superstar baseball [Updated October 2004]  

2004 WBC Report  

 2005 Status: pending December Membership Century Vote

Chris Palermo, NY

2004 Champion

2nd: Ken Richards, SC

3rd: Greg Schmittgens, KS

4th: Pete Putnam, PA

5th: Devin Flawd, PA

6th: Dan Dolan Sr, NJ

Event History
1991    Mike Ryan      21
1992    John Brandeberry        9
1993    Mike Ellsworth      16
1994    Randy Cox      16
1996    Jon Diminnie      11
1997    Henry Richardson        8
1998    Harry Flawd III        9
1999    Randy Cox     18
2000    Carl Coscia     20
2001    Mike Hazel     24
2002    Ken Samuel     20
2003    Gordon Elgart     18
2004    Chris Palermo     22

Offsite links:

AREA Ratings


Rank Name


 1. Chris Palermo


 2. Ken Samuel


 3. Randy Cox


 4. Gordon Elgart


 5. Mike Hazel


 6. Carl Coscia


 7. Henry Richardson


 8.  Ken Richards


 9. John Emery


10. Jared Scarborough


11. Greg Schmittgens


12. Bob Jamelli


13. Ralph Gleaton


14. Pete Putnam


15. Greg Berry


16. Ben Goldstein


17. Michael Destro


18. Devin Flawd


19. Bill Beckman


20. Darren Velez


21. Harry Flawd


22. Terry Coleman


23. Dan Dolan Sr


24. Joe Haardt


25. Bill Cleary



Past Winners

1991: Mike Ryan - NS
1992: John Brandeberry - IL
1993: Mike Ellsworth - IL

Randy Cox, SC
1994, 1999

Jon Diminnie, TN

Henry Richardson, VA

Harry Flawd - PA

Carl Coscia - DC

Mike Hazel - SC

Ken Samuel - VA

Gordon Elgart - CA

The Nation's Pastime ...

The annual Sports Illustrated (a.k.a. Superstar) Baseball tournament took place in its traditional Saturday 9 a.m. slot and gained a few participants this year. Twenty-two players congregated for the draft, where players selected an all-franchise all-star team when their name was selected from the random draw. First up was Harry Flawd, wearing his Boston shirt and he chose his beloved Red Sox. A generous gift from Greg Schmittgens allowed each manager to wear a team button depicting their franchise logo.

After about 25 minutes, all 22 managers had selected a team and been assigned to one of six tables. Four tables included four teams while the other two were one man short, meaning those managers played only two games apiece to complete the round-robin league preliminaries.

Table 1 was our newbie table. As a coached event, the GM guided these four players through the mechanics of game play. In this table's first games, Ken Richard's Astros came back to defeat Dan Dolan Sr's Late Negro League stars 8-6 while Timothy Tilch and his Rangers were topping Steve Vance's Tigers 9-7. Game 2 saw the Negro Leaguers edging the Tigers 2-1 while the Rangers won a nail-biter over the Astros on a 13th inning walk-off grand slam by Don Lock. When the Astros shut out the Tigers 4-0 in their final game, they were hoping for the Negro Leaguers to knock off the undefeated Rangers to cause a 3-way tie for the table crown. Then it would come down to run differential. Well, manager Dolan must have realized this, as he not only topped the pitching-depleted Rangers, but did so in convincing fashion, 12-1, to wind up with the best run differential and win the table with his two victories. Late Negro Leaguers advance.

At table 2, Harry's Red Sox lost a close one to Jon Welage's Athletics, 4-3 while Greg's surprising Pirates were unhinging David Rynkowski's Reds 6-2. Jon's A's continued their steamroll by outscoring Pittsburgh 8-6 as Harry was winning his first (and only) game over the hapless reds by a score of 6-4. When John put away the Reds 9-4, the table was decided. The final game at the table saw the Red Sox curse continue as they were outscored by the Pirates 7-5. The A's advance.

