The Talk Show – October,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.

An A+ for Strat’s New Game Boxes

      I just got the new football cards and I ordered a box with it, and I saw the new design for the Football Game Box. It looks great. Is Strat planning on designing new boxes for all there games? A+ for this one.


Mark Bender

      A+ for sure. The baseball and pro football boxes have been redesigned. Basketball and hockey will come later. From the colors of the boxes, the four stripes on the boxes and the colors on the newly redesigned Web site, it looks like Strat-O-Matic is color-coding its games. Baseball is green (like the outfield grass), basketball is orange (like the ball), hockey is red (like the lines and circles on the ice … or the blood in fights?) and pro football is blue (like what – a whole lot of NFL teams’ jerseys?).

Loving Strat-O-Matic … Let Me Count the Ways

      I own 75 computer seasons including the 42 best teams set and the 2001 Hall of Famers set. Also 25 card sets, some with the original red, green and white boxes SOM used. Is there anyone that can top that? I have been called, loyal, dedicated and other things by owners of competitors games who have bought (I convinced them) and agreed with me that SOM is the best game on the market. I wonder if there is someone that owns more SOM sets or has been as faithful as I have been.

Orlando Leon, Live Oak, FL

      You are way ahead of most gamers, but, yes, there are some of us who have even more. Some folks have everything SOM has printed since the 1960s and all the computer products, too. Don’t forget that some gamers are multi-sport players and some of them have all five computer games, plus numerous card sets for each.

Dusk was as Good as Dark in 1924

      A recent writer wondered about the night ratings for the 1924 game.  I’m not absolutely positive, but I believe the starting times for some – maybe many – games was 3 p.m. or 5 p.m. for teams to draw people after work.  3 p.m. wouldn’t work for a “night” rating, but 5 p.m. might, especially in April, May and September. 

      I’m also playing 1924 and enjoying it.  One reason is that it features teams with many different styles – some with hitting, some with power, some with pitching, but none with all three.  I’ve tinkered with the pitching rotations so that every team has a four-man rotation, with varying chances (20-sided die) for whether the pitcher actually throws that day.  The chances vary according to the number of starts each pitcher actually had that year.  I did this because although it appears, just looking at the cards, that most teams had 2-3 four-day pitchers and 3 five-day guys, I’m pretty sure they tried to establish consistent four-man rotations. My system works well so far.  Most of the upper-level four-day guys throw on schedule, missing an occasional start; pitchers at the bottom of the rotation are about 50-50, which means I sometimes must dip into the bullpen, usually with disastrous results, as managers did in the ‘20s.

      Great game, great season.

 Jim Poole, Cobleskill NY

      With no lights and no Daylight Savings Time, a 5 p.m. start would be tempting fates, even in mid-summer, although games were shorter then (fewer pitching changes, no TV commercials). At the least, the shadows would make it tough, or dangerous, for batters.

      I like your pitcher-selection system for seasons where you are not using as-played schedules/starting pitchers. May try it myself in a casual project – thanks!

Relax, but Don’t Get Caught Napping

      I’ve thought of purchasing the computer hockey game. I want one of your games so that I can have a little relaxation. I grew up playing the baseball board game back in the 1970s.   How does it work with the person-versus-computer option? I’ve been trying to get an idea of what the computer game is like, but I haven’t been able to find any links.

                  Matt Purtill, Waukee, IA

      Strat-O-Matic’s newly launched, redesigned Web site will help you figure offers a more detailed description of the game, including How to Play. The computer opponents work very well in all of SOM’s games. They are not unbeatable (that’s good), but they will smack you down if you get lazy (that’s good, too). In hockey, the computer foe will manage line changes, shoot-pass-penetrate choices, and more. Those who prefer the computer game appreciate the automated stat-keeping, the lack of chart look-up and, for those reasons, the speed of play that helps make complete replays more likely.

      Here’s a link for discussions of many topics in all SOM sports. You’ll find plenty about computer hockey. If there’s anything you don’t find quickly, just post a question there. You won’t have to wait long for an answer.         


Strictly Super Advanced

      I am looking to play a retro season with a few friends of mine. We all prefer to play with all Super Advanced features. While browsing the online Strat-O-Matic store, it is very unclear which retro seasons are available with Super Advanced features and which are offered only as Basic/Advanced. Hopefully this will be cleared up on the new Web site, but in the meantime, could you please answer?

      The dynamic new Web site is up and yes, the products show which seasons are set up for Super Advanced play. You didn’t identify the sport, but if it’s baseball, Strat-O-Matic has produced these seasons in Super Advanced form: 1911, 1920, 1924, 1934, 1941, 1948, 1951, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1959, 1960, 1964-1967, 1971, 1975, 1978 and mid-1980s to present. That’s a lot of great seasons to choose from.

