The Talk Show – August, 2009


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.


With 1977 Near, King Kong is in Sight


      I am very pleased to hear that the 1977 season will be re-issued in super-advanced. I am curious to know how Strat-O-Matic will deal with Dave Kingman. He played for 4 teams in 4 different divisions that season. How many cards will he have? 


Greg Shellnutt, Taipei, Taiwan


      We can count on Kingman having a combined NL card for his 379 AB (211 with New York, 168 with San Diego) and his 20 HR there. He’s likely to get a second combined card for his 60 AB in the AL (36 for California and 24 for New York) since his final team was New York. It looks like the Yankees will have 11 carded pitchers. Kingman would be the 14th or 15th batter – either way, he fits into a 27-card team, assuming SOM cards that many, as it did for 1971. The AL card will be bizarre. Kong had only 11 hits in those 60 AB, but 6 were HR. And he struck out 29 times.


      Now that Strat has announced that 1977 is the next past baseball season to come out next year, is 1958 next? Also what are other past seasons that might be coming out in the next few years?

Phil from Passaic

      We’ll know for sure when Strat-O-Matic announces this, usually a year in advance, but 1958 is a good guess because SOM’s pattern has been to vary its releases rather than issue consecutive seasons from the ‘70s, the ‘50s or the pre-World War II eras. Lately, the sequence has been 1971, 1951, 1924 and 1977. So 1958 would fit nicely there, and also as the “missing link” to complete SOM’s run of seasons from 1954 to present.




Calling for a Hoops Preview

      Hey, guys, I’m a loyal hoops enthusiast, in four Strat basketball leagues, been playing since 1983, and was wondering if it was possible to get a position and shot rating preview this year for the NBA players. You guys do this for baseball and other Strat games and since there are less players in Strat hoops it shouldn’t take that long. What say you?

Dan Simpson

      Sounds reasonable. Let’s see what we can do.


Restless for the Negro Leagues

      How is progress going on the Negro League set? I know it was pushed back until spring 2009, but as we push through the summer months, I have not heard any news concerning the set. How is progress coming? Does Strat have an approximate date as to when the set actually will be released?

Mike in Grafton, OH

      Do you know the latest (approximate) date for the release of the Negro Leagues set? I didn’t see anything referencing it on the SOM web site.

Paul Phillips, Roxboro NC


      Strat-O-Matic’s Hal Richman reports that work is progressing nicely. He’s excited about the set. I think we can expect an announcement soon. But having missed earlier dates, SOM will be understandably reluctant to declare a date-certain until it can be sure to deliver.


Let’s Play Two

      How can we generate schedules like those in the ‘50s with all the doubleheaders?

Joe W., Saginaw, MI

            Three choices: Most of the 1950s seasons come with the schedule as it was to be originally played. So they have the doubleheaders. When you are choosing the season(s) to download from the CD, you’ll also see that many are available “as-played.” Seasons with many doubleheaders will have them built into that schedule. Finally, if what you really want to do is have such a schedule for something other than a specific-season replay, then you can create your own schedule. For good results, consult one of the existing schedules from seasons with many doubleheaders.




Something for the Wish List


            Do you know if SOM intends to make the 36 past seasons available on the computer as they have the 42 seasons?

Ty, Orlando, FL

      I think you mean the card set of 36 teams from various past seasons (and the Basic-only card sets of 42 great teams of the past). If so, I doubt it. SOM has complete seasons to sell for most of those teams in the 36-team set. Since many of those teams are set up for Advanced play, sales of those teams might undermine sales of the full seasons. The 42-team set was Basic only, so there was less conflict with the computerized full seasons, which are Advanced/Super-Advanced.


Double Trouble for Pitchers

            A couple of questions that have befuddled me:


            1. In the Basic game, some batters that hit only a few homers are (obviously) rated “W” power against both lefties and righties, but their cards have no split HR results, meaning they can never hit a homer. I would imagine even something as small as a 1 HR split result somewhere on their card would be possible to present at least a chance of a dinger, since the player did hit a few. Any thoughts?


      2. On the Basic fielding chart, a 4 or 5 pitcher gets a “double” result if numbers 4 and 5 are rolled – but when does any ball hit back at (or near) the pitcher result in a double? What am I missing?

Chris Bacchi, Woodridge, IL

      The “W” and “N” power ratings apply only to the Advanced/Super-Advanced play, so the batter with few home runs will get them off the pitchers’ cards.

