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.
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, Editor and Founder Somworld.com
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
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 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.