Kalamazoo Happy Kampers
This name, and the other 4 in '95 C, came to Greg and I as we were
setting up the league in Advanced Draft--the team names all were based
on the names and initials of the owners. In '95 A and B, with our set
schedule, we knew complications would result from work scheduling,
and this was especially true for Dan Casper. Whether he worked less
than the rest of us that year or whether he flatly refused to come
in on his days off, he slowed the leagues down. We knew this
beforehand and it's probably why we picked the abbreviated schedules
that we did. Despite the mere 80 and 60 game schedules, Dan needed
Graham Haas in '95 A and Jim in '95 B to finish his seasons.
With that history lesson well-learned, when Dan headed to Colorado in
early August, the other five principle owners decided they could play
a league while he was gone. We changed from the set schedule process
to an open format, which allowed for extreme flexibility.
Why we felt compelled to play a third season in still a mystery. Did
we feel business was left unfinished after the abbreviated seasons?
Did we want to prove to Dan how much his apathy was felt in our
No more scouting was necessary. If anything, we all knew too much
about the players.
It was only a five team league. Of course my roster looked good. So did
the worst team's roster. I took Belle in round 1, my team MVP in
'95 B, for the third straight '95 season (the other 3-time '95 picks
of mine were Grissom and Pedro A. Martinez). I pulled off what I
thought was a big coup when I picked up Saberhagen, Key, Mussina and
Cone. But while I was doing that, Ken was building a solid lineup to
to complement his Maddux pick, and Chris drafted the 4 best relievers
to complement his tremendous batting order (led by Bagwell, Lofton,
My lineup was possibly something like:
1. Boggs 3B
2. Bonds LF
3. Belle DH
4. Puckett RF
5. WClark 1B
6. Baerga 2B
7. Dykstra CF
8. IRodriguez C
9. Larkin SS
I say "possibly" because the only specific recollection I have of the
lineup is that Puckett batted 4th. I'd assume, based on my tendencies
in lineup making and strategy, that this is a reasonable guess of how
I crafted the lineup.
Veryveryvery faint remembrances of the season. I know I started out
around .500, then went on a big losing streak as my stud staff turned
out to a dud. I stopped the streak after maybe 10 games and won a
bunch after that, but I still hadn't climbed to .500 by the time the
I do remember that I hit and ran a ton--constantly with Puckett and
Baerga. It's possible with the hit-and-run strategy that I tinkered
with the lineup, maybe switching Bonds and Belle so that it was
Bonds running in front of Puckett or tweaking positions with guys
like Boggs and Dykstra.
While '95 C gets a bad rap, it did give us the future insight about
allowing flexibility in our scheduling. And while I give the Happy
Kampers a bad rap compared to my other teams, my Oz O's would use
their blueprint of starting pitching and movement on the bases, a
blueprint that brought them to within one game of the league title.