Feeling Like A Kid Again

One of the many classic games of the late 1980s and early 1990s, Tony La Russa Baseball II featured real players, teams and stadiums.

One of the many classic games of the late 1980s and early 1990s, Tony La Russa Baseball II featured real players, teams and stadiums.

There are, indisputably, advantages to no longer being seven years old.

I have a car that I can legally drive. I can stay up as late as I want. I bought a Hamentaschen today, and it’s not even Purim, or anywhere close to Purim. I’m eating it right now. And if I finish it, and want another? I can drive that car to an all-night Hamentaschen shop and buy another one.

Still, the news that RBI Baseball would be returning in 2014 instantly made me feel seven years old again, as I imagine it did for every baseball fan of my generation who either had a Nintendo or a friend with a Nintendo.

I spent much of the night comparing notes about this and other games of the era with people in my Twitter feed, upstanding adults who have jobs and families. They all likely realized the major advantage a seven-year-old has: Time. So much time.

For every RBI Baseball advocate, there was a corresponding Bases Loaded aficionado. Some preferred Tony LaRussa Baseball, others went with Earl Weaver.

Here’s the thing: from the time I was about five years old, and discovered baseball, to my mid-teen years, I played nearly all of them. I played them a lot. I played them alone, I played them with my father, I played them with friends.

These are the games that mattered to me from the period of 1985-1995. I’ve gone back, used emulators wherever possible, and looked at screen grabs or Youtube clips to properly remember others. But these games came back to me, instantly.

People are very sensitive about this, believing that their favorite games are actually superior thanks to baked-in emotional ties stemming from childhood memory, and I’m not here to tell you your memories are wrong. Obviously, if you preferred Bases Loaded to Baseball Stars, I’m not going to convince you otherwise, since the significant limitations on your cognitive abilities are apparent in your prepubescent choice. Frankly, it’s a wonder you managed to read this much of my article.

I’m also not here to argue that my games were better than those that came after. I know graphics, artificial intelligence and even controllers have improved so dramatically as to render any comparison between eras ridiculous. I’m not going to compare Tecmo Baseball to MLB The Show ’13, or Baseball Mogul ’14, for the same reason I wouldn’t compare Bob Gibson’s 1968 raw ERA to Pedro Martinez’s 1999 raw ERA.

And I’m willing to bet, if you followed me through that logic train, these games mattered to you as a child, too. Here are my five best from my golden era.

Micro League Baseball

This is the first baseball game I ever played, on my Commodore 64, and it holds up pretty well. The game offered a range of strategic options. This was true for the game itself, where one could swing away, bunt, steal, hit and run, and engage in a thriving, varied offense, while pitchers could throw four different pitches for different situations.

But better still, Micro League Baseball had something magical: the General Manager/Owner’s Disk. This expanded the teams you could play with, allowing me to actually see the players play I’d just read about in the Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract I’d received for Chanukah, and allowed things like creating your own team, which my father used as a tool to simultaneously A) educate me about who was in our extended family and B) discuss which of my aunts best profiled as a middle reliever. I remember Cousin Ludy soaking up a bunch of innings when out starters faltered early.

If I still had my Commodore 64, I’d be playing this right now, and blowing deadline.

RBI Baseball

Essentially, RBI Baseball had the advantage Micro League Baseball did: the blessing of the MLB Players Association. So we didn’t have to have coy nods to players. We pick the Mets, we get to play with “Gooden”, swing away with “Strawberry”, ground out meekly with “Santana”. The stats weren’t exactly right, but they were close enough.

And RBI Baseball produced, in two reasonably skilled players, pretty realistic gameplay. Gary Carter didn’t hit triples. Games tended to be 4-2, or 6-4, or sometimes 8-6, but rarely. Pitching and hitting was matched about as well as it was in MLB during the 1980s.

I played this game so often that the muscle memory was still present in me tonight, when I broke out the emulator once again. I could feel the slight chill of my unfinished childhood basement, the Nintendo controllers and the irritation over my father always insisting on controlling the Mets, and the satisfaction inherent in picking, say, Detroit and taking him deep with a blocky-looking Matt Nokes.

That’s no knock on Nokes: everybody looked blocky. That defenders all moved in precisely the same way, making Keith Hernandez and Bill Buckner defensive equals, or that the stands were just a bunch of light bulbs that short-circuited as fireworks exploded when somebody hit a home run, all of that was forgivable. It was the closest thing any of us had to really playing Major League Baseball, whatever our age, any time the Nintendo stopped blinking on and off, the screen alternating a sickly green and white.

I was a baseball fan stuck in a National League city with basic cable. I seldom, if ever, saw AL teams, and mostly saw NL teams only when they played the Phillies. RBI Baseball was a window into the individual players and teams — sure, like my baseball cards, but as Tony Roberts says in Annie Hall: “And the women, Max, they’re like the women in Playboy magazine, only they can move their arms and legs.”

