It was a summer evening in 1978, perhaps on a calendar day close to where I am right now in my SP78 season, and my parents had taken my brother, sister, and I out to dinner at our local McDonald’s in Escondido, California. Their current promotion, apparently available only at Southern California restaurants, featured a baseball quiz card given to customers with every Big Mac purchase; the prize was a free Big Mac to fans who answered the multiple-choice quiz question correctly. As you can see, I did just that, during the drive home after leaving the restaurant:
And it wasn’t guesswork, either: I actually knew the answer to the question, without the luxury of on-line stats, scores, and game recaps instantly available at my fingertips. Instead, I studied the daily sports pages and the annual Street & Smith baseball guides, and I watched ABC’s Monday Night Baseball and the NBC Game of the Week on Saturdays, and went to Padres games at San Diego Stadium whenever I could. I actually cared about baseball back then, which made answering this question a cinch.
And as you’ve noticed, I kept this particular game card, which means I did not get myself a free Big Mac on my next visit to McDonald’s that summer. But that’s okay…I’m glad I still own this rare piece of baseball memorabilia, since that Big Mac would’ve been long gone and forgotten by now. I tried to find another quiz card like this one on-line, but even eBay doesn’t have one to offer, so maybe mine has some real value to it. Or maybe it’s worth nothing more than a Big Mac…just as long as I redeem it before October 8, 1978.
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.
Posted in SP78 Flashback
Tagged 1992, baseball, board game, Cubs, Motel 6, photograph, Reds, San Luis Obispo, Statis Pro 1978 Replay, Statis Pro Baseball, TV
Roger Metzger’s two-out single to center in the top of the seventh sent Jack Clark home from second with the tie-breaking run, and John Montefusco shut down the Expos the rest of the way to collect his third shutout of the season, as the visiting Giants captured a close 1-0 game from the Expos at Montreal.
To read more about the game, and to check out some cool photos and make some cool comments, click here.
The Los Angeles Dodgers wrapped up July with a 17-11 won-lost mark and a four-game winning streak, which not only put them two games ahead of the second-place Padres in the NL West, but gave them a 66-37 record for the season, which in turn was the best record of all 26 teams in the major leagues as the SP78 campaign headed into August. Surprisingly, this was accomplished without the full-time services of Triple Crown contender Reggie Smith, who was limited to just 18 games played after a shoulder injury knocked him out of action for two weeks during the second half of the month.
Helping the Dodgers cause were starting right-hander Burt Hooton, who went 4-0 in July with a 2.22 earned run average and twenty strikeouts, and bullpen ace Terry Forster, who collected five saves while limiting opposing batters to just five hits and one run over nine games, good for a 0.85 ERA. Also making an impact on the mound was rookie Bob Welch, who successfully converted from reliever to starter in July and went 3-1 with a 2.21 ERA in five starts.
At the plate, Smith led LA with a .408 average, eight home runs, and 23 RBI. Lopes’ 34 hits led the team, while Ron Cey was tops in the NL with eleven doubles. However, the most jaw-dropping stat again belongs to Smith, who has an SP78-leading seven 2-HR games this season, to go along with his 37 home runs and 90 runs batted in. The month also saw an old-timer’s game played between the ’62 Dodgers and ’62 Giants, a 7-inning contest won by LA 10-5 in front of a nostalgic crowd at Dodger Stadium.
To see the Dodgers stat page for July, click here. And remember, the boxes for league leaders, team rankings, and award totals have been purposely left blank; these figures will be added after all NL team statistics have been finalized, and July award winners have been picked.
Posted in Inside SP78
Tagged baseball, board game, Burt Hooton, Davey Lopes, July, LA, Los Angeles Dodgers, NL West, Reggie Smith, Ron Cey, Statis Pro 1978 Replay
Season stats through July are now finished for the Cubs, who held on to second place in the NL East despite an underwhelming 11-17 record for the month, and a 50-53 record for the year, which put them 15 games behind the first-place Phillies. Dennis Lamp remained the ace of the staff with a 12-4 mark and a 2.43 ERA, while slugger Dave Kingman’s 27 home runs and 74 RBI ranked him among the league leaders in the National League. Chicago had some trouble with the NL West this month, going 6-13 against the teams of that division; unfortunately, their August slate of games is dominated by NL West opponents as well.
Though you won’t see it yet on the July pages, I’ve begun adding a new stat box to every team page: a SB/CS breakdown for each player, showing separate results for stolen bases and caught stealing of second, third, and home, plus each player’s steal rating (designated by a letter between A and E). Currently these boxes are complete and posted for every team in April, and all NL teams in May; for a sample box, check the Astros page here, and look beneath ‘Games Played by Position’.
And to take a look at the Cubs stat page for July, click here. And remember, the boxes for league leaders, team rankings, and award totals have been left blank; these numbers will be added after all NL team statistics have been finalized, and July award winners have been picked.
Posted in Inside SP78
Tagged 1978, baseball, Chicago, Cubs, Dave Kingman, Dennis Lamp, National League, season, SP78 Replay, Statis Pro Baseball, statistics