Because they love both baseball stats and baseball history, Strat-o-Matic gamers tend to be diplomatic about the Miggy-Trout debate. Bender would not speculate on which player he would select if he did not already own the rights to Cabrera. “You cannot deny the MVP to someone who wins the Triple Crown,” Thomas said, adding that in a Strat draft, “I’d take Trout.”
When pressed, Richman took a side. “Trout had everything. Cabrera is a great hitter, but a barely adequate fielder and a slow runner. It’s a tough call, but I think Trout was MVP.”
As for Richman’s influence, Strat-o-Matic players do not mince words: He was as influential as James, Beane, and the other giants of sabermetrics and the “Moneyball” era, if not more so. “He belongs right up there along with the others,” Bender said. The board game was also popular with Daniel Okrent and other pioneers of rotisserie-fantasy sports, some of the founding members of STATS, Inc., and some of the designers of the flashy video games against which Strat-o-Matic must now compete.
Richman does sometimes get acknowledgement from the greater baseball world. “I have had my name mentioned, which makes me proud. It’s humbling to have made a contribution,” he said. “Bill James was the one who really made the change. He was the motivator.”
James was the most influential figure of the statistical revolution. It’s just not clear who would ever have picked up a “Baseball Abstract” if they had not already picked up a deck of Strat-o-Matic cards.
Posted: February 08, 2013 at 10:18 AM | 13 comment(s)
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