Rob Ratliff – a Gentleman and a Scholar

Robert "Rob" G. Ratliff (July 14, 1964 - April 11, 2014)

Robert “Rob” G. Ratliff (July 14, 1964 – April 11, 2014)

On April 11, 2014, Robert G. “Rob” Ratliff passed away after complications arising from pneumonia. For nearly 7 years, Rob had chronicled his ongoing fight with cancer on his blog. Rob was 49 years old when he passed.

Hal Richman on Rob Ratliff

In the tabletop-sports community, Rob was well-known for his work with Strat-O-Matic Baseball. According to Ken Wenger, it was Rob Ratliff’s early work with Retrosheet data that first provided the game company with as-played files for the PC game’s retro seasons.

According to Ken, “Twenty years ago, it took me about three months of rather tedious work to create as-played files. I stopped creating the as-played files as soon as I realized that Rob was able to produce the same work in a matter of hours, rather than months. This was a great benefit to the Strat-O-Matic community–Rob was turning out as-played files within days of when it became available from Retrosheet and it freed me to work on photo packs, as well as various season-creation project with Len Durrant.”

Will Kolodzie on Rob Ratliff

– Will Kolodzie, Editor and Founder

Rob’s work with the SOM game company was known for accuracy, completeness, and attention to detail.

In his personal life, Rob was a pastor and a teacher. He carried the attributes that made him great at those two roles into his role in the Strat-O-Matic gaming community. Among fellow tabletop-sports gamers, Rob was known for being friendly, kind, and magnanimous with his time, knowledge, and resources. In researching this piece, many people came forward with stories that illustrated Rob’s helpfulness.

– Tom Nahigian

Although he called his battle with cancer “traumatic,” Rob never swayed in his faith and belief as a Christian. When speaking of the fight with cancer in this post from Stratfanforum on November 9, 2013, Rob said that God had provided “wonderful blessing during this time as He has lovingly used my illness to conform me more into the image of His son.”

Personally, I only had minimal interactions with Rob, but it was obvious – immediately and always, that he was a gentleman and a scholar, and it seems that no one has an unkind word to say about the man. His contributions to Strat-O-Matic were numerous, but his contributions to the lives of all that knew him were immeasurable.

Steve Barkan, lead card creator and researcher for Strat-O-Matic, had this to say of Rob:

Steve Barkan on Rob Ratliff

– Steve Barkan

In his passing, Rob left his most recent Strat project, an as-played 1973 NL Replay, incomplete. Perhaps fittingly for Rob, an Ohio native and lifetime fan, the Cincinnati Reds will forever remain on top of the league.
Rob's most recent Strat project, an as-played 1973 NL Replay, will remain incomplete.  Perhaps fittingly for Rob, a lifetime fan, the Cincinnati Reds will forever remain on top of the league.

Rob Ratliff will be missed by those that knew him in this life, may God grant him peace – and a good set of dice – in the next.

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  1. Superb article ! Rob was a class act to deal with and a kind soul. What a huge loss for the gaming hobby. RIP Rob.

  2. WE grieve with the family and the community – Smitty & Katie

  3. Rob’s as-played files and other contributions have helped a hobby that I and so many others get enjoyment from, he will be missed.

  4. Will add my voice to this. I purchased many lineups and transaction sheets from Rob. He was one of the really good guys in the world. He will be sorely missed.

  5. He was my father and this article really touched my heart!! Thank you for all the kind things you said!! He truly will be missed and he was amazing about his baseball… Reds games have never been the same since!

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