      The Basic fielding chart was created before pitchers had individual fielding ratings, when all pitchers were rated alike (as 3, then 2). I have seen rare doubles on plays that might have been handled by pitchers. A speedy batter gets a hit up the middle and stretches it into a double. A sharp grounder bounces off the pitcher’s leg into foul territory and the batter ends up at second before the defense can recover. These are rare plays, for sure, but if you watch enough baseball, you’ll see plays you can scarcely imagine. 




Home Run Derby

      Has anyone ever thought of playing a HR Derby with our Strato cards? In our league,, each of our 4 teams promoted 2 players to compete in this year’s HR Derby. We followed the MLB rules, with these “Strato” rules, to make a realistic derby. The results were very realistic, however, I couldn’t roll dice for a week! I’d love to hear if anyone else has tried something like this.

      The “Strato” rules I followed are as follows:  A “RHP” or “LHP” warm-up coach was chosen. This told me what side of the card to look at.

Ignored results:
Only the batter’s card is used. 4, 5, and 6 results were ignored.
 HBP, BB, and K results are ignored.

Homerun results:
All extra base hits, including any split chances, are HOMERUNS.
All flyout a, b, and c are HOMERUNS.

Out results:
All groundout a, b, and c are out. Lineouts are outs.
All singles, including any split chances, are outs.

      Count me among the many, I suppose, who have tinkered with a Home Run Derby. We even created one for the Strat-O-Matic convention hosted by STRAT FAN in Akron in the 1990s. I imagine there are many systems. Yours looks like fun, if you disallow a low-AB card filled with doubles and triples (but no homers). Were your homer totals realistic (compared to the All-Star game Derby homer totals)? If they were high, you might reconsider the flyout “c” chances.


50th Anniversary Ideas


      A few years ago, I e-mailed you, suggesting an idea for SOM’s 50th Anniversary. Time’s getting shorter now, so I thought I would bring it up again, to see if it’s feasible. The idea was a card/computer release of an updated 40th Anniversary set (the one you guys did the replay of). I’m thinking that, except for one or two squads (2008 Tampa, for instance), the teams haven’t changed much.  Presumably, printing them wouldn’t be too expensive, since you still have the templates for the original replay, right? A nice, cut-card set, specially boxed for the anniversary and sold as a limited edition collectible would be a real treasure. Any chance?

Jeff Woodhouse, Seattle

      I’ve heard no discussion of this. However, the 50th Anniversary offers a great opportunity for Strat-O-Matic to inspire many things that will focus attention on the company. While 2011 is the 50th anniversary of the first product release (the 1960 baseball cards), wouldn’t it be great fun if SOM looks at 2010 through 2012 as a prolonged celebration of its 50th? In 2010, it’s the 50th anniversary of the 1960 season. In 2012 it’s the 50th anniversary of the first full baseball season set, 1962. In no time, we could put together quite a list of special products and promotions. There’s just the small matter of how SOM would manage to find the time to do them and which would be worth the effort.


Using Weather Effects


      I’m about to start a 1954 replay using Super Advanced rules and I wanted to know how to set up the weather effects chart. For example, under Brooklyn for June, July and August the numbers are listed for good weather:






What number do I put in each box?


James Hurwitz, Novato CA


      The numbers you cite are the 1-20 dice rolls that decide whether the weather is Good (1-12), Average (13-16) or Bad (17-20). Depending on that roll’s outcome, follow the line to the last two columns on the right for the appropriate ballpark singles and home runs.



About Those Summer Nights in 1924


      Having just started my 56-game 1924 season, one thing puzzles me about the charts for that season. The Ballpark/Weather Effects charts have listings for night games.  Why is this?


      I re-read your Strat-O-Sphere piece about the ‘24 season.  Nice.  I always find it amazing, the things the old-timers battled through, that they are never fully recognized for: “When Red Sox pitcher Bill Piercy broke his skull on a line drive off the bat of the Tigers’ Leslie Burke on June 18 in Detroit, the writer reported, ‘It was just a crack, not a real break.’”


      At, Piercy was listed as the winning pitcher in the game of a doubleheader July 5.  I don’t know if that was the next time he pitched, but just being out there less than three weeks after suffering a cracked skull (but it wasn’t “a real break,” as we are reminded) – astonishing.


