First column 6s with a runner on third- have I been playing APBA wrong all these years?

There was quite a revealing Facebook thread on APBA regarding basic game rules.  It started with Rob Wash posting a photo of Bruce Bochte and an roll of an 11.  See, Bochte has double columns but has a first column six.  Specifically, he has an 11-6-1.



Rob’s question was this:

Basic game rules question again. Hopefully I won’t be advised to quit playing the game again. Andre Thornton at 3rd and Bochte at the plate. Roll 11-6, but he has two columns so I understand result is 5 and a double. This is how I ruled it. I’ve never had this come up before, and always assumed the double result was for a second column 6. Thoughts?

At first, many of us who have played the game for years were trying to grapple with the question.  With a runner on third, a first column 6 is a homerun, right? Since the beginning of time, a first column 6 was always a double unless the bases were loaded (triple) or if there was a runner on third (homerun).

Then the crux of the misunderstanding came through.  We were seeing it through the eyes of seasoned APBA players.  Rob Wash was understandably reading the boards and taking them literally.

And he was right.

David Hawkes contributed a photo of the uses of the Runner of Third board he uses:

Double column cards

Taken literally, Bochte has double columns so therefore his homerun should be changed to a 5 which is a measly double.  Even the new Master Game version of the boards has this “Double Column Cards” wording.

Have we been playing the game of APBA wrong all this time?  Pastor Rich Zawadzki led the charge in thread that it was a matter of interpretation.

According to Pastor Rich:

I’ve been playing APBA for almost 40 years…and…I never thought of it that way. Part of the reason that I believe that my interpretation is correct is that, an 11 result of 6-1 is a very new phenomenon. Up until very recently, there were NO double column cards with a result of 6 in the 1st column; it would be a 0-1.
It does read…
6 HOMERUN To left field (Double Column Cards, use # 5)
but I’ve always read it as…
6 HOMERUN To left field (Double Column Result, use # 5)
What say you John Herson?

Pastor Rich followed up with this snap of the APBA Baseball Master Game instructions from the APBA website.



Now, I had to read this three times and I am still not sure if I get the gist of what it saying.  I think essentially it instructs that “first column results for the 6 stay “as-is”.  Second column results are subject to change.


On the other hand, there is some credence that this is not an instance of awkward wording but it indeed meant to be taken literally. John Kalous and Chris Shores both contend that the APBA Company has ruled at the National Convention that the intent of the rule is to apply to all players with double columns even if their 6 is in the first column.

Chris says:

The Twin Cities tournament interprets the rule as a ‘if card has two columns, read result as a 5.’ One of our members (Kevin Cluff, who is in the APBA hall of fame) said the company has been pretty clear at conventions that this was the intent of the board as part of the algorithm for doubles vs homers. So that is also the way I personally play

Both John and Chris have connections with the Company and I have no reason to doubt them.  If this is true, I bet Kenny Lofton has a couple extra Illowa APBA League homeruns during his career.

The thread on the APBA Baseball group (you can read it here if you are on Facebook) is one of the longest i have seen.  And despite the differences of opinion, it is good-hearted and fun which makes that group so great.

My question to you all is this… How have you interpreted this rule?  When a double column player hits a first column 6 with a runner on third, how do you rule it?

Thomas Nelshoppen

I am an IT consultant by day and an APBA media mogul by night. My passions are baseball (specifically Illini baseball), photography and of course, APBA. I have been fortunate to be part of the basic game Illowa APBA League since 1980 as well as the BBW Boys of Summer APBA League since 2014. I am slogging through a 1966 NL replay and hope to finish before I die.


  1. First of all, I believe Rich may be in error(!). I do dimly remember a first column 6 on a double-column card in the 60s. But then again, it was the 60s, so my memory may be faulty.

    Second of all, I’ve always played those (few) results as “if it’s in the SECOND column, then “. Yes, that is emphatically NOT what the boards say now. I even recall a thread (much more recent than the 60s) on BTL that reaffirms what the boards say now (“double column cards – “), but I still play it as first column 6 = HR with runner on third even if it’s a double column card.

    My reasoning is that without that distinction, what’s the point of a first column 6 on a double column card? If you’ve got double columns already, you have enough flexibility to make it accurate without the first column 6.

    People say, “ask John”, and that’s fine. But I’d rather ask Skeet. I bet I wouldn’t get a straight answer out of him, though. :-)

  2. I would play it as a home run. We should clarify it for our league.

  3. It’s a HR. The charts always say SECOND column refer to # whatever.

  4. The pastor can’t even spell “Killebrew”, so i couldn’t care less what he says. A first column 6 will always be a home run with a man on third for me. Now, let’s say that Bochte rolled a 66 and then a 34–THAT’s a double. That’s how I see it.

  5. It’s a Home run!

  6. APBA’s official position on this issue, as confirmed by Skeet, is that it is a DOUBLE, not a homer. APBA flip-flopped on this matter for a while in the early 2000s but the Gameco recently restored playing board language that matches the intent of the original black & white tablet boards: it’s a DOUBLE. Bill Staffa crunched the numbers on those odd 0-6-6 cards and found that they are calculated with the expectation that there will be no homers produced by any 6s on the cards.

    This issue has been addressed at length on APBA’s Delphi message board:

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