The Talk Show – January 2013

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.
I got the Strat-O-Matic Founder’s Edition for Christmas. It is awesome, cool, epic, and all the other adjectives that go with great. I’m going to use the field for all my future Strat-O-Matic games. The cards with the game are equally amazing. Playing games and series of games with the cards gave me an idea.
In keeping with the all-star theme, how about an all decade all-star set, say from the 1920s onwards to the 2000s. But please start with the 1970s, reprinting the cards of the individual players from the great seasons during the decade, just as the Founder’s Edition cards were taken from their totals for the 1960 season.
As you know, the season sets from the 1970s are very hard to find, particularly 1972-74 and 1976. The 1970s brought us such great season and players as: Dick Allen and Billy Williams’ near Triple Crown seasons in 1972, Johnny Bench and his 2 MVP seasons in 1970 and ‘72, Pete “Charlie Hustle” Rose and Reggie “Mr. October” Jackson’s MVP seasons of 1973, Nolan Ryan and his 383 strikeouts in 1973, Hank Aaron, Davey Johnson, and Darrel Evans all hitting 40-plus home runs for Atlanta in ‘73, Joe Morgan and his back to back MVP seasons in ‘75 and ‘76, Mark Fidrych’s rookie season in ‘76 with 19 wins, Cuellar, Palmer, McNally, and Dobson all winning 20 plus games for Baltimore in 1971, Vida Blue’s MVP and Cy Young season in ‘71, Mickey Lolich and his 29 complete games and 25 wins in ‘71 as well, Lou Brock and his 114 stolen bases in ‘74, Keith Hernandez and Willie Stargell in ‘79, and many others. There are a ton more of great performances in the decade of the ‘70s as there are in any decade of baseball.
It would be truly epic. As another great baseball fan, Charlie Brown once said, “I can see it now.”
Royce Brink, Park Forest, Illinois
         That would be epic – in more ways than one. No doubt having the greatest cards all in one set would be very popular. Would such best-of-decade stars undermine sales of Strat-O-Matic’s season sets? That’s one question. While SOM has done most of the research for the 1960s forward, there’s still a big job to do to get all the best cards from earlier decades. In fact, SOM’s card-making discipline essentially requires researching an entire season in order to produce single players – the 1921 Babe Ruth, for instance.
            I have had the 1922 George Sisler have a 77-game hitting streak and the 1911 Ty Cobb have a streak of 93 games. I play the old-time seasons 95% of the time.

Mike Johnson
            Off the charts! I had a hard time comprehending the 60-game hit streak (in progress) for the 1964 Hank Aaron card we read about in the last Talk Show. And you’ve had two streaks much longer than that! Leading candidates to set hit records have to include Cobb and Sisler, but man. In all the replays and other projects I’ve conducted, I don’t think I’ve ever had a longer streak than 1930 Kiki Cuyler’s 37-game streak. Of course, when we combine all the seasons played by the many thousands of Strat gamers, so many more extreme events are possible at least once.
            Do you know if Strat is going to a release another set of old-timer cards this year like they did 2 years ago?  There are still some very good non-HOFers that they could issue.  I like to play the baseball game with dice.
Gerald Parsh
            I think that will happen at some point, certainly as more good players retire, like Chipper Jones, Pudge Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, Pedro Martinez, Trevor Hoffman, Billy Wagner and others not included in the first Baseball Heroes set. But there is no date for that yet.


            We have not figured out why there are -6 pitchers and +9 pitchers, yet the maximum combination is +5 or -5. There must be a reason why SOM does it that way. We have a group of managers in our league that want to eliminate +5 or -5 threshold, if the manager is not holding the runner on. We haven’t seen a minus 5 catcher that would affect the +9 pitcher to under the threshold. At the same time, it penalizes a -6 pitcher teaming up with a zero or minus catcher.

Mike Godard, Saginaw, MI
            Top Major League base stealers have been saying for many years that the pitcher has a stronger effect on whether they run and how likely they are to be successful. The Strat-O-Matic system captures this emphasis with the much wider range of ratings in Pitcher Hold than in Catcher Throwing. The -5 catcher throwing is perhaps the rarest rating of all, but it is officially the best grade. I have used those -6 pitchers to allow me to use a +2 catcher (either for offense or to rest my better-armed starting catcher in leagues with usage limits).
            There’s nothing to stop your league from adapting the game in any way that will make your Strat-playing experience more fun. But I think you should expect distortion when a combination as high as +12 can make a (3-1) stealer 1-15, or, more likely, a combination as extreme as -8 or -9 reduces an elite (19-15) stealer a mere 1-9 or 1-10 without being held.


            I recently received the 1980 SOM football cards of the 6 playoff teams and noticed our beloved “Cardiac kids” Cleveland Browns kickoff team coverage marks on 7 was ( +1 ) and 8 was ( +2 ). I know the Browns have the league record that year for KO coverage for least yards average of 14.3…but is this right? 1 and 2 yards or is this a misprint? Is it supposed to be 11 and 12 yards … I’ve never seen it that low!  Please say it’s correct!
Randy Gesicki, Independence, OH
            SOM assures us that this unprecedented rating is correct. You’re welcome.


            I’m VERY happy that Strat is reprinting the 1961 season. I have been pleading for years; that this would occur. Also I have been just as insistent about the 1962 baseball season. In the next couple of years, will this happen also?
Phil, Passaic NJ.
            Now, don’t get greedy. Kidding! All Fanatics are greedy. More cards! More seasons! More specialty sets that match our imaginations! But we’re well ahead of the curve speculating about 1962. It’s been a long-standing question how well a season will sell for the third time. We don’t have a track record on that. Assuming this version of 1961 is well-received by the game-buying public, it surely will be only a matter of time until we see the other Advanced-only seasons of 1930, 1950, 1956, 1962 and 1968-70 upgraded to Super Advanced, just as SOM is doing with the 1970s.