Friday, June 7, 2013

The Steve Carlton Incident

It was 1986.  The first year of the Bald Eagles and David’s Ruffins.  Bob graciously opened his home to the draft.  It was also the first evidence of deliberate price enforcement and may have been the beginning of the torment the Eagles heaped on the Rebels for six years.

Oh, don’t get me wrong.  The CFCL had already seen its own version of price enforcement with Jeff Stone the previous year and Will Clark earlier in this draft (yeah, yeah, yeah – We’ll get to “The Thrill” in a later post.  I’m offering some fore-shadowing).  But those instances (soon to be named “Incidents”) were price enforcement from maniacal owner belief and over-hyped media.  The Steve Carlton Incident, I truly believe, was the first evidence of price enforcement of the “Oh, I can’t let that happen” variety.  And unsurprisingly, Bob Monroe was right in the middle of it.

We set the stage.  In the basement of the Bald Eagle’s Nest, we have three or four card  tables laid out end to end to accommodate Dem Rebels, Paul’s Penguins, David’s Copperfields, Fred’s Friars, Bald Eagles and David’s Ruffins.  After the draft we ended up having two vile, despicable scum owners join the league.  Why?  Well ON DRAFT DAY we were notified that the ForGoetzMeNots and Ghostbusters would not be returning for 1986.  We kept those teams intact, maybe because I knew I could ask the scum to join us.  They were acquaintances of mine from work and I must have thought that we could keep the league at eight teams with their involvement.

Eight teams meant we had to dig a little deeper into the National League rosters.  Eight teams and digging deeper into National League rosters meant we had to develop and follow a different strategy than in the previous two years.  PLUS we had two new owners attending the draft.  How would they handle their team?  How would they budget their money?  We were all learning there are games within the game.

It turns out my recollection of how things played out with the Steve Carlton Incident were a little off from what really happened.  With a BIG THANKS to CFCL League Historian and Archivist David Mahlan, here’s how it went down.

Bob and I were seated next to each other, Bob on my left.  When it came to be my turn to nominate a player in the second round I was looking to bring somebody up that I didn’t want on my team.  Why would I do that?  Well (and again, this comes from league archives) in the first round I picked up three players.  So when my turn to nominate a player came up, I had 29 cents to spend and needed four players.  So for some reason (don’t ask me why), I nominated Carlton for a penny.  I guess I figured he was a big name pitcher and might attract some interest.  I was hoping and praying and rubbing my little talisman (no that’s not code) that someone, anyone would bid .02

He was coming off a year where he was 1-8 and a 1.49 WHiP, so what I didn’t want was Carlton at a penny.

Bob was next to bid.  I recall him saying something like “Well Rich can’t have him for just a penny.  2 cents.”  David doesn’t recall Bob saying anything other than “2”.  Either way, the weight jettisoned off my shoulders and directly onto Bob’s as he heard the Copperfields, Ruffins, Friars, Penguins and then Dem Rebels all say “pass” in quick order.

The look on Bob’s face was priceless but all I cared about was I didn’t have Carlton.  I don’t think I fully appreciated getting the better of the Bald Eagle until much later.  Clearly our drafting (or my nominating) of players was still a work in progress.  While Carlton was a 300 game winner, it was very obvious he didn’t have much left in the tank.  Nominating him as the eleventh player in the draft is just insane.  But that may have worked to my advantage if Bob’s motivation was to make sure that no one walked away with a penny player in the second round.

That also could have worked to my disadvantage as that may have set Bob’s crosshairs on me for the next six years.  We’ll never know for sure as dust and cobwebs have taken over many parts of the league.  But it did make for a classic moment in a CFCL draft.

1 comment:

  1. What were Carlton's stats that next year? Maybe I got a deal!