Glenn Guzzo

 

 

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.
 
1924 Baseball: How Will the Senators Win Without Home Runs?
            It has been quite a while since I looked forward so much to the newest Strat-O-Matic release.  Year after year now I have been disappointed by the non-release of the 1980 football season and the “Cardiac Kids,” but I find myself getting more patient with the current release of the 1924 baseball season and the upcoming summer release of the Negro League stars.

            Back in 1992 I acquired an interest in the 1924-1925 seasons when I thought the 1992 Minnesota Twins might duplicate what their franchise had done during those years (which due to a dismal August of 1992 they did not).  I did extensive research on the 1924 season, combing every boxscore for every team in the AL and, in particular, looking at the ballpark effects from that season (see below). 

            For each team the numbers – for example, with Boston – are the total for both teams at Fenway Park as it existed in 1924, and both teams in Red Sox away games.  The percentages are calculated by taking the number of, say, doubles, divided by games at home (so D/G at home) divided by D/G on the road.  At the time Boston virtually played the same schedule at home and on the road (a perfectly balanced schedule) so this ratio reflects similar schedules in Fenway relative to the other 7 ballparks.

1924 AL Ballpark Analysis
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
G
1B
2B
3B
HR
1B%
2B%
3B%
HR%
Boston
Home
77
1088
333
65
24
0.981
1.315
0.965
0.509
 
Away
80
1152
263
70
49
 
 
 
 
Chicago
Home
77
1248
277
45
35
1.069
1.104
0.600
0.625
 
Away
77
1167
251
75
56
 
 
 
 
Cleveland
Home
75
1174
306
64
29
0.990
1.174
1.074
0.569
 
Away
78
1233
271
62
53
 
 
 
 
Detroit
Home
78
1150
293
79
46
0.966
0.967
0.919
1.022
 
Away
78
1191
303
86
45
 
 
 
 
New York
Home
78
1077
209
100
103
0.920
0.710
1.603
1.905
 
Away
75
1126
283
60
52
 
 
 
 
Philadelphia
Home
75
1146
234
44
57
1.061
0.877
0.627
1.170
 
Away
77
1109
274
72
50
 
 
 
 
St. Louis
Home
78
1202
275
49
93
1.070
1.066
0.645
2.080
 
Away
75
1080
248
73
43
 
 
 
 
Washington
Home
79
1083
222
104
8
0.951
0.845
1.949
0.166
 
Away
77
1110
256
52
47
 
 
 
 

            How can the Strat board game possibly duplicate these home run numbers?  Will only 8 diamonds per batter and pitcher allow Washington’s Griffith Park to be as stingy on homers as it actually was in 1924?  Will one have to play the computer game to maximize the ballpark advantage that the Senators pitchers must have had during this season?

            As long as I’m writing, I will again lobby for the 1980 football season (I will not include a picture of myself on my knees right now, but if it would help persuade Hal in any way to make this call, it can be supplied).  I will need to actually look at the Negro League set when I receive it, but at that point I might want to lobby for more 1930-1946s super advanced sets to create barnstorming teams with which to test out this new, highly anticipated set.


Kevin Hennessy, St. Paul, MN
 
            It is nice that we’re getting another season from the 1920s-1930s to coincide with the new Negro League set, isn’t it? The 1924 season will give us give five seasons from that era (1920, 1924, 1927, 1930, 1934) to summon Major Leaguers for competition against the Negro Leagues stars. And with ’24 sliding nicely into the seven-year gap between ’20 and ’27, it begs the question (still unanswered) about what season from the 1930s will move into the seven-year gap between 1934 and 1941.
 
            While we won’t know until we see the 1924 ratings and try them out, no simulaton finds it easy to re-create such an extreme performance as Griffith Park’s few homers. But Strat-O-Matic could come within a reasonable margin of error these ways:
 
 The given: Ballpark home run diamonds in Washington will yield no more than HR 1 for all batters in normal circumstances (apart from weather-adjusted ratings).
 
 The 1924 AL did not have many home-run hitters. Only eight men hit even 10 homers and only Babe Ruth (who hit 46) hit at least 20. Besides Ruth, the league averaged only 44 homers per team.
 
 The Senators, who will have half the at-bats at Griffith, won’t be hitting them out at home. The World Series champs hit fewer home runs (22) than any team in the majors. And Goose Goslin (12) hit more than half of those. No other Senator hit more than 3, all ballparks combined.
 
            I’m with you on 1980 football. It’s a fun season for more than the Browns, who won nine games by seven points or fewer. Houston’s Earl Campbell rushed for more than 1,900 yards. The Chargers had three receivers with at least 1,100 yards receiving each. The Eagles made it to their first Super Bowl and the Raiders became the first wild-card team to win the Super Bowl. I’m also hoping that, sooner than later, we’ll see 1960 and 1961 to complete the run of AFL seasons.
 
            At three seasons per year, we need only about five years to complete the run of seasons from 1962-present. The missing seasons fit nicely into five-team clusters from three eras: a) 1970, 1971, 1974-76; b) 1980, 1982, 1987-89; and c) 1993-97. If SOM adds 1959-61, it will be complete back to 1957. Prior to ’57, probably only the 1950 season, with spectacular Rams and Browns, would be popular.
 
