WHO IS THE ULTIMATE STRAT-O-MATIC FANATIC?
Updated as of 1/21/2011: Semi-Finalists Have Been Announced
Since 1961, Strat-O-Matic has enjoyed a devoted following of loyal fans, affectionately referred to as “fanatics”. Their ranks are filled with celebrities and working people, husbands and wives, daughters and sons and just about every true sports fan born after 1950.
With the 50th Anniversary of Strat-O-Matic coming this February, we decided that this would be the perfect time to decide, once and for all, who is the ULTIMATE STRAT-O-MATIC FANATIC?
Send us your stories, pictures, videos, box scores, photos of your collections, anything and everything that proves that you are the ULTIMATE STRAT-O-MATIC FANATIC. We will be posting the finalists on our website, Facebook and Twitter feed sometime after the new year. The award will be presented at our 2011 Opening Day and 50th Anniversary Celebration, Saturday, February 12th 2011.
And, just wait until you hear the prizes:
GRAND PRIZE (1):
-A trophy and a certificate signed by Hal Richman, acknowledging your place in history as the ULTIMATE STRAT-O-MATIC FANATIC and secure your bragging rights within your league.
-A free set of the newest cards and computer game of your favorite sport the day they come out…FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
FINALIST PRIZE (4):
-100.00 gift certificate to Strat-O-Matic, redeemable for any products.
UPDATE: Thank you to everyone who submitted an application for our “Ultimate Strat-O-Matic Fanatic” contest. The selection process was extremely difficult, as there were so many terrific candidates. Here are the 10 semi-finalists (in alphabetical order), including a brief bio on each of the candidates.
Marty Bender (Queens, NY)
Marty, who has been playing Strat-O-Matic since 1975, has attended the past 20 Opening Days in Glen Head. Always one of the first in line on Opening Day, he once won the opportunity to play Hal Richman in a two-inning game of Strat-O-Matic Baseball on the company’s 40th Anniversary (Marty was winning 2-1). In 2002, the Baseball Hall of Fame had a traveling exhibition that stopped in NYC at the Museum of Natural History, and Marty was one of four players chosen to represent the company by playing Strat in the African Wing of the museum. Marty loves Strat stats so much that he keeps track of all of his offensive players’ dice roll columns just to see if each column is actually rolled 1/6th of the time, and has also been calculating his own RISP stats for the past 22 years.
Brett Carow (River Falls, WI)
Brett’s Strat-O-Matic resume is quite impressive: over 10,700 baseball games played in 20+ years. In addition to sleeping through prom to participate in an overnight Strat-O-Fest, Brett played Strat-O-Matic throughout the course of his honeymoon and regularly skipped college classes to come to Opening Day. The ‘icing on the cake:’ Brett’s wife scanned a 1941 Ted Williams Strat-O card onto a cake for him in honor of his 10,000th game played.
Jim Colquhoun (N. Massapequa, NY)
Jim first started playing Strat-O-Matic back in 1974 as a senior in high school. In 1978, he formed a face-to-face league that started with just four teams, but quickly grew to 16 teams and lasted 27 years– 24 of which he served as the commissioner. Jim has put together a remarkable streak of 36 straight Strat-O-Matic Opening Days attended. Jim also used to create his own supplementary stealing, e-ratings and other information missing from ‘advanced’ seasons, which would be published in Strat Fan magazine, and also worked as a beta tester for the Strat-O-Matic Baseball Computer games for five seasons.
Jeff Fleischman (Centennial, CO)
Jeff has been playing Strat-O-Matic for over 45 years. He runs the oldest, continuous baseball league (Greater United States Strat-O-Matic Organization, also known as G.U.S.S.O.M.O.) in the United States. G.U.S.S.O.M.O. is currently in its 40th year of existence. While Jeff says the league is like his “baby,” he says that the Strat-O-Matic game “is like a best friend.” He takes great pride in the fact that he has been able to make so many close friends directly through playing Strat-O-Matic, which has included invitations to weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, and other events. Jeff will be coming in for the 50th Anniversary Celebration in New York City next month all the way from Colorado.