A League for the Nearly Great

      Thanks again for your ongoing dedication and unselfishness in sharing SOM with all of us. I began playing in 1964! I need some advice. I have never tried the computer version so this is a first time migration. I have no idea what to purchase but I want to create a 20-team league consisting of A- and B+ players from the ‘63-67 seasons. Guys like Koufax, Gibby and Clemente will not be a part of this but the Pinsons, Maloneys, Floods, Radatz and Koosmans of that era will. And of course, bench players like Schofield, Gagliano, et al. You get the idea. My computer has all the memory that it needs, I upgraded with this in mind. What do I purchase? Can one institute a dispersal draft such as this? What else do I need to know?


      You can do this. You’ll need the CD-ROM game. Version 14 is current. You’ll need the rosters for each of the seasons you want. After you install everything, create a new league with a unique name, like 6367 Draft League (whatever). Then, from the real ‘63 to ‘67 rosters, release the players you want into the free agent group of your new league. If you want the computer to participate in the dispersal, Draft-O-Matic will draft for as many teams as you want. If you don’t need a draft, you can just copy and paste the players you want into their actual franchises of the new league (Pinson and Maloney on Cinci, Flood and Gagliano on St. Louis, etc.)

      Be sure to include my favorites from the terrific 1964 rookie class – Tony Oliva, Richie Allen, Tony Conigliaro, Luis Tiant (among others). Have fun!

A Suggestion for Hoops Defense

      The Strat football game has five different draft defense cards for each run and pass. (Excellent, Good, Average, Poor and Very Poor.)   The various draft leagues assign a point value based on the individual ratings for assignment of those cards. Currently the basketball game has but one team defense card, thereby greatly reducing the value of defense. It would greatly improve the value of defense in the draft leagues if the company would create multiple team defense cards for the basketball game.

Tony Disibbio, Reno, NV   

      Team defense has less effect in the basketball game than in the football game, and Strat-O-Matic’s generic team defense for basketball is the average of all the teams that season. In turn, this places more emphasis on individual defense, which is the way many draft leaguers want it. But the benefits of your suggestion are pretty clear: More draft options and more variety among teams. 

Images for Your Computer Games

      Can anybody tell me where to find team logos and players pictures and how to download them in the game?

      My email is:       

Orlando Leon, Live Oak , FL

      You will find an array of options in the Resources section of this Web site: Anyone else? Email Orlando, please.

Strat as a Past Lives Museum

      Perfect! What you said here (Talk Show, 08-18-09, “About Those Summer Nights in 1924”) about injuries is true. Today’s players have no real feel for what their predecessors went through. I am so grateful to SOM for providing the spark that has led me to dig deeper into the game’s history. In doing the research for my replays, it’s amazing what I have learned. While the average fan may know something of Pete Alexander’s record, and has possibly also heard the jokes about how he was sleeping off a drunk in the Cardinal bullpen when awakened to face Tony Lazzeri with the bases loaded, how many people know the full story of one of the greatest ever to toe the rubber?

      I was reading the SABR Bioproject article on Pete by Jan Finkel: “A sergeant assigned to the 89th Division and the 342nd Field Artillery, Alex shipped out from New York on June 28 and arrived in Liverpool on July 9. His unit went to the front late in July. Many men survived the war, but they didn’t recover from it. One of the many cruel coincidences of the war is that it destroyed the two greatest National League pitchers of the Deadball Era, if not of the twentieth century, Christy Mathewson and Grover Cleveland Alexander.

      “Alexander spent seven weeks at the front under relentless bombardment that left him deaf in his left ear. Pulling the lanyard to fire the howitzers caused muscle damage in his right arm. He caught some shrapnel in his outer right ear, an injury thought not serious at the time but which may have been the progenitor of cancer almost thirty years later. He was shell-shocked. Worst of all, the man who used to have a round or two with the guys and call it a day became alcoholic and epileptic, a condition possibly caused by the skulling he’d received in Galesburg. Alex tried to cover up his epilepsy, using alcohol in the mistaken belief that it would alleviate the condition. Living in a world that believed epileptics to be touched by the devil, he knew it was more socially acceptable to be a drunk.

      “A human wreck, Alexander returned to the Cubs on May 11, 1919. Working his way back into pitching shape, he dropped his first five decisions. Once he got turned around, Alex finished 16-11 for a distantly third-place team and led the league with 9 shutouts and a sparkling 1.72 ERA. His ERA remains the lowest for a Cub pitcher since the team began playing in Wrigley Field. He transcended his fifth-place team in 1920 with his last Triple Crown season: 27-14 with 173 strikeouts and a 1.91 ERA. In addition, he led the league in starts (40), complete games (33), and innings pitched (363 1/3) and threw in 7 shutouts and 5 saves.”