Tony La Russa Baseball II/Earl Weaver Baseball II

So much to love about both of these offerings, which I played endlessly at the first IBM we ever had, a huge white 286 desktop we got at a computer fair. Greatly improved managerial strategy, for one thing, took gameplay to another level. Historical teams and better yet, expanded stadium choices meant I could simulate entire seasons in, say, the Baker Bowl. (And I did!)

Historical wrongs could be righted with a fantasy draft: the properly aligned Brooklyn outfield, with Roberto Clemente kept instead of taken in the minor league draft by the Pirates, served as precursor to keeping the damn Dodgers in Brooklyn, while we’re at it.

The downside to these two, really, was the need to swing, pitch and run while typing furiously, instead of using a proper controller like a Nintendo had. It was the only thing missing.

Baseball Simulator 1000

To me, this game is simply not given enough respect, and not only because I managed to effectively recreate my Little League team (Ken’s Plumbing, 1991, now and forever) and run circles around the league. It’s how many aspects of the game weren’t replicated anywhere else.

Seriously: what other game allowed you to play baseball in space? That was one of the six stadium options, along with Dome, Harbor (for pleasing, into-the-sea home runs), Town, Grass, and Brown (if even your fantasy baseball experiences needed significant enough angst that you couldn’t pretend afford grass).

Players could also be edited and adjusted, not only names but skills, so creating your own favorite team didn’t take very long. Skills were handed out evenly by team, so balancing speed and power required Solomonic powers as well as strategic ones.

The game also offered super powers for certain players (like “Super Jump” for defenders or “Iron Ball” for pitchers, both of which are exactly what they sound like), but I simply didn’t use them. Avoiding it seemed to heighten the reality, as my Little League team soared to victory after victory over made-up computer foes in pretend outer space.

Baseball Stars

So I returned to Baseball Stars more often than any other game on here. And playing it tonight, I remembered why. I’m not sure there’s been a better baseball game made: outside of some easily-remedied adjustments, I don’t really know how one would make a better game.

The place to start is the gameplay itself. I adored RBI Baseball. But it’s almost incomprehensible to look at how the players move, awkwardly, shaped exactly the same, and then play Baseball Stars, which came out on Nintendo only one year later.

Hitters have nuance to their power, to their line drives, based on skill. Each of six skills, in fact, can rate anywhere from 0 to 15, and you can feel the difference between how fast a 12 center fielder gets to a fly ball in the gap, and the same pursuit from a 14 center fielder. Players can dive, and it looks like diving, and it happens when it is supposed to happen. They can leap. They can climb the wall and take away a home run. And better still, it’s really hard to do that, just like it is in actual baseball, and you have to time it right, just like in actual baseball.

Instead of the flat-rate skills per team model in Baseball Simulator 1000, Baseball Stars forces you to win games to make money, then use that money to improve your team. As surely as I remember two-player league games my friends and I would play against the Lovely Ladies to pad our burgeoning team’s bank account, I also remember the heart-sinking feeling of paying the money necessary to improve a player, only to get that sliding-scale of 1 to 6 improvement points coming up snake eyes.

That’s right: Baseball Stars had even nailed the capriciousness of free agency.

Really, what is there to fix with Baseball Stars? Only the six-character limit on names, forcing me into a Sophie’s Choice of consonants or vowels when re-creating my favorite teams (MCRNLD never looked right for Kevin McReynolds). I stayed with this game the longest, too: I remember, when the obviously nerd-based childhood implicit in everything I’ve written here (and not just this article!) had merged love of baseball with love of history, epic battles waged between a Baseball Stars team of dictators against a Baseball Stars team of revolutionaries that, through the magic of SNK, made sense.

But my first experience with Baseball Stars? That happened at Grand Slam USA, a place where batting cages and birthday parties could be found in the late 1980s in Cherry Hill, N.J. There, I experienced the arcade version of Baseball Stars, and some rubicon was crossed, like when Moonlight Graham goes from player to doctor.

The very best of these games, and my list above is only that, my list, made me feel precisely that way, except for the part about saving a choking little girl.

To say I am excited to see whether the new RBI Baseball can do that for my daughter would be a serious understatement. And I fully intend to let her be the Mets.

212 thoughts on “Feeling Like A Kid Again

    • I with you Mangaman … grew up playing APBA Baseball starting when I was 12. Rolling dice, making the lineups and mangerial decisions, and keeping score and stats. And I still play today, now 48 years old. Even my 2 sons will play, when they take time away from their video games.

      • I played APBA base as a boy and still have my games. I am waiting for my son to get older and show him the game.

      • APBA and Strat-O-Matic. We had something that today’s (including those who only go back to 1985) are missing out on – imagination. We rolled the dice and “saw” our favorite players rounding the bases or making great plays.

        • Yes, but in all fairness the only reason you used your imagination was because you had to. If you had grown up in the 80’s, or if video games had been around when you grew up, these would have been the games you would have played. Because, after all, why imagine the players doing things when you could actually see them doing it, and make them do it.

