April 06, 2004
Ode to Strat-O-Matic
I admit it. I was a total Strat-O-Matic geek as a kid. Had all the games, played in face-to-face and play-by-mail leagues - explaining to Mom why I had to spend an hour on the phone with some guy in Wisconsin making trades was always fun - and wasted way too many sunny afternoons poring over the cards looking for insight. And boy oh boy do I remember the utter bliss of seeing that big padded manila envelope with my name on it in the mail. I stopped playing in college, and more recently sold all of my old collections to other players, with my buddy Tony (who introduced me to the game in the first place) as card broker - made some decent money for them, too. I don't have anything resembling the time to get involved with Strat gaming again, but yeah, I do miss it.
I'm getting all verklempt just thinking about it. Give me a minute here.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 06, 2004 to Baseball
We never played much Strat growing up, but my brothers and I played the Sports Illustrated games some. We had the 1970 and 1971 seasons, and we also had their "Superstar Baseball" which had individual career cards of something like the 200 all-time greats (at least through the early '70s, again). I most remember that Babe Ruth homered on the most common dice roll possible (34).
We dabbled in some other games -- one called "Extra Innings" which had three dice like SI, except that these were three regular dice numbered with one dot through six. What we liked about this was the ability to rate your own players; it had a pretty robust (and accurate) way to measure it simply. One time I created player cards for the rosters of the eight of the worst teams of all-time by won-loss record -- two divisions, one four-team 1800s division and one four-team 1900s division. I played a 28-game season, round-robin, each team playing each other four times (twice at home, twice away). The worst two teams played the "World Series," where the worst four out of seven "lost". (For what it's worth, the 1890 Pittsburgh Pirates -- aka "Innocents" -- lost to the 1916 Philadelphia A's 4 games to 2 for the "worst of the worst" crown. The league team with the best record was the 1962 Mets, going something like 19-9. Go figure.)
I played with the Strat-O-Matic, Sports Illustrated, and APBA games a little bit, however, I prefer the Extra Innings game, which you can find on Ebay. I've even downloaded a computerized version of the game.
Of course, now with the Internet, you can play the PC version of Strat-O-Matic baseball and save money on long distance. ;-)
Best game ever and forever has its hooks in you!