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Heartland Baseball League: 1984 North Preview

Started By HerbD, Mar 03, 2013 01:00 PM

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#1

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HBL North

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OF Joe "Action" Jackson
South Bend Silver Sox Predicted finish: 91-53(+23)

The Silver Sox will steal some games this season and may very well steal the North form powerhouse Oshkosh. At just 22 years old OF Joe Jackson is arguably the most exciting player in the HBL. The Silver Sox 1983 outfield of Jackson, Mike Randall, and Steve Evans returns after stealing 210 bases combined including an HBL single season record 97 by Jackson alone. But Jackson is not a one trick pony having also lead the entire HBL with 116 RBI while slamming 25 homers. In fact, his stolen base totals could take a hit as his power numbers continue to climb. The South Bend pitching should also get better in 1984 as SP Kelly Boyd returns for his second season along with 13 game winner Glen Estes and veterans Jesus Gonzales and Willie Hines.


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3B Allen Beck
Oshkosh Outlaws Predicted finish: 81-63(-11)

The Outlaws ran away with the North in 1983 winning by a league record 17 game margin but 1984 should be a different story as many experts predict a fall from grace for the HBL's most successful franchise. One thing not disputed is the fact that the Outlaws will hit. Returning are two time Hitter of the Year Rob Clemons who hit .354 with 35 homers last year and 3B Allen Beck and his 28 homers. On the pitching side 1983 North ERA leader Pat Best returns along with four other double digit winners including Heartland Series MVP Eddie Valentine.

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OF Pat Turner
Rochester Reapers Predicted finish: 71-73(-2)

The experts believe the North will be a two horse race with only two teams predicted to finish above .500 for the 1984 season. The Reapers return HBL batting champ Pat Turner and his .374 batting average in his quest to hit .400 along with three time Pitcher of the Year Ryan Schneider who won just 14 games last season due to a lack of run support from the offense. Veterans Lee Franklin and Dave Gardner combined to win 29 games last season and look to improve on that in order to keep the Reapers in the mix for 1984. Conrad Jones and his 19 homers also returns.


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OF Jason Roberts
Bay City Lake Monsters Predicted finish: 64-80(-11)

The Lake Monsters finished a distant second last season thanks to a late season push but the experts are not convinced predicting an 11 game drop for Bay City in 1984. Not so fast says the Lake Monsters' top prospect OF Jason Roberts. He of 30 homers, 98 RBI, and 22 steals in AAA last year will be added to a lineup that already boast Arthur Wells(.323, 30, 111) and John Bunch(.318, 32, 92). But the experts respond saying Roberts can't pitch so his impact should be minimal in the standings. The Lake Monsters were the most active team in free agency adding four veteran pitchers to a mediocre staff.


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OF Nick Barnstaple
Duluth Danger Predicted finish: 59-85(+1)

In 1983 Duluth boasted a rare combination of Rookie of the Year(3B Preston Richardson) and rookie bust(SP Alfred Warren). Warren was the number one overall pick in the 1983 draft and went straight into the Danger rotation finishing with a 5+ ERA and only six wins. Publicly Duluth management will tell you it's all part of the master plan but behind closed doors they have to wonder if Warren will live up to his college hype. Richardson and his .311 batting average were a pleasant surprise for the Danger. He had exactly one game at AAA in 1982 before making the team out of spring training last season. He joins OF Nick Barnstaple(.291, 29, 100) and C Edward Aycock(.322, 15, 60) in a decent lineup. Veteran Steven Hembrow is the undisputed team ace.

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P Arthur Anderson
Cedar Rapids Rebels Predicted finish: 49-95(-18)

How the mighty have fallen! Two seasons ago the Rebels were celebrating their second HBL title and now they are picked to be the worst team in the HBL by 10 games. 25 year old pitcher Arthur Anderson(7-3-5, 2.65) is arguably the team's best player but will he be moved to the rotation or will he be given the closers job? How much does 36 year old SP Dan Pace(13-14, 3.69) have left in the tank. OF Jimmy Bradley is still fast(63 SB) but is there anyone on the team that can knock him in. These unanswered questions are just a few reasons the Rebels are the worst team in the HBL.

