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Strat-O-Matic's HOF/Heroes/Stars Sets

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  • Strat-O-Matic's HOF/Heroes/Stars Sets

    Shortly after the 2006 Hall of Fame election of 17 Negro Leaguers, Strat-O-Matic began research on the Negro Leagues based on the newly available data that had been collected by the Hall of Fame leading up to their election. In 2009, Strat released its Negro League Stars set – 103 players including each of those enshrined in the Hall of Fame to that point. There were an additional five cards to reflect the five players who starred regularly as both hitters and pitchers.

    In 2010, in the lead-up to Strat-O-Matic’s 50th anniversary, Strat released its first Hall of Fame set in a decade. This was the first Strat set to ever include both MLB and Negro League players. All players were rated on the average of their best 5-7 seasons. In another Strat first, Babe Ruth received a pitching card (as did Martin Dihigo and Bullet Rogan). Subsequent releases of this set have been updated to include subsequent Hall of Fame inductees.

    The following spring, Strat released its Baseball Heroes set, 117 additional former Major Leaguers rated similarly, selected for their popularity, performance, and historical importance. Both sets were huge successes and many fans bought both and combined them for more than 300 players rated on their primes.

    In 2015, a Cuban Stars set of 133 players was released for the Castro Era (1962 to Present) of amateur Cuban baseball with the possibility left open of a pre-Castro professional set to come later. (No word yet.) All players were rated as with the other sets listed above.

    In 2017, Strat published a Baseball Heroes II set with an additional 117 non-Hall of Famers. Again, this year (2021), a 117-player Baseball Heroes III set was released. This set is the first to include any still-active players as they were determined to have their best years well behind them. (Albert Pujols and Ryan Zimmerman were the only two who were still active in the 2021 season.)

    Strat has done very well with these excellent sets which you can mix-and-match as you please. All players are rated on their prime years and the ratings are normalized so you can play older legends against more recent stars with no difficulty.

    Incidentally a combined 31 players from the Heroes I and II sets have been elected to Cooperstown so if you were to purchase the HOF set and either of these there will be a small amount of duplication as a result.

    However, you are now talking about 263 Hall of Famers, another 320 ex-Major Leaguers, 74 Negro Leaguer players not enshrined in Cooperstown, plus the 133 Cuban stars for a potential total of 790 unique ballplayers, six of them rated as both a position player and a pitcher!

    I cannot recommend these sets highly enough, whether you want to roll some dice with the basic game on the cards - perfect for introducing kids to the greats of baseball history - or running a draft league of all-time greats on the PC. Whichever way you choose to play, however you mix-and-match these sets, they are among the best products Strat or any baseball sim makes. You won't regret giving it a try!

    While that may seem as though it covers anyone you could possibly want to play with, I think the next step for Strat is a Japanese Stars set to compliment the Negro League and Cuban sets. Adding Sadaharu Oh, Shigeo Nagashima and Katsuya Nomura (plus seeing what Hideki Matsui can do) would be a wonderful addition to their stable of Hall of Famers, Heroes and Stars. I would also appreciate seeing a set of pre-162 Cuban stars like Lazaro Salazar, Luis Tiant Sr. and Conrado Marrero.

    Finally, I can’t wait for the next Heroes set which is probably about 4-5 years away. By then we’ll be adding Greinke, Verlander, Posey, Scherzer, Miggy, Votto, Cano, Longoria plus who knows who else from recent years to the set along with favorites of yesteryear who haven’t been included yet.

    After all, baseball can never have enough heroes.
    "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
    "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
    "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
    "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

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