GREAT MOMENTS IN STRAT
REALITY SHOW, STARRING MICKEY MANTLE
I’ve been playing Strat since 1972 and just had an experience that gave me goose bumps. I just started a 1953 replay and just played the Yankees at Washington game from April 17th. Mickey Mantle came up for his 2nd at bat against lefty Chuck Stobbs and sure enough hits a homer. Nothing out of the ordinary there but then I remembered reading that Mantle hit his legendary 565 foot homer off Stobbs that year. I looked it up and can you believe Mantle hit that famous homer against Stobbs on April 17th in his 2nd at-bat! I still can’t believe it. Truly one of my most memorable Strat moments!
Eddie DeMicco, Margate, FL
TALK ABOUT A PITCHERS DUEL – YES, LET’S DO
It was a warm, muggy Monday evening at Memorial Stadium – on Memorial Day in 1981, no less – when the first-place Baltimore Orioles hosted the second-place New York Yankees for the first game of a six-game home stand. Jim Palmer (4-3, 3.05 ERA), on a three-game win streak, was scheduled to square off against Ron Guidry (4-3, 2.45). Between them they had won four Cy Young awards, so even though neither pitcher was at his peak, one could envision a tight, well-pitched game developing. Which was exactly what happened, with the Orioles shutting out the Yanks, 1-0.
In 21 innings.
Previously, the AL record for the longest 1-0 game had been 20 innings between the A’s and the Angels on 9 June 1971. (The major league record for the longest 1-0 game was a 24-inning Astros-Mets game on 15 April 1968; the Giants and the Reds also played a 21-inning 1-0 game on 1 September 1967. As Casey Stengel would say, you could look it up.) The A’s won their game 10 years earlier in part because Vida Blue & Co. were throwing smoke: 26 K’s in 20 innings. The Orioles recorded just FOUR strikeouts – Palmer went 10-1/3 innings without a single strikeout – yet they still won.
How? They did it largely because the O’s defense just smothered the ball whenever it was put into play. Shortstop Mark Belanger performed his usual wizardry, and Doug DeCinces turned in a brilliant performance at third base, twice starting crucial, extra-inning double plays with a man on third base. Palmer gave up just three hits, and Tippy Martinez (2 IP, 2 H), Sammy Stewart (5.2 IP, 1 H), and winner Tim Stoddard (3 IP, 1 H) were equally stingy on the mound.
Meanwhile, Guidry carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning, when he was finally touched by No. 8 hitter Rick Dempsey for a one-out double. He was promptly replaced by Dave LaRoche (5 IP, 1 H), who was followed in turn by Goose Gossage (2.2 IP, 1 H) and then Ron Davis (4 IP, 2 H.) Neither the Yankees nor the Orioles committed an error, though Yankee catcher Rick Cerone was charged with a passed ball.
The tautly played game concluded in the bottom of the 21st when, with one out, Rich Dauer bounced one up the middle off Doug Bird for his second hit. Right fielder John Lowenstein, who had pinch-run for Kenny Singleton seven innings earlier, pulled one to the right side, sending Dauer to second. Eddie Murray then lined his first hit of the game, a shot that bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double, bringing Dauer home with the game-winner. Six hours and 33 minutes after it began, the ballgame was over. As an exhausted Chuck Thompson said after the marathon was over, “Just a heckuva ballgame, Brooks!”
P. Sean Bramble, Laurel, MD
FIFTY YEARS LATER, IT FEELS THE SAME
I recently completed a re-creation of the 1965 Minnesota Twins season. That team won 102 games and the AL pennant, losing the World Series to the Dodgers in seven games. "My" Twins won 101 games and – using the same batting order for each of the Series’ games – won the World Series in Game 7 3-0 on a 9th inning 3-run homer by Bob Allison. Exciting! My wife Lisa and I also had the chance to meet many of the players at a 50th anniversary reunion at Target Field in August … I have all four of the SOM games but baseball has always been my favorite. I received my first game set in 1973. I hope next summer to play the Twins’ 1969 season when they won the AL West. Thanks to Hal Richman for creating a great game and providing me countless hours of enjoyment through the years.
John Jacobson, Brooklyn Park, MN
CARLTON, GIBSON SHOW WHY THEY ARE ALL-TIME GREATS
I felt the tension, nervous with every click of the mouse, as Steve Carlton pitches no-hit "near" perfection, facing 27 batters. He gave up a solitary walk to Rod Gaspar in bottom of first, but the No. 2 hitter promptly hit into a double play. The next eight innings saw absolute perfection, with Carlton retiring every batter in order. In the bottom of the 8th, Ron Swoboda gained a reprieve on a dropped foul pop-up by the catcher but Carlton fanned him.
This just happened against the 1961 Yankees, within the Game Score League that I’m running:
1968 Bob Gibson: 9 IP – 0 H – 2 BB – 0 HBP – 6 K’s – 0 runs (91 Game Score)
Why This Game Was Spectacular:
— Gibson retired the first 10 batters of the game in order. A walk to Mickey Mantle gave NY a baserunner in the 4th, but Gibson got two quick outs to end the frame. Yogi Berra drew a free pass in the 5th, but Tony Kubek hit into a DP to end the inning.
— In the 8th, Johnny Blanchard came to the plate. In his prior AB in the 5th, he had a 1-7 single chance, but an 8 came up and he was retired. The same 1-7 chance came up again here in the 8th … again the ball went for a lineout to second.
— Onto the 9th: Clete Boyer lined out. Bobby Richardson hit a shot to left field for an X chance to a 3-rated fielder … Would the fates be so unkind as to end the no-hit bid this way? No, they wouldn’t. Two down. Up to the plate stepped the dangerous Ellie Howard, with his .348 average. And Gibson struck him out on 3 pitches, giving him the first no-hitter in Game Score League history! Woo-hoo! Way to go Gibby!
