Jamaica Pipe Dreams

SL '94


Took the name from a passage in the Rush song "A Passage to Bangkok." I had scouted quite a bit, but I think mostly from stats and not from the APBA ratings. Ken was to be my chief rival as we were in the Klein Division with Chris, and as we just finished some intense continuous leagues where he'd wiped the floor with me. Thus the reason behind my prolific scouting.


Bonds had dominated the past leagues I played in, and he put up better numbers in '93, so in my mind he was the logical 1st pick. My lineup was something like:

1. Rickey DH
2. Gwynn RF
3. Bonds LF
4. Wilkins C
5. Grace 1B
6. Ventura 3B
7. Van Slyke/Kelly CF
8. Biggio 2B
9. Jay Bell SS

Pretty solid, but so was everyone else's lineup in the six team league.

To compensate for a lowly +2 behind the plate (or was he a plus +1), I drafted a great backup in Mike Stanley and grabbed pitchers like Glavine and Mulholland who had +3 moves. With our dinosauresque 3 inning max relief rule in effect, Gregg Olson (a 23?) was a great bullpen stopper.

I started the year with only 4 relievers, but I decided I needed another and picked up Les Lancaster from Dan for Bobby Bo, one of only 2 trades in my history (as of 7/98).


I was on Ken's heels for most of our short season. Just after the midway point, a flurry of trades went off--a flurry I missed--that completely changed the face of the division. Chris followed the trade bonanza by playing really well against Ken, putting me in position to challenge him.

On Independence Day (which poignantly is the most frantic day of our summer at work), Ken and I tensely sat down and played our remaining games with each other to close out the schedule. I was ravaged by injuries, with both my CF's--Bobby Kelly and Van Slyke--on the mend as well as Wilkins (and the forementioned Lancaster who only pitched 1/3 of an inning after the trade before he got hurt), and was surprised to no end when my pinch-running CF Eric Davis got big hit after big hit in the stretch run. On the next to last day of the season, with Ken up by 2 games and ready to clinch, Davis homered to give me a precarious one run lead in the late innings. Ken got a runner to second with one out and pinch ran with steals champ Rafael Palmeiro (we shoulda had some better stealing rules). Palmeiro took off for third and was caught, dousing Ken's hopes. In a fit of pique that signalled a changing of the guard in Klein family APBAdom, a raging Ken swiftly tore his shirt from the collar to the waist.

I won the next game then handled Jason Bere, with the help of homers from Davis and a healthy Wilkins, in the one game playoff.

I jumped out to a 3-2 lead in the Series against Greg, then lost game six. Too drunk to go on, we quit for the night (that same 4th of July). On the morning of the 6th, Greg won in extra-innings off Jim Gott (as in Goat), who lost at least 2 games and might have blown another save opportunity in the series.


Lotsa fun. I enjoy looking back at this season and seeing the roots of all the fun of the Summer League.

Lotsa things took root in this season, like the philosophies of the managers. Ken had a strong offense but had a weak (after Maddux) rotation, which he has repeated in several other SL seasons. I tried for offensive, defensive, team speed, starting pitching and relief balance, as I have done most every year. Greg went for a similar balance, but wanted to slightly favor pitching and defense, as he did in creating his "formula for success." Chris played the role of wildcard in '94 as he would in several other SL's, here trading talent to get talent. Dan undermanaged, as he would in other SL's.

Ken's penchant for bombast, a trait that caused a bit of angst between him and other GM's, also appeared in this first season. Whether Ken ever said it or not might never be known, but he is attributed with the quote (regarding how his weak staff won the ERA title), "It's because I don't have to face myself." (Because he drafts so much hitting, this phrase has been repeated many times over the years.) He also proclaimed Craig Biggio worthy of MVP status (he put him 4th on his ballot) because "he hit so well against me." I didn't remember him doing so well and looked up the numbers. Biggio had remarkably similar (and not-spectacular) numbers against Ken as he did against the league (the MVP candidate had a slightly lower batting average against Ken!)

Overall, the sweet Jamaica Pipe Dreams were a fun team in a fun league, and I only wish they could've realized my championship pipe dream.