Great Moments in Strat – May, 2008



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It Happens Every 45 years


            I have been playing Strat since 1964. Never had a no-hitter come my way! It is 2 p.m. on May 6, 2008. I just started my 1951 replay on computer for the American League. I had finished the National League managing all the Brooklyn Dodgers games, but could not get them to do any better than fourth place. So here I am playing my beloved Yankees with Vic Raschi on the mound against the Washington Senators. Low and behold I notice in the 5th inning that both pitchers are throwing no-hitters! In the top of the 6th, Gene Woodling of the Yankees up and I roll the dice on the screen – Whoa! It’s out of here! Homerun! So I wait through the seventh inning and decide I better get some defense in there. I put Joe Collins in at first, Hank Bauer for the Mick in right, and take out Brown at third. Now I have all 2s, plus a 1 in my infield. In the top of the eighth I get one more run, so I am up 2-0. Bottom of the eighth: Hal pinch hits for Porterfield – one out, then two more. One more inning to go! Bottom of the ninth: Dice roll Homerun 1-13 ballpark # — He is out! Great play by Hank Bauer. Next batter: Another Homerun try! He is out to Joe D in center! One out to go … a ground ball to the Scooter … Out! I can not believe it! The curse is over! I have done it! I love this game! Thank you, Hal Richman! Good Health!

Alan L. Dehn Schenectady, NY



More No-Hitter Drama


            Playing the 1971 Orioles at home, hosting the 1971 Tigers.  It was an amazing pitchers’ duel, featuring Jim Palmer against Mickey Lolich. (1971 was his career year.)  After 8 innings, it’s still a scoreless game, but Lolich is pitching a perfect game.  Palmer had allowed only 3 hits, but he walked several guys, and he’d hit a batter, too. My big fear at this point – counting my chickens before they hatched – is that Detroit won’t score, and Lolich won’t be able to achieve his no-hitter on account of poor run support!  But, in the top of the ninth, Detroit scored two runs.  How’d it happen?  With one out, and runners on first and second, Lolich came to bat.  I had him bunt. [I wonder, how many gamers have the pitcher bunt when there is already one out?]  It was successful: runners on second and third, but now with two outs.  Lead-off hitter Tony Taylor then lined a SINGLE** to CF, and the Tigers had their two runs.  In the bottom of the ninth, Lolich struck out Andy Etchebarren, and Mark Belanger popped up to third.  One out to go for a perfect game!  I couldn’t roll the dice, and even put the game away, and came back to it after about an hour of anticipation and hope – and fear.  Paul Blair pinch-hit for Palmer.  Well, you can guess the rest – a clean double for Blair, and there went the perfect game.  Lead-off hitter Don Buford immediately grounded out to short, and that was that – a one-hitter. Frustrating, but exhilarating!

Jimmy Jr., Lewisburg, PA


            Editor’s Notes: This near-miss can be explained by your hour-long break. When watching a no-hitter in progress at the ballpark, you don’t change seats. You don’t take off your cap. You don’t talk about it. By taking your break, you broke the spell. OK, that’s all superstition and, truly, the dice odds did not change. Still!


            As for the bunt strategy, if the pitcher is allowed to bat in that situation, always bunt, unless the pitcher is a good hitter – a 5, 7 or 8 hitter. Why? Because pitchers hit into so many double plays.



And the Winner Is …


            After 127 series, 500+ games, and over a calendar year of play – I have a champion!


            There were 128 teams involved, eight each from the years 1969 through 1984.  Advanced rules, no super-advanced teams allowed. I used the original versions of 1971, 1975 and 1978, with advanced features like error ratings, pitcher’s hold, catcher arms, etc, added where necessary.  All games were cards and dice.   I also used the new pitcher-as-hitters feature, printed out from the computer game in most cases.


            Teams were seeded (and re-seeded every round) by real-life winning percentage.  So, ’69 Baltimore (.673), ’70 Baltimore (.667), ’75 Cinci (.667), ’84 Detroit (.642) for example, were the top four seeds.  I took the top eight teams from each year, for the most part, but I did make a few exceptions to get some personal favorites in there (i.e, any team that Oscar Gamble played on, the ’74 Phillies, ’73 Expos, like that).  Each series was best of five.  I thought about best of seven, but I wanted to use four man pitching rotations, and I wanted the two aces to match-up in any final game, so I went with five.


            The ’69 O’s held their top seed throughout, taking out ’77 Cleveland, ’74 Cleveland, ’71 Cubs, ’70 San Francisco, ’69 Oakland and ’71 LA to reach the finals with an 18-5 record.


            Determining their opponent was a free-for all, after the ’70 O’s were upset in Round One by ’74 Cleveland.  ’75 Cinci made it to Round Three before losing to ’70 San Fran in a series of slugfests.  ’84 Detroit lost in Round Four to ’69 Oakland.  ’76 Cinci was the last powerhouse to fall, in a rousing five-game series with ’71 LA.  Finally making it to the championship game with a record of 18-3, while never once having the home-field advantage in a series……the ’71 SF Giants, upsetting ’81 LA, ’84 San Diego, ’74 Cinci, ’73 LA, ’77 Baltimore and finally ’78 Philly.


