Tag Archives: APBA

APBA Baseball Replay: 1933 MLB vs. Negro League All-Stars

(Note: I don’t feel comfortable using the term Negro League, even though it may be historically accurate. Therefore, aside from the title and in this explanation, I will refer to the team as NeL. )

(Note:  The image at the top of the page is courtesy of http://apbagames.com)


During my search for free or affordable cards for my APBA baseball game, I had to go no farther than the actual web page itself. They have some accessories for the game like scoresheets and a way to figure out how fatigue might affect pitchers. There wasn’t much in the way of actual cards, but what was there caught my eye and got me to thinking. They have the all-star teams for Major League and NeL baseball from 1933.

I think I mentioned in my article last night that I’ve heard all of the stories about the NeL players. In some cases, as I learned during my modicum of research on Baseball Reference, all we have are stories for some of these players. Look, I know that I’m just a hippie, leftist, snowflake, but it seems like an absolute travesty what has been done to African Americans in this country. Every time I think that I’ve found the bottom, I have to kick over the barrel and dig a little deeper.

Well, I wanted to put these stories to the test, so to speak. It’s not that I found them unbelievable. I mainly just wanted to witness it for myself. More recently, I found a page that has the cards for the 1871 National Association season (a precursor to MLB), so I went to Baseball Reference for some information and found way more for what amounts to a MLB prehistoric league than for the NeL in 1933. That’s shameful. Well, thanks to simulation, justice can at least be minimally served with regards to sports.


So, what happened in the games? Well, let’s find out. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t excited about this.

Game 1 (NeL 8, MLB 2)

The first game of the series started off close with the score 4-2 after 6 innings. Then the NeL exploded for 4 runs in the 7th inning and closed out the game for an 8-2 victory. Their pitcher, Bill Foster, who will turn out to play a massive role in the series, shut down the MLB team. Even though he was a bit wild with 7 walks, he only allowed 4 hits and struck out 5. The MLB 3-8, a group that includes Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, hitters went a combined 0-13. It was an inconsistent, but still dominating performance.

Meanwhile, the NeL team got 13 hits, including 2 homeruns, 4 doubles, and a triple. While just as dominant at the plate as their pitcher was on the mound, they were no less inconsistent in the field. They had 3 errors, though only one proved costly and drove in a run. Overall, a great start to the series.

Player of the Game: This was a tough one. Walter Davis, RF, 2-5, 2B, HR, 2RBI, 1 Run. Could have been Oscar Charleston, 1B, 2-4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 Run, 1 BB.

Game 2 (NeL 6, MLB 3)

This game was close as well. The NeL led 4-3 after a 2 run 6th for the MLB and a scoreless 7th. It looked like the MLB might steal one before the NeL scored a run each in the 8th and 9th to close it out. While the bottom of the order picked things up, including an important pitch hit by Chick Hafey for the pitcher in that 2 run 6th, the top of the order was 0-17, including a collar in 3 AB with 2 Ks for the Bambino.

NeL starting pitcher, Sam Streeter, got tossed in the 5th inning for arguing balls and strikes. On short rest, Bill Foster came into relief. Even though he looked shaky in the 5th and 6th, he settled down to close out the last three innings and seal another important win.

While not quite the offensive explosion of game 1, the NeL batters put together more than enough offense. Just like in game 1, they spread the wealth around as no batter got more than 2 of their 9 hits.

Player of the Game: Bolstered by his game 1 and game 2 consistency, Oscar Charleston, 1B, 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 Run.

Game 3 (NeL 7, MLB 4)

In a do or die game 3, the MLB manager shook things up by batting Chick Hafey for Babe Ruth and shuffling his lineup. It looked like a good move as MLB charged out to a 3-0 lead in the first 5 innings. A 2 run 6th for the NeL gave the game the flavor of the series as it was close late. A 4 run explosion by the NeL in the 7th brought back memories of game 1. MLB started a comeback in the 8th, loading the bases and scoring a run, but that’s all they would get for the rest of the game. The NeL got back an insurance run in the bottom of the 8th and a scoreless 9th for MLB ended the game and the series.

