Host: Glenn Guzzo
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THE 9 LIVES OF CESAR TOVAR
Not only did Denny McLain win 31 games. Not only did Bob Gibson achieve a 1.12 ERA. Not only did Carl Yastrzemski win a batting title with a .301 average. Something else very special happened in the 1968 Major-League season. Ken Wenger, a devoted member of the Update Team, tells us all about it …
Cesar Tovar was a very versatile player for Minnesota in 1968. He played in 157 of the team’s 162 games. Tovar played more than 10 games at 6 different fielding positions – third base (77), left field (37), center field (36), shortstop (35), second base (19), and right field (11).
The Twins had a down year in 1968 – Harmon Killebrew was injured in the All-Star Game and returned only for limited action in September. The team was out of contention and attendance was lagging. On Sunday, Sept. 22, Minnesota played its last home game of the season. In that game, Tovar became the second player in Major League history to play all nine fielding positions during a game. (The first player to do this was Bert Campaneris, on Sept. 8, 1965). Tovar began the game as the starting pitcher. Oakland was the visiting team and, ironically, the first batter Tovar faced was Campaneris. He pitched 1 inning, facing 4 batters, allowing no hits with one walk (Danny Cater) and one strikeout (Reggie Jackson).
Tovar then cycled through the positions, playing catcher in the 2nd inning, first base in the 3rd inning, second base in the 4th inning, shortstop in the 5th inning, third base in the 6th inning, left field in the 7th inning, center field in the 8th inning, and right field in the 9thinning. Tovar had a hit and a walk as a batter during the game, with Minnesota winning, 2 to 1. Tom Hall entered in relief of Tovar in the top of the 2nd inning, pitched 6 1/3 innings and was the winning pitcher.
The Sept. 22 game has implications for an as-played replay with Strat-O-Matic Baseball. Cesar Tovar has both a batting and pitching card, so he is considered a double-duty player. His pitching card does not have a rating as a relief pitcher, so it is unlikely that the computer manager will over-use him as a relief pitcher. He does, however, have the minimum rating of 5 as a starting pitcher. In an as-played replay, Tovar will be the starting pitcher for Minnesota in the Sept. 22 game. Since he has a 0.00 ERA, it is likely that the computer manager will allow him to pitch more than a single inning. Strat-O-Matic decided that an as-played replay should run smoothly “out of the box,” so all of the games are set for autoplay. It is your decision as to whether you recreate Tovar’s feat of playing every fielding position during the game. You should, however, be aware that an unattended game will be played in a more traditional fashion and Tovar will more than likely pitch multiple innings. One option would be to use the League Schedule Maintenance function to set the Minnesota game for Sept. 22 to Manual play. This would allow you to personally oversee how Tovar is used during that game.
As an added point of interest, 1968 arrives when the 2017 season does. Detroit’s Andrew Romine played all nine positions on Sept. 30, 2017, though not as artistically as the 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9 scoring-position order that Tovar performed. Romine’s around-the-horn order went this way: LF-CF-RF-3B-SS-2B-1B-C (then 2B again)-P (and 1B again). Romine pitched only 1/3 of an inning (he began the bottom of the eighth on the mound) – one batter, one out. Romine began the seventh inning as the catcher, but after one out, two hits and a passed ball in what was then a one-run game, Romine was moved from behind the plate back to second base.
LIVING IN THE PAST
Glad the 1968 baseball season is being reprinted for this year. I hope Strat will now make 1962 top priority for next year. Also hope 1970 is coming soon. With little offense in 1968, 1962, and 1970, would be a welcome contrast.
Phil, Passaic NJ
If Strat-O-Matic sticks to form, we won’t have word for many months on which classic season is next for release in 2019. But with a choice of a pre-1953 never-produced season, or an update from pre-1971, the 1970s or early/mid 1980s, I think it’s smart handicapping to predict that the next release will NOT be 1962 or 1970, simply because they are in the same category as 1968.
I have been somewhat surprised we have not seen 1962 in Super Advanced form yet, given that season’s historic importance in Strat-O-Matic history. That was the first card set with all the teams, and the make-or-break season that made the young Strat-O-Matic game successful enough to stay in business. It was an especially exciting season, with Maury Wills (a record 104 stolen bases) and emerging strikeout ace Sandy Koufax leading the Dodgers into a pennant-deciding three-game playoff with the Giants, followed by a dramatic ending to Game 7 in the World Series between the Yankees and Giants. I replayed the 1962 National League many years ago with the Advanced format (Giants won) and have the 1962 American League on my computer now (a week after the All-Star break, the Tigers are in first, with the Twins and Yankees in pursuit).
BEYOND THE ARC
Two questions regarding the basketball game:
1. Since 2012-13 the "In the last two minutes of the game, both teams can take unlimited three-point shots, regardless of the score" portion of the Replacement Rule for "Additional Three-Point Shots Allowed" Chart super-advanced rule has been absent. However, I recently saw it pop up again in the new rule book available – but still absent from the roster sheets. Should it be considered part of the rule?
2. For 14.31 in the new rule-book, it states that: "Three-point shots may only be taken by a player who is about to take an Outside shot." I’m trying to figure out if this is (1) a reminder of rule 14.12 – that only those players who are positioned outside can take three-point shots, (2) a restriction to shooting three-pointers during the only time it is certain that a player is "about to take an outside shot" via the "Outside shot only for player positioned outside" reading from the action deck and/or (3) referencing the super-advanced Determining Outside/Penetration Shots rule (where a player can also be determined as taking an outside shot through dice roll referencing his Shooting Tendency) as a way to not detract from Penetration shots being taken. Can you clarify this?
