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Vol. II, Issue #3 - November 2015

** Diamond Vision: Tales of a Strat Master - Chuck Tinkler **

(Once again Chuck Tinkler comes up with another great article for our newsletter, talking about a
special individual he has met that is very knowledgable about the game ... you must read further ... )

(Bio on Chuck:  Chuck is returning to USBN with his second article. His last one was in September of last year (see the link below). He is from the Long Beach area of California and has been playing Strat-O-Matic off-and on for about 25 years. He currently plays in two leagues, Polo Grounds Baseball and the Bigs Winter League. His Strat interests include finding slick ways to cause a team to outperform expectations and irritating his league mates by talking lots of smack about it.  Chuck is always likes to chat about Strat, Hal settings and ballpark dimensions in particular, so feel free to email him with questions or comments related to this article -- his email is listed at the end of this amazin' article = thank you Chuck!!  To read his previous article that discussed ball parks, head over to:

http://www.ultimatestratbaseball/USBN-10-2014/CharlesTinkler-September2014.htm )    


Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter, member Chuck Tinkler writes an article about SOM Baseball Ball Parks
Diamond Vision:
Tales of a Strat Master

Who is this Master Chuck
is Speaking about?

        Me? Just an average guy. Nothing special. Have never been particularly good or particularly bad at anything. Got average grades in school and was an average ballplayer.

        Like a lot of guys, I grew up loving baseball. It wasn't long before me and my buddies found our way to Strat-O-Matic. Our leagues were great. We had no idea what we were doing. We just drafted guys, played a ton of games…it was a blast. The object was to "win" of course, but it was not nearly as important to anybody as was having the fun cards from each set. For me, I loved having Vince Coleman. I knew that he was pretty much a wash when you looked at the whole package…but who cares! He stole 100 bases every year! At least, that was the way we looked at things back then.

        If any of these teams of mine would have won, it certainly wouldn't have been through any genius on my part. Dumb luck more like it. If you play often enough, it's bound to happen sooner or later. Truth is, I don't know that we actually finished enough seasons to have determined anybody to have really been that much better than anyone else.

        Once college came, we went their separate ways, and Strat-O more or less became a relic from our youth. That was until some years later when I randomly bumped into an old coach of mine and he said that a league was forming. It was going to be a face-to-face league, 20 GM's deep, and he wanted to know if I'd join. I of course said yes, and what was to follow makes for one heck of a Strat-o-matic Tale.


        What I did not realize at the time was who I was actually in the presence of. What I did not realize at the time was just how good of a Strat GM this guy was. What I did not realize was that not only was this guy a Strat Master, but that he was quite possibly the Strat Master.

        This "guy" was our baseball coach and the one that had actually introduced us to the hobby back in high school. He had been in a league with some other teachers and coaches at the time and once we saw what they were up to, it was over with - we just had to get our hands on a set of these "cards". He though was always there to answer questions for us, end debates over whether or not you could choose what side of the plate your switch-hitting batter would hit from, that kind of thing. It was really cool.

        So when he asked me to join the face-to-face league, it was pretty much a no-brainer. A chance to play in a league with Coach, plus an old buddy who had been invited as well? Done. I was a bit out-of-date with the numbers, but knew enough to not totally embarrass myself.

        We assembled into a big room for draft day. This was the spring of 1999. He had 1st pick; I had 14th. I remember very clearly that on that day, as I made my picks, I looked over at the table where he was sitting and despite him obviously not wanting to, I engaged us in a little draft day chatter. Having just taken Albert Belle and Mo Vaughn with my first two picks, I was excited to know what he thought. He said "Well, there's a couple of big bodies you got there." Ha! Had no idea then who I was talking to or what he was really saying. This was as positive of a thing that he could have mustered at the moment because what he really thought was that both picks were total crap and that was all he could do to not say it. Albert Belle's and Mo Vaughn's "big bodies" of course would both break down within two years of making those picks, just as he surely suspected they would.


         I still can remember some of the conversations the guys from his league would have. They'd be talking about this trade or that trade, upcoming drafts, etc, and the subject of Phil, the Strat Master, would invariably come up. When it did, they'd get this kind of pained look on their face, and kind of roll their eyes as if to say "did you really need to remind me?". Remind them of the Grim Reaper standing over there in the corner just waiting to make minced meat out of them. No matter how fun the league was or how relevant they wanted their plights to be, the undeniable truth was that this guy ruled their world and deep down they knew there was nothing anyone could do about it. It was a feeling that I was to later know all too well myself.

        The funniest part about this league he was in was that a few of these guys had gotten so thoroughly frustrated by losing to him that they actually convinced themselves that the only possible answer was that he must have been cheating. And so convinced were they of this that they went so far as to demand his dice so they could see if they were loaded. So convinced were they that they actually took this man's dice, dropped them in a glass of water, and looked to see if they were weighted or not! That, my friends, is when you know you are good. The dice weren't weighted of course, but imagine how things must have gotten for these guys to take such an extreme step like this. Imagine how thorough of a spanking they must have gotten to reach the conclusion that this guy was using loaded dice. That though was just Phil. Accusations like this were to follow him pretty much wherever he went.

