RIP Monte Irvin (1919 – 2016)

If you’ve spent any amount of time with the hobby of sports simulation games, you’ve probably developed affection for players from the past that you otherwise never would have had any connection to. Maybe for you it’s a second-tier pitcher who threw your first tabletop no-hitter. Maybe it’s a guy you drafted in a late round who had an unexpectedly huge season in a replay league.

I keep a list of guys like this that I refer to as my personal Hall of Fame. The first member of this esteemed list was Wally Moon, as a result of this game. There are about a dozen other players in my Hall. One of my favorites is and always will be Major League Hall of Famer Monte Irvin.

Irvin passed away today at the age of 96.

From the wayback machine: Here is a post discussing (and improving upon) Monte Irvin’s Hall of Fame card from the Strat-O-Matic Hall of Fame 2010 set.

Free to Download: Tony LaRussa Ballparks

CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE GOOGLE DRIVE FOLDER where you can download any and all of the 75+ Tony La Russa Baseball ballparks in .bmp format.

The PC vs. C&D debate for baseball simulation games is one that may never end. Card & Dice diehards will point to the tactile experience of holding the cards in their hands, as well as the myriad opportunities to personalize game play using house rules that PC games can’t, by their very nature, offer. larussa

The greatest benefit of PC games, of course, is that they let the gamer get straight to the matchups while taking so much of what some would call the tedium of sports simulation games – compiling stats, chart flipping, remembering the most esoteric rules – out of the equation. Both arguments are valid and on which side of the debate you land is as much a question of personal preference as the age-old debate of Ginger vs. Mary Ann.*

While it may be true that C&D players get to customize the game engine in ways PC gamers can’t, in many cases PC gamers get to customize their game experience in ways the C&D gamer can’t, too. Many computer games offer the opportunity to import ballparks, player photos, team logos, sounds and other files to enhance the PC gaming experience.

Tiger Stadium from Tony La Russa Baseball

Tiger Stadium from Tony La Russa Baseball

While some people prefer hi-resolution photos for ballpark backdrops on their screens, many others prefer artistic representations. First released in 1991 and last published in 1997, Tony La Russa Baseball was an early baseball simulation game with primitive (by today’s standards) stadium backdrops that many gamers still recall fondly. Thanks to Strat-O-Matic Fan Forum Member Andy Wyckoff, PC gamers can now download the photo files (saved in .bmp format) of the ballparks included in the classic game.

CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE GOOGLE DRIVE FOLDER where you can download any and all of the 75+ Tony La Russa Baseball ballparks in .bmp format.

The .bmp file format is the required format for use with Strat-O-Matic Baseball PC game. A sample .loc file is included in the Google Drive folder, too, but you’ll have to edit the fielder/batter/ball flight locations in the Strat interface on your own.

*sidenote – I’ve brought up the Ginger vs. Mary Ann debate lots of times on this blog, and it’s because I find it particularly compelling. I know that many (most, probably) would say that Mary Ann is the clear choice, but there is something about Ginger that drives me nuts, too.

My Favorites (so far)

These are some my favorite posts (so far):

  1. The Greatest Tabletop Baseball Game Ever
  2. The Search for the World Football Association’s Best Player
  3. The Execution of Jim Hugh Moss, Negro League Ballplayer and Followup to Jim Hugh Moss Story
  4. California, 1982 – Get the Hammer Out
  5. Strat-O-Holic
  6. Official Scorecard
  7. On Being a Father
  8. APBA Soccer FACs and 8a. Soccer Blast Attack Process Flow Chart
  9. Before Every Moment, There is a Moment
  10. George Brett and Mario Mendoza
  11. Lou “Buster” Gehrig and Rediscovering Lou Gehrig’s Lost Nickname and Last Buster Gehrig Post, I Promise
  12. The tributes:

OneForFive Top 5 Greatest Hits

In the 4+ years of this blog’s existence, there have been somewhere around 450 published posts. The 5 listed below have had more hits than any others:

This photo is from the book, "Pearl Jam 20." Eddie Vedder and Johnny Ramone play Strat-O-Matic baseball

I wonder if Eddie Vedder Googles himself, and if so, if he’s ever stumbled across this pic of him and Johnny Ramone playing Strat in 1995.

  1.  Damocles of the Dodgers – probably my favorite post of all time, too. The reason it ranks so high is that NBC Sports linked to it on their site. It’s a word-for-word transcription of a story Vin Scully told on air during a Dodgers broadcast on April 15, 2013. I heard it while watching the game and immediately knew it had to be transcribed for posterity, and thousands of others seem to have agreed.
  2.  Which Football Game Should I Get? – I was still pretty new to the hobby when I was considering purchasing my first football game. I asked for advice, and received lots of it.
  3.  APBA Pro Baseball Basic Game: Review – I should have known that this would be a popular post; APBA fans want to know what an outsider thinks of their game, fans of other games are curious about one of the pillars of the hobby.
  4.  Official Scorecard – from this humble post I went on to build my Custom Scorebook empire. MUUUAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!
  5.  Eddie Vedder and Johnny Ramone Playing Strat-O-Matic Baseball – title says it all, really.

Tomorrow I’ll post links to some of my favorite posts that didn’t make the Top 5.

Game Reviewer Receives Poor Review

I’m talking about yours truly, of course. In many aspects, I’m proud of this blog. On the other hand, there are so many things – i.e., everything – that I think can be done better.

Just A Bit Outside, Rob Neyer’s website under the Fox Sports umbrella, was unceremoniously ditched by its parent company today. I’m sad to see it go. Together with the shut-down of Sports Illustrated’s Grantland, those of us who enjoy intelligent, nuanced, and oftentimes innovative baseball journalism have had a pretty bad offseason. A blow has been dealt to the cause of intelligent baseball writing.

This got me thinking about and how I can make it better for readers. The one thing I know for certain is that I need to post more consistently and more frequently. Also, while I enjoy writing stuff like the Mike Donlin article below, the majority of folks come here to find information, analysis, and anecdotes about their favorite sports-simulation games. That’s where the majority of my topics should come from.

I’ve been most remiss in neglecting to provide game reviews. These tend to receive a lot of interested eyeballs and to be very helpful to the community. Making an effort to write more reviews will be a priority from now on.

But what else can I do? What else do you want to see from this website?