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What Great Defense Looks Like
In my single-elimination tournament with the Great College Football teams, I played a game between ‘66 Notre Dame and ’71 Nebraska.  I currently reside in Omaha but grew up and lived most of my life on the East Coast and have rooted for the Irish for as long as I can remember, so I was pulling for my Irish.
Both defenses are superb, with Notre Dame giving up 3.8 points per game and Nebraska surrendering 8 points per game. The game ended with Nebraska winning 14-2, and that was probably the most exciting part. I don’t think I ever played a game that was that defensively dominant for both teams:
- No offensive TD’s, only a safety, and INT return and a punt return
- 214 total yards in the game, 114 for ND and 100 for Neb
- Both QB’s combined for 11-41 comp/att line. Hanratty was 6-24, 35 yards passing and 6 INT’s, sacked once. Tagge was 5-17, 40 yards passing
- Notre Dame had 79 yards rushing on 41 attempts, with one player running for negative yardage.  Larry Conjar rushed 12 times for 2 yards. 
- ND had two fumbles lost
-  Nebraska had 60 yards rushing on 36 attempts, with three players rushing for negative yardage and lost one fumble.  Jeff Kinney ran 17 times for 12 yards.
- Nebraska’s FG kicker was 0-4 and there were 15 punts in the game.
The following day I played a game between the ‘86 Sooners and ‘87 Hurricanes in which Miami had –32 yards rushing and still won the game in OT because Keith Jackson fumbled on the 2 yard line after Miami had already kicked a FG to go ahead on their possession.  I am somewhat skeptical about the fumble, but I’ll get over it.  An interesting stat in that game is Miami had two rushing TDs of 11 and 17 yards and still ended up with –32 yards rushing.
Henry Roman, Omaha, NE
His Boyhood Dream Comes True
I am a big Kansas City Royals fan and purchased the 1977 baseball season, hoping my luck with 1970s Royals teams would improve with this set. When I was in high school, I ordered both the 1975 and 1978 seasons because the Royals were one of the better teams in baseball. But I never won a 1975 or 1978 playoff series with the Royals. I also never hit a homerun with George Brett, my favorite all-time Royals player.
            Amazing what a 1977 playoff replay will do. I had the Dodgers-Phillies in the National League, and the Royals-Yankees in the American League. The ALCS and NLCS were a best of 5 games with the World Series being a best of seven. The Royals beat the Yankees 3-1 and the Dodgers beat the Phillies 3-1 in the ALCS and NLCS respectively.
            In the World Series, the Dodgers won the opener in the 10th inning, then slammed four home runs to go ahead two games to none. But Brett hit a grand slam in KC’s 15-7 Game 3 win. Thinking that Game 3 was my personal “Great Moment in Strat,” I didn’t think it could get any better. Amos Otis proved me wrong. With two runners on, Otis sent one deep into left field for a three run homerun. In his next at bat against Rick Rhoden, he had the bases loaded. This time he sent a baseball into the left field seats for a grand slam. TWO GRAND SLAMS FOR THE ROYALS IN TWO GAMES! Yet, Otis was not done. In his next at bat, with Freddie Patek on third, Otis sent a ball from Charlie Hough into the seats for his third home run of the game. My first three home run game for any player in Strat! The Royals won the game 14-6 to tie the series at 2-2.
            The Royals scored 29 runs combined in Games 3 and 4. They would score zero in Game 5. Doug Rau pitched a complete game and only allowed one base runner to reach third base. Jim Colborn gave up 6 runs in six innings as the Dodgers took the series lead 3-2 with a 10-0 win. The Royals also lost Hal McRae for the series due to an injury.
            Funny things happened when World Series games move to Kauffman Stadium for a Game 6 and Game 7. Game 6 featured Tommy John against Dennis Leonard again. There was no score until the bottom of the 5th when Al Cowens blasted a three run homerun into the fountains for the Royals only runs of the game. The Dodgers scored in the seventh after Rick Monday hit a sacrifice ground ball to score Ron Cey. The Dodgers threatened in the ninth, but Steve Mingori came on in relief and got pinch hitter Garry Burke to ground to Freddie Patek for a game-ending double play.
            Game 7 was the fun one. It featured Burt Hooton and Marty Pattin. After Davey Lopes led off the game with a walk and stole second, Dusty Baker doubled him home. 1-0 Dodgers. Frank White doubled in the third inning. George Brett came up to bat. Brett lined a base hit into the gap in right center field to score White from second. 1-1. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Willie Wilson singled off of Hooton. Frank White walked. George Brett came up to bat again. Again, Brett came up with a clutch hit. He tripled down the right field line to score Wilson and White, and the Royals led 3-1. In the top of the sixth, Brett made a big defensive play. With runners on second and third, no one out and the infield in, Brett fielded a ground ball, held the runners, and got Ron Cey out at first. The next batter, Steve Yeager, hit a ground ball to Brett. Dusty Baker tried to score from third, but Brett threw him out at the plate. Garvey advanced to third, and Yeager was safe at first. Two outs. John Hale hit a ground ball to Pattin for the final out of the inning. The next Dodger run happened when Ron Cey doubled home Reggie Smith off of Royals reliever Mark Littell in the eighth to make the score 3-2. The Royals answered in the bottom half of the eighth with back-to-back doubles by Cowens and Mayberry to make the score 4-2. In the top of the ninth, with one out, Mark Littell gave a single to Davey Lopes. In true Lopes fashion, he stole second base. Reggie Smith singled home Lopes from second. 4-3. Up comes Dusty Baker, a very formidable hitter. Littell was able to strike out Baker. Two outs. Slugger Steve Garvey was up next. The Royals decide to bring in a lefty, Larry Gura to face Garvey. Garvey’s homerun chances slightly diminish against left-handed pitching. Gura throws a ball that gets by backup catcher Buck Martinez. The next pitch is a pop up straight up in the air. Martinez got under it, and made the catch.
            The Royals win the 1977 World Series! World Series MVP goes to Brett. His grand slam in Game 3 coupled with his two clutch hits and big defensive plays in Game 7 make him the most valuable player.
Joe, Kansas City
More from 1977, Bosox-Style
I am in the third week of June in a 1977 American League replay, managing all the Red Sox games and auto playing the rest. In a game on June 22, Red Sox at Orioles, the Red Sox trailed 4-2 in the 9th with Jim Palmer on the mound. George “Boomer” Scott homered to lead off the inning. After a Bernie Carbo strikeout, Butch Hobson rolled a BP homer chance. 1-9 homer. The split was a 10, meaning Al Bumbry’s fielding comes into play. Now the chances were improved to 1-15. Hobson homered and the game was tied. The Orioles did not score in the home half of the 9th. Fred Lynn doubled in the 10th, moved to third on a groundout and then Carl Yastrzemski hit a deep fly ball and Lynn scored to push the Red Sox ahead. Bill Campbell pitched the 10th and earned his 12th save. The Red Sox are 39-26, 3 1/2 games ahead of the Yankees. The Royals lead the West, 4 games ahead of the White Sox. Rod Carew is hitting .339 so far. I was 15 in 1977, it is fun to replay the season of the Crunch Bunch Red Sox.
Tom Nahigian, Pasadena, CA
How Strat-O-Matic Revived His Interest in Baseball
I had lost interest in most sports but especially baseball for a very long time. With all the PED allegations in baseball, coupled with the loss of the Expos in Montreal, my interest in the game had waned. Then a few months ago, I received a call from a friend who told me that Strat-O-Matic was still in business and that he had purchased the Hall of Fame 2010 board game. I was excited to hear that the game was still around as we had played for so many years when we were younger. I subsequently went to his house to play a few games with drafted players from Hall of Fame 2010 cards. Just like that, I was hooked again. I really missed the game and my interest in baseball was renewed.
So, I decided to purchase my own Hall of Fame 2010 board game, and while I was at it I also bought the Baseball Heroes cards, and 8 individual team cards. I focused on World Series winning teams from various eras:
  • 1927 New York Yankees
  • 1934 St. Louis Cardinals
  • 1948 Cleveland Indians
  • 1954 New York Giants
  • 1957 Milwaukee Braves
  • 1961 New York Yankees
  • 1965 Los Angeles Dodgers
  • 1967 St. Louis Cardinals
When I received the cards, I quickly realized that although the super-star Hall of Famers were great to have, what really got me excited were the individual teams. I spent a lot of time learning more about each team from various web sites, including Once you start to study the history of the game, you will realize how much baseball’s traditions, statistics, and continuity is what makes the game so unique.
I began a Strat-O-Matic World Series Winners Elimination Tournament. Each series featured two teams in a best-of-7 games match, played with cards and dice, and used one-sided basic cards with modified basic game rules.  
The first round the results were as follows:

