Hannibal Cannibals

SL '94


The Cannibals are a long and storied franchise, beginning as a Strat-O-Matic basketball team in the late 80s (led by the Killer B's of Bird, Barkley, Benjamin, Blazers in the Backcourt, with Bill [Cartwright] on the Bench), so it was a natural that my first team in the SL was the Hannibal Cannibals. The SL was my first venture into BBW, although I had played a short basic game season with Keith a short time earlier.


With minimal APBA knowledge, I stuck with the baseball maxims of pitching and defense. Pitching, coincidentally, seems to be the easiest talent to judge, so I don't think I was at much of a disadvantage to the brothers' knowledge. Dan on the other hand...

Opened my draft with Griffey at the end of the first round. How can you go wrong with a top notch defensive center fielder (gotta be strong up the middle!) who hit 45 dongs with a .309 avg? Took Wetteland with the next pick, which in retrospect should have been a simple selection. The guy was a 24X who pitched 70 games! With our antiquated 3 innings rule for relievers he was definately a force out of the pen.

My next 4 picks were all staring pitching, beginning a franchise legacy that lives to this day. Key (15Z), Swift (15Z), Fernandez (14Z), and Burkett (14Z) gave the Cannibals a strong staff, and Viola (13G) added in the 14th rounded it out nicely. I filled out my lineup like this...

Raines LF
Kruk 1B
Griffey CF
Buhner RF
Salmon DH
Daulton/Karkovice C
DeShields 2B
Fryman 3B
Ripken SS

With Tony Phillips splitting a lot of playing time between second, third, and left.


The Cannibal lineup was characterized by high OBP and decent power. The pinch-run constrictive rosters of the franchise's future were not yet evident. Kruk and Raines had excellent years, while Griffey and Buhner lived up to front office expectations. The pleaseant surprise was the Salmonator. Late in the draft, the 22nd round, the Cannibals were looking for a bat who could fill in as the DH. After deciding that Phil Plantier was our guy, opposing manager Ken Klein convinced me that Salmon was the way to go, and the rest, as they say, is history. Salmon led the league in extra base hits and was among the league leaders in RBI, not to mention capturing the hearts of Cannibal fans everywhere. John Wetteland was a major player, leading the league in saves with 7 and tying for the league lead in wins with 7.

The Cannibals rounded out the roster with a mid-season trade with Dan Casper's Tallahassee Turmoils, stealing the 8th pick of the draft John Valentin for Mickey Tettleton, 150th pick. Valentin ended the season fulfilling the promise of the 8th pick in the draft, albeit with a different team.

The regular season didn't offer much competition to the Cannibals, who were fortunate enough to be placed in the same three-team division as the league's two worst teams, the Turmoils and Brian Boice's Tahiti Border Patrol. The Cannibals easily won the division with the league's best regular season record, and anxiously awaited the outcome of the three Kleins headbutting in the other division. Keith came from behind to tie Ken and beat him in a one-game playoff, and the Cannibals were matched up with my long time APBA nemesis, Keith Klein, and his Jamaica Pipe Dreams.

The initial Summer League World Series opened on the evening of July 4, 1994, with Keith and I going head to head armed with a bucket of beer and some chicken salad sandwiches after a long day of parking cars. After quickly devising series player usage rules (the old McGwire 1-4-7 rule was created), we went to work. It was a tough battle, I don't really remember what happened other than Griffey hit 3 homers and we ended the night after Keith won game 6 to tie the series at 3 games a piece. Game 7 was deemed too important and thrilling to play alone, so we decided to pack it in and drunkenly stumbled upstairs.

On the morning of the 6th, we warmed up for what would be the biggest game of our lives. The Cannibals jumped out early, if I recall correctly, but the Pipe Dreams tied it up late. In the bottom of the 10th inning, the Cannibals got a runner on, and I promptly pinch ran with Darren Daulton, pinch runner extraordinaire (R35). I stole second and may have stolen third, but he got there somehow. With one out, I pinch ran for Daulton (speed 6) with Jimmy Key (13), hoping for a flyball to score the run. The move wasn't too bright, considering Keith could take the stretch off with Daulton out of the game. Midseason acquisition and pinch hitting John Valentin lined a single into left, scoring Key and setting off a wild celebration in downtown Hannibal not seen since the days of Samuel Clemens.


The initial season of the Summer League was a resounding success, ensuring the survival at least into '95. The foundation was laid for a great league, which had enough strength to persevere through some trying times. An amazing league was born that summer from a small idea, that continues to grow every season.

The Cannibals were a great team to manage, had the talent and flexibility that every manager dreams of. We were just the team lucky enough to go home with the Spit Cup.