Thursday, January 23, 2014

Memory of a Banquet II

We held our first Banquet and Awards dinner in 1984 to celebrate the completion of our first year in fantasy baseball.  The first few years we held the banquet at my mom's house in River Forest.

I don't remember much about the first couple of banquets, but the one thing I do remember is that a blockbuster trade was made between the Friars and Sluggers during the second banquet.  They were sitting in our living room, in the swivel lounge chairs by the picture window.  The Friars kind of leaned over with their roster sheet and pointed to a couple of names.  The Sluggers looked at their roster sheet while the Friars said "What if I traded you him for him" as he continued to point at the rosters.  The Friars then laid out a reasoning as to why the trade would be a good idea, being all secretive and vague lest any wandering ears (like mine) would hear the highpowered negotiations.

It was cool.  It was awesome.  Turns out it was illegal.  Here's why.

The rules of Rotisserie League baseball state that when you draft a player you get that player for two years plus an option year.  So if I draft Derrek Lee this year (don't laugh - I LOVE Derrek Lee and the fact that he's been retired for three years, well I've done dumber things that's for sure) for .05 I have Lee at his .05 salary for 2014 and 2015.  In 2016 I could sign Lee for one more year at .05 and then lose him at the end of the season or I could sign him to a long term contract.

The rules stat that if I were to trade Lee this year or next (who would be dumb enough to take Lee in a trade considering he's retired?  Good point.  Nobod. . .. hold on.  Let me e-mail the Ruffins.) Lee's contract does not change.  So the new team would get Lee and have him until 2016 when they would need to make the decision to sign him for one year or long-term.

That's the rule and it has always been the rule.  Well, somehow in the infancy of our league we misread that rule.  So the Friars and Sluggers made a deal because we all were under the false impression that if you traded a player his contract would reset and the new team would have TWO NEW YEARS before having to make the decision to sign for the option year or go long-term.

So (and if you believe that rule, which we did, this trade proposal was brilliant in a way) the Friars proposed trading Dale Murphy to the Sluggers for Tim Raines.  The Friars had drafted Dale Murphy in 1984 for .61.  Yes, .61!  The Sluggers drafted Raines for .47 that same year.  The idea of being able to keep two incredibly talented players for two more years without having to sign a long-term contract was brilliant.  Too bad the move was illegal.  Also, the strong argument here is "Why would anyone draft a player for .61?"  Well, this was all new to us and we had a lot to learn.  But it worked for the Friars having Murphy on his team for .61 - he kept finishing in the money those first two seasons.

The deal was struck and announced and finalized.  I know at some point after the trade, possibly before Draft Day 1986 we determined that you can't trade like that and have the contract reset.  I don't recall if we did anything about it or said "From this point on . . . "  But it's a great memory.

Since we've reminisced about the beginning of the CFCL and the newness and such, here are some more photos from this year's banquet featuring our new owners of Hey Patta Matta Swing.

Sandwiched between the Revenge and Clowns, our new owners Pat Chesnut (in the awesome Cub hat) and Matt Barriball (in the equally awesome Wrigley Field shirt) are clearly captivated by the amazing words pouring out of the Commissioner's mouth.

The owners of Hey Patta Matta Swing eye the CFCL's ultimate prize - The Copperfield Trophy.

New owners Chesnut and Barriball absorb the handouts of the banquet, which included certificates and the league history of statistics - generously updated each year by League Historian David Mahlan.

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