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Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter - baseball hitter

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Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter - Pitcher in Logo

Vol. IV, Issue #3 - March 2016


** Ken Wenger, Member of the Durrant/Simonds Team **
(Len Durrant and Gary Simonds have been working together for many years to create
special Strat-O-Matic Baseball Cards for all kinds of teams, including the Japanese
teams that SOM has released for the computer game, and Negro League Teams.
Ken Wenger, a volunteer on that creation team, contacted us to share part of this journey.)

(Comments from the Wolfman:  All of us Strat gamers are in great debt to Len Durrant and Gary Simonds for the unwavering devotion to help the game company produce the computer card images for other baseball teams that the company doesn't have time to do.  I tried again to contact Len Durrant for an inteview, because I saw an article in another online baseball publication that a good friend, Paul Dylan, does.  As editor of a newsletter, I put out many invitations to speak to all kinds of folks, and I never know who will be receptive. In any case, a short time after my request to Mr. Durrant, I got an email from Ken, who said he would be open to discuss his experiences working with Len and Gary for many years. So I personally thank Ken for taking time and working with me to share with you both a short interview and an article he wrote describing his amazing experiences as part of the Durrant/Simonds team.

You may also recall, for those members who have been with us since our first year in 2013, I talked with Terry Bartelme, a fellow Strat gamer here in the Seattle area, who has been using the computer roster created by the Durrant/Simonds team.  If you missed his interview and want to also read it to get another perspective on the computer rosters or card images from the Negro Leagues (which had some of the best baseball players in the world) and other international baseball teams, feel free to visit:

http://www.ultimatestratbaseball.com/USBN-4-2013/terrybartelme-April2013.htm

Well then, letís first chat with Ken, and then read the article he wrote about his experiences helping Len Durrant and Gary Simond make these amazing Strat baseball computer rosters for all of these other non-MLB leagues.)
 



Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter, Ken Wenger, part of the Durrant-Simonds team to create SOM Baseball Cards - Negro & Japanese Leagues and more


Wolfman:
  Today dear readers, we finally have a chance to meet a member of the legendary team that works with Len Durrant and Gary Simonds, master Strat baseball card builders so good at their craft that Strat-O-Matic has made available, as computer-based teams, legendary teams from the National Association (pre-MLB), Negro Leagues, Japanese League, Cuba, and more. We are very happy to speak with Ken Wenger, who will give us some insights toward what it takes to make these special seasons of cards into Strat-O-Matic form.

In this first section of our newsletter, we have a short interview with Ken so our members have a chance to get to know him a bit better. Then, we will share an amazing article he sent to us describing his experience as a member of the development team.

Ken, I welcome you to the Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter and thank you so much for answering our call to know more about how these special teams are being created for all Strat gamers to enjoy!


Ken: 
Thanks for having me as a guest. Iím happy to have the opportunity to give some recognition to some people with whom Iíve worked over the last twenty years.

Wolfman:  Before we share your article, what part of the world do you herald from?

Ken: 
I was born in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, but have lived in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, since 1958. My wife and I have lived near Lititz, Pennsylvania, since our marriage in 1976.

Wolfman:  When you were younger, did you always have an interest in baseball?

Ken:  I became interested in baseball when I was about 10 years old. I began collecting baseball cards in 1961. My earliest memory of watching a baseball game is Game 3 of the 1962 World Series. The first time that I ever attended a major league game was a doubleheader between the Pirates and Phillies in 1963. The game was played at Connie Mack Stadium.

Wolfman:  Were there any teams you rooted for when you grew up and has this changed as you got older? Who are your most favorite baseball players that you root for?

Ken:  Iíve always been a fan of the New York Yankees. Some of my uncles used to tell me how great the Yankees were and I started following the team. I suffered through the Yankeesí futile years from 1965 through the early 70s, so I guess that is the test of true devotion. In the early 60s, I discovered that New York also had teams in the other sports and I began following the Giants, Knicks, and Rangers. I donít pay much attention to basketball and hockey anymore, but I still follow the Yankees and Giants. Some of my favorite players were Tom Tresh, Mel Stottlemyre, and Thurman Munson. Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, and Andy Pettitte were among my more recent favorites.

