Welcome to the APBA Hall of Fame. Like that other Hall of Fame, our “Hall” was built to recognize the contributions of great APBA players, inventors, innovators and administrators. Unlike that other Hall of Fame, you, the APBA fan, don’t go unrecognized. We know we couldn’t have made it without you, and the Hall of Fame will help us give you the credit you so richly deserve.
There are no busts in our hall. . .yet. However, you can learn about some of the celebrities who’ve enjoyed playing APBA and meet some of our most loyal long-time fans.
Most years APBA induct members into our Hall of Fame. The first inductee for our first year was our founder, J. Richard Seitz, honoring the man who founded APBA in 1951. The first round of inductions was announced at our 50th Anniversary convention in the Summer of 2001.
We welcome your suggestions for future inductees. All nominations will be reviewed by a panel at APBA headquarters.
J. Richard Seitz. Created the company, and made it possible for us to have the game in our lives.Frtiz Light (2001). Was the head of APBA for several years after Mr. Seitz death, and was the president of the division after the initial sale of APBA. Actually created the baseball sets for several years. Only Mr. Seitz had a bigger impact on the history of APBA than Fritz Light.Roy Langhans (2001). APBA Ambassador. He was a part of the “APBA Coaches” program, and as he has noted, he owns every APBA product ever made. Roy’s contributions to the APBA Between the Lines Delphi forum alone are legendary. Roy’s “Game of the Day” thread has surpassed 5000 posts and is still going. Roy ran the tournament for at least one of the APBA conventions.Roy does more for APBA behind-the-scenes than most of us realize, and he always downplays his contributions.Scott Lehotsky (2001). APBA Historian. Created the APBA documentary, “Of Dice and Men”, and has recorded many interviews with APBA notables. Worked on several conventions, organizing the 1998 convention (and ran the tournament). No one has done more to capture the oral history of the company and game than Scott has done.Howard Ahlskog (2001). Saved the APBA Journal from Bankruptcy in 1986. Owned and published the AJ, with the help of his lovely wife Sally, until 1993. The work he and his wife expended on the APBA Journal cannot be over emphasized. In addition, Howard may be the premier APBA Football guy in the history of APBA.Ed Zack (2001). APBA Historian. Ed used his own resources to create and release the first two versions of the APBA Handbook. This was a complete labor of love, an endeavor that continues to live on longer after Ed’s participation ceased. The “Zack Book” will long be a testament to the tenacity and dedication of Ed Zack.At one point Ed had every APBA Baseball product making his APBA Baseball card collection the biggest and most complete collection known, until he gave it away.George W. Bush (2001). After narrowly missing in his bid to represent the 19th congressional district in 1978, Mr. Bush created a series of small, independent oil exploration companies, including Bush Exploration (originally Arbusto Energy). After merging with the larger Spectrum 7 in 1984, Mr. Bush became chairman.Mr. Bush was the managing general partner of the Texas Rangers for five years. Mr. Bush then went on to become the Governor of Texas (1995-2000), and eventually was a two term President of the United States of America (2000 through 2008).Mr. Bush’s father played APBA, and APBA has been a family tradition for the Bush family since at least the 1960s.Skeet Carr (2002) and Veryl Lincoln (2002). Skeet and Veryl are APBA and they will forever be APBA to the current generation of APBAites. Skeet Carr started working at APBA in 1964, while Veryl Lincoln started at APBA in 1965. With the exception of an extended stay in luxurious Viet Nam for Veryl in the late 60s, both Skeet and Veryl never left APBA, just as they will never leave the hearts of all true APBA devotees. If you called APBA in the last 10 years you probably spoke to one of them. If you purchased an APBA product between 1964 and 2011 they both had a hand in producing it and getting it delivered to you.
Joe Sweeney (2005). While there are more than a few dedicated and talented programmers who have created helpful, even needful, add on products for APBA in general and Baseball for Windows in particular, no one has done more, produced more or done it better than Joe Sweeney. No one has done more to make playing “APBA presents Baseball for Windows” enjoyable and satisfying than Joe Sweeney, save the Miller brothers themselves.