Even though Chick Hafey performed no better than the Babe had, going 0-4 with 3 Ks, the lineup switch did have a positive effect on the MLB offense. However, the NeL just proved to me too much. Player of Game 2 and nearly player of game 1, Oscar Charleston, drove in 2 with a double. Rap Dion added two more RBI, and a costly error (one of 3 by MLB in the game) gave the NeL the 2 extra runs needed to win the game.

Bill Foster continued his domination. After allowing those 3 runs early, he shut down MLB before handing over batting duties to Vic Harris, who took a BB to spark that 6th inning rally. After that, Sam Streeter held the MLB to only that single run in the 8th and finished them off for good.

Player of the Game: Rap Dixon, CF, 2-4, 2 RBI, 2 Run

Player of the Series: Bill Foster, who got the win in all three games and kept the NeL fighting throughout the series.

Wrap Up

I was surprised that the series ended up being a sweep. In spite of some inconsistencies, it was also a definitive sweep in the favor of the NeL. Their players lived up to the hype and provided a lot of excitement. I was also surprised that some big names that I knew from MLB didn’t perform very well at all. Babe Ruth, in particular, was surprising. I know that he was at the end of his career and maybe shouldn’t have started, but you always hear so much about him that it is humbling to see.

I guess what they say is true. Father Time remains undefeated and even one of the greatest players of all time and a true legend of both baseball and America can’t even compete against aging. Lou Gehrig had one good game, one terrible game, and one great game. That’s more like what you’d expect, but still surprising.

Well, 3 games is not much of a sample size. Also, I still have the cards, so I can always go back to do another series and see if MLB can avenge their loss. If so, what’s stopping me from doing a rubber series to settle this once and for all? Well, all of that will have to wait. As I mentioned earlier, I found a page that has the cards from the 1871 NA season and I want to simulate that. It’s only about 30 games on average for 9 teams. Could be fun. See you then!

Box Scores (Series Stats Coming Soon):

1933 NeL vs. MLB All Star Series

There’s No Rerolling in Baseball!


Chris texted me a few weeks ago saying that he had been playing some chess. I chuckled and responded that I had downloaded an app for the New York Times crossword puzzle. More recently, I teted to him, “Speaking of old man games, I found my APBA Baseball game in a closet and started playing it.” He probably had no idea what I meant because he didn’t even reply. It made no difference. I was, and remain, excited by my discovery.

So, what’s the big deal? Well, my interest in sports replay/simulation started in high school. It would appear that the new year has me reminiscing. A trip to my old high school hangout in the Quarters, a year in review post, and now reliving my tie as a hockey league founder.

Inspired by my lack of a social life, I created a competitor hockey league to the NHL. I envisioned it like the USFL (another of my past and maybe future sports sim projects), but more ambitious. I went way back to the origin of the NHL and started my league there. In addition to games, I created rosters, rivals, and even dynasties.

The Good

With all of that in mind, you have probably deduced that the APBA baseball sim is right in my wheelhouse. You have deduced correctly. There is so much that I love about this game. Some of you might wonder why I prefer dice to computer simulations. While the computer games allow you to simulate many more games at once, there’s just something about rolling dice that brings me back to my wild and crazy high school days. Admittedly, I did simulate a season of the USFL on the computer, but the pace of baseball, as the saying goes, is much more deliberate and it fits in with the slow roll (so to speak) of the board game.

Plus, the game is very easy for as complex as it can be. I haven’t played it in probably 10 years, but I was able to pick it back up and play through a best of 5-game series in a few hours spread out over two days. While not at the level of simulating entire seasons in a couple of hours, it’s still a quick game and I could probably do an entire team’s season in a couple of weeks.

Aside from those, the game combines the two things that I enjoy about sports. I’ve played sports in middle and high school. I coached Aiden’s soccer team this past fall and might do it again in the spring. But, my interest in sports starts with watching games with my father and it is a legacy that I, sadly, haven’t yet been able to pass on to my children. Both Quinn and Aiden have sat with me during this most recent bowl season, but their heart isn’t really in it.

Not that I can blame them. I mean, this isn’t even a real game. But, would you have known that if I hadn’t told you?

