I broke out some Basic Strat last night. I don’t like the basic fielding charts, so I’d rather use the simplified “card charts” I use for the Advanced game. Trouble is, the Old Timer cards don’t have e Ratings. If I had some average e Ratings for each position, I could use that.
I can find this data for specific positions and seasons on Baseball Reference. I scraped the data for the National and American Leagues from 1901 through 2021 and calculated the average e Ratings. (I treat all outfielders together.) The whole mess can be seen in the busy chart below.
I broke the seasons into six somewhat arbitrary periods. (The longer periods have less variation.) Then I averaged the seasons in each period. This gave me the numbers for the new chart:
Now, if a card doesn’t have an e Rating, I can look up the average value here and use it. Of course, every player at a particular position will have the same rating, but at least it will be representative of the era.
A beef I’ve always had with SOM is that the pitcher hitting cards are offered in basic format only. If you use them with the advanced game, then you’ve got a monochromatic, portrait-orientation pitcher card mixed in with the black/blue/red, landscape-orientation position-player cards. Yuck.
So, as a little Photoshop exercise, I created some pitcher hitting cards in the advanced style.
Right now the results are identical against left- and right-handed pitchers, but I may add some differences later and produce separate cards for RHB & LHB pitchers.
I recently acquired some old baseball mags from the time I started following the game. The 1974 Street & Smith’s yearbook was a particularly important specimen, as it was there I first saw anything about tabletop baseball. The APBA ad must have grabbed my imagination more than the others, because I sent away for their free brochure and sample cards, and soon afterwards ordered the game.
Looking back from 2008, I’m surprised at how many games were advertising. Who runs print ads nowadays?
My favorite bit is in the APBA ad from another energy crunch 35 years ago:
The SOM basic fielding chart seems to produce a lot of errors, at least compared to TPB. Reality check: what’s the average number of errors per game in MLB? A quick Retrosheet hack gives the average over the years. It’s not a perfect count—multiple errors during one play are all counted as one.
Is the drop due to a change in fielding prowess or a change in official scoring? I reckon it’s the latter.
The first SOM meeting between Saaf & Allen saw the 1962 Yankees go against the 1968 Cardinals. The Yanks scattered six runs, and Whitey Ford gave up no earned runs, as the Yanks extended their lead in the grudge match to 4 games to 2. More SOM match-ups to come!
I got Strat-O-Matic with the set of 36 “past seasons” cards—reprints of the top teams and some expansion clubs from 1962-1976. I’ve set up a solo tournament with the 36 teams. Don’t know if I’ll get through it all, but it’s fun so far.