Wolfman:  How did you hear about Strat-O-Matic Baseball? Have you ever participated
in any leagues or tournaments?
What is your favorite season or seasons of teams for SOM?

Ken:  I became aware of Strat-O-Matic through the advertisement in Baseball Digest. One of my friends bought a selector set of five teams from the 1964 season and that provided my first experience at playing the game. I bought my first selector set in 1966 (cards from the 1965 season)óDodgers, Giants, Phillies, Twins, Orioles, and Yankees. My first purchase of a complete season was after the Yankees won the pennant in 1976.

Iíve never competed in a tournament, but I was a member for five years of the Stat-5 Baseball League that still operates in the Manheim, Pennsylvania, area. I won the league championship in 2011, using a team drafted from National League cards from the 2010 season.

Wolfman:   How were you able to become part of the development team that Len Durrant
and Gary Simonds formed?
What is the history of these two gentlemen coming together? Why did they ask for volunteers to help them? According to Terry, who I interviewed before, people could ask Len and Gary to get copies of the computer rosters that were created, which he did.

Ken:  I donít know how Len and Gary began interacting with each other. My first involvement was with Gary Simonds. I enjoyed browsing his website in the early 1990s. In 1995, Stat-O-Matic Baseball introduced the as-played featureóthe game could be played using the actual lineups and rosters for the games of the 1994 season. I began experimenting with the feature and created as-played files for the 1951 season. I sent them to Gary, offering them for posting on his site. Gary responded with an email asking whether he could send my contact information to Len Durrant. I was acquainted with Len through his messages on the Strat-O-Matic Forum and was happy to have the connection made. From that point, we began collaborating on some projects.

The need for volunteers to help came about to ease the workload. There were some tasks that each of us became pretty specialized in doing. There were other tasks that others could be taught to do. Having a group of volunteers to work with us enabled each of us to concentrate on the work that had become our specialty.

Wolfman:   Also I think when I played in a league on the now-renamed Baseball 365, with the All Time Greats, I saw several Negro League players and some National Association players who were part of this set? So, it seems these new players and their card images are becoming a key part of our game Ė your comments?

Ken:  I think that I can speak for all of those involved in developing the cards that we are pleased and honored that our creations have been so well received by the community. We are also appreciative of the trust that Strat-O-Matic Game Company has for our work. Frankly, I have not heard anything about our work being incorporated into Baseball 365, so perhaps these player cards were developed by employees of the game company.

Wolfman:  Are you still working with this team? Any ideas of what new carded teams/rosters
the development team is planning to work on in the future. How long does it take from the decision to make a new team until the cards are done?

Ken:  I am still part of the group that Len Durrant has assembled to create 19th century seasons, Negro League seasons, and Japanese seasons. The work on these seasons consumes most of a year, with it becoming more intense in the fall as we test the seasons that will become available with the new release. I know most of the seasons that Len would like to make available for the next version of the game, but I donít think the final decision on the seasons has been made by the game company. As Iím sure you and your readers are aware, information about the seasons to be released always comes from the game company.

Wolfman:  If any of our members wanted to contact you and had further questions, is it possible and what would be the best way to do so?

Ken:  Posting something on the Strat-O-Matic Forum or sending me a private message through the Forum is probably the best way to get my attention. Keep in mind, however, that Iíve signed a confidentiality statement with the game company, so Iím not free to answer all questions that people might have.

Wolfman:  Thanks Ken for answering our questions. Below, you will find the article Ken sent to us that describes in more detail his experiences working with Len and Gary and making all these great teams to expand Strat-O-Matic Baseball.
 


Creating Past Seasons of the SOM Baseball Cards
along with Foreign Baseball Teams


with Ken Wenger
(a volunteer of the
Durrant & Simonds team)

Iíve been working with Len Durrant and Gary Simonds on various Strat-O-Matic Baseball projects for over 20 years. Our work began when I sent Gary the files for a 1951 as-played season that I created myself óthis was for the Chevy version of the 1951 season. By Chevy version, I mean that this version of the 1951 season didnít have the benefit of the research that is put into creating a super-advanced season with the lefty-righty sections of the card. The research into making the lefty-righty splits for the 1951 season hadnít been done yet and the cards were computer-generated in terms of lefty-righty performances. So, seasons such as 1946, 1947, 1949, and 1952 are still seasons with this minimal-level of research underlying the card creation. (A few years ago, the 1951 baseball season was released in super-advanced format, which means that it now includes all current features of the game.)

