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Thursday, February 15, 2007

TBA: Finn: Everything I Know About Baseball I Learned From Strat-O-Matic

Bless Hal Richman…..and Chuck Seelbach (who won 24 games in my friend’s basement league…before we turned it into a boggy potden of Jackie Mittoo records!)!

All right, so that title there is a modest exaggeration. Truth be told, my first introduction to baseball came in my eighth summer, when a Rodent Napoleon named Don Zimmer mismanaged the ‘78 Red Sox into infamy. Despite that cruel indoctrination, baseball’s grip on me was secure, and it wasn’t long before a certain simple but fundamentally sound board game helped me adore the game even more.

So it was that before fantasy baseball became a national pastime unto itself . . . before Rob Neyer was even a twinkle in Bill James’s Texas Instrument . . . before the advent of Baseball Prospectus and On-Base Plus Slugging and Value Over Replacement Player and so many other modern numerical and analytical enhancements to the ol’ ballgame, Strat-O-Matic taught me the value of statistics beyond the basics listed in the Sunday sports section.

Repoz Posted: February 15, 2007 at 01:45 PM | 69 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: fantasy baseball

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   1. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: February 15, 2007 at 03:05 PM (#2298221)
Jackie Mittoo record<u>s</u>? As in more than one? Jeez, you must've had a lot of disposable income.
   2. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: February 15, 2007 at 03:19 PM (#2298228)
S-O-M was my painful introduction into the world of Sabermetrics too, courtesy of a 1985 draft league (6 teams, all cards) I was in with some high school friends. When I looked over the rosters before we started playing games, my team had the most real-life RBI's, the most wins, the most saves, and Gold Glove defense in CF (Gary Pettis). How could I lose?

Unfortunately, they also had a real-life OBP of about .335 and got their collective asses handed to them once the games started. A typical starting lineup for this team was something like

LF Gary Redus (.366)
2B Tom Herr (.379)
SS Cal Ripken (.347)
RF Dave Parker (.365)
1B Glenn Davis (.332)
3B Floyd Rayford (.324)
C Lance Parrish (.323)
CF Gary Pettis (.347)
P

The only no-hitter in the league was thrown against this bunch by Scott Sanderson, who missed out on a perfect game when he somehow walked one of these guys (Parker, IIRC). No problem though, as Davis promptly GB(A)'d to end the threat and allow Sanderson to face the minimum.
   3. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: February 15, 2007 at 03:35 PM (#2298243)
That doesn't really look like that bad a lineup to me, 2000. Pretty good pop from the non-OBA guys, pretty good on-base from the non-SA guys. Does SOM not handle that very well? (I was an APBA guy, and became quite familiar with its limitations.)
   4. GGC for Sale Posted: February 15, 2007 at 03:44 PM (#2298250)
1985 AL OBP was .327, but I do recall that story 2000.
   5. Zach Posted: February 15, 2007 at 03:56 PM (#2298260)
In a six team league, I'm guessing OBP would go up.
   6. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: February 15, 2007 at 03:56 PM (#2298262)
Well, now that I RTFA, I must say it's a very nicely written piece. I, too, wonder what the APBA cards of really good seasons look like (did anyone ever achieve the elusive "A & B" pitcher rating? Maybe even "A & B & C"? I mean, if Bob Apodaca's and Skip Lockwood's '75s rated an "A & C", Chris Hammond's '02...ooh ee).

BTW, while the game was supposedly designed by Ethan Allan (which was confusing to me, who knew that name only as a Revolutionary War figure), it was and is called All-Star Baseball. ASB was my favorite game of all games when I was growing up. I still think it's better than APBA <u>and</u> SOM; its simplicity was a virtue. I have one saved in my closet for when my son starts caring about baseball.
   7. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: February 15, 2007 at 03:58 PM (#2298264)
That doesn't really look like that bad a lineup to me, 2000. Pretty good pop from the non-OBA guys, pretty good on-base from the non-SA guys. Does SOM not handle that very well?

