Posnanski: Things I learned from Strat-o-Matic

From SABR member Joe Posnanski at JoePosnanski.com on February 19, 2015:

Strat-o-Matic was not the first tabletop baseball game I ever played. No, first was this game called “Statis Pro Baseball,” which was this fantastic little baseball card game invented by an Iowa newspaper columnist and, later, sports gambling guru named Jim Barnes. There are two things I remember most about the game:

1. Unlike Strat-o-Matic, where hitters and pitchers have an equal chance to control the action (more on this in a bit), in Statis-Pro-Baseball the better pitchers had a lot more control of play. Dominant pitchers like Goose Gossage were what we called 2-to-9 pitchers, which meant generally that when rolling two dice, any number between 2-9 would signal that play be determined by the pitchers card.  Other not-so-accomplished pitchers, like Rick Waits, might have a 2-6 card or even a 2-5 card, meaning that any number six or higher would trigger that play was powered by the hitters card.

2. Matt Alexander was the best player in our game. I will never, ever forget this. We were playing the 1979 cards, and that year Matt Alexander went 7-for-16 with a triple, 13 stolen bases and 16 runs scored. Played out over a whole season, Matt Alexander hit .538, slugged .692 and ran like the wind. When my friend Mike and I had a draft, we played paper-scissors-stones for like three days to determine who got the first pick (let’s make it 4,598 out of 9,915). I ended up with it and took Matt Alexander, who was of course League MVP and star of my championship team. I believe he took some shlub like Dave Winfield or Mike Schmidt with the second pick.

In any case, Statis-Pro was fun but it wasn’t until college that I got all serious and started playing Strat-o-Matic baseball … and Strat-o, as much as reading Bill James, listening to Vin Scully and watching the miserable efforts of my hometown Cleveland Indians* taught me about baseball.

Read the full article here: http://joeposnanski.com/things-i-learned-from-strat-o-matic/

Originally published: February 20, 2015. Last Updated: February 20, 2015.