Joe Sweeney also created football utilities which made fan-produced football season disks possible.
Pete Simonelli (2005). APBA Historian. Pete goes way back with APBA. Pete ran all the convention tournaments in the 1970s (’73, ’75 and ’76). Pete became good friends with the late Clifford Van Beek, inventor of National Pastime, and he’s still a liaison to Van Beek’s heirs. He was lead author (with Ben Weiser) of the famed “Definitive History of [Sports] Table Games” in the September-October 1975 APBA Journal.
Eric Naftaly (2006). APBA Historian. Noted APBA writer spent years writing for the APBA journal before taking over the editing and publishing duties as the owner, succeeding Howard Ahlskog. Eric is a wealth of information on everything APBA, and he is one of the most giving and helpful people in the community. The sacrifices he made for his love of APBA and the APBA Journal are and were tremendous, and we are all the richer as a result. Eric has probably touched more APBA lives personally than anyone outside of the game company. While owner and publisher of the APBA Journal he was always available to help and give advice via e-mail, letter or phone. Eric never turned away a fellow APBA player in need.
Don Adams (2007). APBA Historian. Don Adams has one of the two or three largest APBA Baseball card collections in existence. (John Cochrane is the “competition”, I believe; depending on the condition of the old Ed Zack collection). It has been stated that Don has every variant of each of the Great Teams of the Past ever issued (which is to say that if he doesn’t have it, it doesn’t exist). Adams was the first (and possibly the only) person to compile a list of all eBay sales of APBA Baseball card sets and their prices, which ran in the AJ in 2001-02 and the APBA News in ’03. He maintained it for some years after that, selling it quarterly. Don was one of the small group who proposed a new edition of the Ed Zack Handbook, and he hosted the first meeting of the expanded research committee at Rutgers in 2004. He was the original editor of the new Handbook before ill health forced him to give it up.
Bob Levy (2008). APBA Ambassador. Bob worked for the Houston Astros in 1976, was the Director of Broadcast Operations at KHOU in Houston for many years, and Bob was on the board of directors of the American Heart Association.
Bob wrote the book, “Major League Baseball Transactions, 1946. ” This book was a labor of love for Bob, and it shows us almost as much about Bob as it does about the players of 1946. Bob Levy loved APBA, the history of Baseball, and he loved to learn about and discuss the people behind the stats and the APBA card numbers.
Bob Levy passed away in Portland, Oregon on May 4th, 2008. Bob had many friends, some famous, most not so famous, but he had a way of making each and every one of them feel like they were special to him.
Jim Sce (2008). APBA Ambassador. Jim was a part of the “APBA Coaches” program in California. Jim owns virtually every APBA product ever made. Jim’s contributions to the APBA Between the Lines Delphi forum are significant, as he has contributed more than 6,000 posts. He was also one of the testers for APBA Baseball 5.75.
Dom Provisiero (2009). APBA Ambassador. Dom was a part of the “APBA Coaches” program. Longtime Commissioner of a Face-To-Face APBA league on Long Island, New York. Dom was an APBA Journal contributor and columnist, heading up the “Commissioner’s Box” column in the AJ in the mid-1990s.
John Cochrane (2009). APBA Historian. John Cochrane has one of the two or three largest APBA Baseball card collections in existence. John was one of the small group who proposed a new edition of the Handbook. The work he has done on this project is monumental in scope and breadth. When ill health forced Don Adams to step down as the editor of the new Handbook it was John Cochrane who took over the editor duties and kept the project alive. John has also been the voice of the project to the APBA community, providing updates at each convention.
Robert Henry (2010). APBA Historian. SOM Historian. In fact, Bob was the Hobby Historian. Robert Henry knew where all the bodies were buried and he shared his knowledge willingly to all who would listen to him. Bob’s Q&A column in the APBA Journal was a fan favorite for years.
