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!)
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: