The Talk Show – April, 2011


Host: Glenn Guzzo
You can submit your question or insight on any Strat-O-Matic game to When you do, kindly include your name and town. Other gamers like to see that. And the display format below works better that way.
Reminder: Send us your “Great Moments in Strat” – your playing experiences that you just have to share.
Can You Top this? Lefty No-Hits ‘55 Dodgers
            I just had the most unlikely no-hitter, at least in my 50-year SOM history.  Southpaw Jonathan Sanchez of San Francisco no-hit the ‘55 Dodgers in Brooklyn.  He struck out 9, walked 6 and there was one runner on an error.  Brooklyn’s Karl Spooner K’d 13, walked none, and yielded 4 hits in the 2-0 loss.  It was the finale of a three-game set after Brooklyn decimated Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain.  I can’t imagine a better lineup versus a lefty than ‘55 Brooklyn.  The black diamond is 1-18 in Ebbets Field.

            The other unlikely no-hitter that stands out was Carl Erskine versus the Yankees in NY in 1998.  Have you ever had an unlikely no-hitter to match these?

Richard Weber, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

             I probably have never had a no-hitter from a pitcher in such a mismatch situation as you just described. Although it’s interesting to note that in 2010 Sanchez really did throw a no-hitter. I have had no-hitters from such unlikely sources as Jim Hardin, Barry Latman and Marty Pattin. But every SOM no-hitter is amazing. Let’s see:
  •  In my 1959 replay, Detroit’s Jim Bunning and Boston’s Ike Delock went into the 10th inning with no-hitters against each other! Never saw anything like it. Neither finished unblemished.
  •  Sandy Koufax threw the only no-hitter in my eight-team league with the HOF 2000 set. Every guy in the lineup was a HOF batter!
  •  Bob Welch threw a perfect game against my draft-league lineup with such high on-base guys as Brett Butler, Keith Hernandez, Darryl Strawberry and such other good hitters as Johnny Ray, Gary Carter, and George Hendrick in their primes. Every one of those guys had 40 on-base chances.  Two-three years later, Welch threw a no-hitter against me in an entirely different league — different person managing Welch, different team for me.
  •  For me, Dave Stieb threw two no-hitters in different seasons.
  •  There have been other no-nos. I’ve also had five no-hitters broken up in the ninth inning in unusual fashion – the latest was 1964 Bob Veale, who lost a perfect game on a two-out error by, of all people, Bill Mazeroski, then lost the no-hitter, but won the game. Floyd Youmans and Jose DeLeon lost draft-league no-hitters after taking 4-0 and 2-0 leads into the ninth. Jerry Walker lost a no-hitter on a rare play. Tom Seaver lost one when he was injured while batting in the bottom of the eighth.
He’s Back, and Can’t Get Enough of Great Teams
            I came out of retirement this year and have going berserk on a 32-team quadruple elimination tournament using the old teams of the past.  I originally started with 1971 baseball and had a single elimination tourney of all 24 teams.   Was great and decided to order those great teams of the past sets.  Strat is issuing the same teams of the past cards that they had when I was in 8th grade.  I’d say the 1970s and ‘80s are certainly old timer status now and would like to see cards for playoff teams from those years.  I cannot possibly be the only person who would like to see this.  Is it possible — ‘77 Yankees, ‘75 Reds, ‘85 Royals, ‘79 Bucs, etc.?  We need more carded great teams of the past.
            Also are there plans for more old football teams? I bought the ‘73, ‘72, ‘69, ‘67 card sets but it is the golden age of football and would love to see more.  Frustrating that 1968 is not there, for example.  Would love to have 1971 and replay the Christmas Day heartbreaker of the Chiefs vs. Dolphins.
            I love how Strat will give a print option for NHL teams from that same era.  I used it for the 1974-75 season and it was great.  Why can’t Strat do that for all of the past football and baseball cards and of course the old football chart?  
            I have come full circle in playing cards and dice. The computer football is great and that is the one thing I have still played through the years with the teams of the past but there is nothing like the thrill and excitement and personality of the cards and dice.  It just feels more authentic and the game is far more enjoyable to play despite having no bells and whistles. 
Eric Stessman
            Welcome back to this great hobby, Eric. The printer programs SOM uses are different for hockey and other sports. Only hockey lends itself to the supplemental print files.  As a computer football game player, you probably know the ‘68 and ‘71 teams are available there. I hope that eventually, as SOM gets deeper into digital printing, it will make card images of those teams and the other computer-only seasons for football, hockey and basketball. SOM is still in the business of past-season card sets for all sports except basketball. More will be announced this spring concerning football and hockey.
            Though I use the computer for my full-league replays and some other games, I still play the board versions of all SOM sports quite a bit and prefer it that way.
HOF Averages Have Changed
            Enjoy the baseball game still, since about 1968.  I noticed that the batting averages on the recently re-released Hall of Fame players do not match the originals. Hughie Jennings, for instance, goes from about .317 to .342 or so.  There are other examples in the hitters.  The ERAs, however, look the same.   There was no change in the number of hits per card.  What is the rationale behind that?
R Koehler, Chicago
            SOM’s Steve Barkan reports that the batting averages on the HOF 2010 set are the numbers that the seven-year card is based on.  The numbers on the HOF 2000 set are the career numbers, even though the card is based on the seven-year totals. 
Deadball Errors
            I’m playing in a modified basic league (DRBLL we call it) on the Strat Fan Forum and have wondered about the fielding ratings for these Deadball-era teams. We play with the basic side of the cards but with the advanced fielding ratings. I realize that the error rate was much more back then, but I’m puzzled why the basic side fielding ratings match the advance side on every player. I mean, even Alexei Ramirez, who is a SS-1 on the advanced side got a SS-2 on the basic because of his e-rating. I would’ve thought that a lot of the "1" rated players on the advanced side would’ve had lower defensive ratings on the basic side. Any thoughts on this either from yourself or from the higher-ups from Strat?
Paul Ragas, Jefferson, NJ
            Good question, Paul. Error ratings were routinely high in the Deadball era, whereas today’s player with high error ratings are often well above the norm of the day. If SOM rated fielders out of this context, almost no one would merit a 1 rating in the Deadball era.
Which Man Really was Fatigued?
            Glenn, does Strat plan any enhancements to its fatigue system?  Below, a great performance results in fatigue while a poor performance does not:

