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.”

10 responses to “Jim Rice and the First BD-2 HR

  1. I thought Dave Winfield might qualify for a BD-2 rating. Hard to believe Rice isn’t pulling his stats in the SP78 season vs the actual. Plus the small gold chains back in the 70’s didn’t slow him down on the base running.

    • Winfield had decent enough power stats in ’78 (24 home runs, 97 RBI), but if we’re only going to have one BD-2 player in the NL, there are a few others more deserving…especially George Foster, who led the NL in homers (40) and RBI (140). And the whole Rice situation is a complete mystery…he flat-out stinks compared to his player card potential. Who knows, maybe I’m managing him wrong…maybe I should be batting him lead-off, and playing short.

  2. Good point, I completely forgot about Foster Freeze! Better yet, put Rice behind the plate.

    • I had to check, but surprisingly there are still a lot of Foster’s Freeze locations in California…but only two in San Diego, and the ones in Escondido and Poway are both gone. And maybe, MAYBE I’ll put Rice behind the plate late in the season, just for an inning, and see what happens.

  3. Leon Roberts has 26 homers and Jim Rice has 19. Roberts had less than 80 homers in his entire 11 year career. What’s his BD rating? Is he hitting homers off of non-pitchers when the Mariners are down big in the late innings? Or perhaps he’s friendly with the East German swim team?

    • Roberts has a BD rating of just 0, but I think the reason he’s hitting so many taters – despite his debilitating time spent with the lust-crazed swim team – is that, compared to Rice, he’s actually taking advantage of the HR number range on his card: a simple 34-38. Of course, it might be more telling to do some research and see what type of pitchers Roberts has taken advantage of…low PB or high?

      And for reference sake: there has yet to be a non-pitcher pitch in my season, although there are a couple of O’s players – Larry Harlow and Elrod Hendricks – who are more than eager to do so.

  4. Speaking of non pitchers, what’s that kid who plays every once in awhile, I think initials of TB? Can he throw a fastball if called to the mound? If so can he produce a 90 mph fastball?

    • Every once in a while? That kid’s a starter now, especially with that .440 batting average! Anyway, if he’s ever asked to take the mound, I’m sure the one pitch in his repertoire – the 50 mph fastball – will fool no one, and get himself sent to an early shower. But if Benefiel ever took the mound – or if any non-pitcher took the mound – I would use Harlow’s one-game-only pitching numbers for them to use (which are included in the game). And though those numbers aren’t pretty, their at least passable, and will get somebody out.

      And I did a little research, and found that the game where Harlow and Hendricks pitched in 1978 was against the Blue Jays, who went on to win 24-10.

      • Well, if it comes down to those guys pitching, I’d go with Elrod. There’s a 67-plus run difference between his ERA and Harlow’s. (I guess Harlow might have pitched first and Hendricks came in when the Jay’s hitters just wanted to get back to the hotel quicker).

      • Or maybe Harlow was pulling a Dock Ellis, and was high on LSD at the time, and was serving ’em up so he’d be taken out of the game as quickly as possible.

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