Hank Aaron

The Waterloo Sailors snapped a 13-game losing streak this week, and the club is 4-16 thus far in July.  The component franchises, the Braves and White Sox, were a combined 148-176, so it’s not like a losing record was unexpected, but I didn’t predict the team to be quite this bad.  One assumes the club has already fired the manager, so the next round of finger-pointing and recrimination will have to focus on the thirty men in uniform.  With a team ERA that is 2nd from worst, and an offense that is rock-bottom in both runs scored and homers, there is plenty of blame to go around.  

Hank Aaron

As I watched the losing streak inch above ten, I found myself rooting for Henry Aaron to get hot and carry the team on his back.  This, after all, is what we expect from our heroes — and Hank is part of a trio of hitting stars that shown brightest in my youth, the others being Mantle & Mays.  (My favorite player was still Clemente, but I recognized him as being a star of a lower order of magnitute.)   As mentioned last time, Aaron hit #500 in July of 1968, a year in which he registered a strong slash line of.287/29/86.  In the IBC, however, he is definitely skuffling along at .222 with 15 homers and 39 RBI… and we have reached the point where a combination of bad luck and league format have doomed this to be a lost season for both Hammerin Hank and his Sailors.  Indeed, it seems like it will be a tough road to #715, but of course part of the beauty of sports is the uncertainty over what happens next.  Each day, week, and season is a potential fresh start.

When the 1968 season concluded, the mighty Yankees decided not to protect Mantle in the expansion draft.  There was sort of an informal deal made with the new clubs, the Royals and Pilots, that he should remain in New York.  Ultimately it was good all around, because #7 decided to retire about the time Spring Training began.  We are all grateful he didn’t end his career with an expansion club!  

The movements of superstars, if they move at all, are often circular.  Willie Mays played in New York at the beginning and end of his career, but was in San Francisco for the long stretch in between.  Babe Ruth took a similar victory lap, from Boston to New York and then back to Boston.  Ruth’s last franchise, then the Boston Braves, would be Aaron’s as well, playing for the team first in Milwaukee and then in Atlanta, before he too returned to his origins in Wisconsin for a last hurrah.

Here is a link to the Strat-O-Matic league file after 15 weeks of play, and the current standings.  The hot club right now is Cedar Rapids (7-3).  Meanwhile, Waterloo is hoping for an upswing after a 2-8 stretch.  

1968IB-4-13-2019.lzp

7/21/68 Iowa Baseball Confederacy        Won   Lost    Pct     GB
Council Bluffs Falcons (A’s-Giants)      64     35    .646     —
Davenport Knights (Tigers-Cards)         57     39    .594    5.5
Ames Little Cyclones (Orioles-Pirates)   57     39    .594    5.5

Iowa City Regals (Red Sox-Phillies)      53     45    .541   10.5
Cedar Rapids Saints (Twins-Dodgers)      51     46    .526   12.0
Sioux City Crusaders (Indians-Reds)      49     49    .500   14.5

Des Moines Scarlets (Yankees-Cubs)       43     55    .439   20.5
West Metro Maroons (Angels-Mets)         40     59    .404   24.0
Waterloo Sailors (White Sox-Braves)      38     60    .388   25.5
Dubuque Golden Eagles (Senators-Astros)  36     61    .371   27.0

That’s all for this week. 

© John Kisner 2019