The Talk Show – July 2015

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.
Unrequited Love of Cards and Dice
            I’ve been a cards and dice player since the late ‘70s, and even though I have tried to get into the computer version I always find myself coming back to the original version of the game. 
I was wondering if the folks at Strat have considered any of the following releases:
            * Could there be another “Heroes” set released in the near future that could complement the original?
            * I know the computer game will have an updated version of the Hall of Fame set every year, but have there been any thoughts on releasing an "add on" to the Hall of Fame set to bring it up-to-date for C & D players?
            * Have there been any discussions about releasing any of the Japanese League seasons, or maybe even doing a "greatest players" release (like the Negro Leagues set) for C&D players?
Rob, Los Angeles
            I get it, Rob. Though my big projects are done on the computer and I’ve loved them all, I continue to use the board games every year. There’s magic in those cards and in the rolls of the dice. And I’m convinced that I am a better manager when playing that way – more likely to look at all the ratings without a hasty “ENTER.”
            Since the first Baseball Heroes set was released in 2010, one of the most common questions in The Talk Show has been if/when we would see a sequel. I hope so. And when it happens, I will be one of the first to enjoy it because I had so much fun with my “Hall of Heroes” league (Heroes, Hall of Fame and Negro League Stars used to form 22 teams). I expect to use those Heroes again and again in other projects.
            I know that Strat-O-Matic is constantly evaluating such matters as a second Heroes card set, a continuous update of Hall of Fame cards and other specialty sets. The obstacles are familiar – the cost of printing short runs, the difficulty of doing print-on-demand because Strat-O-Matic’s two-sided cards require special printing, and the other projects dominating the time of Strat-O-Matic’s staff.
Hidden Treasure
            Glenn, I noticed in the original football game rules (and also the original brochure from 1968 on-line) that the sample cards appear to be from the 1966 season. I was just curious if the original prototypes Strat used to develop the football game, presumably the 1966 season, maybe even before, still existed. Even as ‘blueprints.’ Thank you.
            I’ve never seen such prototypes nor ever heard talk about them, though Hal Richman has said the football game was several years in the making, so presumably there were player cards for seasons before the initial commercial release after the 1967 season. So I asked Hal about your question and here’s his reply: “The testing was most likely done with four teams, all of which have disappeared with time.”
            I may have asked you this before but why are there no HBP in the basic game?
            The question has been asked several times by several gamers. I’m confident that if Strat-O-Matic was created today, the basic game would have HBP. But it never did and Strat-O-Matic creator Hal Richman never changed the basic game in a way that would make it incompatible with prior releases. All of the stat-driven and realism-driven big changes have come in Advanced/Super-Advanced. Some of those changes have been so popular that basic-gamers now play “modified basic” to adopt one or more of the Advanced features. That would be tougher to do with HBP. The dice chances of HBP on the Advanced side are the same vs. LHP and RHP, but you’d have to find the equivalent location(s) on the basic side. For some players, it would not work. For some gamers, that would involve the sacrilege of defacing the cards with writing.
The Summer of ’69 (not with Bryan Adams)
           How are you enjoying the ‘69 cards? For me, what stands out most about the ‘14 cards is it’s easy to see why it was an all-time record year for strikeouts!
            I said at the 50th anniversary convention that 1969 was my favorite baseball season – the first with divisional play and the greatest season ever for many, many terrific players (Seaver, Rose, McCovey, Killebrew, Reggie Jackson, Tony Perez, Cuellar, Petrocelli, Frank Howard and more) because it was the season with the most expansion teams ever. We had the Mets-Cubs division race (the ultimate underdogs) and the McCovey-Aaron home run derby. However, I have to concede that 1964 was the better season and it’s the one I have played with most, because two great pennant races can turn out differently each time we play it. ’64 also had numerous big years from future Hall of Famers in their primes (Mays, Aaron, Frank and Brooks Robinson, Clemente, Mantle, Santo, Billy Williams, Cepeda, Aparicio, Koufax, Drysdale, Marichal, Gibson, Bunning), huge seasons from Ken Boyer, Dean Chance, Larry Jackson, Bob Veale, Gary Peters, Boog Powell, Dick Radatz, Joe Torre, Dick Stuart, Johnny Callison and others. Then there was one of the most productive rookie classes ever, even though it hasn’t yielded Hall of Famers: batting champ Tony Oliva, Richie Allen, Tony Conigliaro, Rico Carty, Jim Ray Hart, Luis Tiant, Mel Stottlemyre, Denny McLain and Wally Bunker. 

Swinging for the Fences at Ebbets
          Hope things are well with you! What projects are you currently working on, Strat or otherwise?
          A friend was playing the 1954 card set and noticed that on the ballpark effects chart Brooklyn has a 1-19 HR for right handed batters and 1-10 for lefties. Ebbets Field was 401 feet to left and only 301 to right, so shouldn’t these numbers have been reversed? Thanks for the answer!
Chris Bacchi
            Left field in Ebbets was 410 feet in 1914, but was moved gradually closer to home plate until, by 1954, it was 348 feet, according to the authoritative book Green Cathedrals. Right field was indeed 301 when Ebbets opened, and only 297 in 1954, but had a 34-foot fence/scoreboard, compared to a 20-foot barrier in left. When it comes to reflecting what happened in Brooklyn that year, the big factor was the Dodgers’ heavily right-handed power. While left-handed hitter Duke Snider smashed 40 home runs, right-handed Gil Hodges had 42. The rest of the team’s righties smashed 73 home runs, the lefties 18, and switch-hitter Jim Gilliam had 13. The Dodgers of that era were so righty dominant that in several seasons they faced 8-10 percent lefties compared to a more typical league number of 33 percent.
            As for me, I’ve seldom been busier, and we are moving our daughter to college this month, but I make time for games, even if the playing pace slows for a few months. I’m about one-fourth of the way into my six-team, 60-game-per-team “Beautiful Losers” baseball league with Strat-O-Matic’s board game. The teams all won 100 or were in a pennant-deciding playoff without getting to the World Series: The 1948 Red Sox, 1951 Dodgers, 1954 Yankees, 1959 Braves, 1961 Tigers, 1971 A’s. I would have included the ’62 Dodgers, but wanted to play it Super Advanced … After that, I think it will be some hockey, either with the extraordinary 2014-15 season or a league of dynasty teams, including the 2015 Blackhawks.