Alternate History Sports

You are not logged in. Would you like to login or register?

6/15/2024 5:18 am  #51

Re: The Major American Baseball League

1949 Roosevelt Cup Series

For posterity, I included in-depth game summaries and I really suggest you go check 'em out! You'll have to open the spoiler for game 7 anyways, so you might as well read it.

Game 1

For a series that might go down as one of the greats, the first game was a bit of a letdown. Danny Ibarra was up against Howard Townsley in a best-on-best matchup in Brooklyn. While Townsley did what he does best, striking out seven through 8.2 innings, Ibarra’s performance was abysmal.

The scored started in second, as Ibarra issued two walks to give backup catcher Gage Miller the chance to drive home Howard Townsley and Jerry Inscoe. A single to shallow left-center found its way to the wall on poor pursuit, leaving Inscoe to crash around third for the first run of the game. Gibbs was late on the throw to the plate but a covering Noah Knight threw a ball on the dot to DeAngelo at third, who was able to get the tag on a trailing Howard Townsley.

The game was quiet until the seventh, despite Ibarra continuing to have control issues all game. After a lead off double to Ben Matney, Ibarra issued his 9th walk of the night to Carlos Reyes, leaving the power-hitting Jon Brownlow at the plate. Brownlow got a ball over Zach Riley and into the left-center gap, allowing Matney to score and leaving runners on second and third. After an intentional walk to rookie phenom Chris Barnard with no outs, Ibarra issued his 11th walk of the game to drive in a run and turn it into a 3-0 game with the bases still loaded and no outs. Rogelio Hernandez was sent in to relieve his battered starter, but unable to get out of the jam before giving up a 2-run single to Ed Stutts to put the game out of reach. 

Brooklyn’s bats stayed silent to give the dish back to Cincinnati, where Ben Matney singled and stole his way to third for a sac fly to make it 6-0.

The 9th provided some relief for Brooklyn, but it was too little too late. David Dillard took a solo shot deep into the second deck of Hirsch Park off a gassed Townsley, and Travis Quinten walked before Jay Spangler gave up an RBI-triple to Zach Riley. Noah Knight, who was hitless in game 1, struck out to give the Reds a 1-0 series lead.

Ibarra’s performance was troubling given that he had only issued 69 walks in the regular season, and it’s clear that his postseason woes had followed him from Game 4 of the 1948 Eastern Open. Noah Knight struggled too, as the additions to the roster looked out of sorts under the lights.

Game 2

Game 2 was much more along the expectations of the baseball world, but it was the control issues of Cincinnati that doomed them. Jason Hughes and Danny Hernandez were on the mound, both looking to go the distance and provide the win in a crucial game.

Cincinnati started the scoring again in the second of a Howard Townsley nuke that reached the top of the upper deck, sending a message that this series was his alone to carry. Noah Knight and Zach Riley had a chance to respond in the fourth with two runners on, but neither got it done and left the score at 1-0. 

Brooklyn’s bats came to life in the 6th, where after a Brandon Sutton fly out, David Dillard uncorked his second home run of the Roosevelt Cup in as many games with a ball that bounced off the scoreboard in right field. Elliot DeAngelo joined the hit parade with a single before getting caught stealing at second, leaving Travis Quentin a solo blast in left-center. Knight struck out to end the inning, but the damage was done, 2-1 Brooklyn.

In the bottom of the 7th, the scoring continued with Joe Miller. After he singled through the infield, a sac-bunt by Hughes put him in scoring position with Jon Gibbs now at the plate. He unleashed a monster double into the gap, scoring Miller and making it a 3-1 ballgame. Things looked to be going well, but Hughes was running out of steam.

In the top of the 8th, the Reds pounced. Now back at the top of the order, Ben Matney doubled before Carlos Reyes hit a two run homer that tied the game at 3. Hughes was able to close out the inning after that, but the damage had been done. 

Neither team was able to rally in the 9th, as Hughes was subbed for Roy Woodward and Hernandez for Jeremy Mims. After leaving Harbor Athletic in ‘47, he played incredibly with Toronto’s Dominion Sporting Club, signed a contract with Centennial in ‘49, and was shipped off to Cincinnati, where the Reds were hoping that he could handle a moment just like this. 

After a Jon Gibbs single with one out, he was able to steal second and was sent just one base away after a Brandon Sutton groundout. With two outs and the winning run on third, manager Frank Cameron intentionally walked David Dillard to bring up Elliot DeAngelo. Mims was able to get out of a jam on an unlucky called 3rd strike, giving the ball back to Brooklyn. 

Rogelio Hernandez, whose time in big moments fluctuated from the highest highs to lowest lows, got into trouble when Chris Barnard drew a 5 pitch walk and went to second on a passed ball. With Townsley up to bat, skipper Kevin Denton issued an intentional walk to bring up Graham O’Brien to be the second out. With runners on first and second with 2 outs, Jerry Inscoe grounded into a fielders choice that sent Barnard 90 feet away from the go-ahead score. Pinch hitter Guo-Ning Dee fouled off a fastball before grounding out to end the inning, as Brooklyn got out of the jam unscathed. 

To the bottom of the 11th. Quentin unleashed on a first pitch single to put the winning run on first. After he stole second, the still-hitless Noah Knight was intentionally walked in favor of facing Zach Riley, whose sacrifice bunt moved both runners over. Joe Miller didn’t get a chance to swing after Mims delivered him four terrible offerings, while pinch hitter Milt John’s flew out in his chance to walk it off. Jon Gibbs had the chance to send the Jays to Cincinnati with a tied series.

Mims simply lost the control that made him a quality starter in 1947. That’s fine, it comes with aging. Your body doesn’t move the way it used to, you wake up with weird cramps and sore spots on your neck, back and knees. It’s not fun when it happens, but it’s inevitable that you’re not going to be able to give 100% of what you used to, and not for nearly as long.

He was gassed, and after delivering his first hittable ball on a 2-0 count, Gibbs fouled it off. Trying to paint the corners, he missed on ball three, and then on ball four. Both in the dirt. Brooklyn had won on a game-winning walk for the second time in the postseason, the previous one coming from their Eastern Open clincher in Montreal. Nevertheless, the series was tied at 1-1 heading to Cincinnati.

Game 3

Jonah Lucas and Randy Midkiff took the mound for their respective teams in Game 3 looking to break the tie. Each had their own odd paths of getting here, as Lucas was originally a shortstop in Brooklyn’s system before transitioning into one of the best pitchers in the MABL, while Midkiff was signed this offseason after playing in the Southern Negro Leagues. Each was dying to prove themselves, and while Lucas had done it with incredible pitching performances in their unbeaten 1948 postseason, the Reds offered the first serious challenge to the young pitcher. 

Brooklyn broke the opening stalemate in the third, as after a Noah Knight fly out, the offense put together a hit parade. Joe Miller walked, setting up Lucas to double to deep center and leaving both runners on for the top of the order. Gibbs hit a single on a line to send both Miller and Lucas home to take the lead, and stole both second and third to score on a Brandon Sutton groundout. The rally was cut short after David Dillard singled, as DeAngelo grounded into a fielders choice to send the game to the bottom of the 3rd. 

Cincinnati responded in the 4th with their own barrage. Carlos Reyes was the first to bat, sending a single into shallow right to get on base. Jon Brownlow cut his trip short, however, as the Jays got the fielders choice to force out the lead runner. No matter. Chris Barnard cracked a single into shallow center that sent Brownlow to third, and stole second on the ensuing pitch. With two runners in scoring position, Howard Townsley again came up clutch with an RBI-single that sent Barnard to third. O’Brien was up next, as the first baseman hit a long fly ball to the warning tack in center, allowing Barnard to score before Jay Meyers grounded out to end the inning, now down 3-2.

Lucas responded in the next frame with a single, and Gibbs was able to rocket a triple into the gap to extend the lead to two. Sutton’s 11-pitch strikeout spelled doom for the rest of the order, however, as Dillard and DeAngelo were both retired without driving home Gibbs.

Cincinnati returned serve with a Jon Brownlow solo shot in the 6th to cut the lead back to 1, but it wasn’t enough. David Dillard countered with a solo shot of his own off of Mims in the 8th before a Zach Riley strikeout and Knight fielders choice ended the inning. 

Down 5-3, the Reds had one more chance at life in the bottom of the 8th. After a Ben Matney fly out, Reyes was able to get on base with a walk before Jon Brownlow singled to put two runners on for Chris Barnard. After a lifted foul ball on a 2-1 count, Barnard singled through the middle of the infield to load the bases with just one out. Townsley had the first crack but was unable to get the ball out of the infield on a pop up, leaving Graham O’Brien to fly out on the first pitch to end the final real hope of the Reds. Roy Woodward came out to close the game in the 9th, as Brooklyn had taken a 2-1 lead in the series.