      It’s like listening to Paul Harvey’s The Rest of the Story. I knew that Pete had suffered from his war experience, having read Jack Kavanaugh’s excellent biography, Old Pete. But how many casual fans know the background, the extent of what the war did to him? SOM has sparked that curiosity. Every time I open a new Prior Season set and start sifting through the cards, I am overwhelmed by the urge to learn more about these players. Thanks to you. Thanks to Steve Barkan and the rest of the crew, for all the work that goes into each set. Thanks to Hal Richman, without whom this would not have been possible.

Jeff Woodhouse, Seattle

      Thanks for the literary references, Jeff. No doubt, sharing your projects with SOM’s historic seasons has inspired others to dig deeper, too.

We Know What We Want and We Want it Now

      I can think of three seasons from the past that would complete an all-time tournament for pro football: 1994 (1974?), 1976, and any season between 1993 and 1997. Would this be possible for next year? Finally, having strategy guides for pro football like the baseball game.  Long overdue to help draft leagues set up their teams.  Thanks.

Earl Christensen Jr.

      It’s unlikely we’ll get two seasons close together (such as 1974 and 1976, or 1994 and 1996) in the same year. If, by strategy guides, you mean something like the Baseball Ratings Book, SOM sticks to the current season for those and I don’t envision the company doing them for historic football seasons.  

      Has it ever occurred to SOM to make a best-of-franchise set? That could be interesting. I recently saw a couple of other baseball games with this feature and I know that SOM can make it better. Imagine the Yankees’ best – wow! The Red Sox best, The Tigers, White Sox, Cubs, etc. I would love to start a tournament with those guys. It would generate a lot of stories for the Stratosphere!

Orlando Leon, FL

      I’m sure it has occurred to SOM. It’s a daunting task now, but once SOM has done more historic seasons, picking best players/best cards from those sets would be more realistic. Until then, doing a single player the SOM way practically requires the company to do the whole season, because each player’s ratings depend on his team’s averages and the league’s averages.

      Some gamers have pursued this desire by buying the Career Historical Disks and plucking their favorite players from the various decades. But for individual best seasons, we probably need more SOM seasons (that is, the company’s completed research) of more pre-1950 seasons. But if SOM has the will, there may be a way around this, since SOM has a model in its Hall of Fame 2001 ratings, and since SOM has researched seasons from every decade back to the 1910s. 


Wanted: A Card More Like Mike

      I recently noticed Mike Jorgensen’s 1971 Strat card shows him with 1 home run. He hit 5 that year. His other stats are same except he hit 1 double and his card shows none. Can you suggest an update in his card? I’m thinking something like 3-2 homerun, 3-3 ballpark, 3-4 homerun, 3-5 homerun 1-16, triple 17-20. 3-12 homerun …2-2 ballpark. What do you think? (Not bad) Also, how have the Strat sales been for the 1971 replay season since reintroducing it in 2007? if they have been good and what you’ve expected, please re-introduce the 1968, 1969 and 1970 season’s back in card fashion and of course in super-advanced format w/ballpark homers and pitcher’s holds, etc. We baby boomers (crave) these seasons as gold and would love to see them updated with all the bells and whistles we missed the first time they were out, like the 1971 season.

Randy Gesicki, Independence, OH

      As you note, it’s an uncorrected error. This has been referred to SOM. No word on when we might see the correct version. As you’re probably aware, it’s an especially busy time at the game company, with its launch of the new Web site, the Negro Leagues set, the College Football Great Teams and the summer/fall launch of all its regular products.

Nothing Beats Playing Head-to-Head

      My father, my brother, two of our friends and I are entering our 12th Strato Baseball Season next year (draft occurring Dec 6) and we need suggestions on a better way to run the regular season. Below is how we’re currently doing it:

1. Each player drafts and manages 2 teams (total of 10 teams in the league)

2. Each player purchases the computer version and runs a 162-game season for each of their 2 teams (total of 10 seasons played). You play out your individual games with your respective team and simulate all other games.

3. We then compile the standings from all 10 simulated seasons and average it out. We then come together over a weekend and play out the playoffs live.

      We are not big fans on how we do our regular season. It’s not as much fun and there’s not enough interaction. I was hoping you could help us come up with some other ways of running our league. I’m sure you’ve seen and heard of many examples.

Joe Fleenor, Nashville, TN

      Lack of interaction seems to be the problem. Presumably you’re not getting together more often because of distance or your schedules are in conflict. I can think of at least two options. Since you are using the computer, there’s NetPlay. This conquers distance and, to a lesser degree, schedule problems by eliminating drive time and making odd-hours play practical. Second, you could try a shorter season with more get-togethers. If you can convene only once a month, maybe a season of 60, 80 or 100 games is more practical. You won’t have 162-game stats, but it will be much more fun. I have played a lot of head-to-head 60-game seasons and they are my fondest Strat-playing memories.