Baseball Classics All-Time Greats – Kansas City Royals

Baseball Classics All-Time Greats – Kansas City Royals

The Kansas City Royals were one of the latest crown jewels to be added to the American League back in 1969.  They really focused on building their strength up mostly through a farm system that produced some of their best players to ever wear royal blue.  The team was founded by Ewing Kauffman, a local entrepreneur and enjoyed their first winning season a couple seasons later in 1971. Kauffman Stadium Let’s review their 24 greatest players in their 40+ year Major League Baseball history. NOTE – The Kansas City Royals are 4 of the next 4 Major League Baseball Franchise teams we will be adding to the #1 selling Baseball Classics All-Time Greats set in the Fall of 2013.  These 4 teams will be available as an add-on for those who already purchased the Baseball Classics All-Time Greats.  Stay tuned in our Blog to learn about the final MLB franchise to be added! In the Fall of 2013 Baseball Classics will welcome the Kansas City Royals, Houston Colt .45s-Astros, Los Angeles/Califonia/Anaheim Angels, and New York Mets to the All-Time Greats set.  There are many great and exciting players to choose from; here’s who makes the cut for the top 15 position players and 9 pitchers that will be added and their impact on the franchise.

Pitchers Brett Saberhagen

Brett Saberhagen – Two-time Cy Young award recipient is the best pitcher to play for the franchise.  Pitched half his 16-year stellar career with the Royals.  Kept walks to a minimum which is reflected in his impressive ERA.  Fielded his position very well.

Cy Young/All-Star/Gold Glove | Wins 167 | ERA 3.32 | BB/9 1.7

Larry Gura – Logged 10 consecutive seasons with Kansas City with a healthy winning percentage for the club.  Was a steady double figures winner for seven consecutive seasons earning 99 wins over that span.

All-Star | Wins 126 | ERA 3.76 | IP 2047

Dennis Leonard – Great mound presence.  3-time 20 game winner, played all 12 seasons for the Royals and somehow was snubbed from the All-Star team.  A workhorse until he finally broke down towards the end of his career with injuries.  He liked to finish what he started.

ERA 3.70 | Wins 144 | WHIP 1.262 | CG 103

Paul Splittorff – The all-time wins leader for the Kansas City Royals during his 15 years with them.  He’s another Royal who surprisingly never made an All-Star team.  Consistent year after year, had 10 seasons of double-digit victories to his credit.  Long-time pitcher threw the first pitch in the minors for the franchise in 1968 before they joined the American League.

ERA 3.81 | Wins/Losses 166/143 | WHIP 1.34 | HR/9 .7

Kevin Appier – Very impressive 13 season stint with the Royals.  Known for his nasty forkball and wild pitching motion.  Walked a lot of batters, though also struck out more than twice as many.  Didn’t surrender the gofer ball much at all with the Royals, though after moving on he did.  Appier was tough to get a hit against with his arsenal of pitches.

All-Star | ERA 3.74 | Winning Pct. .552 | WHIP 1.294 | SO 1994

Steve Busby – Fired two no-hitters becoming the first pitcher in MLB history to do so in his first 2 MLB seasons.  Had a blazing fastball that came with plenty of chin music. Unfortunately his career was short-lived due to a torn rotator cuff, he was never the same since.  It’s no wonder, he had 38 complete games over a 2 year span.

All-Star | ERA 3.72 | Winning Pct. .565 | WHIP 1.354 | HR/9 .6

Dan QuisenberryAl Fitzmorris – Not too many pitchers who are first to be on a new franchise go on to have a winning record with them, though he accomplished that feat.  Fitzmorris was solid for the Royals during his 8 years on the mound with them.  Worked his way from bullpen to starter, nothing flashy, but consistent.

ERA 3.65 | Winning Pct. .566 | WHIP 1.256 | HR/9 .6

Dan Quisenberry – The quintessential relief ace during his time, not only for the team, but in MLB.  His sidearm submarine motion that launched from about a foot off the ground was wicked.  He used his pinpoint control to dominate hitters.  Was AL saves leader 5 out of 6 seasons.

All-Star | ERA 2.76 | Saves 244 | WHIP 1.175 | BB/9 1.4

Jeff Montgomery – The franchise all-time saves leader.  Spent his rookie season in Cincy before spending the rest of his 13-year career with the Royals.  Averaged 29 saves a season over that span.  Recorded 30 or more saves 5 seasons including 45 when he was the AL saves leader.

All-Star | ERA 3.27 | Saves 304 | WHIP 1.244 | SO/9 7.6

Catcher

Darrell Porter – Known for his keen eye at the plate, that significantly elevated his OPS well above his average hitting.  Had some pop in his bat, thus always a threat to get on base or knock one out.  Played 17 seasons, his finest with the Royals for 4 seasons.

All-Star | OPS .763 | BB 905 | HR 188

Mike Mcfarlane – Played 11 of his 13 MLB seasons with the Royals and showcased some good power along the way.  Also was plunked a lot and had a decent eye leading to a very respectful career OPS.  Authored 6 consecutive seasons of 13 or more home runs.

AVG .252 | OPS .752 |HR 12 | FLD .992

First Base

Mike Sweeney – He can hit.  Not so hot with the glove at Catcher or elsewhere, he made a handsome career for himself with blistering batting.  He could hit for power too plus could get on base with more than his share of walks.  Sweeney cranked out doubles like they were going out of style.

All-Star | AVG .297 | 2B 325 | HR 215 | RBI 909 | OPS .851

Billy Butler – Played 9 of his 23 Major League Baseball seasons for the New York Mets plating two different stints.  He reached base safely well over 4000 times.  Staub was a terrific hitter, later in his career was a pinch hit specialist that all teams feared lurking in the dugout.  Though he played most of his career in the outfield, he also played 11 seasons at first base.

MVP/Gold Glove/All-Star | AVG .296 | OPS .821 | HITS 2182

Frank White RoyalsSecond Base

Frank White– A great clutch hitter, could play multiple infield positions well.  His versatility and knack to drive in game winners throughout his career and ability to play a very dependable second base in the field well deserves to be listed among the Mets

All-Time greats. All-Star | AVG .284 | HITS 1532 | OBS .782

Cookie Rojas – He hustled while playing 9 of 14 Major League Baseball seasons for the Mets.  Backman was a solid number 2 hitter with his above average on base percentage.  Though he never was voted to an All-Star team, his consistency and number of games he played for the Mets at  2nd base earns him a spot.

AVG .275 | OBA .349 | HITS 893

Third Base

George Brett – The greatest player to ever play for the Kansas City Royals, he’s the face of the franchise.  13 straight seasons was an All-Star and owns the single season record for the highest batting average at .390.  Owns just about every batting award one could accomplish short of the Triple Crown.  Fiery player, always the most fierce competitor he is one of the very best to ever play MLB.

Hall of Fame/Gold Glove/All-Star | AVG .305 | OPS .857 | HR 317 | HITS 3154

Kevin Seitzer – The man who ultimately replaced George Brett at Third base was a hitting machine.  He batted .323 over his first 841 plate appearances from the time he joined the big leagues with the Royals.  How about 8 seasons in full or limited duty batting over .300 during his career?  Consistently had impressive batting averages from start to finish.

All-Star | AVG .295 | HITS 1557 | 2B 285 | RUNS 739

Shortstop

Freddie Patek – Pint-sized Patek was an absolute menace to play against.  He could steal, was an outstanding fielder, and ran the bases like a mad man legging out triples on the slick astro-turf surface which was like a skillet during the hot summer days and nights.

All-Star | AVG .242 | 3B 55 | SB 385

UL Washington – Long time Mets shortstop was far more of a glove man than a stick man.  He joined the team at 21 and played with them for 13 seasons.  He could swipe a few bases and considering his batting average; his on base percentage was respectable for the value he brought to the team which included his leadership.

Gold Glove/All-Star | AVG .236 | OBP .327 | Runs 539

Outfield

Amos Otis – How about a .340 batting average the same season your franchise win’s it’s first World Series?  Jones was a staple for the New York Mets for most of his 13 MLB seasons; a good all-around player and steady contributor.

All-Star | AVG .281 | OPS .744 | Runs 565

Willie WilsonWillie Wilson – Speed burner covered miles of carpet during his 15 seasons with the franchise. Wilson was electrifying and known as one of the best leadoff hitters of his generation. Unfortunately he had off the field problems, thus peaked about half way through his career. Yet he was brilliant and a force to reckon with at bat, on the base paths, and in the field. All-Star/Gold Glove | AVG .285 | 3B 147 | Runs 1169 | SB 668

Danny Tartabull – Played 5 of his 14 seasons with Kansas City and saved his best for them with a .290 batting average during that time and .518 slugging average.  Belted in more than 100 RBI’s 5 times in his career.  Known to be a slugger in his day, had 10 seasons of double-digit round trippers.

All Star | AVG .273 | HR 262 | RBI’s 925 | OPS .864

Johnny Damon – Played for a lot of MLB teams, though spent most of them with the Royals where he began his career.  Outside of a weak arm he could do just about everything else for your club, including pop a long one now and then.  Had outstanding speed which legged out over 100 triples in his career.

All-Star | AVG .284 | HITS 2769 | 2B 522 | SB 408

Hal McRae – The only original New York Met to make the Baseball Classics All-Time Greats New York Mets team played all 18 seasons of his career for the franchise.  He wasn’t flashy, but wound up with a respectable career as an outfielder and first baseman.  He had his moments towards the Mets winning the 1969 World Series.

All-Star | AVG .261 | HITS 1418 | TB 2047

Notable Franchise Names That Missed The Cut The Royals franchise produced some of the finest home-grown talent including superstar Bo Jackson who missed the cut due to a football injury.  Bob “Hammer” Hamelin and Al Cowens gave the franchise a thrill in their day.  Lou Piniella took his best years over to the Yankees.  John Wathan was a decent average hitting catcher and enjoyed a 10 year MLB career all with the Royals, though not good enough to outshine the other catchers that made this roster.  David DeJesus and Alex Gordon were very good, though just falling short.  Charlie Liebrandt was difficult to cut; it could easily be argued he’s deserving of a roster spot here though just like Tom “Flash” Gordon, he narrowly missed it. Here’s the starting lineup I recommend generally starting for the All-Time Great Kansas City Royals:

  1. George BrettOF – Willie Wilson
  2. 2B – Frank White
  3. 3B – George Brett
  4. OF – Amos Otis
  5. OF – Hal McRae
  6. 1B – Mike Sweeney
  7. C – Darrell Porter
  8. SS – Freddie Patek
  9. P – Brett Saberhagen

We look forward to adding them to the Baseball Classics All-Time Greats later this year.  Do you agree with our top 24 selections for the All-Time Kansas City Royals?  Who do you think is the best Royals player to ever play?  What’s your favorite memory of this franchise?  Let us know in the comments below!

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?

Baseball Classics All-Time Greats – New York Mets

Baseball Classics All-Time Greats – New York Mets

In 1962 Major League Baseball welcomed a new team to the National League named the New York Mets.  They were greeted with much fan fare, then went on to set a record for the worst record in the 162 regular season format with a mere 40 wins, an underwhelming .250 winning percentage.  However this great franchise took the baseball world by storm only several years later becoming World Series Champions as the “Miracle Mets”!  The Mets went on to collect their second title in 1986.  Let’s review the 24 greatest players in their 50+ year Major League Baseball history.

Baseball Classics 1962 New York Mets Team Sheet

The New York Mets are 3 of the next 4 Major League Baseball Franchise teams we will be adding to the #1 selling Baseball Classics All-Time Greats set in the Fall of 2013.  The 4 teams will be available as an add-on for those who already purchased the Baseball Classics All-Time Greats.  Stay tuned in our Blog to learn about the final MLB franchise to be added!

In the Fall of 2013 Baseball Classics will welcome the Houston Colt .45s-Astros, Los Angeles/Califonia/Anaheim Angels, and New York Mets to the All-Time Greats set.  There are many great and exciting players to choose from; here’s who makes the cut for the top 15 position players and 9 pitchers that will be added and their impact on the franchise.

Pitchers

Tom SeaverTom Seaver – “Tom Terrific” is not only the greatest pitcher in Mets history, he’s also considered one of the all-time greatest pitchers in Major League Baseball.  He’s racked up every major pitching award leading the league several times in ERA and strikeouts along his amazing 20 year career.

Hall of Fame/Rookie of the Year/Cy Young/All-Star | Wins 311 | ERA 2.86

Dwight Gooden – A 19 year old with tremendous talent, he joined the Mets in 1984 and dominated with a 276 strikeouts on his way to receiving the Rookie of the Year Award.  “Doc” Gooden pitched 11 seasons for the Mets and whiffed batters with his lethal 98-mile an hour fastball and wicked curve.

Rookie of the Year/Cy Young/All-Star | Wins 194 | WHIP 1.256 | Strikeouts 2293

Jerry Koosman – “Koos” enjoyed 12 seasons with the Mets, he logged a reliable 200+ innings pitched 10 times.  He was a staple on the Miracle Mets 1969 World Series championship team and a beloved member of the franchise ever since.

All-Star | ERA 3.36 | Wins 222 | WHIP 1.259

Ron Darling – One sign he was a great pitcher is that he was able to overcome the unusually high number of walks allowed.  He typically kept batters in check with his 5 pitch repertoire and that lowered the amount of hit- per inning pitched.  A member of the 1986 Mets and key reason they went on to capture the World Series.

All-Star/Gold Glove | ERA 3.87 | Wins/Losses 136/116 | WHIP 1.335 | HR/9 .9

Sid Fernandez – “El Sid” was nasty against lefties with his crafty, yet whipping angled left-handed arm motion.  He pitched 10 seasons for the Mets, best known for keeping the amount of HITS given up to a minimum.

All-Star | ERA 3.36 | Winning Pct. .543 | WHIP 1.144

Al Leiter – A two-time World Series champion, though neither was with the Mets organization.  He was a “gamer”, pitched 7 of his 19 Major League Baseball seasons with the franchise that were his best of any of the other teams he played for.  When you had a pressure game, Leiter is a safe bet to come through as he did throughout his illustrious career.

All-Star | ERA 3.80 | Wins/Losses 162/132 | WHIP 1.1386 | Strikeouts 1974

David Cone – A gritty and tough mound presence backed up with his talent.  Cone pitched the 16th perfect game in Major League Baseball history and pitched for 5 World Series champion teams though not as a member of the Mets.  However like Leiter, he pitched most of his career and had his best numbers with the franchise.

Cy Young/All-Star | ERA 3.46 | Wins/Losses/Pct. 194/126/.606 | WHIP 1.256

Jesse OroscoJohn Franco – Pitched 14 of his 21 seasons with the Mets and is their all-time saves leader.  A team captain and local favorite, Franco shined during his tenure with the Mets.  He was a saves league leader in his career 3 times and stingy when it came to giving up the gopher ball.

All-Star | ERA 2.89 | Saves 424 | WHIP 1.333 | HR/9 .6

Jesse Orosco – Pitched in a remarkable 1252 Major League Baseball games, he’s the all-time leader in that category.  It’s no wonder he pitched in somany games, especially as a specialist.  Orosco was virtually unhittable for most left-handed batters with a side sweeping, nasty release that cut across the zone.  Pitched 4 decades which included being a member of the 1986 Champion Mets.

All-Star | ERA 3.16 | Saves 144 | WHIP 1.263 | SO/9 8.2

Catcher

Mike Piazza – One of the greatest Mets as well as one of the all-time best hitting catchers in Major League Baseball history.  A 12-time all-star, he amassed the most Home Runs for any Catcher to ever play.  His career launched with the Dodgers as Rookie of the Year, played most of the second half of his career as a leader for the Mets.

Rookie of the Year/All-Star | AVG .308 | HR 427 | RBI 1335

Mike Piazza

Jerry Grote – Played 12 of his 16 MLB seasons with the New York Mets including as the starting catcher for the 1969 World Series Championship team and that amazing pitching staff.  Though he never won a Gold Glove, he was an outstanding defensive catcher.

All-Star | AVG .252 | HITS 1092 | FLD .991

First Base

Keith Hernandez – One of the very best Mets of all-time, Hernandez was a high performer with his bat and glove.  Had a keen eye at the plate walking more than striking out during his 17-year career.  He played more games for the Cardinals, though as great a career he had, fell short of making their Baseball Classics All-Time Greats roster.  However there is a perfect landing spot for him on the Mets franchise where he played 7 of his 17 seasons.

MVP/Gold Glove/All-Star | AVG .296 | OPS .821 | HITS 2182

Rusty Staub – Played 9 of his 23 Major League Baseball seasons for the New York Mets plating two different stints.  He reached base safely well over 4000 times.  Staub was a terrific hitter, later in his career was a pinch hit specialist that all teams feared lurking in the dugout.  Though he played most of his career in the outfield, he also played 11 seasons at first base.

All-Star | AVG .279 | HITS 2716 | Walks 1255 | RBI 1466

Second Base

Edgardo Alfonzo – A great clutch hitter, could play multiple infield positions well.  His versatility and knack to drive in game winners throughout his career and ability to play a very dependable second base in the field well deserves to be listed among the Mets All-Time greats.

All-Star | AVG .284 | HITS 1532 | OBS .782

Wally Backman – He hustled while playing 9 of 14 Major League Baseball seasons for the Mets.  Backman was a solid number 2 hitter with his above average on base percentage.  Though he never was voted to an All-Star team, his consistency and number of games he played for the Mets at  2nd base earns him a spot.

AVG .275 | OBA .349 | HITS 893

Third Base

David Wright – Outstanding 10-year career and counting.  Averages 26 home runs each year, over 100 RBI’s, and over .300 batting average.  It’s no wonder he’s a multi-year All-Star with Cooperstown taking notice for future reference.  He’s also a great glove man at the hot corner, the best Mets player to field this position.

Gold Glove/All-Star | AVG .301 | OPS .888 | HR 217 | RBI 862

Howard Johnson – Big run producer, Johnson knocked the ball out of the park in big numbers.  Not known for a high batting average, instead his ability to get extra base HITS and outstanding on the base paths for this type of hitter; he was a definitely threat to steal a base and did many times.

All-Star | AVG .249 | HR 228 | OPS .786 | RBI’s 760 | SB 231

Shortstop

Jose Reyes – One of the few speedsters on the New York Mets All-Time Greats.  However Reyes is a dangerous weapon far beyond that.  He has a terrific leadoff batting average and is a triples machine, though has enough pop in his bat to knock one out and rack up two-baggers.

All-Star | AVG .292 | HITS 1521 | SB 418

Bud Harrelson – Long time Mets shortstop was far more of a glove man than a stick man.  He joined the team at 21 and played with them for 13 seasons.  He could swipe a few bases and considering his batting average; his on base percentage was respectable for the value he brought to the team which included his leadership.

Gold Glove/All-Star | AVG .236 | OBP .327 | Runs 539

Outfield

Cleon Jones – How about a .340 batting average the same season your franchise win’s it’s first World Series?  Jones was a staple for the New York Mets for most of his 13 MLB seasons; a good all-around player and steady contributor.

All-Star | AVG .281 | OPS .744 | Runs 565

Carlos Beltran – 5-tool player Beltran played 7 seasons for the Mets belting 149 home runs and making the All-Star team 4 times.  He has shuffled around in his career and battled injuries, though when healthy has been very productive.  He won the Rookie of the Year honors coming up with the Royals.

Rookie of the Year/All-Star | AVG .283 | HR 353 | RBI’s 1296 | OPS .857

Ed KranepoolMookie Wilson – One of the franchise best leadoff hitters, Wilson roamed the outfield for the Mets for 10 seasons.  A catalyst on the base paths, he could leg out a triple and steal bases in batches.

AVG .274 | HITS 1397 | Runs 731 | OPS .700 | SB 327

Darryl Strawberry – Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year for the Mets in 1983, he was a star for the team during his 8 seasons.  Played a large role on the 1986 World Series Champion Mets team, though his best season for them was 2 years later when he was narrowly edged out as MVP.

Rookie of the Year/All-Star | AVG .259 | HR 335 | OPS .862 | RBI’s 1000

Ed Kranepool – The only original New York Met to make the Baseball Classics All-Time Greats New York Mets team played all 18 seasons of his career for the franchise.  He wasn’t flashy, but wound up with a respectable career as an outfielder and first baseman.  He had his moments towards the Mets winning the 1969 World Series.

All-Star | AVG .261 | HITS 1418 | TB 2047

Notable Franchise Names That Missed The Cut 

The Mets franchise has some of the finest pitching, Craig Swan had a shining career though breaking into this staff requires more than being a shiny penny.  Roger McDowell racked up a good number of saves for the Mets and was impressive.  Gary Carter and his Hall of Fame career had 4 really good seasons, but not long enough to be on this team. Kevin McReynolds a very good player for the Mets, but just not quite enough to make this team.  Dave Magadan was the toughest decision, though just like his career went trying to make a spot for him between first and third base, ultimately he just couldn’t quite beat out the others.

Here’s the starting lineup I recommend generally starting for the All-Time Great New York Mets:

  1. SS – Jose Reyes
  2. OF – Carlos Beltran
  3. 3B – David Wright
  4. C – Mike Piazza
  5. 1B – Keith Hernandez
  6. OF – Darryl Strawberry
  7. 2B – Edgardo Alfonso
  8. OF – Cleon Jones
  9. P – Tom Seaver

We look forward to adding them to the Baseball Classics All-Time Greats later this year.  Do you agree with our top 24 selections for the All-Time New York Mets?  Who do you think is the best Mets player to ever play?  What’s your favorite memory of this franchise?  Let us know in the comments below!

How To Generate Random Dice Rolls Without Dice

How To Generate Random Dice Rolls Without Dice

Dice are the #1 choice playing board games when it’s necessary to generate random numbers.  Classic games like Monopoly, Yahtzee, Trouble, Backgammon, and hundred more use dice.  Naturally tabletop baseball board games such as Baseball Classics baseball game, Strat-o-matic, APBA, and many more require “rolling the bones” too.

Dice make a great choice because they are conveniently sized, typically last a long time, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes to generate many variations of random numbers.

With the popularity of more and more board games offered as a download, this presents a challenge.  Google is littered with people listing ways to generate random numbers without using dice or asking how it’s possible.  I decided to do some extra research to see what was being proposed to see what options were suggested.  In addition, I’m challenging myself to devise a system to generate random numbers by merely using 1 piece of paper to play Baseball Classics baseball game (which uses 3 six-sided dice and 1 binary die).

Here’s what I learned in my research.  Well, first some people are very funny!  Hilarious even with their witty comments and suggestions on this topic that Google surfaced.  I digress.

Here is a list of some of the suggestions (sans the witty banner) I came across on how to generate random numbers without dice:

  1. Use the random number key in a calculator
  2. Use a spreadsheet
  3. Open to random pages from big fat book (using the last number)
  4. Spinners
  5. Draw pieces of paper with numbers on them from a bag, hat, or coffee mug
  6. Write a computer software program
  7. A deck of playing cards
  8. Use your brain to think of numbers randomly 😉
  9. Ask someone to give you a random number
  10. Use a telephone directory, using last digit(s) of the phone number
  11. Use a stop watch or seconds hand of a clock/watch
  12. Dice simulators online
  13. Pop out numbers from an old key board, shake them in a cup

I’ve used a number of these suggestions to test playing Baseball Classics, the calculator and spreadsheet worked best.  Using a calculator is handy and quick, though takes extra button presses to generate the 3 six-sided dice and binary dice roll.  The one that is most effective is a spreadsheet using the RANDBETWEEN function in Excel (or other similar spreadsheet products).  I can assign a macro to it and just like that am 1 click away from generating the random numbers needed to play Baseball Classics.