Game 4

Heading into game 4, all the talk of the series had shifted to the rampant no-shows in the Brooklyn lineup. Zach Riley, Brandon Sutton, and rookie Noah Knight all looked like deer in headlights so far in the series, and despite their game 3 victory, nothing seemed assured. Knight would get the ball on the mound in game 4, hoping to rectify his poor performance at the plate with strong pitching opposite Jim McKeithan. This was not to be.

After a Jon Gibbs single to shallow center and stolen base, Brooklyn scored first thanks to Brandon Sutton getting his first hit of the series and sending Gibbs from second to home. Sutton stole a bag and advanced to 3rd on a fly out, but McKeithan was able to hold the Jays to just a run as things headed to Noah Knight on the mound.

Things started well for Knight, and by well, he struck out lead off hitter Ben Matney before going into a tailspin. Reyes and Brownlow each drew walks to put runners on first and second, and Barnard was able to load the bases with a ball that just got through DeAngelo and Riley. Up next was Howard Townsley, who was up against what many were saying would be the next two-way star. After taking a strike on the outside corner and a ball that dipped inside, Townsley unloaded on a hanging changeup and delivered a grand slam, sending the Cincinnati crowd into a frenzy as Townsley came down on home plate to deafening cheers. But the Reds weren’t done. O’Brien flew out to right before Jerry Inscoe walked, sending Ed Stutts up to the plate on a mission. Stutts drilled a double over the outstretched glove of Jon Gibbs to give the Reds a 5-1 lead before the 1st inning was over.

Knight was able to calm down and sit down the side for the next few innings, and the Jays had a chance to get another run across when David Dillard reached third with just one out in the fourth. McKeithan matched his counterpart by striking out two straight batters, and the score remained 5-1.

The Jays changed pitchers in the fifth, as Knight walked two straight with just one out, leading to Rogelio Hernandez entering the game for the earliest relief appearance he’d seen all year. He coaxed two straight fly outs to end the scare, and Brooklyn was back to bat in the 6th. 

McKeithan looked gassed at this point. He’d played extremely well to this point but the wheels started to fall off as Jon Gibbs got aboard with a first pitch single. With Sutton up to bat, Gibbs stole two more bags before a fly out sent David Dillard to the plate. A five pitch walk left Elliot DeAngelo with runners on the corners, and a fly out to deep right field gave Gibbs just enough room to slip under the tag by Townsley. Quentin reached on a single over the head of Inscoe, and Bobby Lee was back to the plate. 

Lee’s time in Brooklyn as the primary first baseman ended when Knight stepped into the Hirsch Park clubhouse for the first time. However, the two-time all-star took the transition extremely well and has provided vital run support both as a replacement first baseman and pinch hitter. Stepping into the box, Lee drove a first-pitch fastball over the head of Matney to pick up a crucial 2 RBI double and cut the lead to just a score. Zach Riley, who had been mostly silent in the series to this point, tied up the game with a deep single, where Lee beat the throw from Brownlow to set the score at 5 a piece. 

After a perfect bottom frame in the 6th, Jeremy Mims took over for the Reds in the 7th. Things were close to disaster when, after pinch-hitter Brendan Gaudreau lined out to start the inning, Gibbs singled and stole a record 5th base in a Roosevelt Cup game. Brandon Sutton grounded a ball to Barnard, who fired it home for the tag at the plate. Townsley just barely got him in time, keeping the score at 5. Dillard was intentionally walked again and DeAngelo grounded out to end the inning, but the scare seemed real. 

In the bottom of the inning, Cincinnati put together a confluence of bases to take the lead for good. Back to the top of the order, Matney singled before a fielders choice saw him trade places with Brownlow on the basepaths. Chris Barnard was more fortunate and, after Brownlow stole second, lined a single to shallow center as Brownlow came around to score the go-ahead run. Townsley ripped one through the infield for a single before O’Brien flew out to end the inning, but Cincinnati had put themselves up for good.

The Reds tried to add to their lead in the bottom of the eighth, but a two-out double by Ben Matney left the plodding Jeremy Mims to get thrown out by a country mile at home to end the inning.

Mims was able to close the game out with two perfect innings, and the Reds had tied the series 2-2.

Game 5

The aces were back on the mound in Game 5. Ibarra looked to make amends for his poor performance in the series opening, while Townsley was determined to take a 3-2 series lead and nab his second RCS victory at just 20 years old.

After two and a half quick frames, Reds would strike first. In the bottom of the third, Townsley was able to draw a four pitch walk in the lead off spot, leaving the top of the order to back him up. Gage Miller bunted Townsley to second before Ben Matney battled through a seven pitch at bat to get on base by a walk of his own. Carlos Reyes, playing poorly threw the four games, took a 1-2 fastball and drove it past Noah Knight and into the outfield, where Townsley was able to glide home to take the 1-0 lead. Jon Brownlow walked to load the bases, but Ibarra would sit down the next two batters to end the 3rd. 

After Ibarra got out of the jam, both pitchers traded scoreless frames until the top of the 6th, where the Jays finally got to work. After an Ibarra groundout, Gibbs walked and stole second before a Brandon Sutton ground out left him on third with two outs. Townsley, despite his skill in deception, was unable to get Dillard to swing on a four pitch walk, and gave Elliot DeAngelo a chance with runners on the corners and two outs. On the first pitch, he took that opportunity and sent it into the crowd with a three-run jack, giving the Jays the lead. The previously raucous crowd fell silent as it looked like Brooklyn would take the momentum right back.

That is until the bottom of the inning. Chris Barnard led off with a fist pitch single before getting thrown out on a steal attempt. Graham O’Brien, now with one out, grounded a ball to Riley who who overthrew Knight. The ball crashed into the dugout fence, sending O’Brien to second and resulting in Brooklyn’s first mishap of the inning. Inscoe was able to capitalize on a first pitch single, sending O’Brien home on a blooper that put the Reds within one. Two walks to Stutts and Townsley loaded the bases as the jitters finally started creeping around Ibarra. On the first pitch to Gage Miller, Ibarra missed wide on a changeup and the ball rolled past the catcher, leaving Townsley with an opportunity to tie the game on a passed ball. With the game tied at 3, a mound visit from Joe Miller calmed Ibarra down enough to get out of the inning with a strikeout and groundout, but Cincinnati had answered. 

Ibarra was able to go the full 9, but it wasn’t enough. Townsley got in a jam in the eighth with runners on first and second with one out, but Mims came in to get out of the inning and take it to extras with a perfect ninth inning. 

In the top of the tenth, Brooklyn found their hero. After a Sutton groundout, David Dillard took an 0-1 sinker to shallow right, bringing up Elliot DeAngelo to the plate. Deangelo had already proved dangerous today, and strolled into the box just looking to drive in Dillard. It was made easier when he stole second base, putting a runner in scoring position with just one out. On a 1-2 count, DeAngelo got all he could under the ball and sent it flying to deep right field for his second home run of the game. The score was now 5-3 Jays, but they weren’t done just yet. Quentin got on with a walk and stole second in the middle of a 7-pitch at-bat where Riley flew out for the second out. Noah Knight grabbed his first hit of the series with a first-pitch RBI single that went through the legs of Mims, putting an insurance run on the board for Brooklyn before they headed to the bottom of the 10th. 

With Woodward on the mound, things seemed assured. Jon Brownlow made it interesting when he took a ball deep into the stands for his second home run of the series, but his solo shot wasn’t enough as Barnard and Jay Meyers weren’t able to grab hold of the rally. Brooklyn took a 3-2 lead, now heading back home for a decisive game 6.

Game 6

Jason Hughes took the mound in a sold out Hirsch Park in Brooklyn with the potential to close out the series, but the first inning certainly went the opposite way. After giving up a lead off double to Ben Matney, Reyes reached on a Noah Knight error to put runners on the corners with no outs. Brownlow, whose home run in Game 5 was his second of the series, grounded into a double play but scored Matney to clear the bases and give Cincinnati the lead. 

The Jays countered with Brandon Sutton’s second hit of the series, sending a solo home run into the scoreboard to tie the game.

Things would stay quiet until the bottom of the fifth, as both pitchers were able to control the pace of the game. Joe Miller, a catcher whose presence at the plate had been quite underwhelming so far, got all of a hanging changeup as he sent one over the outstretched glove of Jon Brownlow to give Brooklyn a 2-1 lead. The Jays weren’t done, however, but Noah Knight couldn’t get it done with runners on second and third with two outs. 