Larry Fryer (Woodstock, MD)
Larry has been playing Strat-O-Matic since 1967. As a high school junior, Larry and a few friends would “commandeer” an unused classroom, and during their 30-minute lunch break, managed to play a full half of Strat-O-Matic Football every school day (and eat!). They were able to complete a five-manager, 14 game schedule in six weeks. Nowadays, Larry and his wife host a convention at their home every June where up to ten of his league’s manager will attend for a week of mass Strat-O playing. Larry’s Strat-O-Matic collection is so extensive that the company has actually borrowed games from him to include in the historical archives of the Strat-O-Matic website.
Ty Hadden (Orlando, FL)
Ty was first introduced to Strat-O-Matic back in 1964, after seeing an ad for the game in Sport Magazine. While other Ultimate Strat-O-Matic Fanatics have competed against friends, siblings, parents and children, Ty has squared off against perhaps the most unlikely of opponents: his cat. While playing the C & D version of Strat, Ty’s cat would get jealous of him and either steal the die or knock them on the floor. As such, Ty figured out a way to play against his cat. When it was Ty’s turn to bat, a friend would hold the cat. When it was the cat’s turn to roll, they would let the cat swat at the dice. Since the cat couldn’t make decisions such as whether or not to bunt or steal a base, they played a very basic version of the game on both sides. However, as soon as the cat beat him for the first time, Ty never played him again.
Don Ketchek (Rochester, NY)
Don has been playing Strat-O-Matic Baseball with his brother Michael for almost 46 years. He has a collection of written team and individual statistics for every season he has ever played. Some of the highlights from his time playing Strat-O have been five no-hitters thrown, three consecutive homeruns in one game hit by Babe Ruth, an 8-run rally with 2 outs in the 9th inning to win a game 13-12, and a 19 strikeout performance by Sandy Koufax.
Tom Nahigian (Pasadena, CA)
Tom has been playing Strat-O-Matic since he was 10 years old back in 1972. He used to read the Strat-O-Matic Review from cover to cover beginning with the May 1977 issue until the last issue published in July 1991. Tom has met Hal at two separate conventions- one in 1998 at a SOM Convention in Akron, Ohio, and the other at the 2002 SOM Convention at St. John’s University. He is an active member of the Strat Fan Forum and will often try to be a resource for other players and answer questions that gamers have. Tom has continually tried to pass the Strat-O torch to the next generation of gamers, having purchased games for his nephews as well as his cousin’s son.
Larry Salay (Hamden, CT)
Larry Salay has every advanced baseball card set created since 1971, every hockey card set, every basketball card set, every baseball computer season, and most of the computer seasons in hockey, football and basketball. Larry loves his cards so much that when he moved, he took the boxes of cards himself, rather than letting the movers do it for him. Lastly, whenever Larry goes away, he has at least one of his Strat computer games loaded onto his laptop to have with him for the trip.
Bob Zuhlke (Gaithersburg, MD)
Bob calls receiving his Strat-O-Matic cards every year his “adult years Christmas.” He owns over 60 seasons of baseball cards. Almost every year, Bob will produce a “Preview Issue” for one of his leagues. He compiles the Preview Issue through a few simulations of seasons to see where every team will finish, while also taking his knowledge of the other GMs and their managing styles into consideration. Bob recently started a blog where he posts game summaries and box scores of Strat-O-Matic games he will play (using the player cards for the board game) with assorted teams throughout baseball history.
At this time, each of the 10 semi-finalists has the option (but is not required) to submit any additional materials to further push his candidacy to earn the Ultimate Strat-O-Matic Fanatic title. The deadline for secondary submissions for semi-finalists only will be on Wednesday, February 9th at 11:59pm EST. While the submissions are only for the semi-finalists– friends, family, fellow league members, etc. are permitted to send in submissions on behalf of the candidate they believe should be crowned the Ultimate SOM Fanatic. On February 12th at our 50th Anniversary Celebration in New York City, Strat-O-Matic Founder and President Hal Richman will announce the four finalists and one grand prize winner, the Ultimate Strat-O-Matic Fanatic. As a reminder, all semi-finalists must be in attendance at the Anniversary Celebration in order to be eligible for the contest.