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Vol. III, Issue #3 - November 2015

Strat-o-matic Baseball League
Commissioner' Interviews  PART I

** "The Fox Valley SOM League - Kurt Meunier  **
      (We wish to thank Kurt, for answering our call to begin a new aspect of our newsletter
to dig deeper into the lives and times of a commissioner leading one of the many
Strat-o-matic Baseball Leagues that exists and how they affect their members.)

(Notes from the Wolfman:  In our newsletter so far, we have heard about the ins and outs of being a member of an SOM Baseball League via our Commish, Marc Wasserman.  For this issue and going forward, we have decide to begin to take a look at some of these leagues as we put out a private email to the commissioners of leagues that have been listed publicly.  Kurt Meunier of the Fox Valley SOM League answered our call and we are very proud to lead off with his story of a small face-to-face league based in Wisconsin.  If you would like to share some special stories and insights linked with your own league, please feel free to send me a private email, at my email shown below.  So, next up is Kurt Meunier, the manager of the Milwaukee Brewers of the FVSL, the league storyteller and the Yankees of his league ... )


Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter, Fox Valley Strat League Logo

Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter, Kurt Meunier, commissioner of the Fox Valley Strat League, WI

Above we see FSVL Commissioner Kurt, showing off his Babe Ruth Softball Swing

 Dear Readers -- we are honored and excited to be able to introduce you to Kurt Meunier, who is the commissioner of the Fox Valley Strat-o-matic League.  Kurt has an interesting story to tell us how the FVSL was founded in 1988 under some very interesting circumstances.

Kurt, welcome to the Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter. 

Kurt: Thanks for talking with me

Wolfman:  So Kurt, when you were younger did you always have an interest in Baseball? 

Kurt:  I did. I started at with little league & progressed from there. When Milwaukee got the Brewers in 1970 I really had a team to follow then (I was 8).

Wolfman:  Do you play in little league or high school and if so what was your best position?

Kurt:  I did play both. Played 1B in high school then when I graduated played tournament softball in Wisconsin. I would play every night(twice on Tuesdays)  then every weekend (130-170 games a summer for 30 years)

Wolfman:  Who are some of the individual ball players that are your most favorite?

Kurt:  Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Cecil Cooper, Jose Canseco, Roger Clemens

Wolfman:  Now tell us Kurt, how did you first get involved with Strat-o-matic?

Kurt:  I saw an add in a magazine and ordered the game in 1975 and then started to play the game solitaire.  I found out in 1981 that a friend of mine also played the game, so we began to play against each other on Sundays. We heard of other guys who played and tried to start a league but it didn't work out.

Wolfman:  So is the FVSL the first league you play in then? Did you play in any tournaments before then?

Kurt:  Yes, I started the FVSL and that was my 1st ever league. I have yet to play in a strat-o-matic tournament.

Wolfman:  Now Kurt tell us the history about how the FVSL started and what is the current status of your league now, how many teams do you have?

Kurt: The FVSL was founded in 1988 by various softball teammates I knew but we didn't know that each other played strat. Our softball team traveled around the state (Wisconsin) playing our league games. We would begin in April & finish our season in October. One weekend we were playing a tourney in Menasha & knew this other team so we stopped to see how they were doing. I leaned over to check their score sheet & saw that they were using a strat score sheet so I asked Huggy "who plays strat?". He looked around & said "me, how did you know?". I told him the score sheet gave it away. So he & Jim played so this how our league began with 6 guys. I began doing newsletters & recruiting & we hit 12 players eventually. Thru the 25 years we have been around we have had 20 players in the league.  However right now, we are down to 6 franchises.

Wolfman:  What geographic region are the members of your league from. 

Kurt: We are all from Neenah, Menasha, Oshkosh and Appleton, Wisconsin 

Wolfman:  Is this a face-to-face league?

Kurt: Yes it is.


Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter, members of the Fox Valley Strat League playing their SOM Baseball games

  How often do you play? 

Kurt:  Every Sunday beginning in February, we play 6-12 games each week.

Wolfman:  Can you explain the structure of your league and how you decide your champion?

Kurt:  There are divisions setup with a 120 game schedule. Then depending upon the number of teams (in our league) determines the of games we play against each other and  how many teams make the playoffs. We have a league constitution and a newsletter.

Wolfman:  Now coming back to your own game play - what are some special experiences you have had as a member of your league - have you won any championships?

Kurt:  I have been considered the "New York Yankees" of our league. I did not make the playoffs in our inaugural year but every year there after (21 years) winning 12 championships

I have experienced a few no-hitters. I had Roger Clemens toss one, Bruce '2 minutes for' Ruffin throw one & I had a combined no-no thrown against me that was started by Alex Fernandez. I have had a few broken up in the 9th as well including 2 more by Roger Clemens

Wolfman:  What are some of the greatest teams that have existed in your league? 

Kurt:  My 1992 Team went 92-28. That team was stacked with the likes of F. Thomas, R. Alomar, Barry Bonds, K. Griffey Jr., Juan Gonzalez, Danny Tartabull, Terry Pendleton, Nolan Ryan, Saberhagen & a stacked bullpen of Duane Ward, Tom Henke, S. Howe and M. Stanton.

Wolfman:  Which team and year won the most games?

