This is the Story of the Hurricane

The 1999 Summer League was an overall success for Hibbing. Taking my cellar dwelling Minnesotan franchise from worst to first was no easy task, despite a weak division and a sub .500 record. A late season slump, and a resurgent Swinea were enough to make things interesting.

I took my team name from the Bob Dylan song "Hurricane". The song is about a black boxer named Hurricane Carter who got framed for a murder he didn't commit, and has nothing to do with baseball but contains startling social commentary. Dylan was born in Hibbing, Minnesota and I am a fan. For the record maybe it should have been just "The Hibbing Hurricane". Why pluralize Hurricane? Even if Ken does not write a review I would like an explanation of Windy City Tearers.(?). Thanks Ken.

The Draft

The first pick in the draft gave me two options: take McGwire, or trade down. McGwire was not who I envisioned my team to be built around before the draft. I was looking for my first strong pitching staff, a solid defense, good team speed, etc. Instead what a got was a solid pitching staff, Minnesota's answer to the Murderers Row, and atrocious, horrid defense. Even without the major drafting blunders, I still failed to put together a team with the flexibility and balance of the other playoff contenders. I still thought the 'Canes would be unstoppable going into the regular season.

The First 40

Going into the regular season my lineup (usually) looked like this:

1. Abreu RF
2. McGwire 1B
3. M Ramirez LF
4. G Vaughn DH
5. Garciaparra SS
6. J Kent 2B
7. T Fernandez 3B
8. Burks CF
9. Ausmus C

Pitching Staff

1. Cone R 14 XZ
2. Schilling R 13 XYZ
3. O Daal L 12 Y
4. A Sele R 11 Y
5. Pettite L 9 Y

*The Trade*

After 40 games and a rather substantial lead over the rest of the division, I struck a deal with The Slugs. In my eyes, this deal would give me the best starting rotation in the league, without losing much offensively. McGwire was a disappointment after the first 40 games, batting only .214 with 11 dongs. I made the mistake of not drafting any bench speed to compliment McGwire getting on base all the time, so I thought the trade was in my best interest.

Here is a breakdown on how the players involved in the trade performed for their respective teams.

                  GILMER                      HIBBING

Sosa              .244 .301 11 HR  23 RBI     .270 .326 42 HR  87 RBI     
M Vaughn          .283 .339 11 HR  26 RBI     .215 .275 25 HR  63 RBI
R Clemens          3-3 4.29 ERA                9-10 4.74 ERA                   

Abreu             .225 .328 12 HR  39 RBI     .249 .280  4 HR  18 RBI
McGwire           .268 .437 51 HR  89 RBI     .214 .431 11 HR  20 RBI
Daal               6-10 4.29 ERA               1-4 6.66 ERA
Clemens and Vaughn both turned out to be big disappointments and my winning percentage dropped after the first 40. There was no doubt McGwire would come around, but even with that in mind it looked like a beneficial trade, and who is to say it wasn't? Sosa had a good year and Abreu didn't do anything spectacular for Doug. It's interesting that Clemens and Daal both had the same ERA for Doug.

The Rest of the Year

After the trade and some free agent moves this was my final roster:


1. D Hamilton     CF      .265 .333   4 HR   30 RBI
2. Garciaparra    SS      .285 .313  31 HR   96 RBI
3. M Ramirez      LF      .248 .323  45 HR  113 RBI
4. S Sosa         RF      .270 .326  42 HR   87 RBI 
5. G Vaughn       DH      .236 .306  64 HR  119 RBI
6. M Vaughn       1B      .215 .275  25 HR   63 RBI
7. J Kent         2B      .251 .314  21 HR   62 RBI
8. T Fernandez    3B      .246 .330  11 HR   46 RBI
9. B Ausmus       C       .254 .325   4 HR   32 RBI

1. R Clemens      R 16 XY        9-10 4.74 ERA
2. D Cone         R 14 XZ       15-14 4.19 ERA 
3. C Schilling    R 13 XYZ      11-11 4.37 ERA
4. A Sele         R 11 Y        10-11 5.24 ERA
5. A Pettite      L  9 Y         8-13 4.17 ERA


J Wettleland      R 20 XYZ      7-6   3.45 ERA  22 Saves
M Williams        R 16 XYZ      7-7   3.54 ERA  
D Veres           R 15 X        4-4   4.98 ERA   
C McElroy         L 14 XZ       4-1   3.33 ERA   2 Saves


A Arias           INF        .217 .266  0 HR   3 RBI
S Berry           3B         .198 .286  4 HR  14 RBI
E Burks           CF         .148 .242  3 HR  11 RBI
M DiFelice        C          .186 .219  0 HR   3 RBI
D Hocking         INF        .056 .105  0 HR   0 RBI
C Hoiles          1B-C       .203 .284  2 HR   4 RBI
B Mueller         3B-2B      .238 .325  4 HR   9 RBI
J Vander Wal      1B-OF      .273 .351  8 HR  34 RBI
The Major stat, of course, is Greg Vaughns unprecedented 64 Home Runs. In the year of Sosa/McGwire, Vaughn takes the crown with only 50 in the regular season. Unfortunately for Hibbing he could not hit one in the second season.

Burks was a miserable disappointment for such a high pick in the draft. Hamilton was solid all year to make up for Burks' whoahs. Wetteland was solid in save situations, and McElroy was always dependable. Brad Radke, my playoff rotation starter (a "6") came in to pitch a shutout against Chicago in the last series of the season. Luckily, I was out of Steve's reach by then, because that was the lone win in the 6 game series. The team needed base stealers. Vander Wal was always clutch coming off the bench. In retrospect, I should have played him at first more.

The Playoffs

Could the upstart Hibbing Hurricanes knockoff the winningest franchise in Summer League History? Going into the series the team had their doubts. Playing Barstow had been a struggle all year, and Greg's playoff record speaks for itself. With Greg's run producing ability I had to put up alot of runs, and luckily I got them in game one. Games 2 and 3 were both close and down to the wire. Hamiltons game winning homer in Game 3 was of course my fondest memory of the series. The car parker office echoed in the level of profanity coming through the phone that day. The Hurricanes had a week to celebrate there 2-1 lead. Bandwagon Hibbing fans sprung up everywhere. The festivities were short lived. A determined Barstow squad took care of business, taking the next three games in a dizzying fashion.

This was certainly a milestone season for my franchise. Hopefully next year will bring more success and an above .500 record.


First off, I'd like to thank Greg for all the money he put into the league, and his efforts to get Graham to finish. Having to play 80% of your games on-line or on the phone is a serious inconvenience compared to the traditional car parker office. It was also great of Chris to get after the slackers in Illinois by setting up times for us to play, and for puting in a ton of organizational effort.

I would like to thank everyone for finishing (No Dan Caspers!).

Finally, a lot of talk is going on about the time commitment it takes to be in this league. I put in twice as much time this year as I have in the past on scouting and drafting, and it paid off. I think everyone who has finished a season in this league realizes it takes time if your going to be truly competitive. At the same time, there is a fine line between what is fun and what is a chore. A chore is spending all of your free time thinking about the league. I had just as much fun with my pitiful '97 shlitz team as I did with this years team. As long as the league keeps a core of the same GM's it will become more and more competitive overtime. Us "scrub" GM's will improve through making mistakes and learning from those wiser. The GM who spends every ounce of his free time on the league is: A. Insane, and B. Probably deserves the Spit Cup. The way I see it though, anyone can get lucky in a 7 game playoff so I am just going to have fun with it.