#2

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HBL South

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SP Zane Carver
Canton Kernels Predicted finish: 85-59(-9)

The Kernels are predicted to be in a Dawg fight with Dayton to win the HBL South but with Zane Carver and Will Callahn returning I wouldn't count on too much of a struggle for the Kernels. Carver has won two consecutive Pitcher of the Year Awards while Callahan has been the best number two starter in the league. Together they have a combined 73-24 record since 1982. OF Colin Reese is a 30/30 threat in any season he can stay healthy although the team doesn't need a lot of offense to win.

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1B Jason Hogan
Dayton Dawgs Predicted finish: 84-60(-2)

Two seasons ago the Dawgs tied Canton for the South title but lost a one game playoff to the Kernels for a spot in the HBL Championship Series. This season they hope to win the South outright led by Hitter of the Year 1B Jason Hogan(.305, 24, 107) and SS Ray Gray(.328, 19, 73, 28 SB). 3B Jose Woods(.323, 14, 69) makes theirs one of the best infields in the league. Logan Gleeson(17-7, 3.57) returns as the team's ace while Colby Hill(13-8, 4.63) and Jose Aguilar(11-5, 4.25) provide rotation depth.


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SS Ken Mills
Springfield Storm Predicted finish: 77-67(+10)

If everything goes right for the Storm they could make the South a three team race. That would require repeat performances from batting champion Ken Mills(.344, 200 H) and Clement McIntyre(.292, 22, 72) as well as major contributions from rookies Rus Moleyns and Elliott Yoder who are not locks to make the team out of spring training. The pitching staff was a disater last season and again the team will rely on offense to push them into playoff contention.


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SS Jose Ramirez
Jefferson City Jackalopes Predicted finish: 73-71(+19)

The Jackalopes are predicted to make the biggest jump forward in the South and finish above .500 for the first time in several seasons. One of the youngest team's in the HBL is lead by SS Jose Ramirez(.278, 12, 50) and OF Wesley Heaver(.271, 19, 80, 33 SB) and should be joined this seaon by rookies Travis Savage(.310, 34 XBH, 32 SB, AAA) and Mike Church(.289, 12, 46, AAA). The pithcing staff has a few more veterans including 36 year old Blake Carr(11-14, 4.63) and 20 game loser Julio Gonzales(8-20, 4.20) who didn't deserve to lose 20 games. Second year pitcher Matt Adams(8-7, 3.29) also returns.


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1B Matt Stover
Evansville Twisters Predicted finish: 71-73(+3)

The Twisters return steady 1B Matt Stover(.270, 38, 103) who led the HBL in homers last season and has hit at least 33 homers in five consecutive years. He'll be joined by OF Robinson Velazquez(.298, 18, 54, 107 games) and C Doug Sullivan(.263, 27, 88). On the mound 23 year old Aaron Kline(9-7, 3.76) looks to build on his Rookie of the Year season while veterans Jose Garcia(10-7, 3.10) and Butch Oliver(12-9, 3.68) also return.


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OF Bobby Hinkle
Poplar Bluff Predators Predicted finish: 64-84(+2)

The Predators have a decent offense including up and coming, 26 year old, OF Bobby Hinkle(.289, 22, 95 BB, 120 G), 24 year old, 1B Leo Brown(.301, 30, 80, 120 AAA Games), and 23 year old, OF Bill Clifton(.282, 7, 29, 67 AAA Games). Add in veterans Darrell Moon(.299, 20, 83, 102 G) and Artie Gunther(.289, 37 SB) and you have the makings of a lot of runs. The problem for Poplar Bluff is there isn't much on the mound outside of Jesus Gonzalez(11-5, 4.02).

#3

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I think in this one I'll be rooting for the Dayton Dawgs.... A wooooo

#4

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I guess I should add some context to this thread.

The HBL is a 12 team, fictional, stats only, OOTP13 online league hosted over at Simnation. I simmed five years of history so the owners would have something to go by. 1983 was our first online season and I did a small dynasty for it on the OOTP forums( HBL 1983 Highlights ). I plan to be more detailed for 1984 and beyond. Here is the link to our Home Page if anyone would like to look around. On that site you will find links to our reports, utilities, as well as detailed pages on HBL Playoff History and All-Star game history.