Robert passed away in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on September 22, 2006.
Robert was as prominent in the SOM community as the APBA community, but it was the APBA community that gathered the money for his headstone, and I would dare say it was the APBA community that never forgot and always loved Robert Henry.
Rod McLeod (2011). APBA Historian. Handbook Committee. Expert on APBA’s advertising through the years. Rod has researched and collected and impressive amount of information chronicling the life and fortunes of APBA founder J. Richard Seitz (enough for a book-length biography).
At the 2005 APBA Convention, Rod presented many interesting items from his own research and showed some of Seitz’s home movies.
Charlie Sorce (2011). APBA Ambassador. As a high school teacher, Charlie used APBA in his classroom and as a result was responsible for introducing the APBA Baseball game to hundreds of students through the years. Charlie also introduced the game to his whole family and has enjoyed unrivaled success in cultivating lifelong APBA games among them.
Frank “Dusty” Welsh (2012). APBA Historian. Handbook Committee. Dusty is the expert on APBA’s Basic Baseball GAme Boards. His research on, and compilation of, the changes to the Basic Game boards (including the Sacrifice and Hit and Run results) is included in the on-line version of the Zack Handbook.
Dusty’s 1954, 1955 and 1956 (currently ongoing) replays using the “original cards and boards, supplemented with XBs and XCs from reprinted seasons” are chronicled in the APBA Delphi Forum.
William D. Blair (2012). APBA Historian. Handbook Committee. Professor William D. Blair, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Northern Illinois University, has been playing APBA Baseball since 1956, and has correspondence with APBA and Mr. Seitz from those early years. Professor Blair has an extensive APBA collection perhaps no as large as the Cochrane, Adams or Langhans collections, but one of the few people to have everything baseball-related that APBA and the APBA Journal ever produced.
Kevin J. Cluff (2012). APBA Historian. An APBA Journal staffer from December 1996 through the end of the APBA Journal run, Kevin contributed as the “Computer Corner” columnist for two calendar years (from issue 6 (10-15) of 1999 to issue 4 (10/31) of 2001). Kevin wrote the APA Journal article “BJE Produces as New Breed of APBA Card” that showed and explained how the WinDraft and WinWizard encyclopedia imported “cards” were created (October (11/13) 1995 – which, incidentally, led to a change in how the imported “cards” were eventually created).
At the 2012 convention, during the Hall of Fame presentation, Skeet Carr credited Kevin with assisting APBA on various tasks (since 2001) including technical support for BBW, providing statistics for APBA baseball projects and the computer game data disk creation.
Brian Wells (2013). APBA Ambassador. Brian has been attending APBA conventions since 2002, and he usually found his team going deep in the playoffs of the associated tournament. In fact, Brian is a two-time APBA tournament winner. Briant was the first two-time winner, and he still holds the record for the youngest tournament winner.
His article of selecting APBA teams for the tournaments has been published on the APBA company website.
Brian was featured in the 2009 New York Times article about the APBA 2009 convention and tournament.
Greg Wells (2013). APBA Historian. Greg was an APBA Journal staffer and the Lead Football Writer between 1989 and 1993. Greg is an expert on the history and workings of the APBA Football game, as well as the APBA Baseball game. Greg was in the legendary CMBA (Baseball) draft league for many years.
Greg is the father of Brian Wells, and so has succeeded in the greatest APBA goal of all: raising a fine young man who also happens to love and play APBA games!
Cliff Van Beek (2014). APBA Pioneer. Cliff developed National Pastime, the predecessor game and basis for the APBA Baseball Game.
Cliff’s National Pastime was patented in 1925, while the first (and only) commercial release was in 1931, based on the 1930 MLB season. It was a tough time to launch a business, as the great depression was enveloping the nation. Numbered among Mr. Van Beek’s small customer list was one J. Richard Seitz of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Eventually it became clear to the young Mr. Seitz that there were to be no more products coming from Green Bay, Wisconsin. It was then that Mr. Seitz began to explore changes to Mr. Van Beek’s produced design.
