Thursday, April 18, 2013

1986 - The Owner Draft of a Lifetime

Back in 1983 the Chicago Bears had a draft of a lifetime.  They drafted Jimbo Covert (1st round), Willie Gault (1), Dave Duerson (3), Tom Thayer (4), Richard Dent (8) and Mark Bortz (8).  All of them (and Mike Richardson as well) were integral to the Bears winning the Super Bowl in 1985.  But 1983 was a phenomenal year for the Bears.

I often look at 1986 in the same way for the CFCL.  At the end of 1985 we had just completed our second year, we had seven owners and things were going well.  Then during the off-season we were informed that three (count ‘em THREE) teams would be leaving including defending champion and Original 6 member, Mudville Sluggers (one of the other Original 6, ForGoetzMeNots would also leave).

So here we were, a two year old league, league founders going to be finishing up their sophomore years in college and we suddenly have a league of four owners.  As has been mentioned before, David and I didn’t have a wide circle of people to tap into and we felt we had exhausted our resources just getting the league to seven.

But we scrambled and, in my opinion, had the results for our league similar to the Bears draft in 1983.  I had an acquaintance at work who, while a White Sox fan, knew about baseball and he had a friend who was also interested.  That brought us up to six.

**Side note – it turns out those owners (Z-28’s and Spherechuckers) proved themselves to be vile, despicable scum by essentially quitting the league mid-season and threatening physical harm to the Co-Commissioners if they tried to collect the owed team fees.

So part of our “draft for owners” ended up being a bust.  But we also found two other owners who wanted to join.  Walking into the 1986 season we went from seven owners in 1985 to eight in 1986 and during the off-season doubled our membership from four to eight.  It’s the other two owners that made this year’s expansion a homerun.

The first addition was a friend of mine from high school, Dave Holian.  He was my Sports Editor on the school newspaper, the shortstop on our recreation softball league and, it turns out, a terrific friend for the last 30 years.  When he heard that David and I had started a fantasy league, he started one of his own with some other friends in high school.  When we had the opening, he jumped at the opportunity and for the next 28 years has not let me live down the fact that he wasn’t invited to be an original member.  Truth be told, I didn’t think David and I were cool enough to ask Dave to join the league.  Not that Mr. Holian projected that air, he just seemed connected in every way at the high school and was more “diversified” in his life than David’s and my tunnel vision focus on everything baseball.

The Ruffins joined the league and have been a mainstay ever since.  The other owner that joined was Bob Monroe.  Bob was David’s boss at Minnesota Fabrics.  We had already lowered our standards by letting a White Sox fan enter the league, so we figured what harm could there be in letting a Cardinal fan in?  Harm not so much, but we had no idea what we had just done.

Bob kept his avian connection strong by cheering for the Cardinals and naming his team the Bald Eagles.  Couldn’t have been a more appropriate name given that Bob was, well, bald with the fringe on top.

Tomorrow we will meet, in detail, Bob Monroe of the Bald Eagles.  But safe to say, 1986 for the CFCL was a very good year.

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