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Old 09-20-2018, 01:13 AM   #81
Dukie98
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10 Year Update

After 10 seasons, and in light of the fact that some of the brightest lights in the HRDL universe started mid-career in the inaugural season of 2010, league management decided to open the Hall of Fame. Initially, players would only need 5 seasons of service time to be eligible to appear on the ballot, with a 3-year waiting period. (The parameters were chosen in part to accommodate Sandy Koufax, who blew his elbow out after 5 glorious seasons, coupled with 2 injury-riddled season) Management anticipated raising the service-time minimum to 10 seasons in approximately 5 years.

No one was elected in the inaugural ballot. The top vote recipients were:
Sandy Koufax (HAR) - 64.9%
Jakie May (VAN/ BUF/ CHA) - 47.7%
Dick Allen (SEA/ LA) - 12.9%
Hippo Vaughn, Phil Niekro, and David Ortiz were dropped from the ballot after failing to reach 1%.
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Old 09-21-2018, 11:45 PM   #82
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2021 Mid-Year Review

Here's a quick overview on the major storylines across the league at the 2021 All-Star Break:

Exceeding expectations: The Detroit Purple Gang, who had not made the playoffs since 2012, were a most unlikely candidate to feature the best record in baseball at the All-Star break, leading the Great Lakes Division by 11 1/2 games with a 51-23 record. Outfielders Candy Maldonado and Bobby Higginson anchored a balanced offense which featured six players with double-digit homers. The league's second-best pitching staff was led by defending Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander, who sported a 9-1 record and a 2.01 ERA, while closer Guy Hoffman took 29 saves and a microscopic 0.62 ERA into the break. The St. Louis Pilots were perhaps the biggest turnaround story in baseball. After going 7 straight years without winning more than 65 games, they took a 42-33 record into the break, leading the Great Plains Division by 3 1/2 games. Blossoming sluggers Gabby Hartnett, who hit .333 with 17 homers and 52 RBIs, and Jack Clark, who hit .289 with 16 homers and 59 RBI's, led an unexpectedly-strong offense, while defending batting champ DJ LeMahieu hit .344 with 32 steals. In the Continental League, the Hartford Huskies looked to end their ten-year playoff drought, taking a 42-33 record into the break, as Norm Cash, Gorman Thomas, and Mitch Moreland sparked an offense which led the league in homers. But the Huskies needed to outslug opponents, as their pitching staff ranked 21st in the league in runs allowed. The Memphis River Pirates had been, by virtually any measure, the worst team in the HRDL since its inception, never winning more than 73 games. But they entered the break squarely in the hunt for a wild card spot with a 40-35 record, as Bobby Bonds hit .297 with 22 homers, 56 RBI's, and 21 steals, while center fielder Larry Doby joined him on the All-Star team after hitting .322 with 16 homers and 56 RBI's.

Disappointments: Although the Baltimore Robins suffered some losses in free agency (most notably, Patrick Corbin), no one expected the team to collapse into free-fall. After winning 90 and 86 games the prior two years, they plummeted to a league-worst 19-54 record. The team hit just .233 with a league-worst .299 on-base percentage -- most notably, catcher Willson Contreras had an awful season, hitting an anemic.151 with 3 homers and just 7 RBI's in over 200 at bats. After significant injuries to Paul Dean and Joe Ross, the Robins featured the worst pitching in the league, as their only two ERA qualifiers- Lance Painter and Lum Harris - combined for a dreadful 4-21 record with a combined ERA of 7.40. Although the Kansas City Mad Hatters had topped 100 wins in two of the last three years, they were in danger of missing the postseason after sputtering to a 35-39 start. Free agent acquisition Gary Sheffield had a disappointing start, hitting just .222 with 11 homers, while southpaw Billy Pierce went just 4-7, while his ERA doubled to a dreadful 5.12. In the Continental League, The underachieving Miami Flamingos, who had made the playoffs 3 years in a row and in 6 of the last 7 seasons, went just 30-45. Brett Tomko, a 17-game winner last season, stumbled to a 2-6 start with a middling 3.88 ERA. The Washington Ambassadors started the year 1-12, ending the first half in last place with a 29-46 record and the worst offense in the league. Perhaps nothing demonstrated their offensive ineptitude more than the fact that Yuniesky Betancourt was among their top three home run hitters -- and inexplicably, he was playing first base.