Gary responded to my email by asking whether he could share my contact information with Len DurrantóLen had seen my work with the 1951 season and was interested in collaborating on some things. I knew who Len was from some of the messages that he posted on the Strat-O-Matic Forum and was happy to have this connection made.

Even though I have worked with Len and Gary over all these years, I donít actually know much about them in terms of their personal lives. For example, I still have no idea what Len does for a living, but I know that he travels to other countries as part of his job and that he is very knowledgeable about computers. Len has exceptional organizational skills and "manages" several groups that try to improve the game experience for players of Strat-O-Matic Baseball. The "U-team" updates the rosters, making corrections for errors on player cards, adding missing player ratings, and adding additional players. He also oversees the creation of the 19th century, international, and Negro League cards. Len creates the cards for the Negro League seasons, the 19th century seasons, and the Cuban great players. (Iím not sure of the extent to which others are involved in the creation of the cards.)

I know that the Strat-O-Matic Game Company provides some of the ratings for these cards; so, there is collaboration and coordination with the game company. Len does a lot of reading about the players and the seasonsóthe seasons that he creates incorporate his personal research. He also has found many of the images that are used for the ballparks that are made available within the gaming community.

During the 1990s and into 2000, Gary Simonds operated one of the foremost Strat-O-Matic community baseball websites. It was called something like "Garyís Strat-O-Matic Happenings." The site made several Japanese, College World Series, and minor league rosters available to Strat-O-Matic Baseball players. (Editorís Note: This is how Terry Bartelme found out about these teams.) Again, I donít know much about Garyís career, but I have the impression that he has pretty advanced technical skills. Gary is pretty knowledgeable about Japanese baseball and does most of the work in creating Strat-O-Maticís Japanese season rosters.

As mentioned, some of our earliest work was on as-played seasons. The lineup and transaction files allow the games to be played following the real-life lineups for each game, as well as having the actual players available for each game. This means that players are automatically traded on the correct dates. As mentioned, the first season for which we made the as-played files was 1951. Other early seasons for which this as-played system worked included 1908, 1920, 1927, 1930, 1934, 1941, 1950, 1956, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1978, and 1987. (It should be noted that during this time we established a working agreement with another baseball game community and shared files, particularly those for player transactionsóthis material we collected would have to be entered into text files that could be interpreted by the Strat-O-Matic Computer Baseball Game.)

Len and I, along with some other volunteers, would work on the additional players needed to create rosters of all the players for the season on which we were working, and Gary would post the work on his site. Gary and Len also were involved in creating various leagues. The international leagues at this time were mostly Japanese League teamsóI canít recall whether Gary had Cuban teams available on his site or not. Also, Gary and perhaps a few others created college teams and minor leagues linked to MLB franchises. Entire seasons for the International League and American Association were created. Gary also created some independent leagues, such as the Atlantic League. One of my favorites was a league containing the greatest minor league teams of all time. I don't think that these leagues are still available at any of the Strat-O-Matic fan sites.

There were some other people making contributions back in those days, particularly the late Rob Ratliff, whose first work was the as-played files for the 1956 seasonóhe was a fan of the Reds and had a particular interest in seasons in which the Reds fielded a strong team. Rob was very skilled in using spreadsheets to create as-played files from data available on the Retrosheet website. (Retrosheet is a volunteer organization not at all affiliated with Strat-O-Matic that gathers data from scoresheets of games from all major league past seasons. Their careful analysis of the scoresheets has, in several cases, allowed Retrosheet to provide information enabling Major League Baseball to correct errors in the statistics from past seasons.) The research done by Retrosheet has also yielded information about playersí performances against left-handed and right-handed opponents, as well as information about playersí tendencies to hit groundballs as opposed to flyballs. So you can see how important the data of the scoresheets of the games played is for new card creation.

