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Old 05-11-2014, 12:29 AM   #181
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1985: Motor City Madness & A Star Is Born

Since the advent of free agency, teams had dabbled in signing marquee free agents. But in 1985, the Motor City Racers didn't just dabble... they went all-in.

The Racers were coming off their second 90+ win season in three years and had been to the playoffs four times since 1974, including one championship. Not a bad run for a team that had never fielded a playoff team for the first 20 years of its existence. But owner Blaine Petty Junior was enjoying a financial windfall thanks to an automotive boom in the 80's, and he chose to spend much of his excess on his suddenly competitive baseball team.

When the free agency period began in the offseason leading up to the '85 season, Petty wrote a blank check for his front office. He was repaid with a whopping six free agent signees, most notably Motor City's new "Big 3."

LF Doyle Rigby (5 years, $4.97 million: .338, 44 HR, 141 RBI for Maxis City)
SP Gary Fulkerson (6 years, $4.98 million: 17-12, 3.00 ERA, 187 K for Cape Crowley)
1B Skeeter Leconte (4 years, $3.52 million: .283, 40 HR, 127 RBI for Northgate)

Never before in the history had a player reached the million dollar mark in salary, and Rigby had broken that barrier. His yearly salary would start at $790,000, but it would climb to a record $1.1 million in 1988, and then $1.2 million in 1989. He was scheduled to be baseball's first million dollar player. And somehow, the Racers lived up to their enormous hype in the regular season, easily winning the Colonial League West with a record of 90-72. But that mark paled in comparison to the 110-52 season the Sim City Capitols put together in the CL East. In fact, every division winner except for Motor City managed to win 100+ games. Granite Falls cruised to the Pioneer League West crown at a 106-56 clip, while the Lunar Lake Electrics earned their first-ever playoff appearance with a 105-57 record in the PL East.

The 1985 season was filled with incredible individual achievements. Chief among them was the emergence of Emerald Bay's ace, Hank "Cubbie" Wilkinson. Already the owner of the franchise's first no-hitter and a record 19 strikeouts, Wilkinson put together a season for the ages in '85. He had two more 19-strikeout performances that season, though they both came in extra inning games. And in his 34th and final start of the season, Wilkinson struck out 11 Durango Firebirds, giving him a SBL-record 404 strikeouts for the season, breaking JP Youngblood's seemingly unbreakable mark set in 1957.

Though Tropico was kept out of the playoffs for a third year in a row, the Firebirds could argue they had a better ace than Wilkinson... when healthy. Battling elbow inflammation, 26 year-old Chris "The Hammer" Anderson went a stunning 19-0 in 22 starts in 1985, posting a 1.88 ERA.

But the postseason belonged to not an individual, put a collection of great strong all-around All-Stars, devoid of MVP's and Stormy Boyd winners. The Timberjacks, twice denied a championship in the two previous Sim Series, raced past Motor City in six games, claiming the fifth championship in Granite Falls team history, and the first since 1957.
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Old 05-12-2014, 03:10 AM   #182
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The 1986 Amazin' Tritons

While Motor City is buying its way to the top of the SBL standings, Emerald Bay was growing its way there. Since the franchise's inception in 1981, the Emeralds had experienced nothing but misery. 72-90 in their inaugural season. 70-92 the year after that. A pathetic 52-110 campaign in 1983 sealed their fate. The Tritons were the worst team in all of baseball.


But with great misfortune, comes... well... fortune. The Tritons were the beneficiary of high draft picks, and they were smartly using them on future All-Star players. Hank Wilkinson was the franchise's first draft pick in '81, and by 1986 he had turned into a bona fide ace. Others soon joined him. When the dust settled at the end of the regular season, the Tritons had stunned the baseball world by winning 109 games. And they weren't done there. Chad "Pokey" Palmer was the runner-up for the 1984 Rookie of the Year Award, and had turned himself into a serviceable leadoff man and third baseman. 1982 draft pick Alex Candler held down the third spot in a batting order that scored the third-most runs in the Pioneer League in 1986.


But the truth is, those draft picks were only part of the equation. The Tritons were well ahead of the curve when it came to international scouting, and my father, Sam, helped establish the SBL's first international complex for Emerald Bay in 1986. The franchise was churning out big league talent from small islands in the Tropican Sea, from outfielder 1986 Rookie of the Year Antonio Encarnacion to pitcher Dominico Sanchez, at the time the top prospect in the Triton farm system.