Generating Random Dice Roll Numbers Using 1 Sheet of Paper

The system I needed to devise could only rely on a single sheet of paper to generate random dice rolls, nothing else in addition such as a bag, hat, calculator, cup, etc.

Sometimes the answer is right in front of us.  I used a combination of some of the suggestions listed above to create a way to generate random dice rolls using 1 piece of paper.  And I’m happy to report it doesn’t include writing 1 number on a equally torn piece of the paper and tossing them in the air or anything like that.

Since standard six-sided dice are most popular, I used them as the model for the end result to generate a dice roll for 1, 2, or up to 3 six-sided dice.  I thought about shapes like a hexagon (6-sided) putting 1-6 on each corner.  A hexagon with all sides and angles equal could be a card, rotating it, but just 1 card alone would essentially be like using a spinner.  Back to the drawing board…

I still like going with a card system, but not a deck of cards; too many to shuffle.  So then I thought about 3 hexagons, they would be easy to shuffle while rotating.  The corner that points to you is the random dice roll.  It’s that simple and fast to use.  Draw or print out the hexagons with numbers in each corner, cut them out and you have random dice rolls for 1, 2, or up to 3 six-sided dice using only 1 sheet of paper.  Next, what I designed to play using this system for Baseball Classics with 1 binary die and 3 six-sided dice with 1 sheet of paper.

Dice Cards: Playing Baseball Classics Baseball Game With No Dice

The binary die adds a wrinkle here, but one that was easily attainable to iron out.  By adding a ZERO or ONE to each hexagon card; that would make for an uneven distribution of the binary roll availability on the 3 cards.

Adding a 4th hexagon card would work, but as long as that needs to be done it’s an opportunity to add a bit more into the mix in the spirit of random dice roll generation.  By switching to an octagon and going with 6 cards, that would still be a very small number of cards to shuffle and rotate to determine each roll, while adding additional numbers equally distributed across all 6 cards.  They fit on a single sheet of paper, about size of your palm, a perfect fit!  Baseball Classics Dice Cards are born.

How To Use Baseball Classics Dice Cards

Baseball Classics Dice CardsPrint and cut out the 6 Baseball Classics Dice Cards.

To use: hold or place cards face down, next shuffle and rotate them.  Pick 3 dice cards, turning each one face up.  Each point on the 3 Dice Cards facing you is the number of the “dice roll”.  Add the 3 numbers and use the 3rd card for the result of the binary roll ZERO or ONE).

Example – Shuffle and rotate all 6 Dice Card face down.  Then pick and turn face up as follows: 3, 6, and 6 are the points facing you, this adds up to 15.  The 3rd card has a “ZERO” on it, that is the binary roll.  Refer to the pitcher card Roll 15 for the Result.  For the next “dice roll”, place the 3 cards back and repeat

Recommend printing your Dice Cards on 100 or 110 lb card stock, though heavy printer paper is fine too.

Playing with Baseball Classics Dice Cards is a fast and convenient way to play anywhere, anytime!  An added bonus is the build up of what the final roll will be as you reveal each card.  Definitely a lot faster than if you were to roll one die at a time to achieve the same type of suspense.

You can download your FREE Baseball Classics Dice Cards here in PDF format.

Check out Baseball Classics Print & Play format.  Choose any MLB teams or seasons from 1901 to the present, includes everything you need, just print and play!  Perfect match with Baseball Classics Dice Cards.

Let us know what you think, this system can be used to generate random dice rolls for your favorite board games too!

Baseball Strategy: Managing Against Real-Time Decision Manager

Baseball Strategy: Managing Against Real-Time Decision Manager

Baseball fans love the game for many reasons.  They have favorite players, teams, and even seasons filled with thrilling Pennant races wire-to-wire.  All major sports have these 3 favorite reasons; they also have a strategy to winning.  Strategy is the next level fans are entrenched watching their favorite sport.  The best part about strategy in sports in my view, are the decisions made and carried out in real-time.

Baseball Classics Real-Time Decision Manager

When managing against the Real-Time Decision Manager it’s all about strategy used based on the players ability to execute and game situation.

Baseball has many factors to be considered throughout a game as listed in the last article 21 Factors Impacting Baseball Board Game Play.  Each factor impacts which strategy to use depending upon the game situation in real-time.  When playing your baseball board game solitaire you take on the role as Manager for both teams.  Calling all the shots depending upon the strategies you see fit then and there.

Baseball Classics has added an innovative approach to your solitaire play so you don’t have to do all the managing from the first pitch to the final out.  The Real-Time Decision Manager can manage 1 or both of your Baseball Classics MLB teams, calling all the shots, making the calls in real-time.

Consider the Real-Time Decision Manager as the equivalent of having a Football Head Coach on the sidelines with a playbook.

The Real-Time Decision Manager can make decisions before, during, and after at bat, hence in real-time.  There are 16 pages that provide the choices made, divided by the current inning played, current score, number of outs, runner(s) on base, and each batters OPS (On base average plus slugging average – listed on each Baseball Classics player position card in the Player Stats column).  These form an intersection that reveals the decision(s) for that game situation.

For example, when the Real-Time Decision Manager is managing the team on offense, an intersection may consist of calling for a steal attempt, sending the base runner(s) as extra base, bringing in a pinch hitter, etc.  When on defense, examples are pickoff attempts, pitchouts, bringing the infield in, changing pitchers, etc.

Some of the decisions are dynamic, such as stealing a base.  A dice roll is used to determine if the Real-Time Decision Manager wants the runner to steal or not.  Other decisions such as sending the base runner an extra base on a hit or intentionally walking a batter are straight up calls.

Once you choose the teams to play, make the lineups, and select the starting pitchers, the game then turns over to the Real-Time Decision Manager handling any game situation.  It’s built to handle your managerial challenge and will keep you guessing from the top step of the dugout move after move.

The Real-Time Decision Manager is seamlessly integrated into your Baseball Classics baseball game play adding the challenge of someone else making the calls to counter your moves.

Let’s walk through a game situation to see how the Real-Time Decision Manager is processing what to do when on offense.  It’s the bottom of the 9th inning, the team is behind 3-2, 2 outs, runner on 1st, and the batter at the plate has an OPS of .832.

Real-Time Decision Manager Example

This would take you to the page in the Real-Time Decision Manager for that game situation.  The Real-Time Decision Manager has pages organized first by managing on offense or defense and the inning, then it’s based on the score, outs, runner(s) on base, and batter OPS.  Note the grouping in the illustration above that reveals the intersection highlighted by the red rectangle.

The icon symbols represent the decisions made by the Real-Time Decision Manager based on this game situation.  The first symbol in the green, calls to send a green Run rating base runner from 1st to 3rd on a single, 2nd to Home on a single, or 1st to Home on a double.

The next symbol is calling for a pinch runner to come in for the current runner on 1st if the following condition is met with an available player on the bench: He has a higher Run rating than the current runner.  If so, then choose an available player from the bench with the highest Run rating when in the 9th inning or extra innings or second highest Run rating when in the 7th or 8th inning.

Every game situation is covered from the top of the 1st to the bottom of the 9th or through extra innings.  Even threatening weather conditions.  And just like watching a Major League Baseball game, you may disagree with the manager’s decisions now and then.  There may be times when you second-guess the Real-Time Decision Manager too; it comes with the territory.

Now you don’t have to play your solitaire games alone, you can always have the perfect companion to play your games against.  Think you can out wit, out play, and out manage the Baseball Classics Real-Time Decision Manager?

21 Factors Impacting Baseball Board Game Play

21 Factors Impacting Baseball Board Game Play

You’re watching a baseball game on TV and a friend walks into the room.  What’s the first question your friend would typically ask you about the game?  Who’s winning, right?

Baseball Game Factors

That’s how simple baseball can be to watch, then again it’s beauty runs deeper than a long blast off the bat of Reggie Jackson in his prime.  Here’s something to think about, consider these 21 factors that can and will impact your baseball board game play and how Baseball Classics incorporates them.  Some may surprise you!

Let’s start with what I call the Situational Factors:

  1. Who’s playing and which one is the Home team?  This fundamental answer shifts the in-game strategy, especially from the 5th inning on.
  2. What’s the score?  The score is constantly running through your mind as you consider this key factor throughout every at bat.
  3. Which inning is it?  The compass for your game play, naturally your decisions vary upon this depending variable.
  4. How many outs?  The most precious commodity outside of runs scored and innings played.
  5. Threatening skies?  Did you know in Baseball Classics you can be playing under inclement weather conditions that can rain out your game?  It’s true and naturally changes how you manage every at bat.
  6. Who is up, pitching, and on deck?  We condensed these 3 essential immediate areas into one that determine how you make the current managerial move.
  7. Who’s on base?  Abbott and Costello aren’t the only one’s pondering this critical question.  Base runners dictate everything.

Let’s start with what I call the Impact Decision Factors for the Offense (team at bat):

  1. What are the base runners steal ratings?  Worth trying a theft or move them over with a bunt attempt, or perhaps just swing away to see what happens?
  2. What are the base running ratings?  It is possible for a base runner to score from 1st base on a single.
  3. What is the batter’s bunt rating? Is it the right time, if so what type of bunt attempt?
  4. How about a Hit & Run?  High risk with double play odds increasing, high reward automatically advancing any base runners an extra base.
  5. When to pinch hit?  Could this force a pitching change and if so, how does that change your decision?

More Impact Decision Factors though for the Defense (team in the field):

  1. Should I make any changes to team in the field to improve?  Read this article to see why this is so crucial.
  2. Is it time for a pitching change?  If so, what am I needing to minimize the strengths of the current batter?
  3. Should you bring the infield in?  Increases the chance for a hit, though also cuts down any runner on 3rd base.
  4. Time for a pitchout?  If the other team is attempting to steal it will cut down his chances of success.
  5. How about a pickoff attempt?  Watch out for throwing the ball away.
  6. Which runner(s) do you make a play on in a Groundout Forceout or Double Play?  Your decision may change depending on who is on deck.
  7. Does your Catcher have the ability to lower your chances of giving up a passed ball or wild pitch?  Especially keep an eye on during close games.
  8. Should you make a play on a runner attempting to advance an extra base?  Doing so could nail him, then again if you don’t, other runners can advance.  In some cases a runner can attempt to score from 3rd base on a base hit!

With these 20 factors and all the possibilities for decisions, it’s another example of why playing Baseball Classics or any baseball board games stimulate your mind.  It’s why I wrote the article Baseball Board Games Generate Brain Power earlier this year.

Another factor to add to this list is an injury.  Surely that too can truly impact the outcome of any game.

Here’s a brief case example for you, I welcome your responses in the Comment section below.  Enjoy!

The combination of these factors will spawn your next move and more interestingly it’s likely someone else would instead have called for a different move.

1. 2013 Washington Nationals at 2012 SF Giants

2. Nationals 1 Nationals 2

3. Top of the 7th

4. 1 out

5. Skies are threatening to rain out the game

6. Strausburg is due up now, Vogelsong pitching, leadoff man Lombardozzi on deck.

7. Runner on 1st, Blue steal rating, yellow Run rating

What do you do if you’re managing the Nationals?

Baseball Classics All-Time Greats – Los Angeles/California/Anaheim Angels

Baseball Classics All-Time Greats – Los Angeles/California/Anaheim Angels

The City of Angels gave birth to the Los Angeles Angels ascending to the American League in 1961.  Since then they have retained their team moniker yet have floated geographical names such as California, Anaheim, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and settled back on Los Angeles in recent years.  Gene Autry purchased the franchise and paid then Dodger owner Walter O’Malley $300,000 for the original team name Los Angeles Angels.  O’Malley owned the rights to that name from a prior acquisition of a minor league team with the same name.  The Angels franchise have won 1 World Series, in 2002 over the San Francisco Giants.

Gene Autry 1961 Los Angeles Angels Owner

The Los Angeles/California/Anaheim Angels are 2 of the next 4 Major League Baseball Franchise teams we will be adding to the #1 selling Baseball Classics All-Time Greats set in the Fall of 2013.  The 4 teams will be available as an add-on for those who already purchased the Baseball Classics All-Time Greats.  Stay tuned in our Blog to learn about the next 2 MLB franchises to be added!

In the Fall of 2013 Baseball Classics will welcome the Houston Colt .45s-Astros and Los Angeles/Califonia/Anaheim Angels to the All-Time Greats set.  There are many great and exciting players to choose from; here’s who makes the cut for the top 15 position players and 9 pitchers that will be added and their impact on the franchise.

Pitchers

Nolan Ryan

Nolan Ryan

Nolan Ryan – The all-time strikeout King, A.K.A. “Ryan Express” is a welcome addition to the Baseball Classics All-Time Greats!  Led the AL in strikeouts 7 of his 8 seasons for the Angels.  He was a dominating pitcher in his generation and considered one of the greatest pitchers in Major League Baseball history.

Hall of Fame/All-Star | ERA 3.19 | SO/9 9.5 | Strikeouts 5714

Chuck Finley – 14 seasons pitching for the Angels, accumulated 165 wins during that span.  The 4-time All-Star, consistent lefty averaged 14 wins for 11 seasons with the Angels.  Had the longest stint with the Angels franchise on the mound.

All-Star | ERA 3.85 | Wins/Losses 200/173 | WHIP 1.376

Frank Tanana – Began as a 100+ mph flame thrower, then after an injury became a savvy left hander with a nasty curve that dropped from the heavens over the plate to full many hitters.  At one time in the same rotation with Nolan Ryan.

All-Star | ERA 3.66 | Wins 240 | WHIP 1.27

Jered Weaver – An outstanding pitcher for the Angels, has only pitched in his MLB career for this franchise.  Drafted in 2004 by the Angels in the 1st round as the 12th overall pick.  Does not surrender many long balls.  20 game winner in 2012.

All-Star | ERA 3.25 | Wins/Losses 102/53 | WHIP 1.145 | HR/9 1.0

Mark Langston – Pitched 8 of his 16 seasons for the Angels while compiling an impressive career in many categories including fielding his position well.  Another one-time flamethrower turned crafty pitcher striking out far more while walking far less.

All-Star/Gold Glove | ERA 3.97 | Wins/Losses 179/158 | WHIP 1.354

Mike Witt – Pitched a Perfect Game in his career with over 100 wins for the franchise.  Drafted by the Angels, the tall, lanky right-hander was stingy giving up Home Runs.  His durability shined through with 6 consecutive seasons of 200+ innings.

All-Star | ERA 3.83 | Wins/Losses/Saves 117/116/6 | WHIP 1.1318 | HR/9 0.8

Dean Chance Angels

Dean Chance

Dean Chance – A member of the original Los Angeles Angels, Dean enjoyed a remarkable 11 year career including a highly impressive season with the Angels in 1964 when we was honored with the Cy Young award.  He had 20 wins, 11 shutouts, and 4 saves to boot that season to compliment his 1.65 ERA!

Cy Young/All-Star | All-Star | ERA 2.92 | Wins/Losses/Saves 128/115/23 | HR/9 0.5

Francisco Rodriguez – Relief specialist and phenomenal closer he never struck out less than a stunning 9.9/9 IP for the Angels.  In 2008 he recorded 62 saves, a franchise record.  Three-time league leader in saves. Could strike out batters with any one of his four pitches, including his featured hard four-seam fastball.

All-Star | ERA 2.70 | Saves 294 | WHIP 1.175 | SO/9 11.0

Troy Percival – Angels all-time saves leader, another strikeout artist for the franchise.  He appeared in 579 games for the Angels, with 29 wins, a 2.99 ERA, and 316 saves.  Was the stopper for 9 consecutive seasons for the Angels with 4 trips to the All-Star game over that span.

All-Star | ERA 3.17 | Saves 358 | WHIP 1.108 | SO/9 9.9

Catcher

Bob Boone – Played 19 seasons in the Bigs, this hard-nosed catcher comes from a strong family line of solid Major League Baseball players.  Boone was sturdy with a decent average, excellent at handling pitchers.

All-Star/Gold Glove | AVG .254 | FLG .989

Brian Downing – 20 year MLB career with over 2000 hits.  Belted 222 home runs for the Angels after leaving the Chicago White Sox.  Though his years as a catcher were waning fast when he joined the Angels, his offensive stats were just heating up.

All-Star | AVG .267 | OPS .796 | HITS 2099

First Base

Wally Joyner – A smooth, natural swing stoked many doubles from his at bats throughout his stellar career.  He was also a slick fielder and a fan favorite during his day.  In his tenure with the Angels, he hit .286 with 117 home runs and 532 RBIs.

All-Star | AVG .289 | OPS .802 | 2B 409

Jim Spencer – Began the first 6 seasons of his 15-year career with the Angels.  Had an average bat, though was excellent with his fielding.  He had some pop in his bat and oddly enough hit for 27 triples, though only stole 11 bases.

All-Star/Gold Glove | AVG .250 | RBI 599 | FLD .995

Second Base

Bobby Grich Angels

Bobby Grich

Bobby Grich – Grich was tough as nails during his 17 illustrious year MLB career, spending 10 of them with the Angels after coming over from the Orioles.  Good glove man with some power, always dependable year after year.  Grich could essentially do it all in every aspect of the game, really solid all-around second baseman.

All-Star/Gold Glove | AVG .266 | HITS 1833 | OPS .794

Howie Kendrick – Ever since joining the Angels his rookie season he’s been an outstanding and versatile player.  Now playing in his 8th season for the only Major League Baseball franchise he’s ever known, he has never batter lowed than .279 and adapted to some new places with the glove to make himself that much more valuable.

All-Star | AVG .292 | FLD .986 | OPS .756

Third Base

Chone Figgins – He may come as a surprise to some for making this team considering he left his bat in California once we signed with Seattle.  However his stats for the Angels are undeniable, prior to leaving them he was a perennial weapon in the lineup.  His speed was always a threat on the base paths and he found himself on base at a impressive clip.  Not great in the field, but surely can play many spots.

All-Star | AVG .277 | OPS .713 | 3B 58 | SB 337

Troy Glaus – Clubbed quite a few home runs for the Angels in his day, led the league in 2000 with his career high 47.  5 times had 30 or more home runs in a season.  Fair average and in the field, he featured his raw power and clutch hitting for the franchise.

All-Star | AVG .254 | HR 320 | RBI 950

Shortstop

Jim Fregosi – The franchise Shortstop from the beginning with a very nice productive career for the Angels.  During 11 seasons with the Angels, Fregosi hit .268 with 115 home runs and 546 RBIs.  However his best franchise contribution may have been prying Nolan Ryan away from the Mets in exchange for Fregosi.

All-Star/Gold Glove | AVG .265 | HITS 1726 | FLD .963

Erick Aybar  – Steady at the plate and provides good leather, Aybar is the best hitting shortstop for batting average in their history.  He can steal a base and get around third to score more times than not, thus always putting the pressure on the defense.

Gold Glove | AVG .279 | 3B 33 | OPS .706

Outfield

Tim Salmon – Played all 14 of his MLB seasons with the Angels and considered an icon of the organization (“Mr. Angel”).  Despite some all-star caliber seasons he was never elected to the All-Star team, though should have been a number of times.  His keen eye at the plate, power, and ability to hit above average made for a long outstanding career.

Rookie of the Year | AVG .282 | OPS .884 | HR 299 | RBI 1016

Garret Anderson – An outstanding hitter he was a mainstay throughout most of his 17-season career here.  He has a flare for piling up extra base hits, twice leading the league in doubles.  An average fielder, but a clutch performer, he was as consistent as a Manager could ask for every day highlighting why he played so many years.

All-Star | AVG .292 | 2B 522 | RUNS 1084 | OPS .785

Garret Anderson Angels

Garret Anderson

Jim Edmonds – Though just squeezed out from the St. Louis Cardinal All-Time Greats roster, there is definitely a place for him with the franchise he also had some of his best seasons with.  Smooth fielding with a bat to back up his ability at the plate, Edmonds was a star.  He could get on base and wasn’t shy when it came to scoring runs, let alone knocking them in with his knack for the key timed hit.

All-Star/Gold Glove | AVG .284 | HITS 1949 | HR 393 | OPS .903

Darin Erstad – Earned a Gold Glove for his play one season in centerfield and another at firstbase.  His story doesn’t stop there, his focused play and determination at the plate capped a batter than average ability to hit over 14 seasons, 11 of them with the Halos.  In 2000 he had his best season, knocking out 240 hits to lead the league while batting .355.

All-Star/Gold Glove | AVG .282 | HITS 1697 | OPS .743 | FLD .996

Albie Pearson – Another one of the original Los Angeles Angels, he had a .275 career batting average while playing for them.  He had an All-Star season in 1964 to surpass his Rookie of the Year accolades in 1958 with Washington.

All-Star/Rookie of the Year | AVG .270 | RUNS 485 | OPS .724

 

Notable Franchise Names That Missed The Cut.

Devon White was inconsistent for the Angels, yet flashy before heading to have his best seasons with the Blue Jays.  Maicer Izturis started and ended his career in Canada with the Expos and Blue Jays, though in between for 8 seasons was a very consistent performer during his time with the Angels as a utility infielder.  Adam Kennedy had a very nice career for the Halos, just missed making this Baseball Classics All-Time Greats Angels roster.  Buck Rogers was a founding member of the Angels and long standing catcher, but unfortunately had a subpar career.  Andy Messersmith had a fine MLB career which began with the Angels, though didn’t stay with the franchise long enough to qualify.  John Lackey had a good tenure with the Angels, but fell short of his fellow staff members that made the list.

Here’s the starting lineup I recommend generally starting for the All-Time Great Los Angeles/California/Anaheim Angels:

  1. 3B – Chone Figgins
  2. 2B – Bobby Grich
  3. OF – Garret Anderson
  4. OF – Tim Salmon
  5. 1B – Wally Joyner
  6. OF – Jim Edmonds
  7. SS – Erick Aybar
  8. C – Bob Boone
  9. P – Nolan Ryan

We look forward to adding them to the Baseball Classics All-Time Greats later this year.  Do you agree with our top 24 selections for the All-Time Los Angeles/California/Anaheim Angels?  Who do you think is the best Angels player to ever play?  What’s your favorite memory of this franchise?  Let us know in the comments below!

Top 5 Tips For Playing Baseball Board Games

Top 5 Tips For Playing Baseball Board Games

Avid tabletop baseball board game players seem to always come up with very smart, intuitive enhancements to the baseball games they play.  Here are 5 tips to help you no matter which baseball board games you play.  Enjoy!

Baseball Classics Tip with Calculator

5.  Put Your Play Charts In Your Phone

No need to bring your play charts with you, simply take pictures of your charts and such then access them from your phone when you need them.  With the ability to zoom in and scan from top to bottom, side to side on any pictures it’s a convenient way to forgo the need to have those game parts with you when you have a tight squeeze for playing space or are on the go.  A perfect way to make your game parts a travel companion when on flights or road trips (when someone else is driving!).  I have the Baseball Classics Play Chart and Fielding Grid on my iPhone in an Album.  It is easy to do, easy to access, easy to read, and another benefit is you can save them to disk.  This way they are accessible from other devices if you store them in the Cloud or copy them over and backed up.

4.  Use Scotch Tape to Protect Your Player Cards

A clever, inexpensive way to protect your player cards is using Scotch tape, in other words laminating them.  Use it for your favorite player cards to protect them and if you are up for laminating beyond those, then do it for those special teams you want to ensure aren’t ruined from an occasional drip from a beverage.

