Posts Tagged ‘APBA Game Co.’

Good Old APBA Baseball

January 12, 2011


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:

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.