GREAT MOMENTS IN STRAT
I just finished an amazing game between the ‘92 49ers at the ‘84 Eagles in the round of 32 in my 343-team, Everybody-In tournament. SF’s team notebook said they had a poor pass defense, even though SF was 14-2 that year. I decided to put that to the test right away and saw that Mike Quick had a good match-up at flanker against Eric Davis. In the first quarter Quick had a TD catch of 77 yards. In the second quarter he had a TD catch of 68 yards. And in the third quarter he had a 65-yard reception. Three catches for 210 yards. And his backup, Kenny Jackson, caught a 62-yarder and a 46-yard TD catch. Ron Jaworski was pulled for Joe Pisarcik in the 3rd quarter, but not before he was 15-21 for 443 yards and 4 TDs and 21.1 yards per attempt. SF had the ball 19.5 minutes longer than Philly but the Eagles scored the first 9 times they had the ball and upset SF, 47-12.
Mark D. Harrington, Everett, WA
Ted Williams Could Only Watch
March 20, 2010. How many of you woke up this morning, got your favorite baseball board game out (Strat of course), and had a no-hitter pitched? Well, I did. I have been replaying the 1969 American League season for some time, rattling the dice for many years now. Today, Andy Messersmith and the California Angels took on the Washington Senators, managed by Ted Williams. Messersmith was never really challenged for a hit. He had some rough sledding in the 7th, though. Aurelio Rodriguez muffed a grounder off the bat of Brant Alyea. Frank ‘Hondo’ Howard and Mike Epstein walked. Ken McMullen followed with a sacrifice fly to score Alyea. But Messersmith retired the next two with no further damage and no hits. After the top of the 8th and Messersmith’s no-hitter intact, I wanted to get to the top of the 9th and see how it would come out. But I (and Williams) had to endure a seven-run Angel inning, highlighted by Messersmith’s own 2 run single. In the 9th, he retired the Senators 1-2-3 and had his no-hitter!
There were only 3 fielding X’s that were called for, and only one split that could have resulted in a hit. I have had other no-hitters and close calls during this season before. Paul Edmondson of the White Sox, who actually won only one major league game and died in a car wreck in early 1970, pitched a gem early in the year. Jim Kaat came within one out of a perfect game against the Indians, but Max Alvis spoiled it with a two-out pinch single. And, ‘Sudden’ Sam McDowell of the Indians pitched a 10 inning no-no against the Tigers, only to lose it on a Norm Cash triple with a runner on in the bottom of the 11th. I’ve had many enjoyable hours rolling the dice solitaire, with my son and nephew. But little can match the thrill of a pitcher making it all the way through a game without surrendering a hit!
Bob Crabill, Jetmore, KS
You Could Hear the Catchers Trash Talking
My friend Stan and I are playing a huge tournament involving 200 teams from 1959 through 2003. At the rate we’re going it may take us 15 years to play, but what the heck, it’s fun! Teams in the tournament are formed by picking players from a three-year span. For instance, one of the teams is the Colorado Rockies (1995-1997), so I get to cherry pick the best 24-man roster I can from the Rockies of those 3 years. Teams play a best 5 out of 9 series with the winner advancing to the next round and the losers eliminated.
We just completed a remarkable series between the 1959-61 Dodgers and Cardinals. Ken Boyer of St. Louis had a series for the ages. In eight games, he batted .552 (16 hits in 29 at bats) with 14 RBI. Among his hits were TEN for extra bases, seven doubles and three homers — that’s a slugging pct of 1.103! Not to mention that he was a ‘1’ fielder and killed several Dodger rallies by starting double plays.
The eighth (and final) game of the series had something happen that I doubt I will ever see again. The Cardinals, needing a win to clinch the series, rallied against Johnny Podres to tie the game 2-2 in the fifth inning and loaded the bases. Boyer rocketed a double down the left field line where Tommy Davis hustled after it. Two runs scored and the runner from first was waved home by the 3rd base coach who knew the Davis had a terrible arm (+2). It was a 1-17 chance to score but Davis made the throw of his life and the runner was out at the plate when the 20 sided die came up 18. Whew!
The next inning St Louis started another rally but it fizzled when another player was thrown out at the plate on a 1-14 play and the 20-sided die came up 15, allowing the Dodgers to keep the Cardinal lead at two runs.
Believe it or not, in the following inning (the 7th), the Cards had yet ANOTHER runner thrown out at the plate and again it was by the narrowest of margins, the odds were 1-16 to score but the die came up 17. But there’s more! In the top of the 8th inning the Dodgers’ Maury Wills singled to make the score 4-3, then stole 2nd base. Charlie Neal, singled to right field and Wills tore around 3rd kowing that Cardinal right fielder Joe Cunningham did not have a good arm (+1). It was a 1-18 chance to score and tie the game. But against all odds, the 20-sider came up 19 and Wills was OUT! That made it four consecutive innings in which a runner with very good odds to score got thrown out at the plate by the narrowest possible margin.
The deflated Dodgers went out meekly in the ninth inning to give the Cards a 4-3 victory and an advance to the next round in the tournament.
Bill Bell, North Bend, OR
Baseball is a Funny Game
I decided to play San Francisco with Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum against Toronto with ace Roy Halladay and let both go the distance. Both had 11 strikeouts and Lincecum had a five-hit shutout. But Halladay allowed 14 runs (13 earned) and 14 hits. I thought it would be a pitchers duel. I was wrong! I didn’t think Halladay would have a game like that. I doubt he’ll have another. But in real baseball you encounter games like that.