Try it on the front only or if you want full protection wrap each strip around one row at a time.  Either way, measure how much tape it will take to wrap around your player card and add 1/8” of an inch, then cut that length of tape.

With your player card face up gently place one end of the strip of Scotch tape just past the edge of your player card.  Use scissors to trim the remaining edges of tape.

3.  Use a Calculator Instead of Dice

Dice rolls are all about generating random numbers.  Many calculators, including those on your phone today include a Rand key that generates a random number.  I love this tip, it’s one I’ve used since I was a kid playing baseball board games and still works like a charm today.  It’s quick, quiet, and portable.

Rand TableHere’s how to use it for Baseball Classics, but you can apply the same method for any other type of baseball board games.  Check out this table, you can use it to play Baseball Classics.

Press the Rand button and say .001 through .500 is a roll on the pitcher card; otherwise it’s a roll on the batter card.

Press the Rand button again and use this table to determine the Roll based on the Rand number that comes up.  Notice the first Rand number in the table is .0046, the next is .0185, and so forth all the way to 1.000.

Here’s how to use this dice roll probability table; it’s simple.  Starting at the top row, any Rand result between .0001 up to .0046 is a roll of 3.  Looking ahead a Rand result between .5001 up to .6250 is a roll of 11.  Using this kind of table and a calculator with a Rand button you can really speed up the play of your baseball board games.

Here’s an example:  A Rand result of .7122 equates to the dice roll of 12.  That’s because a Roll of 12 on the table is any Rand result between .6251 up to .7407.

Check out this link, you can create a table that suits your baseball board game and the number of six-sided dice it uses.  http://alumnus.caltech.edu/~leif/FRP/probability.html

2.  Keep Score on 4” X 6” Index Cards

When I want to keep track of my games, especially including the stats I get a stack of 4” X 6” index cards.  It’s a perfect vehicle for writing the lineup on one side and flipping it over to put the other team’s lineup on.  It leaves plenty of room to keep track of your pitchers too after the lineup, including adding columns to enter the IP, H, BB, SO, R, and ER of each pitcher.

I place the game number in the upper right hand corner and using the technique I shared in Blog post How to Play Your Baseball Board Games Faster (section – Keeping Score Faster) it’s an easy and fast way to play your game faster while having it on these handy sized cards.

1.  Make Your Game Transportable

When you have the urge to play away from home, I find it best practice to pack up a “travel” version of your baseball board game.  Just like packing a suitcase for travel, I use the same principle here.  First decide what parts of your baseball game are essential to bring and then figure out what type of “suitcase” to protect it.

Naturally bringing your individual team player cards or team sheets is a must.  If your baseball game uses team sheets, consider making a photocopy of them to bring instead of the original.  Consider making photocopies of your charts, etc. too.  Typically when traveling with your game since you’re out of your usual playing element things happen like drinks spilling, food splatters, etc. and you don’t want to take that chance if you don’t have to.

The next best thing is to pick a “suitcase” for your game.  And like an actual suitcase something that is light, yet protective, and just the right size.  I’ve used anything from a quart size zip-lock bag for Baseball Classics (folding a copy of the Game Play Chart, Fielding Grid, dice, and holds a good number of teams), a tidy plastic container, a small box, and worst case a pocket in my brief case, suitcase, or travel bag.

Of course there’s re-creating your baseball game parts so they can then be accessed by your phone, tablet, or iPad.  This is the inspiration behind the Baseball Classics Scorefield Web App, so you have access to them anytime you have internet access.  A reminder, you can go to www.playbaseballclassics.com/mobile to play Baseball Classics anytime you have your player cards and an internet connection.

In order to avoid the “My mom threw out my baseball cards” experience, make sure you always keep your game tucked away in a safe place when not playing it.  Otherwise one day when you are in the mood to play it (and we all know that mood will strike you sooner or later), it will be waiting for you.  Then again, the reason I designed and created Baseball Classics baseball game was because my Mom did throw out all my baseball board games…so perhaps if that happens to you, you may be the next Baseball board game creator!

Share your favorite baseball board game tips below for all to see and even Tweet.  Don’t be shy, no tip is too small, they all add up!

Making of the Baseball Classics iPad App: Game Design

Making of the Baseball Classics iPad App: Game Design

Every Spring when the Major League Baseball season arrives, I make it to one of the first games.  In sports from my view, there is nothing like the sight when coming through the tunnel and being greeting by plush outfield grass and a pristine manicured infield with the great backdrop of the surrounding stadium.

Major League Baseball Opening Day

My eyes will never grow tired of this sight, it always provides that wonderful combination of peace and excitement all wrapped into one.  The calm of the fresh green grassy atmosphere with the anticipation of an exciting game to be played by professionals in a craft that is unmatched by more than 99% of the world’s population.

Baseball Classics was designed from the ground up for the iPad platform to come as close as possible to provide this same experience for our users.  Thus designing Baseball Classics All-Time Greats iPad app was a labor of love to bring that warm and exhilarating experience to our fans.

The foundation was already in place with our graphically color-coded player cards, loaded with plenty of stats just the way baseball fans appreciate and thrive on.  The Baseball Classics Scorefield was another natural extension to bring forward from our board game, featuring the picture perfect setting to keep track of the score, outs, innings, and base runners.

Baseball Classics ScorefieldI went back to our graphic artist and asked to extend the size of the outfield in the Scorefield so the player cards could be prominently displayed at the top of the field of play.  Positioning the visitor team cards versus the home team cards close enough so in one glance with a roll of the dice the outcome was easy to see.  A simple tap on the Scorefield launched the dice into animation until landing from their spinning roll.  The familiar opaque blue chip markers to track the score, innings, outs, and base runners are present and intuitive to use.

There are two essential new areas design enhancements added to the Scorefield game board in the Baseball Classics iPad app.  The first design factored in automating play and navigation, it’s the heartbeat of the Scorefield game board named the Scorefield Game Cube.   The second are Base Tabs, they keep track of which player is on which base.  The Base Tabs became one of the more complex tasks for our developers to implement and surely worth the effort to represent the rating and reminder of who is on base.

Baseball Classics Scorefield Game Cube and Base Tabs

Baseball Classics Scorefield Game Cube and Base Tabs

The next major new design area focused on the team rosters, what we call Team Pages in the app.  Initially we thought to mirror the same experience as a Baseball Classics baseball board game has today.  That is to simply have a layout of all the cards available on a screen and placing them in order across the top 1 through 9 for the batting order and other cards below were on “the bench”.  Then using a similar approach for the pitcher cards.

Baseball Classics iPad Pitchers Teams PageHowever I scrapped that approach early in the design phase and came up with a roster layout that displays the player names leveraging drag-and-drop to adjust your batting order while also incorporating your choice of single card view or a grid view, divided by the Batting order and Bench for position players.

The Team Page also has a design flaring out the positions available of each player and the ability to select any of their positions available in the starting lineup.  It is complete with traffic-highlighting as you would expect matching their fielding ratings per position listed on their cards.

The Team Page allows for switching back and forth from the Batting Order (plus Bench) and Pitcher player cards available.  The current pitcher for the team has a baseball icon next to his name, thus making a switch is a snap.

There are plenty of other important, though smaller design considerations such as icons, buttons, menus, etc.  As much as possible, I prefer to use transparent popup menus to keep the interface of your game play with a minimal screen invasion.  The developers have taken great care to ensure they have “floated” menus and charts above the Scorefield and made it quick to tuck them back away.

Our much anticipated release is getting closer and plans are to launch in May.  As stated in a previous post here, I already have plans for the next several releases.  As of this writing, there is no other iPad app baseball game on the market that will match Baseball Classics iPad App!  Let us know what you think, we always love hearing from you and surely take all feedback into serious consideration to ensure we deliver the game that Baseball Classics customers will enjoy for hours on end!

Making of the Baseball Classics iPad App: Game Flow

Making of the Baseball Classics iPad App: Game Flow

Look no further than studies like one from Canalys which projects global shipments of notebooks, tablets, smartphones, and feature phones are poised to reach 2.6 billion units by 2016 as one reason we are developing the Baseball Classics iPad app for our customers.

 Baseball Classics Scorefield

With a 30-year background in computer software, I’ve leveraged technology from the inception to develop and maintain Baseball Classics baseball game.  It’s the key reason Baseball Classics can scale to offer any Major League Baseball team or season from 1901 to the present now for over 25 years.

The making of the Baseball Classics iPad App has been a fascinating learning experience in all aspects.  Thousands of baseball fans have come to play Baseball Classics tabletop baseball board game throughout the years.  We will be serving the Baseball Classics community with an optimum game play mobile experience offered through an iPad with the same familiar look and feel they are accustomed to that offers fast and easy play with accuracy and authentic baseball game play.  We have chosen the All-Time Greats edition for the first release.

When you look at familiar board games like Scrabble, Monopoly and many others on the iPad today, they have the same recognizable look and feel.  Baseball Classics will do that as well.  As the BC Community knows, it all starts with our player cards; they are the heartbeat of our board game design.  When playing the Baseball Classics iPad app, the same colorful, traffic-highlighting player cards chalk full with statistics will be featured too.

The first step in the development of the Baseball Classics iPad app was creating the process for game flow.  Besides our flagship player cards, in order to keep the game flow consistent from the current tabletop board game we offer today, the Scorefield game board and Play Charts are inherited by the BC iPad app too.

With those well established the focus for game flow turns to the following categories:

  1. Navigation
  2.  Setup
  3. Game Play

Navigation

Baseball Classics iPad App Main ScreenGame flow navigation is all about making the game play experience as smooth as possible.  This is a very detailed part of the game flow since it takes into account every step from launching the BC app to baseball game play to exiting the BC app.  It begins with which screens will be offered when, where, and how to arrive at them.

Sometimes a screen will need to seamlessly lead to another for the user and other times offer options on how to move within the Baseball Classics iPad app.  Examples of moving the user seamlessly from one screen to another are going from the “splash” screen to the next screen.  A splash screen is the opening screen the user sees when first starting the app.  Seamless moves between screens are far few and between compared times when a user makes a choice that calls for another screen such as when selecting a menu option.  An example in the BC app is when choosing New Game from the main screen.

Naturally the more screens in an app, the more considerations of how to provide the best experience for the user to maneuver between them.  There are a variety of ways to offer this through menus, icons, etc.  The Baseball Classics app uses popup menus where possible.  The reason I like them is because they are tucked away until the user needs to access them and when they do, they provide options that coincide with the current situation in the game.

Setup

When it comes to game setup, in Baseball Classics we are referring to choosing your teams, batting orders, and starting pitchers.  There’s a screen to choose the Visitor and Home teams then another to set your batting order, and one more to choose the starting pitcher.

card view example

A close up look at setting the batting order begins with the team name on top then a menu bar that is multi-purpose switching between the batting order and available pitchers as well as two views within that screen: single card view and grid view.  The left side column contains a drag-and-drop pick list of the players with “flyouts” of their fielding positions and traffic-highlighting fielding ratings available.  A split-popup menu is available anytime to save your lineup (batting order and starting pitcher) or choose from other relevant options. Grid view also provides a drag-and-drop of the batting order as another way to shape it up with a bird’s eye look at the strength and weakness revealed through our traffic-highlighting from top to bottom.

Game Play

Scorefield Game CubeNow the most critical part of the game flow, the Baseball Classics gaming experience.  It’s important to feature our player cards prominently since they are involved in every play.  The game dice are conveniently positioned on the Scorefield game board to clearly view both the player cards and Play Charts simultaneously to keep the action moving.

Though the Scorefield game board is manually updated like it’s board game predecessor, when it comes to the base paths the Scorefield Game Cube automates placement of base runners.  For example, with a runner on 1st Base and the batter hits a Double, instead of tapping on the bases to move the base running chip markers, one simple tap in the Scorefield Game Cube will place the markers where you want them.  It’s the central control system for the Scorefield game play including usage for player substitutions, etc.

 

Game flow has been a valuable cornerstone for Baseball Classics game play.  We look forward to your comments and suggestions based on this article.  Coming up next in our next article, I turn to Game Design.  If you are considering purchasing the Baseball Classics iPad app and/or launching your own iPad app one day, you won’t want to miss this.  Stay tuned at our website for an announcement on the opening day launch of the Baseball Classics iPad app.

Baseball Classics All-Time Greats – Houston Colt .45s-Astros

Baseball Classics All-Time Greats – Houston Colt .45s-Astros

This Houston franchise was born in the year 1962 and belonged to the National League, in 2013 they are making the switch to the American League.  They began as the Colt .45s, though after a few years changed the team name to the Astros when they moved from Colt Stadium to the Houston Astrodome.  During the 1970’s they were mostly known for their flashy, trendy, colorful multi-striped uniforms and in the 1980’s became a team to reckon with.  In 2005 they were the first team from Texas to be represented in the Fall Classic, though fell short against the Chicago White Sox.

Houston Colt 45s Opening Day Ticket

The Houston Colt .45s-Astros are 1 of the next 4 Major League Baseball Franchise teams we will be adding to the #1 selling Baseball Classics All-Time Greats set in the Fall of 2013.  The 4 teams will be available as an add-on for those who already purchased the Baseball Classics All-Time Greats.  Stay tuned in our Blog to learn about the next 3 MLB franchises to be added!

In the Fall of 2013 Baseball Classics will welcome the Houston Colt .45s-Astros to the All-Time Greats set.  There are many great and exciting players to choose from; here’s who makes the cut for the top 15 position players and 9 pitchers that will be added and their impact on the franchise.

Pitchers

Houston Astros JR Richard

JR Richard

J. R. Richard – He is arguably the best pitcher to represent this Baseball Classics All-Time Greats team.  J.R. Richards through with smoke and fire racking up strikeouts on par with the best of any pitcher during his time.

All-Star | ERA 3.15 | Wins/Losses 107/71 | Strikeouts 1493

Larry Dierker – His rookie season was on the Houston Colt .45s and played for the franchise through 1976.  Nothing flashy, yet can count on his consistency day in and out.  Low hits, walks, and home runs allowed, dependable throughout most of his long career.

All-Star | ERA 3.31 | Wins/Losses139/123 | WHIP 1.217

Ken Forsch – Outstanding control pitcher, versatile starter or reliever with quality starts or relief appearances.  For being a control pitcher in 1 season he hit almost as many batters as free throwing JR Richards did throughout his career (11/17)!

All-Star | ERA 3.37 | Wins/Losses/Saves 114/113/51 | HR/9 .7

Mike Scott – 1986 Cy Young award winner is another outstanding starting pitcher on the Houston staff.  Scott was tough on the mound, added a 20 game win season in 1989 when he almost notched his 2nd Cy Young trophy.

All-Star/Cy Young | ERA 3.54 | Wins/Losses124/108 | WHIP 1.201

Joe Niekro – A 22 year career, half of it spent as a member of the Astros.  He was the first pitcher to post back-to-back 20 game winning seasons for the Astros in 1979 and 1980.  Added a knuckleball to his arsenal along with a good mix of other pitches.

All-Star | ERA 3.59 | Wins/Losses 221/204 | Faced over 15,000 batters in his career

Billy Wagner – A 16 season career, most of them spent starring with the Astros as their stopper.  Wagner was tough to get a hit off of and averaged more than 1 strikeout per 9 innings.  He’s the all-time saves leader for the franchise.

All-Star | ERA 2.31 | Saves 422 | SO/9 11.9

Dave Smith – Another outstanding closer for the Houston franchise, started only 1 game throughout his stellar career.  Good luck hitting a home run off Smith, one of several areas he was stingy to batters with.  From the 1987 through 1989 seasons he merely allowed 3 long balls.

All-Star | ERA 2.67 | Saves 216 | HR/9 0.4

Turk Farrell – Another staff member from the Colt .45s before moving on with the Astros he was a 3-time All-Star representing the franchise.  He had a 14-year career mostly coming out of the bullpen, except with Houston he was typically a starting pitcher.

All-Star | ERA 3.45 | Wins/Saves 106/83 | WHIP 1.23

Joe Sambito – Very effective bullpen leader, second most saves in Houston history.  Low walk combined with high strikeout ratio made him tough to be successful against.  In 1979 he pitcher 40 2/3 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run.  He featured a fastball and slider.

All-Star | ERA 3.03 | Saves 84 | WHIP 1.203

Catcher

Alan Ashby – Great with the staff, Ashby caught 3 no-hitters and 107 shutouts during his career.  A modest hitter, se was a fixture behind the plate for the majority of his career with Houston.  Houston hasn’t had an all-star representative behind the plate yet.

AVG .245 | FLG .986 | Hits 1010

Brad Ausmus – Three-time Gold Glove winner and five-time season leader for catchers in fielding.  He is one of only a handful of catchers in major league history to get 1,500 hits and steal at least 100 bases.

Gold Glove | AVG .251 | FLG .994 | Hits 1579

First Base

Houston Astros Jeff Bagwell

Jeff Bagwell

Jeff Bagwell – Should be easily headed to the Hall of Fame when he qualifies.  A team leader had a long, steady career in the plate and field with big-time clutch hits and reliable glove.

MVP/ROY/Gold Glove/All-Star | AVG .297 | OPS .948 | HR 449

Bob Watson – Terrific 19 year career, should have made the All-Star team more times than twice.  Watson was credited scoring the 1,000,000th run in major league history on May 4, 1975 at 12:32 in the afternoon at Candlestick Park, San Francisco.

All-Star | AVG .295 | OPS .811 | RBI 989

Second Base

Craig Biggio – Gritty Biggio was fearsome with his style of play and hustle parlayed into a perennial All-Star.  His leadership in the clubhouse and in the lineup carried the team into the playoffs and first ever World Series.  He’s another member of the Astros that should be headed to the Hall of Fame along with Jeff Bagwell when their time comes.

Gold Glove/All-Star | AVG .281 | Hits 3060 | Runs 1844

Bill Doran – Very popular member of the Houston Astros and hard-nosed player that hustled.  He reached base consistently with walks and just good enough batting average.  Doran is a good glove man at second base.

AVG .266 | FLD .983 | OPS .728

Third Base

Ken Caminiti – Very good hitter for the Astros with a tainted career due to admitted steroid usage including throughout his MVP season.  A great talent who eventually lost his career and life to drugs.

MVP/Gold Glove/All-Star | AVG .272 | OPS .794 | HR 239

Doug Rader – Perennial Gold Glover at third base, Radar saved many hits targeted to left field for hits.  Radar was just an average hitter, but a main stay for years manning the hot corner as their starter.  He did have a pretty decent pop in his bat.

Gold Glove | AVG .251 | FLD .956 | HR 155

Shortstop

Craig Reynolds – Reliable Reynolds was the only shortstop selected to the All-Star teams representing the AL and NL in consecutive seasons.  Interesting stat that he had more triples than stolen bases 65/58.

All-Star | AVG .256 | 3B 65 | FLD .966

Dickie Thon – The long time steady shortstop for the Astros had a career on the rise until April 1984 when stung in the face with a fastball from Mike Torrez.  Thon eventually recovered, but couldn’t quite turn the corner to stardom since, yet had a very admirable career.  Ironically was only hit by a pitch 9 times during his 15 year career.

All-Star | AVG .264 | SB 167 | FLD .965

Outfield

Lance Berkman – 6-time All-Star Berkman is currently only second to Bagwell in career batting average and home runs.  He has a high on-base percentage for a player with average speed, a testament to his great eye at the plate.  Had to play outfield since Bagwell held down the fort at first base, he wasn’t known for his fielding, yet later in his career when moved back to first base fielding his position very well.

All-Star | AVG .296 | OPS .953 | HR 360 | RBI 1200

Cesar Cedeno – Superb with both his bat and glove, to date Cedeno is the best a 5-tool player to ever play for the Houston franchise.  Though he never reached the anticipated level of superstardom, Cedeno had an impressive career throughout and could do it all.

Gold Glove | All-Star | AVG .285 | HR 199 | SB 550 | OPS .790

Houston Astros Jimmy Wynn

“Toy Cannon” Jimmy Wynn

Jose Cruz – 2-time all-star, Cruz was quick and an extra base threat at the plate.  He was a gamer, played in 3 different post seasons for the Astros and a beloved member of the organization.  Batted .300 or greater 6 seasons not including his first MLB season when he batted .353 in 17 at bats.

All-Star | AVG .284 | Hits 2251 | 3B 94 | SB 317 | OPS .774

Terry Puhl – Played 14 of his 15 MLB seasons with the Astros.  He’s an outstanding fielder and consistent performer at the plate.  Fit in well with the style of play for the Astros during his tenor, just enough speed, great defense, and reliable hitter.

All-Star | AVG .280 | Hits 1361 | OPS .737

Jimmy Wynn – The “Toy Cannon” nickname states it all; a power-packed hammer at the plate was always a threat to go deep.  This 7-time All-Star, a member of the Colt .45s during his rookie season, logged 11 seasons with the franchise.  Average hitter who had high strikeouts though matched with high walk totals.

All-Star | AVG .250 | HR 291 | OPS .802

Notable Franchise Names That Missed The Cut.

Joe Morgan would have taken a prominent spot, though Morgan’s glory years were with Cincy.  Roger Metzger all field, but too light a hitter to surpass the all around play of Thon and Reynolds.  Glenn Davis, decent career, yet not close to the same league of Bagwell and Watson.  Carlos Lee, actually had better stats and played just as long for the Chicago White Sox.  Bob Knepper was a close call, but just didn’t quite have enough to beat out the pitchers on our list.  Mike Hampton kind of fell apart after leaving the Astros, his career ERA wound up ballooning over 4.00.

Here’s the starting lineup I recommend generally starting for the All-Time Great Houston Colt .45s-Astros:

  1. 2B – Craig Biggio
  2. OF – Jose Cruz
  3. OF – Cesar Cedeno
  4. 1B – Jeff Bagwell
  5. OF – Lance Berkman
  6. 3B – Ken Caminiti
  7. C – Alan Ashby
  8. SS – Dickie Thon
  9. P – J. R. Richard

We look forward to adding them to the Baseball Classics All-Time Greats later this year.  Do you agree with our top 24 selection for the All-Time Houston Colt .45s-Astros?  Who do you think is the best Houston player to ever play, J. R. Richards or one of their great position players like Jeff Bagwell?  What’s your favorite memory of this franchise?  Let us know in the comments below!

Who Are The Greatest MLB Teams of All-Time?

Who Are The Greatest MLB Teams of All-Time?

If you had to guess which teams are the most popular and greatest in Major League Baseball history what would be your guess?  The 1927 New York Yankees likely come to mind, then again the current World Series Champion 2012 San Francisco Giants may as well.  Or what about the Big Red Machine, 1975 Cincinnati Reds?

1975 Cincinnati Reds Team

We have had the great pleasure over the years with a birds eye view over the past 25 plus years, it’s been interesting to see the orders for MLB seasons and teams placed.  The most popular seasons ordered come from present day (2000’s), next are from the 1970’s, and then the 1960’s.  However there are quite a number of orders for MLB seasons and teams from other eras ordered too.  Our #1 best seller all-time is the Baseball Classics All-Time Greats.

We plan to add 4 more Baseball Classics All-Time Greats franchise teams by Thanksgiving this year to our packaged set.  Recently on our Facebook page and through Twitter, we asked for feedback on which teams you would like to see added such as the all-time Houston Colt 45’s-Astros, New York Mets, Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals, etc.  Share your thoughts below in the comments!

With thousands of Baseball Classics games out there, there must be ten’s of thousands of games played by our customers since 1986.  Some were likely played for fun, perhaps during a camping trip, kitchen table, or at school and forgotten.  Others may have kept track of detailed stats and still have them today.