All of us who play table top simulations in general and APBA in particular, owe Clifford Van Beek our gratitude for pioneering our hobby.
Steve Skoff (2015). APBA Ambassador. Steve has been and continues to be a consultant on the APBA hockey game engine. Steve tested and proofed the new (2015) hockey game. Steve presented a seminar on 2015 version of APBA Hockey at 2015 Convention and is the organizer and developer of the inaugural APBA Hockey Tournament which is scheduled for the APBA 2016 convention.
Steve is an editor on the Zack Handbook committee.
Steve is active in bringing APBA to the community through efforts such as the annual Baseball Tournament with the Boys and Girls Club of Bridesburg, PA. Steve sponsors multiple club attendees at each event.
Steve is a two-time champion of the APBA Convention Baseball Tournament, and was the first (and so far, only) back-to-back champion, winning it all in 2012 and 2013. Steve won the second annual APBA Convention Baseball Home Run Derby championship (2015).
John Duke (2015). APBA Ambassador. John attended the APBA Conventions in 1975 (New York) and 1976 (Philadelphia) and has been a regular convention attendee since 2005. John is a two time APBA Convention Baseball Tournament Champion, winning it all in both 2007 and 2009.
John is the Commissioner of the North American Baseball Conference (NABC) Draft League. The League started in 1977 as a Basic Game, combination Face-To-Face and Mail league. John joined the league in 1979 and took over the reins as commissioner in mid-season. John has deftly guided the league ever since, over-seeing the shifts to the computer (originally DOS and now BBW 5.75) with 18 franchises.
John is a replayer also, completing season replays with BBW, playing every game for all teams manually. He has completed 1956 and 1964, currently playing 2004. John is no stranger to the APBA Golf and Football games (previously a member of the Super Football League for 17 seasons).
Paul has been an APBA Baseball player since 1982. When he retired in 2011 he planned to spend his retirement replaying seasons in BBW. However, BBW 5.5 was in need of an overhaul to become 64 bit friendly (to run on the new versions of Windows). Paul initiated discussions with APBA and both parties agreed that Paul was the right man to work on the old BBW 5.5 code, and make the necessary changes and upgrades. The result was the much heralded Baseball for Windows 5.75. This project has been and continues to be an unmitigated success, allowing legions of APBA Baseball fans to continue to enjoy APBA baseball on their computer!
Paul continued working on updates and adding features since the original release of BBW 5.75.
Greg Barath (2016): APBA Ambassador. It is impossible to meet Greg and not be impressed with his presence and his personal magnetism. Born in Gary, Indiana, it should be noted that Greg didn’t survive Gary, he transcended it.
The strength that a place like Gary requires is evident in the personal demeanor and personality of Greg Barath. Greg has an analytical Football mind and is well-known throughout the APBA community for his football replays. To date, he has completed his 7th published full-season replay and numerous smaller efforts.
Greg uses his APBA Football blog to share his “method of play” alternatives, innovations and informational tips to enhance the solitaire playing experience. His blog has been visited by individuals from 85 different countries. Greg had replica APBA Football fields created from existing artwork of every professional field from the past fifty years.
Greg has used his personal Football acumen to enhance the APBA Football gaming experience for all APBA Football fans. At past APBA Conventions, Greg created several APBA Football instructional videos which provide formal briefings and demonstrations.
Ray Dunlap (2016): APBA Ambassador. Ray is active in APBA and on the field. Ray currently plays right field on a “45 and older” hardball team in Atlanta. Ray was the quarterback for St. John Fisher College, a Division 3 program, in the early 70’s.