Meanwhile, over at Table 3, Joe Haardt's Cleveland Indians bested Mike Destro's beloved Phils 6-5 while the Seattle Mariners, under the tutelage of Devin Flawd were shutting out Steven Campbell's Orioles, 3-0. It pays to have Randy Johnson on staff. Round 2 saw another one-run loss by the Phils, this time by a tally of 5-4 to the O's. But the statistical highlight was taking place in the other game, where the Indians' Herb Score no-hit the Mariners in an 8-0 whitewash. Seven, count them, seven walks kept Score's ego somewhat in check. When Mike lost his third one-run game 4-3 to the Mariners, Devin needed an O's victory to create the three-way tie, much like Table 1. And, that's what happened as Baltimore outscored Cleveland 7-2, leaving the table in a tiebreaker situation. Joe's Indians had a slim +4 run differential and that edged the Orioles by one run. Indians advance.

At our last full table, Lee Fitzgerrell's Yankees were poised to dominate when they took on perennial bridesmaid Chris Palermo's Boston/Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves. But Greg Maddux must have been too much for the Yanks (not to mention the three-out handicap New York had to give) and the Braves won the game 6-3. At the same time, past champion Mike Hazel's Mets were topping Bob Jamelli's Twins and Senators 7-4. Game two saw the Braves lose a close one to Bob's team 2-1 while the Yankees went down to their cross-town rivals 4-3. A third loss by the Yanks could set up yet another three-way tie, and of course that's what happened as they lost another one-run game (7-6) to the Twins & Senators. Chris' task was to defeat the Mets and hold on to his positive run differential. And his Braves took care of business, brushing off the Mets 8-3. Braves advance.

Our first short table led off with an excellent game. Not only was it played swiftly (always a good thing for any tournament), but a Willie Mays walk-off, 11th inning homer allowed Bruce Young's Giants to defeat Greg Berry's Early Negro League All-Stars 3-1. But there was no rest for the weary. The second round bye went to the Negro Leaguers and Bruce faced Alex Vye's underappreciated Montreal Expos. Even with the four-out handicap the Giants conceded, they won their second game 4-1. By going 2-for-2 (and being given a victory for the bye), the Giants had guaranteed the league crown. In the final game, for honor and higher pecking order in the wild card draw, the Early Negro Leaguers squeaked by Montreal 8-7. Giants advance.

Our last table was interesting. Off the bat, Pete Putnam's Brooklyn/LA Dodgers topped Jeremy Billones' Cardinals 6-2. When they pummeled John Emery's Cubs 11-2 in their second game, the table championship was sealed, just as was the case at Table 5. But rather than playing the consolation game, John forfeited to Jeremy in the mostly meaningless final game so he could make it to the Britannia semi-finals. So, the Dodgers advanced. The interesting thing here is that Jeremy played exactly one game (the first one, against the Dodgers) and lost. But the forfeit and bye combined to make the Cardinals record 2-1, qualifying them for the second draw in the Wild Card selection process.

And with six teams chosen, it was time for that Wild Card draw to round out the eight-team single-elimination playoffs. The first draw included only teams who lost their table championship due to the tiebreaker formula and the team drawn was the Houston Astros, from Table 1. Then, all other 2-1 teams (like Billones' Cards) were added to the bag and our second wild card became the Pittsburgh Pirates. But when Bruce Young had to withdraw his Giants (also to make those pesky Britannia semis), one more draw was necessary. Per our rules, we had to add teams with only one victory to the mix, and that meant Harry Flawd had new life. To further set the stage, this draw would face Harry's long-time foe, Chris Palermo, in the first playoff bracket. And the draw revealed, drum roll, Flawd! But instead of Harry, it was his son Devin, whose Mariners were a legitimate 2-1 team.

In the first round of the playoffs, Greg S's Pirates jumped out early on Dolan's Late Negro Leaguers. But those potent Negro League bats are fierce and they kept pecking away until, in the ninth inning, the mighty Josh Gibson came to the plate as the tying run. Alas, this time Casey struck out and Pittsburgh's Wilbur Cooper had survived for the victory over the immortal Satchel Paige, 10-8. In the sister bracket, the Athletics' Catfish Hunter couldn't stop the Astros. The 'stros won in a walkover by a score of 6-1. Nolan Ryan struck out 8 of the first 10 A's he faced and 10 total for the day.

