Great Moments in Strat – February 2014

Have you experienced a game of Strat-O-Matic so thrilling, unique or bizarre that you just HAVE to share it with someone? That would be us. Send your Great Moments in Strat to Please include your name and hometown. Readers like to see that and you deserve the credit.
            While discussing what we both wanted in a larger house, my wife of course said a large kitchen, etc.  My only request was that I wanted my own Strat-O-Matic room. A place that I can leave my game out and be able to play at any time. Not just a room out of the way of everyone, but something nice. A museum of my Strat- collection and things from my HS coaching career. Also a place that I can host Strat football and baseball tournaments.
            I have been playing Strat for over 34 years and been married for almost 25. My wife still does not understand the importance of Strat but has learned to live with it. She stated, “It’s funny how our whole lives revolve around Strat, that it involves our whole family, even our daughter.”  I am lucky enough to have our two sons participate in my tournaments. 
            I am sure that I have played thousands of games, so I thought I would list my Top 10 moments, but not necessarily in order:
1. Learning to play Strat
2. Participating in a FTF tournament – for years, I was playing solo 90% of the time.
3. Making the playoffs in Star Tournaments and winning two tournaments.
4. While living on Long Island, actually going to the Strat-O-Matic office and picking up my new cards.
5. After playing for over 30 years, having my first no-hitter with cards and dice.  Felix Hernandez had one in a Star tournament three years ago.
6. My brother and two sisters along with my mother taking me to Strat’s 50th Anniversary. (Just happens they all love NYC)
7. Meeting Hal, Glenn G., Steve B., Bill D. and Doug Glanville at the 50th. 
8. Having my sons and nephews play in my FTF tournaments.
9. Being interviewed for the documentary at the 50th. 
10. Ellis Valentine’s 30-game hit streak, back in the early ‘80s. 
Donnie Hastings, Red Bay, AL 
            At long last, my ’92-’93 Pens replay is now complete. My objective for the replay was to see what Mario Lemieux’s stats would be if he would have been able to play a full season that year (He missed 24 games that season mostly due to cancer treatments.) Here are some notes:
 — Mario ended up with 104 goals and 124 assists for 228 points, which would have broken Gretzky’s single-season records for goals and points. Keep in mind, Lemieux averaged fewer shots per game in the replay (4.2) than he did in real life that year (4.7).
 — As a team, the Pens finished 60-17-7, only 4 games better than in real life. They were 13 points better than the Kings in the President’s Trophy race and they won the Patrick by 32 points over the Islanders.
 — Six Penguins scored over 100 points in the replay. The others were Kevin Stevens (150), Rick Tocchet (146), Jaromir Jagr (115), Larry Murphy (113), and Ron Francis (108). Aside from Mario, I used appropriate rest for the rest of the team.
When I get to the playoffs, the matchups will be:
Patrick – Penguins vs. Capitals, Islanders vs. Rangers
Adams – Sabres vs. Bruins, Canadiens vs. Nordiques
Norris – Red Wings vs. Maple Leafs, Blues vs. Blackhawks
Smythe – Kings vs. Flames, Canucks vs. Jets
            I was familiar with the names of hall-of-fame, Negro League stars such as Buck Leonard, Ray Dandridge, Leon Day, Hilton Smith and Willard Brown.  I was also familiar with Buck O’Neill and a few others.  But I knew them only as historical figures and not as ballplayers.  What’s surprising is that all of these players had a lot of baseball left at the time Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947, but (with the exception of Willard Brown’s cameo appearance with the St. Louis Browns) none of these stars played in the major leagues.
            Strat-O-Matic allowed me to take matters into my own hands and more fully integrate the National League of 1948.  Each team signed a Negro League star player, and four teams also signed a starting pitcher.  The signings filled a team’s obvious need, so not to take away playing time from a regular player.
            The games were played using Strat-O-Matic cards and dice.  Jim Habel’s electronic scorebook BallStat/BallScore made scoring and stat-keeping easy.  
Bud Drapeau, Manchester, CT
Actual MLB performance is in parenthesis.
STANDINGS      W         L      GB
Boston            99 (91)    55       –
St. Louis          89 (85)    65      10
New York       79 (78)    75      20
Pittsburgh        77 (83)    77      22
Brooklyn         76 (84)    78      23
Cincinnati        66 (64)    88      33
Chicago           65 (64)    89      34
Philadelphia      65 (66)    89      34
BATTING AVERAGE                HOMERUNS                        RUNS BATTED IN                    
Musial, Stan STL  368 (.376)          Musial, Stan STL  45 (39)        Kiner, Ralph PGH  132 (123)
Robinson, Jack BKN  .338 (.296)   Kiner, Ralph PGH  39 (40)     Ennis, Del PHI  130 (95)
Ashburn, Richie PHI  .331 (.333)  Gordon, Sid NYG  39 (30)     Musial, Stan STL  127 (131)
Leonard, Buck CHC  .325             Mize, Johnny NYG  38 (40)    Gordon, Sid NYG  117 (107)
Dark, Al BOS  .324 (.322)              Ennis, Del PHI  36 (30)          Robinson, Jack BKN  114 (85)
EARNED RUN AVERAGE         WINS                                    STRIKEOUTS                                   
Roe, Preacher BKN  1.55 (2.63)     Sain, Johnny BOS  21 (24)       Barney, Rex BKN  176 (138)
Brecheen, Harry STL 2.27 (2.24)    Spahn, Warren BOS  20 (15)  VanderMeer, J. CIN  162 (120)
Schmitz, Johnny CHC  2.34 (2.64) Brecheen, Harry STL  20 (20)  Brecheen, Harry STL  161 (149)
Bickford, Vern BOS  2.68 (3.27)     Manning, Max NYG  19           Sain, Johnny BOS  159 (137)
Sain, Johnny BOS  2.77 (2.60)         Jansen, Larry NYG  18 (18)     Smith, Hilton CIN  158
 – Stan Musial and Enos Slaughter go back-to-back twice in a game at the Polo Grounds.
 – Stan Musial, Art Pennington and Johnny Wyrostek all hit for the cycle (in different games).
 – Elmer Riddle homers and blanks the Phils 2-0.
 – Jeff Heath hits a pair of grand slams in a game vs. the Cubs.
 – Johnny Mize hits three homers off Warren Spahn in an 18-7 Giants’ loss.
 – Willard Brown smacks three homers and 7 RBI vs. the Cardinals.
 – The Cardinals turn a triple play in a wild 7-6 win over the Braves.
 – Warren Spahn and Johnny Vander Meer both bunt for singles and hit homeruns in the same game.
 – Dutch Leonard loses a no-hitter with 2 outs in the 9th at Wrigley Field.
 – The Giants score 16 runs in the 9th inning in St. Louis. Fifteen runs score with the only recorded out on a sacrifice bunt by the pitcher. In the inning, Johnny Mize hits a grand slam and a 3-run homer.
 – Schoolboy Rowe bests Preacher Roe, 2-1 at Shibe Park.
 – Hilton Smith beats Max Manning in all three of their head-to-head meetings.