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Braintrust & Mailing Lists  Craig Tomarkin's Braintrust Newsletter, February 2002

Friends and Braintrust Subscribers,

Black History month is here and should be revered by all baseball fans. Yes, you too. Imagine what the MLB would be like without its African-American and Dominican players. No Bonds. No A-Rod. No kidding! For those of us too young to remember, 50 years ago the league was all white.

To celebrate the leagues integration, a different Negro League player will be saluted with a thumbnail bio or interesting snippet of history each day. John Holway wrote all of the thumbnails. It should be fun. Come by each day.

MLB news…This year the free agent marked was cold and most of the big deals were done early. Cleveland's Kenny Lofton is still available. In the NL, we'll watch Ken Caminiti, Andres Galarraga, and Pete Harnisch. Slim pickings if you ask me.

There were plenty of off-season trades though. To track all of the moves would take pages, so I'll refer to you to a web address:,1518,4560940_52,00.html

The Fantasy Insider section of the web tour will be the place to go for all of your fantasy drafting needs. It also has some recommended leagues to join. You will find mock drafts, cheat sheets and spreadsheet data that you can download and edit. All of this will be posted as drafts start to happen. The 2001 season data is already available for download.

Welcome New Gurus

The expansion of into a hub for baseball analysis continues to grow quickly. I am excited to announce three new baseball experts.

In January, I was looking for a ballparks expert and a Japanese baseball expert. We now have both. I mentioned that I hoped that Gary Garland would be the Japanese baseball expert, but he had continued writing for and had not yet contributed to Well, now he has! Gary Garland (Japanese baseball) wrote four lengthy articles of news and information, including coverage of the Japanese Hall of Fame inaugurals and the 2003 China Pro League. Welcome aboard Gary!

I am equally excited to welcome Joe Mock (ballparks), the new ballparks guru. He is the author of Joe Mock's Ballpark Guide, which features a chapter on each of the 30 parks, as well as 112 color photos of those facilities and each team's spring-training stadium. The book also describes the setting and history of each Major League Park, the best places to sit, how to buy tickets and the other baseball-related attractions in the area.

One of my favorite baseball topics is arguing whether or not players belong in the Hall of Fame. We now have a terrific Hall of Fame guru, Jeff Mordock, who will write a series of articles making cases for players on the bubble. His first article makes a case for Ted Simmons. Jeff is available for debate if anyone wants to email him. Jeff is a journalist enrolled in the Columbia graduate school screenwriting program and is an avid baseball fan.

As always, I will be looking to find more "Gurus" to represent other areas of baseball interest.

Any of you who would like to contribute commentary, photos, articles, experiences or whatever may to submit them for online publication by emailing me. You don't have to be a Guru to make a valuable and interesting contribution.

The Guru's Famous Game

The MLB 2001 season cards are nearly ready. They will be available for sale this month for $15.95. I already made Arizona's cards. Schilling was worth slightly more than the MVP Randy Johnson. Both have stunning cards. Luis Gonzalez, .325 avg. with 57 HR's was worth $2115 in scale dollars, one of the greatest single season performances ever and worth more than both pitchers.

I haven't made Bonds' card yet, but I wonder if it will be worth more than the Ruth card from the Live Ball era set? As it stands, Ruth's is the best hitting card ever and that includes some crazy cards from the 1800's set, like the one of Sliding Billy Hamilton (little known Hall of Famer), who batted .399 with an MLB record 199 runs scored and 99 SB's.

If you want a lot of cards (over 700 players) and hours of entertainment cheap, I dropped the price of last year's set by $5. It's a real bargain. And, there were lots of great single season performances last year too.

New Books

My obligatory plug: buying through my bookstore instead of directly through Amazon gets you the same prices and service but also help keep up and running. Please use the search box in the bookstore or on any page in the web tour. It's much appreciated.

So, that's what's new. Keep on visiting, keep on emailing and tell your friends about the most interesting baseball site on the web!


Craig Tomarkin

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