I think the bigger problem was that it would be a decent lineup in a 16 or 20 team league, but we had 6 teams and the talent was a lot more concentrated. Scanning the expanded 1985 leaderboards at BR, I had only one guy who shows up on the OBP leaderboards (Herr, NL #9) and 2 on the SLG boards (Parker #2 NL, Fisk #10 AL... I think I platooned him and Parrish). An "average" team would have 3.33 players on each board, but I was too busy stocking up on 25% of the majors' 100-RBI guys.
   8. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: February 15, 2007 at 04:02 PM (#2298268)
Yeah, Zach, that was the only thing I could think of, level of competition.
   9. GGC for Sale Posted: February 15, 2007 at 04:03 PM (#2298271)
In a six team league, I'm guessing OBP would go up.


I see what you mean. I withdraw my comments.
   10. bob gee Posted: February 15, 2007 at 04:25 PM (#2298286)
i remember that broderick perkins 1980 card!

is strat still played much (either on computer or cards) or is it sort of remnants from a past era?
   11. Boots Day Posted: February 15, 2007 at 04:32 PM (#2298293)
Back in the RSBB days, about half of us regulars admitted to learning about the value of walks from the mid-70s version of Joe Morgan in whatever card/dice game we were playing back then.
   12. DCA Posted: February 15, 2007 at 04:36 PM (#2298298)
I played Pursue the Pennant (I think it was the model for Diamond Mind). The game came with an all-decade set of players. We quickly tired of that and bought a season set, because the games were crazy. Specifically, stolen bases. My brother and I would draft teams from the all-star set for short series, and I would draft the high OBP/SB rating guys (Molitor at 3B, Raines, Davis, Gwynn in the OF), mostly for aesthetic reasons, and then run wild. He had Benito Santiago catching, with a "1" error rating (the worst) which meant there was a 10% chance he'd throw the ball into CF with each SB attempt. Or about the chance he'd throw out one of my better runners. I ran wild. Santiago made a bunch of errors, Tim Raines stole 18 bases in 6 games, etc.

The games with normal players were much better. But I can't think of much that happened of note. Ryne Sandberg went on a ridiculous HR binge over a 64-game mini-season -- this was before the mid-90's power explosion, it would have been 50+ in a full-length season; the Mariners were unbeatable if you put Bill Swift into the rotation; Jay Howell hit three batters in a row (we ejected him, although there was no rule for that); Pete Harnisch threw a no-hitter.
   13. GGC for Sale Posted: February 15, 2007 at 04:49 PM (#2298314)
i remember that broderick perkins 1980 card!

is strat still played much (either on computer or cards) or is it sort of remnants from a past era?


There's some guys in the Western Mass SABR chapter that are in a league. Some other New England SABRen play Statis Pro.
   14. BDC Posted: February 15, 2007 at 04:58 PM (#2298320)
I grew up on the c1970-71 Sports Illustrated game, where walks were almost entirely the fault of the pitcher (except for the occasional Max Bishop or Eddie Yost, who drew some on their own account), and fielders were rated on a scale of -4 (Rudy York at C) to +17 (Honus Wagner at SS), without accounting for position (so that a great-fielding first baseman had as much impact as a great SS or CF). And all the results affected by fielding were somehow infield forceouts, even if your only good fielder was an outfielder. It has probably taken me a long time to unlearn the habits produced by addiction to that game.
   15. Ephus Posted: February 15, 2007 at 05:10 PM (#2298333)
The big lessons from Stat-O-Matic -

1. The platoon advantage is very real.

2. LOOGY's can be very useful. I recall in 1983 - 84 scouring the S-O-M cards to find the lefty relievers who had no hits on their facing lefty cards.

3. Defense matters only a little, except at catcher.

4. Giving up outs is a really bad idea.
   16. Brian Posted: February 15, 2007 at 05:10 PM (#2298334)
I play in a league that is a descendant of APBA on the interne, Purebaseball. We've been on the internet since 1996, before that on some kind of dial-up thingee. Most of the leagues are traditional sim leagues where we use the stats from last season to play our season this year.It is awesome. You can keep 27 guys on your roster each year, draft rookies (And trade the draft picks) and Freee Agents. We play a 160 game season each year, 5 games a week either home or away.Each manager submits away instructions for the road games and plays the home games.
It's a great baseball game and environment. The rookie draft is March 20 this year and in one league (there are 27 trad leagues) I have 6 #1 rookie picks (20 team league) because I am in serious rebuild mode. The rookie pool is everyone who debuted last season. I can't wait.
   17. BDC Posted: February 15, 2007 at 05:18 PM (#2298345)
Defense matters only a little, except at catcher

