The Nostalgia League: Playoff results
As an experiment, I have assembled 18 Cleveland baseball teams from all eras to compete in a 162 game schedule for the Best Team in Cleveland History using Out Of The Park Baseball 13 (OOTP), which is a baseball simulation game. Below are the results for August, and if you missed them, here are the other pieces in the nine-part series:
As the 1920 Indians won a best of nine game World Series and the 1948 Tribe triumphed in a best of seven series, I have decided to go with a nine game series for the Nostalgia League’s World Series.
El Presidente got in to trouble early as in the top of the first catcher Victor Martinez drew a one out walk then Martinez plunked DH Travis Hafner. CF Grady Sizemore walked to load the bases and SS Jhonny Peralta drove him in with a fly to left field. 2005 1, 1995 0
Things got worse for Martinez in the second as he hit his second batter of the game RF Casey Blake. After 3BAaron Boone grounded out to second and moved Blake to second, LF Coco Crisp doubled off the right center wall and Blake raced home. 1B Eddie Murray made a throwing error on Victor Martinez’s grounder putting guys on 1st and 3rd, and Travis Hafner followed with an RBI double. 2005 3, 1995 0
Martinez hit Blake again in the 4th and he rode home when Victor put one over the right-center field fence. 2005 5, 1995 0
In the bottom of the 5th, CF Kenny Lofton hit a ball over Blake's head and the speedy center fielder didn't stop running until he was trotting into third. 1B Eddie Murray hit a grounder to short and Lofton scored to break the ice for '95. LF Albert Belle then stroked a long one over the wall and into the plaza in right field. 2005 5, 1995 2
Jim Thome led off the bottom of the 6th with a double and DH Carlos Baerga followed suit and it was 5-3. Then in the 7th, Lofton doubled to chase Lee. With Matt Miller toeing the rubber, Albert Belle made him pay for hanging a curve ball and crushed a two-run homer over the center field fence. Tie game 5-5.
Julian Tavarez took the mound in the 8th and gave up a 2-out double to 2B Ronnie Belliard. This unnerved the young right-hander as he then hit Blake and Boone to load the bases. After some brief discussions where both benches emptied but no punches were thrown, Crisp singled up the middle and Belliard and Blake crossed the plate. 2005 7, 1995 5
Rafael Betancourt came in and closed out the 9th striking out Ramirez to end the game 7-5 in 2005’s favor.
In the top of the 2nd inning, CF Grady Sizemore hit a shot down the right field line which got into the corner and he slid safely into third for a triple. SS Jhonny Peralta then hit a ball off the railing over the center field fence which was first awarded a double but after consulting instant replay was overturned into a home run. 2005 2, 1995 0
In the fourth inning LF Coco Crisp smoked a solo home run to right. 2005 3, 1995 0
1995 2B Alvaro Espinoza singled in the third then CF Kenny Lofton grounded into a 4-6 fielder’s choice. With 2 outs, it appeared that the '95 Indians would go tamely in the third but DH Carlos Baerga singled and Thome walked to load'em up. Jake Westbrook threw a ball to LF Albert Belle that got too much of the plate and Belle drove the ball over the left field wall for a grand slam. The rattled Westbrook then made the same mistake to RF Manny Ramirezfor a solo homer. 2005 3, 1995 5
Bob Howry entered the game for 2005 and the score remained the same until Bell stroked his second home run of the day in the 6th inning, a 2-run shot this time. 2005 3, 1995 7
It wasn't until the 7th before 2005 would make it interesting. 1B Ben Broussard led off with a walk and 2B Ronnie Belliard singled. RF Casey Blake then singled to center and Broussard scored. Julian Tavarez would then relieve Nagy and hit 3B Aaron Boone to load the bases. Crisp then hit a grounder to second and Espinoza went to 2nd for the out while Belliard scored. With the memory of Tavarez' collapse in game one fresh on everyone's mind, the light came on and he blew fast balls by C Victor Martinez and DH Travis Hafner to end the inning. 2005 5, 1995 7
Grover went to Mesa to close out the 9th and he closed out the 7-5 win for 1995, tying the series at 1-1.
