What is Statis Pro Baseball?
Statis Pro Baseball is a strategic baseball board game, similar to APBA and Strat-O-Matic, that is played with cards representing each player from a particular baseball season, and which feature numbers that—through formulas using that player’s actual statistics from that season—represent how well a player will likely perform in any given game. Instead of dice, a deck of ‘Fast Action Cards’ is used to determine game results, such as at-bats, putouts, baserunning, scoring, and even such fringe situations as injuries, rainouts, and freak plays (ejections, triple plays, inside-the-park home runs, etc). A person managing a team is also given free reign to make decisions not covered by a card draw: substituting players and changing pitchers, issuing intentional walks, playing the infield in or back, and when and where to have a baserunner make a steal attempt. Unlike fantasy baseball, Statis Pro is a simulation of an actual game, and not a gathering of points based on real-time player stats.

Who created Statis Pro Baseball?
The Avalon Hill Game Company, based in Baltimore, Maryland, who began production of simulation war games in 1954. The company released Statis Pro Baseball in 1978, and continued to release new editions each year, featuring the previous season’s player cards, through 1992, when a licensing dispute with the greedy bastards at Major League Baseball forced AH to cease operations of their excellent baseball game.

What prompted you to buy the game, and to replay an entire season?
In 1979, I was living in Bellevue, Washington, after having moved there from San Diego, and my friend Bob had told me about this fantastic new board game he’d found called Statis Pro Baseball. I’d just started my first-ever job, at a Shakey’s Pizza in nearby Redmond, and after receiving my first paycheck, I went to a local hobby shop called World of Toys and purchased the game for $15.00. Since Bob’s version of the game also included 1978 player cards, we’d decided to replay the season between us, with Bob controlling the American League (his favorite team was the Red Sox), and with me in charge of the National League, since I was a fan of the Reds. At the time, Bob had been stricken with leukemia, and before we could start our 1978 replay, he passed away, in February of 1980. I decided then to honor our commitment and replay the season on my own; it took a few months, but I finally got the season underway on August 22, 1980.

What is SP78 Replay?
It’s the name I’ve given to the baseball season I’m replaying, shortened from the original ‘Statis Pro 1978 Replay Baseball Season’ I’d created when the season opened, and is usually referred to simply as SP78.

How long does it take to play a game?
For me, it’s about ten minutes of prep—setting up the game board and thoroughly shuffling the Fast Action Card deck, choosing lineups, and filling out the scoresheet—and on average about thirty minutes to play a 9-inning game.  My longest game time-wise was a 23-inning contest between the Expos and Phillies that took nearly 3½  hours to play, while my shortest was a 2-1 Red Sox win over the Angels that took only 16 minutes to complete.

Do you play games alone, or against someone?
Mostly solo, but on occasion I have a friend or family member as an opponent.  Early on in the season, my brother Scott and my friend Steve P played quite a few games (over thirty each), but nowadays it’s mostly just me…although in the past year I’ve had three friends and my father manage in games, so maybe interest is picking up again.  Overall, ten people have managed over one hundred games against me since 1980.

Have more than two people ever participated in the playing of a game?
Twice, actually: in 1989 and again in 2000, when my brother Scott and my friend Steve P paired up as co-managers and squared off against me in games played at Steve’s condo in Escondido, California. The first was a 17-inning affair won by the Steve- and Scott-led Astros 12-5 over the Mets, while I took the second contest 11 years later, a 3-2 Angels win over the Rangers in the SP78 20th Anniversary game.

Have you ever not taken part in a game from your SP78 Replay season?
Yes, back in 1981, when my brother Scott played four games on his own over the July 4th weekend. He did this with my permission, but I’ll never again be absent from managing in an SP78 game.

Have you ever thought about giving up on playing the entire season?
Never! Wait, yes I have…in 1982 I decided to switch to a Reds-only season, but that lasted just three games before I returned to the original plan of playing every game from 1978.

What’s the most memorable game you’ve played so far?
I’d say my favorite would have to be the ‘Steve Ontiveros Day’ game between the Dodgers and Cubs at Wrigley Field, which was played on May 7, 1988 at the apartment my brother Scott and I shared in San Bernardino, California. Scott was there to watch the game, as was my friend Steve P, who had driven up from San Diego for the festivities. Ontiveros had been on the disabled list for eight years, and was playing his first game after coming off the DL; he went 2-for-4 with three RBI and played a flawless game at third base. I’d created admission tickets and game programs for the first time, and after the game we celebrated the Cubs win with dinner at a nearby Round Table Pizza.

In some of the game board photos, I see a small photograph of someone wearing a red shirt. Who is that?
That’s my friend Bob, in a photo from the summer of 1979, shortly before he’d introduced me Statis Pro Baseball, and about seven months before he died of leukemia. Every now and then—especially when I play games featuring his favorite team, the Red Sox—I prop his photo up near the board so he can attend the game I’m playing.