Hughes avoided danger in the sixth, leaving Howard Townsley stranded after a one-out triple and giving the plate back to Brooklyn. Hernandez got two quick outs in the bottom of the sixth, but a rally started forming after Zach Riley came through with a double. Fearful of a hot Joe Miller, Hernandez intentionally walked him to get to the pitcher. On a 2-1 count, Hughes put a ball over the head of Inscoe, and a surprised Brownlow wasn’t able to charge on it before Zach Riley had already crossed the plate, making it a 3-1 ballgame. Gibbs tacked another on with a single of his own before Brandon Sutton loaded the bases by drawing a walk. Dillard, who for all his strength in the series thus far, wouldn’t be able to send anyone home in what turned out to be a pivotal third out for the Reds.

The pace was again set by the pitchers for the next two innings, as both traded scoreless frames before the 9th. Hernandez was replaced by Jay Spangler in the bottom of the 8th, while the Jays started their bullpen around the same time. Hughes had been lights out all day, walking three and giving up just 4 hits in 8 innings of work, but he was reaching his limits at 117 pitches. In stepped Roy Woodward, but the regular season starter was clearly thrown off his rhythm as they entered in the ninth. 

Howard Townsley started the inning with a single into shallow right before Jay Meyers struck out, bringing up pinch-hitter Pat Woodroofe. Although only playing 58 games as a replacement outfielder, Woodroofe still recorded a .383 average across 81 at-bats, and was a constant veteran presence when they needed it most. With two outs potentially left in their season, Woodroofe took a fastball over the looming right field wall and into the bleachers to bring the Reds within one. 

As the sold out crowd at Hirsch Park remained silent, Woodward got back on the mound, hoping, praying, to close out the series. Ed Stutts had other plans, taking a fastball through the left infield gap to put the first runner on. Ken Peterson, acquired in a deadline trade with Pittsburgh, worked his way to a full count. With a grounder, the series could be ended on a double play. 

Peterson got a good one to hit, but couldn’t get enough of it as it dribbled off the end of his bat and towards Noah Knight. Knight had been too close to the bag while expecting a pickoff throw that he wasn’t able to get there in time, letting it drift slowly into shallow right. Dillard, expecting Knight to make a play and Quentin to play backup, was caught lacking as runners were left on second and third with just one out. It was up to Woodward to finish this game, and finish it fast.

After settling down, Woodward got control of himself and was able to strike out Ben Matney on four pitches, helped greatly by a fantastic Joe Miller frame job to get the called strike three. It was now up to Carlos Reyes to save the series, and the season, for the Reds.

0-0. Strike, looking.
0-1. Strike, looking.
0-2. Hit towards Riley. 

The series looked to be over. The ball-to-glove relay was perfect, the star shortstop set his feet, and threw the ugliest ball ever seen towards Knight. It bounced off of Knights glove in what was ruled an error by Riley, Stutts came in to score, and the game was now tied. The final out of the inning came just moments later, but the Reds had been given a second chance at life.

The Jays had a chance to finish them off nonetheless. Spangler had been subbed out for Jeremy Mims, getting the most action he’d had on the mound in months. Noah Knight, who had just one hit the entire series and had been on the receiving end of the disastrous error, got his first stroke of good luck with a double down the right field line. A DeAngelo groundout to third made an advance dangerous, but Knight timed it perfectly to put Brooklyn just 90 feet away from their second Roosevelt Cup. Quentin got intentionally walked to put runners on the corners. Only one ball into the outfield away, Zach Riley came up and swung for the fences, whiffing on three straight pitches to let Joe Miller be the hero. He grounded out on a clean pitch and catch from Barnard to Jay Meyers, and Game 6 went into extras.

The tenth was pretty quiet as far as a do-or-die game went, with both pitchers hitting their stride and bats falling flat to send the game into the 11th, still tied at 4.

Rogelio Hernandez stepped on the mound to continue the Jays pitching, but it turned into a disaster. Stutts singled, and after Gage Miller popped up a bunt for the first out, was moved to second with a Ben Matney walk. Reyes put the Jays in position to end the game with a fielders choice that left runners on the corners with just one out to go. Up walked Jon Brownlow.

The at-bat started with 3 straight balls before a few mighty swings drew the count full. With the 1947 Pennant series on his mind, Hernandez delivered the payoff pitch. 

It was a beauty. The slider caught the corner of the plate and looked to be a surefire swing and a miss. The crowd, once roaring, laid silent as it hung in the air. The streets, once bustling before the game had started, were at a standstill, the only sounds to be heard being the incessant radios and the birds above the Brooklyn brownstones. All laid quiet for one fateful moment, as Brownlow located and launched it over the fence to take a 7-4 lead. 

Brooklyn couldn’t rally off of a relieving Randy Midkiff despite a lead-off double by Dillard, and headed to a win-or-go-home Game 7, the Jays had a lot to answer for.

Game 7

Kevin Denton pulled Jason Hughes an inning before the series was supposed to be over, and it was up to him to leave his ace off the mound in game 7, as well. In Danny Ibarra’s place, and up against Howard Townsley, no less, was Noah Knight, just 5 days from giving up a grand slam to his counterpart. In some ways, it made sense, as Knight was going through a considerable slump with just two hits in 22 at-bats. Lee would take first base, and Knight’s measure of command couldn’t have been as bad as Ibarra’s was in Game 1, who could be called upon in relief if necessary. The Reds only had one man for the job, as Townsley was still reeling from being pulled once again instead of closing out the game. 

The first inning saw most of the action early in the game, as Knight wouldn’t falter until the fifth. In the bottom of the first, Townsley would dangerously pitch around Gibbs, who promptly stole his way to third after a Brandon Sutton fly out. David Dillard also drew a walk from the usually-pinpoint pitcher, leaving Elliot DeAngelo runners on the corners with one out. After getting two hard whacks at balls that ricocheted off the backstop, he squared up on a 2-2 curveball and launched it into the right-center alley, scoring two and sliding in on a triple. Townsley had been clutch all series, but it seemed like the nerves were getting to him in the first. With DeAngelo still on third, Townsley landed a changeup in the dirt that bounced right past Gage Miller and allowed the third run in the inning to score. Just like that, it was 3-0 Brooklyn in game seven.

Then came the turn. Knight had been brilliant through the first four innings, but the rookie had learned the hard way about pitching on the biggest stage. After getting a fly out from Reyes to start the inning, Ed Stutts took a 2-2 fastball for a ride into shallow left, giving the Reds a runner on first. Up came H-Town.

After fouling one off into the stands, Townsley settled in for the second pitch. Chin music. The animosity between the two had been bubbling since Knight broke out on the scene in July, when the media was looking for an Eastern foil for the Unicorn. In came the third pitch. Inside corner, a changeup that gets a chase from the great Western hitter. 1-2. Knight delivers. 

It’s a missile to the right-center field wall. Gibbs missed a leaping grab, allowing Stutts to come around home with ease as Townsley stood up on an RBI triple. Gage Miller flew out to put two outs on the board, but the Reds weren’t finished. On a 1-2 count of his own, Jon Brownlow stepped out of the way of a dirt ball, one that Joe Miller couldn’t get a hold of. Townsley jumped at the opportunity, stealing home on a passed ball to put Cincinnati within one.

In the top of the 6th, things looked to be even more precarious. Ben Matney rolled up as the lead off hitter, and did so with a bang. On a 2-1 count, he ripped a fly ball deep into the second deck in left for a no-doubt, completely demoralizing tie-game home run. It was evidenced in the next few innings that the tides looked to be turning. Elliot DeAngelo overthrew a routine grounder to first on the very next at-bat, but after an intentional walk, made up for it with a double play to Quentin that gave the Reds a runner on third. Reyes mercifully grounded out to end the inning tied at 3, but the momentum had swung. 

Both pitchers were perfect for the next nine outs, bringing up the top of the 8th with Knight still on the mound.

Jon Brownlow singles. Runner on first. 
Ben Matney lifts a single to shallow center. Brownlow stretches, runners on the corners.
Barnard flies out. One out.
Matney steals. Intentional walk. 
Bases loaded, Jerry Inscoe at the plate. 

Inscoe battles himself to 2-1, where in a stroke of luck, he hits one foul of third base by what looks like inches. When he squares up to bat on the next pitch, his soft dribbler goes straight to Travis Quentin, who throws a perfect dart to Miller’s glove to get the out at home.