 
His Game Table Became a Stretcher
 
            I just finished a game between the ‘68 Colts and the ‘99 Jaguars. Ten (10) players were injured in the game! Another brutal AFC South match-up (Jags upset the Colts 31-21).

Mark Harrington, SOM player since '69
 
            Yikes! Get the M.A.S.H. unit out there. Bubba Smith and John Henderson must have been angry. I’ve never heard of a game with 10 injuries, but then football gamers don’t often write in about injuries. I think a good many gamers play football without using injuries.
 
 
Strat Stats
 
            Glenn, since you wrote a book on baseball statistics (The New Ballgame), does Strat plan on putting any of the “new” stats on the cards?
 
Eric Corwin
           
            Not more than on-base percentage and slugging percentage, which were added years ago. It would take a card redesign to provide more. And most of the other, most highly regarded new stats (Runs Created, Win Shares, Value Over Replacement [VORP], park-adjusted stats, etc.) are pretty esoteric, even theoretical.
 
 
Strat and the Mac
 
          I would buy a PC so that I can play Strat-O-Matic regularly again, but I wonder if Strat will run well on the new Macs that can run Windows.
 
Eric Corwin
 
            This answer is from SOM’s Bob Winberry, who presides over all the company’s computer programming: “I don't know for certain as we do not support the Mac/Windows machines, so no play-testing is done on them. Even if it does work today we make no claim of future compatibility, so I cannot recommend purchasing one of these machines to play our games.
 
 
One Great Team at a Time
 
            Any new, old-time teams planned? Like a previous e-mailer, I’d like to see the ’39 Yanks, as well as ‘12 Red Sox, ‘42 Cards, and a bunch others including some 1800s teams. It would be nice to convert the existing teams to 2-sided. I don’t see anything about the Negro Leaguers for which I had read. Is it still due out within the month?

Larry Kapit, Coral Springs, FL
 
            Strat-O-Matic recently announced that the Negro Leagues cards were postponed until an unspecified date this spring. There is no indication that single teams are on SOM’s card-making radar. The old explanation still is valid: The research needed to make one team two-sided is almost as much as what’s needed to make a whole league. SOM needs league norms for lefty-righty stats, ballpark effects and more. Rating individual teams well also benefits from knowing the context for the entire league – for instance, was this shortstop the best in his league, or just one of the top three?
 
 
Craving ’61 (Again)
 
            In 2009, Strat is coming out with the 1924 baseball season. Over the next two years, what past seasons are heading the list? Also, any chance of the game company reprinting the 1961, and 1962 seasons in the three-color format?
 
Phil, Passaic, NJ
 
            Strat-O-Matic has never issued a multi-year schedule for releasing specific historic seasons. We have some indicators of baseball seasons high on the list, but not dates to match them. The 1977 season ranked at the top of a recent online poll. SOM’s Steve Barkan, who presides over the historic baseball seasons, has said 1958 will be done at some point to fill the one gap between 1954 and the present for seasons at least in Advanced format. Those wouldn’t be bad guesses for the next two years, but they would be guesses.
 
            We’ve said fairly often before that while anything is possible, it’s not likely that 1961 and 1962 will be issued for a third time until after Strat-O-Matic gets to quite a few other seasons first.
 
 
 
 
Another League for the Ages
 
            Enjoyed your article on the GUSSOMO league, which you describe as likely the longest-running nationwide Strat-O-Matic league… we’re not at 37, but we’re not too far behind. The I-75 Strat-O-Matic league will celebrate the start of its 30th year in March, and the league still boasts two-thirds of its original members. We meet every March in Florida for an annual convention, highlighted by a partial re-draft (we retain 18 players each year); the location affords us the opportunity for scouting players at spring training games as well as a lot of other activities that Florida affords.
 
            Our league is so named because when we launched in 1980, everyone in the league (save for myself) lived somewhere along the I-75 corridor that runs from Michigan to Florida. We have evolved from a nine-team league to 12; have switched from dice to computers; and from total redrafts to a retention format. One of our managers is also a second-generation manager; father and son both manage teams. Eight of our 12 managers have been active in the league for 20 years or more. We usually rent a roomy house in Kissimmee and occasionally families join us and do the Disney thing.
 
Gary Kicinski
           
            Great stuff, Gary. I feel sure many other gamers are glad you shared it with us. This is wonderful testimony to the enduring value of Strat-O-Matic and the way the hobby binds us happily. So much has changed in our world over the past 30 years – any 30 years, really – that having at least one continuity symbol offers some much needed stability. I’ll bet you and your friends can time the important moments of their life by the SOM baseball seasons you were playing at the time. That Kirby Puckett card, that I-75 League World Series, that pennant-winning trade, that once-in-a-lifetime moment in a dramatic game. I know I’ve got those memories, and they go by the names of Leon Wagner, Chet Lemon, Bob Welch, even Matt Nokes – among dozens of others.