FYI: I'll have to split some of my longer post on this forum due to a limit on images...just in case you are wondering

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HBL Spring Training All-Stars

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C Guillermo Hernandez .342/.422/.548 6 2B 3 HR 7 RS 13 RBI 10 BB

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1B Kelvin Green .284/.385/.552 3 2B 5 HR 6 RS 15 RBI 11 BB

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2B Rich Silver .321/.386/.397 6 2B 6 RS 13 RBI 9 BB 2 SB

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3B Allen Beck .297/.340/.637 2 2B 9 HR 16 RS 21 RBI 3 BB

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SS Gene Frost .439/.477/.585 3 2B 1 HR 8 RS 7 RBI 3 BB

#6

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Spring Training All-Stars Continued

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OF Mike Randall .481/.582/.722 4 2B 3 HR 16 RS 8 RBI 12 BB 9 SB

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OF Steve Sweeney .415/.479/.631 5 2B 3 HR 16 RS 13 RBI 8 BB 10 SB

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OF Colin Reese .377/.442/.594 4 2B 3 HR 16 RS 6 RBI 7 BB 6 SB

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SP Dave Gardner 20 IP 16 HA 2 ER 9 K 0.90 ERA 1.20 WHiP

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MR John Jackson 15 IP 11 HA 2 ER 7 K 1.20 ERA 0.87 WHiP

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CL Ray Atkins 16 IP 9 HA 2 ER 16 K 1.13 ERA 0.63 WHiP

#7

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Top Spring Rookies
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OF Russ Moleyns .344/.348/.531 1 2B 3 HR 14 RS 6 RBI 1 BB 9 SB

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CL Dan Ladd 13.2 IP 13 HA 5 ER 15 K 3.29 ERA 1.24 WHiP

#8

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Nick Barnstaple

Most teams made it through the spring with only minor cuts and bruises but the Duluth Danger were not so lucky. Outfielder Nick Barnstaple led the Danger in several key offensive categories in 1983 including runs(87), homers(29), RBI(100), and bases on balls(60). It was confirmed earlier this week that Barnstaple will miss a minimum of four months with a torn back muscle. "I tweaked the back early in the spring but tried to play through it," said Barnstaple at a news conference yesterday. "I made it worse the other day warming up for the game and then the doctors told me it was torn and I'd have to have surgery." Duluth management hopes that he will make it back by August first but if the team is out of the race, as many expect they will be, then he may be held out for the entire season. The 34 year old is entering the final season of a two year deal signed with Duluth in October of 1982. "I want to play when I get healthy. I'm a free agent and I'll have to prove to the league I can still play."


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Alfonso Ramano
The only other significant injury happened to Oshkosh backup infielder Alfonso Ramano. Ramano hit the first base bag in an odd fashion while beating out an infield single March 17 against Cedar Rapids and tore every ligament in his ankle. "Total reconstruction," said an unnamed source from within the organization. Ramano has already had surgery and the 35 year old veteran hopes to make it back before the season ends. The doctors said Ramano could also return by August. "Baseball is all I know and I'm not ready to give it up just yet."

#9

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FYI: I'll have to split some of my longer post on this forum due to a limit on images...just in case you are wondering


What's the limit? I'll bump it up. Cheers

#10

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#11

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Down Goes Carver! Down Goes Carver!
April 1, 1984
Canton, OH

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SP Zane Carver

The Canton Kernels were dealt a crippling blow today when the HBL's best starting pitcher, two-time South Pitcher of the Year Zane Carver, left his opening day start with one out in the sixth inning with back trouble. Carver and the Kernels took the loss on the field but more concerning is the loss of Carver who could be out as long as eight weeks with a herniated disk. The 30 year old has compiled a 41-12 record since joining Canton as a free agent following the 1981 season. Up until now he had never missed a game due to injury at any point during his professional baseball career.
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The Party's Over
April 2, 1984
Oshkosh, WI

