THIS DAY IN SP78 HISTORY
November 29, 2015

At Metropolitan Stadium in Minneapolis, Tom House tossed a complete game 5-hitter, and Steve Braun led the offense with three doubles, as Seattle blanked division-rival Minnesota 5-0, in a night game at site AZ15 in Peoria. It was the first complete game and first shutout of the season for House (3-1), who ran into trouble in the ninth when the Twins loaded the bases with just one out. However, Roy Smalley – with two grand slams to his credit already this season – hit into a rare 6-5-3 double play to end the game, and preserve the win for the M’s, who snapped their modest 3-game losing streak.  (Game #1491,  8/9/78)

Ask Statistor

aStatistor, Baseball Robot
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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 once a year or whenever the mood strikes him.

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Hey Statistor!

How many times has the Joe Walsh album But Seriously, Folks… been listened to while a Statis Pro 1978 Replay game was being played?

Steve G.
Phoenix, AZ

Hey Steve!

Since 1988, when music played during a game was first documented, the 1978 platinum-selling album has been listened to a total of 63 times during SP78 play, by far the most of any recording over the past 33 years. Of those 63 times, 17 were heard via digital files, 12 were compact discs, 11 were vinyl LPs, nine were cassette tapes, and one was heard on the Spotify music streaming service, with 13 formats not known or ever specified.

Dear Strat-O-Matic,

Could you please send me the current 2020 edition of your Strat-O-Matic baseball board game at $55.00, plus the Additional Players Set at $19.00. I’ve enclosed $76.09 to pay for the game and extra cards, which includes $16.89 for FedEx Ground shipping and a 20% Black Friday discount. Thank you.

John A.
Poway, CA

Dear John,

Statistor does not understand your question, but will gladly accept your generous donation.

Jim Rice and the First BD-2 HR

There are two things to know about the home run Red Sox slugger Jim Rice hit against the Mariners on August 22nd, in the fourth inning of their game at the Kingdome in Seattle. First, it was his 19th home run of the season, a 2-run shot that gave the Sox a temporary 2-1 lead in a game they’d eventually lose to the lowly M’s. But second, and more importantly, it was the first-ever BD-2 home run hit during my SP78 Replay season…a streak that lasted forty years and over 1,600 games played.

Hard to believe perhaps, considering the number of BD cards that are turned during an average SP78 game, but it’s true; I can’t say for certain whether one was hit in the first few years of my season (after some research, it appears unlikely), but once I began paying attention to the possibility of such an occurrence—probably in 1988, when my statkeeping efforts improved—I’d never had one take place until now. But what makes a BD-2 in particular so special is that Rice is one of just two players in the game to possess such a rating, the other being a slugger from the National League who’s also well known for his home run hitting prowess:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But what exactly is a BD home run? For those uninitiated with the ‘clutch batting’ aspect of the game, each player in the league possesses a BD rating of either 0, 1, or 2 (don’t ask me why Avalon Hill chose to use ‘BD’ instead of the more logical ‘CB’ designation), signifying how well a particular batter does in clutch situations, when one or more runners are on base. These ratings allow the player, when a certain Fast-Action card and number are drawn, to connect for a double, triple, or home run, with any of these options succeeding in clearing the bases of  all runners.

What’s also amazing about Rice’s recent home run is the simple fact that he hit one at all; during the actual 1978 season, he led both the AL and NL in homers (46), games played (163), hits (213), triples (15), runs batted in (139), and slugging percentage (.600), all helping him to earn AL MVP honors. But in my SP78 season, he’s nowhere near those lofty totals, even with that devastating Statis Pro player card at his disposal: currently his 19 home runs are well behind the 34 he’d hit at this juncture in 1978, while more than a dozen other players already have more triples, and his current batting average (.249) will never catch up to the one he finished the ’78 campaign with (.315).

And here’s another odd aspect to the situation: I understand why Rice was awarded BD-2 status, since he led the AL in home runs, total bases, and slugging percentage in 1978, but why Luzinski? If those three categories are to be considered the deciding criteria for BD-2 status, then Luzinski is definitely a no-go: he was second in the NL in home runs behind Reds outfielder George Foster, and just sixth in total bases and slugging percentage, well behind Dave Parker of the Pirates. Either one of those players should’ve been bestowed with a BD-2 classification instead, especially since both are having far better seasons offensively right now than Luzinski.

Anyway, there you have it…a BD-2 home run has finally been struck after all these years, leaving only a triple play, a perfect game, and a postponement due to insect infestation left to accomplish on my SP78 ‘to-do’ list. As Rice told reporters after the historic game, “I don’t know why you’re talking to me…you should be asking Greg what’s taking him so long.”

August Injury Report – Week 3

The following is a list of injuries to players which occurred between August 16th and August 23rd of the SP78 season, with injuries noted by date, team, player, and number of days or weeks missed. (Note: there were no injuries on the 16th)

August 17

NY-N: In the second inning of their game against the Padres, Mets third baseman Lenny Randle aggravated a prior injury to his hip when he stumbled into the visitor’s dugout chasing a foul ball off the bat of Fernando Gonzalez; he would leave the game and be out of action for the next five days.