I always enjoy hearing from our customers and when they share their BC game play and experience, it makes my day as they share their enthusiasm about their experience.  Believe it or not, I have received some heart-warming emails from gents letting me know their fiancée played some BC games with them, so they knew they were marrying the right gal!  And the stories go on…

Introducing Baseball Classics Games Played

Baseball Classics Community, I’ve added a new section to our website called Games Played.  I’m calling out to you to share your game results with us at www.playbaseballclassics.com/games-played.

Submit any game you just played or if you kept track or your past BC game play and would generously enter those results, together we will see which teams are the most dominating and popular of all-time.  Along the way we will capture your special game notes and I’m sure have fascinating stories and results to share!  Running standings will also be posted.  This will help us all to get the word out about the great game we love, Major League Baseball.

By now those of you who know BC well, you know we like to keep it simple and fast, yet detailed and flexible for you.  The Baseball Classics Games Played page has a form with required fields:

  • Your name or initials
  • Visitor and Home teams
  • Winning team
  • Score

Optional fields include winning & losing pitcher, pitcher that recorded a save, special events (no-hitter, hit for the cycle, etc.), and game notes.

Let’s continue to share and grow the Baseball Classics experience. We have an opportunity to share America’s National Past Time with a larger baseball fan base through Baseball Classics next generation game play and learn which MLB teams are the greatest and most popular moving forward!  I wish I would have thought to begin collecting your game play information a long time ago, though no time like now to start collecting this fun and educational information.

Think of the teams everyone will learn about and why they perform so well or those that fall short.  Beginning April 1st, 2013 Baseball Classics will post all the results submitted and generate a Standings for the most popular so you can see where they rank!

Thank you for your great support and being a Baseball Classics customer.  We always love to hear from you, please provide any feedback and suggestions for this new idea in the Comments section below.

How to Play Baseball Classics: Advanced Level – Play Action Simulator

How to Play Baseball Classics: Advanced Level – Play Action Simulator

With threatening skies to rain out the rest of the game in the bottom of the 6th with the tying run on 2nd base, two outs, and your best pitcher coming up should you pinch hit?  Should you make a defensive replacement at Catcher who is your best hitter, but not so good behind the plate to prevent a passed ball from your flaming throwing stopper coming in with the tying run on 3rd base in the bottom of the 9th and 1 out?

baseball game threatnening skiesThese are many other decisions are all in play when using the Baseball Classics Play Action Simulator.  The purpose is to challenge your management skills requiring important decisions; especially at critical times during your game play.  It’s simulator actions require your reaction or ignite your proactive decision making throughout a game from the first at bat to the last.

Virtually anything can happen when using the Baseball Classics Play Action Simulator.  It is designed to seamlessly flow along with your game play as well as feels like you’re playing against another big league Manager countering your every move.  Thus serves a dual purpose as adding virtually anything that can happen in a Major League Baseball Game while acting as the opposing Manager to the team at bat.

It’s easy to use, let’s take a look.

Baseball Classics Play Action Simulator

How to play using the Play Action Simulator Chart

Before any at bat, the team at bat will announce their play (i.e. steal, bunt, batter  swings away, etc.).

1.  Roll the 3 six-sided dice.

2.  Refer to applicable column on the Play Action Simulator Chart.

3.  If the outcome is “Batter swings away”, roll all dice and refer to the batter or pitcher’s card for the respective play result OR if the outcome is any other play, follow the instruction of that play, then repeat these steps until the result is Batter swings away”

Baseball Classics Play Action Simulator columns

The first column is for the dice roll of the six-sided dice and the next 5 columns depend upon whether there are no runners on base or have at least one base runner.

When there is 1 base runner, reference his Steal rating to cross-reference with the dice roll to determine the play from the Play Action Simulator.  When there are 2 or more runners on base, then reference the Steal rating of the base runner that the team on defense wants to hold closest to the base.

The body of the Play Action Simulator contains virtually anything that can happen in a Major League Baseball game as listed and defined in it’s Legend.  Here are how each play action works in Baseball Classics.

Baseball Classics Play Action Simulator Chart Definitions

Argument with the Umpire

After getting this outcome, roll the dice against the batter and pitcher cards to see what the result is.  If the result is one of the following, the argument with the umpire is with the player as follows:

Walk – Pitcher

All other results – Batter

Heated arguments with the umpire lead to an ejection when it’s the second time in the game that same player had an argument.

Balk

All runners advance 1 base.

Batter Hit by Pitch

Batter is awarded first base, the ball is dead.  Only runners in a force situation at first base, first and second base, or with the bases loaded will advance 1 base.  If a batter is hit right after a homerun, then both benches are warned and the next pitcher to hit a batter by pitch is ejected.  Or if a batter is hit by pitch and the following inning a batter from the other team is hit by pitch, both benches are warned and the next pitcher to hit a batter by pitch is ejected.

Batter Swings Away

When the result is Batter Swings Away, roll all 3 dice again and check the result against the batter or pitcher player card.

Catcher’s Interference

The batter is awarded first base and the play is over.  The only runners that may advance on the play 1 base, are those in a force situation at first base, first and second base, or with the bases loaded.

Dropped Third Strike

When the outcome is Dropped Third Strike, roll all 3 dice against the batter and pitcher cards.  If the result is “Strikeout” then the batter reaches first base safely and all runners advance 1 base.  However if the result was anything other than “Strikeout”, there is no dropped third strike and you will follow the Result from your roll against the batter or pitcher card.

Passed Ball

All runner(s) advance 1 base unless the catcher has a fielding rating of ▲.  If the catcher has that rating then there is no passed ball, instead the result is Batter swings away.

Pick Off Attempt

The pitcher is making an attempt to pick off the lead base runner.  Roll the 3 colored dice; if the result is a 0-0-0, 1-1-1, 2-2-2, 3-3-3, 4-4-4, 5-5-5, or 6-6-6 the runner is picked off.  After a pick off attempt, if using Team Fielding, roll the dice after and check the Error Chart to see if the play was fielded cleanly or an error was made.

Pitch Out

If a steal attempt or suicide squeeze has been called, the base runner attempting to advance must try stealing the base with a reduced rating by 1 triangle.  Roll the 3 six-sided dice and refer to the Steal Chart.  Note, if the runner has a ▼ Steal rating, he is automatically out.

Player Injury

Here’s how to determine which player sustained an injury.  After getting this outcome, roll the dice against the batter and pitcher cards to see what the result is.  When the result is one of the following, the injury is against the player as follows:

Strikeout – Pitcher

Walk – Pitcher

Lineout – Pitcher

All other results – Batter

Roll the 3 six-sided dice and refer to the Player Injury Chart in the Baseball Classics© Baseball Game Chart to determine the extent of the injury.

Note – If you choose to play without injuries, substitute an Injury result with Batter swings away instead.

Rain Delay

When playing in an outdoor stadium, roll all 3 dice before the game.  If a 1-16 is rolled then dark skies and threatening weather conditions exist.  The third time a rain delay occurs in a game, it’s rained out.

If a 1-16 was not rolled prior to the start of the game, then anytime RD is the outcome, instead it is Batter swings away.

Wild Pitch

All runner(s) advance 1 base.

 

Let’s walk through some play examples using the Play Action Simulator using these 3 player cards:  at the plate is 1975 Cincinnati Reds Pete Rose, he’s facing 1962 San Francisco Giants Juan Marichal pitching, and on deck is Cincinnati Reds Joe Morgan.

Baseball Classics Juan Marichal Pete Rose Joe Morgan

Play Example 1 – No runners on base, Single for Pete Rose

Top of the inning, no runners on base.

Roll the 3 six-sided dice to see the outcome in the Play Action Simulator: 9 (3, 3, 3).  Reference the Play Action Simulator Roll column of 9 and cross-reference over to the next column (No runners on base) and see the result is “Batter swings away”.

Now roll all 4 dice (white binary and 3 six-sided dice), the roll is 1, 8 (2, 3, 3) a Single on Pete Rose’s card.

 

Play Example 2 – Runner on 1st Base, Wild Pitch

Pete Rose on 1st Base, the Red Sox catcher behind the plate has a yellow defensive rating.

With Pete Rose being the only runner on base, his Steal rating  will now be used in the column of the Play Action Simulator to determine the play with Joe Morgan coming up to the plate.  The team on offense elects to let Morgan swing away, so they roll the dice and check to see what happens in the Play Action Simulator.

Roll the 3 six-sided dice to see the outcome in the Play Action Simulator: 17 (5, 6, 6).  Reference the Play Action Simulator Roll column of 17 and cross-reference over to the red column  and see the result is “WP” (Wild Pitch – green).  This is a wild pitch UNLESS the Boston Red Sox catcher has a green defensive fielding rating, if so the result would change to “Batter swings away” instead of Wild Pitch.  Since the Red Sox catcher has a yellow defensive fielding rating this is a Wild Pitch.

Since the result wasn’t Batter swings away, once again the team on offense makes their call.  With Rose on 2nd Base the call is again to let Morgan swing away.  Rolling the 3 six-sided dice this time they add up to an 11 (4, 4, 3).  Cross-referencing the 11 and the  column, the result is “Batter swings away”.

Now roll all 4 dice (white binary and 3 six-sided dice), the roll is 1, 12 (5, 2, 5) a Single on Joe Morgan’s card; that puts Rose on 3rd and Morgan on 1st Base.

 

Play Example 3 – Runners on 1st and 3rd Base, Pickoff Attempt and a Pitch Out

Runners on 1st and 3rd Base.

With the next batter up in the Reds lineup, they elect to let him swing away.

The team on defense has a decision to make for the Play Action Simulator, for they can choose either Rose on 3rd Base or Morgan on 1st Base to hold close.  Rose has a Steal rating of  thus he’s no threat to steal home, on the other hand Morgan has a Steal rating of  so he’s a big threat to steal 2nd Base.  Thus the team on defense chooses to make any play on him through the Play Action Simulator, meaning we will cross-reference the  column, not the  column for this next roll against the Play Action Simulator.

Roll the 3 six-sided dice to see the outcome in the Play Action Simulator: 14 (3, 5, 6).  Reference the Play Action Simulator Roll column of 14 and cross-reference over to the red column  and see the result is “PA” (Pickoff attempt – red).

Here’s the definition of what to do with a Pickoff Attempt:

Pick Off Attempt

The pitcher is making an attempt to pick off the lead base runner.  Roll the 3 colored dice; if the result is a 0-0-0, 1-1-1, 2-2-2, 3-3-3, 4-4-4, 5-5-5, or 6-6-6 the runner is picked off.  After a pick off attempt, if using Team Fielding, roll the dice after and check the Error Chart to see if the play was fielded cleanly or an error was made.

Roll the 3 six-sided dice, the result is 2-1-5.  If using Team Fielding, roll the dice again to check whether or not the pickoff attempt was fielded cleanly.

Since the result wasn’t “Batter swings away” yet, the team on offense needs to declare what their intention is for the at bat again knowing the hold is still on Morgan.  With that hold they decide for Morgan to steal 2nd Base.

Roll the 3 six-sided dice to see the outcome in the Play Action Simulator: 9 (4, 2, 3).  Reference the Play Action Simulator Roll column of 9 and cross-reference over to the   column and see the result is “PO” (Pitch out – red).

Here’s the definition of what to do with a Pitch Out:

Pitch Out

If a steal attempt or suicide squeeze has been called, the base runner attempting to advance must try stealing the base with a reduced rating by 1 triangle.  Roll the 3 six-sided dice and refer to the Steal Chart.  Note, if the runner has a   Steal rating, he is automatically out.

With a steal attempt called, Morgan’s Steal rating is reduced from a  to a   rating.  Roll the 3 six-sided dice, the result is an 8 (4, 1, 3) which is Runner thrown out in the  ► column.  Note the  column shows Morgan would have been safe, so the Pitch Out made a big difference in the outcome in the Play Action Simulator.

That leaves Rose on 3rd Base, the team on offense elects to let the current batter swing away.  Rolling the 3 six-sided dice this time they add up to an 13 (6, 5, 2).  Cross-referencing the 11 and the  column, the result is “Batter swings away”.

We demonstrated the impact of the Play Action Simulator in several game situations reflecting how virtually anything can happen in a Major League Baseball game.  It’s the combination of those plays as well as playing against another manager causing the team at bat to either be proactive or reactive.

This 7th How To Play Baseball Classics article concludes a close-up look at how to play from Basic to Intermediate to Advanced levels to further enhance your game play.  We look forward to any questions or comments you have for us.  Please share your experience playing Baseball Classics using any of the areas covered during our series such as bunting, base stealing, base running, team fielding, the Fielding Grid, and Play Action Simulator.

How to Play Baseball Classics: Advanced Level – Fielding Grid

How to Play Baseball Classics: Advanced Level – Fielding Grid

1954 New York Giants WIllie Mays The CatchOne of the most iconic plays in Major League Baseball history was the incredible over the shoulder basket catch by New York Giants Willie Mays during Game 1 on a deep fly ball blasted off the bat by Vic Wertz of the Cleveland Indians in the 1954 World Series known as “The Catch”.  The ultimate when it comes to representing individual fielding play is in your Baseball Classics tabletop baseball board game play.

When it comes to fielding in Baseball Classics, take your baseball game play to the ground level by incorporating individual fielding.  This article introduces the Baseball Classics Fielding Grid for your game play in the Advanced play level.  The Fielding Grid tracks where the ball was put into fair play all the way to the warning track or foul grounds and which fielder makes the play or commits an error.

In our last article, we explained fielding ratings for each player, that all ratings are based on their actual MLB season performance.  Each player card has up to four different fielding positions.

Recapping our Baseball Classics full color theme, the ratings are color-coded symbols.  There are four rating levels as follows:

 Excellent rating      Very good rating      Fair rating      Poor rating

Players fielding ratings are in the upper right hand side located just to the right of their name.

Baseball Classics Fielding Grid

The Baseball Classics Fielding Grid reveals where the baseball was put into play, who fields the baseball, and the type of Out.

The Fielding Grid is a baseball field layout including foul territory and extends all the way to the warning track.  The entire layout is on a grid with the top row and first column each consisting of the numbers 3 through 18 labeled as dice roll numbers using the standard six-sided dice.  The numbers are not in order from lowest to highest or highest to lowest, rather they are distributed based on mathematical equations adjacent to the grid field layout.

The Fielding Grid is organized into 9 areas, one for each of the 9 fielding positions.  Each area is divided by white lines and contains the number for the fielding position covering that area of play on in the grid.  In baseball, each fielding position is assigned a number as follows:

  • 1 = Pitcher
  • 2 = Catcher
  • 3 = First Base
  • 4 = Second Base
  • 5 = Third Base
  • 6 = Shortstop
  • 7 = Left Field
  • 8 = Center Field
  • 9 = Right Field

The Fielding Grid is lined with “dirt” designated by tan color and “grass” represented by dark green.  The play surface also contains a color-coded with light green, yellow, blue, and red square within each numbered position area.  These indicate an error on the play anytime the color square matches the fielding rating color of the player currently fielding that position area.

Baseball Classics Fielding Grid

Individual Fielding Play

The Fielding Grid is your reference point whenever the batter puts the ball into play as a Result from ether the Batter or Pitcher player card is any type of out (shaded in red) or hit (shaded in green) with the exception of a Home Run.  Note – when the play Result is Strikeout (shaded in blue) or Walk (shaded in yellow), the Fielding Grid is not used.

When the dice roll of the play Result is an Out (highlighted in red, for example a Flyout), from either the batter or pitcher card, instead of using that type of Out listed on the player card, use the type of Out from that will be revealed in the Fielding Grid.

When the dice roll of the play Result is a Hit from the batter or pitcher card, you will always use that Hit instead of any Out from the Fielding Grid.

Determining where the ball is put into play

To see where the ball was put into play, use the first dice roll for the play Result from the batter or pitcher card, then make one additional roll.  The “intersection” of these 2 dice rolls pinpoint where the ball was put into play as well as if the ball was fielded cleanly or an error occurred.

Here’s how it works:

Once you have the play Result from the batter or pitcher card, follow these steps to see where the ball was put into play in the Fielding Grid:

– Roll all 4 dice to get your first intersection point

– White binary die = 0

Start your cross-reference point on the far left column on the grid with the number from the six-sided dice, this is your starting cross-reference point.  Then roll the six-sided dice and refer to the intersection point on the grid from the top row as your ending cross-reference point.

OR

– White binary die = 1

Start your cross-reference point on the top row on the grid with the number from the six-sided dice, this is your starting cross-reference point.  Then roll the six-sided dice and refer to the intersection point on the grid from the far left column as your ending cross-reference point.

When the play Result is an Out

Whenever the Result from a player card is highlighted in red, the ball is put into play as an Out, unless an error occurs. Instead of using the type of out from the Result listed on the player card, the Fielding Grid will reveal the type of out. If the type of out listed on the player card from the Result is a Double Play, Groundout*, or (Flyout) then play as follows:

Double Play – If the intersection from the 2 dice rolls is not in zone 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 and instead is in zone 7, 8, or 9 then with any runner on base, it is an outfield Double Play, lead runner and batter are out.

Groundout* – If ball not hit to zone 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, roll again.

(Flyout) – If ball not hit to zone 7, 8, or 9, roll again.

When the play Result is an Error

When the dice rolls intersection point lands on a light green, yellow, blue, or red square then check the fielding rating for the player at that position on defense.  If it matches the color square, then an error has occurred.  For example if the intersection is a red square in area 5, check the rating of current Third baseman and if his rating is red (q), an error has occurred.  However if not, then the Hit or Out is fielded without an error.

If the play Result from the batter or pitcher card was a Hit and an error has occurred, the batter is awarded that hit plus an error occurs in addition to the play.

When an error has occurred, roll all 3 six-sided dice again and refer to the Error Chart to see what type of base error the team has committed. Note if the play was an “Infield Play” or and “Outfield Play” to see if it’s a 1 base, 2 base, or 3 base error.  When a batter reaches base due to an error, the team on offense may attempt to send any base runners an extra base just like they would if it was a hit.

Let’s walk through some play examples using the Fielding Grid using these 3 player cards:  at the plate is 2012 New York Yankees Derek Jeter, he’s facing 1975 Boston Red Sox Luis Tiant pitching, and in the field at Thirdbase is Rico Petrocelli.

Baseball Classics Player Cards Derek Jeter, Luis Tiant, Rico Petrocelli

Play Example 1 – Groundout Second Baseman, no error on the play

No runners on base.

Roll the white binary die and 3 six-sided dice to see the play Result: 0, 14 (6, 6, 2).  Referencing Luis Tiant’s card, the Result is Groundout.  Using this dice roll, refer to the Fielding Grid far left column, number 14.

Roll all 4 to get the first intersection on the Fielding Grid, roll is: 0, 14 (3, 6, 5)

Now roll the 3 six-sided dice, the roll is 7 (2, 2, 3).  Cross-reference 7 from the top row with 14 from the far left column and the Fielding Grid Result is “GO” (Groundout) to the 2nd Baseman fielded without an error.

Baseball Classics Fielding Grid Example 1

Play Example 2 – Double to centerfield, no error on the play

No runners on base.

Roll the white binary die and 3 six-sided dice to see the play Result: 1, 15 (3, 6, 6).  Referencing Derek Jeter’s card, the Result is Double.

Roll all 4 to get the first intersection on the Fielding Grid, roll is: 1, 15 (6, 4, 5).  Refer to the Fielding Grid top row, number 15.  Since the Result is a Double, that is the play Result that will be used on the Fielding Grid.

Now roll the 3 six-sided dice to get the second cross-reference point, the roll is 8 (3, 2, 3).  Cross-reference 8 from the far left column with 15 from the top row and the Double is fielded without an error.

Baseball Classics Fielding Grid Example 2

Play Example 3  – Error on a Popout play at Thirdbase

No runners on base.

Roll the white binary die and 3 six-sided dice to see the play Result: 1, 3 (1, 1, 1).  Referencing Derek Jeter’s card, the Result is (Flyout).  Using this dice roll, refer to the Fielding Grid top row, number 3.

Now roll the 3 six-sided dice to get the second cross-reference point, the roll is 14 (4, 4, 6).  Cross-reference 14 from the far left column with 3 from the top row and PO (Popout) shaded in yellow is the result.  Since the result is on one of the 4 colors that could result in an error, we need to check Third Baseman Rico Petrocelli’s Thirdbase fielding rating.  His rating is yellow, since it matches the color that was landed on in the grid, the result is an error.

Next roll all 3 six-sided dice and lookup the type of error on the Error chart.

Baseball Classics Fielding Grid Example 3

Play Example 4  – Groundout Double Play without an error

Runners on 1st Base, 1 out.

Roll the white binary die and 3 six-sided dice to see the play Result: 1, 6 (1, 3, 2).  Referencing Derek Jeter’s card, the Result is Double Play.  A double play is now in order.

Now roll the 4 dice again to get the first cross-reference point, the roll is 0, 10 (5, 1, 4), refer to the Fielding Grid far left column, number 10.

Now roll the 3 six-sided dice for the second cross-reference point, the roll is 9 (3, 3, 3).  Cross-reference 9 from the top row with 10 from the far left column and LO (Lineout) is the result.  Since a double play is in order, the batter hits into a lineout to Third Baseman Rico Petrocelli and the lead runner (at 1st Base in this example) is picked off.

Baseball Classics Fielding Grid Example 4

 

In this article on Individual Fielding in the Baseball Classics baseball game Advanced play level, we reviewed individual fielding and to play using the Baseball Classics Fielding Grid.  Two dice rolls are plotted on the grid to determine which of the 9 areas the ball is put into play and if the Result is an Out, the type of out as well is if the play was fielded cleanly or there was an error.  If the intersection is on one of the highlighted squares on the grid, refer to the position player’s fielding rating to determine if the play was fielded cleanly or there was an error on the play.  If the highlighted square on the grid matches that fielder’s rating, there is an error, roll again and refer to the Baseball Classics Error chart for the type of error committed.

The next article, will be our 7th in this series of How To Play Baseball Classics as we continue to focus on the Advanced play level.  It will explore how virtually anything that can happen in a Major League Baseball game can happen in Baseball Classics when using the Play Action Simulator.

Which fielding method do you prefer, team or individual based?  Please share your comments, questions, and feedback.

How to Play Baseball Classics: Intermediate Level – Team Fielding

How to Play Baseball Classics: Intermediate Level – Team Fielding

Some of the greatest players of all-time in Major League Baseball history received their glory due to their ability to field their position with excellence.  Brooks Robinson comes to mind among many that developed an outstanding reputation for his glove more than his bat.  He was a master at his craft.

Baltimore Orioles Brooks Robinson

Some would argue fielding in baseball is as important as hitting, if not more so.  Regardless of your position in that debate, it is safe to say that fielding is crucial in any Major League Baseball game.  It’s just as important when playing Baseball Classics next generation baseball board game as well.  That is why we offer two fielding options to play Baseball Classics; one is with our straight-forward Team Fielding & Error Chart and another is with our Individual Fielding Grid for those who want to see where the ball is put into play and if it was handled with or without an error by that player.

This article will cover fielding using the Team Baseball Classics Fielding & Error Chart and a subsequent post will explore the usage of the Individual Baseball Classics Fielding Grid.

In Baseball Classics baseball game Intermediate play level you determine just how valuable fielding is to you when creating your lineup.  This adds another level strategic thinking to your play.  Each player card has one or more Fielding ratings.  All ratings are based on their actual MLB season performance.