All of the ballclub's foresight and forward thinking came to fruition in the fall of 1986, when the Tritons put together the unlikeliest of playoff runs. They started by defeating the Lunar Lake Electrics in 5 games in the PLCS. It continued with a thrilling 7-game championship in the Sim Series. It was the ultimate old versus new, rich versus poor matchup. The precocious Emerald Bay Tritons versus the grizzled Sim City Capitols. Playing in the nation's capital, Sim City had a strong fanbase and, more importantly, deep and politically connected backers. One of the SBL's founding four (est. 1871), the Capitols had won 100 or more games in each of the last four seasons, and they weren't about to let the pesky Tritons deny them an eighth championship trophy.


But the old guard was in for a rude awakening, when it saw the brash Baysters storm out to a 3-0 lead in the Sim Series. The Caps were on the ropes, and the Tritons were one victory away from a first-ever title. But the tide slowly began to turn when Sim City avoided an embarrassing sweep in Game 4 with a 10-7 win. Then they won again at home in Game 5, 5-2. And the wheels seemed to come off for Emerald Bay in Game 6, when Gemeda "Smalls" Kamade clubbed a 10th inning homerun to lift the Capitols to a thrilling 6-5 victory in Game 6. The table was set for a momentous Game 7 at a raucous BayDome.


A standing room only crowd of 55,968 packed the dome in Emerald Bay to see one of the greatest championship games in SimNation Baseball League history. Enoch McKie, a midseason acquisition from Irontown, got the Tritons on the scoreboard with a solo homerun in the second inning. Wayne Kight, known better for his Tiberium Glove at catcher than for his bat, followed suit two innings later with a solo homerun of his own in the fourth. But just as the lockers were being tarped off in the home clubhouse, the Capitols came back with a 2-run fifth. The game would remain knotted at 2-2 through 9 innings, setting the stage for the first extra inning, Sim Series Game 7 in SBL history.


After reliever Luis Vazquez got out of the top of the tenth unscathed, the Tritons stepped up for their date with history. After John Zeringue reached on a fielding error by Sim City shortstop Seth Richman to lead off the inning, the cocksure Candler strode to the plate. He took Haile's first offering for a ball, and then fouled his next pitch straight back. And then, with a 1-1 count, Alex Candler sent the Tritons into the history books. Candler wasn't even supposed to be with Emerald Bay. Four years earlier, he had steadfastly told teams hoping to draft him in the first round that he was committed to finishing his college education at Olympus State. For whatever reason, the Tritons brass decided to draft Candler with a third-round pick, and asked him to name his price. What would it take to get him to put college on hold and to sign with Emerald Bay. Rumor has it he jokingly said one million dollars, and they countered with 1.5 million. The rest is history.


So on that Saturday, October 18th night in Emerald Bay, the guy who wasn't supposed to be there was playing for the team that wasn't supposed to be there, and swung at the pitch that defined the franchise. Candler's 2-run homer beat the Capitols in an incredible walk-off finish, giving the Tritons a 4-2 10th inning victory, and the franchise's first SBL championship.
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Old 05-12-2014, 03:46 AM   #183
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Great stuff! And an excellent write-up, Hendu Style.
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Old 05-13-2014, 04:17 AM   #184
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1987: Wilkinson, Flowers, and Johnstone, Oh My!

The 1980's were rolling along, with a nod to the past, and a look to the future. The future clearly belonged to Hank Wilkinson. The Emerald Bay lefty followed up his first Stormy Boyd season with a repeat performance in 1987, fanning 396 batters in 251 innings, while going 21-10 with a 2.37 ERA. He was also getting a grip on his control, walking 76 batters that season, compared to 81 in '86, and 101 in '85.

While Wilkinson was the future, and present, for that matter when it came to pitchers, Whiskey Flowers was without peer in the hitting department. The pride of Northgate was padding his Hall of Fame resume as he entered his mid-30's, hitting a SBL-best .343 during the 1987 season, while clubbing 28 homeruns and driving in 110 RBI. He was closing in quick on 500 homers and 3000 hits for his career.

