The Cooperstown Legends card set was released a couple months ago, and we've heard from many HMB gamers who have put together some unique and interesting projects! One of them was James Cast, Moseley, VA, who just finished his "Cooperstown Rumble!" Here's how it all went down, in James' own words...
My rumble tournament was styled in part after the classic Royal Rumble of wrestling fame. I started with two teams who played each other, and then a new team entered, taking on the loser. After that it starts to resemble a "King of the Mountain" tournament, except that when a team loses Game Three (because "three strikes and yer out!"), they're eliminated from the tournament.
For the Cooperstown Legends, I settled on ten teams. Each team had a starter at each position, three starting pitchers, and a reliever. Each team also got a designated hitter, although there are a couple of pitchers who ended up as DHs. For the rumble, I decided to shuffle the cards and draft. Team #1 filled their roster first, then Team #2, etc.
Naming the teams was fun. I decided in fantasy baseball style, each team would be named after one of the players: RAINES Supreme, PIAZZA Pies, Good FELLERs, FINGERS Lickin' Good, DOERR Die, MANTLEpiece, LEMONheads, DEAN's List, DAWSON's Creek, and SLAUGHTERhouse 5.
Here are some of the storylines that took place during the tournament...
Raines Supreme: Talk about living up to your name. Raines Supreme started the tournament with eight straight wins. They won Game One 13-3 over Piazza Pies. They won a rematch with Fingers Lickin' Good in Game Nine 8-3 to get to 4-0. In Game Fifteen, they eliminated Doerr Die in a rematch by a score of 10-3. And in Game Twenty-One, eliminated Lemonheads in another rematch by a score of 5-1. That was win number eight. By the time they took the field for their ninth game, seven of the ten teams had been eliminated. Then the wheels came off. Raines Supreme dropped three consecutive games and ended up being the eighth team eliminated. They played more games than anyone, and ended up with the best record overall, but couldn't take home the title. Jeff Bagwell was their hitting star going 16-50 (.320) with 7 home runs and 18 RBI in 11 games. Mike Mussina went 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 36 innings. He also pitched the only shutout of the tournament in Game Three against Good Fellers. Team Captain Tim Raines led the tournament with 4 stolen bases and 10 walks.
Piazza Pies and Dean's List: I'm grouping these two together because they each went 0-3 in the tournament. They finished last and second-to-last in both batting average and earned run average. Piazza Pies hit .202 (9th) and pitched to a 7.92 era (10th). Dean’s List hit .194 (10th) and pitched to a 6.58 era (9th). Mike Piazza was bright spot hitting .333 with 5 ribbies. Dizzy Dean was 0-1 with a 10.13 era, walking 5 in 5 1/3 innings.
Good Fellers: They went 1-3 and suffered with four hitters finishing below .200 (Eddie Mathews, Frank Thomas, Roberto Clemente, and Leon Day). Robin Roberts was shelled in his only appearance, finishing with a 19.52 era. Red Schoenedienst was the lone bright spot, batting .353. Bob Feller made 3 appearances going 1-1 with a 4.50 era.
Mantlepiece: Somehow, Mantlepiece went 1-3 despite a tournament-best 2.59 era. That was in large part thanks to RP Hilton Smith who tallied a 0.77 era in 11 2/3 innings in only 4 games. Of course, as a team they pitched 41 2/3 innings in only 4 games. After losing Game Ten (their opening game) 4-1 to Doerr Die, they won Game Thirteen in fourteen innings when Mickey mantle delivered a walkoff single. Their third game was an extra inning loss in Game Fourteen, as they fell 4-3 to Doerr Die for the second time. Their tournament ended in Game Seventeen in a 2-1 loss to Lemonheads, the same team they beat in Game Thirteen. Four games, three losses, three one run games. Mickey Mantle hit .235 with 2 homers and 3 RBI.
Fingers Lickin' Good and Lemonheads: Both of these teams finished 3-3. Fingers Lickin' Good (FLG) was eliminated by Doerr Die in Game Eleven. Lemonheads played their first game in Game Thirteen, and were eliminated by Raines Supreme in Game Twenty-One. Randy Johnson went 2-0 with a 2.40 era and 14 strikeouts in 15 innings for Lemonheads. Josh Gibson had 7 hits (2 homers) and 3 walks in 24 plate appearances for FLG, totaling 7 runs produced. Each team also knocked another team out of the tournament along the way. FLG knocked out Piazza Pies and Lemonheads eliminated Mantlepiece. The captains of these two teams played well. Rollie Fingers finished 5 games, with a 2.31 era and 2 saves. Bob Lemon, one of two pure-pitcher DHs in the tournament, hit .240 with a homer and triple in 25 ABs.
Doerr Die: One of only three teams to finish with a winning record, Doerr Die lived up to their name. They debuted in Game Seven eliminating Good Fellers. They lost their second game and won their third game. They knocked out Fingers Lickin' Good in Game Eleven. They lost their next game, then became the first team to win when facing elimination in Game Fourteen, when they scored the winning run in the 11th inning thanks to an error by George Brett with two outs. They finally lost in Game Fifteen to Raines Supreme. Willie Mays hit 6 home runs in 28 ABs and Jim Thome hit .435. Bruce Sutter was relentless, throwing 21 1/3 innings in 6 appearances. He finished with a 1.69 era, 0.797 whip, and 1-1 with 2 saves. Bobby Doerr hit .286, and was the only player to hit two triples in the tournament.
Dawson's Creek and Slaughterhouse 5: Fittingly, the tournament ended in Game Twenty-Eight with the tournament's only grudge match. These two teams met for the third time, and Dawson's Creek ended up sweeping the three games. Slaughterhouse 5 eliminated Dean's List and Raines Supreme, beating Raines Supreme twice. In fact, Game Twenty-Seven was a "win or go home game" as both Raines Supreme and Slaughterhouse 5 faced elimination. Dawson's Creek lost only one game, to the Lemonheads, on their road to the championship. Johnny Mize hit .407 with 6 RBI and Mariano Rivera finished with a 1.65 era and retired the first 19 batters he faced in the tournament. Both played for Slaughterhouse 5. Al Kaline hit .522 for the champs with 12 singles in 23 ABs. John Smoltz had 3 saves in 4 appearances getting the final 9 outs for the win in Game Twenty-Eight. Enos Slaughter went 3-23 (.136) while Andre Dawson went 8-25 (.320) with 4 home runs and 9 RBI.
Game Twenty-Eight: The final game was a thriller. Slaughterhouse 5 needed to win to force a deciding Game 29. In the 6th inning they unloaded on Phil Niekro with 5 runs and 2 home runs in the 6th inning. Dawson's Creek stormed back in the 8th, tying the game up when Andre Dawson hit a 3 run homer off Mariano Rivera. The game went into extra innings. In the 10th, Frank Robinson hit a solo home run off John Smoltz to give Slaughterhouse 5 a 6-5 lead. In the bottom of the 10th, with one out, Dawson's Creek delivered three consecutive singles, with Andre Dawson's single scoring the tying run. With runners on 1st and 3rd (Kaline-Dawson), Ivan Rodriguez hit a soft grounder to 1B. Johnny Mize got the out, but his throw home was not in time and the ball game ended, Dawson's Creek earning the Cooperstown Rumble Crown!
You can check out the stats on this Google Sheet: Just look for the tabs labeled 'Rumble 19.'