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

Friends and Braintrust Subscribers,

March we devote to fantasy baseball and watching developments during Spring Training. This is the time of year your baseball juices ought to begin stirring again. What new rookies will find Major League homes? What veterans will be forced to call it quits? Which pitchers will find rotation spots and who will be relegated to mop up duty?

MLB news…Apparently Bobby Bonilla's juices remain unstirred. Mid-February, as quietly as possible, he declared that he was retiring. He said that there was no reason to make a big deal about it because no one would care, with great players like Gwynn and Ripken retiring.

He dispariged himself because he hasn't done anything notable in years. A pity. I wonder if the smile that New Yorkers failed to wipe from his face is as big now as it was when he still had promise. Days later he declared that he's back. Who cares is right. It's not like knowing that the great Bobby-Bo is suddenly available is it's going to affect my fantasy draft.

Speaking of fantasy drafts…

Guru Accepts Challenge…Fantasy Sports R Us initiated its first annual "expert" rotisserie draft and invited The Baseball Guru to compete against representatives from The Sporting News, The Roto Times, The Sandlot Shrink and other high profile baseball web sites in an expert rotisserie league. They advertised heavily on WFAN radio in New York, Baseball Weekly and Baseball Digest so we wish them success.

The Guru owes a debt of thanks to R. Gregory Scalf who owns and operates Fantasy Baseball Hub. His popular baseball links page now features links to various sections of The Baseball Guru, including a link to the Fantasy Insider section. His site has improved over the last year and I added his link to the Fantasy Insider section of the web tour. I hope the increased exposure creates plenty of visits.

What is the Fantasy Insider anyway? began as my personal fantasy baseball page, which I used as a reference for managing my fantasy baseball teams. Its popularity caused me to expand the number of baseball links and categories to put them in. It remains the core of the web tour and it continues to attract new attention. I encourage you to use it as your personal baseball informational launching pad as I do. It has links to live web-casts, recommended leagues to join, free draft preparation materials, drafting tips, mock drafts, cheat sheets and spreadsheet data that you can download and edit.

Baseball Analysis

Lots of new articles were posted in February. It was the most prolific month ever. What in the world could everyone have been writing about during the off-season? You NEED to swing by and find out. The direct link is:

I am excited to announce that Bruce Markusen from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown and author of three baseball books has agreed to run a series called "Memories of the Mustache Gang", which will chronicle the 1972 Oakland A's season. Look for updates every day beginning in April.

Welcome our newest Guru by contacting him to get a copy of the 2002 Calandar of Events at the Hall of Fame Museum. Email Bruce. They are having a series of special addition baseball films in March.

Legends of Sports…Nic Antoine, a sports fan and researcher, who belongs to several sports research organizations including SABR and PFRA mentioned the baseball analysis section of The Baseball Guru in his newsletter to hundreds of interested baseball fans. Thanks Nic!

His newsletter networks members within these organizations by promoting their research and raising awareness about each organization. To get on Nic's mailing list email him.

Meanwhile, I remain on the lookout for more baseball experts. This month finding a fantasy baseball expert is of particular 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.

Fans Speak!

To establish better communication between the Gurus and the interested baseball fans reading their stuff, I am revamping a little used part of the web site called "Fans Speak." I encourage you to check it out. The direct link is:

Interesting emails are posted for your perusal and I expect this to become more popular as its awareness increases.

The Guru's Famous Game

I am thrilled to announce that two new card sets are now available: The MLB 2001 season cards and The Best Players of the Modern Era (the early years: 1973-1992). The latter is my personal favorite, because it represents the best seasons of the best players from the start of my interest in playing simulation games. It's a phenomenal collection. Here's the web address for more info on the game:

The Best Players of the Modern Era (the early years: 1973-1992)

The 1970's and 80's were an exciting time for baseball. The pain of integration was complete and the introduction of the designated hitter ushered in the modern era. New strategies, such as using closers and five man pitching rotations, were devised. Star players emerged, benefiting from the changes, such as Jim Rice and Goose Gossage. Other players, such as Dennis Eckersley, rejuvenated their careers and found even greater fame in their new roles.

Which pitcher had the better, best season during that span, Gooden or Clemens? What was Thurman Munson's card like? J.R. Richard? Mark Fidrych? Catfish Hunter? Don Mattingly? Robin Yount? Rickey Henderson?

Here's the web address for more info:

The MLB 2001 season cards

What a year! The Bonds' card (based on his 73 HRs!!), was the second best made to date, worth $2,672.

Ruth's card from the live ball era set remains the highest at $2,729 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.

A-Rod's card, worth $2,162 (based on 52 HRS) makes him the second best SS card I've ever made, edging out Luke Appling's $2,133 from the live ball set but behind Lou Boudreau's $2,164 from the post war set. Honus Wagner's card has not yet been made so the jury will be out on shortstops until I complete the Dead Ball era card set.

Rookie Albert Pujols was worth $1,880. The Seattle Mariners (with their 116 wins) led by Giambi and Ichiro Suzuki (the Japanese sensation) were one of the most valuable teams ever when you add up the players worths.

Here's the web address for more info:

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.


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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