Keeping with the consistent easy to play full color theme, the ratings are color-coded symbols.  There are four rating levels as follows:

 Excellent rating      Very good rating      Fair rating      Poor rating

Players fielding ratings are in the upper right hand side located just to the right of their name.

Baseball Classics Baseball Game Play Chart

The Baseball Classics Baseball Game Play Chart has the same look and feel format of our colorful next generation player cards and uses the same lookup when looking up the results of your play actions.  There are 5 columns including the Roll and one for each red, yellow, blue, and red symbol rating.  To the right of the Fielding & Error charts there is a Legend for each.  Note the colors and symbols used to indicate whether a fielding play has been made with or without an error.

Baseball Classics Team Fielding Chart

Team Fielding Play

The Fielding & Error charts in the Baseball Classics Baseball Game Play Chart is your reference point whenever the ball is put into play.  This includes any of the following fielding plays:

  • Groundout
  • Popout
  • Lineout
  • Flyout
  • Double Play
  • Triple Play
  • Single
  • Double
  • Triple
  • Bunt
  • Steal
  • Base Running

Immediately after any of these play results occur, the team on defense rolls all 3 six-sided dice to determine if that play was fielded cleanly or an error occurred by referencing the Fielding chart based on the team’s collective fielding rating.  If there is no error on the play, then continue with the next play or at bat.  However, if an error has occurred, the team on defense rolls again to determine if the error is a 1-base, 2-base, or 3-base error.

In Team Fielding Play, individual fielding ratings of every position player are very important. Each fielders rating symbol are weighted using the following values:

(1) (2) (3) (4)

Add up the values by position to determine the Team’s Fielding Rating. For example, the position players have the following ratings:

Pitcher

Catcher

First baseman

Second baseman

Third baseman

Shortstop

Leftfield

Centerfield

Rightfield

Based on these ratings this Team’s Fielding Rating is 20. (3+1+2+1+2+4+2+3+2 = 20) A 20 is a Blue rating (see the Fielding Chart Legend in the Baseball Classics Game Play Chart).

After each fielding play roll all 3 six-sided dice and look up the outcome based on the Team’s Fielding rating color in the Fielding Chart. If the dice roll equals the color square in that column, an error has occurred.

If an error has occurred, roll all 3 six-sided dice again and refer to the Error Chart to see what type of base error the team has committed. Note if the play was an “Infield Play” or and “Outfield Play” to see if it’s a 1 base, 2 base, or 3 base error.  When a batter reaches base due to an error, the team on offense may attempt to send any base runners an extra base just like they would if it was a hit.

Remember to re-calculate the team’s fielding rating anytime you make a position player substitution during the game.

Play Example 1 – Flyout, no error on the play

No runners on base, the team on defense has a collective rating of 12 points (Green Team Fielding rating).  The Result is a Flyout.

Roll all 3 six-sided dice to see if the play was fielded without an error, we have the following:

Standard six-sided dice total 14 (6, 6, 2)

Referencing the Fielding chart, under the Roll column to 14, then looking under the Green rating column, a roll of 14 is a white filled square.  The Fielding chart Legend indicates “No error on play”.

 

Play Example 2 – Double Play, no error on the play

Runner on 1st Base, the team on defense has a collective rating of 15 points (Yellow Team Fielding rating).  The Result is a Double Play.

Roll all 3 six-sided dice to see if the play was fielded without an error, we have the following:

Standard six-sided dice total 11 (4, 2, 5)

Referencing the Fielding chart, under the Roll column to 11, then looking under the Yellow rating column, a roll of 11 is a white filled square.  The Fielding chart Legend indicates “No error on play”.  That first out was fielded cleanly and is applied towards the base runner who was heading to 2nd Base.

Next, roll all 3 six-sided dice again to see if the second out in the Double Play was fielded cleanly.  Standard six-sided dice total 16 (5, 6, 5)  A reference of the Fielding chart and lookup based on the Yellow column indicates the second out has been recorded successfully.

 

Play Example 3  – Single plus error on the play

Runner on 2nd Base, the team on defense has a collective rating of 27 points (Red Team Fielding rating).  The Result is a Single, putting runners on 1st and 3rd Base.

Roll all 3 six-sided dice to see if the play was fielded without an error, we have the following:

Standard six-sided dice total 16 (4, 6, 6)

Referencing the Fielding chart, under the Roll column to 16, then looking under the Red rating column, a roll of 16 is a red filled square.  The Fielding chart Legend indicates “Error for fielding rating 25 points & up, else no error on play”.

Next, roll all 3 six-sided dice again to see what type of error occurred when the team on defense fielded the Single.  Standard six-sided dice total 7 (1, 3, 3), a reference of the Error chart and lookup based on the Red column indicates “1 Base Error” has occurred on the play, thus moving both base runners 1 extra base.  The runner on 3rd Base scores and the runner on 1st Base advances to 2nd Base.

 

In this article on Team Fielding in the Baseball Classics baseball game Intermediate play level, we covered how important it is to consider the impact of fielding when building your lineup through the easy color-coded, symbolic rating system.  After adding up the total of the team’s defensive point rating, that rating is used to determine if a infield or outfield play was fielded cleanly by referencing the Baseball Classics Fielding and Error charts.  It’s remarkable how one player in your lineup can make or break the defense rating to the next level up or down.  Team Fielding adds a very exciting element to every play all the way to the last out.  It’s easy and fast to use in Baseball Classics.  However if you want to get down to the individual player level, stay tuned for our next article.

The next article, will be our 6th in this series of How To Play Baseball Classics as we focus on the Advanced play level.  I will delve into the 2nd fielding option we offer in Baseball Classics; individual fielding through the use of the Baseball Classics color-coded Fielding Grid.

We always appreciate hearing from our readers, please share your questions, comments, and thoughts on playing Baseball Classics with fielding.

How to Play Baseball Classics: Intermediate Level – Base Running

How to Play Baseball Classics: Intermediate Level – Base Running

One of the most dramatic parts to any baseball game is when runners are flying around trying to safely advance to the next base.  Sometimes even better yet is when a runner is lumbering, huffing and puffing on the base path trying to get to that next base without getting thrown out.

 Chicago White Sox Richie Allen Base Running

One of my favorite greats to watch run the bases wasn’t the fastest, but was one of the smartest.  Dick Allen had a marvelous Major League Baseball career.  From 1972 through the 1974 season he played for the Chicago White Sox and schooled all fans and teams he played against on how to run the bases.

Baseball Classics baseball game Intermediate play level empowers you to make those base running decisions.  Each player card has a Running rating based on their actual MLB season performance.

Keeping with the consistent easy to play full color theme, the ratings are color-coded symbols.  There are four rating levels as follows:

 Excellent rating      Very good rating      Fair rating      Poor rating

The Baseball Classics base running rating for each player card is located on the upper left hand side, just below the name of the player and team.

Baseball Classics Baseball Game Play Chart

The Baseball Classics Baseball Game Play Chart has the same look and feel format of our colorful next generation player cards and uses the same lookup when looking up the results of your play actions.  There are 5 columns including the Roll and one for each red, yellow, blue, and red symbol rating.

Baseball Classics Baseball Game Play Chart

 To the right of the Bunting, Base Stealing, and Base Running charts there is a Legend for each.  Note the colors and symbols used to indicate whether a bunt, steal attempt, or advancing the base runner has been successful or not.

Base Running

The Base Running chart in the Baseball Classics Baseball Game Play Chart is your reference point whenever the team at bat attempts to send a base runner an extra base.

Whenever there is a runner on base and the batter reaches base through a hit or error, the team on offense can make the decision to send any base runner(s) 1 extra base.

When the team on offense elects to try to send a base an extra base, they roll all 3 six-sided dice after the hit or error and lookup the result in the Base Running chart by looking under the Roll column and looking across to the player Running rating.

There are many strategies to consider whether to attempt to advancing base runners for the team on offense and team playing defense in the field.  This includes not only whether to send any base runner(s), but also to make an attempt to throw them out or not.  The following play examples will demonstrate how to attempt advancing base runners in several game situations.

Baseball Classics All-Time Greats Baby Doll Jacobson player cardLet’s use one of the All-Time Greats player cards for these examples; St. Louis-Baltimore Browns-Orioles Baby Doll Jacobson.  This great throw back played 11 MLB seasons.  When he wasn’t roaming Centerfield, he was a danger at the plate with his career .311 batting average and on the base paths, he has a yellow Steal rating.

Play Example 1 – Going from 1st to 3rd Base successfully

1 out, Baby Doll Jacobson on 1st Base, the next batter steps up and hits a Single.  That moves Baby Doll Jacobson to 2nd Base, but the team on offense wants to send him to 3rd base on the same play.

With a roll of all 3 six-sided dice, we have the following:

Standard six-sided dice total 11 (3, 5, 3)

Looking under the Roll column to 11 then looking under the Yellow rating column, a roll of 11 is a green filled square.  The Legend indicates “Runner safe”.  Baby Doll Advances safely and is now on 3rd Base.

Though what about the batter who hit the Single?  Can he attempt to advance to 2nd Base since the team on defense tried to throw out Baby Doll Jacobson?  The answer is yes!  Thus both teams have decisions to make when a base runner is attempting to advance.  Here’s how this exciting play works as demonstrated in our next play example.

 

Play Example 2 – Whether or not to throw out a base runner trying to advance

New scenario with 1 out, Baby Doll Jacobson on 1st Base, the next batter steps up and rips a Single.  That automatically advances Baby Doll Jacobson from 1st to 2nd Base and the batter reaches 1st.

The team on offense is sending Baby Doll Jacobson to 3rd Base.  Next the team on defense has a decision to make regarding if they should try to throw him out.  Why wouldn’t they?

In Baseball Classics baseball game, when a base runner attempts to advance to the next base on a play and the team on defense tries to throw them out, the team on offense can then send any base runner(s) on the prior bases as Green Run ratings no matter what their actual Run rating is.

In this example, if the team on defense decides to throw out Baby Doll Jacobson who is trying to advance from 2nd to 3rd Base, the team on offense has the option to then send the runner on 1st Base (batter who hit the Single) to 2nd Base using a Green Run rating.

If the team on defense decides not to throw out Baby Doll Jacobson at 3rd Base, he reaches it without a play (no dice roll necessary and reference of the Base Running Chart) and the runner on 1st Base cannot attempt to advance to 2nd Base.  Thus this would keep the double play in order with runners on 1st and 3rd with 1 out.

In this example, the team on defense elects to let Baby Doll Jacobson advance from 2nd to 3rd Base without a throw, thus keeping the double play in order with runners now on 1st and 3rd Base.

 

Play Example 3 – Sending 2 runners on the same play, one safe, the other thrown out

2 outs, Baby Doll Jacobson on 2nd Base, another runner on 1st Base.  The next batter steps up and lines a Single.  That moves Baby Doll Jacobson to 3rd Base, but the team on offense wants to send him Home on the same play.

With a roll of all 3 six-sided dice, we have the following:

Standard six-sided dice total 4 (1, 2, 1)

Looking under the Roll column to 4 then looking under the Yellow rating column, a roll of 4 is a green filled square with a black dot.  The Legend indicates “If 2 outs runner safe, else thrown out”.  Baby Doll scores and since the team on defense tried to throw him out, the team on offense wants to attempt to send the runner on 2nd Base to 3rd Base (even though you should never make the 3rd out of an inning at 3rd Base!) using the Green Run rating.

With a roll of all 3 six-sided dice, we have the following:

Standard six-sided dice total 7 (3, 2, 2)

Looking under the Roll column to 7 then looking under the Green rating column, a roll of 7 is a red filled square.  The Legend indicates “Runner thrown out”.  Baby Doll Jacobson’s run counts because he scored before the 3rd out was recorded.

 

Play Example 4 – Scoring from 1st Base on a Single

In Baseball Classics baseball game, it is possible for a runner to score from 1st Base on a Single.  In order for a runner to attempt this remarkable baseball rarity, his player card must have both Green () Steal and Run ratings.

Here’s how it works, when the batter comes up for his turn at bat, with a base runner on 1st Base that has Green Steal and Run ratings.  The team on offense calls for a Hit & Run play.

Hit & Run is a high risk/high reward play called by the offense that sends any base runner(s) in motion with the pitch or in the case of Baseball Classics, with the dice roll to see what the at bat Results outcome will be.

With a Hit & Run play on, roll the dice and let’s say the result is a Single for the batter.  The runner on first automatically moves from 1st to 3rd Base without a throw.  If the team on offense wants to send him home, they can do so by rolling the 3 six-sided dice again and refer to the Base Running Chart, Red column for the outcome (even though the runner has a Green rating) of this exciting play.

 

In this Baseball Classics How To Play article we covered about base running options and strategies both the team on offense and the team on defense will be faced with.  There were several base running play examples including the opportunity to keep a double play in order and what it takes to score from 1st Base on a Single.  Do you have any questions about using base running?  If so, please put them in the Comment section below, also share which base runner you always enjoyed watching because they made great decisions when running the bases.

In the next article of this series regarding How To Play Baseball Classics baseball game, I we will see how to use fielding in Baseball Classics Baseball Game, Intermediate play level.

How to Play Baseball Classics: Intermediate Level – Base Stealing

How to Play Baseball Classics: Intermediate Level – Base Stealing

Of all the plays in a Major League Baseball game, one of the most second-guessed is whether or not a player should have tried to take that extra base or not.  Close plays, especially at home plate are as thrilling as it gets.  Though what about those times when the runner is “out by a mile”?

Should the manager risk it and attempt to send the runner or play it conservative and sit tight?

Lou Brock

In Baseball Classics baseball game Intermediate play level you can make those base running decisions managing from the top step of the dugout.  Each player card has a Steal rating and a Run rating.  All ratings are based on their actual MLB season performance.

Keeping with the consistent easy to play full color theme, the ratings are color-coded symbols.  There are four rating levels as follows:

 Excellent rating      Very good rating      Fair rating      Poor rating

Each batter’s steal and base running rating are on the upper left hand side located just below the name of the player and team.

Baseball Classics Baseball Game Play Chart

The Baseball Classics Baseball Game Play Chart has the same look and feel format of our colorful next generation player cards and uses the same lookup when looking up the results of your play actions.  There are 5 columns including the Roll and one for each red, yellow, blue, and red symbol rating.

Baseball Classics Baseball Game Play Chart

To the right of the Bunting, Base Stealing, and Base Running charts there is a Legend for each.  Note the colors and symbols used to indicate whether a bunt, steal attempt, or advancing the base runner has been successful or not.

Base Stealing

The Base Stealing chart in the Baseball Classics Baseball Game Play Chart is your reference point whenever the team at bat attempts to steal 2nd, 3rd, or Home. However runners with a Steal rating of red () are not allowed to attempt to steal any base because they had 0 successful stolen bases that season which is why that column is blank in the table.

When the team on offense elects to attempt to steal a base, they roll all 3 six-sided dice anytime within the inning before or after an at bat and lookup the result in the Base Stealing chart by looking under the Roll column and looking across to the player Steal rating.

There are many strategies to consider whether to attempt to steal a base.  The following play examples will demonstrate how to attempt base stealing in several game situations.

Lou BrockLet’s use one of the All-Time Greats player cards for these examples; St. Louis Cardinals Lou Brock.  As one of the most feared and greatest base stealers in the history of Major League Baseball, it’s not surprise he has a green Steal rating.

Play Example 1 – Attempted steal of 2nd Base is successful

1 out, Lou Brock on 1st Base, a steal attempt is called by the team at bat.

With a roll of all 3 six-sided dice, we have the following:

Standard six-sided dice total 14 (6, 6, 2)

Looking under the Roll column to 14 then looking under the Green rating column, a roll of 14 is a green filled square.  The Legend indicates “Steals 2nd base, otherwise thrown out”.  So a close call, though Lou Brock is safe stealing 2nd base.

 

Play Example 2 – Attempted steal of 3rd Base is successful

1 out, Lou Brock on 2nd Base, a steal attempt is called by the team at bat.

With a roll of all 3 six-sided dice, we have the following:

Standard six-sided dice total 8 (1, 5, 2)

Looking under the Roll column to 8 then looking under the Green rating column, a roll of 8 is a green filled square with a check mark.  The Legend indicates “Steals any base”.  This time Lou Brock makes it rather easily, this is safe stealing 2nd base.

 

Play Example 3 – Attempted double steal of 2nd Base and Home is not successful

1 out and a walk to the next batter runners are on 1st and 3rd Base.  The runner on 1st Base has a Steal rating of Blue, Lou Brock is on 3rd Base with his Green steal rating.  A double-steal attempt is called by the team at bat.

When a double-steal is called, the team in the field determines which of the base runners they want to attempt to throw out.  In this example the team in the field elects to throw out Lou Brock attempting to steal Home.

With a roll of all 3 six-sided dice, we have the following:

Standard six-sided dice total 10 (4, 3, 3)

Looking under the Roll column to 10 then looking under the Green rating column, a roll of 10 is a green filled square with a black dot.  The Legend indicates “Steals 2nd or 3rd base, otherwise thrown out”.  This time Lou Brock is out attempting to steal Home for the second out of the inning and the base runner on 1st steals 2nd Base without a play on him.

 

When it comes to attempting stealing a base in Baseball Classics, we discussed the Steal rating and how to reference it using the Baseball Classics Baseball Game Play Chart.  We reviewed several base stealing play examples including where not only the team on offense is involved in the strategy, but the team on defense too when a double-steal is called.  Who are some of your favorite base stealers in baseball history and would you rather have a team built on speed for base stealing or on power to manage?

In the next article of this series regarding How To Play Baseball Classics baseball game, I we will explore the exciting element of base running in Baseball Classics Baseball Game.

How to Play Baseball Classics: Intermediate Level – Bunting

How to Play Baseball Classics: Intermediate Level – Bunting

Though bunting seems to becoming a lost art, let’s rediscover this fine hidden gem and how to use it when playing Baseball Classics baseball game.

The second of three playing levels available in Baseball Classics is the Intermediate play level.  This level includes everything in the Beginning play level (see Blog post How to Play Baseball Classics: Beginning Level) and adds more baseball fundamentals to enjoy to your play, tapping into more strategic moves including bunting, base stealing, base running, and fielding.

All batter player cards contain individual ratings for bunting, base stealing, base running, and fielding while pitcher cards also contain individual fielding ratings.  All ratings are based on their actual MLB season performance.

Keeping with the consistent easy to play in full color theme, the ratings are color-coded symbols.  There are four rating levels as follows:

 Excellent rating      Very good rating      Fair rating      Poor rating

Each batter’s bunt, steal, and base running rating are grouped to the left just below the name of the player and team.  There are up to four different positions listed for each batter card and one per pitcher card for how they field their position.

In this article I will cover how to play using bunting in Baseball Classics baseball game and provide several play examples.

Bunting

The team on offense can call a bunt anytime prior to rolling the dice for the current player’s at bat and there are less than 2 outs.  There are 3 types of bunts available in Baseball Classics depending upon the game situation.  Let’s review them.

Sacrifice Bunt – The batter is attempting to move any base runner(s) up 1 base in exchange for being thrown out at 1st Base.

Suicide Squeeze Bunt – The batter must be attempting to move a base runner on 3rd Base to Home safely in exchange for being thrown out at 1st Base.

Safety Squeeze Bunt – The batter must be attempting to move a base runner on 3rd Base to Home safely in exchange for being thrown out at 1st Base.  There are 2 differences between this type of bunt and a suicide squeeze bunt.

1)    if a batter strikes out, the base runner on 3rd holds and is not forced to steal home.  See play example 4 below.

2)    a safety squeeze is successful only when the result is a green box with a check mark; a result of a green box with a black dot in the center is considered a foul ball.

The Baseball Classics Play Chart contains a Bunting Chart and Legend.  After either a sacrifice or suicide squeeze bunt is called, roll the 3 six-sided color dice and refer to the Bunting chart for the result based on the sum of the dice total for that batter’s Bunt rating on his card.  The Legend states the meaning of each color-coded square in the Bunting chart.

75 MorganLet’s use the following 1975 Joe Morgan Cincinnati Reds player card for the following play examples.  He has a yellow bunt rating.

Play Example 1 – Attempted sacrifice bunt result is a successful

1 out, base runner on 1st Base, a sacrifice bunt is called by the team at bat.

With a roll of all 3 six-sided dice, we have the following:

Standard six-sided dice total 7 (2, 3, 2)

Looking under the Yellow rating column, a roll of 13 is a red filled square with a DP.  The Legend indicates this is a “Sacrifice bunt, otherwise foul ball”.  Since a sacrifice bunt was called, it is a successful sacrifice bunt.  However if a Suicide Squeeze bunt was called, it would have been a foul ball.

 

Play Example 2 – Attempted sacrifice bunt result is not successful

1 out, base runner on 2nd Base, a sacrifice bunt is called by the team at bat.

With a roll of all 3 six-sided dice, we have the following:

Standard six-sided dice total 11 (4, 4, 3)

The result is a GO when cross-referenced in the Yellow rating column.  The Legend indicates a GO as a Groundout.  The team in the field applies one the options available listed in the Baseball Classics Groundout Result Table located in the Field Manager’s Rulebook.

 

Play Example 3 – Bunt result is a double play on an attempted suicide squeeze

1 out, base runner on 3rd Base, a suicide squeeze bunt is called by the team at bat.

With a roll of all 3 six-sided dice, we have the following:

Standard six-sided dice total 13 (6, 3, 4)

The result is a DP when cross-referenced in the Yellow rating column.  The Legend indicates a DP as a Double Play.  In the case of bunting with a DP, it is a popout so the batter is automatically out and the runner coming Home is out as well, doubled off from 3rd Base.  The same result holds true when attempting a sacrifice bunt and DP is the result, both the lead base runner and batter are out with less than 2 outs.

 

Play Example 4 – Sacrifice bunt result is a strikeout

1 out, base runner on 2nd Base, a sacrifice bunt is called by the team at bat.

With a roll of all 3 six-sided dice, we have the following:

Standard six-sided dice total 8 (2, 4, 2)

The result under the Yellow bunt rating is a Suicide squeeze bunt, otherwise foul ball.  Since a sacrifice bunt was called, it is a foul ball, thus strike 1 on the batter.  The team at bat may elect to take the bunt off and swing away, however let’s proceed with another sacrifice bunt attempt in this at bat.  A roll of (6,1,1) is another 8 which means this is strike 2 on the batter.  Again, the team at bat may elect to swing away, but should they choose to continue attempt to sacrifice again they may, a very risky move, though could pay off.  A third dice roll of (2, 5, 1) is another 8.  In this case the risky move does not pay off.  This would be a strikeout, as the result is another foul ball.  Since MLB rules apply, a batter attempting any type of bunt with 2 strikes and fouling the ball is out via a strikeout.  In this example the batter is out and the base runner on 3rd Base must attempt to steal the base.

 

Next let’s look at how base stealing is played in the next Blog post article titled “How to Play Baseball Classics: Intermediate Level – Base Stealing and Running”.  When you manage your team, do like to bunt and when or do you feel bunting has gone by the way side in today’s modern Major League Baseball play?  Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

How to Play Baseball Classics: Basic Level

How to Play Baseball Classics: Basic Level

Baseball Classics is a tabletop baseball board game played with dice featuring the realism of Major League Baseball with full color individual player cards generating accurate results based on each player’s actual season performance.  There are 3 playing levels; Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced thus any baseball fans from ages 8 to adult can enjoy.  All standard Major League Baseball rules apply to Baseball Classics game play at all levels.