Still with bases loaded, Knight has to pitch to Reyes, whose poor RCS was indicative of many on both sides. A harmless fly out ended the Reds prime opportunity, and they would have to wait through another stellar Townsley pitching performance to get their next chance.

It would be a chance they would take. Knight had already thrown over 100 pitches and was beginning to fade, but a strategic 6-pitch strikeout from Ed Stutts gave the box to none other than Howard Townsley.

This wasn’t in doubt. Knight looked gassed and his command was fading, much like his counterpart on the other side. But H-Town’s motor was not ready to quit, not with a championship on the line. After fouling one back and spitting on an outside slider, Townsley took a high fastball opposite field and into the bleachers, giving the Reds a 4-3 lead in the top of the 9th.

Two more straight outs couldn’t get the crowd back to its feet. It was as if Manuel Gonzalez had hit the Game 95 walk-off all over again, but this time it would never stop being replayed. Howard Townsley had broken the Brooklyn faithful, if just for the moment, fewer players have done that than win a championship.

It was H-Town’s turn to finish them off. Two unassuming outs brought up Zach Riley, the man who threw away Game 6, to bat against the man who stole Game 7. 

Foul. 0-1
Strike called, outside edge. 0-2
Ball. 1-2
Ball. 2-2
Ball. 3-2

Townsley was a strike away from being the close out pitcher of the RCS, a strike away from being a champion. And Riley, determined not to let his gaffe in Game 6 become a legendary choke, had to do something to save the Jays season.

On the payoff pitch, Riley couldn’t get a hold of it as it drifted to the outside of fair territory. If replacement first baseman Jay Meyers was any quicker, it would’ve been fair down the line and an easy third out. 

Reset, back to full count. 

Fouled back. Reset again.

His last pitch showed how much H-Town had been working this series. Not even two months before turning 21, he threw 141 pitches and hit for the harder half of the cycle. This would be the last pitch he threw in the series.

Riley just stared at it, a 65 mile-an-hour curveball that landed in the opposite batters box. The Jays, once dead just 5 pitches ago, were alive with the winning run at the plate and a new pitcher on the mound.

Out from the bullpen was Jay Spangler. In an uncommon display of emotion, Townsley was irate with manager Frank Cameron as he was leaving the mound. If the Jays were going to lose this championship, it was his to lose. The crowd, now ramping into a frenzy as their hopes were restored, drowned out any of the potential curses coming from the Cincinnati dugout. Townsley wished Spangler the best and tried to give him notes as he was being rushed off the mound, but Cameron was not ready to sit there and wait for H-Town to quit yapping.

Up came the winning run, Bobby Lee. The hero of the ‘48 Open was ready to do it again, and on a 2-1 count, he found his pitch to hit, a changeup that held high in the zone and refused to fade. It was a drive down the third base line, over the head of Stutts, and just foul. The count was 2-2, and again, the Reds were one strike away. Luckily, Spangler wouldn’t offer anything better and gave up a walk to put the winning run on first. Pinch hitting for Joe Miller was Brendan Gaudreau. 

For those uninitiated, Gaudreau was the base runner who had a walk-off hurdle in Game 1 of the 1948 Eastern Open, so the seldom-used backup was still used to the big moment. And this would be his biggest yet.

On the 1-1 pitch, Gaudreau found his chance. Unlike those who had come before, he seized it. There would be no “walk-off walk”, there would be no groundout-hurdle combination, there would be no doubt that this championship was earned.

It wasn’t in doubt. As soon as Spangler let the ball go, he sat in shock on the mound. It was a floater, and the crowd erupted into a furious chorus as Gaudreau lifted it into the upper left field deck. Cheers rang out from the entire borough and remained obnoxious into the night as Brooklyn had won their second straight Roosevelt Cup, this time in the most dramatic fashion.

And there you have it! A dramatic conclusion to the final game saves the burgeoning legacies of Zach Riley and Noah Knight, whose series performances left much to be desired (and for Riley, almost becoming a pariah). Onto the Open Cups, where the Reds hope for a shot at redemption and the Jays hope to have an easier time than what turned out to be an amazing series!

I  l I K E  t H I S

6/15/2024 10:28 am  #52

Re: The Major American Baseball League

Holy cow, what a series! Congrats to Brooklyn, they certainly earned their crown this season. Here's hoping Harbor can break through next season.


6/15/2024 12:06 pm  #53

Re: The Major American Baseball League

hey if anybody has gotten to this point and just looked at the graphics to see who won, please read the full write-ups. it is 100% worth it. what an incredible series and what an iconic moment. was really hoping the reds could pull it out but the jays definitely deserve another chip despite literally almost throwing it away. ggs to them


6/17/2024 9:28 am  #54

Re: The Major American Baseball League

After such a climactic finish to the Roosevelt Cup, the Eastern Open was an afterthought to the Jays. That’s not to say that they didn’t show up, and Noah Knight specifically viewed the tournament as an opportunity to showcase his ability at the plate after a dismal RCS hitting performance. 

Opening Round:

The Opening round featured only one upset, and even that was in name only. Centennial put Luis Soto on the mound against Club Athlétique in a 5-3 loss that put Montréal into the round of 16. Soto only got through four innings before loading the bases with no outs in the fifth, as offseason acquisition Mark Fernandez gave up 3 more runs to the electric Montréal offense in what turned out to be the low point for Centennial. After the game, both Harry Shuster and manager Bob Kohnke were relieved of their duties, and Philadelphia’s top club enters the offseason in full rebuild mode as Tom Clark looks to leave in free agency. 

Second Round:

Of the two all-MABL matchups in the second round, neither was competitive. In a couple of pitchers duels, Boston took down Manhattan, much to the chagrin of Dan Bell, while Pittsburgh’s Steve Sammet couldn’t match Greg Read’s one-run complete game. 

The real test was found in Toronto’s Dominion Sporting Club, who found themselves unable to come back from an early deficit against the middling second-tier Elizabeth squad. Dominion ace Tyler Walsh, who had guided his squad to an EPL championship against top-seeded Providence, had trouble all-day against inferior competition as the offense wasn’t able to make up for the early runs. Star outfielder Malcolm King and 1949 EPL MVP Shawn Manning were invisible at the plate, and instead, little-known first baseman Tyler Morris would outduel Dominion with a 2-home run game to send the favorites home. The best-on-best matchup between the Eastern Champions wasn’t to be, as Brooklyn would face their second cupcake in the Tournament.


In the top of the bracket, Brooklyn took care of business in a full best-of-3 series that looked scary going into the final game. Noah Knight was on a tear in game 1, going 4-5 with two home runs against the clearly outmatched Justin Simmons, but the baseball world was in shock after game 2. Jonah Lucas pitched 6 innings of shutout ball before the Jays collapsed. An 8th inning single set up a 2-1 lead for Jimmy Buehner, but a 2-run home run by Justin Lee gave Elizabeth a 3-2 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish. Danny Martinez and Jerry Cannon combined excellent pitching performances to get the win, setting up a game 3 that had everyone in the East on their feet.

It wasn’t meant to be. Brooklyn pummeled them, as Noah Knight hit two more homers and Bobby Lee joined in on a 27-3 victory that secured Brooklyn’s spot in the semifinals for the straight second season.

To face them was the winner of the highly anticipated matchup between the Bees and Boroughers. City’s revamped lineup was trying to make up for a disappointing season in the MABL, while Boston’s young pitching corps got to face their first real test in the Open. The Moles got off to a slow start in Game 1, and thanks to a group effort led by Chris Linen on the mound, the Bees got the win to take a 1-0 series lead. In Game 2, a ninth inning rally from the Boroughers that took everyone in the order saw the Moles take an 8-5 lead, and the Bees couldn’t overpower NYCA closer Melvin Medina as the series was tied at 1. In the closing game, Boston acted like they were playing for Dan Bell’s job as the Bees tallied 9 runs across five Moles pitchers in an easy victory, setting up a date with the Jays in Brooklyn.

On the other side of the bracket, the Mid-Atlantic MABL teams faced off in a another storied rivalry series, but it was Harbor who took home the close Game 1 victory. A Jared Kaplan 2-run shot tied the game at 3 in the bottom of the 9th, sending the game to extras where they would play on for three more innings. In the 12th, Blaise Perez launched a solo shot to put Harbor up by a score, and an insurance run lifted them to a 5-3 victory. Game 2 flew off the rails for Harbor, however, as a late inning surge off their relievers allowed Capital City to score 6 runs in the last four innings. Matt Stallcup had pitched a 1-hit shutout through five, but skipper Ryan Weinhandl trusted his bullpen to the team's detriment, as the bats were unable to make up the difference in a 4-6 loss. In Game 3, Harbor ended up trusting their pitcher. Going into the 7th, the Hacks were up 5-0 when Danny Stewart lost all steam. Capital City tied the game on an Omari Jenkins grand slam, but a Danny May two run homer in the 8th put the momentum back in their favor. A 9th inning rally was snuffed out as Harbor would advance to their first Eastern Open semifinal.