I donít know the techniques used to create the early cards, but they might have been created using formulas similar to those developed by the legendary Bruce Bundy. Many of the original Strat-O-Matic seasons, even those that are advanced, only contained 24 or 27 players per team. Volunteers have created additional players in order to flesh out the rosters with all of the players who performed during a seasonóthese players are necessary within an as-played season. In our earliest attempts to create the cards necessary to complete major league (computer) rosters, volunteers would use the fringe-player creation tool included within the computer game to create the players.

For those of you unfamiliar with the fringe-player creation tool, the game contains a feature (found under Player on the menu at the top of the game screen) that enables you to create additional (maximum of 12) players for a team. You enter the playerís statistics and ratings and the computer will generate a Strat-O-Matic card for that player. Since they are computer-generated, these cards are not as accurate as the cards created through the companyís research, but they are perfectly acceptable for players who only had a minor role in the season.

At some point early in the process, we began to provide complete packages for the major league seasons. In addition to the as-played files, picture packs were included. A picture pack is a set of pictures of the players, broken into sets of batters and pitchers. The computer game allows pictures of the batter and pitcher to appear as the game is being played. I particularly enjoy using and viewing these pictures of the baseball players who appear as the game is played. I collected baseball cards as a boy and seeing the cards brings back memories and makes the players come alive for me, at least as I knew them, back in those years. Many of these pictures of the baseball players were originally housed at MyOpera and are now available at the Shack (see http://lendurr.tumblr.com/).

The Shack acts as a host for all of these downloadable features that add greatly to the Strat-O-Matic Baseball experience. These include the colorized pictures of ballparks, pictures of the players (many of which have been colorized), plus sets of team and league logos. Len also includes some of the pictures and articles that he finds as he researches the seasons we create. The site also includes some specialty teams and leagues. For example, some Japanese, Dominican, Venezuelan, and Cuban leagues have been available for download at various times. Some Cuban winter leagues from the 1920s in which major league and Negro league players participated have been available, too. A few barnstorming teams have also been featured.

Len (and, I believe, Gary) had some connections with employees at Strat-O-Matic Game Company. I donít know at what point or in what context the communication began, but a trusting relationship evolved between the company and our particular subgroup of the game community. I canít overemphasize the importance of this trust in this whole process. Len and those in his work group developed trust in one another in terms of the ability to develop quality materials and in terms of the dependability to complete projects. The company developed increasing trust in the quality of the work produced by Len and his volunteers. The trust that Strat-O-Matic developed in the volunteersí work eventually led to materials produced by the volunteers being incorporated within the annual releases by the company.

The fact that Len, Gary, and some of their volunteer group became play-testers for the computer baseball game probably was a factor in the growth of this trust. The team of volunteers is very appreciative of the opportunities that Strat-O-Matic has given us to make our work available to the communityóand Iíd like to think that our relationship has been profitable in various levels to the company.

The 19th century seasons now include the National Association teams (1871Ė1875) , the American Association (1892Ė1891), the Union Association (1884), the National League (1876Ė1900), the Players League (1890), and the 1900 American League (which was a minor league). These were the first full seasons developed by our team with the understanding that those seasons would be offered for sale by the company. Len and Gary have quite a bit of experience at developing player cardsóthen and as is still the case, they are the creators of the cards.

My responsibility has always been with doing multiple replays to test whether the cards produce realistic results, both in terms of individual and team performance. There have been others involved in the testing over the years. Ed Williams has been a great addition to our testing team as he became involved in 2015, helping to test new seasons that were released this year (2016). When I had eye surgery last August (2015) and my vision was greatly diminished due to the surgery, Ed took over my role in testing. There is another member of our group who has collected a tremendous amount of data about the lineups that were used in the 19th century, and he has created the lineup files. Until this year, when my work was limited due to eye surgery, he and I had done the primary work on the transaction filesóthe files that automatically make trades on the correct dates and promote/demote players so the correct rosters are available for each game.

