Vol. III, Issue #4 -
Strat-o-matic Baseball League
Commissioner' Interviews PART IV
"Bill Veeck's Leg & Barefoot League" - Bob Colleary **
(Finally, in this last part of
our new report about various SOM Baseball Leagues, for this
edition, we meet with one of the founders of the Bill Veeck's
Leg, which is the National
League version (held in Spring) of this duo League system that
now includes the Barefoot
-- in homage to Shoeless Joe Jackson, the AL Winter version.
We want to
as the founder and inspiration of these two leagues for answering
and to tell their fascinating story - all different and cool!)
(Notes from the Wolfman:
BVL has been around for 16 seasons now and its new sister league,
the BFL has just begun its first season, as stated with the BVL focusing on the National side and BFL on the American side.
Eleven of the Fourteen managers in the BFL are in the BVL.
These league rotate the duties of their officers and the
commissioner. So for Bob, he just finished as the Chair of
the Executive Committee for the BVL and he is the Chair of the
Trade Committee in the BFL. The BVL was started in 2000 by
Bob with his friend Mike Chernow, and Bob wrote the constitution
using the best parts of all the leagues he had played in before.
So Ultimate Strat Members, lets all meet Bob Colleary. )
Wolfman: Dear Readers -- we are honored and excited to be able to
introduce you to Bob Colleary, the founder of the BVL (Bill Veeck's Leg) and a member of a complimentary
league called the Barefoot League known as the BFL.
Bob, welcome to the Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter.
Thanks for having
me! Always glad to meet SOM gamers!
when you were younger did you always have an interest in
Yes actually it
came from my mom's side. She grew up in Brooklyn and her
family were all Dodgers' fans. When the Dodgers moved west, and the Mets
showed up in 1962, they became Mets' fans. My grandmother in
fact took me to my first game. My dad, otherwise a good man,
had no interest in baseball.
play in little league or high school and if so what was your
I played in little
league, but I wasn't too good. My high school team was way too good
for me. But I went to a small college in Boston called Emerson
and played there. I became better by then, a late baseball bloomer.
I played 1B. My specialties were scooping the ball out of the
dirt (and with our infielders that was important) and hitting
which MLB teams did you root for when you were very young?
following the Mets in 1966 when I was 8. I was a pretty diehard
fan until June 15, 1977 when they traded Tom Seaver at the
trading deadline. I was heartbroken. I never rooted for any team
again. I consider myself the biggest baseball fan I know who
doesn't have a winning team. I collected cool memorabilia,
primarily of Babe Ruth (including one of Bill Veeck's wooden
legs), for years. In 2009 the Baseball Reliquary, an irreverent
fan's organization located out here in Los Angeles, presented me
with their Hilda Award (named after baseball's first superfan,
Hilda Chester) which solidified my "baseball crazy" status.
Here we see
Bob with one of his heroes, the great Dale Murphy from the
some of the individual players who are your favorites?
Babe Ruth and
Dale Murphy are my faves. How Murphy is not in the HOF is
beyond me. He was better than half the guys in there. Back to
back MVP, went 30-30, catcher converted to Gold Glove
outfielder, ambassador to baseball, squeaky clean, totally nice
Now tell us
Bob, how did you first get involved with Strat-o-matic and when?
I was still in
high school when I saw an ad in a magazine and bought the
baseball and basketball games. Ironically I kept the basketball
and returned the baseball. But when I went away to college
there was a league happening there which I was invited to join, and I have
been playing ever since. That's 40 years ago.
began the BVL did you ever play in other other leagues or
Played in many
leagues, head to head and the grueling pre-computer "by mail"
method. I ran a face-to-face league in LA for 20 years, the
California Baseball Association. I played in one tournament,
hated it hated it hated it. Turned out the organizer was
playing with loaded dice!
tell us the history about how the BVL started and what is the
current status of your league now, how many teams do you have?
The BVL is an NL only,
teams. Half the guys we have now were charter members. We keep 22
year. I was in a league with a real difficult person who was
our czar/Commissioner and I felt that he had no integrity so I
left. I then decided to start my own league, brought a few guys
with me, we minimized the rulebook and devised a rotating
committee-based system in which the league is run by everyone,
and then invented a compensation system to account for being an
NL-only league. The BVL will be headed into season #17 next
year. We rarely have an opening. The BFL is copying 95% of the
BVL rules, nobody in the BFL wants to change anything. Except a
new guy of course, but we ignore him. :-)
geographic region are the members of your league from. Is this
a face-to-face league? How often do you play? Can you explain
the structure of your league and how you decide your champion?