    • Have played APBA baseball since 1964. I am a stats nut and it is an awesome game. I have many years’ sets, great teams of the past, etc, etc…..and also the computer game which allows you to listen to Ernie Harwell do a radio broadcast of teams of your choice.

    • Great to see a shout-out for APBA Baseball. I grew up on APBA Baseball beginning in 1956 (the game started in 1951) and it is still up and going strong. It migrated to the computer world in 1985 (I1984 season) and has have many upgrades and remains at the top of the class.

      I can’t tell you how many times I played the initial board game, keeping all my own statistics on numerous Yankee replays. The computer game now has roster management functions and all the statistics you could hope for built in to the program.

      There are a ton of replay leagues out there to satisfy almost anyone’s taste. Great game!

    • Child/parent relationships are often complex. Not so in my case. I love everything about my now-deceased parents. That said, if my Mom’s ghost were to visit me today, 110 years after her birth, the first words out of my mouth: “Mom, I love you. You are wonderful and I cannot thank you enough for everything.” The second sentence, delivered in a mixed tone of puzzlement and suppressed anger, would be all about what happened to my APBA cards for all those years, including the inaugural season. Somehow they disappeared. Are you KIDDING me? Say it isn’t so, Mom.

    • Sorry APBA, nothing touched the board game Strat-o-matic for realism and pure fun. Spent WAY too many hours in my youth forming and playing in leagues.

        • Still have my Strat-O-Matic game. Originally purchased in 1972. Bought a new game in the early 80’s. My current season is about 30 years old….lol.

          • I have the 1972 edition also. My friend who I played the most with memorized all of the cards. When I threw the dice, he knew what my player did before I did! Thurman Munson 1-4 HOMERUN!

        • Bought the APBA BB set in 1980. Bought the stratomatic BB set in 1983. It says something that I have purchased every stratomatic BB season set since 1983, plus all of the available older seasons. I have also played in some strato leagues with friends.

      • Definitely Strat-O-Matic. Cards and then computer – 46 years. Nothing else can touch its statistical accuracy and realism.

      • APBA baseball and Strat-o-Matic football for me. I bought my first computer in ’87 because I heard APBA went on-line. No more hand-kept stats! Now I have the new APBA 32-bit bb and play it occasionally. Won my fraternity’s Strat-o-Matic football league with the 1968 Kansas City Chiefs. They were making bets on the championship game!

      • I played stratomatic for hours on end during the late 70’s….most awesome board game I ever played..

      • Started playing Strat-O-Matic baseball in 1968. Roomed with 3 friends in Belleville, IL and we each had two teams and set up a schedule and would play till 3 or 4 in the mornings. Didn’t do that well in my classes at the JC, but sure did enjoy my time there playing Strat! Bought the 1964, ’67, 72, 82, 85, 87 seasons before lapsing into a void. Came back and bought the 2004, ’06, and 11 seasons along with the HOF set! Still having fun playing.

    • My brother got our first APBA game in 1962, it was the 1961 season and we spent the summer of ’62 playing the ’61 season. I kept and totalled the box scores, and he compiled the stats by hand in a notebook. We never quite finished the complete season, but the stats were right on. My son picked it up and played with me and his grandfather for countless hours, getting the master game and computing the results of each play with paper and pencil. What a pleasure when it came out on the computer. My son still keeps up with all the updates and new seasons and we love hearing Ernie Harwell broadcast the games using our last name as manager.

    • Did anyone play Sports Illustrated baseball? I had the ’71 season and the all time all star version. The all time Yankees were so loaded I always batted Joe DiMaggio leadoff.

      • Sports Illustrated was for me and my friends the best. We would occasionally take long weekends and do nothing but play through a season. We got super realistic stats and with the All Time All Star edition we got to learn about great older players like the original Billy Hamilton. Still have all the sheets stashed away 40 years later.

        • Sports Illustrated Baseball was easily the best. I almost missed puberty because I played it so much. I had the original 1970, but traded the cardboard playing field with my friend for the 1971 plastic field with the players that ran in the tracks. Kept stats, standings, league leaders, etc. love the fact that you can now play a computer version of it on line, except I’m on Mac now and he doesn’t have a Mac version…yet

    • I agree APBA. My first set was the 1959 cards. Still have them. Also had the APBA football & golf. Met a person while taking a train from the Midwest to NYC that was actually playing a full season (don’t remember what year). Started a visit that has kept us in touch since that ride.

    • Started playing APBA in 1960 with the 1959 cards. I have ever set thru the mid 1970’s. Playing too much APBA probably helped me flunk out of college.

    • All*Star Baseball by Cadaco, was my first BB game, and held my attention for several years.
      When the Atari 800 computer hit, it was Monday Morning Manager by TK Computer. It was sooooo much better than Earl Weaver Baseball and Micro League.
      Tony LaRussa BB was outstanding as was Oldtime BB.

      • Ha. I remember the Cadaco game. That may have been my first, too. Still have it, stored away somewhere.

