SATURDAY, APRIL 2ND, 2016
The Neil Ess Memorial Twin Cities APBA Baseball Tournament-V is just around the corner, Saturday, April 2nd, 2016. 30 APBA enthusiasts are entered and ready to bring home some hardware. This is the biggest turn-out yet, surpassing the 23 entrants we had last October when Leroy Arnoldi won his 2nd tournament in 4 tries, guiding the 1937 Yankees to the TCABT-IV title.
With 30 entrants, the field is packed with a variety of worthy teams, ranging from 1910 to 2015. 5 teams from one franchise, the Athletics. The Philadelphia A’s from 1910 (Bruce Tyler), 1929 (Fred Johnson), and 1949 (George Adams) are in the mix. As are the Oakland A’s from 1976 (Joe Pavlicek) and 2001 (Beau Lofgren). Beau’s brother Ben, is the first entrant to select a Blue Jays team, as Ben attempts to guide the 1985 Blue Jays to a TCABT championship. The Yankees are well represented, with the 1961 Yankees (Leroy Arnoldi), the 1998 Yankees (Scott Ellingworth) and the 2007 Yankees (Cleon Pavlicek). For the first time in TCABT history, we have 3 Twins teams entered: The 1969 Twins (Dave Norlander), the 1987 Twins (Dan Walker) and the 2006 Twins (Chris Lyons).
Pitching stud, Bob Gibson, and his ’68 A&C, makes its first TCABT appearance with the 1968 Cardinals (Rob Skogen). His uncle, Darrell Skogen, is giving the 2004 Cardinals another run for their money. Another repeat team, is Kevin Cluff and his 2011 Rangers.
St. Louis is another city which is well represented, as the 1922 Browns (Curt Bartel) make their first TCABT appearance.
2015 with some very strong teams in the post-season are seeing 3 teams enter TCABT-V: the 2015 World Champion Royals (Eric Berg from IL), the 2015 Mets (Scott Egge) and the 2015 Cardinals (Phil Geraffo), the 4th St. Louis team in the tourney (3 Cardinals and 1 Browns).
Ron Emch, who made our 1st TCABT tourney, all the way from Toledo, OH, is making his 2nd TCABT tourney trip, and will be managing the 1962 Giants.
From Duluth, MN, Roger Parsons has selected the ’72 Pirates, giving Roberto Clemente another chance to work some magic.
We have 3 father/son pairings in TCABT-V: Curt Bartell (’22 Browns) and his son Andy (1999 Diamondbacks) from Oconomowoc, WI. We have Joe Pavlicek (’76 A’s) along with his son Cleon (2007 Yankees) returning from Bloomington, MN. And we have Chris Shores (1912 Red Sox) back for his 2nd tourney, from Minneapolis, along with his father, Tom (’75 Reds), who is flying out for the tourney from Massachusetts. Tom will win the “Long Distance” award this go-round.
Craig Christian from Eau Claire, making his 4th trip out of 5, has the ’88 Mets. Gary Borthwick making his 2nd tourney, has the 1920 Tribe. Pat Martin is taking the ’54 Indians and a much needed day off from Saturday work.
While Gregg Nelson’s brother Jeff Nelson will be checking his balls and strikes counter preparing to umpire the 2016 MLB season, Gregg has checked in with the lumber-loaded 1997 Mariners.
Jeff Boeding (’77 Phillies) will be returning from KC, making the drive with George Adams (’49 A’s). Jeff has made all 5 tourneys from KC.
I decided to give a Senators team a shot, to see if they can shake their “last in the American League” moniker, with the 1930 Senators.
With the teams randomly dealt into the 5, 6-team divisions, there are some intriguing match-ups, as well as some variety. Here is how they ended-up (note the division names are from MLB players who were born in the state of Minnesota):
JERRY KOOSMAN DIVISION
1961 YANKEES (LEROY ARNOLDI)
1997 MARINERS (GREGG NELSON)
1954 INDIANS (PAT MARTIN)
1985 BLUE JAYS (BEN LOFGREN)
1962 GIANTS (RON EMCH)
1969 TWINS (DAVE NORLANDER)
ROGER MARIS DIVISION
2011 RANGERS (KEVIN CLUFF)
2015 ROYALS (ERIC BERG)
1999 DIAMONDBACKS (ANDY BARTEL)
1988 METS (CRAIG CHRISTIAN)
1920 INDIANS (GARY BORTHWICK)
2015 CARDINALS (PHIL GERAFFO)
JOE MAUER DIVISION
1930 SENATORS (JIM FRAASCH)
1998 YANKEES (SCOTT ELLINGWORTH)
1976 ATHLETICS (JOE PAVLICEK)
1922 BROWNS (CURT BARTEL)
1977 PHILLIES (JEFF BOEDING)
2001 ATHLETICS (BEAU LOFGREN)
PAUL MOLITOR DIVISION
2004 CARDINALS (DARRELL SKOGEN)
2007 YANKEES (CLEON PAVLICEK)
1949 ATHLETICS (GEORGE ADAMS)
2015 METS (SCOTT EGGE)
1987 TWINS (DAN WALKER)
1975 REDS (TOM SHORES)
DAVE WINFIELD DIVISION
1910 ATHLETICS (BRUCE TYLER)
1968 CARDINALS (ROB SKOGEN)
1972 PIRATES (ROGER PARSONS)
2006 TWINS (CHRIS LYONS)
1929 ATHLETICS (FRED JOHNSON)
1912 RED SOX (CHRIS SHORES)
Each team will play a 10-game round-robin schedule (2 games vs each team in their division). 5 division winners and 3 wild-card teams will make the best-of-three bracket play round.
Play will begin around 8:30am, immediately following the traditional group-photo. Host Darrell Skogen’s home, will be laid out so that the 5 divisions will each have their own area to complete their 10-game round-robin division play. Darrell has been the gracious host for all 5 of our tournaments.
Also for the first time, the entrants will be playing for some new hardware. With several long-time TCABT members chipping in donations, we were able to purchase 2 identical trophies which were acquired from the estate of Harmon Killebrew. The trophies were left-overs from a fantasy camp that Killebrew had led. We have dedicated one trophy for our April tourney and one trophy for our October tourney, with the engravings indicating when the Neil Ess Memorial Twin Cities APBA Baseball Tournament was established along with the individual championship engravings, for April’s 2 previous champs and October’s 2 previous champs. The winners of each month’s tourneys will keep the trophies for 1 full year, returning the trophy the following year, after having their championship engraving added to the perpetual trophies.