Wally Johnstone had reached one of those milestones, and he was rewarded with a Hall of Fame induction for that in 1987. Splitting time predominantly with Motor City and Freeport in a 17-year career, Johnstone retired #3 all-time in homeruns with 517. But at the end of the day, baseball players aren't remembered for homeruns or strikeouts. They are remembered for championships. And in 1987, no team was better than the Sim City Capitols. Led by the league's leading hitter -- Gemeda Kamade's .334 -- and the Colonial's top strikeout artist -- Alex Branum's 276 -- the Caps fended off the Dullsville Ducks in the '87 CLCS, and then got a measure of revenge by beating the Emerald Bay Tritons in the Sim Series.

Perhaps the biggest story of baseball in 1987, though, was the booming business of the game. Teams were making money hand over fist, and paying their players accordingly. Arcopolis pitcher Ray Pleasant topped a list of seven millionaire players that season. Salaries were on the rise in the SBL, and so were the expectations of the owners doling out those millions of dollars.
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Old 05-13-2014, 05:51 AM   #185
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The Importance of Sacrifice

The Appaloosa Bucks were among the first to attempt to capitalize on the influx of money into the SimNation Baseball League. They christened their new artificial turf stadium, Buck Kinsella Park, on Opening Day, 1988. I remember that day because I was there. I was on the field to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. My dad, some 30 years before, had thrown out the first pitch at Arrows Stadium during the Sim Series after his father, Buck, was killed in World War II. So there I was, 11 years old, throwing out the first pitch just like my old man. It was unbelievable.

I remember my dad making the catch from behind home plate. I'm told there wasn't a dry eye in the house, though I have to admit, all I was focused on the time was throwing a strike. Just like my dad did decades before, it was indeed a strike.

After that ceremonial first pitch, me, my dad, and my mother, Marcy, all helped unfurl the team's first-ever retired number -- my grandpa's #23 -- out in centerfield. It still hangs there to this day. The late 80's were some of the greatest of my life. My dad had been gone for so long... first as a scout for the Emerald Bay Tritons, and then as an international scout on the islands of the Tropican Sea. But now he was back in Appaloosa, managing a small community college, Chipola. It never really donned on me until years later how much he sacrificed to come back home to spend more time with our family. It's a sacrifice that I constantly remind myself of, especially in these trying times.

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Old 05-13-2014, 07:58 AM   #186
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"trying times"

did I miss something... could this be the start of one of the listed near catastrophes in your first post?

interested
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Old 05-13-2014, 01:33 PM   #187
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Originally Posted by slomo76 View Post
"trying times"

did I miss something... could this be the start of one of the listed near catastrophes in your first post?

interested
Good catch. The post is being written by John Kinsella in "present time, " aka the 2020's, so his trying times are still 30 years out. But it's a good reminder that time is ticking away.
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Old 05-15-2014, 05:09 AM   #188
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1988: Changing of the Guard

The 1988 season marked the end of an era for one of the SBL's all-time greats. For fourteen seasons, Whiskey Flowers had patrolled left field at "The Fritz" in Northgate and put together a Hall of Fame career for the Knights. But that all changed on June 12, 1988, when Flowers was shipped off to Appaloosa for a quartet of Buck prospects. Three months later, he banged out his 3,000th career basehit, just the eighth SBL player to reach that milestone.


The guard was certainly changing in the SBL. Flowers was now 34 and no longer the top hitter in baseball. Former international prospect Antonio Encarnacion became just the second player in baseball history to hit 4 homeruns in a game, while also setting a single-game record with 11 RBI in that ballgame. He later hit for the cycle that season, just the eighth player that decade to accomplish that feat. The 23 year-old finished the year with a robust .322 batting average to go along with 36 homeruns, 118 RBI, and 29 stolen bases. But his upstart Emerald Bay Tritons would fall short of the postseason, finishing second to Santo Cielo in the Pioneer League West.


The Seals had not had a winning record since the 1979 season, and were seeking their first championship since their heyday of the 1950's, when they won six titles in a nine-year span. But their title hopes got derailed by the Rocklyn Railers in the PLCS, who would go on to lose to the Dullsville Ducks in a 4-game sweep in the '88 Sim Series.
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Old 05-16-2014, 05:49 AM   #189
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1989: Dome Sweet Dome

For better or for worse, domes were all the rage in the 1980's. On April 6th, 1989, the Northgate Knights became the latest team to join the dome craze, christening the newly-built JJ Fritz Dome against the Seaside Pirates. Apparently the trade of Whiskey Flowers was a harbinger of the future for Northgate as it dove headfirst into a new era.


But the more things changed in the SBL, the more they remained the same. The Fort Dodge Federals, once a proud and storied franchise, hadn't been to the Sim Series since 1968. That all changed in the fall of '89, when they trounced the Emerald Bay Tritons in the Pioneer League playoffs, and cooled off the Tropico Firebirds in the Sim Series. It was Fort Dodge's 9th championship in franchise history.


As the 1980's drew to a close, baseball was as strong as ever. The game was pure. The numbers were true. And fans were flocking to see games in record numbers. But that was all about to change in the decade that lay ahead.
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Old 05-16-2014, 08:19 AM   #190
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Uh-oh, storm clouds on the horizon!
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Old 05-16-2014, 11:53 AM   #191
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This is amazingly done!
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Old 05-17-2014, 06:30 PM   #192
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Still as awesome as ever, Hendu.

And do I smell the roid era approaching? Controversy, arrogance, money and dingers?
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Old 05-28-2014, 04:15 AM   #193
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The 1990's: The Age of Excess

The SimNation economy could do no wrong at the start of the 1990's. Tourism was booming. The stock market was bullish. The value of a hard-earned simoleon was at an all-time high. The SBL was only too happy to capitalize.

Having a ballclub in the early 1990's was a license to print money. Only 2 of the league's 26 teams in 1989 had failed to turn a profit. Several teams had a net gain of at least $10 million that season, led by Sim City's astonishing $13 million profit. But as baseball fans were about to find out, the SBL would be leading the way in the age of excess. Ticket prices soared. So did revenues. Any fan bases unwilling to go along with the price hikes or new stadiums were left standing in the cold. Cape Crowley was the first to learn that lesson in 1990, when Hooks owner Terry Roderick procured a deal with Paradise City to move the club to the booming West Coast metropolis, right next to Westwood. The new team would be called the Breakers. It was the first time in the history of the SBL that a team relocated for financial gain. Only Tropico, Atlantis, and Bayouville had moved their teams -- two of them temporarily at that -- and that was due to the tragic Hurricane Priscilla. This was purely a money grab. The almighty simoleon had determined the Hooks' fate.

Though the Breakers managed to draw over 2,000,000 Sims to their ballgames in their inaugural season in Paradise City, they foundered to a 95-loss showing that year. It was the Breakers' cross-town rivals, the Westwood Stars, who won the Sim Series that year, defeating the Dixie Dukes to claim their third title.

The SimNation Baseball League paid homage to one of its all-time greats the following spring when, on April 20th, 1991, Whiskey Flowers became the sixth member of baseball's 500 homerun club. Flowers had always seemed destined to join the exclusive club ever since he began swatting homeruns at "The Fritz" in Northgate, but finally reached that milestone at the age of 37 with his fourth club in four years as a member of the Motor City Racers. By the end of the season, he had passed Knights legend Sam Crowley for second place on the career hits list with 3399 baseknocks, trailing the all-time leader, Marty Storms, by just 43. But a Sim Series ring would elude Flowers and the Racers, as the Sim City Capitols claimed their ninth championship in franchise history to cap the '91 season.

While Flowers was hitting in excess, more teams were beginning to live in excess. Salaries were ballooning into the millions, and franchises were holding cities hostage with unrealistic stadium demands. Despite drawing more than 2 million fans and earning a franchise record $10 million profit in 1991, the Outlaws skipped town from Oak Hill to play in yet another new city beginning in 1992. It was a homecoming of sorts for the franchise after evacuating from Atlantis years earlier. In the aftermath, team owner Dan Whitaker, Jr. constructed a series of gargantuan resort hotels near the sunken city, and a posh resort town had sprouted around the hotels, incorporating into "New Atlantis." The New Atlantis Sharks debuted in 1992 in the "Shark Tank," yet another indoor facility in the suddenly dome-drenched SBL.

That was now two relocations in a span of three years, as greedy owners chase Simoleons and left fans twisting in the wind. But the game was as popular as ever. Homeruns were leaving the yard just as fast as those traveling franchises. As much as fans were becoming disenchanted with these money-grubbing clubs, they couldn't keep themselves out of the stands.
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Old 05-28-2014, 09:55 AM   #194
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Finally got myself caught up.