Baseball Classics Scorefield

Basic Play level follows standard baseball rules and includes only the most basic plays such as double plays and sacrifice flyouts. Little League players are familiar with these concepts.

Intermediate Play level adapts Basic play level and includes bunting, base stealing, and base running. Casual baseball fans will enjoy these aspects of the game.

Advanced Play level adapts Basic and Intermediate play levels and includes fielding, hit & run, as well as virtually anything that can happen in a Major League Baseball Game.  Plays such as pitch outs, wild pitches, rain delays or rain outs, arguing with the umpire, injuries, and more are incorporated in this level. Expert baseball fans will appreciate the attention to detail in this level.

Use the same player cards for all levels—no need to purchase different player cards for each play level. From youth baseball to expert baseball fan, Baseball Classics gives you everything you need for realistic MLB game action.

This article will highlight how to play using the Basic level and provide game play examples providing a jumpstart.

The Basic level is the fastest way to play Baseball Classics baseball game. The player performance results are just as accurate in this level of play as they are in Intermediate or Advanced play levels.  There are no charts involved, simply use the player cards and dice to play.

Baseball Classics Dice

There 3 are standard six-sided same colored dice and one white binary die with either a 0 or 1.  These 4 dice are used to play for all levels of Baseball Classics.  A great side benefit for the baseball youth is how beneficial it is for the math skills while adding up the various combinations of the 3 six-sided dice rolls.  See the Blog entry I posted on January 2nd, 2013 on “Baseball Board Games Generate Brain Power” for more on this valuable topic.

A good way to remember that a 0 is for the pitcher card and 1 is for the batter card is a 0 is the shape a baseball ball that a pitcher throws and a 1 is the shape of a baseball bat used by the batter.

Baseball Classics Player Cards

There are two types of Baseball Classics player cards; one for the batters and one for the pitchers.  Each at bat the batter will face the current pitcher.  A graphic image in the upper right hand corner of each player card simply shows if the card is a batter card of a pitcher card.  Another indicator besides the batter or pitcher graphic image is the position or positions for that player are listed just under the image.

There are 3 columns in the center of each card, Roll, Result, and Stats.  The Roll column lists numbers 3 through 18, more on this in the next section.  The Result column lists the possible color-coded outcomes, these have been generated based on each player’s actual MLB playing statistics.  The Batter and Pitcher Stats column is your reference guide for how the play performed that season.

Each Baseball Classics batter cards can list a range of various fundamental outcomes such as Groundout, Flyout, Popout, Lineout, Double Play, (Flyout), Strikeout, Walk, Single, Double, Triple, and Home Run.  The difference between a Flyout and (Flyout) is all base runners hold on a Flyout, and any base runner on 3rd base scores on a (Flyout) with less than 2 outs, also known as a sacrifice flyout.

Baseball Classics pitcher cards offer the same possible outcomes with the exception of (Flyout) and Double Play.  In addition, the pitcher card includes a Groundout* and Triple Play.  A Groundout* indicates any base runners advance 1 base with less than two outs.  A Triple Play indicates that the inning is over if there are at least 2 base runners, or if 1 base runner it is scored as a Double Play.  If no base runners, it is scored as 1 out recorded.

Another indicator of a possible Triple Play on the Pitchers card is when a Result outcome is surrounded by brackets, for example <Groundout>.  When an outcome has brackets the white binary die must be rolled.  If a 0 then the play outcome is the same as Triple Play, otherwise the outcome is as indicated within the brackets.

How To Play

It’s very easy and fast to play Baseball Classics baseball game.  Play solitaire or against an opponent.  Make your lineups and choose the starting pitchers and you’re ready to play.  You can use the Baseball Classics Scorefield to keep track of the outs, innings, score, and base runners.

The current batter in the lineup faces the opposing team’s pitcher.  Roll all 4 dice and if the white binary die is a 0, refer to the pitcher’s card for the Result, otherwise if it is a 1 refer to the batter’s card.  Add up the 3 six-sided dice and lookup the Result next to it for the play outcome.

In the Basic play level any base runner(s) only advance as many bases as the batter.

5 Play Examples

Posey Ellis Beginner Play ExampleOne of the many benefits that Baseball Classics offers that no other baseball board game does is the opportunity to order any MLB teams or seasons since 1901 to the present.  Let’s use the 2012 Buster Posey San Francisco Giants batter card and 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates Dock Ellis pitcher card for some Basic play level examples.

Play Example 1 – Result is a Strikeout

With a roll of all 4 dice, we have the following:

Binary is 0

Standard six-sided dice total 5 (2, 1, 2)

With a binary dice of 0 we go to the pitcher’s card, the play outcome Result next to a Roll of 5 for Dock Ellis is Strikeout. 

 

Play Example 2 – Result is a Groundout

With a roll of all 4 dice, we have the following:

Binary is 1

Standard six-sided dice total 10 (3, 3, 4)

With a binary dice of 1 we go to the batter’s card, the play outcome Result next to a Roll of 10 for Buster Posey is Groundout.

Let’s say there were no base runners and 2 outs.  Buster Posey grounds out and the inning is over.  However if there was a runner on 1st Base with less than 2 outs you could either elect to force out the runner at 2nd Base and Buster Posey reaches on a fielder’s choice or instead throw out Buster Posey at 1st Base and allow the runner that was on 1st Base to safely reach 2nd Base.

The Field Manager’s Rulebook has a detailed section explaining the various Groundout options available to the team in the field with any base runner(s) and less than two outs.

 

Play Example 3 – Result is a Home Run

With a roll of all 4 dice, we have the following:

Binary is 1

Standard six-sided dice total 6 (1, 2, 3)

With a binary dice of 1 we go to the batter’s card, the Result next to a Roll of 6 for Buster Posey is Home Run.

 

Play Example 4 – Result is a Double Play

With a roll of all 4 dice, we have the following:

Binary is 1

Standard six-sided dice total 17 (6, 5, 6)

With a binary dice of 1 we go to the batter’s card, the Result next to a Roll of 17 for Buster Posey is Double Play.

Let’s say there was a runner on 1st Base with no outs, then the Double Play outcome is rolled from Buster Posey’s player card.  Then the runner on 1st base is forced out at 2nd base and Buster Posey is thrown out at 1st base.  Anytime base runners are in a force out situation and there are less than 2 outs, the Double Play is in order.

When any base runner(s) are not in a force out situation, a Double Play is not in order.  Thus the Result changes from Double Play to Groundout.

The Field Manager’s Rulebook has a detailed section explaining the various Double Play options available to the team in the field with any base runner(s) and less than two outs.

Play Example 5 – Result is a Groundout*

With a roll of all 4 dice, we have the following:

Binary is 0

Standard six-sided dice total 14 (2, 6, 6)

With a binary dice of 0 we go to the pitcher’s card, the play outcome Result next to a Roll of 14 for Dock Ellis is Groundout*.

Let’s say there was a runner on 2nd Base with one out.  The batter grounds out, though the base runner on 2nd Base advances to 3rd Base safely.

 

In summary here’s what we covered in this Baseball Classics Blog post:

  • There are 3 play levels: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced
  • The Baseball Classics player cards are used for any of the levels of play
  • The Basic level uses the basic level of Major League Baseball play
  • Player outcome accuracy is just as high as any other play level in Baseball Classics
  • It is the fastest level to play, almost every outcome is determined with 1 roll of the dice
  • It is the easiest to play level since there are no charts
  • We used 5 Play Examples to showcase the simplicity of using the dice for baseball game flow and how to play using basic to some decision-making options with Double Plays
  • The Field Manager’s Rulebook provides a detailed guide of how to play Baseball Classics baseball game.  It is available as a free download from our Resource section at playbaseballclassics.com/gameresources

We always love to hear from baseball fans with comments or questions.  Post yours in the comment section here and I will reply back here.  I highly encourage your comments and questions below.  They will be very helpful for all baseball fans learning and wanting to enjoy baseball board game play with Baseball Classics.  For those that are new to Baseball Classics, you can sign up for our monthly Newsletter and receive a Free download of Baseball Classics to try out.  Join the thousands who have done so, we welcome you to be a part of our Baseball Classics community.

7 Principles of a Next Generation Tabletop Baseball Board Game

7 Principles of a Next Generation Tabletop Baseball Board Game

Is it your baseball game as a hologram a la Star Wars?  Is it the recently pre-announced flexible screens demonstrated by Samsung where they can unroll with your game board on them?  Anything beyond that and it will be the next-next generation.

Baseball Classics defines Next Generation Tabletop Baseball Board Game as the following:

  1. Graphical user interface player cards
  2. Entire game is in full color
  3. Player cards can also be used as a baseball reference guide for player stats
  4. Generating result outcomes with random numbers (no spinners, cards, etc.)
  5. The same board game play is available through the internet
  6. Participate actively with the tabletop baseball board game community via social media, blogging, etc.
  7. Offering any MLB teams and seasons from 1901 to the present

Baseball board games have been around for many decades.  They have provided great value and pure joy for baseball fans ever since, coming in a variety of formats and still do today.  However like many joys in life, there comes a time when a new generation comes along and updates what was once the standard.  Many long-standing companies survive as they reinvent their products and solutions leveraging new technologies, naturally those that don’t eventually fall behind and fade into the distant past.

Baseball board games aren’t immune to this, thus can either become a collector’s item or a relevant play in today’s modern age of savvy baseball fan.

Baseball Classics baseball game has evolved since its inception from the ground up in 1986.  Back then the Internet was not a household word, technology was just starting to revamp in the business world ultimately revolutionizing the way the world worked and people communicated.

Baseball Classics offered any Major League Baseball teams and seasons since 1901 from the very beginning.  As stated in a previous post “The Game That Inspired Baseball Classics”, once I had the experience to get to know players from the late 1800’s to the present through Sports Illustrated’s All-Time All-Star Baseball Game, I knew this was the way baseball games were suppose to deliver.  Playing teams from 1901 to the present was all about the experience and appreciation of their play to me back then and still is today.

Rudy York of the Detroit Tigers, have you ever heard of this fellow?  What a versatile and multi-talented player he was, yet who in modern-day ever heard of him?  There’s so many like him among the nearly 75,000 players Baseball Classics offers today.  With my technology background, I have parlayed that into a system that affords being able to make that many MLB players available.

Baseball Classics was always based on dice to generate random numbers.  Dice have proven out to be the single best system to do so outside of the technology world.  Spinners fall apart, cards need to be shuffled (every time – who has time for that?) to offer random play, and any other device just isn’t even a close call to dice.

Thus offering any MLB team from 1901 to the present and dice were the only two on the Next Generation list.  Baseball Classics has evolved over the recent years, adding full color player cards in 2004 with 11 batter statistics.  Today there are a healthy 16 to feast on.  Pitcher cards spawn 14, thus plenty of ways to tell their story.  So many of the old baseball game player cards are text-based, some can’t even fit any stats on a card let alone these amounts.  Others provide some routine stats.  The player cards should be like a mini-reference guide, teaching the baseball fan about what they did.  It’s an experience.

Telling the story is important, and revealing their story graphically is just as valuable for baseball board game play.  Who wants to buy a black and white TV?  Can you imagine not watching the World Series in full color?  Not seeing all the replays in full color?  Remember when cell phones were not in full color?  How quickly all that changed once the technology became available!  Our world is in living color, so why shouldn’t our baseball board games be by now?

With the advent of the computer reaching the masses and then cell phones, tablets, and other mobile devices we are an on the go society.  Mobile devices passed up desktop/laptop computers 3 years ago.  Board games still carry all the same charm when carried into that world.  If your baseball board game isn’t in that world by now, you are already behind and falling behind faster by the millisecond.  Today, you can play Baseball Classics baseball game on mobile devices (free), thus no learning curve as all the same game components are there.  Board games like Scrabble, Yahtze, etc. have all moved over to the mobile platform years ago and are as popular as ever.

Thanks to the Internet, the social world is enormous for gaming and all industries.  How many Tweets per second, YouTube videos are watched per second, blogs are written per second, and how about users in Facebook?!  The numbers are mind-numbing, staggering, and growing tremendously by the hour.  According to studies, data is doubling globally every 6 weeks!  Your baseball board game should be serving you in the social world, providing valuable content to enjoy, not just merely offering a web store.

These elements make up the next generation baseball board game play.  Baseball fans are as savvy as ever through the use of technology.  We will continue to leverage technology in Baseball Classics as the means to listen to our customers, serve our customers, and continue to provide next generation tabletop baseball board game play.

How would you like to see your favorite tabletop baseball board game evolve?

Hammerin’ Hank and the 1973 HR Happy Braves

Hammerin’ Hank and the 1973 HR Happy Braves

When they talk about the “meat of the order”, the GM of the 1973 Atlanta Braves served up filet mignon.  Even the vaunted 1927 Yankees would have admired watching these guy smash the ball out of the park routinely.

1927 New York Yankees

1927 New York Yankees

Most baseball fans aren’t familiar with this bunch, thus are missing out on having them in their baseball game collection of MLB teams.  I will remove the shroud of secrecy and unveil this incredibly great team to have in your arsenal of teams as a must have and why.

The 1927 Murders’ Row nickname was directed towards the first 6 players in their order: Earle Combs, Mark Koenig, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bob Meusel, and Tony Lazzeri.  Their collective on-base plus slugging (OPS) average was: 5.893

The top 6 batters in the 1973 Atlanta Braves lineup had a collective OPS of: 5.283.  Not too shabby for a team that finished 22 ½ games out in fifth place with a losing record of 76 and 85.  Okay, so their pitching staff allowed the most runs in the National League and they weren’t the slickest of fielders, but they led the NL in hitting, OPS, slugging, HR’s and many other offensive categories.  These guys have great cards, their Baseball Classics cards light up like a Christmas tree!

Their batting order on any given day behind the OPS stated above was Ralph Garr, Mike Lum, Darrell Evans, Hank Aaron, Dusty Baker, and Davey Johnson.  Aaron, Evans, and Johnson each hit 40 home runs or more that season.  Can you believe Darrell Evans only made $27,500 for his effort that season?  Today, some guys practically get paid that much per every 7 pitches they face.

Pitches, not Pitchers!

Speedster Ralph Garr set the table at the top of the order with 200 hits that season, calculating to a dependable .299 batting average that included good extra base pop for a rather speedy player.  Mike Lum was 5th on the teams in home runs with 16 and batted .294.  Darrell Evans clobbered 41 homers, 124 walks, while still leading the team in RBI’s with 104 despite all those free passes.  Hammerin’ Hank had 40 long balls, an OPS of 1.045 while posting a .301 batting average.  Keeping the line moving was Dusty Baker with 21 round trippers, 99 RBI’s, and batted .288.  Last, but not least of the top 6 was Davey Johnson and his career high, team leading 43 blasts, 99 RBI’s, and contributed with a rugged .546 slugging average.

Here’s a strip of their Baseball Classics player card Result columns side-by-side.

1973 Braves Top Six Results

1973 Atlanta Braves Starting Top 6 Lineup Baseball Classics Result Columns

1927 Yankees Top Six Results

1927 New York Yankees Starting Top 6 Lineup Baseball Classics Result Columns

1973 Dietz4 of the 6 1973 Braves hitters have stronger home run power than the 1927 Yankees with Aaron holding out fairly comparable to Ruth in that category.  Though at clean-up Evans has an impressive card, Gehrig’s Results are just far too awesome to come close.

The green and yellows towards the center of the cards indicating where dice rolls occur more frequently graphically represent why the Yankees have a higher OPS.  Considering the 1927 New York Yankees 110 winning team are rated as the best lineup ever, you can see why I tout having the 1973 Atlanta Braves in your collection.  They are a fun bunch to play if you like power.  A bonus if you play Dick Dietz off the bench; another high OPS player card to enjoy with his banana peel stripes prominently displayed.

What do you think of this comparison?  What are some of your favorite MLB teams you would like to compare to the powerhouse ’27 Yanks and why?

How to Play Your Baseball Board Games Faster

How to Play Your Baseball Board Games Faster

Are your games taking too long to complete in 9 innings?  And if you are keeping score along the way, how much longer is that taking you?  If the answer to either of those questions is longer than 15 minutes, then this article is for you.faster game play

The prior post covers a very fast way to play Baseball Classics using your mobile device such as the iPad.  However this article will cover playing without any electrical type of device, just the game parts, paper, and pencil or pen.  Ready?  Let’s roll!

Now there are some games that are meant to take a good hour or more to play a nine-inning game.  Some go pitch-by-pitch, or require moving the fielders to where the ball is hit in the field of play.  Naturally, those are not for the gamer who is looking to shortcut their playing time.  However there are plenty of baseball games on the market, like our own Baseball Classics that are designed to finish in less than 30 minutes.

Let’s get right to it.  Here are 4 ways you can use immediately to pick up the pace of your tabletop baseball board game play.

Reduce Dice Rolls

Dice rolls typically take around 4-5 seconds each roll.  With at least 52 batters coming up during a nine-inning game, that’s at least 4 minutes spent just rolling dice.  For some nine-inning games it’s likely closer to 5 ½ minutes of dice rolling.  That leaves less than 10 minutes to complete your game in 15 minutes or less.

By using a duplicate pair of dice and rolling them with your initial pair, you can reduce your dice rolling down by at least half.  Here’s how this technique works.  There are some plays where you can’t know what the next roll is without spoiling that upcoming result.  Such as a batter reached base on a walk, then a subsequent roll will determine if the player can steal a base.  Then there are plays where knowing what the subsequent roll is will be inconsequential to the current play.  This is where rolling the second pair of dice at the same time will reduce the number of time you need to shake and roll the dice.

It’s best to use a second set of dice that are different in size and/or color than your initial dice.  You can roll all of the dice at the same time in one hand, before spilling them on to your playing surface.  Or you can put together a make shift divider in a see through container of some type and roll your dice that way.  Either way, this technique will cut your dice rolls in half saving you around 2 ½ minutes on average game played.

Hold’em, Don’t Fold’em

This tip will come in very handy if you’re only keeping track of the score of the game, but not keeping score.  Keeping track of the score, outs, and runners on base is very simple when using a game board.  For example, with Baseball Classics Scorefield game board, there are 7 transparent chip markers that simply slide over the numbers for which inning, what the score is, outs, and where the base runners are.  Yet, where it still can get a bit tricky to remember which players are on base?  You can try and memorize that, though that is not very effective.  Especially with force outs, etc., before you know it you’re spending more time back tracking trying to remember or figure out who is on which base by process of elimination or some other ineffective method.

Instead, try this.

When you play any baseball board games that have individual playing cards you simply slip the player card that reached base at the bottom of the current lineup deck and slide that card up a good inch or so to indicate that player is on base.  As any player card(s) either score or are no longer on the base path for any other reason such as getting thrown out attempting to steal, etc., then slide there card back down level with the rest of the cards in your lineup.

Keeping Score Faster

It’s important to use position numbers for this scoring, 1=pitcher, 2=catcher, 3=first base, 4=second base, 5=third base, 6=shortstop, 7=left field, 8= centerfield, 9=right field.

Using one standard sheet of 8 ½” x 11” paper, you can score 4 games.  Fold the paper in half; then fold that in half.  That will give you one quarter of the sheet to write down the lineup for the visiting team, and the flip side for the home team.

Now for the format to use for keeping score, this is key.  Write down each player’s last name in the batting order from top to bottom with a comma after each name.  After each play result, you will write down next to their name followed by another comma.  When a player drives in a run, place an asterisk next to the hit or play for each one.  When a player scores, place a shaded in triangle or diamond next to the hit or play he scored from.  At the end of an inning, indicate so with a slash mark (/) instead of comma.  Pinch hitters or runners will be inserted on the same line of the player they are replacing with a line (|) indicating their insertion.

Hits are simply 1B, 2B, 3B, and HR.  Here’s what a single would look like that drove in 2 runs and scored: 1B**u.

You have a couple of styles you can use for indicating the play results; indicate the out such as PO for popout or if you’re playing a game with a result that indicates who fielded the play you could instead use first initial of the type of out and number of the position who recorded the out, for example a popout to shortstop would be P6.

Use K or SO for strikeout and W or BB for a walk.  Errors would be E or to show who made the error E and the position number; for example an error by the shortstop would be E6.

Squeeze a stolen base or passed ball in with a lower case sb or pb respectively next to the way they reached base.  For example 1Bsb.  If that player stole 2 bases, it would look like this 1Bsb-2.

A sacrifice bunt would be S or sacrifice flyout would be SF.

When a runner on base is thrown out or picked off, put  a line through the way they got on base.  For example a batter who reached via a walk and was then picked off score it this way: W

Here’s what it looks like using one of my favorite classic MLB teams, the 1962 San Francisco Giants as an example:

Kuenn, K,1B,W,1B,S,

Alou, 1B,FO,GO/2B*K,

Mays, DP/1B,FO,HR**,LO/

McCovey, W,K/GO,FO/

Cepeda, FO,LO,2B,K,

Haller, PO,GO,W,W,

Hiller, 2B*,GO/LO/DP/

Pagan, LO/FO,K,1Bsb,

Marichal, K,PO,GO,|Bailey W,

Marichal 8 | 7 | 2 | 7 | 2 | 2  W (the pitcher’s line reads IP, H, W, K, R, ER, and W/L/S

Miller      1 | 2 | 0 | 1 | 0 | 0  S

What I really like about this besides the simplicity, small real state, and speed in keeping score is that it’s easy and quick to see how many innings have been played, how many runs have been scored, and the best part is with one glance getting a nice visual of what part of the order is producing for you.  Since it’s a tight formation, it’s almost like a graph measuring your lineup results.

Note – Since you made the lineup, it’s likely not necessary to write down their positions as you already know who is playing where.  However you can always add that too just before their name.

Bench and Bullpen Ready

This one is fairly obvious; yet not everyone does this so worth including as the 4th way to speed up your game play.  A little prep ahead of time in organizing your player cards before the game starts will save time.

Here’s how I have my player cards sorted so I’m ready for my rapid game play including any changes I need to make throughout the game.

I split my team into 2 decks.  My lineup player cards are in batting order in one deck.  In my second deck, which I rubber band, I have my current pitcher on top, followed by the other top rotation starters; they are followed by my closer, then next best relievers in order.  After that I have my pinch hitters, fielders, runners in priority order that I would likely insert them into the game if at all.  This way any batting and pitching substitutions should take a few seconds or so each.

When playing Baseball Classics and using these tips you should be able to easily play 3 games, though surely 4 within an hour unless you’re using the Fielding Grid.  The Fielding Grid is for those that want to know where the ball was hit in the field of play, so naturally they will require extra time for each play.  It’s up to you if the trade off for saving time of the type of out vs. the type of out by which fielder is your favorite way to play.

Here’s a general time table when playing Baseball Classics:

Basic – less than 10 minutes

Intermediate – less than 15 minutes

Advanced without Fielding Grid – less than 20 minutes

Advanced with Fielding Grid – less than 30 minutes

Whichever tabletop baseball board game you play, these tips will speed up your game play without sacrificing your enjoyment.  What tips do you use to play your games faster?  Let me know how incorporating these work for you.

Playing Baseball Classics on your iPad

Playing Baseball Classics on your iPad

It’s smooth as Ken Griffey Jr’s swing; playing Baseball Classics on your iPad.  Everything you could possibly need to play game after game with your Baseball Classics player cards are simply at the touch of your fingertip.

Baseball Classics for your iPadLike the familiarity of walking into your favorite MLB team’s ballpark, our Baseball Classics baseball game fans will have the same feeling.  Upon opening in your iPad browser, the colorful Baseball Classics Scorefield game board is there to greet you; the very same one that has welcomed thousands of our tabletop baseball game players over the years.