I have a question about old-style dice-and-paper Strat rules: there were these lines on the "Catcher's X" sheets that said "passedball followed by foulout" as if every passed ball in real baseball were inevitably followed by a foulout. Didn't use to make much sense, so I ignored it, but was that really their intention?
   18. LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: February 15, 2007 at 05:24 PM (#2298354)
My first great, and still my favorite, SOM team, using 1989 cards:

Rickey
Robby Alomar
Tony Gwynn
Fred McGriff
Ken Caminiti/Kelly Gruber platoon
Tony Fernandez
Terry Puhl
Benito Santiago/Ernie Whitt

Rotation: Mike Scott, Jim Deshaies, Bruce Hurst, Ed Whitson, Danny Darwin
Bullpen: Tom Henke, Duan Ward, Dave Smith, Larry Andersen, Mark Davis, Juan Augusto

Yeah, I got the Jays, Padres and Astros in the random draw, and picked Rickey my one free agent. At the time, I thought I was going to get killed, but the pitching (especially the bullpen) was so good, I was in every game. Defense was great, and I lapped the league in stolen bases. In a 100 game season, Rickey and Alomar went nuts, both hitting .330-ish with a ton of stolen bases. Gwynn ended up with 101 RBIs in just 100 games.
   19. Smittywernerjaegermanjensen Posted: February 15, 2007 at 05:31 PM (#2298358)
is strat still played much (either on computer or cards) or is it sort of remnants from a past era?


It's still very much alive and kicking. There are a plethora of leagues out there which play the PC version, and many that play cards-and-dice.

I play in a card-dice league which has been in exhistence for 26 years. Draft day is one of the most delightful times of the year.

Every year there is a nice sized turn-out for what we call "opening day" at Strat-o-matic headquarters in Glen Head, NY (suburb of Long Island). This year with wind-chill factors making temperatures feel like 5 degrees below zero, there was about 70-100 people waiting in line to receive there new orders of cards for the board game, or CD's for the computer game.

Here's a link to a forum of strat-o players and fans.

http://www.stratfanforum.com/forums/
   20. Steve Treder Posted: February 15, 2007 at 05:33 PM (#2298359)
I have a question about old-style dice-and-paper Strat rules: there were these lines on the "Catcher's X" sheets that said "passedball followed by foulout" as if every passed ball in real baseball were inevitably followed by a foulout. Didn't use to make much sense, so I ignored it, but was that really their intention?

No, but it was a rather clumsy way of:

- Introducing passed balls and wild pitches into the game at something realistically close to their actual rate of occurrence

- While recording the non-hit PA that the "catcher's card X" roll is calculated to deliver

I agree, it was kind of silly. So as a method of partially ameliorating it, my brother and I ignored all wild pitches called for on the catcher's X, and instead penciled in "wild pitch +" on a 12-roll for pitchers with poorer-than-average walk rates.
   21. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: February 15, 2007 at 05:36 PM (#2298362)
Smittywernerjaegermanjensen

<GASP!!!> You were #1?????
   22. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: February 15, 2007 at 05:47 PM (#2298373)
and fielders were rated on a scale of -4 (Rudy York at C) to +17 (Honus Wagner at SS), without accounting for position (so that a great-fielding first baseman had as much impact as a great SS or CF).

Diamond Mind gets a lot of acclaim as one of the most accurate sims available. I ran thousands of DMB sims some months back to study the value of defensive ratings, and DMB is pretty much the same way. All players are rated separately for fielding and throwing on a 5-grade scale (EX, VG, AV, FR, PR). At every position except P and C (where range ratings seem to have no measurable impact), each change in range saves/costs you about 10 runs regardless of position. IOW, an EX defender anywhere is about 30 runs a year better than a FR defender at the same position. The impact for OF throwing is about half as much.

I was surprised to see a PR 1B costs you just as much as a PR SS, but while the PR SS is giving up more singles the PR 1B is giving up more 1B AND more 2B. I was also surprised to see range ratings seemed to have no effect on DP totals.
   23. Sexy Lizard Posted: February 15, 2007 at 05:55 PM (#2298378)
Well, now that I RTFA, I must say it's a very nicely written piece. I, too, wonder what the APBA cards of really good seasons look like (did anyone ever achieve the elusive "A & B" pitcher rating?