    • oh my god RBI baseball, I really enjoyed playing that, what nice is the video in you tube

    • I loved it and still play it once in a while
      yes I still have my nintendo
      and also play Super Bowl football

    • I played both APBA and Strat as a kid, but couldn’t understand the excitement surrounding APBA after playing Strat. It was far superior to me. Now I have a 15 and 12 year old and got them hooked about 3 years ago. Bought the full 2004 season and play regularly. Taught them to keeps score and we load stats into the computer. Much easier than pencil and paper that I used. I also play Strat online. I like it more than rotisserie, and you can play 12 months a year.

  1. Baseball Stars was the first NES sports game that you could save your season progress and stats on as far as I know. I actually created a team, deleted the entirety of the roster, and then made a new one with 0 on every skill except for a max on prestige (15?), so I would make the max amount of money for beating them. I would actually set up a 2 player game and just control that second team and make their pitcher hit my batters over and over until I reached the 10 run rule built into the game. This was the fastest way to make money for your team, which I would then use to boost up my players (power, hitting) so I could jack up crazy stats in the league portion of the game. I should have gone outside more often.

    • The other teams were dynomite too! Ninja Warriors, American Dream, Ghastly Monsters… I used to buy a pack of Big League Chew bubblegum and play every Friday night until my parents forced me to bed… the next day I struggled with “nintendo Thumb”

    • I did the same thing! I went so far as to make my team full of “perfect” 90 point players. Even the pitcher’s batting stats were the full 90 by the time i was done with the team, which was achieved by hiring the star-player 90 max pitcher with at least 75 point max batting skills… then firing that player, only to pump his/her stats from scratch, allowing me to fill everything on the batting side to 15 except prestige, then the prestige points on the batting side would fill in as i pumped the players pitching-ability stats, effectively cheating his batting stats to a max of 90.

      WWWWAAAAYYYY to much time invested on that game over the years of my youth! :)

      • I was very sad when i plugged the game in after many years of not playing, only to find the battery in the cartridge must have run “too low” from lack of playing… all my work put into making “the perfect team” was gone.

    • I used play two player to get cash and buy and upgrade players. I wish I still had all those hours to play video games. Now my boys are on Xbox and PS all the time. They don’t understand the evolution of video games, but sometimes old school is still better. Baseball Stars is still my all-time favorite video game.

    • That’s hilarious. In college my buddies and I had a Baseball Stars league, and one of the computer run teams was done the same way, loaded up prestige and stripped everything else out. Gave everyone an easy win and big payday. We called the team Weak but Famous. We still joke about Weak but Famous almost 25 years later. That was a great game.

  2. I love/ed Baseball Stars, and I still emulate it from time to time today. But since I wasn’t a kid granted an NES or SNES, I didn’t really fall into a craving until I had Ken Griffey’s game on the N64. Playing that became part of my gameday ritual in the summers.

  3. The baseball game I still come back to even today is Tommy Lasorda Baseball for the Genesis. Yes, it did not have real teams, players or stadiums, but the two-player contests between my brother and I were the stuff of legend. I once interviewed Lasorda at a minor league baseball game and it took all I had not to pester him with questions about this game he probably had no idea existed.

    • Yes! Thanks for bringing up Tommy Lasorda Baseball…even though the teams & players were not real, the game play was the most realistic at the time. And the computer player was competitive even after you mastered the game. There was a short 30 game season followed by a best of 5 LCS and best of 7 WS. Sure, there were shortcomings, like the computer was always the home team and a game ended in a tie after 12 innings but in 1990 it was the best baseball game out there.

    • Yes! I loved Tommy Lasorda Baseball as well. I used to stay over at my friend’s house in elementary school. He would go to sleep, wake up, and I would still be playing. (I didn’t have Sega at home. Sad, really.) I still have a piece of notebook paper from the ’80s with those long ugly passwords. In fact, when ThinkGeek came out with a combination NES/Sega Genesis clone not too long ago, I bought it primarily to play this game (which I found for 99 cents in a bin at GameStop at some point). So sometimes these days I still plug it in and play Seattle, the best team (Black, Houck, Iason, Wake, Horn, Obra, Keith, Keyes, and either Nicky, Roy, or Smart on the mound).

  4. Thanks for reminding me of Baseball Simulator 1000. I had forgotten about it completely, but I played the heck out of that game. I loved the Harbor stadium. There was no greater joy than splashing down a HR. And, I recreated my entire freshman baseball team, but I definitely made use of the super powers. I had to look up the name (missile hit), but hitting a line drive that drove the infielder all the way to the OF wall where he was smashed and dropped the ball was awesome.

    • The real appeal of the Space stadium in Baseball Simulator wasn’t so much playing in space, but that it was a glorious freaking bandbox. I bet that stadium was 230 feet down the lines. If you played there with whichever the team was that had Brett, Bobby, and Barney? Oh man, it was like Baker Bowl x ’95 Rockies x 1000.

      I also loved the missile hit, as well as the earthquake hit. If you put the ball in play on either of them, it was at least an automatic double. Amazing.

    • The missle hit, combined with players with zero’d batting stats was super sweet… that made the missle “slower”, giving your runner more time to cruse around the bases. Aaaahhhh, memories!

