CUBS (JEFF BOEDING)||3||6||31||39||-8|
TCABT first-timer Dave Dawn and his 2014 Dodgers claimed the Thurman Munson division title by taking the final 2 games of the 3 game series vs division challenger, Jim Fraasch and his 1901 Pirates. Jim won the first game of the 3-game series 6-4, only to lose the final 2 games, 13-3 and 4-3. Dave finishes with a 6-3 record in division play and a +17 run diff. Jim’s 1901 Pirates climbed to 5-2 with that opening win vs the 2014 Dodgers, but quickly found themselves in survival mode after losing the final 2. The +10 run diff was strong enough for the 1901 Pirates to claim a wild card slot and the #6 seed in the 8-team bracket play. Beau Lofgren saw his 1995 Indians start slow even after starting the day 1-0 with a 6-5 win over the eventual division champs. Beau was 1-3 before winning 3 of 4 to climb back to .500, before dropping their final game, 7-6 to the 1906 Cubs. After winning the TCABT-XIV championship with another 1906 club, the 1906 Cleveland Naps, Jeff Boeding found out the hard way that a repeat was not in the making with his 1906 Cubs. Jeff’s 1906 Cubs went 1-2 in each of their 3 series.
|DUSTIN PEDROIA DIVISION||W||L||R||OR||RDIFF|
|1961 YANKEES (GARY BORTHWICK)||7||2||53||29||24|
|2001 MARINERS (ROB SKOGEN)||5||4||41||35||6|
|2004 CARDINALS (DARRELL SKOGEN)||3||6||41||50||-9|
|2010 PHILLIES (JIM HALL)||3||6||32||53||-21|
Gary Borthwick’s return to TCABT action was with the proverbial “Bang”! His 1961 Yankees lathered themselves with wins early and often, winning each of his first 2 series 2 games to 1, before sweeping the 2010 Phillies to close out the day with 4 straight wins. a 7-2 record and +24 run diff was good enough for the #1 seed in the 8-team bracket play. Meanwhile, Rob Skogen and his 2001 Mariners took 2nd place in the Dustin Pedroia Division and advanced to bracket play as a wild card with their 5-4 record and +6 run diff. Darrell Skogen’s return to TCABT action was a downer on the dice side of things, but you would never know with Darrell since he has the smile that won’t quit at each of our TCABT events, always just happy to be there enjoying the comradery. His 2004 Cardinals, once a championship finalist, finished 3-6 on this April afternoon. Jim Hall and his 2010 Phillies started the day with a 6-5 win over the 2001 Mariners, but then lost 3 straight before winning 2 more to claw back to .500. Alas, the 2010 Phillies were swept in the final series vs the division winning ’61 Yankees. It was a tough day for the Phils, but Hall will be back for action in October.
The 5 division winners plus 3 wild cards based on record and run differential to break ties, were entered in our best-of-three bracket play phase of TCABT play.
|1||1961 YANKEES (GARY BORTHWICK)||2||4||0|
|8||1911 ATHLETICS (DAVE NORLANDER)||10||11||2|
|2||1928 ATHLETICS (BRUCE TYLER)||6||3||4||1|
|7||2001 MARINERS (ROB SKOGEN)||1||4||5||2|
|3||2014 DODGERS (DAVE DAWN)||9||2||3||1|
|6||1901 PIRATES (JIM FRAASCH)||3||3||7||2|
|4||1936 YANKEES (LEROY ARNOLDI)||2||8||5||1|
|5||1998 BRAVES (BARRY BOEVERS)||6||4||6||2|
|5||1998 BRAVES (BARRY BOEVERS)||7||4||2|
|8||1911 ATHLETICS (DAVE NORLANDER)||5||2||0|
|6||1901 PIRATES (JIM FRAASCH)||3||2||2||2|
|7||2001 MARINERS (ROB SKOGEN)||1||3||1||1|
|5||1998 BRAVES (BARRY BOEVERS)||6||1||4||2|
|6||1901 PIRATES (JIM FRAASCH)||4||4||3||1|
This was one of the closest fought bracket play rounds I recall in TCABT play. 3 out of the 4 quarter-final series went 3 games. One of the semi-final series went 3 games and the championship series went the full 3 games. In all, 19 of the maximum 21 bracket play games were rolled. We still managed to complete the tournament by 6pm. In the 5 series that went the full 3 games, 4 of the 5 deciding games were decided by 1 run. Ironically, Gary Borthwick’s #1 seeded 1961 NY Yankees found a quick exit after getting swept by Dave Norlander’s 1911 Athletics. All 4 “worse” seeds won their Quarter-final series.
The only other sweep in the 7 bracket series was eventual TCABT-XV champ, Barry Boevers and his 1998 Braves taking down Dave Norlander and his 1911 A’s in the semi-finals. Meanwhile, in the other Semi-final, Jim Fraasch and his 1901 Pirates won 2 of 3 very close games vs Rob Skogen and his 2001 Mariners. 12 total runs between the 2 teams were scored in that series. Game 2 went 11 innings.