IIRC, Gooden's 1985 got him an A&B. I had a few 20 K games with him against my little brother's beloved Twins team.
   24. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 15, 2007 at 05:59 PM (#2298381)
Well, now that I RTFA, I must say it's a very nicely written piece. I, too, wonder what the APBA cards of really good seasons look like (did anyone ever achieve the elusive "A & B" pitcher rating? Maybe even "A & B & C"? I mean, if Bob Apodaca's and Skip Lockwood's '75s rated an "A & C", Chris Hammond's '02...ooh ee).

This season, Papelbon is a 28HZ, Denys Reyes is a 27G, so they are both A&B. There are 9 relievers graded 21+, either A&C or A&B.

Papelbon's card is almost the same as Eck in his huge year, who was also a 28HZ but I believe was a ZZ.

In the past decade, there have been a couple or a few starting pitchers who were 21 or 22s, or A&C.
   25. Smittywernerjaegermanjensen Posted: February 15, 2007 at 06:04 PM (#2298388)
<GASP!!!> You were #1?????


Mr Crabs (fighting the zombies in the bone yard): "Look at me! I'm Errol Flynn!"

Sigh. Perhaps I spend too much time watching silly cartoons. But cartoons and strat is what keeps me young.

I have a question about old-style dice-and-paper Strat rules: there were these lines on the "Catcher's X" sheets that said "passedball followed by foulout" as if every passed ball in real baseball were inevitably followed by a foulout. Didn't use to make much sense, so I ignored it, but was that really their intention?


That rule is from the basic style game of strat. The Superadvanced game of strat, has the Passed-ball and wild-pitch, but does not have the foul-out. The batter gets to re-roll for another try.
   26. There are no words... (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: February 15, 2007 at 06:05 PM (#2298389)
I've said this before, I'll say it again...

My all-time favorite Strat card: Bob Montgomery, 1979 Boston Red Sox, LH hitting catcher. The entirety of columns 1 & 2 vs. lefties were strikeouts.

Who says platoon splits don't matter?
   27. CraigK Posted: February 15, 2007 at 06:16 PM (#2298399)
Have they made a computer version of Strat-O-Matic?
   28. Steve Posted: February 15, 2007 at 06:19 PM (#2298404)
My Strat league has been around since 1981 and I have been in it since 1982. In all those years I have won just one World Series, last year, and been to one other. I missed my third by one die roll. Bottom of the 9th in game 7 of the LCS, bases loaded, Bill Meuller up, Hafner on deck. One roll and I'm in the series. Didn't happen. Sigh. These 3 great years are all in the last 4. A couple decades of suckitude preceeded.
   29. Smittywernerjaegermanjensen Posted: February 15, 2007 at 06:21 PM (#2298407)
"Have they made a computer version of Strat-O-Matic?"

Yep. It's a translation of the board game with some extra naunces. Nice product. I just purchased the 1971 and 2006 seasons.
   30. J. Michael Neal Posted: February 15, 2007 at 06:39 PM (#2298424)
My first great, and still my favorite, SOM team, using 1989 cards:


My title winning team, using the 1993 Pursue the Pennant cards:

C: Darren Daulton/Don Slaught
1b: Olerud
2b: Alomar
3b: Matt Williams
SS: Travis Fryman
LF: Kevin Mitchell/Phil Plantier
CF: Andy Van Slyke
RF: Paul O'Neill
Bench: Lance Blankenship, John VnderWal, Al Martin (who, god help me, played center when Van Slyke took a day off because of limited PAs), Ricky Jordan, Wes Chamberlain

Rotation: Dennis Martinez, Bill Swift, Randy Johnson, Ken Hill, Erik Hanson
Bullpen: Duane Ward, Scott Radinsky, Anthony Young, Wally Whitehurst, and one guy I can't remember

The league was slightly better than the major leagues, but not by too much. Walks, home runs and starting pitching were the key to our success, and we blew away the league.