You’ve been replaying this season for over thirty years now…shouldn’t you get a life?
Trust me, I have one. If I didn’t, I would’ve finished this freaking season decades ago.


23 responses to “FAQ

  1. I read your article on Statis Pro. Pretty Cool. I thought I might take a chance writing.

    I am in a league that has played 2 full seasons of Statis Pro using each teams All Time Players. MLB TV has even featured us!

    We play one game a week with breaks in the year. The home team writes up a game story which is sent to all owners. The time commitment is an hour or 2 per week. We play the board version of the game. The owners of each team select their own rosters based on our eligibility rules.

    We have 2 available teams: the Red Sox (one of the best overall teams) and the Marlins (a team expected to contend in a division against other expansion era teams). Owners come from all walks of life and cities around the country and are generally members of SABR

    Let me know if you have any interest and I can send you additional information.


  2. Thanks Rob! I replied via e-mail!

  3. Do you think it’s likely that you have played the 1978 version of Statis Pro Baseball more than anyone else?
    And if so, do you also hold the same distinction for NHL ’98?
    Have any players from 1978 ever made a cameo appearance in an NHL ’98 game?
    Last question, have you ever seen a grown . . . never mind.

  4. I know that people have played complete seasons of Strat-O-Matic and APBA in much less time than the 32 years it’s taken me to play this season thus far, so I can only assume that, back in 1979, someone bought a Statis Pro game with the ’78 season and finished it within a year or two, which would mean he (or she) would’ve played the 2,000+ games necessary to complete such a regulation season…more than the 1,200+ I’ve played up to this point. So I would say no, I’m probably not the world leader in games played in Statis Pro’s 1978 season.

    And with my old desktop computer being out of commission for the past five years, and without a suitable replacement yet to be found, denying me the opportunity to play NHL98 since 2007, I’m guessing someone somewhere has also played more games of NHL98 than me; for years after its release it remained the most highly-regarded of the EA hockey games, so I’m going to assume that someone had just as much fun as I did with it, and played more than the three or four full seasons that I was able to before my computer went kaput.

    As for players from 1978 making cameo appearances in NHL98 (and you do mean NHL players from ’78, and not Statis Pro Baseball players, right?), I’d say no…unless you count Slappy Pepperton of the Canadiens, who may have seen some minor league action in 1978, but who actually started his fictitious NHL career in 1979.

    As for your last question: Yes, I have seen a grown…up accidentally spank their obnoxious child in the crotch in a McDonald’s parking lot.

  5. I work with Steve P.

    I started playing statis pro baseball in late 70’s.

    Are you calling up players from minors? If so, how are you determining major league equivalencies?

    What is your system regarding pitching injuries?


    Chris C

    • Hi Chris, and thanks for stopping by! I’m guessing because you played Statis Pro in the late 70s, you had the 1977 or 1978 season cards…are you still playing?

      Yes, I do call up players from the minors…the game I purchased supplied a few charts that had ‘fringe’ player numbers already spelled out, if I wanted to type up my own minor league cards. These were players who saw action in ’78, but weren’t included on Statis Pro’s 25-man rosters of cards. Just recently I had to create a third-string catcher for the Tigers, who didn’t have ’78 stats at the major league level, so I used his AAA numbers from 1978, which I found on-line at Baseball Reference, and created his card using the formulas that were supplied with the game.

      Concerning pitcher injuries, it took me about half the season to finally get sick of pitchers not being injured, so I created my own Z-play injury chart, that uses 6- and 8-sided dice. First, I went through my collection of 1978 and 1979 media guides, and tracked down pitcher injuries and their corresponding number of games missed. Then based on severity of injuries and and days out, I made eight ‘levels’ of six injury scenarios each, and roll both dice whenever I get a ‘Z’ card number of 81-88.

      Also, I didn’t like the fact that rainouts, rain delays, and injuries couldn’t occur before a game started, so I made another chart that I use when the first card draw of a game is a ‘Z’; now, I can have games stopped by inclement weather before the first pitch, and have players injured (for that game only) during warm-ups and batting practice.

      Hope that helps…and I hope Steve’s not too much of a taskmaster at work!

  6. Todd,

    Fascinating site. I enjoyed SP for many years as a kid during the 1980’s. Now my 10 year old son has picked up the craze and last year he and I ran a 6 team league that played 75 games. He absolutely loves it!!! Last year in our World Series the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Washington Nationals 4-1. We buy new cards every year off the internet and have our game board and charts laid out. We play between 8 and 20 games per week. We keep all stats on Excel spreadsheets. This year we are getting bold and going for an 81 game schedule therefore we cut all injury times in half.

    I love reading your site, keep up the great work.

