June 15, 1954-Sept. 17, 2022
Dave Larson, one of the greatest managers in OAPBA (Orlando APBA league) history, passed away Saturday, September 17, 2022, in Orlando, Fla., after a decade-long battle with chronic heart problems.
Dave was beloved and respected by everyone in the league. He was a positive person and a gentleman whose temper was always even keeled. He had a keen wit and, after retiring from a career in the flooring industry in 2019, embarked on writing humorous short stories for publication, many which were published by online fiction story sites.
A native of Illinois, Dave grew up in Galesburg, Illinois, where he attended high school and college. He moved to Tampa in the 1980s and, after attending the University of South Florida for one year for graduate studies, embarked on a career in the flooring industry, where he was in sales and marketing for most of his career, finishing with a variety of administrative management assignments in Orlando.
He was a lifelong baseball enthusiast and a passionate Chicago White Sox fan.
Dave had a special interest in baseball’s Deadball Era. His interests were accentuated by his membership in the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR). His keystone article 1906 Chicago White Sox: a look at an underrated champion was published in SABR’s prestigious Baseball Research. Eleven years later, Dave teamed with league member Rod Caborn, to write 1906 Cleveland Naps: Deadball Era Underachiever, published in the Baseball Research Journal in 2012.
Dave entered OABPA in 1993 as an expansion entry. In only his third season in the league, his Tasmanian Devils beat Bryant Applegate’s Metros in five games in the 1995 OAPBA World Series for his first championship, followed the next season by winning the OAPBA championship outright in 1996, winning both halves with a combined 50-30, .625 record.
He was a cornerstone of OAPBA, serving as the league’s commissioner for the league for the past two decades. In 2021, he revised the league’s rules to become more easily understandable, a monumental task, but one that was far overdue.
His OAPBA management style centered around speed. Dave consistently identified and cleverly drafted players that could deliver on the hit-and-run and always had a team that featured fast players whose baserunning abilities outshone the ability to hit home runs.
Altogether, Dave won seven championships during his OAPBA career, tied with Joe Passiatore, whose powerful Platoon teams also won seven titles before Joe retired from the league in 2013 after winning six championships in a row.
1995 Beat Metros (Bryant Applegate) 4-1 in World Series
1996 Won both halves (50-30 record) to win OAPBA championship outright
2000 Beat Joel Prinsell’s Highlanders 4-1
2003 Beat Merchantainers, managed by Walt Taylor, 4-1
2004 Beat Road Warriors, managed by Marc Bostrom 4-2
2017 Beat Otters, managed by Jonathan Stilwell, 4-2
2019 Won both halves (54-26 record) to win OAPBA championship outright
His Taz Devils also lost in three other World Series appearances
2001 Lost to Joe Passiatore’s Platoon 4-3
2005 Swept by Walt Taylor’s Travelers 4-0
2011 Lost to Joe Passiatore’s Platoon II 4-1
In total, Dave had a lifetime record of 1341-1074, .555. In post-season play, Dave’s teams were 38-38, .500 record in post-season play in 29 seasons in OAPBA.
Dave’s Taz Devils teams won 50 or more games in a single season nine times, the most in league history, but only two of them were able to come away with championships.
2011 56-24, only to lose to Joe Passiatore’s Platoon in the ’11 World Series
2001 58-26, lost to Platoon in World Series
2003 56-29, won championship (no series)
2005 50-34, swept by Joe Passiatore’s Platoon in ’05 World Series
2009 56-30 lost to Platoon II in World Series
2019 54-26 championship (no series)
A testament to Dave’s skillful management was the fact that he had only five losing seasons in 29 years in the league.
Dave will be remembered will be remembered with love and respect by all who had the privilege of working with him and, in particular, by those of us in OAPBA, who sat across from him, cringing when he called for the hit-and-run that would go on lead to another victory for his beloved Tasmanian Devils.