While it wasn't easy for either pitcher, both Sabathia and the Bulldog kept a clean sheet through three innings. CC bared down and struck out RF Manny Ramirez, SS Omar Vizquel and Ramirez (again) to end innings with runners on. Hershiser on the other hand used double plays in the 2nd and 3rd innings to wipe out base runners. That was until the 4th when 1995’s 3B Jim Thome found the right field seats for a solo homer. 1995 1, 2005 0
In the bottom of the 6th, Hershiser's night started to unwind when 3B Aaron Boone singled through the hole between short and third and catcher Victor Martinez doubled to put runners on 2nd and 3rd. Hershiser couldn't extricate himself out of this jam as DH Travis Hafner lined a pitch over the shortstop to score Boone. SS Jhonny Peralta followed with a single over short to score V-Mart. 1995 1, 2005 2
In the bottom of the 7th, 2005 pushed over an insurance run. 2B Ronnie Belliard walked to lead off then stole second. Aaron Boone then hit a grounder to 2B Alvaro Espinoza that Espinoza failed to get down on and Belliard raced home. 1995 1, 2005 3
Rafael Betancourt came in for Eric Wedge and pitched a perfect ninth striking out two to preserve the 3-1 win for 2005 and give them a 2-1 series lead.
Game 4: 1995 Chad Ogea vs. 2005 Cliff Lee
The game started pretty tame until the 3rd inning when RF Casey Blake hit one into the plaza in left field with a runner on. Ogea then issued a free pass to 3B Aaron Boone. Catcher Victor Martinez singled him to second and DH Travis Hafner walked to load the bases. CF Grady Sizemore singled home Boone and V-Mart. It wasn't over for Ogea yet as SS Jhonny Peralta doubled home Pronk and it was 5-0. That was it for Ogea as Julian Tavarez made his 3rd appearance in the Championship. 1B Ben Broussard flew out to end the 5 run inning, but the damage was already done. 1995 0, 2005 5
Both pitchers settled down until 1995 Albert Belle drilled a solo shot to left in the 7th inning, but that was it as Cliff Lee went the distance in a 5-1 win for 2005 and a commanding 3-1 series lead.
Game 5: 2005 Jake Westbrook vs. 1995 Charles Nagy
After Nagy easily dispatched the 2005ers in the top of the first, the defense let Westbrook down when CF Kenny Lofton’s grounder skipped off of 1B Ben Broussard's glove. Lofton stole second on a 1-1 pitch but Westbrook retired the next two hitters. Westbrook would have been out of the inning if not for the error and LF Albert Belle and RF Manny Ramirez made 2005 pay for the defensive lapse. Belle drilled a double to right which scored Lofton and Ramirez knocked one out of the park. 2005 0, 1995 3
The lead didn't last long as SS Jhonny Peralta doubled to lead off the 2nd inning and one out later 2B Ronnie Belliard homered. 2005 wasn't done as they mounted a 2-out rally when 3B Aaron Boone singled. Boone swiped second and LF Coco Crisp drove him home with a single to left. 2005 3, 1995 3
Things stayed that way until the bottom of the 7th when pinch hitter Herbert Perry hit a liner past a diving Belliard for a leadoff single. Lofton found the right field line and the '95 Indians were in business with runners on second and third. DH Carlos Baerga singled up the middle and '95 took the lead. 3B Jim Thome walked to load the bases but Belle struck out. Eric Wedge then made the call for Fernando Cabrera who struck out Ramirez. Paul Sorrentothen hit a long ball to right center that Sizemore tracked down on the warning track. 2005 3, 1995 4
Julian Tavarez gave way to Eric Plunk in the 8th and Plunk made one mistake to Aaron Boone who launched a game tying home run. 2005 4, 1995 4
The game progressed into the bottom of the 10th where 2005 reliever Rafael Betancourt struck out Belle but walked Ramirez on four pitches. Then Sorrento hit a fly ball to right that Casey Blake could only watch fall into the seats for a walkoff two-run homer and 6-4 win for 1995 bringing. Five games into the series 2005 lead 3-2.
