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THE TALK SHOW
Host: Glenn Guzzo
You can submit your question or insight on any Strat-O-Matic game to SOMTalkShow@aol.com. When you do, kindly include your name and town. Other gamers like to see that. And the display format below works better that way.
Reminder: Send us your “Great Moments in Strat” – your playing experiences that you just have to share.
 
THE “EXPRESS” WAY TO YOUR HEART
            The new Baseball Express set designed to bring new Strat-O-Matic fanatics into the fold brings back memories of one of my favorite basic-game sets: The 1997 All-Stars game set which helped me learn the game better and brought me from casual fan to Strat-O-Matic fanatic. The set, featuring color photos of the 1997 all-stars, and only set up for basic game play, was played by me both solitaire and with friends and relatives for hours of enjoyment. The new Baseball Express, with its impressive design and simplicity, and the playing tray is perfect for new players, as was the 1997 ASG set for myself back in the day.
                                                                                                    
                                                                                                            Daniel Champagne, Springfield, MA

            The Baseball Express game is awesome – gotta-check-this-out packaging, star-power players, swift and easy game play. As soon as I saw it I thought about how addictive it would have been for me at that age. Even now, as a 50-year Lifer with Strat-O-Matic Baseball, I spend time with Baseball Express and the Founders Edition. They take me back to a great place in time.

 
TIMELY PINCH-HITTING
            Is there any mechanism in Strat-O-Matic computer baseball (currently using Version 15 for Windows) that allows for the removal of a hitter for the purpose of pinch-hitting for him? I know we have codes for “do not remove for a pinch hitter” vs. L or R. I sure would like to be able to manage the other way by removing a hitter who is weaker vs. L or R, especially in favor of a hitter who has a better clutch average, and be able to define who that hitter would be.
Matt Crawford, Toledo, OH
 
            On the main screen, go to the Team menu, then to Update Computer Manager, and to Batters and choose your man. This is the same place you find “do not remove for a pinch hitter” vs. L or R. There, at the top of that dialogue box, you’ll see “Avoid lefties” and “Avoid righties.”
            Dictating the pinch-hitter is much more limited to the one preferred pinch-hitter vs. LHP and vs. RHP. I would like to see a Super Hal function that is similar to the priority lists for relievers – one that would allow the gamer to set priority lists for vs. LHP, vs. reverse LHP, vs. RHP and vs. reverse RHP, both in non-clutch and clutch situations. Perhaps another option would reserve certain pinch-hitters for the eighth inning or later. Ideally, though this might be more of a challenge to program, and for the AI to execute, we could dictate that a man’s platoon partner would be the designated pinch-hitter in most circumstances.
 

THREE TEAMS, ONE DOUBLEHEADER
 
            I am doing a replay of the 1899 baseball season. Just how as played are these seasons? On more than one occasion I have run into teams playing double headers and they have two different opponents. Was this common back then or a glitch on SOM’s part? It’s the only season I have noticed this happening.
 
Ty Hadden, Orlando, FL
           
            This is not a glitch. Len Durrant, the leader of the Update Team that has meticulously researched the 19th Century seasons and more, reports, “That was an anomaly particular to 1899. The shenanigans of the Cleveland franchise disrupted the schedule.”  I don’t believe 1899 is the only time this has happened, but attendance problems in Cleveland, and rumors of a franchise transfer – or of the National League abandoning Cleveland altogether – were rampant in 1899. Durrant offers this choice morsel from his research of contemporary news reports:
            Stanley Robison has a new explanation of poor attendance in Cleveland. He said to me to-day: "Whatever kind of a club you have here next season will lose money unless the men behind it can arrange with the Gentlemens Driving Club to hold their matinees some other day of the week than Saturday. With no Sunday games here Saturday is the best day, equaling, if it does not exceed, any three ordinary weekdays. For two years the Gentlemens Driving Club has given A FREE MATINEE every Saturday from June to Detour. Cleveland is the greatest harness horse centre in the country, and these matinees equal the Grand Circuit races. As the gates are open, the people naturally flock there instead of to the ball game, where an admission is charged. For years we asked President Young to assign our club away from home during the Grand Circuit races. Had we played here we would have hurt the race people to the extent of §3,500 at least. It would be only fair for them to return the favor now and hold their free matinee on some other day."
            So we see that Cleveland was eager to play some of its scheduled home games elsewhere. Ultimately, the National League did abandon Cleveland, which soon after became a charter franchise in the new American League.
 
 
BLENDING OLD TEAMS WITH NEW
            I am trying to start an old-timers league from 1905 to 1989 – 70 teams total. I would like to use the Super Advanced version of player cards for the table top game, but most of the old-timer sets are for basic play only. I am assuming the computer teams are advanced version. Can these features be applied or transferred to the board game cards for old time sets or would this be too much trouble and cost to do?

