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.”