Montreal and Providence would meet again in the playoffs, although this time it would be for a chance to knock off a MABL team in the semis. In an epic first game, Club Athlétique would rally from down 5-0 to get the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly in the top of the 13th. After finishing a perfect bottom half of the inning, Montréal take a 1-0 series lead. In what would be the decisive second game, Montréal’s offense continued to roll, taking a 3-2 lead off of an RBI-double by John Kerry that they would not relinquish. For the second straight year, the EPL’s most premier team would have a chance to prove their mettle against a MABL opponent. 


Sorry Boston, it wasn’t meant to be. The Jays trailed for just half a frame the entire series as Brooklyn’s monster offense hit another gear. Opposite a 1-run complete Game 1 from Jason Hughes, Noah Knight hit three solo homers as insurance for an early 3-0 lead, closing the game out 6-0. 

The Jays found themselves in trouble for the first and only time in Game 2, when Rogelio Hernandez inherited a 6-2 lead from Roy Woodward and failed to put the game away. With the bases quickly loaded and no outs, Hernandez gave up a 2-run single to Keith Holton, sparking a 5-run inning to put the Bees on top, 7-6. The Jays tied the game in the bottom of the inning and Hernandez pitched his way out of a jam in the 8th, setting up the Jays with a prime opportunity to put the game away. A lead off single by Gibbs turned into a man on third, and from there it was all but over. The Jays rattled off a 4-run inning in the blink of an eye, and Brooklyn never looked back as they closed the ninth.

Game 3 held nary an iota of suspense, as Danny Ibarra held the Bees to just 5 hits in a complete game shutout. Knight homered again while Dillard and Quentin drove in two runs a piece to put the Bees away for good, and Brooklyn was headed back to the Open finals. 

Boston’s Dan Bell, looking for a deep run in the tournament, got to about where the team expected. The stalwart of the Bees was able to leverage his semifinal berth into another year with the club, although it remains to be seen if the team can maintain its winning trajectory while still ahead of schedule.

The other semifinal was chalk, as well. Harbor was riding high off of a rivalry victory and had pitching on their side, as their two best starters were acquired by Montréal in the offseason. Greg Read got the nod in Game 1, where the former Marron went to work. His 1-run performance through 5.1 innings gave Harbor’s bats time to heat up in an easy 7-2 victory. Up 2-0 in the fifth, Perez all but put the game away on a 3-run blast that put the game out of reach.

Game two saw an early 2-0 lead in the second thanks to Danny May launching one into the seats. Steve Wiese replicated Read’s performance from the day before, and the bullpen hung on to take a 2-0 series lead.

By Game 3, it was clear that Les Marrons just couldn’t hang with Montréal South. A fifth inning solo shot from C. A. second baseman Ron Forbes gave the club their first lead of the series, but Harbor answered right back with a 3-run bottom frame, jump started with a dropped fly out to Vincent Chappell. John McBean took just 70 pitches to get through the first five innings before Leo Longoria gave up a garbage time run in the 9th, as Harbor began their ascent to the Eastern Open finals.

Heading into the finals, it looked as though both teams held momentum on their side. Brooklyn was able to relatively breeze through the competition in the playoffs, and the battle-tested squad was riding high off red-hot performances by Quentin, Dillard, and Knight. For Harbor, a series victory would come as a surprise to all but them. Harbor had dominated the season series in the first half, and its not like they were playing poorly after the all-star break, either. The Hacks had a chance to shock the world, and to take a second juggernaut the distance (the first being C. A. Montréal) would be a shocking turnaround for a team that held the second overall pick in January. 

Game 1:

Jonah Lucas would get the start for the Jays in Game 1 opposite Danny Stewart, but it would be Harbor that drew first blood. A few long at-bats and a wild pitch left runners on second and third for Blaise Perez, who hit a sac fly to take the Hacks first lead in the series. 

Not to be deterred, the Jays responded with a gut punch. After a Gibbs strikeout, David Dillard and Noah Knight landed on base, bringing up a slumping Brandon Sutton. On the 1-2, Stewart gave up the Hacks’ only lead of the game on a three run jack to put Brooklyn up, 3-1.

Danny May would get a solo shot in the second to put them within a run, but a wild pitch in Brooklyn’s half of the frame put the difference back at two.

From there, it was all but sealed. Things got dicey when in the fourth, Raul Hernandez rounded into a standup triple with one out before Steve Saunders knocked him home to bring the deficit back to one. Lucas ended the inning with a fly out and a looking strikeout, but the Harbor offense tried to come back with a vengeance in the fifth. With two outs, Lucas loaded the bases thanks to two walks in the bottom of the order before Mark Rodi grounded out to put Brooklyn back at the plate. 

David Dillard led off in the bottom of the sixth with a bang, sending a ball into the right field bleachers to put the score at 5-3, where it would stay the rest of the game. Lucas finished seven innings with 6 K’s before Rogelio Hernandez came in to finish off the Harbor attack. With one more game before heading to Baltimore, Brooklyn was up in the series, 1-0.

Game 2:


The less said about this one, the better. Noah Knight took the mound for Brooklyn in the second game of the series, and put together one of the best all-around performances ever seen in a game of such magnitude. After giving up a triple and RBI-single in the first, Knight would allow three more hits until the seventh, where he would get out of a cornered, no-out jam by giving up a single run to Blaise Perez on a double before finishing the frame. His perfect performance in the 8th and 9th left him with a 2-run complete game, but that wasn’t nearly as impressive as his prowess at the plate.

Knight went yard against three separate Harbor hurlers, including a grand slam to put insult on injury in the 8th, and knocked in an RBI-single to boot as the two-way sensation had a tournament-record 10 RBI in a single game. The third inning blew the doors wide open with a two-run bomb before Matt Stallcup gave up an RBI walk to put the score at 3-1. From there, it was all Jays.

Game 3:

For those hoping for a closer Game 3, it simply wasn’t meant to be. Now in Baltimore, the Hacks took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth courtesy of a Steve Saunders homer off of starter Jason Hughes, but Brooklyn responded in timely fashion. 

With two outs in the fifth, Zach Riley took a 1-1 fastball from Greg Read and drilled it up the middle, giving the Jays their first sign of life since Jon Gibbs’ first inning homer. A Joe Miller walk put runners on first and second before Hughes decided that pitchers deserved to join in on the fun. He swung on the first pitch and sent it into shallow left-center, while Danny May was slow on the relay as Riley came around to tie the game. Back to the top of the order, Gibbs continued his hot streak with a 2-RBI triple to make the score 4-2, and Brooklyn didn’t look back. 

Knight went yard again in the 7th with one man on, while pinch hitter Milt Johns doubled in the 8th to drive home Zach Riley and leave a man on third. Gibbs had his third RBI opportunity and took it, shooting a fly ball into deep center allowing Joe Miller to tag up and turn it to an 8-2 ballgame.

Hernandez pitched a perfect 8th for Brooklyn before Bradford Ivany came in to close things out.

Raul Hernandez took the leadoff spot in the 9th, hoping to spark a rally off a full count single. After a May flyout, pinch hitters Pedro Silva and Angelo Parrà traded places at first thanks to a single and fielders choice. With 2 outs, Ivany lost his nerve and threw a wild pitch to Wallace Dunn, allowing Hernandez to score as it brought the score to 8-3. He walked Dunn and following batter Richard McNeil to load the bases, but a quick flip to second after a grounder from Turner sealed the win.

Game 4:

Brooklyn had pulverized their opponents since an embarrassing loss to a second-tier Eastern squad, and looked to end things once and for all with complete sweep. Harbor, however, was having none of it. 

Steve Wiese took the mound for Harbor, and got out of an early X-2-3 jam with two strikeouts and a flyout to center, giving the ball to Roy Woodward for his first crack at the Harbor lineup.

Woodward faced a tougher time. After giving up a one-out single to McNeil, Turner grounded out on a fielders choose to send him to second with two outs. Then the dam broke loose, as Perez singled into the outfield allowing McNeil to score before Saunders knocked home Perez on a first pitch double. Hernandez walked to let Danny May continue the rally, but Woodward drew a flyout to keep the score at 2-0, Harbor.