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SP Walt Dundee

The South Bend Silver Sox crashed the Outlaws championship party tonight defeating the defending champs 2-1 in a pitching duel won by new Silver Sox ace Walt Dundee. Before the game Oshkosh handed out championship rings to the holdovers and Rob Clemons also received his Hitter of the Year award from presented to him by team owner Dan Stamey. The Outlaws then went out and laid an egg against this seasons expected number one threat managing just four hits in the game. South Bend manufactured their two runs scoring on a wild pitch by Oshkosh ace Pat Best in the top of the second and again on a fielder's choice in the top of the eighth. The home team would respond with a run of its own in the bottom of the eighth but that would be the final score.
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Jumpin' Jackalopes
April 3, 1984
Canton, OH

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RP Hilton Williamson

The Jefferson City Jackalopes completed an unlikely sweep today defeating the defending South champion Canton Kernels 2-1. The Jackalopes finished the last two seasons a combined 82 games under .500 but pitched their way to a 3-0 record to start the 1984 season. The Jackalopes used just four pitchers during the three game series with all three starters pitching at least eight innings before giving way to reliever Hilton Williamson who pitched 2.2 scoreless innings and recorded a save in each game. Jefferson City outscored Canton 11-4 in the three games with rookie 1B Mike Church leading the way with five RBI despite a .167 batting average.
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South Bend Band Aids
April 4, 1984
Oshkosh, WI

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OF Mike Randall

The much hyped South Bend outfield of Joe Jackson, Mike Ranall, and Steven Evans played together for exactly one third of an inning before injuries forced changes. On the first defensive play of the season for the Silver Sox Evans sprained a knee running down a fly ball and will miss three weeks. Today both Jackson and Randall left the game. Jackson's injury appears minor and he most likely will not miss any playing time but Randall will miss at least eight weeks with a herniated disk in his back. A three time HBL All-Star and three time Best Fielder Award winner, Randall and his 120 runs and 73 steals will be sorely missed from the Silver Sox lineup as they battle Oshkosh for the North League title. Helping to ease the loss of Evans and Randall will be veteran corner outfielder Wynn Montgomery. Montgomery signed a lucrative deal with South Bend in the offseason after a very successful 1983 with Jefferson City in which he blasted 31 homers.

Edited by HerbD, March 08, 2013 - 09:27 AM.


#12

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April 7, 1984: Cycling Up

Springfield, IL

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C Alexander Moser

Springfield Storm catcher Alexander Moser did everything he could to help his team win tonight but it wasn't enough as Jefferson City walked away with a hard fought victory despite the Heartland Baseball League's 10th cycle. Moser made every at bat count as each of his four hits were taken to right field. The 29 year old, Milwaukee native started the night with a bases on balls in the bottom of the second inning before knocking a double down the right field line in the bottom of the fourth. The bottom of the sixth brought a solid single over the head of Jackalopes second sacker Joe Moody. One inning later Moser would line another ball down the right field line that was kicked around a bit by Jefferson City's Brendan O'Bryan just the 11th triple of his 2800+ plate appearance career. After the Jackalopes broke open a tie game with five runs in the top of the 10th innning Moser led off the bottom of the inning with a stinging line drive off the foul pole making him the first catcher in league history to hit for the cycle. 13-9 would be the final tally in game that saw seven players with at least three hits. "First and foremost winning the game is most important and we didn't get that done," an exhausted Moser said in the post game presser. "I'll appreciate it more later but the fact that we didn't win the game makes it pretty much meaningless to me right now."
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April 8, 1984: Pitching Like a Veteran

Duluth, WI

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SP Lee Wilson

In just the second start of his Heartland Baseball League career Duluth Danger rookie pitcher Lee Wilson pitched the first shutout of the young 1984 season. "It wasn't pretty but we got it done," said the 25 year old after the game. Wilson allowed four hits and four bases on balls during the course of the game. The pressure was off of Wilson from the get go as the Danger scored three quick runs in the bottom of the first. Edward Aycock followed up a Preston Richards double with a triple for the game's first run. Aycock crossed the plate thanks to a Paul Snow RBI single one batter later. Snow would eventually finish the scoring in the first thanks to a Bob Draper sac fly. If it seemed as if Wilson were constantly pitching out of the stretch it's because he was. He had just two innings, the second and the ninth, in which at least on Bay City player didn't reach base. The Lake Monsters' biggest threat came in the top of the seventh when he issued back to back, one out walks to Tim Tate and Jose Rosa. Tate would steal third base putting runner on first and third with just a single out. Wilson buckled down and induced a short popup to centerfield off the bat of Greg Perry before getting a routine groundout from fellow rookie Jason Roberts. Duluth would add an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth to finish the game with the 4-0 victory.
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April 14, 1984: And the Hits Just Keep on Coming!

