Birmingham Industrial Baseball League: League News

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Tuesday, July 29
WE CALL IT AS WE SEE IT
BV-Cards
The opening acts are over and it is now time for the real show.  The 2014 League Championship Series takes center stage, beginning Saturday, August 2, 2014.  On stage, the number 1 seed Butler Bombers and the number 3 seed Buck Village Stars.  The Butler Bombers finished the regular season and post season playoffs with the combined single best record in the Birmingham Industrial Baseball League.  The Bombers captured round 2 of the playoffs from a Centre Blue Sox team that refused to play in a third game on Sunday, July 27, 2014.  They now have a chance to break the stronghold that the Birmingham Cardinals and Buck Village Stars have had over this league for the past ten (10) years.  The Bombers have earned their spot in this year’s series and we will have more on them in the very near future.  It is now time to turn to the real story of the week. At the very start of the 2014 season, it appeared that the Buck Village Stars had the most potent roster in this league with a pitching staff that would be second to none.  However, names do not play and, until they appear for play, could only be considered members of a wish list.  The stars lost their first two (2) games of the regular season, including an embarrassing opening day forfeit to the 2013 league champion Birmingham Cardinals.  As the season went along, they managed to stay above the .500 mark.  Their offense was deadly at times, but the defense left much to be desired.  This was especially true for the pitching staff.  Yet, many of us kept wondering if names on the roster would ever come to life.  We kept waiting and waiting and waiting while manager Steve Bradford kept joking and joking and joking about it.  Why is this so darn funny to him?  Well now we know.  The Birmingham Cardinals have a sharp looking team that has played solid baseball for all of the regular season.  The Butler Bombers were even thinking about getting a restraining order on them for stalking.  In fact, the stalking paid off by the end of the regular season with both teams ending up with a 15-1 record.  But, then came the playoff series and the Cardinals had to take on the Stars whom they had beaten twice during the regular season.  This new meeting, no joke, actually changed the body language of some of the Cardinals key players. It all began on Saturday and Stars manager Bradford was still joking.  The long awaited surprise appeared in the person of a crafty lefty named Nathan Bland.  With the exception of a few veterans like DJ Milhouse and Jimmie Holifield Jr, the Cardinals were engaged in a fly swatting contest.  Junk-junk-junk-gas-gas- junk-gas-up-down-in-out, the Cardinals and no other team in this league had seen anything like the pitching performance they saw on Saturday.  Then the energizer bunny started for the second week in a row at Willie Mays Park.  The Stars just kept on scoring and scoring and scoring, defeating the Cardinals by a score of 19-1.  The Cardinals body language changed.  The walks on and off the field with the chins almost touching the chest was a dead giveaway of a broken spirit.  The problem, however, was not primarily with the players.  The old Bice Hill manager named Joe used to shout “how long” and his team would reply “not long”.  Well, the Cardinals team was probably shouting “how long” and manager Milton Taylor must have been responding “forever”, while fans were shouting “too long”.  Veteran starter Jimmie Williams was allowed to stay in the game far too long.  Taylor must have been having a bad hemorrhoids day and he was afraid of disturbing them by getting up to make a trip to the mound. Next, the Stars defeated the Cardinals again on Sunday, 13-8, in a good competitive game.  However, a key play that further injured the team’s body language even more was a rare K-2-4-2 triple play. Despite some run-saving defensive gems and some offensive life, that triple play had already done its damage. Going into the championship series on Saturday, August 2, 2014, the Butler Bombers are always ready to play but must be alert for even more gems out of Stars manager Bradford’s bag.  The gem is not one that some might be expecting.  Should it appear, it can be “lights out”.  Good luck to the Butler Bombers and Buck Village Stars.

Thursday, July 24
STEP-BY-STEP
Butler v Sox
Butler vs Blue Sox
Regular season co-champions, Butler Bombers and Birmingham Cardinals, moved one step closer to a big showdown in a 2014 best 3 out of 5 championship series.  On Sunday, July 20, the Butler Bombers defeated the Centre Blue Sox by a score of 16-14 in the first game of a best 2 out 3 Round 2 series.  The Birmingham Cardinals also defeated the Buck Village Stars by a score of 8-4 in their first game of the Round 2 series.  Round 2 action continues on Saturday, July 26 in Centre and Fairfield.  This will be a must-win game for both the Sox and Stars in order to force a game 3 in the series on Sunday.  If they fail to force a game 3, the 2014 championship series will start on Sunday.  The 2014 Championship Series, as in prior years, will be played at Ensley Park.

Cards v Stars
Cardinals vs Stars

Saturday, July 19
ROUND 2 STARTS SUNDAY, JULY 20, 2014
The Birmingham Industrial League’s 2014 post season continues on Sunday, when it enters round 2 of the playoffs.  Round 1 was less than exciting, bordering on comatose, with no surprise results.  In the first of two games scheduled on Saturday, a young West End Dodgers team failed to compete against the Centre Blue Sox after having lost both games in their head-to-head meetings this season.  Final score 9-0.  In the second game, dubbed the “energizer bunny special”, the Buck Village Stars just kept on scoring and scoring and scoring against the Gadsden City Hit Squad.  The squad called the game off, trailing 26-1, with enough innings remaining to play a 3-inning old timers’ game.  In fact, a few old-timer substitutes may not have been such a bad idea. The excitement should pick up during round 2, featuring no surprise teams.  In fact, fans should not be surprised if both contests go the full three games in the best 2 out of 3 series.  On Sunday, the 1 seed Butler Bombers will play host to the 4 seed Centre Blue Sox at Ensley.  The Sox are assured a home game next Saturday at Windom Ball Field in Centre, Alabama.  Closer to downtown, the 2 seed Birmingham Cardinals will host the 3 seed Buck Village Stars at Parker High School Baseball Park.  The Stars will get their home game next Saturday at Willie Mays Park in Fairfield, Alabama.  Both games are scheduled to start at 3:30 PM.  This league will be proud to have either of the four (4) teams in the 2014 championship series.  We have no preferred winner because, borrowing from  Snoop Dog, “we don’t love them teams”.  So,  get out and support your favorite team(s).

Sunday, July 13
NEW DAY
In the final game of the Birmingham Industrial League’s regular season, the Buck Village Stars defeated the Centre Blue Sox in what should be described as a playoff prep game.  The final score was 14-8.  The League’s regular season ended with co-champions, Butler Bombers and Birmingham Cardinals, both 15-1.  The post season begins on Saturday, July 19, 2014.  Final seeding for the 2014 playoffs:1. Butler Bombers  2.  Birmingham Cardinals  3. Buck Village Stars  4. Centre Blue Sox  5.   West End Dodgers  6.   Gadsden City Hit Squad.  By finishing their regular seasons as co-champions, the Butler Bombers and Birmingham Cardinals have earned a bye during the first round of the six team playoffs.  In the first round, the Buck Village Stars will host the Gadsden City Hit Squad at Willie Mays Park in Fairfield on Saturday, July 19, 2014.  The winner will advance to the second round and take on the 2 seed, Birmingham Cardinals, on Sunday, July 20, 2014 at Parker High School Baseball Park.  Also in the first round, the Centre Blue Sox will host the West End Dodgers at Windom Ball Field in Centre on Saturday.  The winner in that contest will advance to the second round and take on the 1 seed, Butler Bombers, on Sunday at Ensley Park.  The second round will be a best 2 out of 3 event.  Seeds 1 and 2 will only host games 1 and 3 of that event. The final round 2 winners will meet for the championship series, which will be a best 3 out of 5 contest. The location for the 2014 championship series is yet to be decided. The Industrial League wishes to thank the managers and players who participated in League games this year.  We were thrilled at the number of high school and college players who showed an interest in competing in this league. We would also like to thank the parents who signed minor waivers for their high school sons to play in this league.

Friday, July 11
FINAL 300+ CLUB REPORT NEXT WEEK
The final 300+ Club report will be released on Thursday, July 17, 2014.  Again, players on that list must have a minimum 3.1 plate appearances times the total number of games played by his team.  For this report only, forfeits will be excluded and no rounding will be used.  It must be noted that the same rules will not apply in determining the 2014 batting champion.  MLB Rule 10.22 will be followed with no exceptions made for forfeits.  The League will award a trophy to the 2014 batting champion.  In addition, this website (not League sponsored) will award its “Big Stick” award to those players with a .500+ batting average based on the lower 300+ Club standards.