Answer to Question 1: Yes, it’s part of the rule. Now that it’s in the rule book, there is no further need to have it on the roster sheet.
Answer to Question 2: Whenever a player can take an Outside Shot, and elects to do so, he can make it a 3-point attempt, as long as that team’s coach declares the 3-point intention before rolling.
SOM HOOPS: THE TOP 120
May you have a player roster/listing available for the Strat-O-Matic Basketball All-Time Greats: Top 120 Roster? Player and Season used?
The Windows-game-only roster of the Top 120 is divided into 10 teams drafted by celebrity gamers who competed in a season. They are named for those gamers. The player ratings are not based on a single season, but on averages of several of their best seasons. Therefore, you will not be able to duplicate this roster precisely by selecting individual cards.
TEAM BALLARD: Carmelo Anthony, Tiny Archibald, Charles Barkley, Lebron James, Bill Laimbeer, Shawn Marion, Reggie Miller, Chris Mullin, Dennis Rodman, Bill Russell, Arvydas Sabonis, Deron Williams
TEAM DEITSCH: Dave Bing, Bob Cousy, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Hal Greer, Connie Hawkins, Allen Iverson, Bobby Jones, Sam Jones, Bob Lanier, Hakeem Olajuwon, Gary Payton
TEAM FORRESTER: Chauncey Billups, Kevin Durant, Walt Frazier, Artis Gilmore, Elvin Hayes, Joe Johnson, Kevin Johnson, Tracy McGrady, Shaquille O’Neal, Bob Pettit, Jerry West,
TEAM JENKINS: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Alex English, George Gervin, Dan Issel, Jason Kidd
Karl Malone, Pete Maravich, Larry Nance, Robert Parish, David Thompson, Lenny Wilkens, James Worthy
TEAM MANNIX: Chris Bosh, Kobe Bryant, Adrian Dantley, Brad Daugherty, Patrick Ewing, Bernard King, Kevin Love, Paul Pierce, Willis Reed, Rajon Rondo, John Stockton, Amar’e Stoudemire
TEAM McCALLUM: Ray Allen, Elgin Baylor, Dave Debusschere, Pau Gasol, Gail Goodrich, Kevin McHale, Earl Monroe, Scottie Pippen, Oscar Robertson, Bill Sharman, Jack Sikma, Wes Unseld
TEAM POSNANSKI: Vince Carter, Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Cooper, Julius Erving, John Havlicek, Grant Hill, Dwight Howard, Jerry Lucas, Dirk Nowitzki, Mark Price, Dolph Schayes, Isiah Thomas
TEAM TAYLOR: Rick Barry, Billy Cunningham, Penny Hardaway, Spencer Haywood, Magic Johnson, Moses Malone, Bob McAdoo, George Mikan, Sidney Moncrief, Charles Oakley, Mitch Richmond, Derrick Rose
TEAM THOMSEN: Larry Bird, Fred Brown, Clyde Drexler, Manu Ginobili, Blake Griffin, Andrei Kirilenko, Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo, Steve Nash, Micheal Ray Richardson, Bill Walton, Chris Webber
TEAM WOLFF: Maurice Cheeks, Dave Cowens, Joe Dumars, Robert Horry, Dennis Johnson, Michael Jordan, Chris Paul, Terry Porter, David Robinson, Nate Thurmond, Dwyane Wade, Ben Wallace
INSIDE THE TEN
As you well know, most NFL teams inside the opponent’s 10-yd line throw flat/look-in passes and they are caught and the play ends short of the goal. Strat has never allowed this; and they should (for realism). So here is my solution. Please tell me what you think and whether you might want to lobby this as a rule change. I’m asking you because you have more clout than do I.
All results of the passer and receiver card is considered "right" unless the receiver has been correctly double-teamed, in which case the normal rules apply – dt column and man in zone and automatic defensive success with ratings match up. I think this might also invoke OLBs doubling as well at a loss of being in the run zone that they might otherwise be in. Obviously, you’d only do this between the 6 and 9 yd-line and 2nd or 3rd down.
When throwing a look-in and reading off the defensive cards, two men will be in zone if the defense has called pass. When throwing a flat pass, two men will be in zone if a run defense has been called. If not, the SS or a CB in in zone at his normal rating increased by 1 rating.
Sack rules apply as if a short pass had been thrown.
Clearly 30 to 40% of the results will be two men in zone and incomplete. 10 to 20% will be one man in zone and a lot of incompletions with the rating increased by 1. The other 50% will be moderately successful depending up double teaming.
Bill Ferguson, Madison, WI
I’ve long appreciated your dogged efforts to come up with the perfect solitaire system, including your ability to make your innovations easy to use. This one, presumably more likely to be used in head-to-head play, has more complexity. I’ve always appreciated more realism, but in this case, my first impression is that this complexity outweighs its value. For touchdown passes, I think SOM has it right with its simple system requiring the Short Pass inside the 10-yard line. That simulates the difficulty of passing in a more congested zone (with no threat of a deep pass, safeties flood the end zone). And most of those TD throws would be at least 10-yard passes, given their depth in the end zone. And please remember that player cards are calculated with this rule in mind – especially in the case of receiver cards. There are running backs, even some tight ends, who did not catch a single pass that was officially 10-plus yards downfield, but who did have one or more TD catches (in official stat-keeping, a TD pass from the 6-yard line caught five yards deep in the end zone is considered to be a pass six yards downfield). These players will get Short Pass receptions on their cards.
That said, I always encourage gamers to innovate to achieve the realism they prefer. I have done so many times myself. Your concept could be a very valuable tool if the goal is to achieve a first down inside the 10-yard line, or on the infrequent occasions when it will make a meaningful difference for the field goal kicker by reaching the 2-yard-line.