Last week, my children (7 y/o daughter, 5 y/o son) saw my old Strat-O-Matic Baseball game box up on a shelf in a closet. They pestered me until I agreed to show them how to play. (My daughter had received some “girly edition” of Monopoly and she just learned to play, so board games seem cool to them right now.)

I played Strat-O-Matic and APBA quite a bit when I was young, with my brother and with friends, but I hadn’t even opened up a box in years. During college, a couple of buddies and I thought it would be a good idea to buy the Strat game and play it for old-times’ sake. Well, we bought it and put it on a shelf and never played it once.

Anyway, I pulled the game down and tried to re-learn the rules (that took longer than I expected). After a brief argument over who got to be the Reds, a roll of the dice awarded the 1996 Reds to my daughter and my son was given the Yankees.

Long story short: Reds won 3-2. Barry Larkin was 2-2 with two walks, a stolen base, and two runs scored. Kevin Mitchell hit a 2-run homer. John Smiley pitched 8 innings, giving up two runs on four hits, and Jeff Brantley got the save, despite giving up a run in the ninth.

The kids loved it, which was a surprise in the Age of Playstation. Game two of the series is underway (my son is managing the Reds this time around). The Yankees are up 1-0 in the middle of the fifth inning. Keep your fingers crossed.

19 Responses

  1. broadwaydave

    good ol’ john smiley. now there’s a name i haven’t heard in a hundred years. used to be one of my favorite guys.

  2. mike

    this post made my day.

    tell whichever is managing the Yanks sorry
    GO REDS!

  3. Nathan in Indianapolis

    A group of my friends and I still have a current Strat-O-Matic league that has been in existence for more than 15 years now. We are currently in playoff mode and anyone interested in the SOM world, should check out our Web site: http://fcblonline.com. It is still a fun game, yet tricky sometimes and unpredictable.

  4. pinson343

    I played Strat-O-Matic obsessively in my early teens.

    They probably improved it later, but the problem with the version that I played with is that for each at bat you rolled three dice, where one of them would determine whether to use the hitter’s card (1-3) or the picher’s card (4-6).

    So half the time it didn’t matter who was at bat and the other half it didn’t matter who was pitching.
    You can’t approximate actual performance in that way for extreme stats. For example, a guy with 0 HRs in 600 ABs would have no HRs on his card, and a guy with 8 or so HRs in 600 ABs would also have no HRs.

    I had cards for all the 1965 ML teams (the Reds had a killer lineup, one of their best ever, that year, but weak pitching). I also had “classic cards” for great teams thru baseball history, including the 1940 Reds. I also made up my own cards for players, but always had problems with the difficulty I mention above.

  5. pinson343

    I posted a Strat-O-Matic comment, still awaiting moderation. Why are some comments selected for moderation ?

  6. KY Chip

    Your story brought a smile to my face. I LOVED the APBA game. An older cousin gave me his copy about 1980 and I think I went through seven or eight seasons and a couple of game sets when I was in middle and high school. Tried Pursue the Pennant a few years later, too.

    Used to be a sim-monster on the MLB2k series on XBox until the last couple of years when the games really stunk. Looking for something for the PC now. Anyone got a recommendation for a PC-based baseball sim? I’ve looked at a couple online, but not sure which one to try.

  7. Dan

    My best friend Dave (an occasional post-er on here) and I have played many many hours of Strat-O over the years, starting with his 1980 edition that I think we played until like 1987 or so. Excellent game, and very good memories.

    His kids like to roll the dice when we play, but they lose interest pretty quickly. I’m impressed and surprised your kids like it, Chad!

    Great post. 🙂

  8. Chad Dotson

    pinson343: I posted a Strat-O-Matic comment, still awaiting moderation.Why are some comments selected for moderation ?

    I wish I could answer that. Sometimes the spam filter acts funky, even for people who have a long posting history.

    Your comment has been approved, obviously.

  9. Chad Dotson

    Dan: His kids like to roll the dice when we play, but they lose interest pretty quickly.I’m impressed and surprised your kids like it, Chad!Great post.

    I’m sure they’ll lose interest pretty quickly; it’s not really a game for the digital age.

    FWIW, the Reds won game two, 5-2, after scoring five runs in the bottom of the ninth (grand slam). Details to come.

  10. RedinFla

    @Chad Dotson:
    As a teacher I applaud you as a Dad for taking the time to play so-called boring games with your kids.
    They really do enjoy the stuff we played when we were kids — we just have to stay in it with them. :mrgreen:

  11. RedinFla

    preach: Stupid Yankees.

    Now, if the Twins can just pull out a win tonight…
    I just had to work that in somehow. 8)

  12. REDS1

    I never played stratomatic. Couldn’t figure it out. But back in 1986 my brother and I got a Commodore 64 computer for Christmas. We got SSI baseball and a year later got Micro League Baseball. Both were computer simulations. We played those games for HOURS. Loved them. Great memories.

  13. pinson343

    Chad Dotson: FWIW, the Reds won game two, 5-2, after scoring five runs in the bottom of the ninth (grand slam). Details to come.

    GO REDS !!!

  14. RedinFla

    RedinFla: Now, if the Twins can just pull out a win tonight…I just had to work that in somehow.

    Shoot. 😥