Monday, June 30
STRAIGHT TALK
Cards Trophy
Chest Bumping No! "We got our many trophies the old fashion way-we earned them"
How do you describe a true champion?  How about a few characteristics?  Try these:  (1) always confident without the need to be boastful, (2) never intimidated by an occasional loss, (3) accepts defeat as simply a slap back into reality, (4) always cool under pressure, (5) never delusional, (6) knows exactly what it takes to be a real winner and can deliver when provoked by an opponent, (7) has actually planted a flag at the top of their game, and (8) until shown otherwise, treats all challenges as mere aspirations of wannabes. The Birmingham Cardinals are still the Birmingham Industrial League’s champions until another team can change that status.  In horse racing, a most dangerous horse is one that can stay close to the front runner with very little effort.  Then at just the right time, can pounce on the front runner, look it in the eyes and say “go for what you think you know.”  Going into Sunday’s game, the Cardinals were a one loss second place team, stalking an undefeated first place Butler Bombers team.  The Cardinals pounced with a “go for what you think you know.”  On Sunday, the Bombers knew absolutely nothing.  The Cardinals won by 11 lengths, defeating the Bombers by a score of 18-7.  Now both teams have one loss and lead all other League teams.  The Cardinals and Bombers are 1-1 for the regular season in head-to-head meetings.  The Cardinals exhibited characteristic 2,3,4,6 and 8 on Sunday.  Characteristic 4 was missing for the Bombers who gave up 11 bases on balls and hit another 5 batters.  Then, the Cardinals batters made them pay dearly.  This should be a teachable and learning moment for the young and impressive Bombers team.  The true veteran players were on the Cardinals side along with some very promising young players. The Bombers have managed to achieve their success with non-veterans by Industrial League standards.  Let’s be real here:  three years as a player in this league qualifies no one as veteran except by pediatric standards.  “It’s a baby, it’s a baby!!!” This league’s goal is to help every young player develop strong character, good sportsmanship, respect for himself and those around him.  This along with the eight characteristics above must be the goal of every team’s management and the parents of League participants.  If not, those participants will never know enough to go for anything – not in baseball – not in life.  Good day.

Monday, June 23
BIG GAME COMBOS THIS COMING WEEKEND
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Butler Bombers
Barring any weather-related game cancellations between June 28 and July 12, there are only five (5) game days remaining for the 2014 regular season.  The post season playoffs could begin as early as July 12 but not later than July 19.  All eyes have been on a young Butler Bombers team all season long.  Currently at 13-0, the Bombers are attempting to do what no Industrial League team has done in many years, which is to remain undefeated for the entire regular season.  The Bombers also have their eyes on an even higher goal, capturing their first League championship.  Perhaps, the greatest challenge to their regular season record will come this weekend when they square off against the third place Buck Village Stars (8-4) and second place Birmingham Cardinals (11-1) at Ensley Park. With just three (3) games left to play (Buck Village Stars-Birmingham Cardinals-West End Dodgers), the Bombers will need to win two (2) of those games in order to at least guarantee themselves a tie for the regular season championship.  On the other hand, the Cardinals have maintained their menacing bid for the top spot all season long.  They will need to win each of their remaining four (4) games (Centre Blue Sox-Butler Bombers-Bessemer Bombers-Gadsden City Hit Squad) to at least force a tie for that spot.  The Butler Bombers and Birmingham Cardinals are both working to earn a bye in the first round of the playoffs.  The Buck Village Stars will not be able to overtake or even tie the Bombers for a top two finish.  The Stars will need a perfect record in their last four (4) games plus a Cardinals loss of each of their last four games in order to overtake them for a top two spot.  Any record tie between the Stars and Cardinals will be decided in favor of the Cardinals due to their head-to-head record in 2014. As for the remaining playoff contenders, the current picture is too weird, wacky, funny, and unpredictable to discuss at this time.  We hope to have more on the playoffs following the games this weekend.

Tuesday, May 27
TIME FOR ONE #1
Miko
Batter: Rumiko Forrester
As we approach the end of this month, what better way to start the month of June than with a single number one team?  That will be the case on Saturday when the League’s two remaining number one teams collide.  The 2013 League champion Birmingham Cardinals will play host to the Butler Bombers at Parker High School Baseball Park.  This will be the first of two meetings between these two in 2014.  While this should be a good one for fans to witness, it is expected to be the start of the real heat for the regular season.  Waiting in the wings for whatever happens is an awakened Buck Village Stars team.  You might agree with us that, up until this point, either League pitching has been in a coma, or no one has told some team defenses that the Easter egg hunt is over, or a combination of both.  Even with that said, there are many sluggers this year that could care less about anyone on the mound. When #2 meets #1, will this be a game of small ball and running or lasers and long balls?  We believe the real season will begin this coming Saturday.  Elsewhere on Saturday, an impressive looking East Jefferson Vulcan team will travel and take on the Gadsden City Hit Squad.  A struggling Centre Blue Sox will travel to take on the Bessemer Bombers.  However, do not be deceived by the recent struggles of the Sox.  This is still a dangerous team and will be heard from during the remainder of this season.  Saturday’s schedule will be completed when the West End Dodgers take on the Buck Village Stars.  Good luck to all of our teams.

Friday, May 16
WEEK 2 SHOULD BE VERY ENTERTAINING
Entering the second full weekend of regular season play, Industrial League teams will be presenting their opponents with a mixed bag of messages.  On the one hand, some will try to convince their opponent and fans that they are serious this year and can “stump with the big dogs”.  On the other hand, some want to send a message that they are the “bull of the woods”.  For any team in the latter group, here is your sign – BULL.  This is not going to be an easy season for any of the eight (8) teams this year.  This weekend should be a must see two days for fans.  For today, we focus on the Saturday matchups only.  The 2013 League champion Birmingham Cardinals will play their first full game of 2014 when they play host to the new East Jefferson Vulcans.  Easy picking for the champions?  Maybe, then again, maybe not.  The Buck Village Stars will also play their first full game of the year when they visit a tough Butler Bombers team.  The Bombers say that they are for real and the Stars say they are mad as “that hot place” and need to spank any competitor.  Now, a revamped and reenergized West End Dodgers team will go to Centre, Alabama to take on a classy Blue Sox team.  Manager Jo Jo Bynum says his team is ticked over last week’s loss to the Butler Bombers.  The Sox say they need to hurt any competitor, but that the _ _ _ whipping should not be taken as personal.  Lastly,  another revamped and highly charged team can be found in the Bessemer Bombers.  Manager Charles White and the team will travel to Gadsden, Alabama to take on ever-animated Cedric Bell and his reconstructed Gadsden City Hit Squad.  If schedules hold for the day, fans could think they are seeing double when Bell sends out a 6’7” purported flame thrower in the person of Scott “The Goose” Basham.  Manager White counters by telling Bell that “just because you _ _ _ _ in the woods does not make you a bear”.  White plans to counter with his own 6’7’ purported flame thrower in the person of Justin Niemeyer.  Are these pitchers or throwers?  We Assume that you do know that there is a big difference.  Both managers say that you just have to be there to find out.  Whatever the weekend outcome might be, this is only about players and fans having a lot of fun playing and watching an intended fun sport.

Sunday, May 11
LAWDY, LAWDY, LAWDY!!!
Trophy
"Man, let's hide this thing"
Do you remember when the baseball park at Fairfield was known as 66th Street Park?  Some of you may be too young. Do you remember the last time the home team at 66th Street Park had to forfeit a game?  You may be too young to remember.  We baby-boomers must be too young to remember.  Do you remember when the name of 66th Street Park was changed to Willie Mays Park?  Some of you may be too young to remember.  Do you remember the last time the home team at Willie Mays Park had to forfeit a game?  You may be too young to remember.  The boomers are getting younger by the minute because we do not remember that either.  Listen to the voices: “I want my family name back.  I want my family name back.”  The multi-year Industrial League champions shocked the community when they were forced to forfeit an opening day game to perennial champions, Birmingham Cardinals.  Known as the Buck Village Stars, the village buckled when the team was unable to place nine (9) men on the field.  Village please!!!  We have all heard about the injured players on this team, but all of them?  Village please!!!  Old JC was beside himself and I know FR is busting concrete blocks.  Can anyone define Roster?  We don’t know about you, but until someone shows up, we see a wish list.  Yes, we said it!!! Anytime this League opens up the regular season of play, we always ignore the first three (3) games, win or lose.  After three, we are ready to call it like we “sees” it.  This was all posted in fun, but if the Buck Village Stars do not get it together, we’ll be back”.

