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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

** Interview with Roger Erickson **

(Roger Erickson played for five seasons in the Major Leagues for the Minnesota Twins and the
New York Yankees.  Now he has a school to teach baseball. He has also heard of our game,
Strat-O-Matic Baseball, and knows about his cards issued by the game company.)

Notes from the Wolfman:  In 2014, when I was trying to locate the Mahler brothers and Tony Brizzolara, members of the Atlanta Braves who actually played Strat-O-Matic Baseball in the minors and continued to play after they were promoted to the majors, Bo Rosny, came to my aid. Bo, who has his own blog to share baseball cards, has done interviews with many ex-baseball players talking to them about the baseball cards (like Topps) they received.

Trying to find ex-Major Leaguers to interview isn't easy, but since Bo helped me before, I contacted him on Twitter.  I asked him if he could help me contact other players he had interviewed, and Mr. Erickson was one of them.  Mr. Erickson answered my Twitter message to him almost immediately as he was very open to be interviewed. He was very friendly towards me during our email communications.  He also promised to share some of his other stories and experiences in the Majors at a later time.  I was also a bit surprised to learn that some of his friends in college played Strat-O-Matic while he was in the Majors and used his SOM card.  Mr. Erickson had less than a year in the minors before he pitched in the big leagues.

Mr. Erickson also told me about an interview he did with Twins Trivia last year, which he thought our members might enjoy. So you can read his interview with us first and then come back to the audio interview below. To view this special interview done by Twins Trivia, go to:

(Note: This interview is summarized first by the interviewer and then if you wish, you can listen to the full audio interview linked on this page which lasts about an hour-and-a-half.)

Finally, last year on November 7, in Clarkesville, GA, Mr. Erickson completed a second dream by opening the Erickson Baseball School for Major League pitching and hitting instruction. This is where he is teaching young kids how to play baseball. You can read more about his school by visiting:


I wish to publicly thank Mr. Erickson for taking time to offer for our members another glimpse behind the scenes in the life of a Major League ball player.)


Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter, Photo of Roger Erickson Topps Baseball Card with Minnesota Twins Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter, Photo of Roger Erickson with New York Yankees

Wolfman:  Hello once again dear members, I have an exciting interview with another ex-Major Leaguer. Roger Erickson was a pitcher for the Minnesota Twins from 1978 to 1982. In 1982, he was traded to the New York Yankees, where he finished his career in 1983.  He had a lifetime record of 35-53 with an ERA of 4.13, and was mostly used as a starter. His first season in the major leagues, in 1978, was his best season; he was 14-13 with a 3.96 ERA for the Twins and he started 37 games with 14 complete games, which is unheard of in today's game.

The photos of Mr. Erickson, above, show when he played in the major leagues for both the Twins and Yankees; notice how young he was when he played.

Mr. Erickson, on behalf of all of our members, may I welcome you to the Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter.

Now Mr. Erickson, I understand you grew up in Springfield, Illinois. Is this where you lived when you began to play baseball or did your family move?  I am asking this first question to gauge more, when you were younger, your interest in baseball and which team you rooted for at this early age.

Roger Erickson:
Yes, I grew up in Springfield , Illinois, just a few blocks from Abe Lincoln's Tomb. As a kid, my friends and I walked through the cemetery where Lincoln is buried on our way to Lincoln Park to play ball all day.

I grew up a Cardinal fan -- Springfield is half Cub, half Cardinal. I listened to Jack Buck every night. Our neighbor had his radio on so I could listen through my window every night.

My whole family played baseball. My grandfather was offered a pro contract but had three little boys at home. My uncle pitched in the big leagues, my brother played minors with Cardinals, and his two boys played minor league ball.

(Editor's Note, Roger's uncle was Don Erickson, who played for one season for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1958 and was also a pitcher.)

Wolfman:  Will you tell our readers where your baseball career took you? Did you play in college and is this how the Twins drafted you?