Cedar Rapids, IA

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Dan Conrad

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Six run innings don't come around very often in the Heartland Baseball League so when the red hot Rochester Reapers put up six in a frame twice in the same game the rest of the league took notice. The Reapers finished the contest with 23 hits and 19 runs in the biggest offensive show in this young 1984 season. Everyone of the Reapers' starting eight had at least two hits with the exception of last season's batting champion, Pat Turner, who had just one but reached base three other times via bases on balls. Don Conrad led the offensive charge with three hits including two homers and six RBI to garner Player of the Game honors that could have gone to just about anyone in a Rochester uniform. On the mound a very good outing from Dave Gardner was overshadowed by the thunderous Reapers' bats. Gardner moved to 3-0 on the young season in three starts with a 3.05 ERA and a 15/2 K/BB ratio. On the other side of the coin here is Cedar Rapids starter Ken "Sunblock" Jones who managed to record just one out while allowing six earned runs in the game raising his ERA to almost 20.00.

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Sunblock Jones

#13

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Just two weeks in and the Rochester Reapers are threatening to take off with the North League and put it in their back pocket by the end of May. Led by the Heartland Baseball League's best bullpen who at press time had not given up an earned run in it's first 26 plus innings of work and had more strikeouts(20) than hits(9) and walks(9) combined, they also have scored the most runs in the entire league(81). The defending HBL Champion Oshkosh Outlaws are struggling and find themselves four games under .500 and six and a half games out of the North lead.


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1B Arthur Wells
Individually, Bay City 1B Arthur Wells is off to one of the best starts the HBL has ever seen with seven homers and 14 RBI in the Lake Monsters' first 13 games. Add in his .320 batting average and Wells is the very early favorite for North Hitter of the Year.

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While maybe not as dominant as Rochester, in the South Evansville has been almost as impressive posting an early 10-2 record and making the rest of the league take notice. The two month injury to Canton ace Zane Carver has more teams looking to compete inthe early going. Despite Carver's absence the Kernels have managed to stay above .500 and are currently just three games behind the Twisters and a half a game behind surprising second place Jefferson City.

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1B Matt Stover
It's no coincidence that Evansville's sprint to the top of the South standings has happened at the same time veteran Matt Stover has played the best baseball of his career. As good as Wells has been for Bay City, Stover has been better. The five time All-Star has the same number of homers(7) as he has strikeouts and he had hits in the team's first 11 games before going hitless yesterday. While Stover has been impressive it's the Twisters' pitching staff that is most responsible for the team's success giving up just 37 runs in the first 12 games.

#14

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April 18, 1984: Not Joe but the Other Jackson!!
Bay City, MI

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SP Josh Jackson

An Andrew Rodgers' solo homer in the top of the first was all Cedar Rapids starter Josh Jackson needed today as he pitched a two hit shutout over Bay City to even his record at 2-2 for the season. Jackson also contributed at the plate slapping two singles and knocking in two runs in his four at-bats. Every starter for the Rebels reached base at least once with 2B Brian Doss being the only one to not get a hit. It was just the opposite for the Lake Monsters as veteran SS Gene Frost collected both Bay City hits. Frost singled off of Jackson with one out in the fourth but was stranded when Arthur Wells and Jason Harrison struck out on a total of seven pitches. The biggest Bay City threat came in the bottom of the sixth when Greg Perry lead off the inning by drawing a walk. Pitcher Raleigh Everhart bunted into a fielder's choice with Perry being thrown out at second. One out later Frost doubled but the slow footed Everhart couldn't score. Arthur Wells would end the threat with a long flyout to centerfield. Rookie 3B Andre Martin picked up the second three hit game of his short HBL career for the Rebels.
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April 20, 1984: Two Outta Three Ain't Bad!!