 



Friday, May 9
SURPRISE, SURPRISE, SURPRISE?
Prior to the League’s first organizational meeting in 2014, we had predicted a leaner but meaner lineup of teams for this year.  As the meetings began, it appeared that we were mistaken in our predictions.  Well now, the wait is over and our early prediction appears to have been correct.  We are leaner and, if the team rosters hold up, definitely meaner.  The talent made available, when the Bessemer Blues and Hooper City Royals decided not to enter the competition in 2014, has resulted in a windfall for most returning teams.  Couple that with other players deciding to change teams and you have meaner teams all around.  Further, other talented players are yet to find a team-home for this year.  The only remaining question is whether or not players stay with their chosen teams.  Trust us and stop any delusional thinking about a “big four” in 2014.  No doubt, there will be several surprise wins and/or losses for teams to share.  Every game will be a “big” game in 2014.  We will say no more.

Saturday, April 19
READY OR NOT, SEASON STARTS SOON
With just twenty-one days left before the start of the 2014 regular season, Birmingham Industrial League managers are cleaning up their opening day rosters.  We are pleased to learn that each of the 2014 teams is serious about competing for a playoff spot this year.  The player interest level in many areas has been very high, but lower than expected in others.  We are not prepared to comment on likely team strengths, as opening day rosters will not be posted here until May 1, 2014.  League fans can be assured that no 2014 team can be a candidate for the “push-over” club.  Expect at least one early upset if your expectations are based on past observation of League teams.  Team conditioning, hampered in part by rainy weather, is a big question mark for many of us.  Four teams started their conditioning early, three teams started late, with one team being ready-conditioned due to a significant number of school athletes on the team.  Teams that will be of early interest to us are the new East Jefferson Vulcans and the returning Gadsden City Hit Squad.  The Vulcans will be playing their home games at Leeds Middle School (the old Leeds High School) and is a team out to establish their own identity.  While some of their players are carried over from the old Leeds Pirates team, look for many new faces and a different competitive attitude.  Mike Yarbrough is the manager of the Vulcans.  Manager Cedric Bell and his Gadsden City Hit Squad are out to prove that they can return to the 2014 playoffs as a much improved team.  The use of more veteran players will be a difference for the Hit Squad this year. The silence of the Birmingham Cardinals, Buck Village Stars, Centre Blue Sox, and Butler Bombers is a dead giveaway that these guys do not plan to make it easy for any team to top them going into the 2014 playoffs.  The Hooper City Royals are not speaking with their usual confidence, which leads us to suspect that they may have a surprise of their own for 2014.  This leaves us with the Bessemer Bombers, who may be changing their home field location this year.  A late surge of player interest in that team just might enable manager Charles White to do what he has wanted to do last for the past three years – put a spanking on a strong team. Whatever secrets any of the 2014 teams have up their sleeves, their time to lay them on the table is about to come.  Good luck guys and have fun playing the game the way that it was designed to be played.  We will be back after the first two weeks of the regular season and we are sure that we will be able to ruffle some feathers.

Sunday, March 2
Givan Solid
Givan
Juan Givan

Young Juan Givan is holding his own as a first year player at Lawson State Community College.  After 15 games, Juan leads the team in runs scored with 11.  He is one of only three players with 8 or more at bats with a batting average of .300 or higher.  His average is .308 with 12 hits, 1 double, 1 triple, and 4 runs batted in.  His OBP and SLG numbers are .386 and .385, respectively.  The team's AVG/OBP/SLG are .257/.370/.328.  Following his graduation from high school in 2012, Juan has spent his past 2 years playing with the Butler Bombers in the Birmingham Industrial Baseball League.  He was the 12th leading batter in the Industrial League in 2013.  Congratulations Juan.

We are constantly looking for performance reports on Industrial League players who may be enrolled in college.  We will post more reports as they become available.



Sunday, March 2
Johnson Named to 2014 SIAC Preseason All-Conference Team
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Jorrell "JJ" Johnson
Jorrell "JJ" Johnson has been named to the 2014 SIAC preseason all-conference team as announced by Lemoyne-Owen College.  The college senior is a first baseman who batted .423 with 6 doubles, 2 triples and 1 homerun in 2013 at Lemoyne-Owen.  JJ's playing time in the Birmingham Industrial League has included stints with the West End Dodgers and last year, with the Butler Bombers.  Congratulations JJ.

Monday, August 26
JIMMY WILLIAMS 2013 MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
J Williams
Jimmy Williams (LHP) Birmingham Cardinals

Jimmy Williams was selected as the Most Valuable Player for the 2013 League championship series.  A stalwart on the mound for the Cardinals over the past several years, he was an excellent choice for this year’s award.  Williams appeared in each of the quick three games needed by to Cardinals to win the 2013 championship.  He appeared as a starter in two of those three games, earning a 2.65 earned run average.  He pitched a complete game in the series opener, holding the Hooper City Royals to just five (5) hits.  He was inserted as the designated hitter in game two, getting two hits in three at bats (.667).  Cardinals manager Milton Taylor tapped him again as the starter in game three, and the rest is history.  He pitched eight complete innings, allowing just nine hits while striking out eight Royals batters.  His series pitching totals were as follow:

·        Innings pitched – 17

·        Batters faced – 71 (17 above the minimum)

·        Earned runs – 5

·        Hits allowed – 14

·        Strikeouts – 16

·        Base on Balls – 3

·        ERA – 2.65

·        WHIP – 1.00



Monday, August 26
2013 FHIBL AWARDS
Awards I
(l-r) Brandon Williams, Tyrus Moss, Jo Jo Bynum
The Fred Horn Industrial League handed out six (6) awards on Saturday, following the game. Four awards were given to teams and two to players. Coupled with four awards issued earlier by this website, total awards for 2013 came to four for teams and six for players. Awards given on Saturday were: (1) Birmingham Cardinals ? 2013 League Champions; (2) Hooper City Royals ? 2013 Championship Series runner-up; (3) Birmingham Cardinals ? regular season champions; (4) Buck Village Stars ? regular season championship runner-up; (5) Jimmy Williams ? 2013 championship series Most Valuable Player; and (6) Kevin Covington ? 2013 League Batting Champion. With improved documentation, the number of player awards is expected to increase significantly in 2014. Congratulations go out to all 2013 award recipients and to members of the 300 Club.

Saturday, August 24
BIRMINGHAM CARDINALS ADD ANOTHER CHAMPIONSHIP TROPHY TO THEIR COLLECTION
Cardinal Champions
Cardinal Manager Milton Taylor Gets His Champagne Shower

The Birmingham Cardinals completed their 3-game sweep of the Hooper City Royals to reclaim their place as the champions of the Fred Horn Industrial Baseball League.  The Cardinals scored a convincing 16-7 victory on Saturday.  They were not without help as the Royals committed ten (10) errors on the day.  Surprising to some of us was the fact that the Royals drastically reduced their 2012 championship bases on balls but, at the same time, drastically increased their errors this series.  Cardinal starter, Jimmy Williams, held the Royals to three earned runs on nine hits while striking out eight batters in eight innings of work.  His performance during the series earned him the 2013 championship series Most Valuable Player Award.  Derrick Sanders picked up another two hits in three at bats on Sunday.  The first-year pickup led all cardinal batters in the series with an impressive .667 batting average.  Complete team batting and pitching stats for the series are posted for your review.

 

We have always stated that the road to the championship in this league is either via Cardinals Highway or Stars Highway.  The Royals tried Stars Highway in 2012 while Cardinals Highway was down for repairs.  Stars Highway denied them entry.  Their attempt to use Cardinals Highway this year was even worse.  Yet, they are the only team to try and get through either highway in the past several years.  With the talent that is available to them, we are sure that this will not be their last trip.  So Royals:  winners never quit and quitters never win.  To the Cardinals:  with the talent that you have, you did exactly what you were expected to do.  If you had not, we can just imagine you trying to run for the border.  Congratulations – well done.



Sunday, August 25
HOOPER CITY ROYALS: 2013 CHAMIONSHIP SERIES RUNNER-UP
Royals 2013
Hooper City Royals are 2013 Series Runner-up

The Hooper City Royals received their second consecutive championship series runner-up trophy on Saturday.  The Royals lost the series 0-3 to the Birmingham Cardinals.  They finished their regular season with a 12-4 record and were only two games out of the first place spot.  They were 2-0 in their 2013 playoff series against the Buck Village Stars.  General Manager, Harry Addie, had hoped for and spoken about an undefeated season for the Royals this year.  However, as most teams will attest, an undefeated season is not easy to come by in this league.  We urge the Royals to consider a wider rotation of starting pitchers for 2014.  As the saying goes, "familiarity breeds contempt”.  This appears to hold especially true for amateur baseball.  Congratulations Royals for a great season.