  5. Great article. I loved it. One game I also played a lot besides the one you mentioned was “Legends of the Diamond.” It was very similar in gameplay as well as visually to R.B.I Baseball and Baseball All Stars, but included hall of famers from the past.
    I loved it that prior to each tournament you had to go through a draft of all available players. This made me and my brothers make negotiations prior to the draft regarding what players we would be choosing. Very fun experience.

  6. Can we pit your extended family Micro League team against my made up, Donald Trump-owned, Mike Schmidt-managed 1997 New Jersey Gardens team? Before you accept this challenge you should know they had a switch-throwing starter.

  7. LOVED Baseball Stars! It was great to customize the names/players. My brother and I would “draft” a team and then play eachother. The problem is that he would get upset and delete everything.

  8. Great article; it brought back all kinds of fond memories. You are missing the best baseball video of all time – Intellivision Baseball. It had all the qualities of a great video game – very rudimentary graphics and lousy sound. I still have my system and the game, but I can’t convince my kids to play this instead of their PS4. Such nostalgia……

    • I loved Intellivision! I loved throwing runners out at first from right field. Rudimentary graphics were not that when I had the game – the graphics were much better than the Atari’s that my friends have. I think these two systems pre-date the author by about a decade. Mid-70’s, right?

    • My dad and I played intellivision baseball and football until we finally wore out the pads. Defensively, each player had a dedicated button – that was great. Sound was horrible, but it was great kitsch. Good call – my fave video game of all time!

    • Intellivision baseball was the bomb. Played it all the time. We’d have tournaments and it was either my friend (who owned it) or myself who’d win, and it always came down to 1-0 on some random HR. That barely outside pitch – killer. Unhitable! Except for that one lucky HR that one of us would get to win. Best. Game. Ever. :)

    • Finally, had scroll way down to find the best of memories with the Intelevaion, hours of fun and yeah a few competitive fights, but what a great game. Required quick, but doable response and game situation knowledge. Wish I still had the old game. Simply wore it out!

  9. Personally…and some may disagree here but World Series Baseball II for the Sega Saturn is actually a very fantastic and extremely realistic baseball sim. It CAN feel arcadey at times but the STATS engine behind it really provides some classic battles. I play it almost as much as I play MLB 13 The Show and am always marveling at the accuracy of those two games.

    For the day and age you speak of though, you have to take a long look at World Series Baseball II for the Saturn. Yes it was at the very end or even a bit past the timeline you want but it’s a great game. Bases Loaded for the NES would be next on my list. I struck out 20 with Fox for Boston quite regularly.

  10. Ken Griffey Jr. presents Major League Baseball for Super Nintendo is easily the greatest baseball video game ever. Then comes RBI Baseball 1, 2, and 3.

  11. My favorite baseball games are not listed. Little League Baseball, Base Wars, and Ken Griffey Jr.

    • Little League Baseball, Bases Loaded, and Baseball Simulator ruled! I think Paste just hit another bomb, Hawaii and Italy are in the finals, and the Space Stadium made Coors Field look like Old Municipal Stadium. Man I wish I could play it…oh no Paste just slammed another…
      What was the game where you could charge the mound?

  12. Aw, I liked Bases Loaded. Gameplay wasn’t the best but I once played a full season and kept track of my team’s stats manually — I was the Utah team and my slugger, Agua, had like 45 homers. Plus the brawls, bullpen carts, heckling (“You bum!”) and umpire names (Yuk, Dum, Boo & Bum) were hilarious!

    • Bases Loaded was my favorite. I kept stats in a notebook. I was always the Jersey team. Paste would hit 50+ hrs per season.

    • Bases Loaded had some very underrated advantages.

      First was the ability to mess around with passcodes. Flip a few random letters around and you get to join in the season at strange times, sometimes you could win the championship with less than the required wins or other fun stuff. You didn’t need any prompting you could just find the cheats yourself.

      Second and more important was the pure imagination you could add. As well as keeping stats, my friends and I would make up comprehensive back stories for the players. Paste was a raging alcoholic. Oko was an escaped con playing under an assumed name. Bay was the upstanding citizen. Somewhere we have books on all the characters. It was amazing stuff.

      Baseball Stars was great but it mostly just ended up putting all my classmates on the team. I could never resist the temptation to build my team full of 80-90 power players through one sided trades with teams made for the moment. Spent more time building the team than playing.

      Note: i didn’t really date until i was in my 20s.

  13. MVP baseball is the greatest ever and to some it still is. The game was made in the early 2000s but can be updated (rosters, audio, stadiums, jerseys, photos) to reflect todays current rosters. Here we are years later and still goes for $80+ dollars on eBay.

    • Yes — that’s exactly where my mind went when I started reading this. No idea why, but that’s the one I remember most fondly. Where else could you hit inside-the-park bunt home runs?

  14. We played SNK a ton and though it didn’t have real players, we liked it best as you were able to power up your players and seemed more relaistic than some of the others.

