Good Old APBA Baseball

 

The APBA Baseball View of Minute Maid Park.

 

APBA Baseball has been around as a board game since 1951. I bought my first game set from the company in June 1953. I know that to be true because APBA  still has a record of my purchase by mail from our home in Pecan Park. I was 15 years old and still quite involved in anything that pulled me closer to baseball on a 24/7 basis.

Hey! I’m still that way! I never got over it, I suppose, except for the enjoyable, but testosterone-driven dating experience of my middle to later adolescent and young adult years – and all the time and energy I spent working my way through three college degrees and getting started in private practice. Whenever I settled down to life domestically and professionally, I always came back to baseball – and in whatever forms it may have been available to me as a player, fan, reader, researcher, and writer.

APBA Baseball was always a part of the flow. As one of the game’s earliest, most consistently realistic baseball results games, I was able to play the old dice and board deciphering codes to replay whole major league seasons and arrive at outcomes in the standings and individual hitting, pitching, and fielding accomplishments that were statistically in line with whatever happened to the same teams and players in reality.

APBA developed football, hockey, and golf versions of their game over the years, but these held no interest for me – nor did the simpler game of Strat-o-Matic Baseball. In APBA, I trusted. It was all I needed. No more. And no less.

Sometime in the late 1980s, APBA made the quantum leap into computerizing their game. I never played the board and dice version again.

Today I have ballpark settings for every park in the big leagues that APBA manufactures, a number of season disks for some of the greatest seasons in baseball history, and one player disk that contains the data for every major league player from 1876 through 1996. (APBA stopped making this disk once they woke up to the fact that it was hurting sales of the season disks. WIth APBA’s draft and wizard features, it’s pretty easy to put together whole seasons, make up your own players, and even pit your homeboy Pecan Park Eagles club into a desperate World Series contest against the 1927 New York Yankees.

I prefer to play the straight real-team match-ups. In a recent replay I did of the 2005 World Series, I started with a rested Roy Oswalt pitching for the Astros in the cool night opener in Chicago. The Astros ended up winning the Series in seven games in a match that was far more alive, interesting, and satisfying to us Houston fans than the reality contest was back then.

In APBA, players are effected by injury and fatigue, as well as their handling by different style managers. Ballparks are home run friendly and alien, depending on where you play – and games without roofs can be effected by wind and rain out threats.

After each play, a great written narrative tells you what happened on the play. If you are playing the game as an active manager, you may have to make decisions about what batters do, or how fielders play, but games are never turned over to your personal dexterity as the determining factor in play outcomes. Players ar noted on the field and on the bases by a name-line, but there is no visual animation. The action part of the game has to take place in your own brain as you witness an outcome that is credible to what’s probable in reality.

Here’s a link to information on the APBA computer baseball game. There are many other sources available with a few Googles:

http://apba.stores.yahoo.net/miasprapbafo.html

APBA Baseball beats the heck out of Rogers Hornsby’s prescription for winter: “Stare out the window and wait for spring training.” Of course, old Rajah would never have played APBA on the computer. He’d be worried about it hurting his batting eye.

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9 Responses to “Good Old APBA Baseball”

  1. Tom Kleinworth Says:

    Bill:

    I enjoyed your article, and can certainly appreciate your love of APBA – but I can’t for the life of me think why you would brush off Strat-O-Matic baseball as “simple.” You’ll never be able to convince me that any other game bests Strat-O-Matic when it comes to the complexity of owning and managing a ballclub. I promise not to trash APBA if you’ll promise to do a little research on Strat-O-Matic.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Tom:

      I didn’t mean to treat Strat-O-Matic too harshly or simply. I haven’t re-examined the APBA-Strato-O-Matic issue since I was 15 and probably will not do so again at 73. I will promise to lay off further comment about your game because I know it was as popular with its fans as APBA is to many of us. To each his own.

  2. Dick "Lefty" O'Neal Says:

    Bill
    Great article. I will see you finally at the SABR open house on 29 Jan. My website should launch by tomorrow at http://www.leftyoneal.com Once you see it will you get it out to all of your social networking family. I would appreciate it.

    Lefty O’Neal

  3. Gary Says:

    Great article. I have both Strat and APBA (cards and dice only for both) as well as about 20 or so other baseball games. Most all of them are pretty good as baseball is relatively easy to simulate except at the extremes. My favorite of the bunch is Extra Innings which can be found for free at:
    http://www.tabletop-sports.com/modules.php?name=UpDownload&req=viewsdownload&sid=87

    and seasons are available here:
    http://eibb.webng.com/

    I also have a lame blog of game results here:
    http://greplays.blogspot.com/

    I love how these games connect me with the history of the game and in particular with teams and players that were well before my time.

  4. Mike McCroskey Says:

    I do not know the name of my baseball game of choice, but we called it spinner ball. My friend and I had teams and kept stats for several seasons. Each disc had a major league player with numbers supposedly corresponding with his lifetime stats. It was this game that first gave me an appreciation for OBP, due to the large walk areas of player like Jim Gentile and Ken Aspormonte. I remember Tony Kubek was the batting champion one year and Roy Sievers led the league in homeruns. Some of the other players I remember were Stan Lopata, Gary Bell, Mantle, and Ed Bailey. Still have this game in a closet somewhere.

  5. Gary Says:

    Mike,

    Was that Cadaco? I don’t own Cadaco, but it sounds like that’s what you have.

    Also, forgot to mention, here’s a cool Yahoo group to check out:
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/baseballgames/

  6. Football Online Free Says:

    Football Online Free…

    Good Old APBA Baseball « The Pecan Park Eagle…

  7. Howard Rogers Says:

    Hi. Thought I’d drop you a line. I’m from Lancaster and very familier with APBA in more ways then one. There first building was on Columbia Ave. Lancaster Pa. Now the building sat on the side street but the address may have been Columbia Ave. My grandfather started an Elevator Co. after the War and we would work on the unit in this building. Any way they moved from there some time ion the 60’s to Millersville Pike, about 2 miles by the way of the “crow”. Very nice building. My brother and I got the 1963 season for X-mas 1963 and I was hooked. From then on I bought all kinds of APBA years. Nothing from the “expansion years”! Had to be per-expansion. OK then around 11th grade I went over and asked if they had a part time job open. Got the job but after working on farms for about 4 years it was so AHHHH!! I just couldn’t deal with brakes that were precise and by myself. When I was done with my brake then I left and the next fellow would take his brake. I don’t remember how you spelled his name but the owner was an “old kuit”. I don’t remember that much but I think I only worked about 2-3 months and then went back and worked on the farm. Like you when the computer version came out I bought it and I was hooked. No way to cheat. Did miss the computing numbers in my head. I think that’s what made the game, calculating and seeing if you could steal with a 18 compared to a 23. Oh. I can’t find any of my board games or cards, and I’m trying to get things together as I have 4 boy grand children I want to get interested in. Do you know a person that has some of the old stuff to sell? OK this is way to long, got to go. Thanks for your time…Howard

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