October 2008

Dennis Martinez plays DYNASTY League Baseball and Pursue the Pennant: Part One


“The most exciting series I’ve ever played in was the last four games against Milwaukee.”
- Cal Ripken

DennisMartinez.AlBumbry.jpgDennis Martinez and Al Bumbry meet in Camden Yards for the Orioles 25th Anniversary reunion.

With the new release of the 1982 season for DYNASTY League Baseball, I wanted to ask “El Presidente” Dennis Martinez about his new 1982 Orioles DYNASTY League Baseball player card and then have us play game 1 of the final four game series of the 1982 season in Baltimore between the Orioles and Brewers that determined the AL East winner on the last day of the season.

Why Dennis Martinez?  Dennis has a special place with not only the 1982 Baltimore Orioles, but also with Pursue the Pennant and DYNASTY League Baseball.  Back when I was first designing Pursue the Pennant in 1981 and 1982, I interned as Assistant Public Relations Director at the 1982 Baltimore Orioles Spring Training site in Miami, FL. 

During that time Dennis Martinez and I played some of the first games of what was to become Pursue the Pennant and DYNASTY League Baseball. 
ElPresidente.jpg 

Here we are playing in the Miami Stadium dugout with Dennis Martinez managing the Orioles as Earl Weaver and I’m managing the Brewers as Buck Rodgers with player cards based on the 1980 season. 

What I remember most is how much fun it was to play Dennis.  Each roll of the die with him on the mound he literally pitched the dice.  Ever see a dice roll curve ball when you have played?  Dennis was throwing curveballs, fastballs and changeups.  Every play result seemed do or die with Dennis and I as Gorman Thomas, Paul Molitor and Robin Yount would try and hit the Baltimore star pitcher.

After Spring Training ended and I graduated from University of Miami, FL , I went back home to Brookfield, WI to experience the greatest season in Brewer history.  I went to more Baseball games in 1982 than any other year.  When the Orioles came into Milwaukee I met Dennis at the Pfister hotel to get together and drive him to Milwaukee County Stadium.

We played another memorable game that day in the visiting clubhouse of Milwaukee County Stadium before the scheduled Brewers vs. Orioles game.  This time Dennis was joined in our game by relief ace Tippy Martinez and infielder Lenn Sakata taking turns rolling the dice and managing.   Just about every Oriole in the clubhouse stopped by to watch our game including none other than Earl Weaver.  Earl’s a bit old school so I’m not sure he grasped all of the realism and attention to detail that Pursue the Pennant and DYNASTY League Baseball have, but it did catch the legendary Manager’s attention in what was to be his last year of Managing.

Twenty six years later and Dennis and I are sitting together outside Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, FL, Spring Training home of both the Florida Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals as well as home to the Marlins and Cardinals Minor League Florida State League High – A teams.   Dennis is now pitching coach for the Palm Beach Cardinals helping to create future stars of top prospects like Jess Todd the Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2008.

I brought along Dennis” new 1982 DYNASTY League Baseball player card with me to show Dennis and asked him about his ability to get left-handed batters out.  I had researched the vs. LH and vs. RH splits before our meeting and found that there were many years that Dennis was more effective vs. LH than RH even though he throws RH.  In 1982, Martinez allowed a BA and SLG of .248/.392 vs. LH and .285/.430 vs. RH. Dennis said that he was able to throw his change-up vs. LH batters giving him an extra pitch and had trouble throwing the same change-up vs. RH batters.

Have you ever wondered what it is that makes some pitchers better in “JAM” situations?  Dennis Martinez earned a JAM situation rating on his 1982 DYNASTY League Baseball player card based on his .218 BA and .338 SLG allowed with runners in scoring position.   When I asked Dennis how he was able to pitch so well in JAM situations, Dennis started to change his body language and said it came down to heart and you could see that a JAM situation was a transforming situation for him that helped make him the top latin pitcher in wins All-Time over runner-up Juan Marichal.

I also brought along the box scores and play by play from Game 1 of the October 1, 1982 doubleheader matching up Dennis Martinez vs. Pete Vuckovich.  The Brewers came into Baltimore three games up with four to play.  Dennis remembered the game well and asked with great interest if he could take the box scores and play-by-play home with him.

Dennis Martinez and I play Game 1 of the October 1, 1982 final series with the DYNASTY League Baseball Windows version in Part 2 …

Stay tuned…

As a sidenote, I rode my bicycle to the Publix on Palm Beach early in the morning last week to pick up a few items.  In the bakery was Jim Palmer.  I recognized him immediately having looked at his photo on the cover of The Sporting News 1974 Baseball Guide I have been studying for the new 1973 season that has just been released.  

PalmerMurray.jpgI introduced myself and Jim Palmer and I talked about some of the people I worked with for the Baltimore Orioles.  Jim was friendly and dressed in work out shirt and shorts looked at the age of 62 like he could still take the mound.  I told him of the game with Dennis Martinez and extended an invitation to join us up in Jupiter, FL.

 

 

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