Boston bulks up: After making their first playoff appearance in franchise history last year, the Boston Minutemen were aggressive in free agency, signing first baseman Steve Garvey, second baseman Joe Panik, shortstop Larry Bowa, left fielder Lonnie Smith, and catcher Salvador Perez. The new additions boosted a solid offense and upgraded their defense, as the Minutemen ended the first half in first place in the Northeast Division with a 50-24 record, and they were third in the league in runs allowed.

Kangaroos' streak in jeopardy: The Los Angeles Kangaroos have made the playoffs every year in the HRDL's ten-year history, including a 7-year streak of at least 99 wins. But after spending the first half hopping around the .500 mark, the Kangaroos were at risk of missing the playoffs, ending the first half in third place with a 39-36 record, but just one game out of first place. Five-time All-Star Trevor Story struggled, hitting just .244 with 9 homers, while second-year slugger Rhys Hopkins hit just .192 (although he bopped a team-high 18 homers). The team struggled to file the holes created by the loss of free agents Gary Sheffield and Joe Panik.

Major milestones: Cleveland first baseman Nate Colbert and Minneapolis first baseman Cy Williams hit their 300th homers, while Seattle shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was likely to hit that mark by Labor Day. Jacksonville right fielder Bryce Harper, Chicago left fielder Del Ennis, Los Angeles third baseman Simon Nicholls, and Dallas third baseman Carney Lansford became the first players in league history to top 2,000 hits, while Jacksonville third baseman Wade Boggs ended the first half with 1,999 hits. Phoenix left fielder Rickey Henderson reached the 700 steal mark, while San Antonio shortstop Donie Bush topped 800.

Major injuries: An epidemic of significant pitching injuries struck the HRDL. Most notably, London ace Cy Blanton injured his elbow on Opening Day, and was not expected to return until mid-September. Baltimore's Paul Dean, after a 4-2 start, would miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury; the rest of the team combined for a dreadful 15-52 start. Boston closer Kelvin Escobar, who had 34 saves with a 2.18 ERA, tore an elbow tendon in spring training, causing him to miss the entire season. Seattle southpaw Rube Benton, who had a 3.19 ERA for the defending champions, missed the season after he tore his rotator cuff in spring training. Among position players, Cleveland shortstop Jose Reyes paid the price after suffering a season-ending broken kneecap after he attacked his son's Little League coach (!) in May.

Last edited by Dukie98; 09-22-2018 at 12:53 AM.
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Old 09-23-2018, 03:42 AM   #83
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2021 Year in Review

Frontier League: The upstart Boston Minutemen, fresh off a run to the League Championship Series last season, and with several free agency upgrades, led the Northeast Division for most of the season before sputtering in August and early September. The Minutemen rallied, however, winning their last 4 games to force a one-game playoff with the Buffalo Fighting Elk with 98 wins, and Boston prevailed 4-3 when All-Star third baseman Gary Gaetti hit an 11th inning homer. Gaetti led the Minutemen with 38 homers and 117 RBI's, while left fielder Lonnie Smith hit .323, with 23 homers, 23 steals, and scored 120 runs out of the leadoff slot. Hideo Nomo went 17-10 with a 2.70 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP, and 249 strikeouts. Buffalo's pitching staff continued to dominate, as Ray Collins went 17-5 with a 2.04 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP, and Bill Voiselle went 17-6 with a 2.52 ERA. Their offense was substantially improved, as they finished third in the Frontier League in homers, led by first baseman Rick Renick, who hit 29 homers and drove in 87 runs, and third baseman Richie Hebner, who hit .304 with 27 homers and 85 RBI's. The Detroit Purple Gang won a franchise-best 100 games, returning to the postseason for the first time since 2012, as they won the Great Lakes Division by 11 games. They were led by a deep pitching staff, as Dwight Gooden went 18-5 with a 2.28 ERA, Justin Verlander went 16-8 with a 2.31 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP, and 262 strikeouts, while closer Guy Hoffman earned 47 saves with a stellar 1.42 ERA. Although the Toronto Predators never genuinely contended for the division title, they marched back to the postseason with 89 wins, led by right fielder George "High Pockets" Kelly, who hit .295 with 31 homers and 111 RBI's, and first baseman Todd Helton, who hit .311 with 44 doubles, 18 homers, and 98 RBI's. Second-year pitcher Tex Carleton went 17-12 with a strong 2.75 ERA.

