Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter Logo

Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter - baseball hitter

Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter SOM Game Box

Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter - Pitcher in Logo

Vol. V, Issue #2 - March 2017

** Interview with Chris Williams, Strat Gamer
-- a publisher Baseball Book Author

(A chance meeting on Linkedin, allows me to meet another Strat Gamer who is
writing Baseball Books and Articles, meet Chris Williams, hear about his new book!)

Notes from the Wolfman:  Most of the time, to get interesting articles or interviews I have to go out on the internet and send out inquiries and invitations.  Fortunately I am a some-what patient person who always know, I will eventually come into connect with the right and best persons who will eventually be linked to our newsletter. And even sometimes, just sometimes, being an editor of a very respected Strat-O-Matic on-line newsletter, someone will write to you first. Well this is exactly how I met Chris, as he sent to me a message on Linkedin - I think he may have seen our announcement of our new Draft Guide and this is what prompted his shout out to me. 

Anyway, Chris is now officially a member of our newsletter and he also is the proud papa of a new book as well which he will discuss below. The title of his book is kind of a fun title, but really does give you an idea of what the book is all about, its called "Coulda Woulda Shoulda".  The book is now available through his publisher ACTA Sports, who we still have a 10% discount with for all of our members, if you wish to pursue this.  I have listed Chris' book in our resource section, as it is always a joy for us to show books written by our members (at this listing is a description how to get the discount on the book). After the interview, I add a few thoughts about my impressions of his new book, which Chris was so gracious to have his publisher send us a review copy.  So, here is Chris with all his stories, enjoy ....) 

Wolfman: Today we have a chance to visit with a very good sports writer and author who also happens to be a strat gamer as well. His name is Chris Williams and as I mentioned above, he has a very entertaining new baseball book out published by Acta Sports, which is the same publisher who did Glenn Guzzo's book on SOM. So Acta Sports definitely likes Strat.

Chris, welcome to the Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsltter!

Chris: Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity.

Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter - photo of Baseball Author Chris Williams of the book, "Coulda Woulda Shoulda"

Wolfman: Ok Chris, before we talk about your book, (for which I am very grateful for receiving a review copy, so I can ask you some intelligent questions later), I like to give our members a chance first to get to know you a bit better and hear about your background.

So, according to the book you currently live in Pennsylvania right now, is this where you were born?

Chris: Yes. I was born in Bristol, PA in a hospital about 25 miles to the northeast of Philadelphia.

Wolfman: When you were younger did you play any baseball yourself (llttle league or high school) and if so what was your best position?

Chris: I played organized baseball through the 12th grade. I was back-up catcher and played a little first base when we got big leads. I also played left field in a local Babe Ruth League and I think I did a decent job out there. Had a good, accurate arm and threw several guys out at the plate before they stopped testing me.

Wolfman: It sounds like you are a big Philadelphia Phillie fan - is this the team you rooted for when you were younger? Who are some of the MLB players you personally like and follow - or since you are a Strat gamer, would like to have on your Strat team?

Chris:  I started rooting for the Phillies in 1966 when I was nine-years-old. A devout "home," fan however, as most of my favorite players have been on the PhilsóDick Allen, Bill White, Deron Johnson, Tony Taylor, Tim McCarver, Joe Morgan, Phil Bradley, Mike Schmidt and Hunter Pence, to name a few. Morgan as a Red, in particular, is someone Iíd like on my Strat team. I love his high on-base percentage, excellent power for a middle infielder, speed, and good defense. Mike Schmidt is another guy you can build a franchise around.

Wolfman: Now, tell our members, what is your story about how you came to know Strat-o-Matic Baseball?

Chris:  A neighborhood friend of mine introduced the baseball version to me in 1969. I was instantly fascinated. Iíve also played the football version and like that, too.

Wolfman:  Are you now or have you in the past participated in any leagues or tournaments?

Chris:  The leagues I participated in were in my neighborhood with friends. Five or six of us would play the baseball or football game when we werenít out playing baseball and football ourselves. No tournaments; Iíd probably get killed anyway!

Wolfman: What do you like about SOM Baseball?

Chris:  Itís uncanny approximation of baseball reality and the flexibility to improve a teamís record by doing things like juggling line-ups, trying different strategies, and occasionally thinking "out-of-the-box." You canít make a lousy team into a pennant winner but you can win a few more games by making the right moves (and a little luck!)

Wolfman: Has SOM Baseball helped you in any way with your career as a writer as I see from your bio that your publisher sent me, you seem to do a lot of writing about baseball in all different forms?

