The Nation's Pastime ...
Privately updated team charts
for the long out-of-print game are part of the appeal.
Mark Giddings (left) shows excellent
taste in headwear as he plays his way to the title.
Mark Giddings' All-Time Giants pounded Rich Moyer's All-Time
Yankees in the World Series, to conclude the most successful
Superstar Baseball tournament yet at the World Boardgaming
Having languished as a trial event for most of the past 15
years and never having drawn more than 24 participants (and as
few as eight or nine some years), the event got a last-minute
pardon when the rules for selecting Century events was changed
A new format was designed - one that pulled strongly from
Phil Barcafer's innovative Ace of Aces tournament. Rather
than having all participants meet at one time - and subjecting
fast-playing players to wait for slower players, just to see
who made the playoffs, each player would receive his team, some
charts and some dice and had the entire convention (until Saturday
evening) to play as many games as they could.
There was concern as to the effectiveness of this format change;
Ace of Aces is a far quicker playing game, and there was
no indication this new format would appeal to players OR that
it would work (besides, of course, the GMs buy-in to the system).
The numbers were overwhelmingly positive. This year's event
saw 36 participants who played a total of 170 games (including
a 5-game playoff). The flexible scheduling meant 15 players joined
AFTER the draft (more on that later), something that would previously
have been impossible. A total of 29 players played four or more
games each (with a high of 26!); most prior years, the vast majority
of players played - at most - three games.
Teams accumulated "qualifying points" based on the
number of games they played and their performance. Play often
and play well quickly became the mantra of the managers. If only
one of the criteria was met, it could have dire consequences
(as Andy Lewis discovered, missing the playoffs with a stellar
When the regular season carnage cleared, the top six teams
(in terms of qualifying points) advanced to the playoffs. There,
they were re-seeded according to winning percentage (hence the
"play well" advice).
#1 Mark Giddings - Giants - 17-3 record
#2 Harry Flawd - Red Sox - 16-8 record
#3 Brian Stone - Athletics - 10-7 record
#4 John Welage - Cardinals -12-9 record
#5 Rich Moyer - Yankees - 14-12 record
#6 Ilan Wall - Red Sox - 7-10 record
In the first playoff game, #4 St. Louis started its 7-0 ace,
Bob Gibson, vs. the #5 Yankees. Gibby gave up one run, scattering
five hits over the first eight innings, and received enough support
from the offense to take a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth,
although many scoring opportunities were squandered. The Yankees
used a battery of pitchers to keep St. Louis at bay. In the bottom
of the ninth, the Yankee bats awoke, and the St. Louis dream
evaporated, as hits from Gehrig, Mantle and Berra gave the Yankees
the 3-2 come-from-behind victory. John had to settle for the
#6 spot overall in the standings.
In the next playoff game, #6 Boston started Roger Clemens
who completely dominated the third seed Athletics, allowing only
four hits and two runs while striking out ten, en route to a
12-2 victory. Ted Williams' 3-run homer in the fourth inning
was the death knell for Vida Blue who was knocked out after 3
1/3 largely ineffective innings. Reliever Dave Stewart stopped
the bleeding long enough to allow Oakland to crawl back to an
8-2 deficit, but Rollie Fingers' four-run ninth gave Brian the
#5 spot overall in the standings.
The Yankees took on Harry Flawd's #2 seed Red Sox. The Sox
failed to take advantage of early scoring chances, and the Yankees
made them pay in the 6th inning, when Joltin' Joe DiMaggio doubled
in two runs to draw first blood. In the bottom of the 7th, with
a runner on base, Flawd elected to pinch-hit for ace Roger Clemens
with Babe Ruth, who smashed a home run to tie the game. The Yankee
incarnation of Ruth paid the Sox back, when he led off the ninth
with a double, and - two batters later - scored after a Berra
single. The Sox went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth, landing
Harry squarely in the #4 spot in the standings.
Ilan's Red Sox - the last chance for Red Sox Nation - took
on the favorite Giants who had truly had an impressive regular
season. Three errors by the Sox led to three unearned runs. Additionally,
fatigue rolls that hamstrung the Red Sox pitchers also helped
the Giants pull out the tough 7-6 win, giving Ilan the bronze.
The World Series matchup between the upstart Yankees and Giants
was greatly anticipated. However, the actual game - unlike most
of the other playoff games - was anything but a nailbiter. Yankee
starter Vic Raschi started the game wild, walking six Giants
in the first two innings, which - along with the potent offensive
firepower the Giants normally bring - led to a 10-0 Giants lead.
The game ended mercifully with a 14-4 Giants victory, as Willie
Mays and light-hitting Travis Jackson popped homeruns to lead
the Giants charge.
Players were asked to report on any regular season notable
events, as well:
Detroit starter Virgil Trucks had a perfect game through seven
innings. In the 8th inning, opposing Baltimore pitcher Mike Cuellar
beaned him and forced Trucks out of the game. Reliever Hank Aguirre
continued perfectly until Davey Johnson's pinch-hit single with
one out in the bottom of the 9th. Detroit combines on a 1-0 shutout.
White Sox starter Alex Fernandez, with a 5-3 lead in the top
of the ninth over the Yankees, surrendered back-to-back homers
by DiMaggio and Ruth to tie the game. Reliever Keith Foulke entered
the game, and allowed SEVEN runs in the top of the tenth, to
give the Yankees a 12-5 win.
Another game between the White Sox and Yankees saw five injuries
in the game.
Satchel Paige (of the late Negro Leagues) shut out the Yankees
in Yankee Stadium on a 3-hitter, taking away two home run rolls
from Babe Ruth.
Cleveland used eight pitchers in a game over Seattle, settled
only by a Cleveland walkoff homerun in extra innings.
Relievers had it hard this year - Padres reliever Trevor Hoffman
walked the bases loaded with no outs, but still managed to escape
without giving up a run in a 5-3 victory.
The Dodgers had few bright spots in a 2-10 season - despite Dazzy
Vance's 53 strikeouts in four starts.
A handful of changes are planned for next year - primarily
to avoid the GM having to crunch stats from 3:30-5:00 am each
morning! More importantly, there will be changes to team distribution
(latecomers will not end up with better teams than draft attendees),
scheduling and paperwork.