The Chicago Mules flipped a switch at midseason, ending June with a dreary 34-46 mark, but they seized control of the Great Plains Division for good with an 18-4 stretch to start September, ultimately taking the division with 88 wins. Catcher Cameron Rupp led a balanced offense by hitting .283 with 19 homers and a team-high 94 RBI's, while four teammates topped 20 homers, and ace Roger Clemens went 14-12 with a 3.27 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. They narrowly edged out the Minneapolis Penguins, who were led by a Cy Young-caliber season from Madison Bumgarner, who went 21-6 with a 1.82 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP. and by slugging leftfielder Cy Williams, who hit .293 with 32 homers and 90 RBI's. A 3-12 stretch in mid-September froze the Penguins out of the playoffs. The feel-good story for most of the season was the St. Louis Pilots, who had not topped 65 wins in a season since 2013. Although they led the division for most of the year, the Pilots crash-landed down the stretch, starting September with a 6-15 stretch. Blossoming stars Gabby Hartnett, who hit .321 with 32 homers and 103 RBI's, and Jack Clark, who hit .287 with 29 homers and 115 RBI's led a surprisingly productive offense, while DJ LeMahieu and rookie sensation Francisco Lindor anchored one of the league's top defenses. The Denver Spikes rallied down the stretch, winning their final 6 games to take the Northwest Division by a single game with 96 wins. Mickey Mantle was the prohibitive favorite to win his sixth MVP Award, as the only thing that kept him from his third triple crown was teammate Phil Clark, who unexpectedly led the league with 145 RBI's. Mantle, Clark, and 30-year-old rookie Fred Odwell each topped 40 homers and 100 RBI's. The defending champion Seattle Whales featured perhaps the best balance between offense and defense, as they were led by left fielder Heinie Manush, who hit .335 with 16 homers and 82 RBI's, slugging first baseman Ryan Howard, who launched 30 homers with 99 RBI's, as well as southpaw Dontrelle Willis, who went 16-9 with a 2.37 ERA. The shockingly consistent Calgary Cattle Rustlers (who had won 81, 83, 83, 83, and 81 games during the prior five seasons) returned to the postseason for the first time since 2012, winning 91 games. First baseman Kevin Millar led a balanced offensive attack, hitting .316 and slugging .522, with 20 homers and 87 RBI's. Fred Newman carried the pitching staff, going 16-9 with a strong 2.54 ERA, while closer Bob Veale notched 35 saves with a 1.73 ERA.

Continental League: The Atlantic Division was once again the most competitive in baseball. The Charlotte Aviators returned to the postseason for the ninth straight season with one of the most prolific offenses in league history, scoring 966 runs, as free agent signee Jim Edmonds hit .312 with 40 doubles, 36 homers and 123 RBI's. Right fielder Cliff Heathcote hit 30 homers, drove in 114 runs, and swiped a career-high 75 bags. Lefty Williams anchored a solid, if unspectacular, pitching staff, going 21-5 with a 3.49 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP, winning his last 8 decisions of the year. The Jacksonville Gulls won 96 games, led by the lefthanded triumvirate of Bryce Harper, Keith Hernandez, and Wade Boggs, each of whom hit at least .334, while combining for 68 homers and 310 RBI's. Once again, injuries to the pitching staff proved to be the Gulls' downfall, as Ray Sadecki went 14-3 with a 2.48 ERA and 1.06 WHIP before tearing his labrum, while Bill Gogolewski went 14-9 before blowing out his elbow. The slugging Virginia Beach Admirals made their second straight postseason appearance, as the team blasted 213 homers, led by catcher John Peters, who hit .311 with 42 homers and 117 RBI's, as well as third baseman Bill Melton and right fielder Chili Davis, who combined for 69 homers, and 207 RBI's, while Davis stole 61 bases to boot. In the Southeast Division, the 96-win Atlanta Ducks unexpectedly took the title with a balanced performance, ranking in the top four in the Continental League in both runs scored and runs allowed. Catcher Tim Laudner was the breakout star, hitting .304 and slugging .567 with 28 homers and 86 RBI's, while second baseman Jimmy Walsh ripped 23 homers and drove in 101 runs. The Ducks held off the 93-win Nashville Blues, who took a big step back offensively but allowed just 520 runs, as four starters sported ERA's below 3.00, including Dave Ferriss, who went 16-9 with a 2.06 ERA. The New Orleans Crawfish returned to the postseason despite one of the weakest offenses in baseball, largely due to a superb season by righthander Heinie Berger, who went 23-7 with a 1.68 ERA, a 0.98 WHIP, and 220 strikeouts.