Baseball Classics Baseball Game was designed from the ground up for:

  1. Accurate player results
  2. Authentic play
  3. Flexible choices
  4. Fast and easy game play

Now our great game is even faster and easier than ever before to play, yet we didn’t change a thing about our player cards, authentic play where virtually anything in a Major League Baseball game can happen, or flexible choices.  We honored all of them, just took advantage a platform that was built for ease of use.  It’s a perfect marriage, Baseball Classics and your iPad.

Consider this post as your handy guide, it’s a quick read to get you started in minutes.

 What is it?

It’s not an “iPad app”; technically it is a free web application that runs in a browser.  Just like opening your email like Gmail or Hotmail in your browser, you simply open it up in your browser and it’s ready to use!

Can you play it on other devices?

The size has been tuned specifically for the size of an iPad.  You can play it on any iPad from the first edition to current.  I haven’t tried it yet on the iPad Mini, but should be fine, though again the screen size is optimal for the iPad.

Since it is a web application (as opposed to an iPad App), you can play if in virtually any browser, though it’s not optimal screen size play on devices like laptops that are better suited for horizontal designed user interfaces.  As for your iPhone or other type of mobile cell device, it will work.  You will need to have keen eyesight and surely, it’s not forgiving for those who typically “fat finger” on their cell phones.  I have tested it out on an iPhone; it’s doable, but again built for the iPad.

Does it have everything that comes with Baseball Classics Baseball Game?

Yes, Baseball Classics for iPad  has the complete set of game parts.  It’s everything you need to play with your Baseball Classics player cards.

Baseball Classics Scorefield – The same game board and transparent blue chip markers to keep track of the innings, score, outs, and base runners greet you for game play.  To update Innings, the Visitor score, Home score, or Outs simply tap where you want to place the chip and it will glide over there for you.  To start a new game, just tap on the top of the 1st inning and all chip markers will relocate instantly so you can begin in an instant.

Baseball Classics Game Parts – Everything is the same, so no new learning curve for our Baseball Classics fans.  And they are ALL included: The Field Manager’s Rulebook, Game Play Chart, Play Action Simulator, Fielding Grid, Pitcher Hitter Cards, and Dice.

To place base runner, tap on the base(s) and the chip will overlay.  Tap the chip again and it will disappear.  Note – whenever you tap a new inning, the any base runner chip markers will automatically disappear and the Outs chip marker will slide back to 0 outs.

What will you need besides an iPad?

Your Baseball Classics player cards.  That’s it.

If you don’t have Baseball Classics player cards of your own yet, sign up to receive our post via email  (upper right hand side of this post) and we will send you a PDF with a couple MLB teams from our Free Trial.  Simply print the PDF the player cards, cut them out, and you will be ready to play Baseball Classics on your iPad!

What’s new?

Here’s the good stuff, the part where we took the liberty to further streamline your baseball game play!

Scorefield Cube – It’s your new best friend for Baseball Classics game play.  It’s the heartbeat of your faster game play!  You can’t miss it, it’s the Baseball Classics theme colored blue and green.  It’s comes in handy for putting base runners on and moving base runners instead of tapping and re-tapping each base runner chip.

Positioned in the center is the “Rotate Scorefield Cube”.  You can access other options such as displaying or hiding the Pitcher Hitter Cards should you not be playing with a Designated Hitter.  Other options are to change the color of the six-sided dice.

Animated Dice – The dice are in the center of the Scorefield, easy to read and even easier to roll.  A single tap anywhere on the field of play “rolls” the dice.  There are 3 different dice colors to choose from for the six-sided dice.  The default color is the familiar green we ship to our customers.  Check out the royal blue color or sharp jet black in case you want to change it up.

Scorefield Instructions – Tucked at the lower left, bottom portion of the Scorefield game board, tap on the link to read the very simple and brief instructions on how to use the Scorefield game board.  Appears in the center of the Scorefield, click close to remove it.

Game Play Charts and Field Manager’s Rulebook – Located at the center and right bottom portion of the Scorefield game board.  Each link slides the Chart to hover above the Scorefield, simply tap anywhere on the Chart to remove it.  The Field Manager’s Rulebook link will launch a new browser page with a PDF containing the entire manual.

Play Action Simulator and Fielding Grid – Easy access is located just above the Outs, tap the icon or link.  They won’t block dice rolls, so you have keep them up as you need them, or simply tuck them away by tapping anywhere on each one.

Baseball tabletop boards games were designed to be just that, a tabletop baseball board game thus your experience will be that of playing Baseball Classics just like you did before, just faster on an iPad!

We’re looking forward to your feedback, please comment here on this post to share your thoughts and experience or ask any questions about it.  Remember, if you don’t have Baseball Classics player cards of your own yet, follow this post and we will send you a PDF with a couple MLB teams from our Free Trial.

Top 5 Baseball Board Game Under The Radar Player Cards

Top 5 Baseball Board Game Under The Radar Player Cards

Here’s possibly the 5 best MLB players you may have never heard of and that almost always have the most fascinating cards no matter which tabletop baseball board games you enjoy playing.

under the radarI would bat them in the #2 spot in any baseball lineup every time.  Some are in the Hall of Fame and 3 of them are named Ed.  How many famous MLB players named Ed can you think of?!  I would play them against the greatest pitchers of all-time, any time.

Their Baseball Classics cards always provide a rainbow of bright colors from top to bottom.  Roll after dice roll they always give you a chance to get on base and keep the line moving and sometimes provide a bit of pop in their bat.

These are my all-time favorite Major League Baseball players who most fans have probably never heard of.  If you get a chance to play them, you will see that these MLB players have some of the coolest tabletop baseball board game cards no matter your favorite one you enjoy playing.  Here is my top 5 in this category, starting with number 5.

#5 Eddie Joost – Shortstop, Secondbase, and Thirdbase  (1936 – 1955) Reds/Braves/Athletics/Red Sox

1949 Joost

A poster boy as an underrated baseball player, my 5th ranked MLBer in this category is well deserving.  This MLB lifetime .239 hitter was a 2-time all-star and received MVP votes 5 seasons.  How many lifetime .239 hitters can stake that claim?

Joost was smooth in the field, an integral part of a double-play machine during several seasons with the A’s.  He also had some might in his bat, and though wasn’t a contact hitter he made up for up with his patience at the plate.  His Baseball Classics cards are splattered with ink colors up and down.  You will forget all about his lightweight average because he can just about do it all for your team including drive in a good amount of runs too.

Here’s a card from one of his best seasons, 1949, this Eddie Joost card is loaded.

#4  Ed Roush – Outfield (1945-1955) Reds

All-Time RoushMy personal nickname for this great hitting and fielding Hall of Famer is the “Triple Kid”.  He could hit, but where he gets me is I’m a sucker for a ball player who has the knack for hitting more than his fair share of triples.  Ed’s cards always have a healthy three-bagger rating in Baseball Classics, yet that will hold consistent for any baseball board games featuring this all-time great season after season.  Nearly 8% of Ed’s hits throughout his career resulted in a triple.  That’s astounding!  Let’s put it into perspective for a moment.  Wouldn’t it be fair to say that Ricky Henderson would be someone a baseball fan would think would have a fairly high number of triples?  Yet the same percentage for Ricky over his career was just over 2%.

Where they are similar is with their ability to have some pop in their bat and get on base, i.e. On base Plus Slugging known as OPS.  No one had the stolen base flare in the game as Ricky Henderson, yet when it comes to batting number 2 in the order, I would put Ed Roush there anytime, his cards make for great game play.

Ed Roush  2376 hits, 182 triples, .323 BA, .815 OPS

Ricky Henderson  3055 hits, 66 triples, .279 BA, .820 OPS

#3 Eddie Yost– Thirdbase (1944 – 1962) Senators/Tigers/Angels

1959 YostDon’t be fooled by his .254 lifetime batting average.  Eddie Yost was a solid ball player; he could do all the little things to help your team win.  He’ll reach base plenty with his lifetime .394% on base percentage (OBP) over 18 seasons, move runners along with the bunt, and run around the bases to score often.  Talk about consistency over the long haul, this seemingly modest player reached on base via the free pass every 1.3 games over the course of 2109 career games.  9 of his 18 seasons he had an OBP greater than .400%, mercy!

Which All-Time Senators or Twins player over the course of their career had more walks than Eddie Yost?  Nobody.  Eddie was a good fielder too.  There wasn’t much he couldn’t do including give you a little pop in his bat now and then.  Playing most of his career for the Senators, word has it he would have hit many more home runs if he didn’t play in that spacious park.  Regardless, I would take this most leadoff batter and plunk him in at the second spot in my batting order and enjoy his contributions every game in so many ways.

#2  Max Bishop – Secondbase (1924 – 1935) Athletics/Red Sox

All-Time BishopOne of his nicknames was “Camera eye”.  Max wears out the yellow ink on his Baseball Classics baseball game player cards.  He was a decent average, light hitter, yet was able to reach base consistently thanks to his keen eye.  He compiled 1153 career walks and was a very good contact hitter with only 452 strikeouts.  Because Max reached based so often he scored nearly 1000 times in his career at 966.  He only played in 1138 games, thus an impressive ratio of runs scored to games played, especially for a career .271 batting average.

Max is another leadoff hitter in his career that I would bat second.  Max is the kind of player you want to insert at the number 2 spot in your order to reach base, score once he reaches base, and get the job done with a sacrifice bunt when needed.  He’s a little scoring machine, which is really something when you think about him being an average hitter for the most part.  4 seasons in a row, from 1928 through 1931 he scored more than 100 runs.  8 seasons in a row, from 1926 through 1933 he walked more than 100 times.  He makes my #2 ranking because his cards are colorful in Baseball Classics due to his lifetime, highly impressive .423% OBP!  This is his All-Time card, imagine how spiffy some of his best season Baseball Classics player cards looked like.

#1  Dick Dietz – Catcher and Firstbase (1966-1973) Giants/Dodgers/Braves

1973 DietzHere’s a guy that probably most have either not heard of, or if they have, they forgot about him.  He wasn’t a flashy player by any stretch of the imagination.  Yet he ranks in my top 5 at number 1 because his baseball game player cards are spectacular.  They are loaded with ways to get on base.  Dick had an eye for the walk and yet had decent batting averages that were sandwiched by his lone 1970 all-star season.  This combination made for some incredibly tough cards to get him out.

Let’s take my favorite card of his, the 1973 season with the Atlanta Braves; ironically and remarkably it was his last season in the bigs.  There is no card I know of that is more daunting when it comes to getting on base for a guy you most likely never heard of.  Check out his walk percentage that season per plate appearance, it was a walloping 25.6%.  His Baseball Classics cards require plenty of yellow ink to print out his sky-high amount of walks each season. Dick Dietz will keep the line moving by getting on base like nobody’s business.  He walked the walk, making a career of getting on base sporting an on base percentage of 39%.  Here’s his aforementioned Baseball Classics 1973 Atlanta Braves MLB season card, put your sunglasses on.

Though these 5 fascinating Major League Baseball players could reach base via the walk a jaw dropping number of times, they all had so many other great skills to make their teams far better.  Who are some of your favorite underrated MLB baseball players that have juicy player cards no matter which baseball board games you play and why?

Baseball Board Games Generate Brain Power

Baseball Board Games Generate Brain Power

It’s the bottom of the 9th inning, your team is down to their last out and you look over your bench and make the call to bring in a pinch hitter you think has enough pop in his bat to win the game.  After a roll of the dice, boom, he connects and it’s a game winning home run!

Baseball Board Games - Great for the Brain

Beyond all that drama and glory when that batter connects for a game winning home run when playing your favorite baseball board games, there is something far more important.

Baseball may break your heart now and then, but is there anything more important than having a healthy, sharp brain?!  Baseball has plenty of opportunity to exercise our brains when watching, naturally more so when playing.  Let’s explore these opportunities in detail and why at any age, playing baseball board games will always be great brain food.  After all, it’s the New Year, time to exercise…and the brain should be included!

 5 Ways Baseball Board Games Are Great for the Brain

#1 – Math

Truly one of the greatest, if not the very best benefit of playing baseball board games is the constant math your brain is processing.  Baseball practically made statistics a household and very cool thing to wrap your brain around.  And along the way since the earliest days of baseball in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, there are new statistics being added to the mix.  Bill James and many others have made a great living on statistics, the ways to think about them when it comes to making strategic or simple baseball decisions.

Yet baseball board games with dice such as our own Baseball Classics, Strat-o-matic, ABPA, and many others add to the mix.  Think about how many dice rolls you make when playing 1 game, let alone when playing your favorite baseball board games throughout the year!  These constant calculations are excellent exercise to keep your brain sharp.  It’s a key reason why I chose dice for Baseball Classics.  One would think it’s “easy” to add up 3 six-sided dice again and again, but it’s not always as simple as one would think.  A couple of years ago I introduced the Baseball Classics MVP Edition.  It was based on 4 six-sided dice, in a small study I watched others playing it.  Fascinating how college educated folks struggled with adding those 4 dice up.  Surely revealed the difference in memorizing a addition or multiplication table vs. adding up on the fly!

#2 – Reading

Baseball board games inspire reading more than just the playing instructions, charts, or the player cards.  There’s a deep bond that forms when playing baseball board games that makes a connection with players and points back in time.  I’ve read countless books on baseball players and baseball history throughout the years and I suspect you have too as a baseball board gamer.  I wouldn’t have read these books had it not been for the baseball board games I’ve played throughout the decades.  The games inspired me to want to learn more about who some of these fascinating players are and the historic times they played.

And there are countless hours of time I’ve spent with my nose stuck in baseball statistics books citing all kinds of intriguing, meaningful, and valuable information.  These books helped me to get a “picture” of their performance, areas of strength and weakness and have provided tremendous insight when choosing teams and/or players to offer for our customers.  There is no other sport game play I can think of that come close to fostering more reading than baseball board games, no matter which are your favorites to play.

#3 – Memory

Who led the American League in home runs in 2012?  How many home runs did Hank Aaron hit?  Which team won the World Series in 1975?  Which team did Honus Wagner play for?  He played over 100 years ago, yet many know about him and have memorized who this Hall of Fame great is let alone having the most famous baseball card.

And when playing your favorite baseball tabletop game, no doubt you have memorized many of the vital statistics, positions played, and teams of a wide number of players.  Since baseball is chalk full of numbers, we memorize them just we did early on in school when learning to remember multiplication tables.  Thus our brains are trained to learn to memorize numbers early on.  We used to memorize a slew of phone numbers until cell phones became prominent right?  And though “there is an app for that”, we still are memorizing vital player stats, teams, etc. when it comes to baseball and our baseball board games grant us plenty of opportunities to do so, thus sharpening our memory each and every time.

#4 – Continually Learning

Playing baseball board games presents a constant learning opportunity for every game played.

Baseball is a sport that requires continuous thinking from start to finish.  Even in between innings decisions can be made such as making a pitching change, will these threatening skies rain out the game by the 6th inning, etc.  We are constantly learning from the decisions made as well as about the ability of how the various skills translate from the baseball board game to the actual result.  Naturally the lessons learned impact our decisions in future play.  This also includes applying game strategies deployed during game situations and learning from the end results be it turning out to be genius moves or failures.

With 9 players on the field at all times, 9 batters in the lineup, 9 innings, 3 outs per innings, and the dynamic possibilities of end results there are more than enough variables to constantly keep one’s brain learning more and more about what, where, how, and when to make moves during baseball board game play.

Check out this article referring to a study done by Brain Scientists in 2000 by Brown University.  It states the study provides evidence that learning engages a brain process called long-term potentiation (LTP), which in turn strengthens synapses in the cerebral cortex.  Next time you play your favorite tabletop baseball board game, you can tell your spouse or parents it’s not just for fun, it’s in the name of science for the good of your brain.

#5 – Happy Brain = Happy Life

If you or your child or spouse or friend enjoys play baseball board games they are making their brain happy.  And that is providing many positive benefits for their brain according to Susan Reynolds is a Boston-based science writer.  She is a coauthor of Train Your Brain to Get Happy and the editor of Woodstock Revisited.  Susan wrote an article in 2008 entitled “Happy Brain, Happy Life” and with that a myriad of benefits for a happy brain such as:

  • stimulates the growth of nerve connections
  • improves cognition by increasing mental productivity
  • improves your ability to analyze and think
  • affects your view of surroundings
  • increases attentiveness
  • leads to more happy thoughts

The next time you or your loved one picks up dice to play their next baseball game, they are about to sharpen their saw to strengthen their brain and lead a happier life.  If I only knew this back when I was in my youth, I could have told my mom and she wouldn’t have haphazardly tossed out my Sports Illustrated All-Time All-Star Baseball Game.  Then again, if she didn’t I wouldn’t have created Baseball Classics, so thanks after all Mom!

What are your favorite baseball board game memories?  With all the power they generated for your brain, you must have quite a few you can recall to share, I look forward to reading them.

7 Tips to Build Effective Baseball Lineups

7 Tips to Build Effective Baseball Lineups

According to an article written by By F. C. LANE entitled “What Are The Odds“; without paying any attention as to how they arrived at the various bases the odds of scoring from first, second and third, are roughly as follows: from first base, 22.19%; from second, 42.77%; from third, 61.54%.

Do you have an effective strategy to build your baseball lineup to score runs?

New York Yankees Lineup Card

A major key to winning baseball games consistently is having an effective lineup strategy.  This article will share 7 tips you can use right now to build your lineups for any team to enhance your chances of winning.

To make it easier to remember, they spell out the word L-I-N-E-U-P-S

  • Leather
  • Instant runs
  • New base runners
  • Edge the base path
  • Understand your opposing pitcher
  • Pinch hitters – flexibility
  • Speed Kills

Leather

See Blog “Is Your Lineup Giving Up 28 Outs or 27?

Instant Runs

It’s the fastest way to score in baseball, the home run.  Even teams built for speed should have at least one true power in their lineup.  Considering your lineup will typically turn over about 4 times a game, it’s fairly safe to place your best home run slugger anywhere from number 3-6 in the lineup to ensure they will get enough cracks at putting you on the board in an instant, especially with good on-base percentage batter’s in front of them to bring them across the plate too as an added benefit of the long ball.

Though the odds of hitting a home run are 1 in 35.26 compared a double of 1 in 21.14 or a single of 1 in 6.44, what needs to be considered are the odds are of hitting a single and double within 2 outs (assuming a speed burner is the lead runner).  Thus there’s quite a bit to factor that needs to happen compared to hitting a home run such as what if the lead runner who reached based via the single or double was picked off or the single after the double was merely an infield hit, etc.  That’s what’s nice about the long ball, it happens in an instant, thus simple and very effective.

New Base Runners

Moneyball.  Get as many on-base percentage guys as you can in your baseball lineup.  Think walks.  They the poor man’s single that seems to merely make a whimper, but seems to score more times than not.  Consider this: if Chicago White Sox 2012 Adam Dunn’s walks were counted as singles, his batting average would have been .334 instead of his actual paltry .204.

Edge the Base Path

Even the speediest of base runners aren’t considered to be “in scoring position” until they are on second or third base.  That’s because it typically takes more than a single for them to score from first base.  Though you “can’t steal first”, you can steal second, third, or home.  Thus having some base stealers in your lineup are key, though just as important are those that excel at sacrificing their at-bats for the sake of edging base runners to the next base through a bunt or fly ball.  One day, a runner that intentionally grounds the ball out to the right side of the infield to advance a runner from second or third may be scored as a sacrifice too.  I think it should since it serves the same purpose intended by a bunt or deep fly ball out.  Meanwhile be sure to have at least 2 good base stealers and 2 good bunters positioned after good on-base percentage batters in your lineup.

Understand Your Opposing Pitcher

Okay, so lefty/righty has been used for decades now, and frankly it’s over blown when looking at most stats.  That’s another topic for another day.  Here’s a few ideas on this important point.

  • If they surrender the long ball, yet not much else, then stack your lineup with good on-base percentage batters.
  • Are they a strikeout artist?  Then paint your lineup with the long ball hitters.
  • Do they have a tendency to walk a lot of batters?  Get those edge hitters in the lineup to move them along into scoring position
  • How about the pitcher that gives up a lot of hits, but keeps the ball in the park?  Don’t fight it, by adding power hitters (typically with marginal batting averages).  Make sure your lineup is chalk full of good, high batting average hitters to keep the line moving.
  • Consider if the pitcher is a weak fielder, let alone the rest of the team.  Then have players in your lineup that make contact and/or can bunt to put the ball in play more often.  As covered in a prior post “Is Your Lineup Giving Up 28 Outs or 27?”, that 1 error could make the difference between winning and losing.

Pinch Hitters

One of the best ways to think of your lineup is beyond the 9 batters.  Your bench is essential to bringing up the right hitter at the right time in the game.  Today’s game is so specialized with relievers sometimes it’s hard to have all the right hitters on the bench to face a bullpen.  Though it’s always a good idea to have a good power hitter (doubles/home run) on your bench, a good on-base percentage batter, a reliable bunter, and slightly off-topic one excellent fielder as a late inning replacement for that great hitter/subpar fielder when/if you deem necessary.

Speed Kills

There are those games where a home run changes the entire complexion.  Then there are those games where a speed burner simply reaches first base and throws off the entire rhythm of the game for the opposing team.  Get those base stealers and great base runners in your lineup in droves as much as possible.  I like to think of them like wide receivers with great “yards after the catch” ability.  Whenever you can advance base runners without needing to do so via a hit, naturally your odds to score those runners increase quite a bit.

In 1974, Charlie Finley, former owner of the Oakland Athletics signed sprinter Herb Washington to be the official pinch runner.  It wasn’t the greatest idea in the world as Herb wasn’t a baseball player; he was a sprinter from Michigan State.  Herb never had a plate appearance; he had 29 stolen bases that season and 29 runs scored.  These results were marred a bit by the 16 times he was caught stealing.  Yet the Athletics did win the World Series that season, so it wasn’t a total bust by any stretch.

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Here’s a Baseball Classics 2012 Milwaukee Brewers batting order lineup I put together to face strikeout artist 2012 Washington Nationals Stephen Strasburg who doesn’t give up much besides the walk: (top 4 hitters upper row from left to right, followed by bottom 4 hitters)

2012 Brewers Lineup

Note this lineup matches up as well as possible against the mighty Strasburg by further taking advantage of getting on base via the walk and has home run power to provide instant runs.

Naturally even the greatest of baseball lineups like the 1927 deemed “Murderers Row” don’t guarantee a win.  Though of course they sure increase the odds to win.  What are your most effective tips and strategies when building your baseball lineups for your baseball board games play?

Is Your Lineup Giving Up 28 Outs or 27?

Is Your Lineup Giving Up 28 Outs or 27?

Did you know that most Major League Baseball lineups frequently give up ONE FREE OUT to the opposing team per game?  Risky, don’t you think?

In today’s era of MLB, frequently translates to approximately 64% of the time.  And if you essentially copying MLB lineups when playing your tabletop baseball board games you are doing the same.

Baseball Bat and Glove

Naturally when building a lineup, typically the first thought is where to place hitters in the batting order.  After all, the connotation of a lineup is all about the “batting order”, thus hitting better be a key right?  Well sure, though naturally fielding a team with great leather is critical when playing a tabletop baseball board game based on fielding ratings to reduce the risk of giving the other team that 1 extra out.

In 2012, National League teams committed a total of 1661 errors.

