Issue #3, April 2013

** Interview with Terry Bartelme **
      (conducted by Wolfman Shapiro, Terry is very involved with the Negro Leagues and more)

(Wolfman's Comments: I met Terry through Facebook when I first started to go on Facebook and create a Strat-o-matic persona for myself. Then I started to share about this Newsletter and I discussed Terry lived in the Seattle area as I do. So in the early part of January, I met Terry and two other strat buddies at his friends Rick's home and we played with one season in the 1950's.  I think I hadn't played face to face since I participated in the Star Tournament in Chicago in 2006 or 2007.  Anyway, as always happens when you are playing the game against others, Terry started to talk about his passion which was the Negro Leagues, the Japanese Leagues, the Cuban and Dominican Republic leagues as well. I had never really considered that SOM would ever offer rosters for non-American leagues (note: they did of course for 2013) so this was a whole new world I had never encountered before.  So I thought it would be a great thing if we could do an interview with Terry for our readers to expose you that the love of Baseball is a worldwide phenomena and that other parts of the world are some great players!!)


Wolfman: Terry, how did you first become interested in baseball? At what age? Did you play baseball with your friends, who were the teams you rooted for since you were younger and root for now?

Terry: I grew up in a sports oriented neighborhood. We had a game going somewhere seven days a week.  The weather had to be really bad to discourage us. Things really kicked into high gear when I was about eight. We played baseball, basketball or football depending on the season.  I was always there unless I was playing with the school team.  I did that until I was old enough to drive.

The first professional team that I followed was the Giants triple AAA Pacific Coast League affiliate in Tacoma Washington. I quickly became a rabid San Francisco Giants fan. Of course that meant Willie Mays was my favorite player! I remember when I started collecting baseball cards that came on Post brand cereal boxes. I began buying some cards in 1960, but I really began collecting the cards in earnest in 1962. I was totally enamored with my Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle cards that had the 1961 season statistics. Now I am a loyal fan of our local Major League team the Seattle Mariners. It's always fun to follow a winner, but I am not a "fair weather" fan.

Wolfman: When did you first hear about SOM? How did you come into contact with the game - did you play in leagues with friends. What are some of your favorite teams to play with or favorite players?

Terry: I had a subscription to the Sporting News magazine and I saw advertisements for Strat-O-Matic and ABPA baseball in it. One of my friends was also interested, but we couldn't decide which game to buy. I ended up purchasing the Strat-O-Matic 1972 baseball set and my friend ordered the ABPA. Once they arrived it didn't take long for us to agree that Strat-O-Matic made better game. We played Strat-O-Matic baseball every day for months after that. I tried to play an entire season for every team in the National League. I did manage to play complete seasons with my favorites the Cincinnati Reds and their best competition that year the Houston Astros.

Some of my all-time favorite players are Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Juan Marichal, Joe Morgan, Pete Rose, Stan Musial, Babe Ruth, Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, Randy Johnson, Walter Johnson and Sandy Koufax. Willie Mays is my absolute favorite.

Wolfman:  How did you get interested in the Negro Leagues? What is there about the Negro Leagues that holds your fascination?

Terry: About four years ago I began a new hobby reading and collecting books about baseball. Eventually that led to my discovery that very few people are knowledgeable about the Negro Leagues and "Blackball" in general. I learned that knowledge about this portion of baseball history was growing with the possibility of an information explosion making it fascinating for me. Curiosity and a love for baseball history drove me deep into the subject. I have read more than two dozen books about baseball in the Negro Leagues and Cuba since then.

What impressed me the most is how much most baseball fans are missing out on by not taking an interest in the old blackball leagues!  Can you imagine baseball without Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Mickey Mantle and Sandy Koufax? What a loss to baseball history that would be! Well that is exactly the sort of thing that baseball fans are missing out on when they know little or nothing about players such as Oscar Charleston, Biz Mackey, Buck Leonard and Norman "Turkey" Stearnes!

Do yourself a favor and find out about these guys. Playing some games with one of the new Negro League seasons would be a great start.

Wolfman: I understand you were able to do replays on various seasons of the Negro Leagues or a tournament - how were you able to do this, what was your source for the cards or computer teams if you can talk about this? Can you display your tournament?

Terry: I invested countless hours of research and reading to learn about the best teams and players that ever played in the old "Blackball Leagues". My goal was to share what I learned and thereby shine a small light of knowledge on the subject. Curiosity, the joy of learning new things and my love for baseball motivated me. I used the information available in the many books and on the Internet to put together rosters for thirty Negro League teams, a team from Cuba and one from the Dominican Republic. In my opinion, these teams represented the best "Blackball" teams ever in single season. Some of the teams were represented in more than one year such as the 1931 and 1938 Homestead Grays.

I used the official Strat-O-Matic Negro League All-Stars set and some unofficial homegrown rosters (*) to put together the teams. I posted the tournament on the Internet so that others could follow along. In a way, I was lobbying other Strat-O-Matic players with my project in the hope of building interest in Negro League history.  I also hoped to encourage the company, with an example of what was possible, to make more Negro League rosters available for purchase. I don't know if I had any influence on either, but I felt passionate about sharing what I learned about the subject.

Here is a link to my Best of Blackball tournament:

(*) - Wolfman here, my understanding is, and this is fascinating to me, is that there have been a few individuals, who the game company knows that have been working to create cards for the Negro Leagues and other non-US countries. Of course, in respect to the game company they have not actively promoted or sold such sets but most likely the new Negro and Japanese rosters issued from the computer were developed this way.  I personally wish to congratulate the game company for their willingness to work with others to help them make the game we love even better. That is, people who don't work for the game company directly. I know Glenn Guzzo also helps the game company and that John Dewan, also a strat game player, helped them with statistics (who we hope to hear from in an interview in the future). This is what builds a strong community as the game company allows its own gamers to help. Thanks Mr. Richman and other SOM employees! 