In the Texas Division, the El Paso Armadillos and Houston Pythons remained neck-and-neck for virtually the entire second half. Fittingly, they tied for the division lead with 89 wins, with El Paso prevailing 7-5 in a one-game playoff. El Paso second baseman Joe Gordon blossomed after an injury-riddled rookie season, hitting. 307 with 32 homers and 116 RBI's, while Michael Taylor hit 29 homers and drove in 87 runs. Closer George Mohart saved 42 games and sported a 1.74 ERA. Houston was led by dynamo center fielder Kirby Puckett, who hit .297 with 22 homers nad a career-high 96 RBI's, while DH Jake Daubert virtually matched Puckett, hitting .297 with 22 homers and 97 RBI's. While the Los Angeles Kangaroos stumbled in the first half, they used a brilliant stretch run to coast to their 11th straight postseason race, going 19-4 in September (including an 11-game winning streak during the final two weeks of the year. DH Glenn Davis hit .275 with 36 homers and 96 RBI's while second-year slugger Rhys Hopkins bopped 40 round-trippers and drove in 97 runs. Ace Brett Anderson went "just" 17-7 with a 2.63 ERA.
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Old Today, 02:04 AM   #84
Dukie98
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2021 Playoff Report

Frontier League: The Detroit Purple Gang waited nine years to return to the postseason, but it was worth the wait, as they dispatched the Toronto Predators in six games. Ace Justin Verlander was named series MVP after going 2-0 with a 0.54 ERA, including a two-hit shutout in Game 1. Detroit third baseman Charlie Neal hit just .222, but smacked three homers. In one of the most dramatic series of the postseason, the heavily-favored Buffalo Fighting Elk edged out the upstart Chicago Mules in 7 games -- 4 of which were decided by a single run, and two more by a 2-run margin. Buffalo scored just 13 runs in 7 games, but won Game 6 3-1 after first baseman Rick Renick hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth inning off Brad Lidge, and they won Game 7 by a 1-0 tally, with Ray Collins and Dick Radatz combining for the shutout, and center fielder Darin Erstad plating catcher Dave Nilsson with the lone run of the game. Nilsson took home the hardware in a controversial decisions after hitting .367 with a homer, while righthander Jair Jurrjens went 1-0 with a 0.54 ERA, allowing just 5 hits in 16 innings. In perhaps the best pitching duel in HRDL history, Jurrjens threw 9 innings of one-hit shutout ball in Game 2, while Chicago's Jason Isringhausen matched him, allowing just 1 hit in 8.1 innings, while Chicago ultimately won 1-0 after a Del Ennis walk-off homer in the 13th inning. The Denver Spikes nearly blew a 3-1 series lead against the defending champion Seattle Whales before winning Game 7 in a 11-3 romp. Star rightfielder Mickey Mantle was named series MVP after hitting .407 with two homers -- both in Game 7 -- and 5 RBIs. Denver's Bruce Berenyi won his lone decision while sporting a 1.23 ERA, while Seattle southpaw Dontrelle Willis went 1-0 with a 1.26 ERA of his own. The Boston Minutemen easily handled the Calgary Cattle Rustlers in five games, winning the final four after getting stampeded by Calgary in the opener. Center fielder AJ Pollock was named MVP after hitting .381 and slugging .619 with a homer, while Mel Stottlemyre hurled 8.1 innings of 4-hit ball without yielding an earned run in a Game 4 victory.

Both Division Series matchups in the Frontier League were highly anticlimactic. Buffalo swept Detroit, outscoring the Purple Gang 19-6. Buffalo right fielder Leon Durham was named MVP after hitting .438 with 2 homers and 7 RBIs, while shortstop Ivan DeJesus had a series-high 8 hits, and stole 4 bases in a Game 1 ten-inning win. On the other side of the bracket, Boston swept Denver, with AJ Pollock taking MVP honors yet again after hitting .444 with a homer and 4 RBI's, and Boston's starting pitchers allowed only five earned runs in the series. Denver's Mickey Mantle and Phil Clark ripped 2 homers apiece, and drove in 8 of the Spikes's 11 runs in the series. Boston edged their division rival Buffalo in the League Championship Series, winning in six games, as Pollock earned his third consecutive series MVP award, hitting .391 with six extra-base hits, including a homer and 4 RBI's. Boston righthander Hideo Nomo made a strong case as well, after going 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA with 16 strikeouts in 16 innings -- plus three hits of his own.

