THE "HOO" PROJECT

 

The "HOO" Project is a massive creative baseball simulation conceived and implemented by "Cousin" Bob Levy ("Cousin" Bob's Levy's book).

As Bob envisioned this, it would attempt to incorporate some of the most famous and colorful players playing on their minor league teams against each other in 4 different minor leagues.  Hence, you will see the likes of Satchel Paige playing on the KC (American Association) team alongside Whitey Ford and Mickey Mantle.  In the International League, you'll find the Jersey City franchise where Jack Chesbro is in the rotation alongside Pedro Martinez.

Here's how Bob himself describes the HOO creation process: 

"U-WHO (aka U-HOO) were brainstormed one summer by me, to see if I could invent (and then actually complete) all-time all-star leagues of so many teams it would be hard even to fill out the rosters.  Because I could look up schedules on the ol' bookshelf, I decided to play an Org with five leagues of 8 teams each, the leagues and teams of my teenage, the "high minors", circa 1944-48.  The biggest problem at the start was determining ground rules, then making several switches as player selection ground along.  The Leagues would be the American Association, International League and Pacific Coast League (the AAA leagues of 1948) and the Southern Association and Texas League (the AA leagues).  I began with all playing 154-game schedules, but regretted 154 for the PCL, which historically enjoyed longer schedules.
 
Criteria for player selection was simple, because, as League High Commissioner, I could choose and assign anyone I wanted from all of Baseball history.  First, I choose players I really liked, and none I didn't.  That was easy at the start---Ruth, Cobb, Lajoie, Wagner, Dean, Koufax, Kiner, Bagwell, Biggio, Bonds, Clemens.... Believe it or not, it began getting difficult at only 300 or 400.  Then, I went back and took most remaining Hall of Famers; added some players I didn't much care for but were needed to give me a fair representation; also chosen were Negro League players; stars from Albert G. Spalding of the White Stockings in 1876 to Eric Gagne of the 2003 Dodgers.
 
And still more players were needed, about 1800 in all, but the selection process got done.  First, all duplicates, one player from two or three years, had to be resolved.  Then the headache of assigning them to teams.  My first round of that was, a player must go to the city where he was a minor leaguer one season; next, he'd go to the city where he played as a major leaguer, or where he managed; next, to put a player on a roster to fill a hole, such as a catcher for Toledo where there were none, for example; next, to try to match a player with his hometown.  Just to fill rosters to 40 men, with great acumen built up over my 60 years as a fan----shuffling all remaining players and pass them out, one at a time, face down, to each team.  Then, upon finding a team with no second baseman (it happened at almost every position for some teams), I had to take one from a team with an abundance.
 
There resulted such rosters as the Los Angeles Angels'---who, with pitchers including Sandy Koufax, Bobo Newsom (30 wins for the Angels in 1931), and Camilo Pascual; position players like 1B Steve Bilko (off his 1955-57 seasons, 37-55-56 home runs) of the minor league Angels (building his "card" with BBW WinWizard; 3B Mike Schmidt, OFs Sam Crawford and Shawn Green---already dead last in the PCL, 15GB with 30 games played.
 
A handful of players were arbitrarily placed on rosters; since the Yankees aren't in these leagues, I placed Babe Ruth in Baltimore, his birthplace (well, would you have him at Tulsa?), adding Lou Gehrig because they should play together;  Willie Mays went to Minneapolis, where he hit .477 after being sent down by Leo Durocher in 1951;  all three of the DiMaggio brothers went to the San Francisco Seals, where they each played before reaching the Majors.
 
But Barry Bonds had to play there, too, so one of the DiMaggios, Vince, went to Hollywood, where he also played.  The Seals became loaded quickly, with the assignment of Lefty Gomez, Larry Jansen, Augie Galan, Arky Vaughan and, for a moment, the two Waner brothers.  It was immediately obvious that two sets of 5 brothers AND Barry Bonds would create an impossible situation, so the Waners went elsewhere.  As quickly as the Los Angeles Angels plummeted, the SF Seals shot to the top of the PCL, winning 15 in a row to take over first place, where they are as I write this.
 
Rusty Staub was sent to New Orleans, where he grew up, to play with the Pelicans.  Mel Parnell pitches there, same reason.  Ernie Banks went to the Dallas Eagles, down where he was born;  many of the Old Orioles went to the Newer Old Orioles---McGraw, McGinnity, Keeler, Wilbert Robinson, Jennings, filling out the Ruth-Gehrig tandem to overflowing.  The Houston Buffs, with a rich minor league background, started with Dizzy Dean, Ducky Medwick, Mort and Walker Cooper, mixed them with J.R. Richard, Nolan Ryan (hey, this was MY choice, right?), and my personal favorites like Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Larry Dierker, Luis Gonzalez, Dickie Thon, et al.  My Greatest Buffs team ever assembled, however, lies in 7th place after 30 games, with only a hint of what could be.  Likewise, the Oklahoma City Indians, with 1947 stars Al Rosen, Ray Boone, Joe Frazier and Ray Murray, enhanced by 1946 Dale Mitchell and 1948 Mike Garcia (the bunch of them with "cards" based on their later APBA creations), much less a threat than Houston, currently float between first and second, baseball being fickle and will break your heart.
 
