Great Moments in Strat – November, 2008



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Look Again at This Score


DETROIT, 1927 — It was a deluge of unspeakable proportions, the offensive display put on at Navin Field this afternoon, as the Mackmen of Philadelphia ran roughshod over the Tigers, 31-2.  This was the biggest rout I have ever witnessed in a Strat game. 

            On an otherwise sunny afternoon, hits rained down from all quarters – 37 in all – as every batsman Connie Mack sent to the plate had at least one safety, with the exception of relief hurlers Joe Pate and Lefty Willis. Not that Philadelphia starter Lefty Grove needed any relief.  The sullen southpaw made good with five innings of scoreless pitching to earn his fifth win of the season. By then, the A’s led 23-0. The A’s went through their batting order in each of the first four frames.  They tallied four times in each of the first two frames, adding nine more in the third, six in the fourth, three more in the sixth, and the final five in the top of the ninth.

            Bill Lamar led the charge by reaching base seven times. Lamar belted three hits, collected two passes, and also reached base twice on errors.  He scored six times.

            Eddie Collins started the game at second base for the Athletics, but left for a pinch runner in the fourth inning, after having already posted four hits and a walk.  The aging keystoner drove in three runs and tallied three times.  His replacement, Max Bishop, added a single and two walks.

            Ty Cobb dragged himself through all nine innings, a good thing since Mack is playing shorthanded, with Al Simmons still sidelined.  Cobb snarled his way to a triple, three singles and a pass, knocking in four runs against his former mates. Young slugger Jimmie Foxx did more damage, collecting a triple, single, three walks and a sacrifice fly.

            The top hitters were Jimmy Dykes and Walt French, who each rapped five hits.  Dykes’ haul included a home run, double and three singles.  He scored three times and drove in five runs.  French tallied four singles, a double and a walk.  He scored twice and drove in four more.

            The catching tandem was Mickey Cochrane, who was 5-for-5 in his five-inning stint, and Cy Perkins, who doubled home a run. Joe Boley added a triple, double and single for a career-best four runs batted in, while even Grove smashed a three-bagger and a single, good for three runs batted in and two more scored.  Replacing Grove as part of a double-switch in the top of the sixth, Chick Galloway singled, doubled and walked.

            “I was gravely concerned for George Moriarty’s club this afternoon,” Mack admitted to a gathering of scribes.  “The ever-present danger of injury to his hurlers from the frightening beatings they took, and the factor of fatigue that would naturally set in during a late summer afternoon were foremost in my mind.

            “I took whatever steps I could to try to rein my club in, short of making a complete mockery of the game, such as it was.  But there is little one can do, beyond telling runners not to tag up on fly balls, or to not make any attempts at stretching out a base hit.  If a ball goes to the wall, do I tell my man to stop at first base?  I might as well tell them to not even swing the bat.

            “I have already offered my sincerest apologies to Mr. Moriarty for the circumstances that befell this afternoon.  No one wishes such embarrassment on his fellow competitors.”

Jeff Woodhouse, Seattle


2007 Sox Unravel in 23-2 Rout


            As if a surprising fifth-place position in the A.L. Central Division wasn’t bad enough this year, White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen is also worrying about a total pitching meltdown after a shocking 23-2 setback at the hands of the Cleveland Indians.


            After the 25-hit autoplayed laugher at U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago fans were left wondering which of their teams has worse hurlers: the Sox or the Bears.


            Ryan Garko led the Tribe by going 4-5 with three home runs, driving in 10 runs as the teams seem to have flipped positions with their real-life 2008 counterparts.  Travis Hafner added two more longballs to the Sox’ demise.


            Such a setback does bring into play when – or if – HAL is programmed to send in a position player to "take one for the team."  The Sox went through seven hurlers, emptying the pen.  Not that it made any difference.


            As it was, Ozzie was not around to see the end of the miserable day.  He was tossed (or got himself excused) in the fourth inning after arguing a call at the plate with crew chief Ed Montague.  It was, at best, a futile gesture, as the Indians were in the midst of a 10-hit, eight-run explosion highlighted by Garko’s grand slam.  The visitors built their lead to 21-0, before the Sox finally answered, scoring once in the eighth and again in the ninth.


            Anybody know the whereabouts of Steve Trout?  Or Bobby Douglass?


Gary Feierer in Minneapolis,

replaying the 2007 Major League Baseball season on the computer



Learning from Strat


            Shortly after the All-Star Game’s pitching shortage near-fiasco, I had a reminder of how much the game has changed over the years: a 4-3, 17-inning marathon between the 1927 Dodgers and Giants at the Polo Grounds.