      Here’s another amazing fact: The Yankees essentially went through the first half of the season with just six pitchers (Pipgras was there, but was seldom called on, pitching in just nine games all year).  Pennock, Hoyt, Bush, and Shawkey were the starters, and Jones and Gaston filled in where necessary. They finally acquired Cliff Markle June 16, but he made just seven appearances (three starts, no wins).  They signed veteran right-hander Al Mamaux July 12 (14 games, one win), before letting Markle go 10 days later.  They got two wins out of Walter Beall, after they purchased his contract at the end of August. 86 of 89 wins came from just six hurlers.


      Instead of being amazed at what today’s players can accomplish (under optimal conditions), maybe we should be wondering how – if – they could have dealt with the circumstances of earlier generations. Thanks for yet another eye-opener of a season.


Jeff Woodhouse, Seattle


     Personally, one of the big pleasures of Strat-O-Matic’s classic-season issues is how much I learn about sports history. We discover players, ballparks, playing styles and any number of quirks that help bring a replay alive. I know you have been devoted to this exploration and have enjoyed it as much as anyone. Your 56-game seasons are just enough to give an adequate understanding of every team. And it permits you to move onto the next season, playing them all. Not many of us can say that.


      One of the ways baseball has changed is the use of the disabled list. Piercy was expected to pitch with a broken skull. Now, teams who have invested guaranteed millions to players put them on the DL for bruises – and, in 2009, for “anxiety disorders.” Based on my reading about 1924, I think an “anxiety order” would have been regarded as nervousness – an inability to perform under pressure. And that guy would be cut. But today’s team that owes him millions just puts him on the DL. As of this writing, about 150 Major Leaguers are on the disabled list – all at one time. The entire decade of the ‘50s probably had less than that.


      As for the different day/night ballpark ratings in 1924, it’s a mystery. Night baseball didn’t begin until 1935. I’d regard the night ratings for use only in what-if projects.



Football Format Changes


      Strat-O-Matic says the 2008 carded football game is not compatible with editions prior to the 1982 season, why? Is the 2008 season setup for basic and advanced play?  I really enjoy your forum.


Randy, Lincoln Park, MI


      The card format was revamped for the 1982 season. The most prominent difference was moving the running results that relied on blocking ratings from the running back cards to the team-defense cards. This provided wider variety of results for individual running backs. There were other changes, but that one alone makes the sets incompatible. With the blocking results on the defensive cards, the team-defense run results are completely re-calculated.



1970s College Football


      I would love to see old-time college football seasons come up. The mid ‘70s of Oklahoma-Nebraska and the great Michigan and Ohio State teams would make great play. Will there ever be an old-time college season?


      You’re not the only one thinking about past seasons. However, it’s more likely we’ll see great teams rather than full seasons.  It’s tough enough getting the stats for individual 1970s teams without trying to get the whole country.



Carding Goaltenders

      Regarding the 2005-06 NHL card set, why was goaltender Adam Hauser of the LA Kings carded? He only appeared in 1 game, playing 51 minutes. His goals against average is an atrocious 7.08! I recognize the need to card goaltender Josh Harding of the Minnesota Wild even though he only played three games. The Wild shipped Dwayne Roloson away at the trade deadline thus making Josh Harding the only available back-up to Manny Fernandez. I can even see the need to card defenseman Timo Helbling of the Tampa Bay Lightning, in spite of his 9 games played. The Lightning have six defensemen who played over 75 games each, but they require the extra defenseman in the event that any of their starting six were to suffer an injury. But Adam Hauser? Looking through the uncarded goaltenders, Nolan Schaefer of the San Jose Sharks (7 GP 352 MIN), Yann Danis of the Montreal Canadiens (6 GP 312 MIN) and Wade Dublielewicz of the New York Islanders (7 GP 310 MIN) all appear to be more deserving. Of the uncarded skaters, Dustin Penner of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks comes to mind. And it’s not as if the Kings require a third goaltender because Mathieu Garon and Jason Labarbera each logged considerable ice time. Many thanks and keep up the great work.

Louis Casado, Toronto

      Louis, you have stumped me. Asking about a choice between third-string goaltenders from a three-year-old set will do that. But I’m also stumped because I have no way to counter the excellent logic of your analysis. If other gamers remember any discussion from that season that solved this mystery, we welcome their answer.