Monday, August 19
CARDINALS TAKE GAME 2 OF CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Sanders
At Bat: Derrick Sanders

The Birmingham Cardinals moved one step closer on Sunday to being crowned League champions for 2013.  With their backs pinned to the wall now, the Hooper City Royals are just one game away from another disappointing end to what has been another great season for them.  If they are to capture their first League championship, they will now need to win three (3) consecutive games over a group of experienced winners.  The Cardinals plastered the Royals on Sunday in a 17-3 game.  The Royals did their part to help the Cardinals by demonstrating just what you do not do when you want to win.  The Royals could not hit, catch, nor throw on Sunday.  Cardinal lefthander Michael Montgomery held the Royals to just 7 hits over nine complete innings of work.  Montgomery added nine (9) strikeouts to his performance.  The Cardinals offense put up 17 runs with 16 hits and still managed to strand 14 runners on base.  The Cardinal offense was led by first year Cardinal Derrick Sanders, who recorded 4 hits in 5 at bats plus a stolen base.  Both Sanders and Montgomery were teammates at Alabama State University this year.  Jimmie Holifield, Jr. added to the Cardinals offense with 5 RBIs in just five innings of playing time.  Royal’s starter Chad Miller sustained the loss.  Brian Knuckles and Josh Godfrey had 2 hits each for the Royals. The Royals left 10 men on base in nine innings.  Team management has to be pleased that walks have not plagued them as much as it has in the past.  However, pitches out of the strike zone have found way onto the bats of the Cardinals.  The Royals are a talented team that can still make a real contest out of this series.  Whether or not they will do that remains to be seen.  Series action continues on Saturday, August 24, 2013 at Ensley Park.



Saturday, August 17
CARDINALS WIN CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES OPENER 6-3
J Williams
Jimmie Williams

The Birmingham Cardinals managed to mount a seventh inning 5-run rally to come back from a 3-1 deficit against the Hooper City Royals on Saturday.  Royals starter, Josh Godfrey, had limited the Cardinals to only six (6) hits through six innings of work.   However, Cardinals ace, Jimmie Williams managed one better, limiting the Royals to just five (5) for the entire game.  The crafty lefty struck out eight Royals batters which allowed much needed time for Cardinals offensive reinforcements to arrive.  Williams must have been feeling his Wheaties, as this was his first nine inning game this season.  The Cardinals ended the game with eleven (11) hits, including a first inning homer by Rumiko Forrester.  The Cardinals win came despite having stranded ten (10) runners on base.  There will surely be a rematch between today’s starting pitchers before this series ends.  Game 2 starts tomorrow at 3:30 P.M. at Ensley Park. 



Friday, August 16
2013 WEBSITE AWARD: BIG STICK
Trophies

2013 marks the second full year of existence for this website.  In our first step toward an annual special recognition program, we are pleased to announce the awarding of four (4) trophies to outstanding players in the Fred Horn Industrial Baseball League.  The 2013 trophies are what we are calling “Big Stick” trophies. Three (3) of the trophies are awarded to the only batters in this league to record a batting average of .500 or higher.  Recipients of these trophies are:  Kevin Covington .553 (Centre Blue Sox), Kyle Mayo .525 (Gadsden City Hit Squad), and Shawn Covington .514 (Centre Blue Sox).  In 2012, only Joe Williams (.532) of the Buck Village Stars received this trophy.  The fourth Big Stick trophy is being awarded to the only batter to record double digit home runs during the season.  The recipient of this trophy is Nico McElrath of the Centre Blue Sox.  Nico recorded 11 regular season homers plus 2 more during the 2013 playoff series.  A fall junior at Tennessee Temple, we are especially proud of what he has been able to accomplish in this league.  Nico finished the regular season with a .462 batting average.  Congratulations to all of our 2013 website trophy recipients.



Friday, August 16
INSIDE THE NUMBERS PART II: BIRMINGHAM CARDINALS
Wil Sykes.jpg
Cardinal batter: Wil Sykes

This is our second and final look inside the numbers report for the upcoming championship series.  This time, we take a look at the Birmingham Cardinals for hints, warnings, and/or red flags.  The Cardinals finished their regular season as the number one team in this League.  They come in to the championship series, having met the Hooper City Royals only once during the regular season.  The Cardinals won that contest in a rain-shortened game.  Because that was the first game of the regular season, we always give each team a pass.  That was then and this is now.  What can we expect to see?  The Cardinals ended their season with a .376 team batting average that included 32 doubles, 5 triples and 16 homers.  Their opponent, the Royals, finished with a .352 average that included 23 doubles, 4 triples, and 16 homers.  Team records for pitchers were poorly documented, an issue that must be corrected in 2014.

 

The Cards won 2 of 3 games in the second round of the playoffs to get to the championship series.  They exited that series with a .321 team batting average.  Unlike the Royals, Cardinal pitchers did not yield an excessive number of base on balls.  Red Flag: We could not find a red flag issue inside the numbers.  However, each team in this league has at least one and the Cards are no exception.  So, where does that leave us?  As should be expected, the winner of this series will be the team of players who play their best game and not the management that talks their worst trash.  Looking at the numbers, this series may very well be one of alternating close games and alternating blow outs.  This could prove one of the best series witnessed by League fans in years.  Good luck Cardinals.



Tuesday, August 13
INSIDE THE NUMBERS PART I: HOOPER CITY ROYALS
Royals 2013

As we look forward to the start of the 2013 championship series, we go inside the numbers for hints, warnings, and/or red flags about things to watch for during the series.  This first inside the numbers report focuses on the Hooper City Royals.  The Royals will be making their second consecutive trip to the championship series.  They were defeated by the Buck Village Stars for the 2012 championship.  As fate would have it, the Royals defeated the same Buck Village Stars during the second round of the 2013 playoff series to advance to this year’s championship series.  They will square off against a worthy opponent in the Birmingham Cardinals.    The two teams met only once during the regular season.  The Royals suffered a loss due to a rain-shortened contest.

 

The teams appear to be fairly evenly matched for this series.  The Royals ended their regular season with a .352 team batting average versus .376 for the Cardinals.  Both teams recorded sixteen (16) home runs during the regular season.  The Royals are exiting their playoff series with a hot .407 batting average, including four (4) homeruns.  Their hot bats going into the championship series include Brian Knuckles .700, Randy Jones .600, C.J. Richerzhagen .556, and Trent Covington .500.  Red Flag:  a major problem for the Royals during their 2012 championship bid was the excessive (47) base on balls allowed in just three (3) games.  Based on records supplied by that team’s management, the royals are exiting their second round playoff series, allowing an unacceptable 25 base on balls in just two games.  Given the batters waiting for them on the Cardinals side, this one stat should create much heartburn for Royals management.  Hopefully, the control issue will be corrected by Royals pitchers.  Otherwise, this could be a long late-starting championship series.  The Royals are vying to become the first non-Birmingham Cardinals or Buck Village Stars team in the past 12 years to be crowned League champions.  Good luck Royals.



Monday, August 5
ROUND 2: THE FINAL COUNTDOWN
Round 2A

The opening day of the second round playoff series was both exciting and puzzling.  The contest between the Birmingham Cardinals and Centre Blue Sox was a close see-saw battle  until the bitter end.  The Cardinals emerged victorious with a score of 9-6.  The lead in this game changed sides no less than four times during the game.  In the end, a two (2) homerun game for Cardinals outfielder, Wil Sykes, sealed the offensive end of the deal for his team.  Sykes homered in his first at bat and, again, in the eighth to give the Cardinals some much needed breathing room.  Cardinal starter Jimmie Williams went seven complete innings, then had help from reliever Reggie Moore and a save from reliever Sean Montgomery.  Perhaps, the defensive gem of the game came from rightfielder Derrick Sanders.  His late inning catch surely prevented the ever-threatening Blue Sox from clearing the base paths late in the game to retake the lead.  Corey Collum homered for the Sox with a blistering shot over the left field fence.  After seeing these two teams go at it, no one should be surprised if this series goes three games.  The Cardinals ended the regular season with team batting average of .376, including 16 homeruns lead by Rumiko Forrester (5).  The Sox ended their regular season with a .367 average including a whopping 33 homeruns led by Nico McElrath (11).  Action continues Saturday, August 10 when the Cardinals travel to Windom Field in Centre, Alabama. 

