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"The Rite of Spring"

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All Time League

by Cy Kosis
Freelance Sports Reporter At-Large

The Standings

Legends League
 Team                            W    L   Pct  GB   Strk RF  RA
Boston Red Sox 3 1 .750 - W3 29 27
Brooklyn Dodgers 2 2 .500 1 L1 14 16
Baltimore Orioles 2 2 .500 1 W1 18 14
New York Giants 1 3 .250 2 L3 20 22

Pittsburgh Pirates 4 0 1.000 - W4 24 11
Chicago Cubs 3 1 .750 1 W1 19 20
Toronto Blue Jays 0 4 .000 4 L4 11 19
Cincinnati Reds 0 4 .000 4 L4 11 26

Oakland A's 3 1 .750 - W2 27 21
Houston Colt .45's 3 1 .750 - W3 29 15
Saint Louis Stars 2 2 .500 1 L1 21 25
Mudville Nine 1 3 .250 2 L2 22 29

Union League
 Team                            W    L   Pct  GB   Strk RF  RA
Boston Red Caps 2 2 .500 - W1 7 9
Washington Nationals 2 2 .500 - L1 23 24
New York Yankees 2 2 .500 - W1 17 18
Newark Eagles 1 3 .250 1 L1 19 23

Detroit Tigers 3 1 .750 - W3 17 15
Saint Louis Cardinals 2 2 .500 1 L1 14 18
Cleveland Spiders 2 2 .500 1 W1 18 21
Chicago White Stockings 2 2 .500 1 L1 19 13

Tokyo Giants* 3 1 .750 - W2 23 17
Kansas City Monarchs 3 1 .750 - W1 25 18
Orix Blue Wave 1 3 .250 2 L2 12 14
San Francisco Seals 1 3 .250 2 L3 20 24

Newark Eagles Logo
"Sitting in the catbird seat" is what the Newark Eagles did all of last year, except for the post-season. This year the seemingly invincible New Jersey Gang have played out the opening series more like jailbirds. Newark sat tight in the pre-season this year while most every other team frantically turned their roster over with new signings and controversial trades all in the hope they would find the Holy Grail that all ball clubs seek -- the Pennant. This year the quiet Newark club entered the season just as quietly, losing 3 of their first 4 games. Pedro Martinez of the Monarchs bested Satchel Paige in the Newark home opener, 5-2., on the strength of a 9th inning homer launched by KC's Mel Ott (.533, 3 HR, 8 RBI). Things didn't get better the next day when a slugfest was lost, again in the 9th, when Mel Ott tripled to open, and Bill Terry (.471, 5 RBI) doubled him home. Newark then traveled over to Boston to meet the Red Caps, and Iron Man McGinnity (1-0, 0.93) & Mariano Rivera (4.50, 1 Sv) were able to pull out a 2-1, 10th inning win against Tom Glavine (0-0, 0.00) & Bruce Sutter (0-1, 6.75) when Quincy Trouppe (.364) grounded a single through the left side to score Roy White (.375). For the Eagles 4th game they hosted the Giants* of Tokyo, and were shocked when the slugfest ended they were on the short side of a 9-8 score, and alone at the bottom of the division. What a difference a year makes!

Pittsburgh PiratesThe ATL World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates have stormed into the sophomore season with gale force winds, and have the rest of the league seeking shelter. The only unbeaten team after the first series, the Pirates find themselves in the same division as the only 2 winless teams: Cincinnati & Toronto. The Pirates themselves handed the Blue Jays 2 of their losses, and gave the Reds 1 also. The main news in Pittsburgh, even more important than a 4-0 record, is that Randy Johnson (1-0, 1.13, 10K) has started the year hitting on all cylinders, and not backfiring through the season as he did last year. Big Ed Delahanty (.313), a late acquisition last year, has begun the season leading the Pirates in scoring and strike outs with 6 apiece. But it is the Team ERA of 2.25 which has the fans of the Iron City talking the most. Pitching is always suspect in this league, and if their Pirates can maintain a top pitching form there will be no prisoners taken on the high seas of the regular season!

Boston Red CapsThe team with funny name last year (Beaneaters) now has a funny logo to go along with a new owner, a new name . . . and a new feeling -- being in First Place! OK, so they're only 2-2 and tied with Washington & the Yankees, but first place for any of those three teams is a glimpse of a Lost Paradise. Newark has been successful in remaining atop this division, until now. It's a new season, and with a grand total of 7 Runs Scored in 4 games the Red Caps have earned their share of first place in the Atlantic Division. Powered by some strong pitching, the Red Caps rode the arms of Kid Nichols (1-0, 0.00, 2Hit SHU), Tom Glavine (0-0, 0.00) and Carl Mays (1-0, 3.00) in their opening series, and put the league on notice that slugfests won't be allowed in Braves Field. Perhaps a bit of hurling sanity will creep into the league through Boston Harbour, and embolden the owners of other teams to invest in pitching as Mikey G has done. On the other hand, can a team that goes on the field in red caps and shoes be considered entirely within the boundaries of any form of sanity? Only a pennant will answer that question, and the Red Caps intend on running the Atlantic Division pennant up their flagpole at the end of the season.