Trying as much as possible to emulate the era, I realized that – after 12 innings – it was getting a bit long for a mid-week, late afternoon affair, with darkness approaching. So I suspended the game – knotted at 2-2 – to be completed the next afternoon prior to the regularly-scheduled contest.

            In my mind, the completion of the suspended game would probably take place an hour before the regular game.  I picked up with the 13th inning, and followed with the 14th.  Finally, the Dodgers posted a run in the top of the 15th.  With two outs against Giants’ reliever John Clarkson, Gus Felix singled and Max Carey drew a pass.  Harvey Hendrick then singled to center field, and Felix beat Edd Roush’s throw to the plate for the lead. 

            However, the Giants battled back.  With one out, Bill Terry singled past second. Rogers Hornsby, who had already scored both New York runs the previous day, lined out to third.  Roush walked. Herb Thomas, pinch-hitting for Les Mann, singled, loading the bases.  A passed ball by Dodger backstop Butch Henline knotted the score again.  Fred Lindstrom, with first base now open and the much-weaker Zack Taylor on deck, was passed.  Taylor then grounded out.  The game continued.

            Finally, that day’s scheduled starter, Jesse Petty, took the hill in the bottom of the 17th for the Brooks.  All I had left (on my 20-man active roster) was Dazzy Vance, who started and pitched a complete game the day before this one began, Jumbo Elliott, and Jesse Barnes (who was scheduled to start "tomorrow").

            I figured that, if we could get the game finished quick enough, Petty’s already warm for his own start, a trick frequently used in those days.  If it ran too much longer, I’d have swingman Elliott (who was not scheduled to pitch in this series) for an emergency start in the regular game.  If Petty finished this one, though, then ran into trouble (or out of gas) in his own start, I’d still have Elliott to fall back on, in relief.  But I didn’t want to burn Elliott now, leaving Petty "naked" for his own game, so I gambled.

            The game did end quickly …at long last.  After Clarkson pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the 17th, Hornsby lashed a one-out single to center off Petty.  Roush popped out, and Thomas – who batted just 91 times that season (hitting a mere .220) – was a hero again, with a double belted deep to center field.  Hornsby circled the bases, sliding home just ahead of Felix’s throw.

            In all my years of Strat (going back to 1972), this was the longest game I had ever played. The teams combined for 34 innings pitched and used a mere seven pitchers to do it. So soon after the 2008 All-Star game with its one-inning specialists, I couldn’t help reflect on the difference between eras.

Jeff Woodhouse, Seattle, WA



            I often read letters from Strat managers bemoaning that they have been playing for 13 or 16 or 22 years without ever being part of a Strat-O-Matic no-hitter.  This story isn’t going to make those guys feel any better, but it’s true.


            I played a fair amount of Strat in my 20s, but I am now 54 and haven’t played more than a dozen games over the past 15 years – not because I lost interest in the game, but because I moved and left my fellow Strat buddies behind.  I only wanted to play face-to-face and I just never seemed to meet anyone who had the requisite baseball knowledge and enthusiasm who was interested in tabletop baseball.  That changed recently when I became friends with Stan from work.  Stan is a life-long baseball fan who has been rooting for the Giants since about the time they moved to San Francisco.  I introduced him to the agony and the ecstasy of being a Strat manager.


            For our first competition, we drafted teams from the 1965 National League season to play a best 4 of 7 series.  Since he was the novice I game him first pick and much to my surprise he chose shortstop Maury Wills (AAA stealer).  I gladly selected Sandy Koufax (26 wins) for my first pick and expected him to take MVP Willie Mays (52 HRs) next, but again he surprised me by taking catcher Joe Torre.  So I grabbed Mays. Stan did very well for the rest of the draft, considering it was his first, but I was very glad to have Koufax and Mays on my squad.


            I won the first two games when Koufax threw a six-hit shutout and Juan Marichal out-dueled Bob Veale, 3-2.  Stan could not believe a lineup including Billy Williams, Joe Torre, Frank Robinson, Bobby Tolan, Willie McCovey and Pete Rose could get shut out.  He grumbled a bit about the fact that no homers were hit in either game. Not to mention the fact that his No. 1 pick, Wills, had not even reached first base! 


