The Nation's Pastime ...
Free Form scheduling has vaulted Superstar
Baseball onto firm ground after years of just barely qualifying
Mike Lam (right) plays ball against
the Greenville boys as Bruce Young, "Coach" Hazel,
and Bill Beckman get their innings in.
Once again, the tournament established new highs for participation,
as 40 managers signed up to try their hand at managing the all-time
greats. Changes to the format were universally cheered. When
the last out was recorded, more than160 games had been played.
Using the quality points system, Doug Galullo finished first,
followed closely by Bill Beckman and Devin Flawd. Bunched together
from 4th to 8th were James Terry, Harry Flawd, Rich Moyer, Michael
Lam and John Coussis. Just missing the eight-team limit of playoff
eligiblity were John Welage and Roderick Lee.
The new system -- where players earn points for playing games,
but then, are sorted by winning percentage -- advancing six -
the top two of which earn first round byes - worked equally to
help and hurt players. Terry Coleman, for instance, was on the
cusp of playoff eligible, but then, went on a massive losing
spree (while simultaneously playing other teams, also on the
cusp). The net effect was that Harry Flawd, who might otherwise
have not even been included in the playoffs, ended with a 10-8
record, while Terry ended at 7-7, without enough points to advance.
The eight teams were sorted, with the final order: 1) Beckman
(Indians), 2) D. Flawd (Giants), 3) Coussis (Cubs), 4) Moyer
(Red Sox), 5) Terry (Athletics), 6) H. Flawd (Red Sox). Galullo,
despite having the most points, finished under .500 and was edged
out by Harry Flawd.
In the first game of the playoffs, Terry's A's took on Moyer's
Red Sox. The game was a bloodbath, with the A's scoring four
times in the first inning, off a Home Run Baker (what else?)
homerun. Mark McGuire and Reggie Jackson also added solo shots,
and Catfish Hunter held the Red Sox to two hits, as the A's trampled
the Red Sox 7-0.
In the next game, Harry's Red Sox took on the Cubs. The teams
traded runs in the first inning, on Carl Yastrzemski's homer
and the Cubs' Hack Wilson's sacrifice fly. However, the Red Sox
bats came alive, and by the 4th inning it was 6-1 Boston. The
Cubs staged a brief comeback in the 6th, narrowing the gap to
6-4, but the Red Sox closed strong, and Roger Clemens continued
pitching masterfully, and they took the game 9-5.
The A's marched on to face the #2 seed Giants, but, sadly,
Catfish Hunter was not eligible to pitch. The Giants chased starter
Mike Norris by the second inning, with three homers in the second
(Mel Ott, Chief Meyers, Gaylord Perry (the pitcher!)), In the
4th inning, Barry Bonds flexed his andro-filled muscles to put
the Giants up 7-0. The A's bats heated up, scoring four runs
by the 7th inning, but the Giants were never in danger, and won
the game 9-4, earning a spot in the championship.
Harry's 6th seeded Red Sox faced a more daunting task, however,
taking on #1 seed Cleveland (which ended the regular season with
a mark of 15-2). The Indians struck first, on a two-run shot
by Jim Thome in the second inning. Boston tied it up in the 5th,
on a two-run homer by Wade Boggs. Undaunted, the Indians seized
the lead back in the bottom of the inning, when Hal Trotsky blasted
a solo shot, to give the Indians a 3-2 lead. But the Red Sox
tied it in the top of the 8th, on a Carlton Fisk double, and
then, with two outs in the top of the ninth, Mo Vaughn hit a
single. Manager Flawd hesitated just for a minute, and then pinch-ran
for Vaughn. The pinch runner promptly stole second, where he
easily scored on Pete Runnels' single. This managing move won
the game for the Red Sox, 4-3, as Luis Tiant held the Indians
hitless in the bottom of the ninth.
So the championship was set. In an unprecedented WBC event
(not), Harry and Devin Flawd faced off in the Final of a sports
simulation game! <yawn>
The Giants struck first, as Larry Doyle doubled in Chief Meyers
in the 2nd. Carlton Fisk tied the game in the third with a solo
homerun, and then, Harry pinch-hit for starting pitcher Dennis
Eckersley (who lasted two innings). The Sox added two more runs
in the top of the 4th, and went into cruise mode, leading 3-1.
Finally, Larry Doyle cut the lead in half in the bottom of the
7th, with a solo homerun. The Giants pitchers settled down, as
well, allowing only one hit and one walk from the 5th through
9th innings. In the bottom of the 9th, pinch-hitter Roger Bresnahan
doubled in Chief Meyers, to tie the game, but John McGraw and
Willie McCovey could not get Bresnahan home for the win. Extra
In the top of the 10th, Johnny Pesky's single scored Carl
Yastrzemski after Yaz' double. However, Willie May's single scored
Mel Ott in the bottom of the 10th. In the 11th inning, Christy
Mathewson had a little more trouble. After striking out Pete
Runnels to start the frame, he allowed a single to Dom Dimaggio,
a single to Carlton Fisk and walked Babe Ruth. Dimaggio scored
on Wade Boggs' sacrifice fly. New pitcher Ellis Kinder also flirted
with disaster in the bottom of the 11th, walking lead-off hitter
John McGraw and walking Barry Bonds with one out. But he quickly
settled down, and retired Mel Ott and Will Clark, giving the
Red Sox a hard-earned 5-4 win, and Harry Flawd a hat-trick in
SuperStar Baseball first place plaques (having previously won
in 1998 and 2005).
Harry definitely earned his plaque. He played (and won) most
of his late games to even be eligible, and then, as the 6th seeded
team, he played (and beat, on the road) in order, the #3 seed,
#1 seed and #2 seed.