THIS DAY IN SP78 HISTORY
April 27, 1988
At the kitchen table of my apartment in San Bernardino, the first seven Reds batters of the game reached base, three Reds batters—Dan Driessen, Ken Griffey, and George Foster—connected for home runs, and Tom Seaver (2-2) pitched a 5-hit shutout as Cincinnati rolled to a 12-0 win over the listless Mets, who had shut out the Reds the day before, after being blanked by the Reds the day before that. Cincinnati bunched ten of their runs over the first four innings, including six in the first, and were backed by a 4-for-5 night from Griffey, four runs scored by Foster, and three RBI apiece from Foster and Driessen. Mets outfielder Lee Mazzilli, batting in the lead-off spot, had four of New York’s five hits; the fifth came from Sergio Ferrer, pinch-hitting in the ninth. (Game #265, 4/30/78)
Developed by Sperry Rand in 1963, Statistor is a robotic information-gathering and data storage system, later modified by Texas Instruments specifically for use by Statis Pro 1978 Replay. Statistor will answer any and all SP78-related questions, either bi-monthly or whenever the mood strikes him.
Did Todd ever play other baseball games, and play other seasons, before his Statis Pro 1978 Replay season?
San Diego, CA
Yes, the Supreme Controller played his first simulation-type baseball game in the early 1970s, when he and a friend started a season using a deck of playing cards and the rules supplied with a box of Frosted Flakes cereal. Several years later, he would play a short season using a simple ‘pocket game’ created by a company called Tomy, before initializing his SP78 board game season in 1980.
I know the text on Fast-Action cards is printed in four colors – red and black on one side, and blue and green on the other. But why does each SP78 game start with the blue-green side facing up on the deck?
Des Moines, IA
Because it is so.
With Garry Templeton hitting .330 with 62 stolen bases this season, and my Statis Pro dopplegänger playing above all expectations after just two games, I’ve been trying to come up with a way to consistently and logistically have both shortstops take part in each of the 52 games remaining on the Cardinals SP78 schedule. Templeton is on a pace to collect 200 hits for the second consecutive year, and I don’t want to jeopardize that opportunity, but I’m also having fun seeing myself take part in a major league baseball season. Templeton played all 155 of his games at shortstop in 1978 (which included two pinch-hitting appearances), while my Todd Benefiel player card shows that I played all my games at short except for one, when I was stationed in the outfield. So in the end, the question remains: who gets to play shortstop?
Well, we both do. I’ve decided to have the Cardinals implement an infield shift, not unlike the ‘Williams Shift’ the Cards employed against Red Sox slugger Ted Williams during the 1946 World Series, where shortstop Marty Marion covered the entire left side of the infield, third baseman Whitey Kurowski moved to second, and second baseman Red Schoendienst acted as a rover in the gap between Kurowski and first baseman Stan Musial. The SP78 Cardinals will do just the opposite: Templeton will remain at short, Ken Reitz will stay at third, and Benefiel will fill the space between the two, acting as a second shortstop. Keith Hernandez will remain at first, and cover as much of that territory as possible, while light-hitting second baseman Mike Tyson will be removed from the equation entirely, and be used instead as a pinch-hitter and late-inning defensive substitute.
In just his second game with the St Louis Cardinals, rookie shortstop Todd Benefiel was rudely welcomed to the major leagues by the visiting Mets with his first career out, as well as a caught stealing on his first stolen base attempt, and in the 14th inning, his first career error, a low throw to first that skipped wide of a lunging Keith Hernandez, allowing batter Lenny Randle to take second and eventually score the go-ahead run, putting New York in the driver’s seat with a 7-6 lead and just one half-inning left to play.
One full inning later, the major leagues welcomed the Mets to rookie shortstop Todd Benefiel.
With the score deadlocked at 7-7 in the last of the 15th, after Hernandez had re-tied the game with a solo home run in the last of the 14th, the determined 15-year-old led off the frame by battling pitcher Paul Siebert for a hard-earned walk. On Siebert’s first pitch to follow-up batter Tony Scott, Benefiel took off for second, swiping the bag well ahead of the throw for the first stolen base of his career. Moments later, after advancing to third on a sharp groundout to shortstop Tim Foli, he tagged and scored the game-winning run on Jerry Mumphrey’s shallow fly-out to Joel Youngblood in center, beating the throw to home with a hook slide that evaded catcher John Stearns’ desperate tag, lifting the Cards to a thrilling 8-7 win in front of a fervent crowd at Busch Memorial Stadium late Saturday night.
Today’s calendar of events at the Department of Statistics at Northwestern University in Evanston: