Bringing history to life

While it may not be Field of Dreams, it gets very close. Several very industrious individuals took on the very difficult task of building a statistical archive of Negro League baseball games, converting those stats into a version of the legendary Strat-O-Matic board game.

The full article from the New York Times can be found at ttp://, with an excerpt below.

Putting the Negro Leagues in Play

By Stuart Miller, November 7, 2009

The Strat-O-Matic Game Company, an old warhorse in an age of computer-driven fantasy leagues and high-tech video games, usually relies on detailed statistics to create ratings and tendencies for hitters and pitchers. But in creating a new 103-card Negro leagues set for its board game, Strat-O-Matic found that the data was not easy to come by.

Coverage of Negro leagues games was spotty, especially because many black newspapers were weeklies. Although stories abound about Josh Gibson’s prowess or Satchel Paige’s wizardry, much of what has been handed down borders on folklore.

Yet Hal Richman, who founded Strat-O-Matic in 1961, was determined.

“I’ve wanted to do this for a long time,” he said. “It’s a part of baseball history that has to be represented.”

He found an ally in Scott Simkus, an aspiring baseball writer and historian, and avid Strat-O-Matic player since age 11. Simkus, 39, grew up in Chicago’s suburbs hearing that his grandmother had seen Hack Wilson play and that his grandfather had bribed a police officer at Wrigley Field in 1947 so they could see Jackie Robinson’s first game there.

When his grandfather died in 1995, Simkus went to the library seeking microfilm articles about his semipro baseball days. He stumbled across some Negro leagues box scores and printed them out.

(The article continues at