            Both teams were rested coming in, so it would be Marichal vs. Cuellar in the opener at Baltimore.  Powell’s 1st inning homer gave the O’s an early lead.  Marichal doubled in a run to tie it in the 2nd.  RBI singles by Powell and Frank Robinson brought in two unearned runs for the O’s in the 5th, but Tito Fuentes banged a two-run triple to tie it in the sixth, then Speier singled him in for the lead.  Dietz singled in an insurance run in the eighth to make it 5-3.  Hamilton (now THERE was a lefty specialist!), Carrithers and Stone closed it out for Marichal.


            Perry vs. McNally in game 2.  It was a slugfest early, Powell and McNally homering off Perry, Baltimore leading 5-3 after five, but Mays and Dietz nailed McNally for back-to-back homers after a Belanger error in the sixth to make it 6-5 Giants after 6.  Another unearned run made it 7-5.  Perry left after six with the lead, Hamilton and Carrithers closed it out.


            With the Giants looking to end the series back home in Candlestick for Game 3, the O’s rallied, Powell and Blair hitting early homers off Reberger, Palmer cruising to a 6-2 win. Still home at Candlestick, the Giants again looked to end it in game 4.  Phoebus went five good innings for the O’s, leaving with a 2-1 lead, and singling in one of the runs off Ron Bryant in the 2nd. Richert, Watt and Hall were near perfect in relief, Baltimore tacking on three against Stone in the eighth.  We’ll go back to Baltimore for the finale, tied at two apiece.


            And so, it would be Marichal vs Cuellar one more time, for all the marbles after 500+ games!  Mays walked to lead off the game, Dietz doubled him to 3rd, Kingman singled them both in, and so it stayed, 2-0 Giants into the 3rd.  A Marichal error and an RBI-single by Buford brought the O’s an unearned run in the 3rd, it was 2-1 Giants going to the 4th. 


            The Giants knocked out Cuellar in the 4th: Gallagher, Speier, Marichal with big hits, McCovey a sac fly.  Gallagher tripled in another run in the 6th off Hall, things looking good for the Giants, 6-1 going to the 7th, Marichal cruising. 


            A homer by Dave Johnson in the 7th, a triple by Blair in the 8th brought in runs, making it 6-3 after eight.  A McCovey homer in the Giants 9th tacked on an insurance run, Marichal closed it out.  The ’71 Giants, at 21-5 are my tournament champions.  Or, should I say … The Giants win the pennant!  The Giants win the pennant!

Jim Beauchemin



The Human Element Makes Strat Great


            I think one of the things that sets Strat apart from other games is the balance between true-to-life player performance and the effect of human managerial decisions.  This is most evident in the baseball game.  When I have moments that my managing pays off, I fall in love with Strat all over again.  I had one tonight in my 2006 Marlins Replay, although in favor of my opponent. 

            The Toronto Blue Jays visited the Florida Marlins on a typically muggy day that is a Sunday afternoon affair in mid-June ("bad" weather on the chart).  The weather played a huge role in the game, as all triangle single chances for righties are automatic outs and homeruns are 5/3 for lefties and righties, respectively.  That, combined with a Roy Halladay-Josh Johnson pitching match-up, made for a low-scoring contest. 


            Top of the 7th, 2-1 Marlins, 1 out, men on 1st and 2nd, pitcher’s spot at bat.  Even though Halladay is pitching very well at this point, the obvious play is to pinch hit.  I bring in Reed Johnson to hit against Logan Kensing (the previous batter’s single fatigued Johnson).  He strikes out, but then Alex Rios hits a 2-RBI double to give the Blue Jays a 3-2 after 6.5 innings.  Since the game is close and now in the Jays’ favor, I opted to keep Reed Johnson in at LF (he is a 2(-2)e1) and replace the defensively inferior (who am I kidding? The defensively awful) Frank Catalanotto (a 5(+1)e2 in LF).  Entering the bottom of the 9th, the score is now 4-3 Toronto.  B.J. Ryan trots out for the save and promptly surrenders a leadoff double to Cody Ross.  Reggie Abercrombie (a meager .212 hitter) bunts Ross to 3rd with 1 out.  Chris Aguila, pinch-hitting in the pitcher’s spot, misses a Single/lineout split chance, bringing Hanley Ramirez to the plate with two outs.  He rolls on Ryan’s card, a fly(LF)X.  The split roll on the X-chance is an 11.  Had Catalanotto still been in, that’s a SI2.  But with Reed Johnson in LF, it was an F2, out #3, Blue Jays win. 


            I know I lost the game, but it was great to see that my managerial decision basically allowed the Blue Jays to win a game they might not have won otherwise.  That is an aspect of Strat that you just don’t really get with other baseball simulations, particularly video games, and part of what makes Strat so amazing.


Scott Dicken, Fort Lauderdale, FL