The championship series came down to Barry Boevers and his #5 seed 1998 Braves vs Jim Fraasch and his #6 seed 1901 Pirates. Game 1, Barry’s Braves won on a 9th inning walk-off, 2 out, 2 run homer by Keith Lockhart. 6-4 was the final. Game 2, with the 1901 Pirates trailing 1-0 after 3 (a solo HR by Lockhart in the 3rd), the Pirates put together a nice 3-run rally in the bottom of the 4th and added another run in the bottom of the 6th and held on for a 4-1 win, tying the series at a game apiece. Game 3, for all the marbles, another hard fought game. Both teams traded 2 runs in the 4th and 1 run in the 6th. 3-3 game entering the 10th. 3-3 game entering the 11th. 1901 Pirates go scoreless in the top of the 11th. In the bottom of the 11th, after Andruw Jones hit into a 6-4-3 DP, Ryan Klesko clobbered a 2-out, solo-HR to win the championship in walk-off fashion for Barry Boevers! Congratulations for a well played tournament by Barry, who was participating in his 2nd championship series, and came away with his 1st TCABT championship. The 1998 Braves are one of our most entered teams (8 times) in TCABT history. They are now eliminated from future TCABT events. Only the 1995 Indians have been entered more often (10 times – no championship). Barry also becomes the 2nd TCABT manager to win a championship on a walk-off homerun, and it also happened to be in the 11th inning. Kevin Cluff’s 2017 Nationals won TCABT-IX in the bottom of the 11th on a Ryan Zimmerman homer.
- (Submitted by Jim F) Ben Lofgren’s ability to avoid the camera … note, I had in my possession, from 3 different photo takers, a total of 56 pictures from the tourney day action. While Ben’s random body parts may appear in about 8 different photos, there ended up being only 1 photo where you can actually prove Ben was in attendance, using facial recognition, with his 2019 Dodgers on April 10th, 2021 (other than the group photo).
- (Submitted by Bruce Tyler) My 28 A’s lost the third game of the playoff with Rob Skogen by a score of 5 to 4. I balked twice with a man on 3rd to give Rob the winning runs. That was cruel.
- (Submitted by Barry Boevers) The crazy first stat that popped up for me was that the Braves scored 21 of their of their 71 runs in the 9th or extra innings. This included 8 multi run innings in the 9th or later. Crazy.
- (Submitted by Dave Norlander) Now the 1911 A’s have been eliminated by both World Series teams from 1998. I lost to Gary Borthwick’s 1998 New York Yankees in the finals of TCABT-X. (Dave lost to Barry’s ’98 Braves in the semifinals of TCABT-XV)
- (Submitted by Jerry Jacobs) The first time tourney entrant, 1922 Giants, brought their .305 team BA to TCABT-XV and proceeded to show their worth. They pounded out 102 hits compared to their opponents 75 and had a tourney BA of .302 but fell to a 4-5 record. They started the tourney fast with a 3-1 record but finished 1-4 where they lost two games in extra frames. Upon further review, if they had won one of those extra inning games, they would have been the 8th team to qualify for bracket play via a run differential tie breaker. Amazingly, their #3, #4 and #5 hitters never hit a double as the team connected for 81 singles, 14 doubles, 4 triples and 3 homers. In their final game, facing spoiler Dave Jones and the only “A” starter in the Davey Lopes Division with the score tied 4-4 in the bottom of the 9th, with one out the Giants had a fast runner on 3rd via a single and back to back stolen bases with their most feared hitter at the plate, Casey Stengel, who had 24 chances to win the game even though the Dodgers had 9 points in their air tight outfield. Casey rolled 12-25 and the DP forced extra frames where the ’51 Dodgers prevailed 6-4 in 12 innings. The nemesis Dodgers also turned DP’s in the 4th, 7th, & 10th innings to neutralize the 16 hits the Giants produced. The game ended in the 12th facing a “D” with the tieing runners on 2nd & 3rd with Cunningham at the plate who has a “9” on 42 and 62. “One roll away” is probably the battle cry of more than just one team as 20 teams scratched for 8 bracket spots.
Thank you to our 20 entrants in TCABT-XV. We go at it again, this coming fall … Saturday, October 2nd, 2021 at the Youth Center in Shakopee, MN. 30+ will be in attendance.
A word about Beau Lofgren: Beau was at our April TCABT-XV tournament, back for the first time since TCABT-X. I found out a few weeks ago, about the heroic efforts of Beau risking his own life to rescue one of Ben Lofgren’s students, on a 2-day school field trip to the North Shore of Minnesota, Gooseberry Falls. This is an annual trip, but the first time a student ended up in danger. The event occured on Wednesday, May 26th. Ben was at the other end of the park with other students, away from the falls when one of his students ended up in the chilling waters. Beau was nearby and made the risky dive into the water. Beau and the student ended up plunging down the 20+ foot drop at the bottom of the falls where they were both pulled to the shore by passerbys who were in the area. Both sustained broken bones. Beau was in worse condition compared to the younger student. Beau is expected to make a full recovery this summer, and word has it, he will probably end up with plenty of time to play APBA, among other things. I cannot say enough about the Lofgren brothers … they are always a welcome site at our tournaments and here is to years to come with both Beau and Ben in attendance!