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.
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.
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.
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
1930 SENATORS: 7 WINS, 3 LOSSES
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