Great Moments in Strat – January 2013

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.
            In my 1964 Replay, I was playing a series between the Red Sox and the Orioles when I had a first for me.  I had a team win back-to-back games on walk-off grand slams. The first one was by Sam Bowens.  The second was an 11th-inning, pinch-hit grand slam by Dick Brown. By the way the Orioles swept the series.
Rick Bower, Covington, WA

            Who needs Paul Blair?
            September 3rd, 1969, Yankee Stadium.  The Baltimore Orioles have pushed their Eastern Divison lead over the Detroit Tigers to 8 1/2 games.  Game #134 of their schedule pits Mike Cuellar against Al Downing.  Manager Earl Weaver, with a comfortable lead, an eye toward the playoffs, and a tough schedule ahead, decides to rest 3B Brooks Robinson and CF Paul Blair.  Blair is having a fine season:  24 HR, 65 RBI, .280 AVG. 27 SB.  And it looks as if he will also win a Gold Glove with his flashy glove and strong arm in the field.  Weaver chooses Merv Rettenmund, a rookie with promise but sporting only a .167 AVG. with 2 HR on the year to replace Blair for this game.  What a show he would put on, with a little love from the split dice!
            Batting second, Rettenmund doubles off Al Downing in the first. In the second inning with the bases loaded Rettenmund triples on a 1 roll on the split, 1 Triple 2-20 Double on his card.  The next two plate appearances net him singles, one off against Downing, and the other courtesy of Bill Burbach.  In the 9th he is up facing Jack Aker.  Aker has one HR opportunity on his card against a right-handed batter, a 5-4 roll with a HR 1-5 split.  Sure enough the dice settle in on a 5-4. The split dice again is kind to Rettenmund, bouncing around and finally coming to rest with a 5 showing up.   Merv finished the game 5 for 5, 4 RBI, and most importantly hitting for the cycle.  He was able to raise his average over 40 points in this game alone.  I have been working on this 1969 season replay for some time now, 809 games of 972 replayed, and this has to be one of the most impressive performances from all of the players that year.  Paul Blair beware!
Bob Crabill, Jetmore, KS

            In my 1958 Strat-O-Matic replay, catcher Gus Triandos of the Baltimore Orioles had a game to remember, bashing four homers against the Detroit Tigers. Triandos hit all four bombs against Billy Hoeft, connecting for solo homers in the second, third and sixth innings and a three-run shot in the eighth. (By the way, Hoeft would be traded to Baltimore the next season and the duo would form a battery together until 1962).
            I have played Strat-O-Matic since 1974 and this was just my third four-homer game!
Lee Roberts

            For consideration for your Great Moments in Strat section, a pretty cool game with one of my favorite cards ever – Old-Timer or the reissue.
This was in the third of a three-game exhibition dice-and-card series between the 1950 Yankees and 1951 Giants, playing the advanced version. The pitching matchup was Eddie Lopat for the Yankees against the Giants’ right-hander Jim Hearn at the Polo Grounds.
            From the first inning on, the game was defined — and owned — by the Yankees’ first baseman Johnny Mize. I batted lefty-swinging The Big Cat third. The first two Yankees reached base, and then I rolled a 3-5 with Mize at the plate: a flat-out home run in a great home run section of his card. 3-0 Yankees.
            The Yankees had a field day against Hearn, and Mize came up in the top of the second with two runners on again. I rolled the dice. Another 3-5. Another 3-run homer, and the Yankees were up 8-0!
            Top of the fourth: One runner on this time as Mize digs in, now against reliever George Spencer. I roll the dice. Another, yes another, 3-5. This time a 2-run homer and the score is 11-0. It’s already historic for me. I have been playing Strat baseball since 1974, and have had many players slug three home runs in a game, but had never had a four-homer game by any batter.
            Well, I was certainly whetted for more history now. The game was not even half-done, which meant Mize would get to bat at least a couple more times. It’s a heckuva card, by the way. Mize hit 25 home runs in 274 at bats (305 plate appearances) as he fit nicely into Yankee manager Casey Stengel’s platoon and spot-playing lineups.
            One inning later, the top of the fifth, still against reliever Spencer, Eddie Lopat himself joined the home run party, swatting a three-run shot to make the score 14-0 with no out. The next two Yankee batters — Phil Rizzuto and Gene Woodling — flew and popped out, bringing up Mize with the bases empty. This time, the dice roll landed on Spencer’s card, but no matter: the result was another home run! Mize had hit his fourth homer of the game, and the Yankees were up 15-0. Mize had two more at bats for me, including another turn with two runners on base in the top of the seventh, when he managed a sacrifice fly. In the top of the eighth, he singled.
            So his line for the game:
            AB   R  H  BI
            5     4    5  10
            He became the first player in my years of playing Strat to not only hit four home runs but have 10 RBI.
            The game itself got out of control in the late innings, as Lopat yielded nine hits — including a two-run homer to Alvin Dark — and seven runs over seven innings. The final score ended up 20-10, with the teams combining for nine home runs and 32 hits! For the record, Mize’s slugging average for the game was 4.200. Amazing! I have had many memorable moments playing Strat-O-Matic, but this game easily ranks very high on the list!
Dana Yost, Forest City, Iowa
            I am not sure if a more unlikely pitcher has ever no-hit a better team in a more important Strat game.  In my 1948 replay, in a must-win game, after having just eked out a thrilling win in 13 innings in the 1st game of the series against the lowly ChiSox (in which they came from behind twice in extra innings), Cleveland got no-hit (but not shut out) vs. an entirely unlikely foe, Marino Pieretti! Pieretti’s actual stats that season: 8-12, 5.47 ERA, 132 IP, 135 hits.
            While he is pitching better than that in my league it is still a shock and a potential crusher to Cleveland’s pennant run.  Cleveland now trails Boston by 1.5 games with three games left to play.  Boston has two to play.  This race closely mirrors the actual 1948 American League race in which Boston and Cleveland ended up tied. To complete the no-hitter Pieretti had to retire .300 hitters Dale Mitchell and Lou Boudreau with the tying run at first base (via a walk).
Lee Margolis, New York City