Interestingly, in the four year history of that league, there were three no-hitters thrown. Todd Stottlemyre had two of them.
   31. Smittywernerjaegermanjensen Posted: February 15, 2007 at 06:44 PM (#2298430)
J Michael,

Was that the`year that Blankenship had a .370 on-base with like a .235 batting average?
   32. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: February 15, 2007 at 07:03 PM (#2298452)
This season, Papelbon is a 28HZ, Denys Reyes is a 27G

What's a "28HZ" and a "27G"? Master game ratings?
   33. LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: February 15, 2007 at 07:04 PM (#2298453)
Interestingly, in the four year history of that league, there were three no-hitters thrown. Todd Stottlemyre had two of them.
In the three year history of my first league, Jimmy Key threw two no-hitters and a one-hitter for my brother. He lost the one-hitter on a diamond homer to 2, out the rest.
   34. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: February 15, 2007 at 07:07 PM (#2298457)
Was that the`year that Blankenship had a .370 on-base with like a .235 batting average?

Blankenship's career line was terrific - .222/.350/.299.

200 walks, 60 EBH in 1300 plate appearances.
   35. laurent1056 Posted: February 15, 2007 at 07:33 PM (#2298476)
The sportingnews.com has an online version of the game. You give up tons of control (no in game changes) but you have some high level managerial control. Three games are played a night, and the season goes for 9 weeks. I play all the time (I used to work at Sportingnews.com) its good time and the roster construction is fun.
http://fantasygames.sportingnews.com/stratomatic/home_good.html

Worth checking out for at least one season.
   36. Bad Doctor Posted: February 15, 2007 at 08:37 PM (#2298533)
Excellent nostalgia, 2000! Strat-O-Matic 1985 set will always hold a special place in my heart, and definitely deserves some of the credit for amping up my love of baseball to an unhealthy level. I keep pulling for a return to MLB for Rickey Henderson just so some part of the game is still alive.

The best sabermetric lesson is the platooning, but also small sample sizes. I can remember trying to put together a fantasy draft league early on, but only getting through 20 or 25 games of the season ... Butch Wynegar was leading the league in hitting at over .500. The guy seemed to get a single every time up. I thought there had to be something defective with his card.

Outside of the fantasy draft, I always played with the Mets ... against my Dad, other friends ... and it feels like I lost damn near every time I used Gooden. My S-O-M record with 1985 Dwight Gooden must have been around 14-50.
   37. J. Michael Neal Posted: February 15, 2007 at 08:59 PM (#2298543)
Was that the`year that Blankenship had a .370 on-base with like a .235 batting average?

He hit .190. He slugged .254. His OBP was .363. The man was a walkin' fool. If I was going to use a PH to lead-off an inning, Lance was always the guy off the bench. Beyond that, my top two pinch hitters were Bill Swift and Ken Hill. Both of them were on the #7 Pitcher Batting card (Hill for no reason I can understand), and had more than 50 ABs, making them eligible to be pinch hitters. 176 points of singles, baby.
   38. J. Michael Neal Posted: February 15, 2007 at 09:09 PM (#2298548)
The best sabermetric lesson is the platooning, but also small sample sizes. I can remember trying to put together a fantasy draft league early on, but only getting through 20 or 25 games of the season ... Butch Wynegar was leading the league in hitting at over .500. The guy seemed to get a single every time up. I thought there had to be something defective with his card.

I had Ron Jones for the cards based on the 1989 season. He was a useful LH pinch hitter to bring in against a rightie, with very good numbers. Effectively, it was a dare to see if the guy had the balls to bring in a LH reliever; in eight PAs against lefties that year, he had two walks and a home run. It was the most destructive side of a card I ever saw. Something like two hundred points of walks and two hundred points of home runs. I wasn't allowed to bring him into the game if their was a leftie on the mound, so I saved him for for the times that my opponent had a ROOGY who you couldn't let face a leftie out there.
   39. tfbg9 Posted: February 15, 2007 at 09:20 PM (#2298553)
"You ain't kidding, dude. There's no better way to learn than constructing a model and trying it out for yourself.

How many Primates used this approach for sex?
   40. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 15, 2007 at 09:27 PM (#2298557)
"You ain't kidding, dude. There's no better way to learn than constructing a model and trying it out for yourself."

How many Primates used this approach for sex?
Well, I can think of a couple
   41. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 15, 2007 at 09:30 PM (#2298562)
What's a "28HZ" and a "27G"? Master game ratings?

