For nearly 50 years, York County men have expressed love of baseball through board game
- The 49th season of the APBA Paul Goodnote Baseball League (named after a former member) is underway.
- The league features 12 local men who act as managers of their teams.
- The league starts play in September and continues through April.
A miniature, wooden replica of a major league baseball stadium sits on each of three tables in Dick Silar's recreation room.
Two men sit at each table. One rolls a pair of dice, moves his runners from base to base on the makeshift infield and keeps score of every play, while the other looks on, waiting for his turn.
Four other men sit on bar stools, or a couch, and watch a baseball game on television, ready to play once a table becomes available. They can hear an occasional cheer or sigh of exasperation erupt from one of the tables.
The 49th season of the APBA Paul Goodnote Baseball League (named after a former member) is underway.
Starting in 1970: Dick Silar, a retired York Tech athletic director, started the local APBA league in 1970, the year the Baltimore Orioles beat the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series. A three-foot traveling trophy displayed in his recreation room has the name engraved of every team that has won the league's World Series.
APBA, which was created in 1951, is a statistically accurate board game. Players are expected to perform similar to their major league stats. Each player has an individual card with results for each dice combination. For example, a 6-6 is a home run and a 6-4 is a walk, for many players.
How it started: Silar recalled how he became interested in the game.
"I belonged to the Eagle Fire Company on Jackson Street at the time," he said. "A friend of mine was reading a baseball magazine, and I saw an ad for the APBA board game. The company's headquarters was in Millersville (Lancaster County) at the time. I ordered the game, played it and was immediately hooked on it."
He decided to ask several friends to join a league, which originally had six teams. The league, which now has 12 teams, starts play in September and continues through April. The schedule, which consists of 54 games, plus the playoffs, was originally designed to accommodate the members' softball and baseball schedules.
The 12 managers: Teams boast names such as the Belvidere Bombers, Allen Field All-Stars, Cleveland Avenue Charlies and Shiloh Sharks.
The 12 managers include Silar, Leonard Vanoudenaren, Richard Mickley, Dave Mann, Brad Daugherty, John Chavez, Garry Miller, Terry Kottmyer, Jim Barnes, Rick Ashby, Don Bryant and Bill Kerr.
"This league gives you a chance to act like a kid for a couple hours," said Garry Miller, a longtime member.
Old-school fans: Managers play two games face-to-face with an opponent each Wednesday evening at Silar's York City residence. Each game takes about 30-40 minutes to play. League members, ranging in age from the 40s to the 70s, are old-school baseball fans. They shun the computer version of the game. They also have little or no interest in baseball analytics, such as Wins Above Replacement (WAR).
The APBA board game gives participants an opportunity to be the general manager, manager and player all in one. Participants draft their teams, determine the lineup and substitutions, decide on strategy, keep score and compile statistics.
"Draft night is always a big night and a lot of fun," Miller said. "You tend to draft players from your favorite team, or players you like."
Bragging rights: Bragging rights, rather than cash payouts, fuel the league. League members pay $15 annual dues, which is used for a social event.
Silar, a longtime Orioles fan, said camaraderie and a love of baseball are the keys to the league's long history.
"If you are a true baseball fan and like table top games, you must try APBA," he said. "If you do, you will get hooked."
Reach Barry Sparks at firstname.lastname@example.org.