Cleveland sent Hall of Famer Bob Feller to the mound to face a strong Dodger team. And in 8 of the nine innings, he and the Indians did well. But a big seven-run inning did enough damage for the Trolly Dodgers to advance with an 8-4 victory. Roy Campanella was the star, going four-for-five with three ribbies, behind Orel Hershiser's pitching. And in the last quarterfinal game, Devin decided to hold Randy Johnson in reserve for game 2 and sent unheralded Mike Moore to the mound against the Braves. Lo and behold, the Mariners had a comfortable three-run lead going into the last-chance ninth inning when pinch-hitter Rico Carty tied the game with a home run. A minute later, it was over and the Braves had come from behind to secure the victory. As Devin noted upon his departure, "it wasn't so bad, he got lucky." True indeed.

The first semi-final game pitted Mike Scott and the Astros against John Candelaria and the Pirates. Scott got a complete game 2-1 victory in a somewhat uneventful game. Similarly uneventful was the Braves-Dodgers game. Greg Maddux went the distance, tossing a four-hitter and allowing only one walk as Atlanta shut out LA 6-0. Dazzy Vance didn't dazzle for the Dodgers, allowing nine hits and seven walks in seven innings. But he did strike out 12 Braves.

So the final was set. The pitching-deep Astros were the favorites against the Braves who had used both Glavine and Maddux in their journey to the finals.

The championship game came down to a contest between two pitching icons of the 1980s-Phil Niekro of the Braves against a visiting Astros with J.R. Richard on the mound. And they didn't fail to please, as we saw a dandy pitchers' duel. Though the Astros placed runners on base in each of the first three innings, defensive gems from Ralph Garr (twice!) and Fred Tenney squelched the scoring threats. In the bottom of the third, Richard allowed a lead-off single to Niekro and, after Garr flied out to right, he was still obviously addled by the hit from the opposing pitcher and he walked Herman Long. Jose Cruz saved a run with a diving catch in shallow right field and there were two down and two on for Eddie Matthews. A clutch triple cleared the bases before Richard struck out Aaron to end the inning. After three complete, the Braves led 2-0.

A two-out double by Atlanta's Sweeney in the bottom of the fourth, followed by a walk to Niekro could have blown the game open, but Richard took charge by striking out Garr. The top of the fifth saw Houston put men on first and second with one out. A fielder's choice followed by a clutch single by Cruz plated Denis Menke to bring the score to 2-1.

The bottom of the sixth had Astro fans holding their collective breath. Berger led off with a single, and Tenney lined a shot towards right-center field, but Bill Doran leapt high to make the out and keep the runner on first. Sweeney singled and Warren Spahn (who was relieving for Niekro) walked, loading the bases with only one out for Ralph Garr. As he had done in the fourth inning, Garr struck out leaving the bases jammed and two down for Herman Long. A scorcher to the hot corner was snared by Doug Rader and Richard was out of the jam. In game terms, that was a strikeout and two exceptional defensive plays nestled inside two singles and a walk.

Little happened until the top of the ninth inning, when Don McMahon relieved a tiring Spahn. Things started well when McMahon struck out Ausmus, but Menke doubled to bring up J.R. Richard. Bill Spiers was chosen to pinch hit and he worked a walk from the new reliever.

Manager Chris Palermo decided to stick with McMahon, but his counterpart, Ken Richards, surprisingly chose to pinch hit for Cesar Cedeno with two on and one out. The selected pinch-hitter was Jerry Mumphrey, who grounded to second base, leaving runners on first and third for Jose Cruz, who was two-for-three with an RBI and would have been perfect for the day had it not been for a diving catch by Ralph Garr. McMahon gritted his teeth, delivered the 3-2 pitch, and Cruz watched as the final strike crossed the plate, sealing the victory for the Bravos.

Box Score 
Houston 000 010 000 - 1 7 0
Atlanta 002 000 00x - 2 9 0
ab r h b po a e
Cedeno cf     4 0 1 0  1 0 0
Mumphrey ph  1 0 0 0  0 0 0
Cruz rf       4 0 2 1  4 0 0
Bagwell 1b    4 0 0 0  5 1 0
Gonzalez lf   3 0 0 0  1 0 0
Doran 2b      3 0 0 0  3 2 0
Rader 3b      4 0 2 0  1 2 0
Ausmus c      4 0 0 0  8 1 0
Menke ss      4 1 2 0  0 1 0
Richard p     2 0 0 0  1 0 0
Spiers ph    0 0 0 0  0 0 0
33 1 7 1 24 7 0
ab r h b po a e
Garr lf       4 0 0 0  6 0 0
Long ss       3 1 0 0  3 4 0
Murphy c      4 0 2 0  7 1 0
Mathews 3b    4 0 1 2  0 0 0
Aaron rf      4 0 2 0  2 0 0
Berger cf     4 0 1 0  2 0 0
Tenney 1b     3 0 0 0  5 1 0
Sweeney 2b    4 0 2 0  2 2 0
Niekro p      1 1 1 0  0 0 0
Spahn p      0 0 0 0  0 0 0
Carty ph     1 0 0 0  0 0 0
McMahon p    0 0 0 0  0 0 0
32 2 9 2 27 8 0
DP-Hou 1, Atl 1. LOB-Hou 10, Atl 10.
2B-Cedeno, Menke, Murphy, Aaron,
Sweeney. 3B-Mathews.
ip h r er bb so
Richard L(0-1) 8 9 2  2  4  8
Niekro W(1-0)  5 5 1  1  2  2
Spahn          3 1 0  0  2  3
McMahon S(1)   1 1 0  0  1  2
Time: 0:25
League Results
Tbl.1	Badge	Name	Team	W	L	R	OR	Diff
A	485	Dan Dolan Sr.	Late Negro	2	1	20	10	+10
B	1688	Ken Richards	Astros	2	1	12	10	+2
C	2099	Steven Vance	Tigers	0	3	8	15	-7
D	2629	Timothy Tilch	Rangers	2	1	14	19	-5
Astros 8-Negro 6	Rangers 9-Tigers 7
Negro 2-Tigers 1	Rangers 4-Astros 0
Negro 12-Rangers 1	Astros 4-Tigers 0
A	637	Harry Flawd	Red Sox	1	2	14	15	-1
B	2158	Jon Welage	A's	3	0	21	13	+8
C	2746	David Rynkowski	Reds	0	3	10	21	-11
D	1804	Greg Schmittgens	Pirates	2	1	19	15	+4
A's 4-Red Sox 3	Pirats 6-Reds 2
Red Sox 6-Reds 4	A's 8-Pirates 6
Pirates 7-Red Sox 5	A's 9-Reds 4
A	460	Mike Destro	Phillies	0	3	12	15	-3
B	821	Joe Haardt	Indians	2	1	16	12	+4
C	276	Steven Campbell	Orioles/Browns	2	1	12	9	+3
D	636	Devin Flawd	Mariners	2	1	7	11	-4
Indians 6-Phillies 5	Mariners 3-Orioles 0
Orioles 5-Phillies 4	Indians 8-Mariners 0
Mariners 4-Philles 3	Orioles 7-Indians 2
A	2593	Lee Fitzgerrells	Yankees	0	3	12	17	-5
B	1539	Chris Palermo	Braves	2	1	15	8	+7
C	871	Mike Hazel	Mets	2	1	14	15	-1
D	974	Bob Jamelli	Twins/Senators	2	1	13	14	-1
Braves 6-Yankees 3	Mets 7-Twins 4
Mets 4-Yankees 3	Twins 2-Braves 1
Twins 7-Yankees 6	Braves 8-Mets 3
Tbl.5	Teams below received 1 extra win via bye
A	2241	Bruce Young	Giants	3	0	7	2	+5
B	137	Greg Berry	Late Negro	2	1	9	10	-1
C	2689	Alex Vye	Expos	1	2	8	12	-4
Giants 3-Negro 1
Giants 4-Expos 1
Negro 8-Expos 7
Tbl.6	Teams below received 1 extra win via bye
A	2047	Pete Putnam	Dodgers	3	0	17	4	+13
B	152	Jeremy Billones	Cardinals	2	1	2	6	-4
C	557	John Emery	Cubs	1	2	2	11	-9
Dodgers 6-Cardinals 2
Dodgers 11-Cubs 2
Cardinals win by forfeit against Cubs

From the winner's perspective . . .

Picking in the middle of the pack is never a good sign. Looking at the handicaps, it was important to pick a 'mid-level' team -- one that was still good, but didn't give up too many outs. I ended up getting lucky and choosing the Atlanta Braves -- by far my favorite team -- with the complete attitude of "I'm just going to have fun."

I got placed in a division with the New York Mets, Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees. I immediately decided I would play for the wildcard spot, and saved my best pitchers for the Mets and Twins (assuming the Yankees were going to beat me badly, either way).

Still, I realized the Yankees were loaded with lefties -- Ruth, Gehrig, Berra, Mattingly -- and only one or two 'great' righties -- primarily DiMaggio (Mantle is, of course, a switch hitter). So, in my one 'strategic' move, I elected to start leftie Warren Spahn against the Yankees, hoping to stave off some of that leftie power.

Spahn pitched a masterful game, and the Braves got to Guidry early. In the second inning, a two-run double by Bob Horner scored Wally Berger and Dale Murphy, to put the Braves up 2-0. The Yankees scored in the 4th, when Derek Jeter drove home Stuffy Stirnweiss from second on a two-out single, and Ruth's homerun in the 5th seemed destined to open the floodgates.

But Spahn bore down, an d retired Mantle, Randolph and Gehrig in order, following Ruth's homer, and in the top of the 6th inning, with two outs and Chipper Jones on first, Spahn came to the plate and promptly drove the Guidry offering over the right-field wall, helping his cause.

The Yankees scored again in the 6th, with Jeter driving in his second run of the day, but the wind had definitely been taken from their sails, and two innings later, the Braves scored another two when Eddie Mathews, pinch-hitting for Spahn, hit a two-out, two-run homer to give the Braves a 6-3 cushion that they held till the end of the game.

Spahn pitched seven innings, allowing only five hits, two walks and three earned runs, and of course, hit the 2-run homer that put the Braves ahead for good. Comparatively, Guidry lasted seven innings as well, but allowed eight hits and fuve walks, with the five earned runs.

Feeling quite good, I marched into Minnesota to take on the Twins. What resulted was a tremendous pitcher's duel. Through five innings, Greg Maddux and Bert Blyleven had faced a TOTAL of five batters more than the minimum. In the sixth inning, Dale Murphy singled and Eddie Mathews singled him to second. A Hank Aaron double-play seemingly killed the rally, but Wally Berger's single did score Murphy.

But, in the bottom of the 6th, Maddux allowed a single to Rod Carew, and Travers sacrificed him to second. After deciding against the intentional walk, Maddux got Harmon Killebrew to ground out. With Tony Oliva up and Kirby Puckett on deck, Maddux made the decision to pitch to Oliva, and Oliva made him pay, with a two-run homerun.

Worse still, Blyleven retired the next nine batters he faced, in order, and the Braves never had a chance. Blyleven pitched well -- with seven hits, three walks and eight strikeouts in nine innings, while Maddux pitched even better -- six hits, no walks and eight strikeouts in eight innings; but Blyleven got the stat that counts: the win.

At this point, the stage was set for the endgame -- The Yankees had also lost to the Mets, putting them at 0-2. The Mets had also beat the Twins, so they were 2-0, and the Twins and Braves were 1-1. As long as the Braves beat the Mets, the Braves SHOULD be guaranteed the division win. The Twins-Yankees game was only important in that the Twins couldn't win by a landslide.

The Mets struck first, with Dwight Gooden driving in one run and Mookie Wilson driving in a second in the second inning. The Braves threatened -- Mathews hit a triple in the 4th, and Aaron walked, but Berger flied out to end the inning. In the bottom of the 5th, the Braves finally scored a run, as Sweeney singled, was sacrificed to second by pitcher John Smoltz, and scored on Ralph Garr's single, but Long struck out to end the inning.

And, adding insult, in the top of the 6th, the Mets scored a run themselves, when Darryl Strawberry singled home Todd Hundley, after two consecutive wild pitches from Smoltz.

Looking defeated, the Braves staggered into the bottom of the 6th. Dale Murphy led off with a flyout to left field. Mathews reached on an error, and Hank Aaron singled. Wally Berger singled (after his homerun was negated by Gooden's "(HR)" rating), driving home Mathews and putting Aaron on second. Gooden then hit Tenney with a pitch, loading the bases. Sweney cleared the bases with a double, making the score 5-3. Smoltz, left in the game, struck out, and Ralph Garr singled, driving in Sweeney. Long than blasted a two-run homerun to make the score 8-3, and Smoltz coasted the rest of the way.

