The Field of Play


I first learned of the Strat-O-Matic line of games shortly after I graduated high school. My only interaction with the game came during an afternoon game session with some co-workers who scheduled gatherings on their off days. I played Strat-O-Matic Football that day and just barely lost… but the seed had been planted. From a very young age, I would always tend toward setting up leagues for various games. The vibrating electronic football games… yep. I had about 8 teams and would setup league schedules and monitor statistics. The Strat-O-Matic games were right up my alley! I could setup leagues and play games to my heart’s content. Check out the Strat-O-Matic website at to see their lineups of games. You may also want to check out the Wikipedia page to learn some of their history (


One of the trickiest aspects of playing Strat-O-Matic baseball is to determine when certain actions should be taken for a given team. When you’re playing with another person as the other team, each player will obviously choose actions that will be to their perceived greatest benefit. However, when I am playing both teams solo, I prefer to have some pre-defined rules to guide actions around things like; removing the starting pitcher, when to sacrifice, steal a base, etc… for each, I have defined the actions pending a roll of a 20 sided die. Also, I think it would be bad form to have relief pitchers pitch as a starter.

Bringing in a Relief Pitcher

I recently looked up the average number of innings that a starting pitcher stays in a game. Thinking on this has changed in the MLB over time, but I was interested to find that on average, a starting pitcher stays in the game through 5.96 innings in 2019. My current decision tree is below;

Innings 1-5: If the starter has given up 3 or more runs, managers decision.

Inning 6: Roll – 1-3 (15%) Relieve, 4-20 (85%) Starter remains in the game.

Inning 7: Roll 1-11 (55%) Relieve, 12-20 (45%) Starter remains in the game.

Inning 8: Roll 1-16 (80%) Relieve, 17-20 (20%) Starter remains in the game.

Inning 9: Roll 1-19 (95%) Relieve, 20 (5%) Starter remains in the game.

If the starting pitcher is throwing a shutout or has a no-hitter going I would not send in a relief pitcher. As for relief pitchers, they will throw no more than 2 innings, designated closers will throw no more than 1 inning. In the event a long relief situation comes up, I would insert the next starting pitcher in the rotation.

Sacrifice to Advance Runners on Base (Less than 2 Outs)

Innings 1-6, up or down by >/= 2 – No sacrifice.

Innings 1-6, score within 1, 1-10 (50%) Sacrifice, 11-20 (50%) hit away.

Innings 7-9, tied or ahead in the game; 1-15 (75%) sacrifice, 16-20 ((25%) hit away.

Innings 7-9, down by 1 run; 1-17 (85%) sacrifice, 18-20 (15%) hit away.

Innings 7-9, down be more than 1 run; no sacrifice.

Stealing Bases

Strat-O-Matic has each player rated based on speed from AA (think Ricky Henderson, Vince Coleman) A (fast), B, C, D, E (Boog Powell running backwards)

If your team is tied or in the lead;

‘>/= A, 1-12 (60%) steal, 13-20 (40%) no steal.

B, 1-7 (35%) steal, 8-20 (65%) no steal.

C., 1-2 (10%) steal, 3-20 (90%) no steal.

D or E… yeah, no steal.

If your team is behind

‘>/= A, 1-6 (30%) steal, 7-20 (70%) no steal.

‘</= B, no steal.

Hit & Run

If your team is tied or in the lead ‘>/= 2, no hit & run.

Tied or in the lead by 1 run, 1-5 (25%) hit & run, 6-20 (75%) no hit & run.

Behind in innings 1-6, 1-3 (15%) hit & run, 7-20 (85%) no hit & run.

Behind in innings 7-9, 1-10 (50%) hit & run, 11-20 (50%) no hit & run.

…In the Eye of the Beholder

Are these rules correct? I’m sure many if not all who read this would have differing opinions and might very well disagree markedly with how I’ve laid it out. Would love to hear any thoughts, always willing to make adjustments. Up next… live action!