It must be noted, however, that the transaction files are not "exact." In many cases, the information is simply not available to know exactly which players were eligible for each game. In some cases, particularly for very early seasons played in the history of baseball, the teams had very limited rosters in an effort to cut the expense of operating a team. This was especially the case when a team travelled to another city. There were probably some cases in the 19th century for which a team had only nine players availableósubstitutions werenít allowed unless a player became injured during the game. (I believe there were some cases in which a person was literally taken out of the stands in order for a team to complete a game when a player became injured. This would have been a former player who happened to be in attendance or a local person with a degree of baseball ability.) In any event, we often keep players from these early seasons active for longer periods of time in order to increase the playability of the rosteróit provides a few more options for the person replaying the season.

Allow me to speak a bit about how the use of the playersí pictures was integrated into the SOM computer baseball game. In 2004 (2003 major league season), Strat-O-Matic Baseball included a new feature in which it was possible to show pictures of the batter and pitcher as the game was being played. (I have no idea what was involved on Strat-O-Maticís end in order to make this feature possible though.) For me, this was a dream come true, because I had long wished to be able to see baseball cards of the players as the game was being played and now, with the work of finding the cards, it was now possible to do so.

We have done everything that we can in order to provide player pictures for the seasons that we create, whether 19th century, Negro League, Japanese League, or Cuban League. Generally the process begins with a list of the players on each team or a preliminary roster showing the player names. I usually do the initial search for the pictures (using the Internet). This might include using Google Images or a browser to search the playerís name. For Japanese seasons, I usually do a Japanese language search for players whom I canít otherwise find. Google Translate is used to translate the name into Japanese and I then search that name. I found several pictures in this manner. Of course, the pictures of modern Japanese players can be found on the official Japanese League web site.

Iíve had some connections with other game players over the years, and these people have been very helpful in finding pictures of players from baseballís early years. After Iíve found everybody whom I am able, I send the set of pictures to Ken Zionce. Ken, who claims to have been a substandard art student while in high school, does a marvelous job in colorizing the player pictures, which add so much enjoyment to those who use these seasons and enhance the realism of playing these early games. I generally give Ken the number of at bats or innings pitched so he can set priorities for the colorizations. Ken then does his own research, and in many cases finds a better picture, before doing the colorization. He then returns that completed set to me and I upload it to the Shack website. The pictures become available to the game community when Len creates the necessary link.

About five years ago, Strat-O-Matic began providing complete Negro League seasons, and about three years ago, Japanese seasons became available. There are unique challenges associated with creating these seasons. Unlike the 19th century seasons, there is no major league context on which to base the cards for the Negro Leagues, Japanese Leagues, or Cuban All-Stars. The decision was made to base these cards on major league equivalencies, i.e., projections about how well these players might have performed if they had been playing major league baseball during those seasons. (I donít know the specifics of how the equivalencies are developed and I wouldnít be able to share the specifics even if I did have that informationóit is the intellectual property of those creating the equivalencies.) My sense is that there is a belief that the best players in the Negro Leagues had abilities equal to the best players in the major leagues. That understanding provides a basis for how good the cards for the best players should be in these other leagues. After you have a sense of how good the best players should be, you can then develop an understanding of how the other players should be carded in order to provide realistic performances within a season played just with the Negro League players. When the equivalences for all of the players are developed, they are usually sent to a few of us for a check on whether any of the statistics appear to be unrealistic.

When the complete set of cards is in a near-final form, a few of us do multiple replays to confirm that the cards are performing realistically. This enables Len and Gary to compare, for example, real-life (or the projected equivalency) batting averages with those obtained during multiple replays. Similarly, they can see at bats per doubles, or at bats per home runs, and various pitching statistics per nine innings. I am not the only person involved in the testing, so I donít know all of the information other people might be providing, but I do have some idea. Sometimes, these replays have taken various forms for the same set of cards.

By this I mean that in some cases we test the Negro League teams by just replaying the Negro League teams against each other. There are other times when we create integrated leagues, so we can see how the Negro League players perform as they compete against the major league players of the same season, since we believe that the best Negro League players were just as good as the best major league players of that time. Ideally, the league leaders in the various categories will contain a mix of Negro League and Major League players. When Len and Gary see the results of the replays, adjustments can be made for players whose performances were different than expected. Additional replays are sometimes done if significant adjustments were necessary.