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SP Todd Johnson

For the second time in three days a Cedar Rapids starter has thrown a two hit shutout. Todd Johnson held the Duluth Danger to just a Dustin Keller double, an Edward Aycock single, and a Paul Monroe bases on balls. Only twice did a Duluth player get as far as second base as the Danger never really threatened. The offense was once again supplied by rookie 3B Andre Martin who again had three hits and added three RBI in the 6-0 win.
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April 22, 1984: We Knew He Had It In Him!

Duluth, WI

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SP Tim Treweeke

29 year old Tim Treweeke may finally be reaching his potential. After years of languishing in the minors he is starting to make his mark in the Heartland Baseball League with the Rochester Reapers. Tweweeke improved his record to 3-0 today with a five hit shutout of the Duluth Danger dropping his season ERA to 1.99. Treweeke was traded to the Reapers during the 1982 season in which he finished 14-1 in AAA and won the AAA Pitcher of the Year Award. After struggling for all of 1983 and moving back and forth between Rochester and AAA Farmington Hills it seems that he may finally be with the big club for good. In the 7-0 victory the Muncie, Indiana native scattered five hits and one walk while also driving in a run at the plate with an RBI ground out in the fourth inning. For the Reapers seven different players drove in runs while Leon Perez and Steve Sweeney chipped in with two hits each.
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April 30, 1984: Late April Injuries

April 16---OF Brian Evans(EVA) back spasms, 7 weeks
April 19---SS Clarence Shaw(DAY) back spasms, 5 weeks
April 21---P Tom Simmons(DUL) inflamed elbow, 2 weeks
April 21---SS Artie Gunther(PB) sprained ankle, 5 weeks
April 22---3B Andre Martin(CR) plantar fascitis, 5 weeks
April 24---OF Bryant Parsons(DUL) back spasms, 6 weeks
April 25---OF Alfonso Vargas(CAN) back spasms, 5 weeks
April 27---OF Darryl May(EVA) fractured thumb, 5 weeks
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April 1984 Awards

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Pitcher of the Month: Tim Treweeke(ROC) 4-0, 2.06 ERA, 24 K, 0.84 WHiP
Hitter of the Month: Joe Jackson(SB) .388 BA, 6 HR, 21 RBI
Rookie of the Month: Bill Wall(CR) .365 BA, 2 HR, 11 RBI


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Pitcher of the Month: Butch Oliver(EVA) 4-2, 2.84 ERA, 41 K, 0.91 WHiP
Hitter of the Month: Matt Stover(EVE) .367 BA, 9 HR, 24 RBI
Rookie of the Month: Mike Church(JEC) .235 BA, 6 HR, 18 RBI

#15

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May 4, 1984: I think I can! I think I can!

Oshkosh, WI

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David Kelly

Entering the game the defending HBL champion Oshkosh Outlaws and the South League leading Evansville Twisters were heading in opposite directions. The Outlaws were sitting in the North cellar tied with Poplar Bluff for the worst record in the HBL at 9-20. The Twisters were staving off the upstart Jefferson City Jackalopes for first in the south with a 19-9 mark. The home team was sending John Henson to the mound whe had all but forgotten how to get batters out this year posting an 0-5 record and a 4.76 ERA. The visitors were pitching their ace, Butch Oliver, and his 4-2 mark and 2.84 ERA. Once they stepped between the lines none of that mattered.

The Twisters jumped on Henson and raced to a quick 5-0 lead before the champs even picked up a bat. For the next seven innings the teams would play even both scoring single runs twice and pushing the score to 7-2 entereing the ninth. Oshkosh's Joe Baldwin would take care of the top of the ninth with an unconventional one, two, three inning with a strikeout, walk, and a ground ball double play. That's when the fun started!

