Category Archives: Inside SP78

Home Run Stats Completed

After spending a handful of days gathering home run data from the scoresheets of all 1,696 games played so far during my SP78 season, I’ve finished adding those numbers to the eight home run sub-categories listed on this site, and they’re now ready to be accessed. These sub-categories can be found by clicking the Statistics header at the top of any page, then hovering over the Miscellaneous Stats and Home Runs drop-downs before clicking on a particular sub-category title.

These sub-categories include home run totals for pitchers, pinch-hits, grand slams, 2-HR and 3-HR games, and inside-the-park, pinch-hit, and game-ending shots. All totals in each category are broken down by National League and American League batters; one table in the AL, for pitcher home runs, is of course blank, because no AL pitcher has yet hit one (only one pitcher, Steve Busby of the Royals, even has a hit…a single).

Having now seen the results of these compilations, it’s interesting to note that Dodgers slugger Reggie Smith, who leads both leagues in home runs and 2-HR games by considerable margins, has yet to hit a grand slam. And speaking of which…if anyone can tell me why there’s such a discrepancy between the NL and AL in grand slams, I’d appreciate it. I mean, it can’t strictly be because of the DH, can it?

Bomback First SP78 Player Out for Season

Having suffered a collapsed left knee that will require surgery, Brewers pitcher Mark Bomback, called up from AAA just ten days earlier, will be out of action for at least two months, and becomes the first player lost for the remainder of the SP78 season.

The injury occurred during the fourth inning of the Brewers-Tigers match-up at Tiger Stadium on August 25th, with Bomback starting for Milwaukee and facing Tigers batter Alan Trammell. On the follow-through of his first pitch, Bomback crumpled to the grass in pain, clutching his knee as the ball sailed high over catcher Charlie Moore’s reach. The stricken pitcher was tended to by the team’s trainer, then helped off the field by teammates Cecil Cooper and Sal Bando.

Bomback, who spent the first four months of the season with the Vancouver Canadians of the Pacific Coast League, will end his SP78 campaign with a record of 1-1 and an ERA of 1.89 in three appearances, two of which were starts. During the actual 1978 season, his first in the majors, Bomback went 0-0 with no saves and a whopping 16.20 ERA, over one start and one relief appearance.

“This really pisses me off,” said Bomback to reporters in the visitors locker room, before being transported to Detroit Medical Center. “I was enjoying this year a lot more than the real one.”

To fill the roster spot left vacant by Bomback’s departure, the Brewers recalled pitcher Randy Stein from Vancouver. During the regular season, Stein was 1-2 with a 4.73 ERA in 21 games before sent to the minor league club on July 31st.

Goodbye, Julio

Throughout the 42 years that I’ve been playing my SP78 Replay season, there have been 132 players from that season who sadly have passed away. The most recent was Julio Cruz, who played for the Mariners in 1978 and spent ten years in the major leagues, with the M’s and the White Sox; he died two days ago, at the age of 67.

What makes his passing more personal for me was that he and Pedro Borbon of the Reds were the only two players of those 132 that I ever had an interaction with. For Pedro, it was an autograph at San Diego Stadium in 1975; no words were exchanged, he simply took the pad from my outstretched hand and signed it, my first-ever sports autograph.

But with Julio, it was  a bit different. My brother Scott and I were at a Mariners game at the Kingdome during the 1979 season, just two months before I’d purchase my Statis Pro Baseball game, and were stationed in the left-field general admission seats for batting practice, having brought our mitts with us in hopes of catching a home run blast. There weren’t that many fans out there (and only 5,205 showed up for the game), but one person we did notice, seated in those same bleacher seats, was Julio Cruz.

He was dressed in his home uniform, and what we thought was odd—and a bit humorous, actually—was that he was also wearing a pair of light-blue bathroom slippers! I can remember the moment clearly: Julio sitting there, alone in a sea of empty seats, with his slippered feet resting on the backrest of the seat one row down, as he casually watched the Brewers batting practice from afar.

Scott and I cautiously approached him, and when he saw us, he smiled and motioned us over. Unfortunately, we had no paper or pen with us…honestly, who expects to get a player’s autograph while they’re standing around in the left-field bleacher section? But what we did have were a pair of Mariners pocket schedules, which we’d just picked up at the ticket window, so with Julio supplying the pen, he signed an autograph for each of us.

We thanked him, but of course we had to know, so I asked, “What are you doing up here?” I can’t remember his exact response, but he said something about wanting to watch the pre-game warm-ups. The Mariners would’ve already taken their practice swings, so maybe he was doing just that, relaxing before game time. Or perhaps he was hoping to catch a Brewers home run blast as well.

Goodbye, Julio, and thanks for the cool baseball memory.

‘Miscellaneous Stats’ Added

In case you haven’t stumbled upon it yet, a few weeks back I added a new dropdown category under the Statistics heading, titled ‘Miscellaneous Stats’, that features various detailed – and sometimes odd – stats for players, teams, and particular game situations. I just now completed the totals for Deep Fly-Outs, and will begin work on the Home Runs category next, which includes several sub-categories that are all still in the construction phase.

I’ll be adding more categories, including hitting streaks and team winning and losing streaks, over the next several months. If you can think of a category I’ve missed, or would like to see added, let me know in the comments below. And please, if you have any ideas, make sure they’re something I can track, and are within reason; don’t bother requesting ‘Number of Times Extra-Inning Games Were Stopped for Bathroom Breaks’, because no statistics have ever been kept.