THE TALK SHOW
Host: Glenn Guzzo
Reminder: Send us your “Great Moments in Strat” – your playing experiences that you just have to share.
DOING THE SPLITS
I’m currently enjoying the baseball 36 past season team set and noticed that the White Sox’ Eddie Fisher 1964 card has a triple split result: a roll of 5-8 is triple 1-2, single 3-9, flyball (rf)b 10-20. I don’t ever remember seeing a triple split result before!
Chris Bacchi, Wodridge, IL
That was fun when you rolled the 5-8, wasn’t it? The original versions of the early 1960s cards had several triple splits. And they came in several varieties. The first, and perhaps best remembered, was on the 1962 card of San Francisco’s Juan Marichal. In 1963, San Francisco’s Don Larsen had a triple-double-flyout split, and Cleveland’s Pedro Ramos and Detroit’s Frank Lary had double-single-flyout splits. In 1964, there’s Fisher, Boston’s Dick Radatz, Cleveland’s Luis Tiant, Detroit’s Mickey Lolich and, if I recall correctly, Sandy Koufax. There may have been a few others, but the occurrence was rare, and, I think, confined to pitching cards. I think 1964 was the end of the line. In any event, the practice ended when Strat-O-Matic began computerizing its card-making. And the subsequent two-sided versions of those seasons do not have the triple splits.
Will Strat-O-Matic ever come out with a golf game?
“Ever” is a long time, but I’d say it’s a long shot – a 2 wood anyway. For this, if for no other reason: Strat-O-Matic has never tried to re-create a sport featuring one-on-one competition (boxing, golf, tennis), or even sports where a larger group of competitors are individuals rather than teams (auto racing, horse racing). SOM creator Hal Richman speculated about soccer if it ever gained popularity in the U.S. SOM Director of Development Bob Winberry is a boxing fan. But I know of no such games under development by the company.
THE BEST OF THE BEST
Can you explain in as much detail as possible how the company decides which are the “seven best seasons” for the Hall of Fame historical cards? I just wanted to know what categories and stats they considered the most vital in determining their seven best seasons for pitchers and position players.
Dr. Teun B. Fetz, Eastern Oregon University
Well, SOM never divulges its card-making formulas, but it has reported that these great-player sets are normalized for each player’s seven seasons. So to judge a player’s best seasons, it’s important to see which ones were far above the league norm. That could bring into play such stats as Adjusted OPS and Adjusted ERA. But those don’t tell the whole story – AOPS doesn’t include stolen bases or defense; AERA doesn’t include WHIP or wins, or strikeouts. An eyeball check of a player’s register in an encyclopedia would give us some of the obvious seasons. First, it’s most likely that complete seasons are favored over partial seasons due to injury, because the seasons chosen ought to be representative of the man’s career and because the stats are less vulnerable to distortion. Figure that a guy’s Cy Young or MVP seasons are automatics. If he led the league in wins, ERA, homers or batting average, those are going to be close to automatics. So for most players, anywhere from five to seven seasons should be pretty clear choices. For many, though, the last choice or two could come down to a close call: Choose the year with the best batting average and stolen bases, or the one with the best on-base average and slugging? A position player’s defense also has to be considered – many guys’ defense decline in later years that still may be very productive seasons at the plate.