OAPBA launched its 34th season in February, but the story of how the league started and grew has always been somewhat vague. Thanks to one of the league’s four Founding Fathers, Joel Prinsell, we now know precisely when the league began and how it moved forward during its inaugural campaign. Here’s Joel’s account of the league’s startup:
On Feb. 24, 1988, thirty-three years ago today, or, if any of us want to feel even older — a third of a century ago, the Orlando APBA league commenced its inaugural regular season schedule.
Attached for posterity are the scoresheets from the first two 2-game series played by the four original franchises – the Tourists, managed by Steve Lorman; the Platoon, managed by Joe Passiatore; the Metropolitans, managed by Bryant Applegate, and the Highlanders, managed by me. (Sorry, but a few of the attached PDF pages might be upside down, sideways, etc.)
A couple of weeks before the opening games, the teams had held a 25-round snake draft, where Kirby Puckett was selected by the Metros with the first overall pick.
The Tourists won Game #1, 5-0, over the visiting Highlanders. Nolan Ryan (who’s he?!) threw a one-hitter with 7 K’s, with Jeff (?) Reardon pitching the last 2 outs. Mike (?) Scott took the loss. Ryne Sandberg was the league’s first whiff victim. Tony Gwynn was the first player to reach base (how fitting), with a BB (but was caught stealing by “Spanky” LaValierre). Ozzie Smith had the league’s first hit (a single), the first SB, and scored the first run. Robin Yount had the first error. But the star of the game was Benito Santiago, who went 3-3, had the league’s first RBI (plating Ozzie), first extra-base hit (a 2B), and first HR.
The Highlanders came back to win Game #2, the nightcap of the doubleheader, 6-1.
The next day, the Platoon swept the Metropolitans in Games #3 and 4, 6-5 and 2-1. Although the Metros got off to a rough 0-3 start, they ended the regular season with the best record.
Two or three years later, the Beefers, managed by Rod, and the Taz Devils, managed by Dave, joined the league, and the rest is history — the longest running APBA league.