APBA Blog Mail Bag: What are the real names of the replacement players of the 90s?

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Keith Shetter… err, Matt Herges

Does anyone remember watching Joey Laker play Major League Baseball?  How about Sonny Pearl?  Or (heh) Lancaster St. James?

Me neither.  That’s because they’re not real ballplayers.  However, the casual fan wouldn’t know better had they been browsing the cards of the 1990s.

Rob emailed asking me:

“do you know where i can get a list of the replacement players and the fictional names APBA uses in the 1997 season?”

That’s a good question.  For those not familiar with this unfortunate situation, an explanation is in order.  During the 1994 strike, replacement players were used.  Because they were non-union, they were not subject to licensing agreements.  Therefore, to keep within their contract with the MLB Players Association, APBA was forced to use fake names for those replacements players until they were represented by the MLBPA.

It was not the end of the world for the APBA Nation but it was another indication for us fans at the time that common sense and practicality was taking a back seat to money and greed.  Certainly, for all our griping, there was nothing APBA could do.  They had their hands tied.

But to answer Rob’s question, there is a list (thanks to the Baseball Almanac) of the Replacement players and their corresponding fake names.

Replacement Player Fake Name on APBA Card
Alex Ramirez Doug Mast
Angel Echevarria Andy Gabriel
Benny Agbayani Brian Hiller
Brian Daubach Jack Harten
Brian Tollberg Norm Heffner
Bronswell Patrick Charles Dempsey
Charles Gipson Fred Rivers
Chris Latham Joey Laker
Chris Truby Sonny Young
Chuck Smith Tom Keaton
Cory Lidle Fuller Starr
Damian Miller Don Cross
Frank Menechino Jerry Legler
Jamie Walker Rey Clark
Jason Hardtke Robbie Miller
Jeff Tam Todd Pearl
Joe Crawford Randy Gaynes
Joe Slusarsky Bob Bleacher
Joe Strong Dan Ruth
Joel Adamson Levi Atwater
Keith Osik Rollie Thomas
Kerry Ligtenberg Lee Grove
Kevin Millar Mike Butcher
Lou Merloni Joey DePalma
Mandy Romero Barry Armand
Matt Herges Keith Shetter
Pep Harris Lancaster St. James
Rich Loiselle Frankie Nina
Rick Reed Alan Hunt
Ron Mahay Red Crestwood
Scarborough Green Rey Clem
Shane Spencer Jimmy Ladd
Tom Martin Eddie Chamura
Tony Barron Jim Ripp
Rich Robertson Dee Sunday
Steve Sinclair Lew Queen
Dave Stieb Carl Rhoads
Sean Maloney Roger Wilson
Osvaldo Fernandez Nelson Sanders

 

Rob, I hope this helps.  I’m sure there are others who are wondering the same thing.

5 Comments:

  1. Great piece…… I always had an idea who a few guys were, the only one I was certain of was Tony Barron, aka “Jim Ripp” for a few reasons. As a Phillies fan I remember him playing right field at the Vet for half a season and making a great diving catch. Cool story about Tony……. The season before he played in Philly he was playing for the Expos AA team, the Harrisburg Senators. My dad, brother and a friend of mine went up to Trenton to see the Thunder play the Senators. During a dry spell in the game, my friend and I went walking around the stadium and ventured into the parking lot to watch the game over the fence. As we were walking behind the outfield fence on our way back I side we hear a loud crack of the bat and see a ball fly over the fence and into the Parking lot. My friend saw it first and ran it down. When we got back inside and showed my dad the ball we asked him who hit it…….”Tony Barron” my dad replied.

  2. If I’m not mistaken, while I believe the issue revolved around the strike that saw the cancellation of the 1994, the real issue with these players came in the Spring of 95. As some will remember, the strike was not settled until about 4 days before the start of the season.

    I can’t remember if Spring Training games were actually played that year with the replacement players, or those players had just been lined up in anticipation of the regular players not returning. Either way, there were about 100 players that crossed the picket line.

    I could be wrong, but I don’t believe the Union has every recognized these players as members. Thus, if game company’s want to use their likeness, they have to negotiate with them independently. I seem to remember there being an issue with David Millar and his likeness being used after the 2004 Red Sox world series. So, I would imagine that you will still find guys like Frankie Nina, Rollie Thomas, and Jim Ripp in the sets produced today, unless APBA has made an agreement with those specific players.

    Interesting tidbit, the strike ended with a court order for a preliminary injunction against the owners, stopping them from locking out the players. The judge who issued that order…. future Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor. Just a face I picked up in lawschool recently.

    • After several years the MLB Players Association eventually relented and allowed APBA to use the real names of scab players in card sets, though they never did allow those players to join the union.

  3. Thank you so much. I had forgotten about this annoyance, until receiving the 1999 & 2001 cards sets. I was about to post this question myself.
    In response to an earlier post, yes replacement players WERE used during Spring Training 1995, leaving a very bad taste in the public’s mouth, hence the need for the homerun races that followed 1995, until the bubble burst with the “steroid scandal”

  4. Missing from this list is replacement player Rich Robertson, whose fake name on his APBA card was Dee Sunday

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