GREAT MOMENTS IN STRAT
Steroid Era’s Greatest Hits
I had a great idea for a fun, offense-loaded project. Using my computer game, I combined three seasons from the height of the steroid era, 1999-2001. I took the best card for each batter and the worst card from each pitcher. Using 1999 rosters and the 1999 schedule, I am playing out a season. As expected, it has been an offensive explosion. The MLB batting average is .315, and there have been a jaw-dropping 1,238 homers in just 344 games, an astonishing 3.6 per game (By comparison, the all-time record is 2.34 per game, set in 2000). Stolen bases are way up as well, with 784 so far (2.28 per game).
An incredible 19 players already have at least 10 home runs, led by Barry Bonds (using his incredible 2001 card), who already has 18! Ken Griffey Jr. isn’t far behind with 16, and Mark McGwire has 14. Just a year after the great 1998 homerun chase, it looks like McGwire’s then-record of 70 is going to get obliterated. The MLB ERA is a ghastly 6.90, as pitching staffs have little chance against the powered-up lineups. Dozens of pitchers have ERAs in double-digits. There have been more 20-run games (8) and 3-homer games by players (11) than there have been shutouts (6).
There have been dozens of comeback games in the late innings, as no lead is safe. On top of the theatrics, the division races are pretty close so far. The Mariners, at a MLB-best 18-6, are the only team with a division lead of more than 2 games at the end of April. The NL West has a 3-way tie for 1st (Rockies, Dodgers, and Giants).
Donald Gordon, Montclair, CA
Maybe the Oddest No-Hitter Ever
Back in the early/mid 70s, my high school days, our family would vacation in a Ford Econoline camper van. By the way, I passed my driver’s test in this van. Well, my brother and I would take Strat along and play in the back. We had all the old-timer teams and the 1970-1973 team sets. We would then randomly choose teams and set up a tournament format. No loser’s bracket. Basic play.
All I remember is either the ‘48 Indians or ‘54 Indians wound up winning the tournament. The game I do remember was the 1962 San Francisco Giants playing the 1927 New York Yankees (always my team). The Yankees ended up winning the game 5-3. After the game, my brother and I finalized the stats; we did this every game. The Giants had committed a few errors and walked many Yankees leading to the 5 runs. As my brother asked for the pitching line for his three pitchers, we realized the Giants had thrown a no-hitter! It was the first any of us had thrown and to this day I have not thrown a no-no. Maybe someone always mentions it in the dugout? I don’t know. I still have those team cards in my possession. Those were the days!
Mike, Oakhurst (Yosemite), CA
On my Baseball Heroes season, Tom Glavine had 5 perfect innings but then in the 6th he gave a BB. The no-hitter was intact until two outs in the 7th, when Bill Freehan broke it with a single. After that, two more hits and there goes the shutout. Had to bring in Kent Tekulve to preserve the victory. Almost got my second no-hitter in 47 years.
Orlando Leon, Live Oak, FL, SOM Fanatic since 1967