Awesome stuff here!
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Old 05-28-2014, 10:52 AM   #195
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Just took a while to catch up on this entire thing, incredibly well written and well done, keep up the good work!
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Old 06-01-2014, 01:59 AM   #196
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Round-Trippers Start Raising Eyebrows

Relocation was only the tip of the iceberg in the extravagance and greed of the 1990's. Ticket prices were rocketing, and so were homeruns. Before 1991, there were six players who had hit 50 homeruns in a season. In a span of just two years in 1991 and 1992, four more players joined that club. Thad Herring led the charge, hitting 58 round-trippers during the '92 season for the Santo Cielo Seals, after never hitting more than 36 homers prior to that season.


Even Herring's own teammate, pitcher Nelson McEachern, was a little suspicious of the prodigious power display, telling the Santo Cielo Times, "I don't get how these guys are suddenly hitting 50 bombs in a season... it's a little frustrating."


McEachern had won a total of 45 games in a three-year stretch to start the 90's, but he also surrendered 101 homeruns in those three seasons. He was one of the top pitchers in baseball -- a groundball pitcher at that -- and couldn't seem to keep the ball in the yard.


Pitchers weren't the only ones with their suspicions. The media also raised eyebrows when Emerald Bay first baseman Dennis Clinton clubbed 42 homeruns in 1992, never before hitting 21 in a season, minor leagues and college included.


But the SimNation Baseball League didn't seem to mind. In fact, owners embraced the homerun binge, chalking it up to improved fitness and better preparedness.


"Deep down, we all knew something was up," said Tropico slugger Joshua Bodie years afterward. "I hit 50 homers one year, but I'm a big fella (6'5"). These guys were 5'11", 210 pounds, and jacking the ball 450 feet. Something wasn't right."


Sadly, the homeruns were overshadowing the conclusion of perhaps the greatest hitting career in baseball history. Whiskey Flowers was winding down his Hall of Fame career with the Freeport Patriots, and etched his name into the record books on April 15th, 1993, when he laced his 3,442nd career hit, surpassing Marty Storms for the all-time record. He later passed Rick O'Donnell for second place on the career homerun list that season. It was truly a sight to see, and I'm fortunate to say I got to see Flowers play in his prime while I was following my dad to the ballpark in the 80's and 90's.


But the focus remained on the longball, and things came to a head during that '93 season when Clinton was closing in fast on Whiskey's hallowed homerun record of 65 set in 1981. Flowers, then 39, conceded that the frequency of homeruns had become alarming. On September 20th, 1993, with ten games to go in the season, and with Clinton sitting on 58 homeruns, Joshua Bodie at 51, and a slew of players on the doorstep of 50, Flowers had enough. The living legend called for a meeting with Commissioner Kent Wallace, asking baseball to put an end to the madness before it was too late.
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Old 06-02-2014, 09:17 PM   #197
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Wow. This is very interesting. I just started reading so I'm a little behind, but this is great. Normally I don't like to pay attention to dynasty reports, but I'm following this one.

It makes me want to start a game with made-up cities.
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Old 07-23-2015, 07:11 AM   #198
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this is such a fantastic story, well written with great story lines and characters. I wanted 2 get this back in the lime light, so people who have missed this dynasty report will have a chance 2 read it.
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Old 05-18-2019, 04:56 AM   #199
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Just for giggles, I'm bumping this thread back onto the Dynasty Reports just in case anyone wants to read it. It goes 100 years. Wish I could've brought it up to current times. I have an exciting new Dynasty in the works - not nearly as audacious, but should be fun nonetheless!
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Old 05-20-2019, 08:46 PM   #200
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Just for giggles, I'm bumping this thread back onto the Dynasty Reports just in case anyone wants to read it. It goes 100 years. Wish I could've brought it up to current times. I have an exciting new Dynasty in the works - not nearly as audacious, but should be fun nonetheless!
Glad you bumped it, just read this over the last couple days and really enjoyed it! Makes me want to set out and try a dynasty, although my attempts at those way back when never made it to a second page.
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spotted an 11-run lead, then going into the 9th up by 8 and not a single out recorded (using three relief pitchers all warmed up), nine runs score... game over? nope, thank the demo for saving me $20 on the after the season special or/and another $35-40 on 14. I will NOT be purchasing this piece of crap!
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