Back in the saddle…
A number of years ago, I cannot recall when it started, my son Aaron & I began a quest to determine which teams were the best through the medium of the Strat-o-matic baseball game. I began purchasing a few seasons, full rosters of every team by year. I also did research on the interwebs to find lists of teams that were considered the greatest of all times and began eBay explorations to see if I could find as many of those teams as I could. While I know for certain that I do not have all of the teams that I would want. I have a lot of teams that are entered into our virtual tournament.
Full season cards
The following are the seasons for which I have every team;
- 1967… the year I was born and one of the years my Cardinals won the World Series.
- 1969… actually only a partial group of teams, most of important of which is the 69 Orioles.
- 1986… mostly to get the ’86 Mets card set as they are listed on many lists of greatest teams.
- 2004… even though my Cardinals did not win the World Series that year, this team had the MV3 of Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen, & Jim Edmonds finishing 3rd, 4th & 5th in MVP balloting.
Individual Season sets
- 1909 Pirates… Honus Wagner
- 1927 Yankees… deemed by many the greatest team ever
- 1934 Cardinals… the Gas House Gang
- 1936 Yankees… Joe DiMaggio’s rookie season
- 1946 Cardinals… another World Series win for the Cardinals
- 1954 Indians… lost to the Yankees in the World Series that year
- 1961 Tigers… won 101 games but finished 8 games back of the Yankees
- 1962 Giants… Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda
- 1975 Reds… the Big Red Machine
- 1997 Cardinals… eh, why not
- 2003 Cardinals… they’re my team
- 2005 Cardinals… see above
- 2011 Cardinals… last World Series win for the Cardinals
In total, there are 97 teams in the tournament I’m running. There are 53 teams that make it automatically into a 64 team bracket, the remaining 44 teams are taken into a college world series type play-in bracket where teams are grouped into pods of 4. The teams then complete a 7 game series to determine 1 team of the four to advance. Teams must lose two games before they are eliminated from competition. All teams were ranked based on their won-loss record in their respective seasons and then placed in their respective brackets very similar to the setup you would see for the annual NCAA basketball championship.
Starting lineups for each team is determined by review of the data found on baseball-reference.com. They detail who played the most games at each position during the regular season. I have not found a reference guide for typical batting order for all of the teams, so I do my best to put them in a logical order.
Field of 64…
Once the 64 teams have been identified, I will again use the college world series 4 team pod approach to work down to the 16 best teams. From there I plan to have the teams square off in a more traditional best of 5 or best of 7 series, depending on my ability to keep going. While not perfect, still a fun endeavor.