APBA: back to basics

I started out with APBA back in ’74, but have played only a handful of games in the last 25 years. I’ve been trying out a few different TTBB games over the last year, and the other week I started thinking about APBA again. After losing an eBay auction for an 80s edition, I ordered a new copy, curious about how the charts & cards have changed since the old days.

The cards are still first-class for the most part.

Current card:

1974 card (’73 season):

The good points:

  • The backs still cary the clean, classic design.
  • The dumb nicknames are still there!
  • Stat line, including OBP.

The bad points:

  • The typeface is a bad choice. The strong serifs are less readable that the old, sans serif typeface.
  • Printing the stats in green is a mistake. Should have stayed with that classic black/white/red scheme. (Green and red? This ain’t a Christmas card fer crissakes!)
  • Must we have a copyright statement on every friggin’ card? A sign of the times. (sigh)

Mixed bag:

  • The rounded corners remain a nice feature, but cards in the “Great Teams” set I bought have slightly rough corners. I guess the milling head was getting dull.
  • Still no team indication on the cards, but at least you can determine the year from the stat line.
  • Master Symbols. Nice if you use them, but they kinda foul up the layout of the non-pitcher cards by creating white space where the pitcher MG symbols would be.
  • Height/weight/birth are still there. Old school, but I could take ’em or leave ’em.


The charts are no longer in the form of those huge cardboard slabs. Instead, each chart is spread across two facing pages of an 8×10 spiral bound book of very heavy stock. The bunt and hit & run charts are also included, which is a better solution than the separate booklet used back in the day. I didn’t remember some of the rather obtuse play descriptions like:

Out at 1st; A-2B PO-1B

Seems to me somehting like this would be clearer:

Ground out 2B (4-3)

The rest of the $22 package is rather skimpy. Only one pair of dice and one shaker. (The new shakers are translucent, not yellow.) Only one scoresheet. No envelopes for the two teams included (1953 Yanks & Dodgers). On the other hand, I think the card sets are a value, considering that they’re pre-cut.

The play is pretty much as I remember it. Hitting that zero and going into the second column brought back some memories! The pitcher ratings are a little more detailed that I remember them, with the X/Y/Z/etc. symbols. I had pretty much forgotten about the Fielding 1/2/3 deal. I’m not wild about it.

The first game was a high-scoring affair. 8-5 Dodgers after three, with a pair of two-run homers from Campanella & Billy Cox. The Yankees tied it at nine in the top of the sixth on back-to-back doubles from Scooter & Wordling. Campanella hit his second blast of the day in the bottom of the sixth to give the Dodgers the 11-9 win at Ebbets Field.

roy_campanella_1953_topps.jpg  phil_rizzuto_1953_topps.jpg


4 thoughts on “APBA: back to basics”

  1. glad the nicknames survive. i still remember some of them from the 70’s sets. “la grande orange” (staub), “dog” (perez), “muggs” (mcauliffe).

    yeah, the font sucks. they started monkeying with it in the mid-80’s. not good.

  2. You’re a tough customer! New cards look great, especially with stat line (yes, green isn’t quite right) and lefty/righty ratings and running ratings. You didn’t say much about the plays on the charts: same or almost the same, lots of differences? I still have my APBA game bought in 1960 and Master Game bought in 1976.

  3. Check out the newly released APBA Baseball game (2013). The game boards/booklet was made much larger, the cards are a very nice thickness. A very nice, sturdy, 2 piece larger style game box. They have every MLB season in stock now. Stats are in black now, not green. You cannot go wrong. The Master Game was re-released in 2013 as well.

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