We have guys from
all over the US and two in Canada. It's an computer league.
Our schedule mirrors MLB's. We officially hold our drafts in
Las Vegas on odd-numbered years. Usually we get 9-10 guys to
come (in person). On even-numbered years a few of us go to Vegas anyway but
it's unofficial from a league standpoint. Mike Chernow rents a
big suite and buys breakfast for everyone and we draft, and then
hang out the rest of the weekend, go to a show, etc.
We play two
7-team divisions. The two division winners get first-round
playoff byes, and then the next four teams are wild cards
regardless of their divisions. The playoffs are all best-of-7
and the final two teams play in The Leg Series.
On December 31
each year, the 8 non-playoff teams go into a weighted Leg
Lottery and I make three dice rolls out of Bill Veeck's Leg and
they get the first three picks.
Now can you
tell us about BFL - what is the relationship with the BVL, how
do the two leagues compare?
The two leagues
are structured identically, using BVL rules plus the DH. The
BFL's schedule is somewhat condensed time-wise so we won't have
much overlap between the two leagues. Someday the BVL champ may
take on the BFL champ but the BFL's got to pay its dues first.
any of your members who are perhaps well known SOM Baseball
I have no idea,
but several have played in long-running leagues. The BVL and
BFL are my only two leagues. Two are plenty. Some guys play in
more which I hate because sometimes they get their teams
confused. Those guys don't win too often.
back to your own game play - what are some special experiences
you have had as a member of your league - have you won any
Yes, I have won
the Leg three times. I don't go ever all-in, I like to be a
contender most of the time. Once you sell out your team to go
for it, it's too hard to get back up again. Our managers are a
pretty decent group. Very tough to repeat in this league. It's
only happened a couple times.
some of the greatest teams that have existed in your league?
Which team and year won the most games?
Because we play
156 games, 100-win teams don't happen every year. This year we
had a 116-win team. It was a great team to start with and then
he chose (against my advice) to sell out some future to become
even better. He lost the Leg Series in 7 games, in extra
innings. My team won its division this year with 101 wins, but
my offense disappeared in the playoffs and I lost to the
eventual league champ.
Why do you
enjoy playing in your league - what type of relationship exists
with your members? Has there been any challenges to your league
in the past where it might have ended? What makes your league
The league is
very balanced and stable and we rarely change rules. A bunch of
guys live in the Chicago area and they see each other
sometimes. I have met 10 of the other 13 guys. We did have a
huge explosion after season 2 because we had a cheater who won
pretty much every home game. Basically I threw him out (he
denied everything of course) and asked the league to hang in.
They did and it's been smooth sailing ever since. His name is
not spoken in the league and his name was stricken from its
history. He was a "real douchebag".
about some of the members of your current league? What are the
ages of your members?
I can't really
name some of them without naming all of them. We are a bunch of
semi grownups, basically 40-60.
this is the big question we ask everyone we interview for the
newsletter, and since you have won several championships in your
league(s): What do you attribute are the key factors and
strategies you have used for your success in building these
championship teams? Is there a certain type of team you
like to play with that enables you to achieve your success and
follow a master plan?
team-building, I like teams with good power and deep bullpens.
Because the BVL is so competitive, usually teams go "all-in"
(trading away draft picks and/or younger players) in an effort
to win a championship if they think they're close. Sometimes it
works and sometimes it doesn't! I never ever go this route. I
would rather make the playoffs pretty much every year and a
championship once in awhile than win it all and need several
years to rebuild the team. I have also found that the more solid
is your manager core, the longer it takes to rebuild after a
That said, I also make a TON of trades. No untouchables; makes
me better, and we make a deal. Trading, if you do it right, is
the fastest way to get good. Not every deal I have ever made has
been a winner, but on balance I have done fine. And I always
like to trade for extra draft picks, makes Draft Day more fun,
and fun is why I'm in this!
If a member
of our newsletter wanted to find out more about the BVL or BFL,
do you have a website or publication you share? How important
are league stats? What would be the best way to contact you?
The BVL has a
site but I think it's private to keep the spam out. The BFL is
just starting one. We keep all the stats. Best way to get me
is through my email which is:
We also have a group on facebook, but it's one of
those secret groups! I am also on facebook where I am very
accessible too, so ask me for my facebook when you email me.
for taking time to spend with us to discuss your strat
experiences and your leagues.
Glad to! Looking
forward to the new card set!