Great Moments in Strat – September 2014

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Near-Perfect Satch Climaxes Perfect Season
            As the conclusion neared for my 1934 Integrated & Expanded computer baseball project, a dream matchup a collection of my Strat friends and I looked forward to was Satchel Paige against Dizzy Dean in a game seven showdown. Dean had gone 31-7 during the regular season while Paige’s won-lost ledger stood at 30-6.
            Alas, when I configured the postseason, I added more modern-style playoffs and the Paige-Dean drama wasn’t meant to be. Even though Paige’s Pittsburgh Crawfords won the American League regular season, the Craws lost their first-round playoff series in seven games. Dean’s St. Louis Cardinals, National League regular-season champs, made it to the World Series but lost there to another Negro Leagues “expansion” team, the Homestead Grays.
            I hadn’t had enough of 1934, however, even after 1,620 manually-played computer games over two and a half years. So, I decided to stage a seven-game post-World Series barnstorming adventure pitting the Craws against the Cards.
            Sure enough, Paige won the first of the seven games simulated across the western U.S. and Dean took the fourth. They clashed again in game seven, and Paige went into the ninth inning with a perfect game. With one out, Rap Dixon preserved the potential perfecto with a sensational catch in right field. However, Paige walked pinch-hitter Ernie Orsatti and Pepper Martin lined a clean single to right field to foil Paige’s bid. Pittsburgh emerged a 3-0 winner, Satch with a one-hitter.
            “I’d have to say Satchel Paige is the best pitcher I’ve ever seen,” commented the simulated Dean after the game. “And I’ve been looking in the mirror a long time.”
            It was a fitting climax – before a fictional 100,000 Californians at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 13, 1934 – to a thrilling project combining Strat-O-Matic’s Negro Leagues stars with the American and National Leaguers of a thrilling season.
Satchel Paige may have missed his attempt at a perfect game, but he provided exciting closure to a perfect season of Strat baseball.
John Graf, Janesville, Wisconsin
Thrills, Courtesy of Atley Donald
            After rolling many a game and thinking it would never happen, I just threw my first no-hitter in Strat! It comes courtesy of Atley Donald, over in the Yankee League. 
Game 136: 1941 Yankees win 4-0 over 1948 Yankees (Atley Donald vs. Spec Shea)
            Joe DiMaggio continues to rock and roll for 1941. He drove home the first run of the game, as part of a 3-run 1st inning against Spec Shea, and added a solo HR in the 8th. But let’s get to the true awesomeness of today’s game. That would be Atley Donald. Donald entered the game as one of the top Cy Young candidates in the league, with a 15-8 record, 3.20 ERA and 3 shutouts. Well, he just added to his candidacy today, that’s for sure. Donald took a perfect game into the 5th against 1948. He gave up a leadoff BB in the 5th, but a K and DP kept him still at the minimum faced. In the 6th, he allowed a pair of walks, but a DP and groundout erased the threat – and kept his no-hit bid still intact. Let’s go to the 7th inning as I try to describe my thoughts and reactions to the rest of the game…

7th inning
–Rizzuto grounds out
–DiMaggio flies out. Whew, I was worried about facing Joe D there – that’s a big out!
–Henrich reaches on an error by Frank Crosetti (you bum, Crosetti! You’re a top-rated fielder and you make the E…ugh!)
–Berra grounds out to end the inning … yes! (6 outs from a no-hitter)

8th inning
–Johnson grounds out
–Mapes flies out … He’s been on fire lately, so I was nervous here – big relief
–Niarhos flies out … Let’s take this baby to the 9th and see what happens! (3 outs from a no-hitter)

9th inning
–McQuinn flies out … If this scrub had ruined the no-hitter, I would’ve been so bummed (2 outs from a no-hitter)
–Stirnweiss strikes out  …  Oh, man, I’m just one out away from doing it!
–Rizzuto strikes out … Donald did it! He tossed a no-hitter! “YEAH! WHOOOO (runs around the house doing a happy dance)! YEAH! WHOOOO (runs around the house again) … repeat above scene for a few minutes … wife gets back from walking the dog … I run downstairs to continue dancing. “Why are you so happy?” she asks. I ask her to guess. After a few failed guesses, she realizes I was playing Strat. “Wait, did you get a perfect game?” she asks, “Well, no, but I got a no-hitter!”)
            Donald’s final line: 9 IP – 0 H – 3 BB – 5 K’s – 0 runs
            This is the first no-hitter in Yankee League history. And my first no-hitter in Strat history! If you can’t already tell, I’m pretty excited!  
Bobby Meacham