Another problem is that the historic Negro League seasons are being "stretched" in length to make them 154-game seasons. Most of the Negro League teams played a league schedule, along with a great number of non-league games. These additional games, often against white semi-professional clubs, provided additional income for the teams. We wanted to create teams that have enough characteristics of a major league team so that they can be combined into a league with major league teams. The Negro League teams generally carried a minimal number of players in order to limit the teamís expenses.

So, for example, we needed additional players to enable a solid rotation for the starting pitchers. Other players might need to be added to give managers flexibility during gamesóutility players and additional pitchers for relief had to be available. Iím not sure how the additional players are selected, but I know that in some cases players are added from another Negro League team that has not been carded for that season. (In other words, some Strat-O-Matic Negro League teams represent a combining of players from two actual Negro League teams.) In other cases, players are added who played with that specific Negro League team either a year prior to or a year after the season that was being created. Japanese seasons include 144 games, so it wasnít necessary to add additional players for them.

It is necessary to understand that all of these seasons are developed with the authorization of the Strat-O-Matic Game Company; however, there isnít a significant amount of time or other resources allocated by the game company to do these projects. I donít know whether some people believe that instead of diverting resources to Negro League and international seasons the company should be providing more past seasons. It is simply wrong to believe that we could have a season such as 1949 or another Heroes set if the company wasnít spending time on the seasons created by our group. John Garcia and Steve Barkan were our main contacts we dealt with at the game company. (Note: Even though Mr. Barkan has now retired, he is still working behind the scenes on some special projects.) Most of the work that Steve used to do is now being done by John Garcia, however. In this interaction with the game company, they provided for us some of the ratings we needed to make the cards, but the final carding (card images) is still done by Len and Gary.

The seasons that weíve produced for Strat-O-Matic have been only for the computer; so, Bob Winberry, who is the main programmer overseeing the SOM computer baseball game, is also involved. I met Bob Winberry at the 50th Anniversary Opening Day in New York City, but I canít give a good impression about him just based on interacting with him for only a couple of minutes. From association with him, as our seasons are being tested for the new release of teams, I know him to be very professional in his dealings with us. He is very gracious and very supportive of the testers. He has been patient in answering our questions and is very appreciative of the work that we the volunteers are doing. I donít think that Iíve ever uploaded a file where he has failed to thank me for doing so.

I will close by stating that Iíve gotten a lot of satisfaction from my involvement with my fellow volunteers. Although I may never meet in person any of these special individuals with whom Iíve collaborated, I consider some of my coworkers to be close friends--well, at least as friendship might be defined in terms of speaking to someone through the Internet. Also, Iíve shared some of the joys and heartaches of my life with some of the other members of our group. Other elements of my satisfaction with participating in this team are:

--I enjoy the creative process, which is somewhat weird because I am more left-brain oriented than right-brain oriented. Unfortunately, the time spent in creating things for the game limits the amount of time that I can spend playing the game.

--It gives me satisfaction knowing that Iím helping to create things that other people enjoy. Somehow it feels less as though I am "wasting my time on a hobby" when the results of my work are being shared.

--I think there is a sense of justice for the Negro League players in having their names and talents being brought back to memory. I know that what was taken from them can never be restored, even if for those who are still alive. I also realize that those still living are likely unaware that a community of game players are remembering and celebrating their exploits and those of their teammates through Strat-O-Matic Baseball. My guess is that if you would have told a Negro League player back then that people would remember them in the 21st century, the player probably would get some satisfaction from that knowledge and would probably find it incredibly ironic because his achievements went largely unnoticed in his own time. He probably would also think those future players would have to be nuts to devote so much time to playing a game involving his card.

Thank you and welcome to my world,

Ken Wenger

-----------

Final Comments from the Wolfman: It is very apparent from Ken's article that there is definitely a special art to making the SOM computer cards of past seasons and international teams. That it takes possibly up to a year shows the tremendous dedication the creation team has. Also, that there is a strong team of people to support this project speaks very highly of the team leaders, Mr. Durrant and Mr. Simonds. Although we are unable to speak to both of them directly yet (due to their busy schedules), we want them both to know that our members appreciate so much all of their efforts. What an amazing community of people we have who are helping Strat-O-Matic to create the greatest baseball game out there!!