Roger Erickson:  I played one year at Springfield Jr. College , all of us included 12 guys on this baseball team. A friend, John Schaive, a former Washington Senator, called Ron Maistre at the University of New Orleans, and Ron gave me a scholarship sight unseen. I was drafted from there in 1977 and sent to double-A, where I led this league in pitching, and was then invited to major league spring training the next year.

Gene Mauch, the manager of the Minnesota Twins, was being pestered about the possibility of having me make his big league team (for 1978, during spring training). Gene said, "no punk fresh out of college and only 2 months of minor league experience can make the bigs." I had a great spring, did not give up any runs, and I hit .600. Afterwards, Gene then said about me, "I can't keep out him of the major leagues, he does everything right!"

Wolfman:  Can you tell us more about what type of pitches you were throwing and a summary of how you did, from your perspective, playing in the big leagues?

Roger Erickson:  I threw mostly fastballs and challenged everyone! I threw 266 innings in 1978, including 14 complete games with 12 pickoffs. Maybe throwing too many innings that year or because they (the Twins) taught me a bad slider led to a disappointing 2nd year and arm surgery. 1980 was a great year however, as I was 6th in the league in ERA, but we were a bad team. 1981 was going very well for me, but it was a strike year and after the strike ended, I caught a line drive off Kirk Gibson's bat, which went into my glove but then hit my thumb on my throwing hand. I pitched 6 more innings with a broken thumb that game, but the next day, they put me in a cast and my season was over.

The 1982 season started out good for me but then I was traded to the "Zoo". Initially the Yankees started me, but then they wanted me to set up Goose (Gossage), which I did for one game, and I did great. I got a save in another game when Goose needed a day off, but then they decided to start me again. I won 4 games straight, but then they (the Yankees) screwed with my delivery and hurt my shoulder, which ruined my career (which is why my career ended in 1983).

Wolfman:  Can you share with our members what some of you most favorite memories are that you cherish from the days you played in Major League Baseball?

Roger Erickson:  I would not trade any of my experiences for the world though, as I had many memorable times. There were three brawls in my 1st year while I helped to protect my fellow players. I had the chance to play with some Hall of Famers and against them. I enjoyed playing for Billy Martin, (the Yankee manager), who called me over while we were at a pub once, after a great game I threw for him with the Yankees, and he introduced me to Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford and told them both that I could have played with them in their era. Billy Martin liked and respected me that much; he always tried to help me because Steinbrenner was mad at me.

I believe I played at a great time. Obviously the money was not like today, but because of us and the strikes we organized and supported, we grew the Players Association to what it is today.

I hope that some of the information and experiences I am sharing is entertaining for your members. I played the game because I grew up playing it for fun, and I always tried to keep it that way. I will recount some other great stories for some future interviews if you wish. (Wolfman: Yes absolutely; I know our members would enjoy this, Roger.) It was pretty cool that I walked out of college and into the big leagues. My friends from college were still in college and playing Strat-O-Matic with my name on the cards. They got a real kick out of that.

Wolfman:  Finally Roger, how could one of our members contact you if they wished to? 

Roger Erickson:  The website for our school is at: http://www.ericksonbaseball.com/. And if someone wish to contact me by email, they can write to me at: ericksonbaseball@yahoo.com .

Wolfman:  Thank you Roger, we will look forward to your future stories. Again, to our members, the hour-and-a-half audio interview with Mr. Erickson done by Twins Trivia, this link is shown above. 


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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)


  INTERVIEW/ARTICLE with KEN WENGER, Ken is a volunteer for the support group that works with Len Durrant and Gary Simonds who have been producing cardsets that work with the SOM Baseball Game for over 20 years that include computer rosters/teams from the Negro Leagues, Japanese Leagues and the National Association. Ken talks about his experiences being a part of this team and what it takes to make these computer card set images.

  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
INTERVIEW with Ted Wesley, WBL Champion, P-II

  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.


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Wolfman Shapiro
Founder/Editor, the Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter

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