Avalon Hill – Football Strategy in “The General”
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Posted by Paul on September 11, 2014 | Short Link

While researching the history of football games for the upcoming issue of OneForFive.com Print Edition, I came across the following article in the January, 1966 edition of The General, Avalon Hill’s monthly publication.

CLICK HERE to download the complete issue of The General (Jan, 1966)

The General was devoted to Avalon Hill’s deep selection of wargames. However, it wasn’t until 1973 that Avalon Hill would first publish All-Star Replay, a magazine devoted entirely to AH’s burgeoning line of tabletop-sports games, so in 1966 the only place to find information, charts, PBM and/or FTF opponents was in The General.


Football Strategy 1

This chart for Football Strategy was published in The General in January, 1966. Click on the chart to see it at full size.

This chart for Football Strategy was published in The General in January, 1966. Click on the chart to see it at full size.

There would be many revisions to Football Strategy’s charts over the years, and you can find new homemade charts still being created today.


As a postscript, I found the following little blurb on the front page of The General that month to be an interesting artifact of the time. I can’t imagine a game company that produces its own magazine to promote its products endorsing a competitor’s games this way in 2014. My, how things have changed.

Avalon Hill published this endorsement of APBA games

Avalon Hill published this endorsement of APBA games in the Jan, 1966 edition of The General

DiMaggio’s Droopy Drawers

Posted by Paul on September 10, 2014 | Short Link
From The Sporting News -  March 12, 1942

From The Sporting News – March 12, 1942

Transcript [from The Sporting News - March 12, 1942]:

‘Droopy Drawers’ Players

A desire for an explanation of those “droopy drawers” – pants down to the ankles – affected by some modern players, is expressed by Variety, breezy and authoritative theatrical weekly.

“Joe DiMaggio and Carl Hubbell are the silliest looking pair we’ve seen,” comments Variety. “‘Way back in the days when the speed boys were stealing from 40 to 50 bases a season, you’ll remember they used to roll their pants just below the knee. Now they’ve got ‘em almost to their shoes. The theory here is that the constriction inherent in this new style can slow up a player a full stride getting to first.

“It would be nice to get an authoritative opinion in the matter because it bother the hell out of us every time we see a picture of DiMaggio or Hubbell. You can say, of course, that if all the players could play ball like those two, they could run out there without any pant at all as far as you’re concerned. But you also know they’d have a tough time getting to the plate, leave alone first that way.”


hubbellIf you’d like full access to The Sporting News archives as well as to join the conversation with the best baseball researchers in the world, sign up for The Society for American Baseball Research, that is SABR.org. I bought the digital-only “family” plan for $15/year and it just may be the best $15 I’ve ever spent.

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Posted by Paul on September 9, 2014 | Short Link

If you can’t read that kid-writing, it says:

My family by Dru
Me > I liok to play basball and basckitball
Mom > mom liok to clen
Dad > Dad liok to play Strato matic

Translation: I like to play baseball and basketball. Mom likes to clean. Dad likes to play Strat-O-Matic.

For some reason, I think Mom might not agree with the kid’s interpretation of her “hobby.”

1973 Freaks League
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Posted by Paul on September 8, 2014 | Short Link

This month in Strat-O-Matic’s The Replay Zone, writer and replayer Jeff Polman talks about his 1973 Draft League he calls “The ’73 Freaks League.”

I’ve known Jeff for a while now, and we collaborated last year for his Dear Hank 1938 Strat-O-Matic replay. It was nonetheless an honor to be asked to be a part of the Freaks League project.

There are twelve managers in the league, and in March, each of us drafted a team of players from the recently released 1973 Strat-O-Matic Baseball card set. We set up our own lineups and rotations, and then sent Jeff a list of general managerial instructions. Jeff plays out each of the games in the 162 game schedule and then reports on them each day on the league Facebook page (anyone is welcome to join and follow the league!)

My team is called, cleverly enough, the OneForFive Dotcoms. With less than a month to go in the season, the OneForFive Dotcoms are leading the division by 6.5 games. Here is the scoreboard today:
73 freaks scoreboard

We did a serpentine draft, and I had pick number 11 of 12. Playing in spacious Dodger Stadium, I though my best bet was to draft a balanced offensive team that didn’t rely on ballpark home runs. For starting pitchers, I tried to look at hits/9 innings, ignoring walks and looking for decent home run allowed rates, giving greater weight to pitchers who gave up their home runs in home run friendly parks. I ended up with a starting staff full of #3 guys.

However, I figured that if I could count on my team to score runs, and my pitchers to be decent but not great, then a killer bullpen would shorten games and give the Dotcoms the opportunity to win a lot of come-from-behind and extra-inning affairs. I was right about that.

Through 136 games, the Dotcoms lead the league in comeback wins with 39, are 9-2 in extra-innings and have the second best record in 1-run games at 23-17. Additionally, we have had only 22 blown leads which is far and away the best mark in the league.

At this point in the season, I really want an ace starter to put on the mound once or twice in the World Series, but I haven’t been able to swing a deal for one yet.

Here are the lineups and the instructions that I gave Polman at the beginning of the season, and that have taken me to first place so far:

Dotcoms instructions

Monza – Then and Now
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Posted by Paul on September 6, 2014 | Short Link

Movie poster imageIt’s a wonderful perk of living in the modern age that we can queue up videos like the one below – for free! – anytime we’d like. It’s akin to having a little window into the past in your pocket all the time. Imagine what someone a hundred years ago would have thought if you would have given him the magical ability to watch scenes from 1866 in living color, in the palm of his hand? We live in an age of miracles, my friends.

The video embedded below is a shot-by-shot comparison between Italy’s Formula 1 track Audiodromo Nazionale Monza, as filmed in 1966 for James Garner’s epic film Grand Prix, against a the circuit as filmed in 2007.

If you jump to about 4:00 in the video, you’ll see a split screen where you can watch a trip around the track in 1966 on top, and in 2007 on the bottom.

I haven’t had much time to play Classic Formula One lately, but this video has inspired me to make some room again on my tabletop for this game soon. Being able to go back in time, to experience the thrill and drama of competition between the great drivers on the great tracks, and great athletes in the great forums of the past is what keeps me coming back to this hobby. To recreate a race at Monza on my tabletop and in the theater of my mind is another amazing perk of modern life.

An age of miracles it is, indeed.

h/t to WTF1 – The Alternative F1 Blog, for this video and for all the great F1 content published there.

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