  • 1927 New York Yankees (2) versus 1934 St. Louis Cardinals (4)
  • 1948 Cleveland Indians (4) versus 1967 St. Louis Cardinals (2)
  • 1954 New York Giants (4) versus 1957 Milwaukee Braves (3)
  • 1965 Los Angeles Dodgers (1) versus 1961 New York Yankees (4)

The most exciting series in the first round was between the 1954 New York Giants and 1957 Milwaukee Braves. 


  • Game 2 went into extra innings as the Giants scored two runs in the top of the 10th, including a pinch hit home run by Dusty Rhodes, to make it a 3 to 1 game. The Braves made it exciting as they scored 1 run in the bottom of the 10th on a double and then a two base error, but not enough to catch up.
  • In Game 3, the Giants scored 4 runs in the bottom of the 9th to win 10 to 9 with a 3-run walk-off home run by Al Dark.
  • Game 5 featured another extra innings game in which the Braves scored 4 runs in the top of the 11th, including a solo home run by Eddie Mathews, to win 7 to 3.
  • Game 7 was a classic. With the series on the line, the Giants score 3 runs in the top of the 9th to take a 7 to 6 lead in the final game. It seemed as though the game and series was over until Del Rice hit a pinch hit home run for the Braves in the bottom of the 9th to tie the game. Just when it seemed it cannot get more exciting, Ray Katt of the Giants hits a pinch hit home run in the top of the 10th.   This put the Giants ahead 8 to 7 as they hung on in the bottom of the 10th to win the game and the series. What a series!  

In the second round, the results were:

  • 1934 St. Louis Cardinals (3) versus 1948 Cleveland Indians (4)
  • 1961 New York Yankees (4) versus 1954 New York Giants (1)
In the finals, the 1961 New York Yankees won the series in 6 games.

Final's highlights included:
1961 New York Yankees

  • Bill Stafford (2-0) starts and wins 2 games giving up only 1 earned run in 15 innings pitched.
  •  Luis Arroyo relieves in 3 games giving up no earned runs while earning 2 saves.
  •  Roger Maris hits a home run in 4 out of 6 games played, scores 8 runs, and 7 RBIs.
  •  New York Yankees hit 10 home runs in series.

1948 Cleveland Indians

  • Joe Gordon hits 2 home runs, scores 3 runs, and 6 RBIs in final series.  Goes 5 for 5 in Game 2 with three singles, a home run, and a double.
  • Game 6, a pinch hit home run by Allie Clark in the 7th inning.
  • Game 5, a pinch hit home run by Walt Judnich in the 8th inning.
What an exciting tournament and final series! It solidified my interest in baseball once again, and my passion for playing Strat-O-Matic. It seems the two go well together.
Constantine Kostarakis, Montreal