 

On the other side of the round 2 series, the Hooper City Royals stunned the Buck Village Stars faithful with a good old fashioned 14-10 spanking.  Reports from the game indicate the Stars never really mounted a serious threat to the Royals.  Royals shortstop Randy Jones hit the only homerun in that game.  Royals starter Chad Miller picked up the win with relief help from Josh Godfrey.  The Royals ended their regular season with a .352 team batting average, including 16 homeruns led by Brian Knuckles (5).  The Stars ended their regular season with a .308 average including 11 homeruns led by Joe Williams (3).  Behind their performance on Saturday, one has to wonder if the Stars will rebound.  Outside observers have noted that this looks like the same set up from the 2012 championship series between these two teams.  Action continues Saturday, August 10 at Sam Hairston Sr. Park in Hooper City. 



Sunday, August 4
SOX AND ROYALS ADVANCE TO ROUND 2

The Centre Blue Sox settled a season old score by defeating the Butler Bombers to advance to the second round of the 2013 playoffs. The Sox soundly defeated the Bombers by a final score of

13-7 at Ensley Park on Saturday.  Except for the first two innings, the Bombers never mounted a serious threat during the game.  Kevin Covington and Nico McElrath homered for the Sox.  Horrendous fielding and base running compounded the problems for the Bombers.  The Sox open game 1 of the second round when they face off against the regular season champion Birmingham Cardinals at Pioneer Field on Sunday.  This series should be a most interesting one to watch. 

 

The Gadsden City Hit Squad surprised everyone when they were forced to forfeit their first round game to the Hooper City Royals 9-0.  Unfortunately, the Squad was unable to place nine (9) men on the field for the game.  The Royals will now open game 1 of the second round with a showdown against the defending League champions, Buck Village Stars, at Willie Mays Park on Sunday.  The Royals were the runner-up in the 2012 championship series.  This contest should be another exciting one to watch.

 

In a three game maximum series like the second round, as predicted in an earlier article, we expect both series to go the full three games.



Wednesday, July 31
PLAYOFF ON THIS COMING WEEKEND

The 2013 playoffs are scheduled to start on Saturday, August 3, 2013.  While this year’s playoff is fourteen (14) days late in starting, the matchups hold promise for a most exciting series.

 

The number 3 seed, Hooper City Royals, will play host to the number 6 seed Gadsden City Hit Squad at Sam Hairston Sr. Park on Saturday.  The two teams played only once during the regular season.  In that contest, the Royals managed to win the game on an eleventh inning homerun off the bat of Brian Knuckles.  This was done despite an eighteen strike game by Hit Squad ace, Chris Franklin.  The winner of Saturday’s game will move on to play number 2 seeded Buck Village Stars on Sunday in what will be a best two out of three series.  This series will likely go the full distance.

 

Number 4 seed Butler Bombers will also play host to number 5 seed Centre Blue Sox on Saturday.  These two met three times during the regular season with the Bombers taking the series 3-0.  However, make no mistake about this game as the two are quite evenly matched.  The Bombers outscored the Sox 29-24 in the three games, with the Sox yielding 21 unearned runs per the game sheets turned in to this site.  The Sox can play a solid defensive game, but the speed of the Butler Bombers can create havoc for any opponent.  Both teams are expected to be on their best game Saturday.  The two reminds us of a couple of tropical storms in the same area of the ocean.  One is sure to become a hurricane Saturday evening, then turn its sight on Cardinal City for a meeting with the number 1 seed Birmingham Cardinals on Sunday.  The Sox were 0-2 versus the Cardinals during the regular season.  However, a meeting between the Cardinals and Bombers would be a first for 2013.  The rematch of the Cardinals and Sox could be an offensive slugfest.  On the other hand, the Cardinals-Bombers meeting could be a slugfest and/or Easter egg hunt.  There will be no shame in the Bombers game, they can fly and know it.  Regardless of the Sunday matchup, the series is also likely to go the full distance.



Sunday, July 28
2013 PLAYOFF SEEDINGS

Here are the seedings for the 2013 playoffs, scheduled to begin Saturday, Ausust 3, 2013:

1   Birmingham Cardinals

2   Buck Village Stars

3   Hooper City Royals

4   Butler Bombers

5   Centre Blue Sox

6   Gadsden Hit Squad



Thursday, July 4
BLUES OUT, BIG SIX IDENTIFIED

We have just confirmed with the manager of the Bessemer Blues that, for various reasons, they will not be able to complete their schedule for the remainder of this regular season.  With such a strong lineup of hitters, we look forward to their return next season.  The remaining games for the Blues will be recorded as a voluntary forfeit.  The decision by the Blues, without an intervening League miracle, seals the deal for the six (6) teams who will participate in this year’s playoff series:  Buck Village Stars, Birmingham Cardinals, Butler Bombers, Centre Blue Sox, Hooper City Royals, and Gadsden City Hit Squad.  Now comes the fun part to watch.  The big six will be jockeying for playoff seeding.  Seeds 3 thru 6 will have to overcome the real possibility of a single game elimination during the first round of the playoffs.  Among the key games to watch in the final three weeks, weather permitting, are these:

·        Butler Bombers at Centre Blue Sox (Saturday, July 6)

·        Gadsden City Hit Squad at Hooper City Royals (Sunday, July 7)

·        Birmingham Cardinals at Buck Village Stars (Tuesday, July 9 at 6:30 P.M.)

·        Butler Bombers at Hooper City Royals (Saturday, July 13)

·        Birmingham Cardinals at Gadsden City Hit Squad (Sunday, July 14)

·        Centre Blue Sox at Butler Bombers (Sunday, July 14)

·        Centre Blue Sox at Buck Village Stars (Saturday, July 20)

Buck Village Stars at Butler Bombers (Makeup date TBD)

Break out the lawn chairs, grills and coolers.  You do not want to miss this.  Based on the team records entered on this site, the 2013 tournament bracket has been generated.  A link to this bracket has been added to our home page.



Wednesday, July 3
MAKE YOUR OWN PREDICTION

With only 5-6 games remaining in the regular season for the top contenders for the 2013 playoffs, the first set of magic numbers can be published here.  These first numbers show the minimum number of wins needed to clinch a spot in the playoffs.  The numbers to clinch the coveted top 2 spots is still unclear.  However, we have offered our prediction for your amusement:

 

Birmingham Cardinals:  the Cards need just 1 more regular season win to capture a playoff spot.  Given their remaining schedule, these guys have the greatest chance of landing one of the top 2 seeds going into the playoffs.

 

Buck Village Stars:  the Stars also need just 1 more win for their playoff spot.  Their remaining schedule makes them the second most likely to capture a top 2 seed.

 

Butler Bombers:  the Bombers are looking for 1 more win to get their playoff spot.  Getting a top 2 seed will be extremely difficult, given their remaining schedule.

 

Centre Blue Sox:  the sox will need at least 3 more wins to earn their playoff spot.  Standing in their way of a top 2 spot:  Buck Village Star (1 game) and Butler Bombers (2 games).

 

Hooper City Royals:  the Royals also need 3 more wins for a playoff spot.  A chance for a top 2 spot may have squandered recently by a poor management decision in Centre, Alabama.

 

Gadsden City Hit Squad:  the Squad is at the mercy of the top 5 teams above as well as the Bessemer Blues in their bid for a playoff spot.

 

Bessemer Blues:  the same comment made for the Gadsden City Hit Squad applies to the Blues.

 

Final Prediction:

#1  Birmingham Cardinals

#2  Buck Village Stars

#3  Centre Blue Sox

#4  Butler Bombers

#5  Hooper City Royals

#6  You tell us



Monday, July 1
THE BOATFIELD STORY
Boatfield

Jesse (Red) Boatfield

 

In the early 1950’s there was a young man by the name of Jesse “Red” Boatfield who had a true love for the game of baseball.  A love so great that he played until after he was by many standards, “too old”.  Red played for an independent league and the current Centre Babe Ruth field was their “home” field.  Red was a third baseman and pitcher and even hit a the first home run in his league at a new field in Guntersville.

            In the late 50’s, Boatfield married and started a family.  He traded in his glove over a coach’s jersey.  During this time he and a local businessman in Centre organized a Babe Ruth League for 13-15 year olds.  This was of great reward to him because he had three sons, all of which played.  He worked his job by day and by evening; his dedication was to his players.  Two years after starting the league Reds team won the sub-district all-star tournament and advanced to the state.  The state tourney was held in Selma, Alabama.  Centre was the only team to have African Americans on their team.  There were 8 teams total.  This created a problem for the tournament committee.  They were not going to allow the 2 African American boys to play.  Mr. Boatfield informed them that these boys helped them win  to get to this level.  “They all play or we all go home.” He said.  He even took a stand with the hotel manager of the same sort.  “They all swim in the hotel pool, or no one does.”  Needless to say after a lengthy meeting with the tournament committee, the entire team played, coming in second place in the state.  Centre, Alabama made history in Selma in 1969! When asked about facing the evils of racism, Red said simply “I just did the right thing.” 