Woodward kept it simple until getting pulled before the 6th, allowing Brooklyn to take the lead. Travis Quentin cut the deficit to 1 on a solo shot in the fourth before Wiese had to face the heart of the order in the 5th. Dillard started the damage with a leadoff double, letting the red-hot Noah Knight get yet another RBI on a blooper single over the head of Turner to tie the game. Sutton grounded into a double play, but on a full count, Elliot DeAngelo walked to keep the inning alive. Wiese was back up to Quentin, who had no misgivings on a 1-0 fastball and took it the ball for a ride into the gap for an RBI triple, giving the lead to Brooklyn, 3-2.

Hernandez came back for another tour in the series, pitching a flawless inning before disaster struck in the 7th. With one out and no one on, Wallace Dunn came to the plate with destiny in hand.

By this point in his short MABL tenure, Hernandez had been known to give up back-breaking homers. Dunn, although not living up to the lofty expectations placed upon him, found the pitch to hit. Another slider, just off the plate but high enough to hang, looked like a meatball as soon as it left Hernandez’s hand. Dunn struck with the weight of the entire Eastern seaboard behind him and sent it flying, leaving the Jays to pick up the pieces of a tied ball game.

Things stayed quiet until extras, as both squads made their way down the list of available pitchers. The Jays switched to Buehner, then Bradford Ivany, who hadn’t seen time at the mound since losing the fifth rotational spot to Knight at the break. In the 11th, the Jays faced threir only threat of runners in scoring position, as Mark Rodi walked on a full count to send Danny May to second with two outs. Pinch hitter Pedro Silva couldn’t get a good lick in, however, as the Hack offense stalled to put Greg Read back on the mound for the second day in a row.

The game turned into a defensive slog, as only one more batter reached base until the 14th. Emilio Sanchez came in for the Jays in the bottom half of the previous frame, pitching a strikeout and grounder to two dangerous hitters in Hernandez and May.

Up came the Jays. Having only thrown 58 pitches the day before, Read made quick work of the previous two innings before Joe Miller strolled up to the plate in the top of the 14th inning.

It was the shortest at-bat of the day for Read, as Miller took a 1-0 fastball into shallow right to put a man on board for Brendan Gaudreau.

Trying to play the hero once again, Gaudreau got so close. On a 1-1 count, he lifted one down the line. It was a beauty, a long fly ball that was absolutely crushed. If only it stayed fair. Now down in the count, Gaudreau worked Read into a 7-pitch walk to send the Jays back to the top of the order.

Now with Gibbs at the plate, Read delivered. Hernandez, usually one of the best backstops in the game, froze under pressure, letting the ball slip past him as the runners advanced to second and third with no outs. No matter, as Gibbs was issued a four-pitch walk for the menacing David Dillard. Still no outs.

The two-time MVP climbed into the box on a 1-2 count and just missed the barrel of a fastball. It was going to be a play at the plate. Dunn charged in on the dribbler and fired home, delivering a perfect strike to get a lagging Joe Miller to keep the Jays off the board. Now it was Knight’s turn.

This is an instance where Montreal had them just last season, with one out and the bases loaded of a 3-3 tie in extras. Up stepped the red-hot home run threat with a chance to put Brooklyn up for good.

Perhaps it was vindication for Club Athlétique. Their ultimate fear was inches from being realized, as Noah Knight took the ball for a ride on a back-breaking 2-RBI double. Dillard held up at third, making the score 5-3 as DeAngelo stepped up next.

Intentional walk. Bases loaded, still one out. Travis Quentin added one more on a sac fly and a strikeout mercifully ended the inning, but any and all energy had been sucked out of the park. Top Jays prospect Kevin Frongillo got his first top-level action as the last remaining arm in the pen, and Brooklyn’s sixth pitcher of the night went 1-2-3 with no drama to close it out.

Brooklyn found a way to come away with their second straight sweep in the Open, this time defeating a much-too weak Baltimore. While the Jays have become the team to beat, many Eastern sqaudas are looking at themselves in the mirror this offseason and seriously questioning their current roster construction. How can you compete with a team whose Triple-Crown winning 2-time MVP is only competing for his teammates for such a title?

Last edited by H-Town1141 (6/25/2024 3:45 am)

I  l I K E  t H I S
     Thread Starter

6/17/2024 10:50 am  #55

Re: The Major American Baseball League

Tales from the MABL

October 13, 1949
Detroit Evening Telegram

Ryan Shelton jumps from East to West in Major Shakeup

Just before their final preliminary matches in the Western Open, Detroit’s Union Baseball Club purchased the contract of star outfielder Ryan Shelton from Philadelphia’s Athletics. Playing in the Eastern baseball Association, the second tier of Eastern baseball, the 24-year-old put up incredible numbers. The extra-base czar hit 46 doubles and 23 triples in his 96-game season, finishing the year with his bottom-feeding club as EBA Most Valuable Player.

Despite the brouhaha surrounding Brooklyn’s signing of Danny Ibarra the previous season, MABL commissioner Nathaneal Hayes did not take exception with the purchase of Shelton. In a statement released by the commissioner’s office early this morning, the punitive measures taken against Brooklyn in January were due to the circumstances, as Brooklyn effectively added a ringer to their pitching staff before the final game of the Eastern Open Tournament. The EBA’s Presidents Board approved of the purchase as well, as Philadelphia had finished their regular season and had not yet clinched a berth in the Eastern Open playoff bracket.

The Dubs have also stipulated that Shelton will receive a long-term deal to placate the notion that he’s been acquired as a short-term rental for the tournament run.

This invariably creates an odd situation for baseball, and the rules will be further hashed out in future seasons as the tournaments continue to gain steam. However, it’s become a de-facto rule that squads not participating in their league’s postseason have a short window before the start of the Tournament playoffs to acquire talent through player purchases. Detroit is on the receiving end of this deal, but this puts both players and managers in a tough bind before the offseason. Skipper Bob Ripple is on the outs with Union management due to his lineup mismanagement, and now has the team paying for a guy that he hopes will save his job.

With the tournament right around the corner, Ripple hopes that a deep run will save him from the axe. From those at the sports desk, we hope it doesn’t.

Last edited by H-Town1141 (6/17/2024 2:20 pm)

I  l I K E  t H I S
     Thread Starter

6/17/2024 12:00 pm  #56

Re: The Major American Baseball League

So when is Montreal joining the league?


6/17/2024 12:48 pm  #57

Re: The Major American Baseball League

ZO82 wrote:

So when is Montreal joining the league?

(Can’t tell if this is a bit so I’ll give a joke response and real response)

When they can win the Open, maybe 🤪

Tbh, the MABL is just gaining its footing. The league still has things to parse to stabilize its position and secure a sustainable path for expansion. Adding teams this early would drive up engagement, sure, but to the detriment of the regional leagues’ ability to attract young talent. With Hayes’s eyes looking towards the West long-term, adding teams now would mean lowering the quality of future teams.

Last edited by H-Town1141 (6/17/2024 12:51 pm)

I  l I K E  t H I S
     Thread Starter

6/18/2024 5:52 pm  #58

Re: The Major American Baseball League

H-Town1141 wrote:

ZO82 wrote:

So when is Montreal joining the league?

(Can’t tell if this is a bit so I’ll give a joke response and real response)

When they can win the Open, maybe 🤪

Tbh, the MABL is just gaining its footing. The league still has things to parse to stabilize its position and secure a sustainable path for expansion. Adding teams this early would drive up engagement, sure, but to the detriment of the regional leagues’ ability to attract young talent. With Hayes’s eyes looking towards the West long-term, adding teams now would mean lowering the quality of future teams.

It was a joke response, but thanks for the real response


6/19/2024 2:32 pm  #59

Re: The Major American Baseball League

1949 Western Open

The Western Open proved to be the backbreaker for some and a vindication for others, proving how wide open things had really become in the midwest. But first, here’s some news.

Opening Round:

MABL squads had taken 3 of the 4 first round byes, with the other going to second-tier Cedar Falls. This left five MABL teams in the midwest to hash it out and try to advance, and four were able to get the job done. The only real shocker in the first round was a real doozy, as the Lakers got bounced by a third-tier midwestern squad. Ron Elliott gave up three runs in just two innings of work, and Steve Yarnell gave up two more in the 8th as the bats couldn’t get going. Team President Bear Rowland and skipper Phil Schleicher were sacked the following morning as the club’s board needed to rectify such an embarrassment. It looks like there’s going to be a long offseason in Cleveland, and with Joe Wells entering free agency after next season, a long-term rebuild might be in order. 