Wolfman: How do you feel about the release by the game company for the computer of the new 3 full seasons of the Negro Leagues and one of Japanese.  What is your interest with the Japanese Leagues and is there someone who also is creating seasons.

Terry: It is difficult to express just how excited I am that Strat-O-Matic now has three new Negro League seasons available. I think this is historically significant. I understand that there are plans for more of these specialty products in the future if we support the Strat-O-Matic game company in this venture. I hope other gamers will appreciate the risk and investment that Strat-O-Matic made by purchasing these products and supporting the company.

Once I looked into baseball in Cuba and Japan I realized that baseball is baseball no matter where it is played. Every league, team and player has a worthwhile story to share. All that we have to do it take an interest in them. I played a few games with a homegrown 1967 Japanese set and gained a new addition to my all-times favorites list in Sadaharu Oh. I have to challenge other gamers to expand their horizons to include Negro and Japanese League baseball; it will be an enjoyable journey that will change your baseball perspective forever! 

Wolfman: What are some of your most interesting or inspiring experiences you have had as an SOM Baseball GM - this can be in any form of play whether face-to-face or replays?

Terry: I have some great memories of playing face to face with my friends back in the seventies. I still play some games occasionally with my buddies. I enjoy all of my solo replay projects as well and it seems there is always another idea just ahead. If I had to pick one favorite then it would have to be the thirty-two team best of blackball tournament. It gave me the opportunity to experience so many players and teams that were new to me.

Wolfman: Is there any special strategies you can share with our readers that you use to provide more success for your teams - any tips you can offer?

Terry: I am a big SABR guy so I don't call for a lot of steals or hit-and-run plays. I just finished reading "Extra Innings" from the team at Baseball Prospectus. I enjoyed what they had to say about baseball strategy and the valuation of various statistics.

Wolfman: Do you think either the Japanese or Negro players were better or as good as the American players?

Terry: I think some of the Japanese pitchers have been really good. As a Mariners fan I have to recognize Ichiro Suzuki's unique contributions to the American game. Some Japanese infielders have been impressive as well with Sadaharu Oh being the obvious standout. Baseball in Cuba was played at a very high level, at least until Castro banished professional baseball.

I would say that the overall level of play in the Negro Leagues was a step below Major League baseball at that time. There are many reasons for this, but that is too big of a subject to jam into this interview. There were many that played in the old blackball leagues that I firmly believe would have been stars in the Major Leagues if they had been given an opportunity.  I think the strength of the black leagues was in the outfielders and catchers. Pitching was probably the least developed, but there were some great pitchers as well.

Wolfman: Is there any thing you would like to share  which you feel is important for our readers to know that was not covered in one of the prior questions. Can your fellow readers contact you directly and if so what is the best way?

Terry: Just that I think it is important to invite young people to games and encourage them in any way possible to become sports fans. Sports are great for building communities, friendships and bonding between family members so don't let the opportunities to share those experiences pass you by.


Wolfman's Note:  I wish to acknowledge and thank Terry for taking our readers into a whole new area of the Baseball game and to prepare them to see more non-US rosters or cards created in the future. The game of Baseball has been embraced now by a number of countries in the world just as we watch the World Classic Tournament of which the U.S. has not won but we have seen strong teams from Japan, Cuba, various Latin Countries and even Holland. It seems to be an exciting time to be a Baseball Fan and a Strat-o-matic Fanatic.  If you would like to contact Terry you can reach him by email at:

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 JEFF POLMAN, Writer, SOM Website Columnist, Replay Expert.

  INTERVIEW with JIM CALLIS and KEN DAVIDOFF, Jim is Executive Editor of Baseball America and Ken is a baseball columnist for the NY Post

"The Ultimate Strat Newsletter" and 2012 CBA Champion. Wolfman takes us back in
this article to the third national Strat-o-matic Convention in 1974 held in Champaign-Urbana, IL, at the University of Illinois as the Wolfman and his buddies organize their first convention. Wolfman will be our guide through the first nine conventions going through 1980 of which he was present at each one. We now begin the era from 1974-1980 when the conventions moved
to Illinois. We will continue to share one new convention in each future issue till all of these
early ones are published.

  INTERVIEW with PETE NELSON, (STAR), Board Member of the Star Tournaments Association, discusses what the Star Tournaments are all about.

  INTERVIEW with WILLY DOMINQUEZ, January 2013 STAR Worlds Champion

  INTERVIEW with BILLY SAMPLE, Ex-MLB Player (TEX,NYY,ATL), Sportscaster

  COMMISSIONER's CORNER with MARC WASSERMAN -- commissioner of the Cyber Baseball Association (CBA) continues his column about what it is like to be a League Commissioner. In this article he discusses the early development of a League's Constitution, League Themes and Economics.

  SOM BASEBALL CARDS QUIZ - our test of your knowledge of the SOM Baseball Cards, questions and answers provided by Marc Wasserman. In this issue we give the answers to Quiz #2, explain our new format for this column, introduce some early SOM Baseball cards from the 1960 and 1961 seasons thanks to Tom Nahigian who is also interviewed in this issue in his own section.

  INTERVIEW with TOM NAHIGIAN -- SOM Gamer, Baseball Card Collector

  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 a new page we are adding for the newsletter that 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 Base Game and Game Company's history.  At the time of the release of this newsletter we have a special arrangement with Acta Sports to offer our members a 10% discount. We hope to add more books in the future.


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