How Baseball Classics Player Cards Are Made

How Baseball Classics Player Cards Are Made

I’d like to invite you to go behind the scenes and show you how Baseball Classics baseball board game is made today.  Since it’s conceptual design in an apartment in Woodland Hills, California during the summer of 1985, it has evolved to a premium baseball board game that thousands have enjoyed.

From MLB Statistics to Baseball Classics Player Cards

Baseball Classics Player Cards

Baseball Classics baseball game play design is centered around the player results and ratings that are based on their actual MLB season performance.  They are all translated into full color “traffic highlighting” player cards for any MLB teams and seasons 1901 to present.  That is one tall order, though it’s a fundamental requirement since Baseball Classics baseball game was founded.  Here’s how we are able to scale and today support over 110 MLB seasons, which roughly comes to making available over 63,000 unique player cards. The official MLB player stats are gathered from the Baseball Almanac Statmaster website and pasted into Microsoft Excel.  Each Baseball Classics player card is 100% generated from a combination of formulas and programming.  This ensures player ratings are not subjectively altered and supports the scaling necessary to offer any MLB teams or seasons since 1901. Now that we covered an overview, let’s dive in deeper to this process.  Naturally, it’s the most important process in creating Baseball Classics.

  1. First we take the Baseball Almanac Statmaster Pitching Stats for a MLB team.  They are copied and pasted into an Excel spreadsheet, then formatted using an in-house program that creates a Baseball Classics pitching stats template.
  2. Next we do the same for batting and fielding stats into their own Baseball Classics templates.
  3. These 3 Baseball Classics pitching, batting, and fielding statistics templates are then combined into a master Baseball Classics data template.  This template is loaded with formulas to that generate each players individual symboled, color-coded fielding rating.  This process takes about 5 minutes per MLB team on average thanks to the program code and formulas.
  4. This stage is where the bulk of the work is done.  The calculated master Baseball Classics data template is moved into what we call our “Grid Calc”, where 3 more templates using hundreds of formulas and lines of code generate an entire MLB team of player cards for the batters and pitchers.  It typically takes about 2-3 seconds to then generate a  Baseball Classics MLB team.  Thus once we have all the master Baseball Classics data templates for each team in a MLB season ready we use that full season worth of data to create an entire MLB season of Baseball Classics player cards.  For example, once we get to this stage it takes approximately 90 seconds to generate the Baseball Classics 2012 MLB Season player cards for all 30 teams.  Each card unique and generated 100% by our objective algorithms to ensure consistency as well as the ability to scale being able to offer any MLB teams or seasons from 1901 to the present.
  5. Next the full color, traffic-highlighted, symbolic, color-coded player cards with vital statistics are ready for print.  One-sided for Standard design (blank on the back of each player card), two-sided for Premium Design (full color Baseball Classics logo playing card design on the back).
  6. Standard Design player cards are straight-edge cut and grouped by team while Premium Design player cards have additional processing to have their corners rounded.
  7. Each Baseball Classics team of grouped player cards banded (rubber bands) then shrink wrapped for secure packaging to be shipped.

Baseball Classics 2004 Player CardHere’s a sample of a test Baseball Classics player card created in 2004.  It was never released and for the first time revealed publicly.  Note many changes we’ve made to this test model since 2004 with the exception of the font type.  Everything else has changed dramatically in some cases such as the formulas used to generate this card to the Baseball Classics website address shown at the bottom of this 1980 Kansas City Royals George Brett player card.  About 60% of this card was computer generated compared to today’s 100% of computer automation designed and used by Baseball Classics.

When Baseball Classics was first offered in 1988, each MLB player stat was individually entered by hand into a spreadsheet from the Baseball Encyclopedia.  It was a lot of work, pain staking days to almost a full week to generate 1 MLB season of team sheets back then.  Individual player cards were not offered, it simply was not scalable using such a manual process.  Should we have attempted to create individual player cards manually back then it would have taken at least 45 to 60 days to create a full MLB season.  At that pace we would have only been able to offer any MLB team or seasons from 1901 to 1906.  The team sheets back then were based on 3 ten-sided dice, using a completely different method to create player ratings.  The modern version and process of Baseball Classics was updated and incorporated 10 years ago.  To date our customers have received nearly 1 million Baseball Classics player cards.

Baseball Classics Team Sheets Today

This year we released Baseball Classics Team Sheets based 100% on their player cards.  They provide a complete bird’s eye view of their strengths and weaknesses. Each sheet contains the very same players, ratings, and statistics as the player cards all in a single sheet for download to print & play!  For a nominal fee, Baseball Classics will print them on special high gloss paper and ship them to you Free. We leverage the player card templates to generate every Team Sheet to ensure that the player ratings are identical to the player cards.  There are several templates consisting of many formulas used to transform the player card templates into Team Sheet templates.   The final Team Sheet template ultimately produces each final Team Sheet in full color.

Baseball Classics Team Sheet

Team Sheets are available for download using Print & Play Game Set or now available printed and shipped to you.

Ted Williams Baseball Classics 1953 Boston Red Sox Baseball board games have been around for many decades, dating way back.  Next generation baseball fans will still be playing them from childhood through adulthood as the generations prior.  Baseball Classics has evolved over the years adapting new technology to automate the process of creating player card and team sheet formats.  This has allowed us to scale, thus continuing to offer any MLB teams or seasons from 1901 to the present while each players ratings are unique based on their actual performance.  Over the past years there have been incredibly eye-popping MLB performances by players, Baseball Classics tells their story by painting their picture.  Recently an order was placed for the Baseball Classics 1953 MLB Season.

It’s a season where Ted Williams was coming back in August after serving his country coming back from the Korean War.  The player card generated by Baseball Classics system is the only one we have seen with 4 Home Runs and 4 Walks.  Any MLB fan can appreciate the amazing accomplishment by him finishing out the season with an astounding performance captured and portrayed by Baseball Classics baseball game.

In a previous article we posted Top 5 Baseball Board Game Under The Radar Player Cards to highlight some of the best MLB under the radar players since 1901.  Which MLB player card would you like to see?