A nagging conviction that the PCL should play a longer schedule, like they really did, bothered me until I couldn't stand it any more.  I created a new Org, with just the PCL, and copied the league's schedule from 1944, when teams had a 170-game schedule.  (it wasn't that 1944 was so great, but it was the only schedule I could find without getting out reams of microfilm)
 
With the initial, 5-league Organization, I couldn't do it right.  I opted to delete all further PCL games in the U-HOO / U-WHO Org, leave boxscores from games already played to avoid losing boxes from the other 4 leagues.  That's why you'll see a PCL within the U-HOO / U-WHO, but in another, separate PCL Org the league will pursue 170 games, based on 1944, which was easily available and which will count, not the other.  The slightly longer schedule is a killer, as teams play a very unbalanced schedule, mostly 7 games in one town in 6 days (Sunday twin bills) and long train trips as far as San Diego to Seattle, hoping military troop demands won't muddy things up too badly.
 
I couldn't figure how to insert this new 170-game schedule in place of the original 154-game one, so I just stopped play in the latter, deleted later games, and started over, from scratch, two weeks "before" the other leagues began, a game at a time to catch up.  FYI, I'm within a week of being able to renew play in the AA, INT, SA & TL and then all five leagues move forward, together, a day at a time.  My habit is to play each game as it comes, managing two, one or no teams myself (even using two micromanagers, I always set lineups and bench pitching rotations).
 
There'll always be two Orgs, but that's okay: back in 1948 the American Association winner played the International League champs in the Junior World Series, best of seven; ditto the Texas League champions vs. the Southern Assn winners, in the Dixie Series.  The PCL had its own playoffs, in 1944 the # 1 and 2 teams met, while the # 3 and 4 teams played, all best 4 of 7 series, the victors met each other for the final PCL championship (in other years and/or other leagues, the # 1 and 4 might have met first, with # 2 vs. # 3 and then on to the next round)."

All in all, you'll find pretty much every player, famous and infamous.

Check it out (we'll update this as Bob progresses with the project).

 

                    

 
MINOR LEAGUES Standings as of May 24, 1948

Batting Leaders | Pitching Leaders
Team Batting | Team Pitching

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FORMER PCL: SEE PCL ORG SOUTHERN ASSOCIATION TEXAS LEAGUE
W L GB Pct W L GB Pct W L GB Pct W L GB Pct W L GB Pct
KANSAS CITY Blues 19 9 - .679 BALTIMORE Orioles 24 6 - .800 X Seals 13 8 - .619 LITTLE ROCK Travelers 22 7 - .759 SAN ANTONIO Missions 20 10 - .667
TOLEDO Mud Hens 19 10 0.5 .655 ROCHESTER Red Wings 17 12 6.5 .586 X Solons 13 9 0.5 .591 ATLANTA Crackers 18 11 4.0 .621 SHREVEPORT Sports 18 13 2.5 .581
LOUISVILLE Colonels 15 15 5.0 .500 BUFFALO Bisons 15 14 8.5 .517 X Stars 12 11 2.0 .522 NEW ORLEANS Pelicans 13 13 7.5 .500 BEAUMONT Exporters 17 13 3.0 .567
St. PAUL Saints 14 15 5.5 .483 MONTREAL Royals 15 15 9.0 .500 X Rainiers 11 11 2.5 .500 BIRMINGHAM Barons 13 15 8.5 .464 DALLAS Rebels 15 13 4.0 .536
COLUMBUS Red Birds 14 15 5.5 .483 JERSEY CITY Giants 14 17 10.5 .452 X Padres 11 11 2.5 .500 CHATTANOOGA Lookouts 12 14 8.5 .462 Ft. WORTH Cats 14 14 5.0 .500
INDIANAPOLIS Indians 13 16 6.5 .448 SYRACUSE Chiefs 12 18 12.0 .400 X Beavers 11 11 2.5 .500 NASHVILLE Vols 13 16 9.0 .448 OKLAHOMA CITY Indians 13 14 5.5 .481
MINNEAPOLIS Millers 11 18 8.5 .379 NEWARK Bears 12 18 12.0 .400 X Angels 9 13 4.5 .409 MEMPHIS Chicks 11 18 11.0 .379 HOUSTON Buffs 10 19 9.5 .345
MILWAUKEE Brewers 11 18 8.5 .379 TORONTO Maple Leafs 11 20 13.5 .355 X Oaks 8 14 5.5 .364 MOBILE Bears 10 18 11.5 .357 TULSA Oilers 9 20 10.5 .310

Go to HOO PCL