Category Archives: SP78 Flashback

20: A Charlie Moore Odyssey

It began innocently enough for Brewers catcher Charlie Moore: a two-out single in the last of the eighth off Detroit reliever Ed Glynn, the final hit of the night in Milwaukee’s 6-0 win over the Tigers at County Stadium on May 17th. The boxscore would show that designated hitter Larry Hisle led all batters with a double, a home run, and two RBI, and that Brewers starter Bill Travers shut down the Tigers on four hits, earning his first win. But for Moore’s late-inning base hit, which had no affect on the outcome, it mostly went unnoticed.

The next day, Moore connected for a single in an 8-1 Brewers win, and in the two games he’d start against the Angels in the three-game series that followed, he’d collect two more hits, including one in the infamous ‘Sixto Lezcano Game’ of May 19th. Four straight games, with one hit in each…at the time it wasn’t worthy of mention, but 16 games and 22 hits later, the 24-year-old from Birmingham, Alabama would possess the longest hitting streak of the young season at 20 games, and along the way would become an SP78 legend.

“I’d just come off a seven-game streak, and I was more than happy with that one,” said Moore, when asked about his accomplishment. “I never thought I’d even make it to ten, much less twenty.” Continue reading

My Friend Bob

It was forty years ago today that my friend Bob passed away, struck down by leukemia at age sixteen, when he was just a junior in high school and had plenty of years still ahead of him. Besides being my friend, and being someone I could share a love of baseball and football with, and ride bikes and watch movies and simply hang out with, he was also the one who introduced me to Statis Pro Baseball, back in October of 1979, and it was his excitement and enthusiasm for the game that convinced me to buy one for myself.

Nowadays, it’s hard for me to fathom how long he’s actually been gone, and it sobers me to realize that I’ve lived more than two of his lifetimes since 1980. And then, it saddens me to think about all he’s missed—and all I’ve done without him—over those four decades. And how he’d visited me in Washington during that final summer, and how I eventually moved back to San Diego not long after he’d returned to the hospital for good, when my Dad and brother and I stayed with his family until we could find a place of our own. And how I got off the school bus that February afternoon with my friends Brent and Reid, and saw my Dad parked nearby, waiting to drive us home and tell us Bob had passed away earlier that day. Continue reading

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

The First SP78 Photograph

As surprising as this may sound, I played nearly 12 years of my SP78 Replay baseball season before finally deciding to take a photograph of the game itself. The very first in-game photo was taken on June 23rd, 1992, during a trip my friend Steve P and I took to San Luis Obispo, a small college town located on the central coast of California; the self-portrait below took place that night in the room of the Motel 6 where we were staying.


It was the only SP78 game played during our trip, and this was the only photo taken of the game. What’s strange is, Steve didn’t take part in the festivities, either as an opposing manager or as a spectator; you can’t tell from the photo, but he’s fast asleep in the other bed, to the right of the camera frame, where he’s missing out on a May 26, 1978 match-up between the Reds and Padres, won by the Reds 5-3 in 11 innings.

And if you’re wondering what that large, white something is that’s blocking a good portion of the photo, it’s the top edge of the television where my camera was perched, high up on the adjacent wall. In the days before digital cameras and their small viewscreens, I had to trust what I saw through the viewfinder; thus, I ended up with a photo that wasn’t quite as unobstructed as I’d hoped. And since I was shooting with film, I didn’t have the option to take thousands of photos on a media card, so I only took this one shot, and hoped the image would come out okay.

Now, I have a digital camera and a cell phone for my SP78 picture-taking needs, and within the coming months I’ll be adding the dozens upon dozens of game-related photos I’ve taken over the years to the site, which you’ll be able to find by clicking the Photo Gallery dropdown at the top of the main page. Until then, enjoy this shot of me in my 29-year-old prime, leading my favorite team to victory while wearing a Cubs cap and enjoying an ice-cold can of vending machine Pepsi.