Continental League: The Charlotte Aviators had the best offense in baseball, but their pitching proved to be the difference as they swept the New Orleans Crawfish, as Charlotte's starters allowed just one earned run. Left fielder Jim Edmonds was named MVP with a series-best 7 hits, hitting .417 with a homer and 4 RBI's. Third baseman Tommy Glaviano hit .385 with a homer and 5 RBI's of his own. The Jacksonville Gulls dominated the El Paso Armadillos, missing by one run from doubling El Paso's total in each game of the 4-game series. Bryce Harper took home the hardware after hitting .385 and blasting 2 homers and driving in 5 runs in the series-clinching Game 4. Star infielders Wade Boggs and Keith Hernandez each hit .389 with a homer and 3 RBI's apiece. The Nashville Blues won their final three games to eliminate the red-hot Los Angeles Kangaroos in 6 games despite scoring just 19 runs in the series. Left fielder Gary Matthews, Sr. was awarded MVP after hitting 2 homers and driving in 6 runs. Lefthander Bob Shirley threw 8 shutout innings of four-hit ball in Game Six. In a seesaw series, the Atlanta Ducks outlasted the Virginia Beach Admirals in 7 games, as catcher Tim Laudner hit .320 while ripping 2 homers with 8 RBI's. Virginia Beach third baseman Bill Melton and catcher John Peters each ripped 3 homers, with Melton taking the MVP in a losing cause after hitting .429, slugging .750, and driving in 8 runs.

In a Division Series matchup featuring the top two offenses in baseball, the Jacksonville Gulls outlasted the Charlotte Aviators in six games. Star first baseman Keith Hernandez was named MVP after hitting .480 with 5 RBI's. Bryce Harper hit .450 with an incredible .593 on-base percentage, including a homer and 6 RBI's, while Andy Sonnanstine went 2-0 in 15 shutout innings, allowing just 11 baserunners. Nashville came from behind in dramatic fashion, surviving a 3-games-to-1 deficit, as they won the final three games by one run apiece to take the series in 7 games. Ben Paschal was named MVP after hitting .393 with a .500 on-base percentage, while a Matthews homer provided the only run in a Game 7 1-0 victory. Nashville advanced to the World Series, taking the League Championship Series over Jacksonville in yet another 7-game victory. Right fielder Brian Jordan hit .423 with a series-high 11 hits, including a homer, while second baseman Lew Fonseca hit .300 with a series-best 7 RBI's. Jacksonville shortstop Everett Scott hit two homers and drove in 6 runs in a losing effort

World Series: Although the Boston Minutemen and Nashville Blues featured two of the top pitching staffs in baseball, Game 1 was an unexpected slugfest, with Nashville prevailing 11-7 as catcher Ray Schalk ripped 3 hits and Brian Jordan drove in 3 runs, while Boston's Hideo Nomo yielded 9 runs in just 4 innings. Nashville took control of the series in Game 2, winning 7-3, with Patrick Corbin outdueling Jack Chesbro. Matthews gave Nashville the lead for good with a tie-breaking seventh-inning homer. Boston refused to roll over, however, taking Game 3 by a 3-1 score, as Larry Cheney allowed just three hits in 7 innings, and right fielder Gabe Kapler drove in all three runs with a homer and a 2-run double. Boston tied the series by taking Game 4 by a similar 3-1 tally, notching two runs off Blues closer Don Bessent in the 8th inning, sparked by a leadoff triple by Steve Garvey. Mel Stottlemyre pitched seven innings without allowing an earned run for Boston. Nashville pulled out Game 5 by a 5-3 score, scoring all 5 runs in the 4th inning, while Dave Ferriss yielded just 3 hits in 8.2 innings. Nashville clinched the title in a Game 6 blowout, 9-1, with Corbin going the distance and Ben Paschal popping a three-run homer. Matthews was named Series MVP after hitting .348 and slugging .609, including a homer, 5 RBI's, and 5 runs scored. Corbin also drew strong support after going 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA and a 0.63 WHIP.
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