Doug Weber

            The computer-only features cannot be applied to the board game. Even in the computer, teams like the 1905 Giants and other one-sided teams published in the pre-computer era, do not have lefty-righty features.
 
            There are certain ratings contained in the computer game that can be applied to the board game. These would include error ratings, throwing ratings, super-advanced stealing, pitcher hold ratings, wild pitch, balk and passed ball ratings, and probably more. But I know of no plans by Strat-O-Matic to add those ratings to its single-sided old-timer cards, or to take those individual teams and turn them into two-sided cards with lefty-righty and other Advanced / Super Advanced features.
 
 
HEROES ARE NOT SO HARD TO FIND
 
            I have noticed more interest in a second Baseball Heroes set developing, now that many gamers have seen what fun the first set has been. As the names for the Baseball Heroes set were being leaked, I was working on a separate list, using comparisons based in part on the Similarity Scores feature at the marvelous Baseball Reference website, searching for even more greats and near-greats.  I believe that solid seven-best-years-based cards could be created for all of these players:

Starting Pitchers
: Hippo Vaughn, Ed Reulbach, Slim Sallee, Eddie Cicotte (Joe Jackson and Pete Rose are in), Eddie Rommel, Bob Shawkey, Art Nehf, Freddie Fitzsimmons, Charlie Root, Virgil Trucks, Dutch Leonard, Curt Simmons, Camilo Pascual, Jim Perry, Milt Pappas, Claude Osteen, Dave McNally, Mike Cuellar, Mel Stottlemyre, Rick Reuschel, Frank Tanana, Frank Viola, Dave Steib, Bob Welch, and Andy Pettitte, among the starters.

Bullpenners:
Ron Perranoski, Clay Carroll, Grant Jackson, Tom Burgmeier, Jim Brewer, Mike Marshall, Dave Righetti, Dave Smith, Trevor Hoffman, John Wetteland, Robb Nen, and Troy Percival.

Catchers:
We have a great need for catchers, specifically from the Deadball and first Lively Ball eras.  How about Johnny Kling, Red Dooin, Steve O’Neill, Muddy Ruel, Jimmie Wilson, and Spud Davis?  You could also add Walker Cooper, Sherm Lollar, Tim McCarver, Manny Sanguillen, and Jim Sundberg.

Infielders:
Jake Daubert, Stuffy McInnis, Tioga George Burns, Joe Judge, Phil Cavaretta, Joe Adcock, Boog Powell, Cecil Cooper, Wally Joyner, Tino Martinez, Larry Doyle, Donie Bush, George Grantham, Marty McManus, Buddy Myer, Johnny Pesky, Billy Goodman, Ron Hunt, Frank White, Glenn Wright, Dick Bartell, Marty Marion, Dick Groat, Nomar Garciaparra, Willie Kamm, Jimmy Dykes, Ron Cey, and Robin Ventura.

Outfielders:
Cy Williams, Jimmy Sheckard, Clyde Milan, Sherry Magee, George Joseph Burns, Bob Meusel, Irish Meusel, Baby Doll Jacobson, Bobby Veach, Bing Miller, Sam West, Lefty O’Doul, Wally Berger, Hal Trosky, Tommy Holmes, Bob Johnson, Hank Sauer, Del Ennis, Carl Furillo, Gus Bell, Roy Sievers, Rocky Colavito, Johnny Callison, Curt Flood, Felipe Alou, Willie Horton, Reggie Smith, Bobby Murcer, Joe Rudi, Amos Otis, Fred Lynn, Willie McGee, Moises Alou, Tim Salmon, and Paul O’Neil.
          
So many of these players have dedicated fan bases, and so many others fill gaps in the Hall/Heroes sets.  One more question, on a slightly different topic. Any chance the Negro League set will be printed in the standard card format, for ease of combining with the Hall 2010 and Heroes sets?


Jeff Woodhouse, Seattle, WA
 
            If and when Strat-O-Matic supplements its Baseball Heroes set, names on your list are sure to be included. Some were near misses this time, as you can imagine. There are even more now, with such recently retired players as Trevor Hoffman and Billy Wagner, and, presumably, Pedro Martinez and Manny Ramirez.
 
            In some cases, notably the turn-of-the-century players and the Dead-Ball era players on your list, some of the data SOM needs for its two-sided cards is elusive.
 
            But I certainly agree the Heroes set is big-time fun, offering endless possibilities for combining players. I have done so with the Hall of Fame 2010 set and the Negro League set. You probably know that the Negro Leaguers who are in the Hall have been printed in the standard format, and are included in the Hall of Fame 2010 set. I expect that re-formatting the remaining Negro Leaguers would wait until the glossy sets have sold out.