With a +7 run differential in my three games, I was the clear winner of the division, and advanced to face the Seattle Mariners. I decided to pitch a 3-man rotation of Sain, Maddux and Smoltz in the playoffs. That decision did NOT work out.

Sain started and ran into trouble in the first inning, when Edgar Martinez launched a three-run home run. Meanwhile, Mike Moore (MIKE MOORE!!!!) was coasting through the lineup, only running into a little trouble in the 4th, when Tenney's single scored Berger after his double.

Sain only lasted through the 3rd, when he was pinch hit for. Playing for their playoff lives, Smoltz was brought in, and, again, the Mariners scored another insurance run in the 7th, after Griffey's groundout scored Ichiro from 3rd, after Suzuki's triple.

In the bottom of the 8th, the Braves tried to scrape back, when Murphy's triple scored Long with no outs, but Moore knuckled down to retire the next three batters without incident.

In the bottom of the 9th, Tenney led off with a single. Duffy pinch-hit for Sweeney and struckout, and Rico Carty strutted to the plate for his first appearance of the tournament, pinch-hitting for the pitcher. A second alter, the game was tied at 4, as Carty blasted a two-run shot. Moore, now clearly shaken, allowed a double to the ubiquitous Ralph Garr, and Moore was taken out (after a dynamite performance -- 13 hits, 0 walks and nine strikeouts in 8.1 innings). Jeff Nelson was brought in to face Long, who ripped a single scoring Garr, and just like that, the game was over. Braves win, 5-4.

Up next was the Dodgers, and the Braves elected to throw Maddux, figuring that, even a second place finish was okay (since you got a plaque [this was not true, however]), so it made more sense to GET to the finals, rather than save Maddux for the finals.

Maddux pitched a gem, allowing only four hits and a walk over nine innings. Everyone was shut down, with only Dolph Camilli and Duke Snider reaching base more than once. For the Braves, the scoring and hitting was spread out, as they scored a run each in the 1st and 5th innings and a pair in the 2nd and 6th innings, to get past the Dodgers 6-0. Dazzy Vance was feast or famine in a losing effort, allowing nine hits, seven walks and 12 strikeouts in seven innings.

On to the finals, against the Houston Astros, who STILL had JR Richard for the final game. For the Braves, the ball was handed to Phil Niekro, who made HIS first start of the tournament. The Braves struck first, on a two-out triple by Eddie Mathews in the 3rd, which scored Niekro and Long. The Astros cut the deficit in half in the 5th, when Jose Cruz's two-out single scored Menke. Niekro was promptly removed, and Warren Spahn was put in to shut the door.

Both teams threatened after that -- the Braves loaded the bases in the 6th, with one out, but Richard retired the next two batters. In the 8th, Houston had runners on first and second with two outs, but Rader flied out. Finally, in the top of the 9th, Spahn got tight, and had to be removed. Atlanta's first pure-reliever to enter a game was Don McMahon. He started off well, with a strikeout of Ausmus, but Menke doubled, and pinch-hitter Spiers walked. At this point, all I was thinking was 1) let's hope they don't score more than one run, and 2) at least Richard is finally out.

Houston pinch-hit for Cedeno and the result was a ground out. With two outs and runners on first and third, Jose Cruz stepped to the plate ­ the same situation as the 5th inning. This time though, McMahon came at him harder than Niekro did, and Cruz went down on strikes.

Two interesting points about the last game: Ralph Garr, who entered the game hitting .524, was held hitless, and the Atlanta pitchers reached base every time they were up (a single and two walks).

For the tournament, even with his lackluster final game, Garr still led the team in hitting at .440. Mathews was second at .350,and Aaron hit .304. The team hit four t riples and five homers in six games -- with no one hitting more than one homerun (but Murphy and Mathews had two triples apiece). The pitchers, collectively, had the second highest on-base percentage on the team. The team, as a whole, scored 28 runs and allowed 13, and batted .297, with a team era of only 2.21. By far, one of the most overachieving performances in WBC history.

 GM      Randy Cox [12th Year]   P.O. Box 1144, Clemson, SC 29633-1144   NA

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