            In last year’s ALCS in our league, my fully rested Zack Greinke (starter (7)) was dominating through 6, with just two base runners allowed (single in the 2nd inning, a double in the 5th).  In the 7th, three of the first four hitters reached base via hit or walk and bingo, he was fatigued.  Even the Pitch Count Police were stunned: just 83 pitches.

            Two games later, my fully rested Felix Hernandez (also starter (7)) was lit up, allowing 2 runs in the first, 1 in the second, 2 in the third, 1 in the fourth, 1 in the 6th, 6 home runs and 7 ER all told.  He allowed a single base runner in the 7th but finished the inning without any fatigue, at a whopping 138 pitches.

            Feels like the definition of fatigue should be broadened; what is your stance?

Mike Sangiacomo
            The Greinke case matches what we see often in real baseball: A dominating starter suddenly loses it and gets yanked. I’ve seen many cases where a manager will view a walk or two as a sign of fatigue and lost command, prompting the hook. Just last night, Florida pulled Josh Johnson throwing a one-hitter in the eighth inning (though his pitch count had reached 109).
            Playing 500 to 1,000 games of SOM baseball a year, I’ve had some incidents like the Hernandez case. SOM has a rule that invokes instant fatigue for clusters of runs (five in one inning, six over two, seven over three). Perhaps we should have a max number of runs where fatigue automatically sets in – seven? Some pitchers give up more than that in the real game and SOM fatigue doesn’t mandate removal. But in any event, not being “fatigued” didn’t prevent your Hernandez from continuing to take a pounding.
Time for Another 36-Team Set?
            I have noticed the clamor for ‘70’s seasons to be re-produced, by SOM fans who came to the game too late to get them the first time around.  As younger players continue to join the ranks, there will likely be demand for the top teams of the ‘80’s and ‘90’s, since most are out of print. What about the possibility of a second 36-Team series of top clubs from the ‘80’s and ‘90’s?  Call it Prior Season Teams II: The Best of the ‘80’s and ‘90’s.

            The original 36 Prior Season Teams set made a nice follow-up to the Old-timers, in that it picked up where the other set had left off. There weren’t as many "great" teams, but there were many noteworthy clubs from the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, and it gave newcomers the opportunity to play more of the World Series match-ups from that era. All, in all, it was a nice mix.

Now, the question is: which 36 teams? As one gamer’s opinion, what do you think of this lineup?

‘80 Phillies, Royals
‘81 Yankees, Dodgers
‘82 Cardinals, Brewers
‘83 Orioles, Braves
‘84 Cubs, Padres, Tigers
‘85 Royals, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Dodgers
‘86 Mets, Astros, Red Sox
‘88 Dodgers, A’s
‘89 Giants
‘90 Reds
‘91 Twins, Braves
‘92 Blue Jays
‘93 Phillies
‘94 Expos
‘95 Mariners, Indians
‘96 Yankees, Braves
‘97 Marlins
‘98 Cardinals, Cubs, Padres, Astros
Jeff Woodhouse, Seattle, WA
            You’ve done a nice job of choosing the teams, most of them World Series combatants. As Strat-O-Matic begins rolling out its digital-printing products, it will be interesting to see if it favors complete-set reprints of out-of-stock seasons, or if it will do great-team compilations like this one.