THIS DAY IN SP78 HISTORY
August 19, 1989

In the morning, while listening to the KDKB Block Party Weekend at my AZ3 apartment in Tempe, Arizona, I played an SP78 game between the second place Reds and first place Phillies at Veterans Stadium, won by the Phils 3-2. Mike Schmidt’s RBI double scored Larry Bowa with the go-ahead run in the fifth, snapping a 2-2 tie, and Ron Reed and Tug McGraw pitched two perfect innings of relief to save the game for Dick Ruthven (4-2). Cincinnati outfielder George Foster had given the Reds a temporary 2-0 lead in the fourth with his 8th home run of the season, but it wasn’t enough to help Fred Norman (5-2) escape the loss.  (Game #408,  5/13/78)

Major League Baseball

SP78 and the Blues

Just a photo of what I was up to recently at a hotel in Grand Rapids on a quiet Sunday evening: working on the SP78 site and watching the Blues take on the Bruins in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, with some liquid refreshment in a West Michigan Whitecaps cup in the background.

 

The New Scoresheets Are Here!

I’ve had some free time open up recently that pulls me away from my current behind-the-scenes SP78 work, so I’ve taken the opportunity to begin adding to the collection of game scoresheets found in the Classic Scoresheets section of the SP78 Museum header on the main page. Here you’ll find some of the more interesting, more memorable, and overall favorite scoresheets from my season; a short description of the game can be found under each thumbnail image, and if you click on the image, you’ll get a larger view, plus a brief history of the game and/or scoresheet underneath.

I last updated the page with a scoresheet from the game played during the trip my friend Steve P and I took to see the 1987 All-Star Game in Oakland, though I never did type up a history for it. That history has now been added; six additional scoresheets and their histories have also been added, with more to come over the next several days. And though I solved the earlier problem of a blank gap between the thumbnail images, it has now happened again, so I’ll be working on that little irritant as well.

Eventually, I hope to have over fifty scoresheets available to view on the site, with a few more sprinkled among the existing sheets when I get them scanned and finalized. Keep an eye on the Recent Site Updates column on the bottom-right side of the main page to keep track of my progress.

Inside the SP78 Vault: Phillies Tastykake Pin

I acquired this 2¼-inch pin sometime in the 1980s, at one of the many baseball card shows I’d attended in San Diego and LA, and besides programs and pocket schedules, is one of my earliest additions to the SP78 vault. I know very little about the pin itself, except for the obvious: it was a Philadelphia Phillies souvenir, it was sponsored by Tastykake, and it was released during the 1978 season.

I did a quick search on-line before typing this post, and could find no information related to the pin itself: was it sold at stadium gift stands, or maybe given away as a promotion at a game, or was it included in packages of Tastykake products? I couldn’t even find one for sale on eBay, so its current value is unknown; I can tell you that back in the ’80s, I probably wouldn’t have paid more than five bucks for it (however, if it had been a Reds pin, sponsored by Frisch’s Big Boy or Hudepohl Beer, I might’ve allowed myself to spend ten).

And 1978 was indeed ‘the year’ for Philadelphia, at least in the NL East; they won the division with a 90-72 record, besting second-place Pittsburgh by a mere 1½ games, and went into the post-season as favorites over rival LA. But they would go on to lose the best-of-five NLCS to the Dodgers in four, and thus the Phillies’ baked goods totem would proudly be worn no more.

If I Had An SP78 DeLorean

Throughout the nearly four decades that I’ve been playing my Statis Pro 1978 Replay season, I’ve often wondered what I would do differently if I could go back in time and start my season over again…to somehow return to 1980 and implement ideas, and correct mistakes, and make changes to aspects of the board game that have plagued me for years. And by doing so, make my replay season a bit more realistic, and in the long run, easier to deal with stat-wise.

So with that in mind, I think I’ll pull a Marty McFly, hop into a 1982 stainless steel DeLorean, and travel back to the dawn of the 1980s, when I was a junior in high school, living in Rancho Bernardo, California, and ready to start my replay season. Listed below are the ten changes, modifications, and general wish-list items I would have incorporated from the start, if given this opportunity.

Prep Time

When I sat down on the floor of my bedroom to play the very first SP78 Replay game, I just wrote out the lineups and started playing, with zero preparation made for the coming months of the season: I had no blank stat sheets printed, I had no lineups set, I did no double-checking of 1978 rosters, and I had no process in place of how I was going to keep track of information throughout the season. In other words, I was ill-prepared, and looking back, I wish I’d taken more time to get these things in place, so I wouldn’t create so many headaches for myself later on.

I also wish that, from the start, I would’ve kept track of game sites and times, and taken more photos of games and the locations where they were played, and overall been a tad more organized with my stat-keeping.

Opening Day

I have no idea why I chose August 22nd to begin my season, except for maybe I had nothing going on that late-summer Friday afternoon, and figured it was as good a time as any. Not that it makes a difference to my season, but now I wish I’d picked a more memorable date to start with: perhaps a day when I’d gone to see a Padres game, or the final day of the real 1980 season, or while watching the 1980 World Series, or even on the one-year anniversary of when I’d purchased the game, on November 15, 1979.

But in hindsight, I’d probably go with August 3rd, the birthdate of my friend Bob, who’d introduced me to the game, and would’ve joined me in replaying the season if he hadn’t passed away earlier that year. However, there is one aspect of August 22, 1980 that might make it a more notable opening date to my season: if written out numerically (08-22-80), it becomes a palindrome.

Don’t Trust Avalon Hill!

Yes, I trusted—or maybe assumed—that the makers of Statis Pro Baseball would print every 1978 card with its player’s Opening Day team…nooooope! As I found out years later, dozens of players were assigned to teams they’d been traded to during the season, with some even assigned to teams they’d been sent to as late as September, for chrissake! Also, players who’d started the season in the minors were given ‘real’ player cards, as if they’d started the year on the parent club, while A’s pitcher Rick Langford, who appeared in 37 games and spent no time in AAA, wasn’t even given a card or a spot on the minor league ‘fringe player’ sheet! And in a now-infamous move, Avalon Hill printed two cards apiece for Tommy Hutton and Dan Spillner, with Hutton playing for the Expos and Blue Jays, and Spillner playing for the Indians and Padres!

What I should’ve done, and is my biggest regret from this list, was buy myself an issue of Street & Smith’s Official 1978 Yearbook (it was only $1.50!) and double-checked every team’s roster, and made sure every player was on their Opening Day team, since it was my intent from the very start to see how each team would’ve done if there had been no trades or free agent signings during the ’78 season. Continue reading