    • Hi Tony! Thanks for checking out my site, and for the nice comments! I always like to hear from other Statis Pro fans, and it sounds like you and your son have a great league going. I envy the fact that you two can play so many games per week! Which six teams do you play, and is it always the same six each time? Keep me updated if you can on your 81-game season…although I’d say go all out and shoot for 162!

      Come back and visit when you can…I should be back on a normal home schedule in the near future, and hope to have more articles and updates and such posted on a regular basis. Thanks again for stopping by, and good luck with that new season!

  7. Good question, last year we had the following:

    Tampa Bay
    St. Louis

    This year with current record:

    NY Yankees 4-8
    Cleveland 7-5
    Cincinnati 8-4
    Philadelphia 5-7
    Los Angeles Angels 6-6
    Arizona Diamondbacks 6-6

    We develop a balanced schedule using 2 and 3 game series. We also “shuffle” each teams starting rotation every 15 games so that #1 starters don’t always face each other so we can properly represent off days and such.

    This year Paul Goldschmidt is off to a hot start batting .500 in 53 PA’s so far. Cliff Lee has been the dominant pitcher with a 2-0 record and 23 K’s through 2 starts. On the closers side John Axford of the Indians has 5 saves to lead the league so far.

    Notable injuries: Dominic Brown (hamstring), JB Schuck (crashed into the wall, leg).

    • Cool selection of teams…I’ve been a Cincinnati fan since the 1970s, so…Go Reds! I’ve got to work on my pitching rotations, too, to prepare for August; now, I’ll mostly go with 4-man rotations, with a few teams having 5-man. And don’t you just love Z-plays? I’ve created my own injury results (my game didn’t allow for pitcher injuries), and now I have situations for pre-game rainouts and injuries, if the first card drawn of the game is a Z.

  8. I have a guy who I buy the teams from send me custom Z charts for each situation as far as outs and men on base. Injuries are incorporated into them.

    • I’ve been thinking about revamping my entire Z-play chart, too, but for now I think I’ll stick with the one that came with the game. There are a few devastating calls in there (one has three players ejected from one team at the same time), but for me that’s what makes the Z-plays so much fun.

  9. I have pretty much zero knowledge of baseball and even less (if that’s possible?) about Statis Pro but this has got to be the most niche blog I’ve ever encountered and it’s fantastic. The level of detail, dedication, and personal motivation is incredible keep it going!

    • Hey James, thanks for the visit and the nice comments! Yeah, you won’t find many blogs like this one…I have 43 followers, which is about 40 more than I expected to get with a site like this. I’m still getting it organized and filled up with goodies (stats, photos, articles, recaps), so even if you’re not a baseball fan, I hope you can stop by every once in a while and check out what’s new. At the very least, maybe I can turn you into a baseball board game fan!

      • Hi Todd, no worries it was great to stumble onto (from Popcorn Nights actually). Haha you could give it a go but there’s way too much going on, football (soccer) is my game. One goal, one ball, easy scoring ha! I did post a link to your blog on Facebook though and I have a good friend (a blue jay’s fan) who found your site fascinating and wanted to find something similar for Hockey (both my friend and I are big Canucks fans). Maybe there’s a gap in the market for that sorta thing

      • Thanks for the Facebook link…maybe that will help boost my followers total past the magic 50 mark! And I actually own a hockey board game, Strat-O-Matic Hockey, but tell your friend sorry, I have no plans to create a hockey game blog site…yet.

      • Maybe I’ll suggest he starts it up one day. Hopefully we can push you over the magic 50, always nice to reach a milestone.

      • If you guys create a Canucks Strat-O Replay blog, I’ll be Follower #1.

      • Hahaa I’ll consider it for the future.

  10. Hey Todd,
    Fellow Reds fan here, I’m thinking about doing something similar for the 1988 season of Statis-Pro. I recently have gotten back into it through some of the “advanced” cards available online. How do you keep stats? I’m thinking about using the Strat-O-Matic computer game, and just inputting the Statis-Pro play results.

    • Hi Andy, and thanks for stopping by. I guess you can say I keep stats the semi-old-fashioned way: using a calculator and updating numbers by hand using self-created word document tables on my laptop. Also, I’m just now starting to create tables in Excel so I can track current leaders at all times. I’m guessing it would be MUCH easier to keep stats with a computer version of the game, but alas, I’m still using the board version, so it’s pencil and paper for me. Have fun with your ’88 season, come back and visit when you can, and…go Reds!

  11. Interesting attempt hope you eventually complete it. I have just started a 10 team 54 game schedule of the 1941 season teams are washington, brooklyn, st louis, yankees, giants, red sox, pirates, cubbies, cleveland, and the tigers completed 18 games so far yankees lead by 1 game.

    • Don’t worry, I promise I’ll complete this thing…I’m guessing in another 7-10 years. And cool that you’re doing the ’41 season…lots of great names on those teams I’m sure. And if you want my opinion, don’t stop at 54 games…go for 154!

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