House of David Hairy Jesus Freaks

SL '95a


Took the name from the long-bearded House of David religious zealots and baseball lovers from Benton Harbor, MI that Ken Burns featured in his "Baseball" special. I spent every free hour scouting that Spring. I made the "mistake" of putting the info in the same notebook I was using for classes at UW-Parkside, which meant I had something to do during class for the first time in college.

The real funny thing is that everyone of us knew exactly who would be taken during the first 2 rounds and where. The only variance was where Chris traded with Greg to get the first pick in the 3rd round in an attempt to get Biggio. He miscalculated because I coveted Biggio and traded with Greg to get the last pick in the 2nd round.


Never does a draft go as you draw it up. Except for me with the Jesus Freaks. I'm not saying I got the best team ever or that people kept making bad picks or anything, I just mean I was able to draft everyone I really wanted and thought I could get. I stacked my lineup with my first three picks of Belle, O'Neill and Biggio, then just kept adding the role players I thought I needed. The lineup was something like:

1. Biggio 2B
2. O'Neill LF
3. Belle DH
4. Alou RF
5. WClark 1B
6. Dykstra CF
7. Gomez 3B
8. IRodriguez C
9. Fernandez SS

When I figured everything out in the war room, I thought I needed Grissom, Bordick, Mack, Eddie Williams, Daulton, and 3B J-4s Jose Oliva and Rene Gonzales. I got them. The expense I paid was drafting a bad starting staff. My ace was Jose Rijo, a 14 (with an L?). I drafted scrubs starters I had never heard of in Shane Reynolds and Andy Ashby, while also picking up super-scrub Jason Bere.

My pitching rays of sunshine were my relief corps. In a horrible relief year, I "coup-ed" Mike Jackson (24), Eichhorn (19), McElroy (17), and Hector Carrasco (18 W).


The best part of the season was the tremendous place the SL took in all of our lives that Summer. Because of our day-to-day schedule, the league required us all to be together to get more than a day's worth of games done. That meant every Sunday night we spent drinking and playing games, usually with a crowd of our peers, and perhaps an APBA widow or two, watching. Every decision you made was second-guessed, every win was a mighty triumph. During the week, someone would have to give up part of their day off and come in and play or risk being shunned by the other GM's. More often than not, that manager would come in, or at least play by phone. It was a fantastic time for the SL.

A fun thing for the Freaks was the Jesus Freaks merchandise I was marketing for them. Starting as a response to Greg's POMY hat, the "Plain White T-Shirt" took off. I had every manager wearing those while they were playing against me. Unbelievable!

As for the season, I had a slight lead on Greg throughout most of the season. Every game was a struggle because I always felt I had to bring in Jackson if I was going to win. Resisting that impulse was the most trying part of managing the Freaks. I remember I kept missing Maddux when I played Greg, which was the happiest part of managing the Freaks.

Greg caught me in the last week. I think I had a chance to clinch on the last day, but lost to Bobby Jones, the guy I had kept getting when I'd miss Maddux. Bere gave up 2 runs in 4 innings, and Maddux won 4-2 in the one-game divisional playoff. I had tied for the regular season best record, but I was going home without any hardware.

Here are the hitting stats:

Biggio .261 .342 .408
O'Neill .306 .401 .528
Belle .293 .375 .590
Alou .268 .312 .521
WClark .240 .355 .418
Dykstra .250 .367 .424
Gomez .209 .298 .456
IRodriguez .189 .259 .372
Fernandez.248 .328 .398

Here are the pitching stats:

Ashby 9-4 3.23
Freeman 5-3 3.52
Rijo 3-4 5.24
Reynolds 4-6 5.56
Bere 5-7 6.13
Jackson 6-1 2.20
McElroy 5-0 2.58
Eichhorn 4-6 3.14
Carrasco 6-2 4.97
Pedro X. Martinez 0-1 3.94

Scored more than 5.25 runs per game and gave up 4.89 runs per game (4.76 R/9, 4.14 ERA). Not awe-inspiring numbers, but the team created alot of runs with their 201 SB Attempts. I guess what I enjoyed the most with the squad was the feeling, with the terrible starting staff, that every win required great "hands-on" managing. With my strong offense, it really was probably a wrong perception, but it was my perception at the time and it was important to my psyche as I proved to myself that '94 wasn't a fluke and I did belong in the class of my ex-rival Ken.

After building myself up so much throughout the season, it was quite a catharsis to lose everything on that last day. After becoming a part of my soul, this cherished team plunged me to uncharted depths. I discovered the essence of the Summer League with a single loss.


My only non-division crown to date (minus the '95 C team) [through the '98 season], yet I revere this team. How different would things have turned out if I didn't have to face Maddux in my must-win game? How different would things have been if I'd not put Bere in my #1 spot? For him to have only been 5-6 over the first 80 games against everyone else's #1's didn't turn out so bad--until that 81st game.

I have made a big stink since that game about how in real life, if a manager had a solid pen in a must-win game and he was forced to start a guy with an ERA over 6, that manager would not let Greg Maddux get a lead. My position on that day, and everyday since, was that I should have been able to yank Bere whenever I felt, just as I could during the regular season. Instead, my opposing manager that day mandated that I had to pitch Bere at least 4 innings. I would have taken him out at the first sign of trouble, as might a manager in real, but the opposing manager's mandate was backed up by the other members of the SL Security Council.

My point these days is not that Greg's league crown lacks merit or anything to that end, but that we, the members of the Security Council, need more common sense in making rules. Others on the council say the same thing, but they were the ones not using common sense that day. If you want to really upset me, do what Ken and Chris did at the Klas meeting and tell me I should've just taken Bere out. I would have if they hadn't backed the mandate!

As the line goes, I'll never get over Macho Grande.