  15. Baseball Stars was the best baseball game, ever. When I graduated college, and got my first apartment, I scoured Game Stops across the state until I found a used copy…for $5! Then, I tracked down a pawn shop with a Nintendo (the internet didn’t exist yet) and went nuts. All my free time after work was devoted to that game. I miss it.

  16. Amen to the props for Baseball Simulator 1000. Was so great to build your own team and skills for players. I used a ton on one guy who basically could get a double hitting a ground ball to short he was so fast. Great job and great read!

  17. Loved Baseball Stars, the homerun robbing over the wall was epic. RBI was amazing too. Baseball games are best when they are easy to play and today’s games have lost that…

  18. I loved Super RBI Baseball. As a White Sox fan, I really wanted to like Big Hurt Baseball more…

  19. Bases loaded 2 was my favorite. But I’ve loved basically every baseball game I’ve ever played. I also really loved MVP baseball 2005

  20. Tommy lasorda baseball was the shiiiiiz so was the world series Sega genesis collection

  21. I remember playing Bases Loaded with my dad when I was young. It didn’t have the real teams or players, but it was a fun game for the time. Love the article, brings back a lot of great childhood memories!

    • oh yeah. Bases Loaded was my game. You couldn’t beat me with Jersey. Paste and Bay were a deadly combo. Until a friend of mine decided a way to beat me….bean Paste. He’d almost always charge the mound. and Bay wouldn’t charge after the 1st one…but if you hit him a 2nd time…he’d get ejected too.

        • Lol Bases Loaded was always the best . the only thing that would super piss me off is that when they would slide into the bases they would clearly be safe and call you out it would piss me off dearly lol

  22. I agree with the first commentary—there is not a game made that had or has more realism than APBA or Strat -O -Matic.. These games were based on strategy and the players stats that produced very realistic results. Had APBA and the 1970 and 1971 players. The Reds offense and the Orioles pitching were tough to beat. As far as video games go, I had RBI Baseball and it was a lot of fun. The problems with all of the video games is that you have to have good button skills to be good at the game– something that was not always forthcoming to me. I had Tony LaRussa for the computer, which was another game based on strategy and not on your ability to use a controller. I loved the all time stars for each franchise and the ability to have Lou Brock and Rogers Hornsby on the same team. The old stadiums were very realistic in their looks and dimensions. I understood why so many people loved Ebbets Field!!!

    • Couldn’t agree more about Strat-o-matic. Played it throughout my teens and rediscoverd their PC based game a few years ago. Plays just like the old card & dice games but you can play a game in 20 minutes on the computer!

  23. I have to say Hardball 5. It was a DOS game. I still play it under DosBox with Linux. Great game. Hardball 6 for Windows was a good game also.

  24. For me Ken Griffey Jr.baseball on nintendo 64 was awesome. You could trade, kept stats and was easy to play. I loved it.

  25. For really old-school low tech, don’t forget Strat-O-Matic Baseball.

    I recall having it in my high school years, and setting up an eight team (two divisions of four teams each) league and playing a reasonable full season, with a best-of-7 Championship Series between the division winners at the end. I think the divisions were East and West. Anyway, in the Championship Series, the East team won the first three games. Then Tom Seaver threw a no-hitter to win Game 4 for the West, and the West team went on to win the series on a sac fly by George Foster in the 10th inning of Game 7.

  26. I will take strat o matic baseball as my favorite game to play

    I played Earl Weaver Baseball in college and made a bunch of teams
    and added my own stats which was way cool also…. had to beat the copy protection on it which wasn’t to hard

  27. I come from a cusp era when you had both pinball and video games. All in all my preference is for the old pinball games which required a certain finesse (remember the TILT) theat video games miss.

    • Speaking of pinball, my favorite baseball game, when i was in first grade, was a pinball machine. I can’t even recall the name. The ball came out of that flap, you mashed the silver button, and hit the ball. You hoped the ball would hit a ramp and be a homerun!!!

      I was a pinball wizard. Blew my mind when they came out with The Black Knight and Jungle Lord, the two level machines with magna save and multiball.. Man you brought back memories!!!!

  28. Baseballs stars was the best! My friend and I would play all day then switch who got the game at night to earn money. It was great!
    One night I had the game at my house and knocked it off my bed while playing and thought I lost all my work I did that night because I did not save it. I turned the game back to realize that I had unlimited to cash. I was then able to max out all my players skills. Best thing ever!
    Great article thanks!

  29. I come from a cusp era when you had both pinball and video games. All in all my preference is for the old pinball games which required a certain finesse (remember the TILT) that video games miss.

  30. Thanks for sharing great memories. I played a lot rbi baseball and I agree w u that is my personal prefered game. But I’m a little older than you and I start with mlb baseball for Mattel intellivision. Probably That game started all.

  31. I loved Micro League Baseball as a kid and if it was available today, believe me, I would be playing it everyday! Can someone tell me if it is available anywhere for today’s computers? If not, someone make it happen.

    • I wish it were still around, too. Would definitely buy a copy if possible.