Ray is well known as an APBA Game Innovator. He presented some of his ideas on solitaire baseball at the 1975 APBA Convention in New York City. Ray also presented some of his ideas on solitaire football at the 2015 APBA Convention in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Mike Haley, the APBA Journal football editor at the time, let Ray know about an opening in the OFL (“Our Football League) and got Ray into the league. Ray would forever be hooked on the APBA Football game as he took his team to the Championship game that first year (a battle for the “Cooley Cup!). Ray was so hooked on the Football game that, after moving to Tampa a year later (1979), Ray and Ernie Charette formed the Suncoast Football League, a 16-team face-to-face organization (Ray was the commissioner). Remarkably, the SFL is still going strong!
Ray eventually was asked by Howard Ahlskog to contribute football articles to the Journal, a job he held for about three years.Since relocating to Atlanta, Ray has spent generous amounts of his time refining his systems to play a
Ray can coach, as well as he can play, having coached three kids in baseball that were ultimately drafted by major league teams. Like many of his fellow APBA brethren, Ray is a numbers guy. He is the President of Dunlap and Associates, a wealth management firm, and Ray was the head statistician for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for six years in the 1980’s.
Len and Ron Gaydos (2017). APBA Historians. Inseparable in their place in APBA lore, the Gaydos brothers go into the APBA Hall of Fame together, because, how could they not?
What would prove to be a seminal event in the history of table top sport simulations in general and APBA in particular, The APBA Journal was founded in August of 1967 by Len and Ron Gaydos. The brothers went on to publish 76 issues through December of 1976.
Eventually the impact of this Endeavour touched virtually every APBA player and fan. It is hard to fathom now, but at one time communication between various leagues and solo players was non-existent. The APBA journal bridged the thousands of pockets of APBA players,and provided a vehicle for the communication of ideas and the joy of the games themselves.
Ron and Len produced an ever increasingly sophisticated periodical. The first several issues were printed in mimeograph on 8.5″ x 11″ sheets. Beginning with Issue 1-5 (Apr 68), the format changed to booklet form, consisting of 8.5″ x 11″ sheets folded in half. By the time we received issue 4-4 (Feb 1971), the APBA Journal was the impressive full-sized magazine that we all think of now, when the topic of the APBA Journal comes up.
In 1973 Ben Weiser became editor while Len became publisher and Ron was production manager. Len continued to write some articles, mainly the APBA Scene column along with Ben.
At the 1973 Convention, Len was the moderator of the “APBA League Concepts” seminar. He was also co-moderator with Ben for the “Communications in the APBA Community” seminar.
Randy Coryer (2017). APBA Ambassador. Randy writes for the weekly APBA newsletter and has since August of 2016 when APBA asked Randy to become the “tournament guru” for the newsletter. Randy is definitely the guru, and has now spread his focus to APBA Leagues in addition to APBA Tournaments. Many leagues owe Randy and his weekly column for helping in their search for new managers (and vice-a-versa, of course).
Randy is a life-long proponent of table top sports simulations, and is well known in many sports simulation communities including APBA, which he has played since 1970.
Randy estimates his total of APBA Baseball games played to be approximately 25,000 games. He is also well versed in APBA football, hockey, golf, horse racing, and bowling. Randy has been a regular at the APBA Conventions since 2005 (he’s usually piloting an Expos team in the tournament).
Randy is a sponsor, participant, and inaugural winner of the Robert Henry Memorial Baseball Tournament which is held annually with the Bridesburg Boys and Girls Club. Randy is also recognized for his innovative tournament ideas such as divisional bracket directors, youth only wild card winners, and game day events to promote regional tournament interest.
Brian Cavanaugh.(2018) APBA Ambassador. Brian teaches Physical Education and Health at Bridesburg Elementary School. Brian is also a summer camp counselor at the Bridesburg Unit of the Philadelphia Boys and Girls Club.
Brian has taught his summer campers APBA baseball and has operated a league for them for over 10 years. This has proven to be a great source of joy and bonding for the kids in the camp. (One of his “graduates” – now 18, came to the APBA Convention in 2019, and played in the tournament).
In cooperation with the Game Company, he and his campers attended the APBA conventions in Lancaster in 2011 and 2012 and participated in the convention tournaments.