            With his health failing Red decided to retire from coaching and simply enjoy his boys playing.  They played independent ball with the Centre A’s and the Centre Blue Sox.  He never missed many games.  Red’s sons David was the first from Cherokee County to sign a baseball scholarship with Jacksonville STATE University and went on to be the inducted into the Cherokee County Hall of Fame.  Red wasn’t here to see that, but his sprit and legend lives on in the lives of each player he ever coached.

 

Written by Faye Kilgore Boatfield.



Sunday, June 2
SHOULDERS ARE TURNING
BuBo Temp

After three weekends dominated by game blowouts, play in the industrial league is about to get very hot.  Two upsets over the weekend have some observers wondering just how things might end up this season.  In a very evenly matched contest on Saturday, the league leading Butler Bombers won in a 10-inning squeaker over the Centre Blue Sox, 7-6, at Ensley Park.  On Sunday, the Bessemer Blues won in an upset over the Birmingham Cardinals, who were tied for first place going into that game.  Final score:  11-10.  Danny Barnes hit two homers for the Blues.  Barnes had already hit two homeruns on Saturday.  D J Milhouse also hit two homeruns for the Cardinals.  Elsewhere, the Hooper City Royals scored an eleventh inning upset over a hot Gadsden City Hit Squad.  Brian Knuckles’ eleventh inning solo homerun proved to be the heroics the struggling Royals

have been needing.  Josh Godfrey pitched a complete game for the win.  The Hit Squads star pitcher from a week ago, Chris Franklin, turned in another sterling performance.  The 25 year old struck out 17 Royals batters and also added two homeruns of his own in a losing effort.  Final score:  Royals 4, Hit Squad 3.  The Bessemer Bombers showed new signs of life on Sunday in a narrow loss to the first place Butler Bombers.  Final Score:  Butler Bombers 9, Bessemer Bombers 8.  The Centre Blue Sox had no trouble in putting away the West End Dodgers by a score of 13-1.  The Buck Village Stars and Leeds Pirates were idle on Sunday.  First place Butler will get their first real test during the next fourteen days.  They will face last year’s league champions, Buck Village Stars, on Wednesday night at Ensley Park.  Four days later (June 9), they have to contend with a recharged Hooper City Royals squad in another game at Ensley Park.  Just six days following that (June 15), they will meet the Buck Village Stars in a rematch at Willie Mays Park.  Then, the very next day, the Bombers must get by manager Clifton Sanders and his Bessemer Blues team.  This observer seriously doubts whether or not the Bombers pitching staff can hold off this type of challenge.  As if the Butler Bombers are the only one caught in a major challenge, the Birmingham Cardinals have a challenge of their own just ahead.  On Saturday (June 8), the Gadsden City Hit Squad comes to Pioneer Field.  On Sunday (June 9), the Cardinals will have to be on guard for their most ever-menacing rival, Bessemer Bombers.  The Bombers have been known to pull off an upset over the Cardinals in past years.  Game attendance is up this year and fans will have plenty to talk about in the upcoming weeks.


Tuesday, May 28
THINGS WILL GET HOT IN HERE

Losing teams over the past weekend yielded 109 runs to their opponents.  Only five (5) of the ten teams in this league appear to be serious about the top five spots going into the post season playoff series.  The remaining five will just have to battle for the sixth spot needed in order to qualify for the playoffs.  Of the serious five, fans are in for some very interesting matchups coming up through the end of the season.  Any team that thinks it is walking on easy street from now until the end should take a long hard look over their shoulder.  At least one surprise is coming for at least one of the serious five.  No, I am not snorting anything.  I am talking about the team that may be suffering from delusions of invincibility.  Highlights from the past weekend include:  Centre Blue Sox went down at the hands of Birmingham Cardinals veteran lefthander, Jimmy Williams, and the bat of the League’s 2012 homerun champion, Rumiko Forrester.  Final score 8-5.  The Buck Village Stars stunned the fans at Sam Hairston Sr. Park by defeating their 2012 championship series opponent Hooper City Royals by a score of 8-2.  On Sunday, the Stars witnessed the table turned on them by the Gadsden City Hit Squad and former minor leaguer, Chris Franklin.  The right-hander posted the League’s first 2013 shutout and went the full nine innings.  He was never really threatened by the Stars.  Three (3) pitchers for the Stars were also very impressive.  Final score 2-0.  Only one of the runs was earned.  The Squad’s second run came on a two out, third strike passed ball.  Fans were very complimentary of both teams.  This game had the look of a true professional league at play.  Each team had only one error.

 

Key matchups to watch during the upcoming eight days will be:  Centre Blue Sox at Butler Bombers on Saturday; Hooper City Royals at Gadsden City Hit Squad on Sunday;  then, Buck Village Stars at Butler Bombers on Wednesday night, June 5.



Tuesday, May 28
LEADER BOARDS TO RETURN IN 2013

The 2013 League leader boards, including the .300 Club, will return following the completion of the games on Sunday, June 2, 2013.  The board will be posted on Thursday, June 6, 2013.  For the regular season, batters must meet the higher standard of 3.1 at bats times the number of games played by his team at that point.  The final list will be made up of players whose at bat total is 3.1 times the 16 game regular season. (50 PA min.) Pitching leaders must record a minimum of  1.8 innings times the number of games played by his team.  For the season, the minimum will be 29 innings. For this league, the minimum standard for pitchers is actually higher than that established by major league baseball.  Other standards to be applied for year end awards:

 

The individual fielding champions shall be the fielders with the highest fielding average at each position, provided:

·       A catcher must have participated as a catcher in at least one-half the number of games, times 6 innings, scheduled for each team in this league; (48 innings min.)

·       An infielder or outfielder must have participated at his position in at least two-thirds (11) of the games, times 6 innings, scheduled for each team in this league. (66 innings min.)



Friday, June 21
THOU SPEAKETH TOO MUCH

Humpty Dumpty sat on that wall and Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.  Why?  Because, in the words of comedian Flip Wilson, loose lips sink ships.  Why?  Because those around Humpty buy into the noise and lose their focus.  Lips have never caught, thrown nor hit a baseball.  They have been known to create giant bullseyes, not on our backs but lower down.  The tale of Humpty Dumpty is alive and well at this midseason.  Seven (7) of the ten (10) teams have a legitimate chance to become the 2013 League champion.  How many Humpty Dumptys are in that number?  The next two weeks will probably help us answer that question.  The numbers we have been waiting for are in and we could make another one of our wild predictions, but will not publicly.  The Humpty Dumpty line above is laughable enough.

 

Entering the second half of the season, several numbers must be watched closely:

1.      Bessemer Blues - .403 team batting average is tops in the League.  Add 9 homeruns to that number.  The Blues are capable of adding scores in bunches and in a hurry.  Downside:  pitching has been dismal with a 12.54 team ERA, which includes 61 base on balls.

2.     Birmingham Cardinals - .358 team batting average is second best.  Capable of playing long ball but, to date, batting with tennis rackets.  Pitching has held up so far with a 3.00 team ERA.  Pitchers have issued only 8 base on balls through midseason.  Downside:  loose lips can sink ships.  Will square off against their longtime rival, Buck Village Stars, on Saturday.  Then will face the Centre Blue Sox on Saturday, June 29.

3.     Centre Blue Sox - .356 team batting average is third best.  Big threat to take everything this season.  The Sox lead the League with 16 homeruns through midseason.  Hit a 10-year League record 8 homeruns in a single game recently.  Not intimidated by anything any teams has to throw at them.  Faced with an exciting doubleheader matchup on Sunday with the Hooper City Royals.  Pitching staff leads the League with a 2.93 ERA.  They also lead with 71 strikeouts.  Downside:  none cited to date.  These guys have the game on their minds and their minds on the game.  Beware!

4.     Hooper City Royals - .333 team batting average is fourth best.  Loose lips put these guys on an early bad start.  They appear to have gained the proper focus.  Also capable of playing long ball when needed.  While the pitching talent is there, it has not lived up to the early loose lip hype.  The current team ERA stands at 5.55, including 39 base on balls.  The BB was the team's Achilles heel during the 2012 championship series.  Downside:  can you say “duct tape”?  Loose lips can sink ships.

