October 9, 2014

Hitting in the ninth spot for Boston, Butch Hobson collected a double, triple, home run, and four RBI to lead the Red Sox to an 8-5 win over the host Yankees at AZ14 in Gilbert, Arizona. Luis Tiant (10-9) earned the win despite allowing all five NY runs, and Bob Stanley picked up his ninth save when he came on with the bases loaded and two out in the ninth, and ended the game on a Roy White groundout. Yankees pitcher Bob Kammeyer, making his major league debut, went one perfect inning for New York. Hobson needed a single in his final at-bat to hit for the cycle, but struck out against Paul Lindblad.  (Game #1404,  8/2/78)

Major League Baseball

AL League Leaders Have Also Arrived!

On the heels of the NL league leaders, which were released last weekend, come the Top 5 leaders for the American League, which reflect a surprising number of non-contending squads and their players occupying spots in many of the team and individual batting categories. Most impressive are the Indians, who have representatives in all six individual batting lists, and are featured in five of the six team batting lists; not bad for a team rooted in sixth place in the AL East.

As far as individual numbers go, it seems to me that many of the players leading in both the NL and AL are well behind the pace of their 1978 namesakes. For example, through the end of July in SP78, J.R. Richard and Nolan Ryan lead in strikeouts in their respective leagues, with 172 and 138 K’s, yet during the actual ’78 season they finished with 303 and 260! Right now, they’d have to almost double their four-month SP78 output in just two months!

Also, it’s nice to see a little variety in the names that grace the American League lists; not just the big names and All-Stars, but secondary players like Jim Norris, Leon Roberts, Dave Rozema, and Ruppert Jones. Hopefully these minor stars, as well as a few others, will be found among the leaders once the season ends.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, I made sure to check the stats for pitchers who batted in the AL—all six of them—and add their numbers to the team totals.

Ask Statistor

Statistor, Baseball Robot

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.


Yo, Statistor!

What is the expected drop in batting average for Lefty vs. Lefty, and is there a corresponding decline in extra base hits also?

Steve P.
Las Cruces, NM

Dear Steve,

With your use of two capitalized proper nouns, Statistor deduced that you were referring to pitchers Lefty Grove and Lefty Gomez, major league baseball stars of the first half of the twentieth century, and the lack of hitting—and power hitting—that transpired during games where the two pitched against each other. Unfortunately, Statistor will only answer questions related to Statis Pro 1978 Replay; those queries involving the sport of baseball itself, or its history and strategies, will not be answered.

Dear Statistor,

During SP78 play, does a left-handed-hitting batter who is facing a left-handed pitcher have less of a chance for a base hit (or extra-base hit) than a right-handed-hitting batter does? Overall, does SP78 experience a drop in batting average when a lefty batter squares off against a lefty pitcher?

Eric K.
Athens, GA

Interesting question, Eric. The Statis Pro Baseball game makes allowances for at-bats where a LH batter meets a LH pitcher, or a RH batter meets a RH pitcher, by taking Fast-Action card draws that usually go for base hits and turning them into outs. For example, in a LH vs LH scenario, random number draws of 11-15, which are normally singles, become outs (and out draws of 87-88 become hits). So to answer your question, yes, the left-handed-hitting batter has about a 20% less chance of securing a base hit than a right-handed-hitting batter does, when the PB result of a FAC draw favors a left-handed pitcher. Extra-base hits do not factor in this scenario, as all left-vs-right variables allow for singles, and nothing more.


They Bat Pitchers, Don’t They?

If you’ve had the chance to check out those league leader lists I posted yesterday, did you wonder, like me, how the Cubs as a team hit .295? Or why those other Top 5 teams were doing so well at whacking the horsehide? Well, how about this: maybe it’s because I forgot to include pitcher batting numbers along with the position player statistics!

I woke up this morning and began work on the Orioles’ stats for the American League leaders, and marveled at the fact that I didn’t have to worry about AL pitcher stats for batting; I realized then that I hadn’t bothered to worry about NL pitcher stats for batting, either. So I went through the stat pages for all twelve NL teams and re-calculated those team leader numbers, and just now made the corrections on the leader boards on the site.

Not that much changed, really. Team batting average dipped by anywhere from five to ten points per team (and Houston replaced San Francisco in the #5 spot), Cincinnati dropped out of the hits leaders list, and the Braves gained a home run thanks to slugging knuckleballer Phil Niekro. Otherwise, you probably won’t notice all that much different on the boards.

And yes, when I calculate numbers for the American League leaders, I’ll be sure to include the stats for the handful of AL pitchers who’ve batted, too. And no, Mr. Sykes, your hit in the Hall of Fame Game will not count.

NL League Leaders Have Arrived!

Cubs League Leaders Sheet

It’s been over a year since I played the last SP78 game of July, and I finally got tired of seeing those blank spots in the end-of-July league leader columns, so I said enough was enough and spent the last three days doing nothing but compiling and organizing statistics for season leaders in the National League. If you’re interested in checking them out, they can be found in the NL column on the main page, to the left of this post, underneath the ‘Yesterday’s NL MVP’ card.

This time around, I decided to add a category to the individual leaders section: earned run average, which I hadn’t included previously only because, before now, I never knew what the criteria was for the minimum number of innings a pitcher needed to pitch to qualify.

Besides discovering that LA slugger Reggie Smith is gunning for the first Triple Crown in the major leagues since 1967, creating these league leader lists also allowed me to find out which NL pitcher was the current front-runner in wins; I could tell you who was leading in the AL (Caldwell, Matlack, Guidry), but the senior circuit leaders were a complete mystery to me, especially Larry Christenson, who out of nowhere joined Gaylord Perry just ahead of a logjam of fourteen other hurlers tied with between 10 and 12 wins.

And how in the name of Wayne Krenchicki did the Reds make it into so many batting leader categories, both individual and team, while finishing the month of July in 4th place—a distant 4th place—with a won-lost mark of 50-54? Should blame be directed towards their lackluster starting pitching and spotty relief corps, or perhaps the one-sided whims of the Fast-Action cards? I mean, seriously, it couldn’t have anything to do with the sketchy managerial skills of the guy who takes charge of them every single freaking game, could it?

Anyway, I’ll be working on the AL league leaders all this week, so look for those lists to (hopefully) be posted sometime next weekend.