Starting his third inning of work Evansville reliever Dan White looked tired when he got Rob Clemons to fly out to the centerfield wall on a 2-0 pitch. Three consecutive singles by Bartolo Salcido, Allen Beck, and Dan Smith would load the bases and make things very interesting. Unexplicably the Twisters manager left White in the game and Oshkosh OF David Kelly made him pay smashing a 1-1 pitch 366 feet and over the fence in left-center to close the gap to 7-6. At this point the few hundred loyal fans that had decided to brave the windy, 46 degree weather were going crazy. Twisters' reliver Walt Adams would enter the game and immediately give up a single to Eric Gallagher putting the tying run on first. A Christian King pop up to second would bring the champs to their last out. Jamie Lopez would draw a bases on balls to push Gallagher to second just 180 feet from knotting up the game. Gabriel Mcdaniel would work a 3-1 count before dropping a single in front of leftfielder Jim Bowden bringing in Gallagher and the tying run. Adams would go to another 3-1 count with Clemons who was up for the second time in the inning. Clemons would shoot a groundball up the middle scoring Lopez from second and setting off a wild celebration from the home team. "It's been a tough season," said Clemons on the field after the game. "We have to remember this is still a game and we have to have fun. This was fun!!"

The 8-7 loss would drop Evansville 1/2 game behind Jefferson City for the South lead. Oshkosh is still holding down last place in the North.
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May 7, 1984: It Ain't Over 'til its Over!

Bay City, MI

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Jason Roberts

21 runs, 38 hits, 28 stikeouts, 12 pitchers, and 308 minutes is all it took to decide the game between Canton and Bay City tonight. The visiting Kernels would jump out to a 7-1 lead behind the dominating pitching of Grant Hunt. For reasons unknown Hunt, the Heartland Baseball League's highest paid player at $540,000, was pulled after four innings and 65 pitches. With Hunt out of the game the Lake Monsters' would jump on reliever Mike Mercer for five runs highlighted by a Jason Harrison two run triple to cut the Canton lead to 7-6.

Bay City would take it's first lead in the bottom of the 8th on a Mike Bishop sac fly and an runs scoring double by veteran Arthur Wells, his third RBI of the day. With two outs in the top of the ninth, facing the Bay City closer Bryan Williams, and trailing by one run; Canton second baseman Rich Silver planted the first pitch that he saw 430 feet away for a game tying homer.

Relief pitching would dominate the game for three innings as the team's would enter the top of the 12th still tied at 8-8. In the top of the 12th Canton's Albert Lineberry would single in a run to put the Kernels back on top 9-8. In the bottom of the inning an error by Canton SS Bobby Young allowed Jose Rosa to reach base with no outs. A ground out and a sac bunt would move Rosa to third with two outs where he would score on a Vernon Hall single to knot the game once again.

Following an uneventful 13th inning the Kernels would once again threaten with a leadoff double by Stephen Phillips. A passed ball would move Phillips to third where he would score one out later on a Lineberry infield single. In the bottom of the inning thoughts of a quick resolution were quickly squashed when Bay City defensive replacement, SS Benny Hubbard, lined a first pitch fastball 431 feet over the centerfield fence to once again tie the game.

Canton would leave two runners on in the top of the 15th while Bay City would out do them by leaving the bases loaded heading into the 16th inning. Lake Monsters' reliever Pat Shepard would take care of the Kernels in the top of the 16th on only six pitches. With Canton pitcher Dan Weber entering his third inning of work Bay City rookie Jason Roberts decided to send everyone home crushing the first pitch high off the left field foul pole for an 11-10 victory. "It feels good to get that first bomb out of the way," said the 23 year old Roberts on his first HBL homer.
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May 15, 1984: News and Notes From Around the HBL

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-Evansville Twisters' pitcher Aaron Kline is the first in the HBL to win seven games.
-Rochester has the North's first six game winner(Ryan Schneider) as well as it's first six game loser(John Hildred).
-Poplar Bluff rookie Leo Brown is leading the South in all slash categories.
-Cedar Rapids SS Bobby Bergeron has a 16 game hitting streak in which he has raised his BA from .195 to .247.
-There have been seven shutouts so far this season by seven different players.
-Jefferson City's Seth Gardner(22) and Joe Moody(17) have combined for 39 steals while being thrown out one time each.
-Canton's Joaquin Herrera has three times as many XBH(18) as he has strikeouts(6)
-Jefferson City has already won half as many games as they did all last season.
-Oshkosh would have to win 77 of thier last 104 games to match last season's record setting win total.

#16

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May 28, 1984: Gonzo KOs Outlaws

Jefferson City, MO

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Julio Gonzales

The magic continued tonight as Jefferson City Jackalopes starter Julio Gonzales tied an Heartland Baseball League record by striking out 16 in a 4-3 victory over defending champion Oshkosh. Gonzales struck out at least one Outlaw in every inning and he got Jamie Lopez three times while four others took the walk of shame twice. Gonzales, a 20 game loser last season, won his fifth game of the 1984 season against just two losses. His 143 pitches were the most he has thrown all season. Only two other pitchers have notched 16 strikeouts in a single game. Steven Hembrow of Duluth did it on July 4th of last season while Marc Dixon of Canton did it on June 16th of 1981.
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May Standings & Awards

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HOM: Leo Brown(PB) .365, 10 HR, 19 RBI
POM: Edward Roberts(JEC) 4-0, 2.14 ERA, 46.1 IP, 36 K
ROM: Leo Brown(PB) .365, 10 HR, 19 RBI


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HOM: Don Conrad(ROC) .359, 9 HR, 27 RBI
POM: Jasper Saunders(OSH) 4-0-5, 2.45 ERA, 14.2 IP, 11 K
ROM: Bill Wall(CR) .294, 12 XBH, 16 RS

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Kelvin Green

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Robinson Velazquez

As we approach the halfway point of the 1984 Heartland Baseball League season two players threaten monthly records for homers and RBI. Kelvin Green(8 HR, 25 RBI) of Poplar Bluff and Robinson Velazquez(8 HR, 23 RBI) of Evansville both are approaching all time highs with their work in June. Each player needs just four homers over the second half of June to tie the mark set by Bay City's David Kelly in August of 1981 while 33 is the RBI mark that each is chasing. That record was set by Alfonso Vargas while playing for Duluth in May of 1980 and tied by Colin Reese of Canton in July of 1982. Both Green and Velazquez would have to hit major skids at the plate to not set new records as each is hitting over .400 for the month. Only eight times has a player hit more than 10 homers in a single month while 30+ RBI has been accomplished on nine occasions. In April of this season Canton's Joaquin Herrera tied the mark for doubles in a month with 14 two-baggers. That record had been set by Brendan O'Bryan of Springfield in May of 1980.

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Approaching the halfway mark of the Heartland Baseball League's 1984 season there are several players that have been sitting in the free agent pool waiting for the call that never came. A few of those players would seem to have a place in the HBL.

Here is a look at the some of those guys:

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C Melvin Shields

Catcher is suppose to be the toughest position to fill in the HBL but the 31 year old Shields has been waiting for a call all season. His slash line from last season with Jefferson City includes a .294 batting average and .394 OB%. Those are good numbers for any position but great production for a catcher. Duluth is his best fit as the Danger are trying to kill Edward Aycock by carrying just one catcher. The toll has been seen in Aycock's drop in production this season.

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OF Hilton Crawford

The 34 year old Crawford has 35 extra base hits in just 340 AB last season for Rochester. Defensively he has 42 career OF assist compared to just seven OF errors. Poplar Bluff has three outfielders with an OB% of under .300 on it's roster.

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OF Matt Thomas

Thomas and Crawford could both probably start in the Predators outfield. At 35 Thomas hit .296 with a .394 OB% and 66 RBI in just 406 AB with Cedar Rapids and is just two seasons removed from a .422 OB%.

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MR Russell Sheppard

Sheppard's horrible 1983 season overshadowed his great 1982. If he could return to his 1982 form where he posted 33 saves and a 2.14 ERA then he could surely help the South Bend bullpen in it's quest to overtake Rochester for the North crown.

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MR William Lewis

At 37 years old Lewis is the oldest guy on our list. He posted a 2.92 ERA in 1983 and should be given a chance to help a Canton bullpen who has an ERA of 4.81.

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MR Felix Sanchez

Sanchez posted a 2.84 ERA and 1.11 WHiP for a not so good Duluth team in 1983. He's only 30 years old and second to Shields is probably the biggest surprise to be left unemployed. Cedar Rapids could use him, as could a half dozen other teams.




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