Second Round:

The second round featured a few really fun matchups. The first all-MABL game was played after the Republics and Indians both beat their first round opponents, leading to an exciting game that came down to the wire. Tied in the 9th, Brian Munger knocked an RBI-triple to put them up by one and scored himself for an insurance run as Chicago went down in the second round for the second year in a row. 
Howard Townsley matched up against Fargo, where a first inning home run was added onto later for the remote squad. The Reds offense scored 6 in the early going, and despite a 9th inning homer by Jordan Steptoe, Cincinnati held on to advance. 

The Tigers took out a MABL opponent, as Kansas City’s Bob Kirkland held Milwaukee scoreless to face their new, and fierce, rival in Minneapolis. 

Lastly, the Packers headed to Cedar Falls, IA, where they squeaked out a win with an RBI-hit parade in the 7th to put them up, 2-1.


The MABL was well-represented in the quarterfinals and made for some good matchups, but the Cinderella of the tournament was an Olathe squad that dodged a bullet by playing Muncie in the second round. They won in walk-off fashion to advance from the second round, but both would’ve been doomed against the Cincinnati buzzsaw. Hernandez and Midkiff mowed down batters while the Reds scored run after run against hopelessly outmatched pitching, leaving Cincinnati to face the winner of an all-MABL showdown in St. Louis.

The Packers were looking for a miracle heading into town, and it was a miracle they got in Game 1. Down 1-0 in the fifth, Stock Yards rallied with a barrage of hits, first scoring on an RBI single from Roger Doblado before Mark Wilson launched a 3-run nuke to put the Packers up for good. Tim Mayer, the third of the Travellers’ pitching pickups, was reduced to tears after 6 innings of work. At 6’6, the media gave him the nickname “gentle giant” after the loss, and the Packers found themselves one win away from the semifinals.

Game 2 was an embarrassment for the Travellers. Stock Yards’ “f--k it, we ball” attitude worked wonders for them, getting Ernesto Jimenez off the bump after a 4-run third inning. They resumed their reign of terror in the 7th, tacking on five more runs in the final three frames as the vaunted Traveller bats headed back to the dugout, time and time again. Skipper Jeremy McKee had to make an impassioned pledge to club chairman John Wiseman to keep his job and in the end won out, but it was Chicago’s forlorn club that advanced.

Thanks to their major upset in the round prior, Louisville headed to Detroit for a date with the two-cylinder engine. In Game 1, however, Union’s offense looked like a V-8 as 5 separate players combined for 8 RBI, as Joe Soucy and co. looked like no match for Detroit. Game 2 proved to be a different story, however, as expiring pitcher Mike Hagood only gave up 2 runs in 6 innings of work, while the offense rallied late asMunger again proved crucial with a 2-RBI double in the 7th. With the series now tied, everything rested on Game 3. Louisville would get the early lead thanks to an RBI HBP, and two more were added on for good measure against Jake Van Camp. Up 3-0 in the third, Mat Dugan would give up a 3-run bomb to Rock Adams to tie the game, and from there it was over. Van Camp wouldn’t allow another run to score through 6, and Detroit’s offense kept piling on to finish out a 13-5 victory and advance to the semifinals.

Their opponents would be the winners of a Premier League title rematch. Kansas City’s Tigers proved how poorly they’d been placed in the creation of the midwest’s pro-rel system by finishing their first premier league season 70-26. Right behind them was Minneapolis, winners of the league for two straight seasons. In a hard-fought best-of-7 series, It was the Minnesota squad that came out victorious to take the Premier League crown. As a result of fate, the Tigers and Minneapolis would face off yet again with a chance at dethroning a MABL team in the semis on the line.

Minneapolis would get the best of KC in game one, as the Minnies rallied from a 3-0 deficit. In the 8th, third baseman Mike Tyler hit a 3-run homer off closer Bob Garrison to finish off a come-from-behind victory, extending the Minneapolis wins against the Tigers to 5 straight. Game 2 would become an offensive showcase. Up a run heading into the fourth, the Tigers would put up 9 runs to make the lead 10-0, absolutely defacing star pitcher Jake Mole in the process. Minneapolis would almost come all the way back, as the squad faced off against Bob Kirkland in a rare 9th inning relief appearance. Despite an RBI HBP, the Minnies wouldn’t get any more off the Tigers ace, ending the game 12-11.

Game 3 would offer no such suspense. Danny Salmon hit a grand slam in the 4th to put the Tigers up 5-0, and they never looked back. Despite a valiant comeback from Minneapolis, the home team gave up a crippling 3-run bomb to center fielder Dan Clarke to give the Tigers a breezy 8-4 win.


H-Town got the start in Game 1, but still reeling from being pulled with one out left in the RCS, it was clear from the jump that he simply didn’t have the juice. The surging Packers pounced on a weak changeup as he gave up 4 runs in the first before getting his chance at the plate. The Reds offense recovered in a game that went back and forth all day, but couldn’t create the separation needed for comfort. Despite 2 RBI by Tonwsley, the Reds were still down 10-6 after a series of mishaps in the 6th forced reliever Stephen Tubman off the mound.The 7th was the time for a rally, as Jerry Inscoe followed up a pinch-hit double from reserve infielder Steve Ayala with an RBI single, cutting the deficit to three. Jon Brownlow tied it up with a two-out three run homer, leaving reliever Jay Spangler to hold the Packers scoreless in the 8th. The reliever did just that, giving the ball to reliever Sam Hart to hold onto what seemed like a surefire first game upset. It wasn’t meant to be, however, as Ed Stutts knocked in an RBI single with two outs to put the Reds up one. Daniel Gomez finished the game out in the 9th, and Cincinnati scathed by to take the first game of the series.

Games two and three fell into a similar pattern that was seen in the regular season, as Cincinnati jumped out early with strong hitting from their all-star outfield while their middle of the rotation held the Packers to single-digit baserunners. Despite a palpitating first game, Cincinnati would sweep Stock Yards to advance to the final.

This was no cause for disappointment on the South Side, however. Dave Perrin desperately needed the infusion from gate receipts in Cincinnati and a semifinalist payout, using it to parade his team around back home as the future of Chicago Baseball. The manufacturing magnate was still working on finding a suitable new home for his club, but hopefully the rest of the money earned from their run could be put to use in the offseason.

Detroit desperately needed to win this series. Manager Bob Ripple took charge after the War and assembled this team, and leash began to shrink after they couldn’t capture the momentum of ‘48. Union leaders saw that the club had squandered the greatest single hitting performance in history for two straight seasons, and this would be Ripple’s last chance to bring home some hardware.

The Tigers were riding momentum into the series and assembled a dominant team of their own, but it would be the Dubs who got the victory in Game 1. The whole team put together a ferocious performance, leading wire-to-wire as Edwin Trevino pitched a 2-hit, complete game shutout in Detroit. 

Game 2 was just the opposite, however, as ace Ramon Pena held Union to just two hits as their offense rolled, putting up 9 on 10 hits thanks to an entire team effort. With the series staying in Detroit, however, the Tigers would have to climb uphill for the rest of the series.

The Dubs took control in Game 3, but it wasn’t meant to be. Heading into 6th up 4-0 behind a Rock Adams bases-clearing double, Bruce Gulley couldn’t hold on. With 2 outs secured, Justin O’Brien got his second chance at the plate. On a 2-0 count, he located a fastball and uncorked, driving it to the wall on a bases-clearing double of his own and moved himself up 90 feet on a no-throw by Salas. A first pitch single by catcher Will Bowen scored the tying run, and the game was now 4-4.

Both teams would get a few more men on base, but things died down after that. Both bullpens recovered from early woes by their starters, and the game headed to extras.

The first sign of action since the 6th also served to be the undoing of the Dubs. Mike Rouse took the mound to the mound and grabbed the first wo outs with relative ease, with only Jonathan Lynch getting on base. O’Brien would walk to put runners on first and second, giving Will Bowen another opportunity to come through for the Tigers. On a 1-1 count, he hit a line drive double through the left center gap that brought both baserunners home, putting the Tigers up for good, 6-4.

Things got interesting in the bottom of the inning, as Shelton and Arellano both reached on singles to bring the heart of the order up. Chris Erwin and Rock Adams both failed to deliver in the clutch, flying out to give Jeff Oxford the chance to play hero. Down to his last strike, Oxford grounded out to end the game. 2-1 series lead, KC.

Game 4 would offer just as much drama. Aaron Santee would take the mound, just months before his 22nd birthday. The youngster would matchup against the Tigers’ Bob Kirkland, as his offense would be the first to draw blood. The Dubs would take a 3-0 lead in the third thanks to an all-around team effort, including 2 in the first from German Arellano’s solo shot and an RBI double by Jeff Oxford, while Santee was perfect for the first third. Then things came crashing down, as they always seem to do. 

