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?

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!

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!