      My disk suddenly went kaput in the early 1990s and I learned a valuable lesson: always have a backup. I contacted the company but they had stopped making the game and did not have any copies for sale.

      • Just posted on the bottom of this overall thread, but saw your post and wanted to let you know that I do run fantasy baseball leagues trying to recreate that micro league magic. A few members of the league have played for over 20yrs. Always looking for one or two more.

        my site isn’t fancy, but microleaguebaseball.com

  32. Baseball Stars was the best. I used to create a team of my friends, play in the evening, and report back to school on who had what stats. Yes, I was a nerd and now that nerdness is getting me paid!

  33. RBI was clearly the simply and the best. RBI 2 tried to up grade but they missed what made RBI great. Sure the some of the players moved in together on defense but I knew exactly where they were. you could locate pitches where you wanted. Some pitchers had more movement than others and when they got tired the ball wouldn’t move. what more is there. So a return in 2014 unless they just put new names on the little fat guys it wont be as good as the first. Then again nothing ever is.

  34. Baseball Simulator 1000!!!! LOVED THAT GAME!!! I still have it and my original NES. Gonna hang on to and sell as a collectors item someday. Would love to play it again….

  35. Ken Griffey Jr Baseball for SNES never gets mentioned on these lists. The game tracked progress and stats and you could edit every team so they had the real player names. It also had real stadiums which was relatively new at the time. The gameplay was arcade-like but the game was really, really fun.

  36. Got agree on Baseball Stars for the reasons you mentioned. The controls always seemed more accurate than other baseball games. Plus loved the fact you could still manipulate the pitch after you threw it.

  37. I knew my choice before I read your lost was Baseball Stars. I still own a copy to this day. I don’t even have an NES to play it on but I kept it in the box all these years. Nobody mentioning the secret button controls as turning on the game to create the “MAX PLAYER”. Those were our superstars. Am I the only one who knew this secret? Great list and article. Loved it

  38. I still think MVP baseball 2005 is the best, for PC, the graphics were outstanding for 2005, I just wish I could edit my own rosters on it, like add new pictures

    • Lol i havnt bought a baseball game MLB 2005 for the ps2 i cant never get enough of that game and will prolly play it forever. I just wish i could update the rosters some way that would be even awesomer lol.

  39. So glad you have Baseball Stars at number 1. That by far was my favorite NES game ever. Was a blast to play against my brother while we both had our “all-star” teams of our favorite real players.

    That game was so far ahead of its time that baseball games never caught up to the roster customization and stat tracking aspects until the Playstation and N64.

    Still have my copy from back then. Still have Baseball Stars 2 as well, but the first was still the best.

  40. Earl Weaver was addictive. My neighbor and I entered historical players to make all-star teams from different eras. Crazy use of time, but so much fun.

  41. Micro League Baseball was the best!!! One year we had a league that ended with the World Series between the 1961 Yankees vs. the 1986 Mets!! The Yankees won in seven games as Dwight Gooden threw a wild pitch in the ninth that let in the winning run for the Yanks!!

  42. There was a game by Tecmo that I still consider the best baseball game ever. For the NES Console. It was called Bad News Baseball. And it was super fun! Wonder if anyone has played it. My brother and I are the only people we know who ever have :)

  43. Is this the same game as RBI ’93? that was the best video baseball game i ever played. You could unlock a team of superstars if you went unbeaten.

  44. I completely agree with this article! Baseball stars was a better game play and I played it more than any of the others. But my friends and I played baseball simulator!!!. We would have drafts and draft real players and you could put in their real stats…. SO many hours were spent drafting and playing that game, and half way through the season the memory would fail and we’d have to start all over. God those are GREAT memories.

  45. Unlike some, I have NOT grown up, and still play all these games on a regular basis. I wish I could have you all over my house for a night of baseball gaming.

  46. The Baseball Video Games I used to play and still enjoy are the Triple Play series. and All Star Baseball. in one of the Triple Play it had expansion teams you could create.

  47. Hardball by Accolade for C64 was a sweet game. Sure, there was made-up players, but the gameplay was fun, and it was reasonably action-oriented for such an early attempt. It also had the honor of being featured at the beginning of The Princess Bride!

    In the early ’90s, there was a game for my PS/2 called Pure-Stat baseball. It was all text, but it was really a cool simulator – a predecessor to the Baseball Mogul series. Had a lot of fun with that game.

  48. Bases Loaded… First and last game you can charge the mound and fight! Also, Walter Payton football for sega you can make the medics come out to carry a hurt player. Those were the days where everything wasnt so serious.

  49. The Out of the Park series is easily the best game of all time for those who don’t need an arcade experience.

  50. High Heat 2002-2003 had major benefits – a manager mode that fulfilled that stat realist with a quick-play mode that only showed the decisive pitch of an at-bat, plus the gameplay really was done well and looked realistic. I loved the fact that the player/ballpark/uniform images were all replaceable and a good hack could make the game look like a million bucks, and use your own uniform creations, making throwbacks and uniform updates – even ballpark recreations – very doable even for a non-developer if you had basic graphic skills. It was a true shame when Microsoft bought the product and essentially shelved it!