((1661 errors / 16 NL teams = 103.8125%) / 162 MLB games per team) = 64%

Let’s examine further to see how 64% of the time a lineup made translates into allowing 1 free out to the other team during a game.  Here are a couple of additional baseline factors to consider.  Hang in there, I will walk you through this, it’s rather fascinating.

There are 27 outs per 9-inning game, per team (barring a game shortened by rainout, etc.) and the average score of a Major League Baseball Game is 5-3.  Using these factors here is a sampling to conservatively project the impact fielding has when building a lineup.  So far so good.  Next I’m going to use some assumptions.

Approximate number of times a ball is fielded per 9 inning game by 1 team

27 outs  * 60% of the outs are fielded by one players to register the out

+ 27 outs * 40% of the outs are fielded by two players to register the out * 2

+ 9 hits * 1.5

+ 5 strikeouts

+ 5 miscellaneous fielding plays (stolen base attempt, pick off attempt, etc.) * 2

66.3     @ times a team fields a ball during a 9 inning game

The model above reflects that a team fields the ball 66.3 times during a game.  When applying an average team’s fielding rating (in today’s MLB era) of .983% it means that typically a team is going to field those plays cleanly 65.17 times during a game.

Sample 9 Inning Game Fielding Model For an MLB Team

66.3   A ball is fielded

– 65.17  Fielded without an error

1.13     Times the ball will not be fielded cleanly

Thus we can say the typical number of errors made per 9-inning game is 1 per team.  Essentially this means that 1 batter on the opposing team will reach base safely that would not have.  Considering the number of average plate appearances in a 9-inning game is 4, this means “awarding” the other team a free out for a batter in their lineup at some point during the game.

Is a player you put in your lineup who lowers your fielding rating be worth it by reaching base at LEAST 1 time during his plate appearances?  And that would merely kind of equate to giving up that extra out.

However wait a minute, because that still doesn’t really tell the story.  The real impact is giving the other team 4 outs in an inning at some point during a game.  Who knows when it will occur until you play?  It’s Russian Roulette with every fielding play.  Doesn’t it typically seem more times than not an error occurs at a crucial time?  Those are the kind that open the proverbial floodgates surrendering that big inning.  Then that 1 extra out looms much larger.

How many games have you watched when your favorite team could have won if they just didn’t extend that one inning by booting the ball?  Besides it turns the lineup over another notch, thus putting the most feared batter in the lineup to come up to the plate an extra time.

I sure have been guilty of building lineups that have quite frankly benched some far better fielding for those far better hitters that are lousy fielders.  The good news is that Major League Baseball players are just that, Major Leaguers.  Thus even the lousy ones are still going to be adequate in most cases.  Naturally even the most elite of fielders commit errors, consequently errors are part of the game.

With all this said, I’m not suggesting to bench your good hitters across the board in favor of a weaker hitters who are superb fielders.  Instead it’s to give additional consideration next time you make lineups playing your favorite tabletop baseball board games.  In so many cases, those great hitters are solid fielders as well, thus making your decision solely around where to place that hitter in your lineup.

By the way, studying the 2012 National League, the team that made the most errors were the Colorado Rockies with 122.  Meanwhile the NL team that committed the least number of errors were the Atlanta Braves with 86.  A whopping difference of 36 errors, I suppose the Rockies staff would agree it wasn’t pretty.  Atlanta went to the playoffs, Colorado got to catch their breath from chasing the ball around as they sat home watching post season play.

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In summary, you should consider that a lineup with an average fielding team will commit 1 error per game 64% of the games you play.  If you field a team with an fielding average that is very high, let’s say .986 or better then you reduce your risk that will happen to less than 1 error per game.

It may not sound like much of a fuss over, but lowering your risk to avoid giving up that extra out just may be the one that saves your team while playing your favorite tabletop baseball board games.

This is where Baseball Classics “traffic highlighting” comes in very handy.  Layout all your Baseball Classics player cards on top of the positions on the field they play.  Look for a sea of green (up arrow) and/or yellow (left arrow) as much as possible across all positions.
Baseball Classics Player Cards

Baseball Classics Player Cards

From the ground up, Baseball Classics baseball game was designed for baseball fans to enjoy a real, yet easy and fast playing experience.  I believed the key to success was centered around the design of our player cards.  The rest of the game design would then flow from the look and feel of our player cards to ensure seamless play throughout.

This post isn’t about comparing Baseball Classics player cards to the many other tabletop baseball board games past and present.  We leave that up to you.  Instead, this article will explain and highlight the design of our player cards in order to provide a next generation, new and fun baseball game play perspective.  It’s like finally seeing your favorite music artist perform in concert after years of listening to their music.  The next time you listen to their music there is a renewed sense of appreciation.  That is our goal with this post for you.

Just like a user interface is valuable to a computer software user, player card design is equally as important to tabletop baseball board game fans.  Consider when the first generation Apple iPhone hit the market.  Not only was Apple not known for producing cell phones, they had no confidence from the industry being able to deliver a great cell phone that would take the world by storm.  Mega computer industry giants like Microsoft and others did not take them seriously at all prior to launch.  However after one glance at the iPhone and user interface, it won over major mind and market share beyond the wildest dreams of the industry in record numbers.  Today, Apple still receives the sincerest form of flattery.  How many other cell phones have you seen since the revolution of the iPhone with that familiar grid of user friendly interface?  It easily replaced the popular flip phone and Blackberry which were dominating at the time and set the standard.

The 5 Second Rule

If there is one thing we all know about any tabletop board game, the easier it is to play, the wider the adoption of play.  Baseball Classics cards are designed so that anyone could tell how to play in 5 seconds or less!  Sure there are sophisticated formulas that make up each card’s results and ratings, yet we wanted each card to be a canvas graphically painting them simply and elegantly as possible.  Baseball is a game for the masses to enjoy due to it’s easy look and feel.  Baseball Classics embraced that very premise.

Naturally the centerpiece of any baseball game player card are the type of possible results and how to achieve them.  I chose common household six-sided dice for our system, this was a key decision.  It was very interesting when testing out the initial design of play with 3 six-sided dice.  Notably how very smart people were a bit challenged in terms of time it took to add up certain combinations.  I liked that, good exercise for the brain.

For a good understanding on the odds to roll a result from our Baseball Classics player cards, check out the graphic to the right leveraging traffic highlighting with red, yellow, and green to reflect the probability of dice rolls using 3 six-sided dice.  25% of the time a roll of 10 or 11 will come up compared to less than 19% of the time any these rolls of 3, 4, 5, 6, 15, 16, 17, or 18 will come up.  The next time you look at a Baseball Classics player card, note these probabilities when making your line ups.

Next to each dice roll possibility of 3 through 18 on the actual player cards are the results for each roll based on the players actual statistics framed right next door.  In one glance not only could you tell how the player card was able to perform based on our “traffic highlighting”, but if you were more of a numbers person the stats were right there for the taking too.  This is a nice side-by-side vantage point for the Baseball Classics baseball game fan to get a very good feel for what they could expect from a player visually and statistically.

Name, Rank, and File

The next portion of the Baseball Classics player card design I focused on was the top quarter.  Unless you’re familiar with every MLB player, first I decided it was important to put an icon in the upper right hand corner of each card opposite of the name so anyone could quickly see if they had a position player’s batting card or a pitcher’s card.  With so many cards on a team let alone season, sorting through them to organize team cards is easier to do.

I chose a binary die roll of 0 (zero) to the pitcher’s card because it’s the shape of a baseball and 1 (one) for the batter’s card because it’s the shape of a baseball bat with hopes that would make it easier for our fans to remember.

Next was the decision to use traffic-highlighted triangles to indicate the strength or weakness of each players bunting, base stealing, base running, and fielding.  They provide a strong dual indicator with the combination of arrow direction and color representation.

This is important for the Baseball Classics fan when building line-ups and organizing their player bench and pitching staff to save time and easily identify which players they want to play when and where.  Thus being able to spend more time on game play and making managing decisions along the way.

I Was Told There Would Be No Math

What about the formulas to generate the Baseball Classics player cards?  Naturally this is the secret sauce behind generating any baseball game’s player cards.  It ‘s unlikely any tabletop baseball board game uses the same calculations to generate results for their player cards.  Behind each result and rating on our Baseball Classics player cards, there are math algorithms processing the statistics.

Believe it or not, we used to generate the results in a separate file then manually key them into the player card template for print.  This was automated a long time ago.  Today, once we have the statistics gathered from Baseball Almanac it takes only few seconds to generate 24 Baseball Classics MLB full team players cards with results and ratings in full color.

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One of the more popular questions we receive from those new to Baseball Classics is what type of card stock do we use to manufacture the player cards?  We use a high quality 110 pound white card stock.  Each player card team sheet is printed using a color laser printer before being processed to cut, sort, and bind.  Baseball Classics player cards dimensions are @ 3 1/4″ x 2 1/4″.

If you ever want a sample Baseball Classics MLB team PDF file to check out, post to this Blog with your request and we will email it to you.  Choose any Major League Baseball Team from 1901 to present!  Spread the word!

Game That Inspired Baseball Classics

Game That Inspired Baseball Classics

It was a sunny, summer Saturday morning in the early 1970’s and for some reason that day I slept in well past my usual early morning wake up time.  I woke up to the feeling of a package that just arrived, one of my family members gently placed at the foot of my bed.  I laid still and didn’t peek, and continued that way for several minutes after they quietly left.

I knew what it was and to this day still remember that special feeling one gets when something arrives they have been looking forward to.  For a moment if felt like Christmas morning.  When I opened my eyes, there it was, a long rectangular-shaped cardboard box containing the game I ordered and had been anxiously awaiting.

The tabletop baseball board game that was an inspiration of Baseball Classics

After carefully opening up the box, I was not disappointed one bit.  There it was, a game with the throwback feel and yet new design, different from all the heavily text-based others.  Colorful and had the greatest MLB players of all-time, the very best through the early 1970’s.  16 teams, featuring their best franchise players including my all-time favorites Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle, though so many more.  As well as other’s I never heard of before and came to appreciate like Rudy York, Eddie Joost, and Three Finger Mordecai Brown to name a few.  It wasn’t long before I came to know them based on their contributions once I started playing game after game rotating through these 16 teams of greatness across the eras.

I played Strat-o-matic, SherCo, APBA, and so many others that were great fun, but this game, now this was special.  This was Sports Illustrated All-Time All-Star Baseball Game, it was released in 1973, I was hooked.  It was the inspiration behind Baseball Classics.  Sadly, there was never to be any revised editions in subsequent years.  The game can be found for purchase from time to time on sites such as eBay, typically ranging from $100 to well over $200 or far more depending on the condition.

When I designed Baseball Classics, this was the game that came to the forefront of my mind.  It had a great combination of one I thought was the most fun to play, easiest to play, fastest to play, minimum charts, had MLB greats across the eras, realistic, and accurate.  This is a combination I embraced and built the Baseball Classics business model around.

Game Design

Sports Illustrated All-Time All-Star Baseball Game Player Sheets

The SI All-Time All-Star baseball game had a new design, full color team sheets compared to the black and white, plain font lettering of other games.  Everything from batting stance, batting vs. a lefty or righty pitcher, bunting, and the result of an at bat and plays such as stealing, base

Matrix Edition Card

running, etc., all color-coded.  Baseball Classics eventually adopted full color-coding, we like to call “traffic highlighting”, for all player card ratings (bunting, base stealing, base running, fielding) results, and the Play Chart.  This enhances not only the look and feel of the game, but also makes it easier and faster to glance through your players to see which ones are strong in the areas you’re looking for as you build and/or insert into your lineup and pitching.

Upon showing a Baseball Classics to a friend one day to get his opinion, he said “In 5 seconds you can tell how to play!”.  Formerly, Baseball Classics carried the Matrix Edition, some may find it resembled the SI game player look and feel most.

Perhaps those familiar with SI may have another point of view, but in mine their game gives that design feeling of throwback and modern baseball.  Providing All-Time All-Time Star players from yester year such as Ty Cobb and up to the early 1970’s with players like Reggie Jackson along with their mostly black and white game box cover gave it such such charisma.  The Baseball Classics name and logo were designed to embrace both the throwback and modern eras MLB; we hope you feel they do.

Play Any Major League Baseball Team

This is another area of the game that truly inspired our offering any Major League Baseball season or team from 1901 to present!  The SI game featured the greatest players of all-time, some spanning into the late 1800’s like Honus Wagner for example.  Naturally, Baseball is such a historic icon with many fans appreciating the glory of yesterday we were surely wanting to provide access to all these great teams and players as well.

From the beginning, Baseball Classics offered not just the All-Time greats, but any MLB seasons and individual teams dating back from 1901.  Our most popular season is always the current season available.  Next would be seasons and teams from the 1960’s and 1970’s.  However it is probably not a surprise that so many other seasons and teams are purchased including 1901.  We have had many requests to offer Negro League, Minor League, and the Federal League of which we have noted.  Yet, with over 100 MLB seasons to supply, we have plenty to focus on and provide for our customers.  I feel it is important to serve the mass of baseball fans and their variety in taste to ensure they can manage all the MLB teams and players they want.

David S. Neft and Richard M. CohenThe best benefit I enjoyed when playing SI’s game was learning about cool new players I never heard of.   Their performance piqued my interest, I wanted to them research them further.  It steered me to books like the Baseball Encyclopedia and The Sports Encyclopedia of Baseball by David Neft and Richard Cohen.  The first one I purchased of the latter was the 1985 edition.  Since the SI game didn’t provide player stats, I was curious to see just what was behind their colorful player ratings.  The 1986,1987, and 1988 editions of Baseball Classics used stats from the aforementioned books.  There are many other baseball books that I have read and flipped through to gain more insight into these older ball players well before my time.  One I keep handy is Rob Neyer’s Big Book of Baseball Lineups.  It’s one of my personal favorites to learn about so many players across the MLB eras, an easy, insightful, and enjoyable read.

Game Play

SI is easy and fast to play!  It is a straight dice roll that refers to either the batter or pitcher.  The overwhelming majority of tabletop baseball board game fans want to be able to crank out a good number of games played in a relatively short period of time.  With SI, I typically was able to get 3 to 4 games played within an hour.  A perfect pace for making some good progress towards a slate of games and if one created standings, say National League and American League teams (8 each), then some movement in the standings too would be had in that time.  Baseball Classics was designed from the ground up with player results that could garnered quickly.  Over the years we updated our formulas and player cards to ensure very high accuracy.

SI player results consisted of lefty and righty for the batters, all within an easy view for comparison to see if you should bench or play someone based on the pitcher they are opposing.  Though the game didn’t account the same for pitcher’s lefty vs. righty results, it was still good enough.  I considered this righty and lefty results for player cards in Baseball Classics, though after researching it decided it was not a wise idea.  Here’s why:

  1. Frankly, though for some players there were some clear differentiation when they faced a lefty or righty, the overwhelming majority of the players didn’t have that much of a difference to split their results out.
  2. Our player card design is our marquee; it would have been too disruptive towards the look and feel, hence potentially sacrificing game play ease and speed.
  3. Statistics for lefty vs. righty are not easy to get, especially far back and for pitchers; this matters a lot when offering any MLB team or season from 1901 to present.
  4. Statistics for players are typically listed as the sum of their results and widely discussed that way.  For example, when was the last time you heard or had a conversation with someone when speaking of Hank Aaron’s career home run total in terms of how many were hit off lefty vs. righty?  Instead most everyone simply states 755 homers.
  5. Since most all stats are the sum of a player’s performance, it already represents their lefty vs. righty total, so assuming a batter faced the same pitcher the same number of plate appearances, the results should be within an acceptable margin.

I respect the baseball purest that would still only want to play a tabletop baseball board game that offers lefty vs. righty game play ratings.  However I stand behind the level of high accuracy and fast, easy playability being a fundamental combination requirement not to be sacrificed.

The play charts in SI are easy to read, thus simple to follow and keep the game flow going.  They embraced the same great color-coding consistency that really made it smooth to play.  SI used the same dice for at bat results as play results such as base stealing and then referring to the chart was only necessary when a play beyond the at bat occurred.  This really keeps the pace of game play on track and yet still embraces the drama of play.  Baseball Classics incorporates the same theme throughout to seamlessly move from player card results look and feel to looking up play results in a simple to read condensed chart sporting the same look.  Keeping it simple, yet effective, that’s our policy and I tip my baseball hat to games like SI that deliver on this.

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In conclusion, I would be so appreciative to hear from those who have played Sports Illustrated All-Time All-Star Baseball sharing your favorite memories, what you love about it, and/or any inspiration from it you would care to share in the comments.  I always brought mine with me on our family summer vacations throughout the USA, so it was well traveled and made the car trips go by fast and inspired a new game the next decade named Baseball Classics for all to play and enjoy.

Tabletop Baseball Board Game Accuracy

Tabletop Baseball Board Game Accuracy

When it comes to tabletop baseball board games, one of the more passionate topics is whether a player’s card will provide accurate statistics.  Baseball and statistics go together like a steamed ballpark hotdog and mustard.  Many tabletop baseball board games strive to achieve accurate player results based on their on actual statistical performance.

All tabletop baseball board games possible player at bat results ultimately reflect x% of time those outcomes could occur.

Perhaps at the end of this article, you may even be inspired to build your own baseball game, let alone gain insight into why accuracy has been such a hot topic for tabletop baseball board game fans.

Generally speaking, player cards will list various outcomes such as a single, strikeout, fly out, etc., based on their actual season performance.  Player cards list any possible outcomes such as Strikeout, Single, Walk, etc. a player has based on formulas they created based on that player’s statistics.  Achieving player outcomes when playing a tabletop baseball board game as closely as possible to that player’s statistical performance is key.

For example, when Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs over the course of the 1927 season, the game needs to reflect that as closely as possible when replayed.

There are 2 fundamental areas to look at when it comes to accuracy of player card results in tabletop baseball board games:

  1. Will the game play method allow for accuracy?
  2. Is the player outcome design accurately going to reflect the player’s performance based on their statistics?

The topic of tabletop baseball board game accuracy has filled conversations, forums, and emails with plenty of debate time over the decades.  Let’s explore further.

Game Play Method

Let’s define game play method as what is used to determine where to look on a player’s card for the outcome of an at bat.  There are various methods used such as dice, cards that are shuffled, spinners, etc., or some a combination of them.  The method used varies from game to game depending upon their design of game play.

Dice are by far the most popular and I believe the very best.  Here’s why: each roll is random, they are accessible, simple to read, fast results, convenience, and there are a great number of possibilities offered to then refer to player cards.

Check out the dice roll probability table below, showing the odds of rolling using 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 dice.

Dice Roll Probability Table

When I think of 5 six-sided dice, I think of Yahtzee, not a tabletop baseball board game.  Since Yahtzee is designed on 5-card poker (adding “5 of a kind”, it’s a perfect fit for their game play method.  Notice the number of 7,776 possibilities in this column and how granular the lowest probability is at 0.013%.  Hence why rolling a “Yahtzee” is so hard to do.  Though think of the times you played and had 2 in the same game!  This leads to another point towards the end of this post.

I will use Baseball Classics to demonstrate game play method using dice.  Baseball Classics uses 3 six-sided dice and 1 binary die.  The binary die has a 0 or 1 on it, simply with 2 possible outcomes.  3 six-sided dice have 216 different total dice roll possibilities.  When combining the binary die with the 3 six-sided dice it now makes the possibility twice as hard to achieve.  Adding an extra die to be used with a group of six-sided dice is a common approach used by tabletop baseball games.

Here is how it works in Baseball Classics.  Rolling the 4 dice, when a 1 is rolled on the binary die you would refer to the batter’s card, if a 0 the pitcher’s card.  This 50% chance is then factored into the roll of the 3 six-sided dice possibility as such:

50% * ((combination of possible roll outcomes for a number)/216) = probability of roll on player card

What does this mean regarding our game play design?  It means we designed our game play to get within less than ¼ of 1 percentage point (0.02315%) of a player’s outcome within 1 dice roll.

Here’s the math:  50% * 0.463% = 0.2315%

And there are a number of games out there that provide a granular possibility of less than 1%.  Especially when you combine a dice roll and then some other factor like picking from a stack of cards to determine the outcome.  Baseball Classics can even get within 0.011575% of a player’s outcome in 2 rolls.  It’s not often necessary simply because that type of statistical outcome is rarely performed by a baseball player.

Let’s put this into perspective.  How many times do players produce anything statistically less than 1% in a season?

It happens, but not that often, and when it does it’s rarely less than ¼ of 1 percent.  After generating thousands of player cards over decades I can tell you that players doing something less than ¼ or 1/10 of a 1 percent is extremely rare.  And when it happens, baseball board games can achieve it with 1 or 2 dice rolls, card pulls, etc., or some combination there of.

However, what’s is important is the ability to achieve virtually any type of result outcomes from an at bat.  Thus having a game play method that supports a healthy number of granular possibilities close to or at 5%, 4%, 3%, 2%, 1% or less.  Here’s why:

  1. In the event an at bat outcome shouldoccur less than 1%
    • One case in point are triples, quite a few ballplayers hit a triple less than 1% of the time.
  2. A smaller number possibilities support more flexibility in the player card design
    • It’s necessary to have this flexibility to add smaller possibility increments together or with a larger possibility increment to attain as close as possible to the % of time that outcome could occur based on the game designers formulas.
  3. Add more drama, style to the game player result
    • If every player result had only 1 possibility to achieve an outcome such as groundout, many of these would look the same.  However by having more possibilities, these can be divided up in different ways so an outcome looks different, even when they are the same statistical possibility between two players.

Player Outcome Design

This gets into how the baseball game formulas have been designed to derive an outcome on a player’s card.  It’s how you want the card to look and feel as well as reach the results based on a player’s statistics.  Some like Baseball Classics choose to have a batter and pitcher card with the result ultimately referring to one or the other card, others went with a different direction.

With statistical possibilities, one can design a game to reach what I call the “nth” degree, such as 0.000000001%.  Naturally the benefit is being able to have such an incredible degree of accuracy to the nth degree based on the formulas designed, that the outcome could be achievable to the penny so to speak.  Naturally, the trade off is how many dice rolls, cards, spins, etc. would someone need to achieve that level?  That is another topic that I’ll cover in a subsequent post.

Now back to the Yahtzee reference above and rolling a couple of Yahtzee’s in the same game.  It shouldn’t occur that frequently, but of course it can.

Note the italics used throughout this article.   These emphasize ultimately, our games are developed relying on a random generation of the possibilities.  It’s the nature of the beast.  The odds are high that the game play method will likely honor the formula’s, hence the player outcome should be either right on target or close to the statistical performance after a replay.  This is proven out for many tabletop baseball board games, which is one key reason they have faithful followers that stick to their favorite game or games.

This specific area is the secret sauce for most baseball games.  Most don’t typically care to share their formulas and/or debate them.  We don’t share or debate ours for Baseball Classics either and like many others, prefer our customers speak for game play accuracy based on their player results.  Though this could be a lengthy section, I will leave this area for other’s to elaborate further should they choose.

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In summary, baseball beckons accuracy considering the how closely millions of baseball fans follow player and team stats.  Rest assured game designers have worked hard to ensure the game play methods and player outcome design is going to provide you with a highly accurate representation.  I’ve tried many games throughout the decades; most are superb in this area and have a variety of game play methods behind them.  You are likely very satisfied with the accuracy of your tabletop baseball board game of choice.  And if so, please share your experience and/or favorite method of game play and why.  Comment about Baseball Classics or any of the other fine, outstanding tabletop baseball board games on the market.