        Despite his results, Phil's genius for SOM went largely unrecognized. The inclination was always to pass it off as luck, cheating, or just to ignore it entirely. For the most part, guys just didn't bother to look at what Phil was doing. No one wanted to think about him or his team more than they were already forced to. Not only that, but who can suspect someone of knowing what they themselves are clueless to the existence of? It simply didn’t occur to anyone that he could really be that good or that he really knew that much more about it.

        It's like, if Mike Tyson were to knock someone's face into next week, people wouldn't be left to speculate about what had happened. They wouldn't say he was lucky or he cheated; they would be able to see clear as day what had happened and why. But with Phil, he just totally flew under the radar. He looked as plain as day. Nothing about his habits or his conversation suggested that he was highly intelligent or anything. And Strat-O-Matic seemed pretty straight forward. So, how much more could he really know? Plenty. Enough to write a book about. At least enough to make a few good articles for the USBN. Until then...

Chuck Tinker 

(NOTES from the Wolfman: We want to thank Chuck again for another thought-provoking article about this Strat Master, who he promises we will hear more about in the future.  Also, we thank Chuck for being a contributor as the lifeblood of our newsletter is through a co-creation of your editing team in conjunction with you, the members.  We are always open to consider to share good and thoughtful articles from you and each of us has our own special stories to share. So thanks again Chuck for your next contribution and of course you have all of our interest to hear more about the "Strat Master"!!  Chuck is always waiting to chat with you: chucktinkler@gmail.com  )


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Contained inside this exciting issue of Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter:
(to view the various interviews, articles, columns and special sections click on the links {underlined}
and this will take you to the appropriate webpage)


  ARTICLE with JOHN DEWAN, owner of Baseball Info Solution, chapter for a book about Bill James.

  MLB STORY with BILLY SAMPLE, Talks about "Bat Flipping" and Willie Montanez while a Ranger.

  SOM BASEBALL LEAGUE REPORT with WOLFMAN SHAPIRO -- the editor of "The Ultimate Strat Newsletter" and 2012 CBA Champion, the "Wolfman" puts out a call to commissioners of various
Strat-o-matic Baseball Leagues that he finds on the internet and three leagues respond to be interviewed and tell their stories! 
To view any individual interview, click on the links below or start with Part I and finish with an in-page link to Part II for the two interviews, more interviews given in the December issue coming:

INTERVIEW with Kurt Meunier, FVSL, P-I (F2F League in Wisconsin)

INTERVIEW with Robert Latorre, 60's Decade Keepers League, P-II, (CDROM-email)

  SOM/MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL WORLD NEWS with WOLFMAN SHAPIRO, editor of "The Ultimate Strat Newsletter" shares the Special Fielding Ratings given by John Dewan's Group with Baseball Info Solutions and an update on the SOM Baseball Projection Sheets shared by the legendary Bruce Bundy, author of the periodic column called "Strat Thoughts".

  REPORT with TOM NAHIGIAN (1961 cards), Personal friend of the Wolfman, known in Guzzo's book as "The Collector", returns and we take a peak at some of the early strat cards printed from 1961.

  STRAT WISE with MARC WASSERMAN -- commissioner of the Cyber Baseball Association (CBA) renames his column to "Strat Wise" as he expands his sharing and reporting of our Strat-o-matic Baseball Community.  In this first part of his new column he talks about the recent MLB World Series and discusses the content of some of the special videos we have on our Ultimate Strat Baseball Video Channel on Youtube.

  ARTICLE with WOLFMAN SHAPIRO -- the editor of "The Ultimate Strat Newsletter" and 2012 CBA Champion, the "Wolfman" goes back into the far past and pulls out one of his first articles to the Strat-o-matic Review from 1973, when he really was becoming known as the "Wolfman" (the Skokie Wolfman) as he challenged one of the first female strat gamers, Donna Chevrette to a play against him via play-by-mail.  This is series used the MLB All Star players from 1971, with the Wolfman taking the National All Stars and Chevrette taking the American.  The series became known in the Review as "The Battle of the Sexes".  After this series was played, and a victor uncovered, the combats switched teams and played a second series (which is an article by Donna Chevrette) that will be reported in our December issue.

  RECOMMEND ON-LINE SOM RESOURCES -- On-line Strat-o-matic and Baseball related websites
that offer amazing information, special tools and products to improve your game play that we strongly recommend. In most cases, we have had personal contact with these sources who agree with the principle to work together and help promote each other.

  BOOKS TO DIE FOR and Become a BASEBALL GURU -- This page is specifically about special books we are finding that either will expand your insights about the game of Baseball, help you in the creation of your current league teams or with your replays and learn more about the Strat-o-matic Baseball Game and Game Company's history.  We have a special arrangement with Acta Sports, who is a publisher of a number of great baseball books (including Bill James Handbooks) to offer for our members a 10% discount. We will continue to add more books to this page in the future as we uncover other gems our members should know about.


Contact Us for Questions or Submissions:

Wolfman Shapiro
Founder/Editor, the Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter

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