In 2013, Brian teamed up with John Cochrane, Rebecca Peterson and Pete Simonelli to create the Robert Henry Memorial Tournament, in which invited members of the APBA community, including many Hall of Famers, travel to the Philadelphia area each summer for a one day event with Brian and his camp league members and alumni.
Charlie first played APBA in 1973 with his brother and the neighborhood kids. Charlie plays APBA Baseball, Hockey, Football, Saddle Racing and Golf, but Baseball is his favorite.
Charlie was born and grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. He took advantage of that fact by watching Baseball games at the Myrtle Avenue Ballpark (Now named J. P. Small Memorial Stadium) and he kept his ears open. What he heard at that park were stories of the great Negro League Players of the past. The idea of bringing these great men and their abilities to the attention of others never really left Charlie’s heart.
That is how he approached APBA with an idea. Charlie was willing to create APBA cards for great Negro League Players and Teams, and donate all proceeds to Negro League Charities and Foundations (including the museum in Kansas City). With the hearty endorsement of the APBA Game Company, that is what Charlie has done. Charlie passed away on February 12, 2020.
John Kalous (2018). APBA Ambassador. John has been playing APBA since 1982, and it was a classic case of love at first roll of the dice. John purchased a personal computer in 1993, and has been using his PCs for APBA play ever since.
John has been a major contributor to the ATMgr program, producing lineup and transactions files (a laborious and generally thankless chore). The ATMgr program works with APBA’s Baseball For Windows game, to insert as-played lineups and actual roster transactions as you re-play a season.
It was through this interaction that John was able to use his knowledge of the lineup and transaction file formats to help Pete get BallStat/BallScore to began to leverage the ATMgr files in the program. The result is a wonderful blend of the power of the computer and beauty of the APBA Card. The best of both worlds.
John has completed several replays using BallStat/BallScore and continues to use the program today. John has also spread the word on this wonderful program via the Delphi Forums and personal interaction. It is safe to say that countless other APBA fans have benefited from John’s work with ATMgr and with Pete Habel. Many are now using their APBA cards and dice to play APBA, and are completing projects that would otherwise be too daunting or time consuming to try.
John attended the APBA Convection in Las Vegas in 2004, and has attended every APBA Convection since.
John is currently the (Beloved) Commissioner of the play-by-mail league he started in 2002. He is also the Recruiter-in-Chief and can be found extolling the virtues of the league to his friends at the APBA Convention – quite successfully, we should add. You may also have noticed his name in connection to BallStat/BallScore support (especially since Pete’s passing) and as moderator of the BallStat/BallScore Delphi Forum providing help and support for users.
He is the author of the book Winning Ugly: A Visual History of the Most Bizarre Baseball Uniforms Ever Worn.
Todd has done some extensive work with APBA, designing game boxes, game booklets covers. You can see his work and blog and hear his podcasts at his website, https://www.toddradom.com/.
Woody Studenmund.(2019) APBA Historian. Woody is a professor at Occidental College in Southern California where he teaches applied econometrics and managerial economics. Woody has received the Loftsgordon Award for excellence in teaching, the “Io Triumphe Award” for contributions to Occidental’s spirit of community, and the Janosik Award for his service to the College.
As impressive as Woody’s work in econometrics is, he is even more renown in the world of APBA. With the exception of Seitz and perhaps Van Beek, there may not be another name that is more identified with APBA than Studenmund.
Woody, though never employed by APBA, answered letters on APBA’s behalf for most of the 1960’s. Dick Seitz would forward the letters to Woody, and Woody would answer them. Woody was a one man APBA Journal, years before the pungent aroma of the first mimeograph copy of an APBA Journal edition polluted the air.
Naturally, Woody wrote for the APBA Journal. The first entry I could find was a mid-season write up of the NEL’s 1971 (cards) season. APBA Journal, volume VI, No. 3 (December 1972). Prior to running the AJ Pitching Grade Contest, Woody had demonstrated his skill at predicting APBA Pitching Grades so effectively that when the feature finally ended Woody was still the all-time Contest Champion.