TEX: In the top of the eighth inning of the Chisox-Rangers match-up at Arlington Stadium, Alan Bannister’s sinking line drive to center fell for a triple when Texas center fielder Juan Beniquez misjudged his diving attempt to make the catch and landed awkwardly on the outfield grass, straining his wrist. The injury would force him to miss the next seven games.

August 18

STL: Cardinals batter Mike Phillips suffered contusions to his right hand when he was struck by a pitch from Braves reliever Dave Campbell during the eighth inning of their game at St Louis. He was replaced by a pinch-runner and would sit out the next four games, but would return in time to participate in the SP78 40th Anniversary game on August 22nd.

August 19

LA: Citing a sudden tightness in his pitching shoulder, Dodgers starter Doug Rau asked manager Tommy Lasorda to remove him from their afternoon contest against the Mets after just one inning of work, after he surrendered a walk to batter Bobby Valentine on four pitches. Rau would miss his next start, and will probably miss one more before returning to the starting rotation later this month.

MIL: Brewers starter Lary Sorensen was the second SP78 pitcher lost to injury today, after he went 4.1 innings before developing a blister on his pitching hand and leaving the game, two outs before he would’ve qualified for the victory in an eventual 7-1 Milwaukee win over Detroit. The blister was deemed serious enough to keep him out of action for at least another start.

August 20

OAK: A long fly ball off the bat of Boston’s Jack Brohamer resulted in a collision between Oakland center fielder Glenn Burke and the outfield wall at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, resulting in a triple for Brohamer and a separated shoulder for Burke, who would be placed on the 30-day disabled list the following day. It would be his second month-long stint on the DL this season, after a collision with teammate Mike Edwards resulted in a thirty-day absence back in April.

August 21

LA: While charging in on a short pop fly off the bat of Montreal’s Ellis Valentine, LA left fielder Dusty Baker clipped shortstop Bill Russell as he backpedaled to make the catch; the ball dropped untouched, allowing Valentine to race to second with a double, while both defensemen remained prone on the outfield grass. Russell was not injured and remained in the game, but Baker was helped off the field with an unspecified leg injury, and will likely be out the rest of the month.

SF: The Giants also lost an outfielder to injury after a collision with a shortstop, as Terry Whitfield will be out for at least a week after running into teammate Roger Metzger as they converged on a shallow fly ball during the fourth inning of their game against the Mets at Shea Stadium. Whitfield was replaced by Jim Dwyer, while Metzger was unscathed and continued the game at short.

August 22

DET: Tigers outfielder Steve Kemp will miss the next few games after landing roughly on the hard Metropolitan Stadium turf while diving for a line shot by Roy Smalley in the fifth, which skipped past him and went to the wall for a triple. X-rays were taken of his right wrist and elbow as a precaution, but no breaks or fractures were found.

August 23

DET: After losing an outfielder to injuries yesterday, the Tigers will be without the services of two more players, after center fielder Ron LeFlore and second baseman Steve Dillard were both hurt when they collided during the second inning of their Game 1 match-up against the visiting Blue Jays. The batter, Roy Howell, made it to second on the play; LeFlore is expected to return to the lineup soon, but Dillard will be placed on the 30-day DL due to his injuries, which have yet to be specified by the team.

MIN: In the first game of a doubleheader between Texas and Minnesota, with Mike Hargrove batting in the sixth, Twins third baseman Mike Cubbage was injured when he chased a pop-up into foul territory and slammed into a metal railing near the Ranger dugout. Not only did he fail to make the catch, but his left knee struck the rail in the process, prompting his immediate departure from the game. There has been no report on what type of injury he suffered, but sources say he will be out for at least a week.

AL League Leaders Updated

The current League Leaders and Team Leaders for the American League have now been updated for games played through August 23rd, and can be found by scrolling down the right-hand column of this page. And like the National League leaders posted a month ago, most of the players and teams among the Top 5 categories have remained the same, with a few notable exceptions.

Royals third baseman George Brett moved into the Top 5 for batting average, displacing NY catcher Thurman Munson, and Twins star Rod Carew jumped from the fifth spot to first in the hits category; he’ll need 31 more to reach 200 for the fourth time in his career. Also, a pair of milestones were achieved, as Minnesota’s Roy Smalley was the first in the AL to reach the 100 RBI mark, and Brewers ace Mike Caldwell was the first in either league to reach 20 wins, with Jon Matlack and Scott McGregor close behind at 18.

M’s speedster Julio Cruz stole three more bases this past week, giving him 92 for the year…just four shy of Ty Cobb’s AL record of 96, established in 1915. Also during the week, A’s DH Rico Carty slugged three home runs to move within two of 30 and three of his 1978 total of 31; Don Baylor of the Angels still leads in that department, with 35. And though he’s struggled of late, going 1-2 over his last four starts, Yankees starter Ron Guidry still leads SP78 in earned run average, with 1.28.

Kansas City and Minnesota continue to dominate the team categories, while Baltimore still holds the lead in the team HR department, with 135, just nineteen away from their 1978 season total. And somehow, the Indians are still leading in team batting average and total hits, though they’re still mired in sixth place in the AL East; they also made the Top 5 in doubles and triples, as well as pitcher strikeouts.

The next league-wide update will take place in one SP78 calendar week, after games have been completed for August 31, 1978.