Yes, master game. G and H stop homers. H is better.

I think the pitching ratings conversion is:

D 1-5
C 6-10
B 11-15
A 16-20
A&C 21-25
A&B 26-30

I only played one short season with the cards, the rest have been the computer game, so I'm not certain about these conversions. But I think they're correct.
   42. John M. Perkins Posted: February 15, 2007 at 09:32 PM (#2298563)
3. Defense matters only a little, except at catcher.


Defense matters a lot in Strat. Dave Madsen's "When to Play the Slick Fielder Over the Heavy Hitter," is the classic Strat study.

Several year's back Bret Boone was the most valuable card in the deck because of the relative weakness of 2B bats and his undeserved 1 range rating.
   43. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: February 15, 2007 at 09:38 PM (#2298568)
[Ron Jones 1989] was the most destructive side of a card I ever saw.

Randy Milligan's AL card from 1993 was pretty useful against LHP's: 17-for-32 with 6 doubles and 11 walks, a nifty .531/.651/.719 line.

Barry Who?
   44. Kid Charlemagne Posted: February 15, 2007 at 09:42 PM (#2298569)
I think the pitching ratings conversion is:

You're one off - they lowered it one point to reach each letter grade just a few years ago, so its 1-4=D, 5-9=C, etc.

I had Roger Clemens as a A&CX; this past year, and he threw 3 no-hitters in my APBA League. And I still missed the playoffs by two games...
   45. Howie B. Posted: February 15, 2007 at 10:02 PM (#2298583)
In 1993, SOM gave Glenallen Hill two separate cards - one with the Indians and one with the Cubs. I got his Cubs card - he had 10 HR in only 87 AB, hit .345, and had a .387 OBP and a .770 SLG. The guy was a freaking monster. First two games I played him, he homered three times in each game. It was almost unfair. First at bat of the third game - injury. We had created our own injury chart, which factored in the number of AB each player had. Of course, I rolled a 20, and he was out for the rest of the season. I'll never forgive him.
   46. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 15, 2007 at 10:18 PM (#2298596)
You're one off - they lowered it one point to reach each letter grade just a few years ago, so its 1-4=D, 5-9=C, etc.

I knew they changed it one way or the other, but I didn't know which way. :)

I had Roger Clemens as a A&CX; this past year, and he threw 3 no-hitters in my APBA League. And I still missed the playoffs by two games...

3 no-nos? Is this a large league? It must not be an all star league...
   47. Rafael Bellylard: The Grinch of Orlando. Posted: February 15, 2007 at 10:28 PM (#2298603)
I was in a APBA league back in the early 90's, using cards. This thread is bringing back fond memories of both Strat and APBA.

If anybody knows of a league that has an opening that I can get a not-too-sucky team (I did that once and it was horrible...'92 Tim Leary was one of my starters, and I had to use him because I simply had no one else), I might be interested. Make it good enough, I might fly to a draft. My e-mail is garyray9@yahoo.com
   48. Dingbat_Charlie Posted: February 15, 2007 at 10:58 PM (#2298615)
I still remember my lineups from our early 90's dorm league PTP teams. It's funny the old crap you remember in place of the more recent and important crap you forget.
   49. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: February 16, 2007 at 02:49 PM (#2298897)
Thanks for the APBA info, guys.

I soured on APBA as a system when teenage me tried playing the '76 season. Aside from the mass of paper it took up, I eventually realized what while the batting system was O.K., the fielding and pitching systems were all out of whack. They assigned pitcher grades based in large part on W/L, which was a really bad way to do it (IIRC Andy Hassler '74 was a C). Also, there were way more grade B pitchers than grade C, and that made very little sense to me.

OTOH APBA was very playable, and I soon got to the point where I had the boards pretty much memorized, and so could play a solo game in less than 15 minutes. I suppose SOM is the same in that respect.

I was tempted to try the master game, but in the end I decided it wasn't worth the expense.
   50. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 16, 2007 at 02:59 PM (#2298904)
APBA has plenty of flaws. Their pitching grades are based on Wins and ERA. H/9 doesn't even enter the equation, although the pitching grade's biggest influence is limiting H/9. Fielding is one rating that combines range and error rates. Personally, I can't believe people play the basic game, you need to play the Master game to have more granularity amongst the pitching grades.