            In Game 3 it was Jim Maloney for me against Claude Osteen for Stan.   Maloney was wild early but got out of several jams with his blazing fast ball.  Osteen was not at his best and by the 6th inning my guys led, 5-0.  It occurred to me that Maloney had settled down after his rocky start and looking at the score sheet I realized that he had not given up a hit yet.  With 2 out in the 7th however, Stan rolled a 4-8 and read the result which was Single 1-19.  Glumly I watched him pull the split card, a ‘1’.  Clean single, no hitter gone down the tubes … but wait, I thought I remembered Maloney getting several batters out on 4-8 rolls so I took another look and discovered that Stan had read the result from HIS pitcher’s card and not Maloney’s!  On Maloney’s card, 4-8 is a strikeout!  The no-hitter was still intact!


You can guess the rest of the story.  Maloney cruised thru the 8th and 9th innings without giving up a hit, though I did get pretty nervous when all-time hit leader Pete Rose batted with two outs in the 9th inning.  But Rose popped out and Maloney had completed a 5-walk, 14-strikeout no-hitter against some of the best hitters of 1965.  And of course, many of you probably know that in 1965 the real Jim Maloney actually pitched two of his three career no-hitters (both went extra innings).  So this was a clear case of Strat-O-Matic’s true-to-life realism.


            This was the third Strat no-hitter I’ve been part of, but the really remarkable thing was that Stan got to be part of a Strat no-hitter in just the third Strat game of his life!  I don’t think he really appreciates it yet, though.  Maybe after a few hundred Strat games he’ll come to see how remarkable an event it was!


Bill Bell, North Bend, OR


Anything Can Happen


            1950 Brooklyn Dodgers vs. 1950 New York Yankees: Tommy Brown and Gene Woodling bat lead off for their perspective teams and each cracks 3 home runs! Over the years, such luminaries such as Don Hoak, Jim Pagliaroni, Jim Ftegosi, Mack Jones, Joe Pepitone, Cliff Mapes, Wes Covington and Tony Gonzalez have had 3-homerun games. In 1975, Ceasar Cedeno hit 5 – y es, I said 5 in a 10-inning game! Play enough Strat over the past 40+ years and anything can happen!


Weirdness in Strat: Play enough games over the years and you are bound to have some interesting things happen. How else can you explain Tom Veryzer slugging 27 homeruns, Rudy Meoli slashing 198 hits while batting .312 or Don Larsen (of the 76 ‘Stros) going 23-8? 


            In 1978, the Padres John D’Aquisto was given a Koufax-looking card as a set up man. I threw him into the rotation and watched him compile 321 strikeouts and a 20-7 record! It seemed that every Johhny Dee game went like this:  9 innings  5 hits  2 runs   4 walks  12 strikeouts


            Perhaps the strangest stat was Jerry Grote slugging 15 homeruns for the ‘69 Mets. Or maybe it was Harmon Killebrew’s 8 triples in 1965 – I can see him motoring around those bags! How could one predict that vintage Pete Rose would hit .243 or that Joe Torre would take a .199 average into August before rallying to hit .240?


                                                                                    Scott G – Westchester County, NY







Willie Davis’ Greatest Day


            More wild games from my 50-game 1962 season replay using stock teams – the mini-Dodgers (16-12, one of the 36 past season teams) versus the "worst team in baseball history" NY Mets (6-22) in the 29th game for both teams.


            The Mets started the scoring in the top of the first with a homerun by Felix Mantilla against Sandy Koufax. The Dodgers stormed back with 6 runs against Roger Craig in the bottom half, capped by a grand slam by light-hitting Daryl Spencer, and built a 7-1 lead in the third inning on Ron Fairly’s home run.


            Then came one of the most unusual innings of my replay, partly because it involved the ‘62 Mets against Koufax.  The Mets came up with 6 runs (only one earned) in the top of the fourth to tie it at 7-7.  Gene Woodling and Frank Thomas singled. First and third, no outs.  Koufax then struck out Marv Throneberry but Charley Neal reached on an error by Maury Wills, scoring Woodling.  Choo Choo Coleman struck out. But  Elio Chacon singled to load the bases followed by a walk to pinch-hitter Hobie Landrith (home-made card), scoring run No. 2.  Richie Ashburn followed with a single for the third run. Then Mantilla, the ninth batter of the inning, delivered the tying runs with a bases-clearing triple.


            The Dodgers pulled away with four runs in the bottom of the fifth, featuring Jim Gilliam’s home run. They added a run in the sixth on Willie Davis’ homer. Then the Dodgers batted around in the seventh, scoring three with the first two coming on a two-out homer by Davis (his second of the game).  Score:  15-7, Dodgers. Finally in the bottom of the eighth against Bob Miller, the Dodgers loaded the bases with no outs and up came Davis who crushed another homer to cap the scoring at 19-7.


            Davis finished 4-for-6 with a double and 3 homeruns.  Sandy Koufax got a complete game win allowing only one earned run.


Henry Dearborn