Kurt:  The 1992 Milwaukee team went 92-28, the 1996 Milwaukee team went 89-35, then the 1996 Milwaukee team went 85-35, with the 2006 Milwaukee team going 82-38. Those are the best records for our regular season teams.  (Note from the Wolfman: I wonder who was the manager of these squads???? hmmm ....)

Wolfman:  Why do you enjoy playing in your league - what type of relationship exists with your members? 

Kurt:  We are a close knit group of members/friends. I have stood up in some of their weddings & some have stood up in mine. We are on the same softball team as well. 

Wolfman:  Has there been any challenges to your league in the past where it might have ended? 

Kurt:  There were a couple times but just like with all families, there are going to disagreements & differences of opinion at times, but we have always worked through it.

Wolfman:  What makes your league unique?

Kurt:  The fact that our league has always been a face to face league and meets on every Sunday even during the winter (which can be extreme here in Wisconsin).

Wolfman:  Tell us about some of the members of your current league?

Kurt:  There are 2 sets of brothers, John & DJ Hinz (they manage one team) and Jeff & Jason Neubauer (they manage another team). There is an Uncle and nephew tandem, Jason & Terry Dixon (share yet a 3rd team). Then we have the old high school friends, Kurt Meunier, Mark Wolfgram & Rob Ertl.

Wolfman:  What are the ages of your members? 

Kurt:  We are all from 40-55 years old.

Wolfman:  I understand Kurt, people in your league call you "The Story Teller", why is this and what stories can you tell our readers?

Kurt:  I have been told that I do not just answer "yes" or "no" to any question asked of me but that I always answer such questions with a story.  Besides the story I shared before about how our league began, here is another cool story connected to our softball team adventures:

During a weekend in 1991, we were playing a softball tournament in Winneconne & Huggy, Jim, Robbie & I were 'rollin the bones' when a guy came over to the pavilion & asked who's cards they were. All pointed to me and he asked "do you have the 1983 set". I told him I did & he wanted to know if I would sell it-told him now, as he wanted "1" specific card, the Tom Tellman card. Turns out, that this was who I was talking to!!! Odd thing is I have always been a true blue Brew Crew fan so why I did not recognize him is beyond me. He also played softball in the same circle as I did & I never knew that he did

Wolfman:  Now I would like to turn the questions around to ask the Yankees of the FVSL, about your strategy in building your teams. Can you talk a little bit about this.

Kurt:  I have stuck to the same plan/format each year. Our league has a salary cap so you can get a number of "superstars" but you still need key bench or platoon players for matchups vs. certain pitchers.

Wolfman:  And what are some of the other keys to your success? 

Kurt:  I draft high strikeout pitchers and load them into a strong bullpen who may go 5 innings a game if needed. Those type of relief pitchers would be (back in the early 2000s); H. Bell, C. Marmol, B.  Jenks, BJ Ryan and B. Lidge.

Wolfman:  What else did you acquire to build these amazing championship teams? 

Kurt:   Beyond my strong bullpen (with the pitchers I mentioned above), I would build a team with a combination of speed & power. My 2007 team had 1B-A. Pujols, 2B-R. Cano, 3B- M. Cabrera, SS-C. Guillen, C -J. Mauer then the rest of the team were matchup players such as L. Scott, G. Sheffield, Del Young, J. Devannon, G. Gross and S. Stewart to face certain type of pitchers.

Wolfman:  What tips or key strategies could you share with some of our younger members or members new to strat to help them build successful teams?

Kurt:   I recommend to draft a good mixture of players that will matchup against your opponent. Anyone can send out a team of superstars but it is more fun to manage special matchups, situations & go with your hunches. I have a couple of guys that 'crush' LHP and a couple that "crush" RHP for example and then just use your managing skills how to best implement the use of your team.

Wolfman:  If a member of our newsletter wanted to find out more about the FVSL, do you have a website or publication you share? 

Kurt:  We have a league Newsletter (I would be happy to share) but we do not have a website. 

Wolfman:  How important are league stats? 

Kurt:  They are everything for us. The one thing we all play for

Wolfman:  What would be the best way for any of our members to contact you if they have additional questions?

Kurt:  By email (

Wolfman:  Is there anything else about your league you would like to share with our members that we didn't ask before you think is important to know?

Kurt:  We have a traveling trophy that our champion carries for a year (until the next season's champ).

We had one of our members who carried a tape recorder around with crowd noise from County Stadium that he would play during his games. He also had Bob Uecker's homerun calls that he would play when one of his players HR'd as well as Bob Uecker's strikeout calls. I do not want to give out any names but that person is the guy being interviewed here.  :-)

Wolfman:  Thank you Kurt for spending time with us to give us some insights about your special face-to-face league.  Continued success to you and your members and thank you for supporting our newsletter with your stories and insights!

Dear members, to continue to read the next part of this special new section about some special Strat Baseball Leagues, please feel free to click on the link below to go to PART II of this report and hear about a very interesting retro keepers league:

Strat-o-matic Baseball League
Commissioner' Interviews  PART II


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.

  ARTICLE with CHUCK TINKLER, another special article by Chuck, one of our members about a real Strat Master he met in his early days of playing Strat-o-matic

  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
co-Founder/Editor, the Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter

email: wolfman@ultimatestratbaseball.com
: www.facebook.com/wolfman.shapiro
twitter: @StratBaseball4U

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