I was tempted to try the master game, but in the end I decided it wasn't worth the expense.

Dude, who worries about the cost when determining the best nerdville make-believe cards and dice baseball game? It also helps that you never have to worry about having money to spend on dates.
   51. Jim P Posted: February 16, 2007 at 03:40 PM (#2298930)
I grew up on the c1970-71 Sports Illustrated game

I had that game, too, both the 1971 game, plus the "all time all stars". ATAS had blank spaces for a few, where they failed to get permission from the families. It took me years to figure out some of them (I think Sam Rice may have been the last). Just last year, I did an elimination series for each set, playing best of 3 series.
I grew up on the c1970-71 Sports Illustrated game, where walks were almost entirely the fault of the pitcher (except for the occasional Max Bishop or Eddie Yost, who drew some on their own account), and fielders were rated on a scale of -4 (Rudy York at C) to +17 (Honus Wagner at SS), without accounting for position (so that a great-fielding first baseman had as much impact as a great SS or CF).

Technically true, but all of the really high ratings belonged to SS/2B/CF. I think the top 1B was Hal Chase at +10, top 3B was Pie Traynor at +13, and I don't remember any corner outfielders being above +10.

What's really sad is that except for last year's tournament, I haven't played it in 20+ years, but I still remember an awful lot of the defensive ratings of players.

I'm not sure that it taught bad habits about defensive skills vs offense. You can determine whether the D is worth it. For those who didn't play, the pitcher rolled three dice first, and either got a result (K, F, BB, defensive play attempt) or got a "go ahead and swing", in which case the batter rolled. The defensive ratings determined which numbers resulted in automatic outs. Generally, about 4 points in rating meant an increased chance of 1/216 of getting an automatic out. Multiply that by 9 because the fielders affected every play, and multiply that by your favorite O metric. If you like OPS, for an average 800 OPS team, that extra 4 points of rating would be worth 33 OPS points, so someone like Roy McMillan (+14) would raise his OPS by about 100 points compared to a +2 shortstop.

At first, when I was little (I would have been about 7 when we got it), I just counted the number of rolls that resulted in hits and equated that with offensive ability, then I paid attention to those who had HR in the frequently-rolled numbers (the dice had some numbers repeating; they could add up to any number between 10 and 39, but the most popular ones (34 and 35) came up 8.33% of the time, and the least popular (19) just 0.46%). Somewhere in my early teens, I calculated batting averages, then before last year's tournament, I got the BPS from baseball-reference and fudged it for the Eddie Yosts.
   52. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: February 16, 2007 at 06:58 PM (#2299047)
Your analysis was exactly mine. Not granular enough, and not based on the things the grades actually affected.

Dude, who worries about the cost when determining the best nerdville make-believe cards and dice baseball game? It also helps that you never have to worry about having money to spend on dates.

My thing was, if the master game was going to turn out to be as much of a dud as the basic game, I didn't want to have wasted all that time again. Sure, it was nice having a thorough and unhealthy knowledge of the 1976 Baseball Guide, but I couldn't bear the thought of spending all that time and not getting a satisfactory result. Then I thought to myself, what exactly would be a satisfactory result? The answer was not forthcoming, so I moved on (to science fiction, <i>mais oui</u>).
   53. GregD Posted: February 16, 2007 at 07:05 PM (#2299050)
loved me some master game

all this apba talk has me nostalgic for some rp (rare play) board action.
   54. BDC Posted: February 16, 2007 at 07:35 PM (#2299063)
I still remember an awful lot of the defensive ratings of players

Not to mention the running ratings (from 0 to 5) and the red stars for bad bunters, green for good ones.