5.     Buck Village Stars - .285 team batting average is fifth on the list.  Say what you will, the word “quit” is not in the vocabulary of this team.  They can also play long ball, with 8 homeruns recorded to date.  The current team ERA stands at 4.83. Team has a long-standing history of growing stronger as the season progresses.  Downside:  has the toughest 2-week schedule of any of  the seven (7) teams.  Must get by the Birmingham Cardinals, Bessemer Blues, Butler Bombers, and Gadsden City Hit Squad, in that order.  The last contest will be on a Sunday, which is sure to include a trip to Fairfield by Hit Squad ace, Chris Franklin.

6.     Butler Bombers - .272 team batting average is sixth on the list.  Without a doubt, the most fun team of very young players to watch.  Solid on defense but electrifying on the bases.  Coaching blunders have cost the offense many runs.  Of course, the blame is placed on the baserunners.  To this we say “somebody done told you wrong”!  The buck stops where?  The offense will put the ball in play, then watch out.  Big trouble for the opponent that can’t keep them off the bases.  Pitching staff  ERA stands at 4.76, including 29 base on balls.  Their big opponents during the next two weeks:  Buck Village Stars (Wednesday night), and Bessemer Blues.  Downside:  again, loose lips sink ships.

7.     Gadsden City Hit Squad - .235 team batting average places them eighth on the list.  Offense has not been their claim to fame thus far, but “Hit Squad” implies otherwise. This is a team that can not be counted out for a 2013 playoff spot.  Their schedule for the remainder of the season is sure to pit ace Chris Franklin against the top teams in this league. Teams likely to face the 25-year old are:  Buck Village Stars, Hooper City Royals, and Birmingham Cardinals.  Manager Cedric Bell asks can you say “may I”?  The team ERA is 3.41, with Franklin boasting a 1.35 in 20 innings of work.  Only Steven Becker (4.16) of the Buck Village Stars has thrown for more innings (25).  Downside:  going through growing pains.  Keep your eyes on them.



Monday, May 20
THREE WINNERS SCORE 56 TIMES
New Cover2

In our earlier writing, we had predicted the end of game blowouts in this league.  As it is turning out, we were only 80% accurate.  In this brief opening season, two (2) of the ten teams are struggling to complete nine full innings of play.  Hopefully, each of the teams will help to make this one of the most competitive seasons in this league.  Absent them doing just that, eight teams can still give local fans much to cheer about.  The first series of blowouts was recorded on Sunday.  The Birmingham Cardinals, who appear to be primed for a big comeback in 2013, took the young players of the West End Dodgers to the wood shed in a 19-3 beatdown at beautiful Parker High School Baseball Park.  Over at Ensley Park, the Butler Bombers showed the Leeds Pirates the real meaning of speed to burn by trouncing the Pirates 22-1.  Perhaps the young guns should be renamed the Bomberdeers because of the way they run.  These kids can make an older man tired just from watching them run around the bases.  Sunday’s only close contest came when the defending champion Buck Village Stars traveled to Roosevelt Park in Bessemer to take on last year’s fourth place finishing Bessemer Blues.  The Stars were able to pull out a 15-11 victory over the Blues.  However, the Blues also have a young squad and, as always, is expected to be a major player in this year’s race for the championship. 

 

There are several interesting contests on tap for the upcoming weekend.  On Saturday, the Birmingham Cardinals will travel to Cherokee County to take on one of the deepest pitching staffs in this league in the form of the Centre Blue Sox.  The Buck Village Stars will test the pitching staff of the Hooper City Royals in a game at Sam Hairston Sr. Park.  The Butler Bombers will take on the Bessemer Blues at Roosevelt Park.  Other games on Saturday include the Gadsden City Hit Squad at West End Dodgers; Bessemer Bombers at Leeds Pirates.  On Sunday, the Buck Village Stars will travel to West End High School in Walnut Grove, Alabama to take on the Gadsden City Hit Squad.  The Bessemer Bombers are itching to make their mark on this season when they play host to the Hooper City Royals.  Elsewhere, the Birmingham Cardinals will host the Leeds Pirates and the West End Dodgers will play host to the Butler Bombers.



Monday, May 13
PITCHERS WANT TO RULE - BLUE SOX 8, HIT SQUAD 1
Blue Sox
2013 Centre Blue Sox

As predicted earlier, pitching appears to be the dominant force in this league in 2013.  We believe the days of the big blow outs are gone.  In the contest between the Centre Blue Sox and Gadsden City Hit Squad, fans witnessed a 1-1 ball game up until the 7th inning.  Sox pitchers, Jade Boatfield and Malcolm Brooks combined to strike out sixteen (16) members of the Hit Squad.  The Squad failed to live up to their name, managing to get only four (4) hits in the game.  For seven innings, the Sox team had nothing to boast about as Hit Squad starter, David Hinton, limited the sox to only 1 run in six innings of work.  The squad’s bullpen failed to hold the Sox down and the wheels came off in the seventh inning with the Sox scoring 5 runs.  A three-run homer by Myles Cordell of the Blue Sox was the only homer in the game.  Both squads are deep in pitching, so expect to hear more from the two teams.  An interesting battle is on tap for the upcoming weekend when the Blue Sox travel to play the Hooper City Royals.  Both teams are deep in pitching and both have guys who can hit the ball.  Expect a big crowd for this game as the “go get your glove” gang is sure to be on the scene.

Player stats for these two teams are already posted on each team’s site.  Stats from all other contests will be up for viewing Thursday evening.



Friday, May 3
LET THE SHOW BEGIN

While some of us give a pass to each team during the opening week of the season, we still look to see if there may be signs of real things to come during the season.  An interesting battle is expected on Saturday, May 11, 2013 when the 2012 championship runner up Hooper City Royals travel to Pioneer Field to take on the multi-year past champion Birmingham Cardinals.  The Royals will bring in a squad that is deep in pitching to battle a Cardinal offense that can be dangerous.  Too, Cardinal manager Milton Taylor says he will have a few pitching surprises of his own this year.  Whether or not they will be available by opening day remains to be seen.  Another interesting battle is expected at Ensley Park where last year’s third place Butler Bombers will play host to the defending champion Buck Village Stars.  The League’s newest teams will square off as the Gadsden City Hit Squad travels to Cherokee County to take on the Centre Blue Sox.  Both squads are reportedly deep in pitching.  The Leeds Pirates travel to Bessemer to take on the Bessemer Blues.  Finally, a game we plan to keep an eye on will feature the West End Dodgers at the Bessemer Bombers.  The Bombers may (emphasis added) be the League sleeper in 2013.  Manager Charles White says his team was the victim of baseball abuse in 2013 but his team plans to dish out some abuse of their own this year.  We are anxious to see a young 24 year old, 6’2” 200 lb.  left hander who is dropping out of the minor league ranks into the industrial league.  If healthy, the minor league stats that we examined indicate that he just might be big trouble for teams in this league.  However, he will first have to show up.  So pack up your gear and get to see at least one game on May 11, 2013.  The Industrial League will be idle on Mother’s Day.



Sunday, April 28
FHIBL ROMPS IN CHALLENGE 16-2

The Fred Horn Industrial Baseball League was never challenged in a game with the Central Alabama Amateur Baseball League.  Playing only one game of a scheduled doubleheader, the game was called after 5 innings with the FHIBL winning by a final score of 16-2.  To be fair to the visiting CAABL, they had less than nine players making the trip to Willie Mays Park in Fairfield, Alabama.  Players from the FHIBL’s Gadsden City Hit Squad were allowed to play with the CAABL. FHIBL fans witnessed an impressive mix of veterans and exciting young players.  Perhaps the play of the game came on a Brandon Williams grab of a line drive to the outfield which resulted in a triple play.  The catch by the Buck Village Stars Veteran looked like a magician’s trick.  Because of the large turnout of FHIBL players, a second game was played as an inter-squad contest.  The 2013 squad is managed by Clifton Sander of the Bessemer Blues, with Charles White of the Bessemer Bombers assisting.  Weather permitting, the FHIBL will travel to Hunter Station Field in Montgomery on Sunday for a scheduled doubleheader.  Without a doubt, the CAABL will be fully staffed for this contest.