Chris:  The game has helped give me an appreciation of the importance of numbers in baseball. An accurate evaluation of statistical probabilities is key to a teamís eventual success. General Managers and other decision makers who ignore or downplay the importance of stats do so at their (and the teamís) risk.

Wolfman: How did your writing career begin - what do you like about being a writer?

Chris:  Iíve enjoyed writing since I was a kid but I began to write seriously, in hopes of getting published, in 1988. Although itsí sometimes difficult, I enjoy piecing together my statistical research into something I hope will be understood and appreciated by the reader. I also love it when Iím completely finished with a project that I believe has real potential to be published.

Wolfman: Ok Chris, lets now focus on your new book, which I assume is just coming out right about now.  Can you simply tell our members what your book is about and how your got the inspiration to do it?

 Wolfman, the book is out now. Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda is a collection of historical sports essays that often challenge the prevailing conventional wisdom. For example, Iíve read and heard for years that the 1919 "Black Sox" were superior to their World Series opponent, the Reds and would have rolled over them easily had some of their key players not been dishonest. The stats donít exactly support that conviction.

There are plenty of statistics but not so many that the reader is buried under a mountain of numbers. Itís actually an easy read and something even a casual fan will enjoy. The "stats wonks" wonít be disappointed either.

There was no single inspiration for the book. Actually, the essays contained within the covers of Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda were written at various times over the past several years. Last summer, I just decided to put them into one volume and shop the compilation around to various publishers.


Wolfman: Now I see your book is divided into 3 parts - each looking at possible scenarios that could happen with the current players or scenarios that have happened in the past, asking what would take place if such events or activities went in a completely different direction - do you find baseball fans like books that discuss alternative scenarios?

Chris:  Certainly. At least most fans do. "What ifís" have been the source of many spirited baseball discussions over the decadesÖ If Willie McCoveyís line-drive had been just a few inches higher than Bobby Richardsonís outstretched gloveÖIf Bill Buckner had only cleanly fielded that ground ballÖIf Joe Carter hadnít hit that walk-off home run in the SeriesÖ

I think you and your readers will get my point.

Wolfman: Why did you pick the various players and situations that you included in the book?   Coming from Chicago, I found it interesting that you book seemed to contain a few scenarios with the Chicago Cubs and White Sox. Is there any particular reason you decided to include them in your book?

Chris:  Most of the topics had been of interest of me for a time, sometimes years, before I decided to write about them. A couple were suggested by the publisher. Actually, my original submission contained several other essays which were deemed either too long or not-in-keeping with what we decided the theme of the book was going to be. None of the excluded topics were Chicago-orientated. Greg Pierce, my editor, suggested that we include the pieces that now comprise Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda and I agreed.

Wolfman: The sub-title of the books says itís about Baseball Stories we haven't heard yet, what do you mean by this?

Chris:  I think the sub-title alludes to the fact that the book contains a fresh, sometimes unconventional look at some interesting baseball topics.

Wolfman: How did you meet Acta Sports and why are they supporting your book?

Chris:  I discovered Acta on a source list at the Society for American Baseball Research website. I think they are supporting it because a) it fits the type of book they specialize in b) they think it has a good chance for success in the marketplace, c) it is well-written and d) I submitted it at a time when they were looking for new material.

Wolfman: Is there anything else you wish to share about the book that was not linked to a question I asked before?

Chris:  Yes. Iíd like to publicly commend Greg Pierce for his patience and the great work he did on editing the manuscript. And the cover! Acta did a wonderful job. Simply marvelous.

Wolfman: What is the best way to order the book?

Chris:  Interested persons can order it at the Acta website. Hereís the link: http://actasports.com/coulda-woulda-shoulda/

It is also available at Amazon's and the Barnes and Noble's website.

Wolfman:  Coming Back to Strat-o-matic, I ask this question of all the strat gamers I interview - do you have tips or special strategies you use that have helped you to have more success with your teams - that might benefit our members?

Chris: I hope these tips donít sound too obvious but I suggest the following:

1) Draft players with good on-base-percentages (at least .340).

2) Choose guys who are good fielders or at the least, wonít kill you
over the long haul (Strat rating of 3 or lower, error rating below 10).

3) Look for pitchers with low whip (1.20 or less) and home run
allowed totals (.5 per game or less).

4) Power hitters are OK but if all he hits are home runs but rarely
gets on base, Iíd look elsewhere.

Wolfman:  Chris if any of our members wanted to chat with you or had questions what is the best way to reach you?

