Class of 2005
Nominated by Sean Hafner
Mark Grace started his career with the Chicago Cubs, but that was short lived. The NBC Cubs traded Grace instead of Palmeiro to the Texas Rangers. Texas is where Grace would become a Hall of Fame player. He batted 3rd and was deadly in that spot. If he wasn't ripping doubles into the gaps he was moving runners 1st to 3rd with his great contact swing. His impact wasn't just felt on the field. He was a great locker room guy, which helped keep the Rangers moral high.
Grace led the Rangers to three World Series appearances and one World Championship. After the Rangers title in 2000, Grace was traded to the Detroit Tigers to help lead that team to their only World Series Championship. He was the one piece that the Tigers were missing.
Grace came back to Texas to finish his career in the organization that he helped build into a dominate team for 5 plus years.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Nominated by Alex Bertland
Robert Arrington was one of the first members of the NBC league. After graduating from Claremont-McKenna College, he saw an ad in the PTP newsletter that Sam Chi was forming a play by mail league. He took over the Dodgers for the league's initial season in 1989. He put a great deal of work into the team. He did a remarkable amount of research in a time before all the information was on the web and before there were a million publications about fantasy baseball. He also spent a good deal of time on the telephone making trades. He also recognized early on the importance of the draft. As a result, he was able to get players like Barry Bonds, John Olerud, Andy Van Slyke, Kevin Brown to create a juggernaut that won the first 7 National League championships and five of the first seven World Series.
He moved to Atlanta to live with his college roommate Eddie Thomas who took over the Braves and the A's. He also got me, Alex Bertland, to take over the Blue Jays. He worked at Oxford Bookstore in Atlanta for a number of years. In 1994, he moved to Vermont to live with John Drury who was then the owner of the Detroit Tigers. He did home care work for the disabled there. Eventually, he moved to Maine where he ended up working with disabled children in a public school. The competition in the NBC league increased, but the Dodgers did make the play-offs every year.
In 2001, he married Larraine Leppingwell and moved back to Atlanta where he got a job teaching in the seventh grade while working for a Masters degree in Education. He found the workload a bit harsh and had to leave the league. When he left, his team was still so dominant that a dispersal draft was done to restore balance to the league.
In late 2004, Rob's wife gave birth to twins. He is still teaching 7th grade and enjoying living with his family. He still plays some fantasy games but now they are more of the on-line Rotisserie variety.
Rob was both an innovative owner and was dedicated to preserving the league. While he was very competitive, he was genuine and honestly cared about the league and people in it.