With his 100th championship looming, PennQuaker is among the most successful SimLeague Baseball players. He took some time to field our questions and discuss SLB strategy. PennQuaker also shares a bit about himself, including his duckpin bowling credentials and his family's ties to boxer Rocky Marciano.
PennQuaker SimLeague Baseball Overall Records
|1,017||95,285-74,640 (56.1%)||2,904-2,704 (51.8%)||99|
PennQuaker Tournament of Champions Records
WIS: Who is PennQuaker?
PennQuaker: I'm 48 and am currently moving with my family back to Columbus, Ohio. My background is in corporate finance with consumer oriented companies. But, I also have a B.A. in history from Penn which is why I chose this user name.
WIS: How did you find out about WhatIfSports.com?
PennQuaker: I came to the site through an ad on mlb.com.
WIS: What are some of your interests and hobbies?
PennQuaker: I'm a big Boston sports fan (Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics). I'm a huge foodie with a few of my favorite restaurants being The Salt Lick, Beaches and Cream, Caserta's Pizza, and Koch's Deli when the family worked the business. Also, I really enjoy historical non-fiction with Robert Caro and David McCullough as my favorite authors.
WIS: Which five people, past or present, sit at your dream roundtable discussion?
PennQuaker: Bill Russell (NBA star), Ty Cobb, Eleanor Roosevelt, King Edward VII of England, and my grandfather. My grandfather was a first generation American who ran the National Boxing Association, traveled the world to co-found the WBA, and gave Rocky Marciano his ring name. This is a diverse group that would have animated discussions on any topic.
WIS: Did you play any sports growing up?
PennQuaker: I played basketball for a while but I spent the most time duckpin bowling. I spent eight years on the DPBA Pro Tour until giving it up to return to grad school in Texas.
WIS: Who are your favorite all-time players?
WIS: Do you have any sports-related items on your bucket list that you have not yet done?
PennQuaker: I'd like to see the finals at Wimbledon. I'd like to see a game at all of the current MLB stadiums. Between current and no longer in use, I've been to 24. I was glad that I was able to take my Dad to Wrigley before he passed away this year. I'd like to take my nine-year old son to Fenway someday just like my father took me.
WIS: What is your favorite WIS moment?
PennQuaker: I remember when I finally won my first title in my eighth league. I had made the playoffs most of the other seasons but had always just fallen short.
WIS: Do you have any favorite SimLeague Baseball theme or progressive leagues?
PennQuaker: I tend to like themes that encourage offense and discourage the use of "cookies." I'm in three multi-season progressive leagues currently and enjoy them all.
WIS: What is your general strategy for building teams in SimLeague Baseball? Do you draw on the influence or philosophy of any actual general managers or managers?
PennQuaker: In theme leagues, I usually build strong pitching first with a focus on low OAVG, low HR/9, and generally less than 2.5 BB/9. Then it's about strong normalized OPS and OBP with respectable defense. Usually, I try to have at least one outfielder with a high range factor. For ballparks, unless the theme rules dictate differently, I try to play in parks that are positive for singles and negative for homers. Dodger Stadium and PNC Park are two favorites. In the past, I've also had success at parks like Crosley Field and Sicks Stadium which are negative for singles but positive for HRs. In progressive leagues, I try to trade for pitching because it's often too hard to draft it while focusing on building a strong lineup in the field.
WIS: How much time and effort to you give to naming your teams? Any team names you're particularly proud of?
PennQuaker: I don't spend that much time on it. I like the Queen City Men which is one of my progressive league teams. I picked the name because the team plays in Crosley Field and Cincinnati has been known as the Queen City.
WIS: You're currently at 99 total championships. Do you have any big celebrations planned for crossing the century mark?
PennQuaker: I think I'll drink a quiet toast. Unfortunately, my current playoff team just got knocked out in the first round so it will be a week or so before I have another post-season team.
WIS: You've got a 5-0 record when reaching the TOC finals. Is there a strategy that's helped with the perfect mark?
PennQuaker: I didn't know that I had never lost a TOC final until I read this. I believe that I came back from a 3-0 deficit to win in seven games once. For me, managing fatigue is the key to winning in a TOC which means going to a 4-man rotation for a start or two and resting regulars early in the tournament when games get out of hand.
WIS: Are there any players in specific that you like to put on your teams?
WIS: Are there any 2014 players you've had the chance to use? Any that you think will become regulars for you?
WIS: Do you make transactions during the season to try and separate yourself from others?
PennQuaker: I rarely use the waiver wire in theme leagues because of the transaction fee. I try to trade more in progressive leagues as I usually want to be either very strong or in contention for the number one draft pick.
WIS: How much time do you spend on your SimLeague Baseball teams? How much do you think is necessary to be competitive?
PennQuaker: I don't spend as much time as I used to but probably still spend 5-10 hours per week. I usually don't have time for strategies that require a lot of platooning or micromanaging of pitching staffs so this is plenty of time in my opinion.
WIS: If you were to give one piece of advice to a new user, what would it be?
PennQuaker: Read some of the archived forum posts to understand how the simulation works. I came to the site after playing APBA for many years and there is definitely an adjustment.
WIS: What is your favorite aspect of SimLeague Baseball?
PennQuaker: I like the ability to see career stats for teams and players in progressive leagues.
WIS: Least favorite?
PennQuaker: If dead ball pitchers are allowed to shut down HR power so strongly, then their salaries need to be adjusted upward.
WIS: What is one feature you want to see implemented in a future update?
PennQuaker: I'd like to see new salaries that reflect full normalization across time.
WIS: Who are the users you respect and/or enjoy the most?
WIS: If you were in one of our games, what sport would you play, at what position, and what would you be rated?
PennQuaker: I would play power forward in basketball and be rated as a strong rebounder and defender but a mediocre offensive player. Shooting range would be primarily in the paint but would be a threat to shoot 33% from three if the defense wasn't paying attention. :)
WIS: We thank PennQuaker for his time and for sharing with the SimLeague Baseball community.