August 15, 2022

Costas, Olbermann, Schilling, Firestone Head All-Star Cast of Replay League Participants

September 13, 2010 by · 3 Comments 

Recently partnered with Strat-O-Matic to run season replays and serve as their official podcast, and when I learned that Strat was going to be celebrating its 50th anniversary early in 2011, I decided to pull out all the stops, figuring what better way to celebrate than to run a replay league with teams run by people I’ve met and befriended over the last few years.

At first I wanted to run an all-time great teams league, and most of the teams that have been selected are either great or very good, but I also wanted the team owners to choose teams that meant something to them.  In some cases, both were achieved.  Roy Firestone selected the 1970 Orioles, not just because they were great but because he’s a lifelong O’s fan and that was his favorite team growing up.  Curt Schilling went with my suggestion to run the 2001 Diamondbacks so he could manage himself and his former teammates, which I thought would be fun.  Morgan Ensberg will be doing the same with his 2005 Astros.

Below is a list of friends I’ve lined up so far to participate in what should be an amazing league.

(In no particular order)

Bob Costas/Kevin Wheeler: Team Costas and Wheeler will be running the St. Louis Cardinals (year yet to be determined).  What makes this partnership compelling is that both Costas and Wheeler have worked at KMOX Radio in St. Louis at one time or another and hosted the same show, “The Sports Open Line,” currently hosted by Wheeler.

Roy Firestone: As mentioned above, seven-time Emmy and Cable Ace Award winner, Firestone, will be running the 1970 Orioles, his favorite team growing up.

Keith Olbermann/Dirk Hayhurst: Hayhurst, a major league pitcher who penned the critically acclaimed New York Times best seller, The Bullpen Gospels, and Olbermann, former Sportscenter and current MSNBC anchor took the Blue Jays because Dirk threw for them in 2009.  Hayhurst wanted a team that stood out so he went with the 1992 world champs, then contacted his friend Olbermann to help him run his virtual front office.

Curt Schilling: Schilling, a 216-game winner in the regular season and owner of an 11-2 postseason mark took the 2001 Diamondbacks for reasons I already explained.  It’ll be interesting to see how long Schilling the manager will allow Schilling the pitcher to go each time he takes the virtual slab.

Morgan Ensberg: 2005 N.L. All-Star and Silver Slugger Award winner, Ensberg will be taking the reins of his 2005 Astros in an attempt to take them to the next level.

John Hart: Although not confirmed, it’s speculated that Hart, an MLB Network analyst, will take one of the Indians teams he helped build while serving as general manager and executive vice-president of the team.  I’m guessing 1995, but we’ll have to wait until he decides.

Eric Karabell: A longtime Phillies fan, ESPN fantasy expert and senior writer, Karabell, will attempt to do what Danny Ozark failed to do—get the 1977 Phillies to the promised land.

Jim Callis: Baseball America executive editor, Jim Callis, had only one request.  “I’ll take anyone as long as it’s not the Yankees!”  My good buddy and Expos go-to guy, Jonah Keri, was tied up, so Callis took the 1994 Expos, promising to do Jonah proud, while righting a wrong caused by the ’94 work stoppage.

Jonathan Mayo: Good friend Jonathan Mayo was so happy to be invited to this league, he didn’t care which team he was assigned to.  I sent him a list and he went with the world champion 1991 Twins, winners of arguably the greatest Game 7 in World Series history.

Peter Morris: Author and noted baseball historian, Morris, went with a Deadball Era team—the 1902 Pirates—because “I’ve always thought that they don’t get the credit they deserve as a truly great team.”

Craig Wright: Author of The Diamond Appraised and his excellent “A Page From Baseball’s Past,” a text version of his pre-game radio show that he’s been doing since 1984, Wright was the first “Sabermetrician” to be hired by a major league baseball team when the Rangers brought him on board in 1981.  When I told him this was going to be an all-time great teams league, Craig didn’t mess around and went with the 1927 Yankees.

Chad Finn: Good friend Chad Finn of the Boston Globe and “Touching All The Bases” blog, has been waiting for me to invite him to play in another replay league so he could break out the 1978 Red Sox and his boyhood idol Butch Hobson.  This time there won’t be a Bucky @#!$%&* Dent to spoil the party.

Tim Cowlishaw: Dallas Morning News columnist and frequent contestant on ESPN’s “Around the Horn,” Cowlishaw went with the most current Rangers team available (2009) and hopes to lead the squad to a better finish than their second place showing last year.

Jerry Crasnick: columnist Jerry Crasnick went with the wire-to-wire world champion 1990 Reds, partly because his beloved Red Sox weren’t available and partly because he covered the ’90 Reds for The Cincinnati Post back in the day.

Dick Drago: Former major league hurler Dick Drago grew up idolizing Hall of Famer Al Kaline and his Detroit Tigers, so he was thrilled when he signed with Detroit as an amateur free agent in 1964.  Drago spent four years in Detroit’s minor league system, and barely missed pitching for the ’68 championship team before being drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 1969 expansion draft.  He still has fond memories of those Tigers teams from the ’50s and ’60s so he’s going with the 1961 squad that won 101 games.

Brian Thompson: An active-duty Air Force officer, Thompson is a hardcore Strat-O-Matic player who goes by the nickname “Nitrous Oxide” on the Strat Fan Forum.  He’s a Tampa Bay fan and will be leading the 2008 Rays.

John Bonno: Another longtime Strat player, John will be leading the White Sox (year to be determined) and helping me set the league up to get the most out of the game.

Mike Lynch is the author of Harry Frazee, Ban Johnson and the Feud That Nearly Destroyed the American League and It Ain’t So: A Might-Have-Been History of the White Sox in 1919 and Beyond, and the founder of


3 Responses to “Costas, Olbermann, Schilling, Firestone Head All-Star Cast of Replay League Participants”
  1. Tim B says:

    You should try to get Keith Hernandez to manage the 1986 Mets

  2. Mike Lynch says:

    I was thinking the same exact thing. I wonder if his contact information is readily available.

  3. Mike Lynch says:

    Originally Posted By Tim B
    You should try to get Keith Hernandez to manage the 1986 Mets

    By the way, I also tried to get Gary Carter with no luck so far.

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