A Will Bowen walk set up a two-run home run for Adam Beyer in the 5th, but the Dubs were able to escape. Santee retired the next 6 batters, but a single in the top of the 7th ended his night. Top prospect Jack Miller came in in relief, but gave up another single and a walk to load the bases. Pinch hitter Mike Dan fought back a 1-2 count to walk, driving in a run before a few fielders choices ended the inning tied at 3.

Edgar Romero came in in the 9th and threw the game away. An opening double by Beyer immediately put a runner in scoring position, but Romero retired the next two batters as the runner moved to third. Now with a man 90 feet away, Romero delivered a 2-1 fastball to Dan Clarke. It was a grounder right to the 4-spot. 

If only Ripple didn’t apply a shift to Tim Outing, moving him up the middle in expectation of the pull. Beyer scored, and the Dubs couldn’t return serve in the bottom of the inning. Ripple would need to find a new job in the offseason, as director Gordie Coburn relieved the manager of his duties in unceremonious fashion.


Game 1:

Townsley would start for the Reds in the opening matchup, but it was clear that he was still juiceless. In the third, Jonathan Lynch took a curveball to the wall for a bases clearing double, which set the tone for the rest of the matchup. H-Town gave up 4 runs through just 5 innings (the last being a double that scored while Ramon Pena was on the mound), and the bullpen gave up insurance runs to let the Tigers score 7.

The offense couldn’t muster much besides a couple of home runs from Ben Matney and Carlos Reyes, as Kansas City shocked the baseball world by not just beating, but mollywhopping one of the best Western teams ever assembled. 

Game 2:

Kansas City jumped out early yet again, this time on Randy Midkiff. Cincinnati technically got on the board first with an RBI single from Howard Townsley, but for the next few innings, the Tigers proved their mettle.

In the second, second baseman Adam Beyer knocked in two on a single to give the Tigers the lead in the second. After starting pitcher Tom Reese faced just four batters in the bottom frame, Midkiff couldn’t match it. He walked two and gave up a single to Salmon, but Dan Clarke was caught stealing to leave runners on the corners with two outs. In a chance to exit unscathed, the Reds hurler gave up an RBI single to Justin O’Brien before a wild pitch in the next at-bat scored another. Cincinnati again couldn’t answer, and Midkiff was back on the mound in the fourth.

Clarke singled again with one out and stole second base successfully, letting him tag up on a flyout to deep center. Jonathan Lynch hit a single up the middle to secure another run for the Tigers, but the tide began to turn in the bottom of the inning.

Townsley opened the fourth with a double down the first base line before Chris Barnard drew a walk, setting up lefty Jay Meyers to launch a 471-foot bomb that cut the deficit to one. Kansas City was undeterred, however, and put together a three-run inning of their own off of reliever Daniel Gomez.

Tom Reese was running a high pitch count despite giving up a run, but he fell apart in the fifth. After a full pitch walk to Matney, Jon Brownlow cut the lead to just two with a 2 run homer. Reliever Chris Bergstrrom gave up a first-pitch double to Townsley, setting up Carlos Reyes to hit an RBI single.

After that, the game settled down. Immaculate pitching from the Kansas City bullpen gave the Tigers an unthinkable 2-0 series lead, heading back to Missouri with homefield advantage.

Game 3:

Cincinnati had their backs up against the wall after the first two games, but their 4-deep rotation still had a few tricks to play. Danny Hernandez pitched a complete game shutout, allowing just three hits over the full nine innings. The only time things go dicey on the mound was in the 8th, where Hernandez walked the bases full with just one out. The defense dispatched the only real threat from Kansas City without giving up a run, and the shutout remained intact.

The offense played well but took a while to heat up, whenTigers pitcher Dennis Deal started to show his wear. Jay Meyers was the man of the hour in Cincinnati, giving them a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly in the second. He also led a 2-out rally in the sixth, launching a solo shot before the bottom of the order brought another man home.

Insurance runs came in the 8th, when Hernandez did his best Howard Townsley impression for a 2 RBI single. The Reds rolled through this one, but were still down in the series 2-1.

Game 4:

Jim McKeithan took the mound in game 4, facing up against Bob Kirkland with a chance to tie the series. The Reds got another complete game performance from their starters, as McKeithan faced 37 batters on just under 120 pitches. The Reds were in control the entire game as three bats went yard and 5 players combined for 8 RBI in a 9-2 victory. Kirkland only went 4.2 innings after giving up back to back bombs to Matney and Barnard, capping his night after giving up 6.

The Reds had taken back home field advantage and would look to sweep the Tigers at home in Game 5, but for now, the series was tied at two games a piece.

Game 5:

Don’t call it a comeback.

The Reds had fully taken the momentum in the previous matchup and wouldn’t relinquish it here. Jeremy Mims pitched 5 innings of two-run ball for the Reds before Tubman pitched two scoreless innings, leaving Jay Spangler to give up a garbage-time RBI double to backup catcher Danny DiSanto in the 9th.

The Reds jumped out to a 5-run lead in the second, as Tigers starter Dave Ward was awful for the entirety of his 1.2 innings on the mound. He loaded the bases for Jon Brownlow, who drew an RBI walk to make the game 1-0. Ben Matney took the very next pitch high and deep for a grand slam, as the ball took all the energy of the crowd with it. Brownlow would get a chance to swing in the fourth, turning it into a 6-0 ballgame on a solo shot to right as Cincinnati looked to take control.

The series would head back to Cincinnati in the Reds favor, and the Tigers once great chances of pulling the upset seemed to slip away with each pitch.

Game 6:

Back on the mound was Howard Townsley. The Reds’ ace had gone through hell and back since being pulled in the 1949 RCS, twice with one out to go, and needed to pick up the win. For the Tigers and Ramon Pena, a win here would give them a chance for a do-or-die Game 7 and launch Pena into one of the most attractive offseason purchase targets of the MABL. He was still under team control until 1953, but the 22 year-old wanted to prove that he was worth the money of a Major League ace.

It wouldn’t come to pass, however, as the Reds pounced early. Under the roar of the opening crowd, Townsley coaxed a double play to end the top of the first and sent his squad up to bat. Brownlow was first up, walking and stealing to give Ben Matney his turn at the plate. Mantey quickly put runners on the corners with a single, where Chris Barnard would fly out for an RBI sac fly. Now down 1-0 and still pitching from the scratch, Pena’s nerves got the best of him as he gave up a 2-run bomb to Jay Meyers, as the Reds would end the first with a 3-0 lead.

The scoring would continue in the second. Following a Townsley strikeout and Perea fly out, Brownlow would walk and steal for the second time, letting Matney knock him home on a triple to make the game 4-0.Barnard would fly out to end the inning, but the game was setting up to be all Reds.

Ramon Pena would be the first pitcher to get a hit, when in the 3rd he hit a blooper for a lead off single. Dan Clarke would end Pena’s time on the bases with a fielders choice to get the leading runner, but the Tigers were able to come right back and load the bases. Townsley got out of the jam giving up just a run, however, as Danny Salmon hit a bloop single before the inning ended with a popup and groundout to first.

In the bottom of the fourth, Trevor Marr would come in for the Tigers, but couldn’t stop the onslaught. The Reds finished their scoring for the day with a sac fly from Ben Matney, allowing Howard Townsley to add insurance after his leadoff triple.

Townsley would end up going 5.1 innings, being pulled for Stephen Tubman in the 6th after a 1-out double by Will Bowen. A single and some small ball drove in Townsley’s second earned run, but the bullpen was lights out after that.

Tubman would go on the rest of the way as the Reds had finally gotten to a mountaintop on the year. Although not the Roosevelt Cup, Townsley was showered in champaign in the locker room and lifted the De Jong Trophy high over his head, as the city streets of Cincinnati were bursting with excitement for both this year and next.

Congratulations to the Reds on their 1949 Western Open championship and for becoming the first squad to double up on both the pennant and Open titles. To the offseason we go, where plenty more awaits the baseball world.

Last edited by H-Town1141 (6/19/2024 10:33 pm)

I  l I K E  t H I S
     Thread Starter

6/19/2024 4:42 pm  #60

Re: The Major American Baseball League

Congrats to Cincy.

My favorite story has to be the rise and rivalry of KC and Minneapolis, hopefully they can both eventually earn their place in the MABL!


Board footera


Powered by Boardhost. Create a Free Forum