Game 6: 2005 – Kevin Millwood vs. 1995 Dennis Martinez
1995 struck first in the bottom of the 3rd inning when catcher Sandy Alomar grounded to short but Jhonny Peralta's throw got away from Ben Broussard and Alomar cruised into second. 2B Alvaro Espinoza grounded out but advanced Alomar to third. CF Kenny Lofton put the “95ers on the board with an RBI single past third. Lofton then stole second and advanced to third on DH Carlos Baerga's ground out. 3B Jim Thome capped the scoring when he launched a Millwood offering into the right-center seats. 2005 0, 1995 3
2005 countered in the 5th after El Presidente walked 1B Ben Broussard and 2B Ronnie Belliard's line drive to left cleared the wall for a 2-run home run. 2005 2, 1995 3
2005 took the lead in the 6th when CF Grady Sizemore stroked a 2-run home run to left-center. 2005 4, 1995 3
Then in the seventh back to back singles by Belliard and RF Casey Blake set up catcher Victor Martinez's 2-run double. 2005 6 1995 3
1995 rallied to tie it in the 8th when Albert Belle grounded into a run scoring 6-4-3 double play and RF Manny Ramirez crushed a Kevin Millwood fastball over the left-center wall. 2005 6, 1995 6
Then in the 9th inning solo home runs by Belliard, Blake and LF Coco Crisp put the 2005 Indians up 9-6 and Arthur Rhodes pitched a perfect 9th for the win. The win put them up 4-2 in the best-of-nine series and one win away from the championship.
Game 7: 1995 Orel Hershiser vs. 2005 Cliff Lee
In the bottom of the 2nd, SS Jhonny Peralta put the 1995 Indians on the brink of elimination with a solo home run to left for a 1-0 lead. 1B Ben Broussard and 2B Ronnie Belliard followed with singles before RF Casey Blake struck out. Aaron Boone battled his way to an 8-pitch walk to load the bases with 1 out but Hershiser kept the '95 Wahoo’s in the game by striking out LF Coco Crisp and getting catcher Victor Martinez to ground out to second. 1995 0, 2005 1
1995 responded in the top of the third when a single by 2B Alvaro Espinoza preceded a three bagger by Kenny Lofton to tie it. 1995 took the lead on a sacrifice fly by 1B Eddie Murray. 1995 2, 2005 1
The lead didn't last long as CF Grady Sizemore's two run home run caused the second lead change of the inning. 1995 2, 2005 3
Disaster struck for Hershiser in the bottom of the fifth as Peralta hit his second dinger of the night, this time a 2-run shot and things were looking bleak for the '95 Indians. 1995 2, 2005 5
In the sixth inning DH Carlos Baerga hit a solo home run, though with nine outs left and down two runs managerMike Hargrove hoped it was not too little too late. 1995 3, 2005 5
With their backs against the wall 1995 struck hard in the 7th when back-to-back doubles by Espinoza and Lofton to cut the deficit to one. Belle tied it up with a single to left-center (after Lofton swiped third) and Ramirez sent Albert to third with a double down the third base line. Baerga's grounder to short scored Belle and gave 1995 the lead. 1995 6, 2005 5
Relievers Paul Assenmacher and Julian Tavarez shutdown 2005 in the seventh and eighth and Grover gave the ball on to Nostalgia League saves leader Jose Mesa to close it out. After retiring the first two Wedgies, Mesa closed it out by whiffing Crisp and a 6-5 win for 1995. The 2005 team still holds a 5-4 lead in the series.
Game 8: 1995 Chad Ogea vs. 2005 CC Sabathia
In the top of the 2nd inning RF Manny Ramirez led off with a solo shot into the plaza beyond the left field wall. 1995 1, 2005 0
2005 threatened in the 5th when Belliard doubled and 3B Aaron Boone singled him to third with one out. LF Coco Crisp's fly ball to left wasn't deep enough and Belle's throw home was on target and Belliard retreated to third. Ogea then induced catcher Victor Martinez into a weak grounder to the pitcher to preserve the lead.
Ogea was a magician again in the 8th inning when he struck out Hafner and Sizemore with runners on second and third (single by Crisp and a double by Martinez). In the ninth, Grover called in the closer and Mesa blew a 1-2 fastball by Peralta for a strikeout. Mesa stayed hot working a 1-2-3 ninth to close out the 1-0 win and send the game to a Nostalgia League Championship Series deciding 9th game.
