Found an article online this morning by Jonathon Salant in Bloomberg Businessweek on Strat-O-Matic, the card and dice baseball game that turns 50 this year and the kicker was this: The average age of a Strat-O-Matic player today is 35.
Now I have to admit, I haven’t played the game since the dawn of time, but there’s a certain joy that came with knowing people still do.
Given the times we live in, the company producing it has a computer version, but the original – with its cards for every player in the majors and those three dice that determine what happens – remains on sale and popular enough to survive.
In some ways, it was the first baseball sabermetrics game. There were no moving pieces, just a sense of realism because the players you put in your lineup, the pitcher you started, performed in this game much like they did on the field. There were cards on most big-leaguers, with numbers that broke down their speed, power, contact ability at the plate and their strikeout ratios, endurance and tendencies on the mound.
Today, apparently, the nine full-time employess of Strat-O-Matic now have 1,026 players rated based on the 2010 season. Salant writes that Strat-O-Matic has played the 2011 World Series and the Texas Rangers won, in six games.
That means absolutely nothing, of course, but it brings back memories of a time when, for many of us, it meant an afternoon of sublime pleasure. Happy Birthday, Strat-O – may new generations discover and enjoy.