Woody started playing APBA in 1958. In 1960, Woody co-founded (along with some of his neighborhood friends), the North East League (NEL). Time marched on, and eventually all the managers were leaving for college and starting their lives (Woody went to Hamilton College in Clinton, NY – class of 1966).
In response to the relocation of NEL managers, Woody invented the idea of the APBA play-by-mail league. The NEL was one of the few APBA leagues that used the play-by-mail idea, until the NEL constitution was printed in volume 1, issue 3 (December 1967). The explosion of APBA “mail” leagues can be traced to this APBA Journal issue.
The NEL, and Woody, were first in another area, as well. The NEL has held annual conventions, where all managers from all over the country (and Canada) get together. What Woody and the other NEL managers have found is the same as the APBA Convention attendees have found. The friendships that are formed are the lasting bond of the get-togethers. The feeling of family.
Woody has a vast APBA collection. While there are a small handful of other collections that are larger, Woody’s collection contains some one-of-a-kind items. Woody has the National Pastime boards that belonged to Dick Seitz (on which Seitz has annotated modifications). Woody has the original 1950 APBA card set which was property of Dick Seitz). There are a few other unique things like that, which separate Woody’s collection from even the largest collections in the country.
Nick started playing APBA in 1963 using the 1962 card set. Nick is primarily a solo player, but he clearly relishes his time playing games at the convention. After spending time with family, the APBA convention is Nick’s favorite event of the year, and he rarely misses one.
Nick is credited with igniting the current frenzy of regional tournaments and get-togethers. Nick is a relationship builder, it’s one of his secret super powers. Nick began putting together lunches for APBA players in the New York City and Connecticut areas. Slowly, other get-togethers emerged around the country. These often developed into a day of game playing and/or a full blown tournament. It has grown in strength and number, and continues to grow to this day.
Nick is known as the Great Contributor. through the years, Nick has acted as a sounding board for ideas and changes to the Baseball Game boards. But his greatest contribution is his ability to facilitate relationships. One way that this contribution can be observed is the Saturday Night Dinners that he organizes for the Convention attendees each year.
We mentioned his heart attacks, earlier. And isn’t that silly? If someone or something is trying to kill Nick Braccia, the heart is a poor choice for an attack. Nick’s heart is too big, too strong. It’s another one of his super powers.
Not that the details are not interesting. No, far from it.
An APBA draft league started in Ephrata, Pennsylvania in 1970. Nine years later they found they needed two new managers. They got one, Darrell May. Darrell had a friend, and so the commissioner (Larry Burkholder) and Darrell, recruited Randy Walker to join the league. 40 years later, Darrell and Randy were still managers in that league. Darrell estimates that he and Randy have played 15,000 games of APBA against one another.
In Randy’s 39th year in the league, he won the league World Series for the first time. But Randy did not manage the feat by himself. You see, in approximately 2013 Randy started showing systems of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). Randy was officially diagnosed shortly after.
By the time Randy found himself poised to win the whole thing in his APBA league, he couldn’t hold the cards, or roll the dice. Randy’s wife, Lisa Walker, did this for him. Together they played the league games. Together they made out their lineup, managed the game and rolled the dice.
Randy lost his ability to speak. So, Lisa would make the necessary managerial maneuvers based on communications that Randy provided through an eye reader and computer, body gestures or lip reading.
APBA Hall of Famer Greg Wells went to the Walker home to give them the APBA Hall of Fame plaque. During that visit, Lisa commented that she felt like she did what “any wife would do.” We respectfully disagree. We think Lisa is just as much a Hall of Famer as Randy is, and her name is on the plaque with his.
It is a love story. A brotherhood between Randy and Darrell and the rest of the league. A beautiful example of selflessness and compassion from a wife to her husband. What a gift. It is a love story.