Chris:  Via email at: willwrtr@gmail.com

Wolfman: Thanks Chris for spending time with us today and sharing about your links with SOM Baseball and your new book. We wish you total success with the book!! 


Wolfman's Quick Review of Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda by C. Williams

Chris' book is only about 100 pages, but its an easy read. Being from Chicago, I did appreciate the attention his book gave to the Cubs and White Sox, who are very old major league teams who have a great history. No doubt that his publisher who is in Chicago had something to do with it.  One can tell as you read Chris' stories, which is of course are based upon true activities that happened within MLB, it definitely shows the reader other nuisances of the game.  I also appreciated that Chris showed all his sources in the back of the book, so if there is one story you want to learn more, you have a way to do so.  He has a good way to combine telling the story of the players and teams by justifying his ideas and opinions with the actual baseball stats he has researched.  So this shows a part of Chris' genius, that he is able to interpret such statistics and knows where to find them.

I recommend Chris' book and hope he will do more.  It is always nice to hear how the game we love (Strat-o-matic) inspires and helps one with their so-called profession.  We are waiting now for Volume II of "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda" or maybe it "Mightda" happen sooner than we expect.


Support the Cause

If you are enjoying the content and information our newsletter shares with you, why not support us with your helpful donation for our minor expenses and time?

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)


  INTERVIEW with RON SHANDLER, Baseball Fantasy Expert, Throughout the fantasy baseball world, in all the various forms of Fantasy Baseball, there is no one more well known and respected as Ron Shandler. He started the website Baseball HQ, the very successful baseball guide called Baseball Forecaster and now he offers the new BABS Project for winning in your fantasy league.   We had the chance to speak to Ron and to get to know him a bit better as well as find out what the BABS project is all about in Part I, of a two part interview series we will be doing with him.

  ARTICLE with WOLFMAN SHAPIRO - Wolfman Challenges STPC Worlds Champion Pete Nelson, The Strat Tournament Players Club, is known as the most expansive and challenging series of Strat-o-matic Baseball Draft tournaments world wide. Pete Nelson has been one of the main organizers and supporters of these tournaments for many years as well as one of their repeat champions in their classic Worlds Tournaments.  Pete lives close by to our editor Wolfman in the Seattle area, so at the end of January, these two giants played a best of seven game series following the tournament rules of this club. Find out how this epic battle of SOM Baseball heavies went ....

  SOM Baseball and MLB World News - March 2017, This is our periodic column where we share any exciting news and updates linked to either the SOM World or MLB. In this issue, we share a story about "Opening Day" at the Strat-o-matic Game Company you have never heard, along with another report from another newsletter member of their experience at this year's "Opening Day".  We also share another analysis from Baseball Info Solutions done by strat gamer and the owner, John Dewan about how to evaluate Up-the-Middle Performances of various MLB teams ....

  STRAT WISE with MARC WASSERMAN commissioner of the Cyber Baseball Association (CBA) continues his new column sharing various perspectives on SOM Baseball. For his article this month he discusses about vintage strat-o-matic cards and how to find the best deals and prices to get them.

  SOM BASEBALL LEAGUE REPORT with WOLFMAN SHAPIRO -- the editor of "The Ultimate Strat Newsletter" and 2012 CBA Champion, turns his attention to talk to members of various face-to-face Strat-o-matic Baseball Leagues that he has discovered through the league registry service offered
on the Strat-o-matric website. Each commissioner speaks about the history of their league and their experiences. To read the interview for this month, click on the link below:

INTERVIEW with HARRIS JESSOP, Winter Need a Life League Commissioner (Netplay)

  ARTICLE with CHUCK TINKLER, Chuck is one of our most popular contributors and is back with a new article for his column, "The Chuck Stop", as he continues his article he calls "Old Guys Rule" with Part III. This article deals with the value of a 1st round draft pick and more - Chuck always entertains our readers with his insightful and colorful stories and experiences - check out this latest edition now!

  ARTICLE with WOLFMAN SHAPIRO - How to Setup Your Draft League Team, the Final Part of this article, Wolfman, finish the last segment of this three part article to share with our members the meat and potatoes of his various strategies how to build his 2017 Skokie Wolfmen in the CBA, a Keepers computer league. In this segment, he discusses the results of the CBA draft held in early March with both this written article and some supplemental entertaining videos.  By using his team as an example, you may receive from this article some suggestions and new strategies you can use to help build your own team and bring to your fans a league's championship.

  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 idea and key principle about working together to 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

twitter: @StratBaseball4U

To Sign Up and Become a Member of this Newsletter
(this provides direct emails when our bulletins
and next issues come out)