 

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Contained inside this exciting issue of Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter:
(to view the various interviews, articles, columns and special sections click on the links {underlined}
and this will take you to the appropriate webpage)
 

  RETURN TO NEWSLETTER MAIN PAGE

  INTERVIEW with ROGER ERICKSON, Ex-MLB Pitcher, Roger Erickson, for the Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees, talks with the Wolfman about his insights on the game of baseball and what experiences he had during his major league career, as we continue to interview more ex-MLB players which we recognize their names from their Strat-o-matic cards in past seasons.

  ARTICLE with MARC PELLETIER & WOLFMAN SHAPIRO, Wolfman Shapiro now becomes Marc's student as he is guided to work with Marc's system to build a playoff bound team for one of the new 2015 based leagues that are be offered in Baseball 365.  Marc explains his blue print how to build a team and shares with us key spreadsheets to show how he evaluates the players in the 2015 cardset. The Wolfman shares his feedback upon the Pelletier system and how it will guide him to draft his team for the on-line Baseball 365 league that he will join in April.

  STRAT WISE with MARC WASSERMAN -- commissioner of the Cyber Baseball Association (CBA) continues his new column sharing various perspectives on SOM Baseball. In this issue he discusses about the coming of "Baseball Daily", his many visits to the Game Company since he was young, and the recent video inteviews done with Hal Richman, John Garcia and Adam Rosen.

  ARTICLE with LARRY BRAUS -- Wolfman's old friend Larry, who he has known since the 1970's from Chicago and the early national conventions, as well as was an early contributor of our newletter in 2013, returns in this issues with some insights on former star players you shouldn't write off just yet ...

  ARTICLE with WOLFMAN SHAPIRO, Wolfman discusses a totally new Computer (CM) based league he joins which is based upon salaries for the players with a salary cap, plus has a big focus on building your minor league players. Through this league he participates in his first time ever an on-line auction to add players for his team.  He reports about his experiences joining this league and the strategies he used to build a team made for the playoffs plus ....

  SOM BASEBALL LEAGUE REPORT with WOLFMAN SHAPIRO -- the editor of "The Ultimate Strat Newsletter" and 2012 CBA Champion, talks to members members of various Strat-o-matic Baseball Leagues that he has discovered on the internet about the history of their league and their experiences. This is the first time we get to speak to a League Commissioner and their Champion in the same month as we find out about the World Baseball League (WBL).  To read their interviews, click on the appropriate link below:

INTERVIEW with Jeff Chaput, WBL Commissioner, P-VI
(Computer)
INTERVIEW with Ted Wesley, WBL Champion, P-II
(Computer)

  SOM/MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL WORLD NEWS with WOLFMAN SHAPIRO, editor of "The Ultimate Strat Newsletter" roams the world for interesting news linked to SOM or MLB. For this month he shares some gems he found on the Strat-o-matic website and SOM's facebook page, offers another "Stat of the Week" bulletin by John Dewan talking about current relievers and gives the first report of a Strat Tournament Player's Club tourney held in early March in New Jersey.

  RECOMMEND ON-LINE SOM RESOURCES -- On-line Strat-o-matic and Baseball related websites
that offer amazing information, special tools and products to improve your game play that we strongly recommend. In most cases, we have had personal contact with these sources who agree with the principle to work together and help promote each other.

  BOOKS TO DIE FOR and Become a BASEBALL GURU -- This page is specifically about special books we are finding that either will expand your insights about the game of Baseball, help you in the creation of your current league teams or with your replays and learn more about the Strat-o-matic Baseball Game and Game Company's history.  We have a special arrangement with Acta Sports, who is a publisher of a number of great baseball books (including Bill James Handbooks) to offer for our members a 10% discount. We will continue to add more books to this page in the future as we uncover other gems our members should know about.


 




Contact Us for Questions or Submissions:

Wolfman Shapiro
Founder/Editor, the Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter

email:
wolfman@ultimatestratbaseball.com
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http://www.UltimateStratBaseball.com
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