I watch sports to have fun and unwind. I simulate sports to satiate my need for statistics. I’m so happy to have grown up in the era of advanced metrics, better statistics (both in the predictive and measuring sense of the word), and GPS on players. As a math guy, the more the merrier when it comes to numbers. APBA lets me get as deep as I want into the statistics. I didn’t think to do it this time, but my next simulation I’m going to keep score like it was a real baseball game. That score sheet tells the whole story of the game and keeping score when I was a kid was when I first started to fall in love with the game.

But, it’s not all about numbers. Even though I’m not much of a history person, I can appreciate the history of sports. I can’t tell you why I hate the Browns, their players, and their fans. Well, that’s not entirely true anymore. The Browns have been so terrible for so long that I don’t feel anything but pity for them lately.

The Bengals, though, can go straight to hell. And, I’ll tell you why I feel that way, too, if you want to hear.

APBA Baseball allows me to either rewrite or relive that history. I can explore “what if” scenarios. The one that haunts me to this day is “Slow” Sid Bream crossing home plate in the NLCS to beat my juggernaut Pirates. If only I could replay that game and the subsequent series. Oh, wait! I can! I haven’t yet, but it’s time to research the 1992 season card set and get to changing that result.

I could witness history. Maybe that game was just meant to be and no matter how many times I replay it, the Braves will always win. I would also love to be able to watch those same Pirates. Well, not really the same, but you get the point. Maybe I could watch them win either of the 70s World Series or the one against the Yankees with Bill Mazeroski getting the game winning home run.

During my brief stint as a student at the University of Pittsburgh, I saw the plate.

Or, I could just mash a whole bunch of players together in an attempt to create an all-time all star team. I sort of did that with the games that I played to acclimate myself with the rules again. I didn’t create either team, but I found all star teams for both the MLB and NeL from 1933. I got the idea to play them against each other in a series because I’ve always heard about how great the Negro League players were and what a tragedy it is that none of the players ever got to play against major league competition. Not that I ever doubted it, but I wanted to see for myself. I will include a link to that recap at the end of this article.

The Bad

Initially, when Christine saw me looking at the game, she mentioned that Aiden might be able to play it with me. I said, “No, it’s just a one player game.” It technically might be and everything that I’ve seen about the game would suggest that many people only play one player. And, that goes to show how much I know. I just looked up the game on the web page and they are designed for 2 players. It’s just that most of us must be loners and play solitaire. So, I missed out on an opportunity to play a new game with Aiden. That one is easily remedied.

Well, that’s embarrassing.

The only other negative is my fault, too. There’s a master set to the game that allows you to do things like account for wind and park effects. I used to have the master set, but I must have misplaced it. All I could find was the wind effects chart and that made almost no sense to me. If I’m going to keep playing the game, that’s definitely something that I want. It stinks that I will have to pay for it again.

The Ugly

Speaking of paying for things, this is where I discuss the worst part of the game. Usually, this is price and it’s no different this time. The game itself isn’t too expensive. You pay 50 dollars and get everything you need to play the game, plus you get the previous year’s two World Series teams to get used to the card layout. Even the Master rules are only 25 extra dollars.

After that, though, is when the cost starts to add up and become slightly prohibitive. Each replay season costs anywhere from 40-75 dollars depending on the number of player cards. Granted, you get all players for all teams plus any updates that might happen later, but that’s a crazy cost for some cards. I haven’t found any place that pirates them and I doubt that I would even take advantage if they did. It’s not that I’m above that sort of thing, as we’ve seen. I ‘m just impressed that they are still this little company plugging away at something they love and haven’t had to sell out like many of the other games from my childhood.

The Verdict

This game is so much fun. I had a blast simulating that series that I talked about earlier. I think that it could even be more fun playing against someone else and I plan to test that with one of the boys this week. Tomorrow might be good as everyone has a snow day. I don’t know how much historical replay I will be doing as the 75 dollar price tag is a bit too rich for me right now. However, I will probably get the 1992 season to replay that dang NLCS and I’ll keep on looking for free cards to keep me occupied in the meantime.

I mean, I may or may not have a few of these types of proxies lying around for my Modern/Legacy storm deck.

Click here for the 1933 MLB/NeL All-Star Series recap.