The best thing about the SI game, I think, was its terrific visual presentation. On the charts hits were green, outs red, walks and HBP yellow, strikeouts navy blue, and ROEs white. LH batters or pitchers were red, RH green, and switch-hitters yellow. It was gloriously intuitive, and the charts are minor works of art ... they had a football game too (more popular) with analogous color-coding, and a golf game IIRC, and a decathlon game ...
   55. Mushmouth Posted: February 16, 2007 at 08:00 PM (#2299070)
I grew up on the c1970-71 Sports Illustrated game, where walks were almost entirely the fault of the pitcher (except for the occasional Max Bishop or Eddie Yost, who drew some on their own account), and fielders were rated on a scale of -4 (Rudy York at C) to +17 (Honus Wagner at SS), without accounting for position (so that a great-fielding first baseman had as much impact as a great SS or CF). And all the results affected by fielding were somehow infield forceouts, even if your only good fielder was an outfielder. It has probably taken me a long time to unlearn the ha


Well...yes and no. IIRC, what SI's game did with fielding was give a team aggregate score, but the more difficult the position, the higher the scores the good fielders got. So the best SS were out there at 17, whereas I seem to recall Hal Chase or Gil Hodges led the 1B at +6. It wasn't great but there was some nod to positional value there.

You are right about the ridiculous walk deal (mantle had a few also) and also the fact that pitchers just didn't make that many plays at all. Only the best pitchers ever got a result on their card more than rarely.
   56. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 16, 2007 at 09:26 PM (#2299105)
For anyone who cares about APBA, the game company finally acquired the rights to their own computer game, which was originally written and owned by a 3rd party. Their computer game hasn't been upgraded in almost a decade. They say they'll have an upgrade out by the 2008 MLB season.

I was just reading the "official upgrade request thread" on the apba message boards. Lots of guys who want the computer game to show dice rolls on the screen. Many APBA players don't want to play baseball, they want to play APBA.
   57. 100MPH Posted: February 16, 2007 at 09:48 PM (#2299117)
I think my favorite card was the 1969 Carl Taylor card.


Like you, I owned the 69 SOM and as a Mets fan absolutely hated playing the Pirates. Back then, I was able to get the "greatest teams" collection, as I recall, about 25 great teams from baseball history including the 50 Phillies.

What I wouldn't give to get that game and those cards back again. Sheesh, why did I give them away???
   58. 100MPH Posted: February 16, 2007 at 10:19 PM (#2299139)
Kev- there's two things ... first, I'm pretty sure they don't have the complete 1969 season. But even then, haven't they changed the cards themselves since back then? Frankly, I haven't even seen SOM since 1971. I did play an entire 1969 season solitaire (NL only), complete with boxscores. Cleon Jones hit .351, and Seaver won 22.

Believe it or not, I actually got "nerdier". I started playing desktop wargames (Strategy & Tactics, anyone? Avalon Hill's Panzer Blitz, perhaps, or Luftwaffe?) in the early 70s.

I needed something to distract me from mom and dad screaming at one another - not to mention my acne.
   59. 100MPH Posted: February 16, 2007 at 10:22 PM (#2299141)
... and a question for those of us of that age. My son and I were watching "Brian's Song" ... and Billy Dee Williams and Caan were playing a board football game.

Anyone know the game? My son - a complete Madden devotee - immediately said,"I WANT THAT GAME."
   60. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: February 16, 2007 at 10:24 PM (#2299142)
Believe it or not, I actually got "nerdier". I started playing desktop wargames (Strategy & Tactics, anyone? Avalon Hill's Panzer Blitz, perhaps, or Luftwaffe?) in the early 70s.

I have this game and this game (among others) at home, neither of which I've opened in years.
   61. 100MPH Posted: February 16, 2007 at 10:55 PM (#2299154)
I like the look of the first one (R&F). Personally I still own a fairly large collection of "collectable" S&T mags/wargames - but I gave up playing them years ago. Nobody knows how, or wants to learn, so it's always solitaire.

When I was 12 and socially inept, that was ok.
   62. Kid Charlemagne Posted: February 17, 2007 at 12:46 AM (#2299190)
3 no-nos? Is this a large league? It must not be an all star league...

Ten-team no-DH league... Pretty good lineups - though offense was way down overall. First no-no was against this lineup:

Ichiro, Matsui, Erstad, Vlad Guerrero, Michael Barrett, Jose Reyes, Mark Grudzielanek, and Aaron Hill

Second was Omar Vizquel, JD Drew, Alfonso Soriano, Richie Sexson, Troy Glaus, Mike Piazza, Juan Encarnacion, and Terrence Long

Third was two starts later: Lance Berkman, Jimmy Rollins, A-Rod, Grady Sizemore, Victor Martinez, Carlos Lee, Brian Giles, and Jose Castillo

I'll grant you those first two had some holes, but that third lineup is pretty damn good.

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