This isn’t the highest Game Score of the tournament for a pitcher; heck, it’s not even Gibson’s highest-ranked performance, as he had a 1-hit, 1-BB CG shutout that ranked higher, due to 8 Ks versus today’s 6 Ks. But you can throw all of that out the window, as there’s something special about a no-no! It’s the third no-hitter of my Strat career, as 1968 Bob Gibson joins 1941 Atley Donald and 1996 Jimmy Key in my no-hit club!
Bobby Meacham, Bloomfield, NJ
SHAKING (the Dice) and BAKING (sort of)
The burnt biscuit.
A good friend and I began playing SOM in 1974 and we played three sports (all but hockey) until he quit in the early ‘90s. On the day the baseball cards arrived, for a few years we would wait to open the package until we were both able to open them at the same time. After this, we looked over cards, traded and began playing games. And games and games and games.
On the second time we got together that year, we played all day and night, and he delayed his flight a day. But my friend missed his flight because we squeezed in one too many games. So he called his wife, "Sorry will be on the flight tomorrow honey, I promise. Tomorrow for sure." It was identical to the conversation they had the day before.
During one of our marathon sessions with the 1983 cards, we realized we should eat something so we put some biscuits in the oven at 400. Despite sitting about 12 feet away, we played for another 6-7 hours before it occurred to us again that we should eat something and remembered the biscuits. I think charred might have been accurate after 2 hours, but after 7 the biscuits resembled coal more than anything.
We got the bright idea that the loser of the previous game should have to keep a burnt biscuit on his side of the table, right next to his scoresheet, bench, bullpen and coffee cup. It smelled, crumbs fell off, and your hand was black after touching it. And it sat there reminding you, at bat by at bat, that you had lost the prior game. I could have sworn I heard it chuckle once, but that might have been hunger pains. Well, as luck would have it I got hot and won nine straight-so Mark had to keep the burnt biscuit for several hours. We played so long we could not remember playing Strat without a burnt biscuit next to our coffee cup.
I kept one of them for memories and still laugh every time I run across it.
THE GREATEST GAME
I have been playing SOM football for nearly 35 years. The write-up below is from the inaugural season of the computerized SOM football game in 2000 when I beat the New York Jets in the first ever USFFL Super Bowl. I still coach the NY Giants in the USFFL. The commissioner of the USFFL is Jason Goldberg. I still have the original box score and game log. It has been 15-years since I wrote the following Super Bowl postgame:
If you folks could have watched it, you would have all been shaking your heads saying it was the greatest game you ever watched and most worthy of a Super Bowl! It had missed FGs, turnovers, low penalties, and most importantly, some incredible coaching on both sides of the ball.
Game started out with the G-men kicking off. Rob Dinardo engineered a beautiful drive (for the Jets) but was stopped short of a TD … John Hall attempted his first of five FGs on the day and MISSED a chip shot. The Giants could not muster much offense and wound up punting but for the first time this season, Brad Maynard’s punt was blocked giving the Jets the ball within the Giants 25-yard line which set up their first TD on a Bernie Parmalee 5-yard run (7-0 NYJ). The Jets would make it a 10-0 lead early in the second qtr.
The Giants offense finally came alive late in the second quarter when Ike Hilliard caught a bomb to the Jets 6-yard line and Tiki Barber took it in to make the score 10-7 with 5 minutes remaining in the half. The Blue Wall came up big late in the half stopping the Jets on the 1-yard line where John Hall connected on an 18-yarder to make it 13-7 at the half.
In the third quarter, both kickers missed FGs thus the score remained the same entering the fourth quarter. On the first play, Richie Anderson caught a 3 yard TD pass and Wayne Chrebet snagged the two point conversion making it 21-7. On the Giants’ next possession, Ike Hilliard caught another bomb (56 yards) for a TD to make it 21-14.
On the following Giants possession, Collins tossed an INT but Jason Sehorn was kind enough to return the favor soon after. On fourth-and-one on the Jets 2-yard line, Collins sneaked for a first down. The Giants then scored a TD but it was called back so on second-and-8, Collins connected with Daniel Campbell for an 8-yard TD to tie the game with 4 minutes remaining.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Jets kick returner fumbled the ball but was able to fall on it. Both teams could do nothing with the ball on their possessions but with less than 2 minutes remaining, the Jets began to drive. Vinny Testaverde connected with Laveranues Coles for his third bomb catch of the day and was within the Giants 30-yard line with under a minute left.
On third down, with 8 seconds remaining in the game and the ball on the Giants 22 yard line, Coach Kaplan took a chance figuring John Hall’s range is dramatically affected between the 22 and 23 yard line (From 22, Hall is good 2-8, 12 but from the 23 he is 2-6, 11, 12). The Giants keyed on Curtis Martin and he lost one yard. With one tic remaining, Hall setup and the roll was an EIGHT! NO GOOD! OVERTIME!
In OT, the Blue Wall chose an excellent time to pick off their second Testaverde pass of the game and had the ball on the Jets 39 yard line. On first and ten, Collins decided to get this game over with and connected with Ike Hilliard for a 39-yard, Super Bowl-winning TD. Giants 27, Jets 21.
This honestly had to be one of the most exciting games I have ever played. If this was a televised game, the ratings would have gone through the roof. Rob Dinardo coached an unbelievable game and was gracious to the end. I am fortunate to have been able to pull out this victory against him. The man made some incredible calls and he truly deserved to play in the Super Bowl.
Scott G. Kaplan, Columbia, SC