Tokyo Giants*Nobody gives the Team From Tokyo much of a chance to win the Pacific Division, but in thie opening away series for the Tokyo Giants* they served up notice that they will not be discounted. A 3-1 mark ties them with newcomers to the Pacific, the Kansas City Monarchs. But the news for Tokyo was the sparkling performance Masaichi Kaneda gave for the Season Opener -- the crafty lefty twirled a 4-hit shutout to silence critics and enthuse fans all at the same time. Getting the lifetime Wins leader of Japan into the groove was a big step for the Giants*, but even more important was the fact that the big guys in the lineup, Kaoru Betto (.500, 1 HR, 9 RBI), Tetsuharu Kawakami (.412, 3 RBI), Hideki Matsui (.412, 1 HR, 4 RBI) and Wally Yonamine (.412, 1 HR, 5 Runs) are producing all at the same time. Even the terribly disapointing Shigeo Nagashima (.294, 3 Runs) showed some small glimmer of the reason he is called "Mr. Baseball." The Giants* even bested the Eagles in the first game of a 4-game set. A lot is riding on the next 3 games between them, for them and the Eagles, even this early in the season.

Boston Red SoxThe other Boston team is also enjoying a good start, and at 3-1 they stand alone atop the East Division.. Much of that credit has to go their relief corps, with Dennis Eckersley (1-0, 0.00, 2 Sv) leading the way for LeRoy Matlock (0-0, 0.00), Wilbur Cooper (1-0, 0.00) and John Smoltz (0-0, 0.00). But the lineup have also made a statement, led by Base Ball's first superstar, Ross Barnes (.429, 2 HR, 5 Runs), as well as Jud Wilson (.389, 2 HR, 5 RBI), Joe Jackson (.389, 4 Runs), Jimmy Foxx (.368, 2 HR, 7 RBI), Tris Speaker (.353, 3 Runs) and Josh Gibson (.333, 3 RBI, 3 Runs). With that kind of lineup the Red Sox present a contrasting counterpoint for Boston fanatics who like their ballplay with a little more offensive oomph than the cross-town Red Caps provide. With a homestand against the Saint Louis Stars coming up, and then the Chicago Cubs, the Red Sox intend to widen the lead they already enjoy. The big factor will be whether the starting rotation can step up and provide the stability the team needs to let the lineup and relief corps do the job they have outlined for themselves.

Oakland A'sThe new team in California has brought with them a winning attitude, and the Swingin' A's of Oakland have served up notice they will be a team to reckon with. At 3-1 they are running neck-and-neck with the new Houston pre-season powerhouse, the Colt .45's. Larry Jackson (1-0, 1.00) and Dick Donovan (1-0, 3.00) both hurled complete game victories, and hope to give the Oakland manager some much needed foundation upon which to build a winning franchise. Ryan Klesko (.412, 1 HR, 5 Runs), Alex Rodriguez (.368, 3 Runs) and Mike Piazza (.316, 1 HR, 4 Runs) came out of the starting gate ready and able, but it was Enos Slaughter (.350, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 5 Runs) who really motivated the winning opening series. If these guys can continue to provide solid leadership at the plate, the Oakland franchise hopes to surprise the Legends League West Division and remain out in front when the last series closes in September.

Detroit TigersUnder new Management this year, the Detroit Tigers are no longer the quiet cats of the Continental Division of the Union League. They have opened the new season with a roar, and with the help of an intimidating bases loaded walk to Tim Raines in the 11th inning against the White Stockings and Mike Marshall (0.00, 1 batter, 1 walk), have rushed to a 3-1 mark. Kirk Gibson (.429, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 Runs) led the opening charge, followed by an able performance by Luke Appling (.353, 2 Runs). The big man in the lineup, newly acquired Babe Ruth, showed some power, belting out 2 homers, but finished the series with only a .250 batting average. The guy that was traded away to get The Bambino, Ty Cobb, didn't do any better himself over in Cubsland, batting .267 in the opening games. Perhaps more importantly, Dwight Gooden, a cast off by numerous owners over the past year plus, rose to the occasion of being counted upon to throw a complete game victory for the Tigers first win of the season. If Doc can continue, the Tigers and Babe will be the team to beat in their division.

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