Friday, April 26
PICTURE GETTING CLEARER

With just sixteen (16) days left before the opening of our regular season, team strategies are becoming a bit clearer.  There have been several players changing teams, an influx of new college talent, an influx of new and exciting high school talent, in influx of more former minor league players, and the addition of three (3) new teams that are bound to surprise many.  This makes for one of the most exciting seasons that we have witnessed in quite some time.  Some teams appear to be focused on pitching depth, with at least three (3) teams being very deep in competitive pitchers.  Other teams appear to be more focused on offense, with at least two (2) teams being prepared to take on the pitching that they will face.  Yet with all the shifts and new recruits, we must not lose sight of one FACT.  During the past ten (10) years, we have not had but two (2) championship teams in this league.  The Birmingham (formerly Huffman) Cardinals and Buck Village Stars are still with us.  If anyone thinks those guys are going to simply roll over and stop battling needs to have his/her head examined.  Neither team is intimidated by any pitcher in this league.  There is talk from our “2013 surprise” team that this may change for the champs and many others this year.  Well, talk is cheap, but we would like to see how that looks.

While teams are still honing in on their final “active” rosters, an examination of their player pools is quite interesting.  Several teams have staked a claim on the same players.  Where those players end up could be very significant.  For players that appear to be settled in to a new home, a few noteworthy names surface:  (1) Buck Village Stars pitcher, Austin Williams, appears to have made his new home with the Hooper City Royals; (2) Birmingham Cardinals pitcher, Chad Miller, has also decided to take up a new home with the Hooper City Royals; (3) Bessemer Blues outfielder, outstanding closer and last year’s FHIBL homerun champion, Rumiko Forrester, has decided to make his new home at Pioneer Field with the Birmingham Cardinals; (4)  Butler Bombers outfielder and FHIBL 4th leading batter last year, Wil Sykes, has selected Pioneer Field and the Birmingham Cardinals for his new home in 2013; and (5) Leeds Pirates catcher and 7th leading batter in 2012, Wykio Carter, has also selected the Birmingham Cardinals as the place to be in 2013.

Finally, the 2013 regular season schedule, alone, is going to make things very interesting.  With 11 teams playing a 16 game schedule, each team will have 2 teams that they will not face during the regular season.  Look out 2013 playoffs!!!  And what about our new teams?  Expect anything but a “cake walk” for the returning teams.  Centre manager, Jo Jo Bynum, knows what it will take to win in this league and he appears ready.  Gadsden City appears to be taking the same approach, with 55% the team’s roster comprised of pitchers.  Walker manager, Don Ervin, is an old-school manager who does not believe in losing.  His attitude has not changed, as evidenced in his selection of former league standouts Will Fuller and Ricky Bryant as his coaches.  Walker plans to reassert itself as a baseball county in 2013.  If all goes to plan, fans should not see a “bad/blowout” game anywhere they decide to go this year.



Tuesday, March 19
UPDATE ON FHIBL PLAYERS IN COLLEGE

Here are the latest numbers on FHIBL players during their 2013 college season:

  • Jorrell Johnson  .400  Lemoyne Owen College (West End Dodgers)  6'4"  1B/OF
  • Ryan Lewis  .352  Lemoyne Owen College (Butler Bombers)  5'8"  2B
  • Chase Williams  .319  Miles College (Buck Village Stars)  5'11"  C
  • Jeremy Lee  .300  Miles College (West End Dodgers)  5'9"  C
  • Brett Nelson .273  Miles College (Bessemer Blues)  6'4"  1B/P
  • Chris Minter .235  Grambling State (West End Dodgers)  6'1"  OF
  • Anthony Jones .120  Miles College (Buck Village Stars)  5'6"  2B


Friday, February 22
PLAYER PROFILE: JIMMY WILLIAMS



Jimmy Williams
Jimmy Williams, LHP Birmingham Cardinals

The Fred Horn Industrial Baseball League is proud to begin this profile series on players in this league with past ties to major league baseball.  Having these players in this league enhances the basic philosophy behind the present day industrial league.  Young players will do well to take a serious look at the industrial leagues approach to developing young talent.  Smart horse players know that three (3) year old horses that begin to successfully compete against older and more experienced horses are a strong bet to wipe out the competition when returned to their own age group.  We believe the same holds true for young baseball players.  This belief appears to be substantiated by the performance of some of our players during their 2013 college season.  Young players playing alongside and against older, more experienced players, including many with past professional experience, can have their moment of truth.  Many will rise to this challenge, while others will have to face another reality.  We urge each of our young players and their parents to take full advantage of this unique opportunity.

Heading the list of our experienced players is Jimmy Williams of the Birmingham Cardinals.  The 6’7” left handed pitcher recorded a twenty-one (21) year stint in the professional ranks, including four (4) years at the major league ranks with the Cleveland Indians.  Jimmy was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 10th round of the 1984 MLB Amateur Draft out of Choctaw County High School.  In addition to his time in the major league ranks, Jimmy spent nine (9) years at the AAA level, three (3) at AA, and Three (3) at A.  At age 47, the tall guy can still pitch when he, and only, he wants to pitch.  A small bird tells us that 2013 just might be a year that will not be kind to batters who have to face this guy.

Others to follow in this series are:

1.  Gary Banks (5th round draft - Chicago Cubs) (2000) (Bessemer Bombers)

2.  Shayne Carnes (24th round draft - Philadelphia Phillies) (1998) (Butler Bombers)

3.  Tommy Worthy (39th round draft - Philadelphia Phillies) (1996) (Centre Blue Sox)

4.  Rodney "Shawn" Covington (39th round draft - Texas Rangers) (Centre Blue Sox)

5.  Kevin Covington (45th round draft - Toronto Blue Jays) (1996) (Centre Blue Sox)



Saturday, January 19
PRE-SEASON PREDICTION IS IN AND IT IS

TCTC. Too close to call.  At the end of each season, each player is free to choose his team for the upcoming season.  That is, if the team accepts his request to play.  The jockeying has already started for 2013.  This is shaping up to be our most exciting season in many years.  The Industrial League will feature at least seven (7) players with past pro connections, many with past college baseball experience, many who are currently playing at the college level, talented high school players, and other talented players who never played higher than the high school level.  Pitching could very well dominate the 2013 season.  Preliminary reports indicate that low or close scoring contests may be on the rise in 2013.  We expect fewer players to make the final 300 Club list.  This is just from the teams carried over from 2012.  Our newest entry, the Centre Blue Sox, should make things even more interesting.  Too, we are not through with new team entries.  Paraphrasing an old song, it looks like we are to be “pitching a wang-dang doodle” all weekend long this summer.  So, get you coolers, chairs, tents, towels, and whole family together, and follow your favorite team(s).  As a warm up for you, we will post any scheduled pre-season games on the home page.  A special pre-season contest between any interested players in this league vs those of another league is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, April 27 (here) and Sunday, April 28 (there).  A formal all-star contest is also planned for our mid-season break.  The Fred Horn Industrial Baseball League’s regular season kicks off on Saturday, May 11, 2013.



Monday, February 4
SIGNUP DEADLINE NEARS
Time is running out for new teams to enter into this league for the 2013 season. Any team that did not play in this league in 2012 or has never played for more than one complete season in this league shall be deemed a new team. The application posted in the HANDOUT section of this site must be completed and mailed to the FHIBL. League entry fees must be paid based on the time schedule that you select in the League entry application. Note: We must have your application by March 6 and entry fee no later than March 27, 2013. The FHIBL will not accept any applications after March 6 for play during the 2013 season. For returning teams, a good faith deposit must be paid no later than March 6, 2013. The 2013 regular season schedule will be released on April 1, 2013. Please read the Memorandum of Understanding in the handout section before completing your application.

The Industrial League announces the addition of its first new team for 2013: Centre Blue Sox



Friday, February 22
FHIBL PLAYERS OFF TO GOOD START IN COLLEGE BASEBALL



Five (5) college players who spend their summers competing in the Fred Horn Industrial Baseball League are off to notable early starts at their respective schools.  Those five players are:  Chase Williams (Miles) (Buck Village), Ryan Lewis (Lemoyne Owen) (Butler), Brett Nelson (Miles) (Bessemer Blues), Jeremy Lee (Miles) (West End Dodgers), and Jorrell Johnson (Lemoyne Owen) (West End Dodgers).  Of the five, Jorrell “JJ” Johnson leads the pack with a .500 batting average after 18 plate appearances.  Here is how the others stack up at this time:

·        Chase Williams   .389  with 18 plate appearances

·        Jeremy Lee   .364 with 11 plate appearances

·        Ryan Lewis   .333 with 12 plate appearances

·        Brett Nelson   .333 with 3 plate appearances