Game 9: 2005 Jake Westbrook vs. 1995 Charles Nagy
Jacobs Field was electric as the '95 team had won two in a row to force the 9th game and after tonight there would be one winner and one loser. Nagy electrified the fans by whiffing catcher Victor Martinez and DH Travis Hafner as the fans were standing and cheering every strike.
Westbrook started out strong retiring CF Kenny Lofton and DH Carlos Baerga. 3B Jim Thome put the 1995 Indians ahead with a solo home run. LF Albert Belle doubled then came home on RF Manny Ramirez's 2-run home run. 2005 0, 1995 3
The 1995 second started with a strikeout of SS Omar Viaquel, but Sandy Alomar's grounder ate up 3B Aaron Boone. 2B Alvaro Espinoza popped out to second but 1995 would rally with two outs again. Lofton doubled off the center field wall and DH Bearga drove in both runners with a single to right. 2005 0, 1995 5
2005 showed some life in the third when RF Casey Blake singled to left. Nagy made things difficult on himself as he failed to corral a bunt attempt by 3B Aaron Boone and walked Martinez to load the bases. Nagy then struck out Pronk and the shiny new ball park was rocking.
1995 tacked on another run in the 5th when 1B Paul Sorrento singled home Ramirez and Westbrook's night was over. 2005 0, 1995 6
The 2005 sixth inning started with a double by Martinez and Pronk followed with a single. Nagy then did what he's done all night by striking out Sizemore and Peralta. Then with two outs Nagy's 1-1 pitch went into the dirt and got away from Alomar and Martinez scored to put 2005 on the board. 2005 1, 1995 6
Reliever David Riske and Matt Miller shutdown the '95 offense and in the 8th inning Pronk hit a solo homer to right center. 2005 2, 1995 6
Buddy Black relieved Nagy in the 9th with a 6-2 lead but gave up a double to Peralta and a run scoring single to Belliard. Grover wasn't going to chance it and he called on Jose Mesa to end it. Mesa retired Blake on a fly ball that 2B Alvaro Espinoza snagged in shallow right but Boone made things interesting when he singled up the middle and Belliard scored. Coco Crisp strode to the plate representing the tying run. Cheering every pitch, the Jacob's field fans were extremely loud. Then on a 1-2 pitch Mesa threw a chin high fastball which Crisp couldn't catch up to and the '95 Indians celebrated the title with a 6-4 win.
1995 LF Albert Belle showed off his enormous bicep to the crowd at Jacobs Field as he accepted the Nostalgia League Championship MVP Award. Belle hit 5 home runs in the series to tie teammate Manny Ramirez for the series lead. Belle's .417 batting average set the pace and his 12 RBI lead the team. His .944 slugging percentage and 1.406 OPS lead the '95 Indians to the Championship.
Regular Season Trophy Series
Napionship – 1913 Naps (4) vs. 1913 Naps (2)
TrisTeam - 1920 Indians (6) vs. 1926 Indians (3)
Ultimate Championship - 1920 Indians (8) vs. 1948 Indians (4)
Lopalympics – 1954 Indians (7) vs 1956 Indians (2)
Grover Games - 1995 Indians (13) vs 1997 Indians (8) vs 1999 Indians (9)
Battle of the Wedgies – 2005 Indians (5) vs 2007 Indians (4)
Regular Season Awards
MVP: 1948 Shortstop Lou Boudreau
.358 AVG, 118 R, 49 2B, 1 3B, 30 HR, 124 RBI, .420 OBP, .568 SLG, .988 OPS
CY Young: 1908 Addie Joss
18-14, 14 CG, 5 shutouts, 2.83 ERA, 276.1 IP, 28 BB, 161 K, 1.05 WHIP, .247 OBA
I'm with Tony on it all, the 2005 team should have won the division and could have won it all. I had actually thought it would be 1995 vs. 1954 (100 win seasons) and hoped 1920 would win it in the September when it was close.
Quite frankly, I'm a little shocked it was as close as it was. Moreover, had it been a modern era 7 game series according to the sim, 2005 wins. Admittedly CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee and a then younger Westbrook would be a daunting rotation.