    • I’m surprised it took this long in the thread for somebody to mention High Heat! High Heat was the game you wanted for the most realism. It played like real baseball, had stats like real baseball.

      I was one of those “hackers” that made mods for the game. It wasn’t so much that everything was replaceable as much as it was there were tools made to do it. I modded stadiums, putting in real ads, even adding the first animated Rally Monkey to a baseball video game.

      After 3DO folded, we all hoped that MS would do something with it. Instead, we moved onto MVP, which in terms of mods, we made that game what it is today. That thing out of the box is crap, but those of us who put hundreds of hours into fixing their stadiums or improving their uniforms really took that game to another level. IF 2K hadn’t come along and killed 3rd party games, maybe MVP would still be around today.

  51. My # 1 & 2 picks are the same as author, cool article! My #3… The NES game Dusty-Diamond All-Star Softball!!! I didn’t see it mentioned anywhere, so thought i’d show my support. Diablo & Fuji, i’d always do my best to pick them & set them as my #3 & #4 hitters.

    Pete Rose Baseball for the Atari 2600 was great fun too. Had the pitching/batting angle of Bases Loaded, which i thought was pretty cool for Atari.

  52. You can play all these games on retro uprising. I played Baseball Stars not too long ago. I loved that game.

    • Sorry, I was not accurate. I mean the Nintendo games could be played on retro uprising. I am not sure about the others.

    • I too am so glad to see baseball stars on here! IMO NO baseball game has yet to surpass this one as primitive as it may be! They just “got it right”. One if the many great features I always thought was a standout about this game is that you could scale the wall in the outfield. It seems like they never have that as an option in other games and that was always the coolest thing when you could pull off that move. We always had a house rule that no one could be the American dreams though bc they were almost unfairly good compared to the other teams. Cool write up glad you guys nailed it on this one.

  53. Thank you for including Baseball Simulator 1.000! The game had complete 162 game seasons along with all the stats! The team creation was great. Myself and 3 other friends would grab a newspaper and start drafting players, set them up with corresponding stats and get at it! It was great. Also, like you mentioned, the “super items” were not allowed to be used, while they were ok, it was much more fun without them. Thanks for sparking a couple memories! (BTW, I always chose space as my stadium, great for padding the stats)

  54. I had Harball!! for the Commodore 64.
    I played it until I was 10!
    So may seasons, so many championships!!!

  55. Earl Weaver baseball was the best; I didn’t know there was an Earl Weaver II unless that was the extra commish tool. So awesome as you could build stadiums, add players and set their ratings. Me and my friends played for hours. Barry Bonds, Darryl Strawberry, and Fred McGriff ruled….course maybe I set their ratings too high. I tried to be fair. It was just a whole different level of game at that time….allowing you to go deep into the management of a team. Also for the time, the graphics weren’t bad. I don’t remember having to type a whole lot on the Tandy 1000 while playing, but you did have to swing pretty early and not at all those low or outside balls. Threw a perfect game and a few no hitters. It let you print out the box score too which was very cool. I still have some all these year’s later. On another note, the “World’s Greatest Baseball Game” was also pretty good; my first computer baseball game circa stats 1985 and prior. It wasn’t EARL as we called it but it was pretty cool for it’s day.

  56. Played an entire season on Tony LaRussa Baseball as the Houston Astros…
    played 162 games and playoffs with the Astros and simulated all other teams.
    Lost in the final game of the national league playoffs against Arizona when after
    facing CSchiller for 10 innings and a 1 to 1 game they brought in RJohnson who
    no-hit me for the next 5 innings and lost 2 to 1.

    Only time I finished a season completely in a baseball video game… the stats were
    actually right on. Still wished I would of made it to the World Series!

  57. No love for Roger Clemens MVP Baseball for the NES? That game was way ahead of it’s time in terms of graphics, game play and player maneuverability. It came out right around the time the Genesis and SNES consoles were dropping. Loved RCMB!

  58. Strat-o-matic was my favorite board game, and Intellivision was my favorite for video baseball. Hitting that “3” button on the controller at the exact moment that the shortstop fielded the ball to nip a speedy runner at first base was the greatest feeling. Now that I am closer to a senior citizen and can’t master the controllers as well (but I have a sharp mind), I am thinking about giving Baseball Mogul a try and be an owner, general manager, manager, and scout instead of a player.

  59. My game I played was Mattel Electronics Baseball 1978. And I still have it today, still works ans I do play it some times.

  60. I played more Baseball Simulator 1.000 than anything else. But that was because I only had an NES and because making my own teams was the highest priority. I did not have any use for the “magical” stuff, either.

  61. In 1992, I bought an Amiga 2000. I had been talking with a bunch of “hackers”; they all told me that Earl Weaver II was the game to get. So….taking their advice, I bought it; the only word I can think of is HOOKED……..I bought ALL of the additional team disks, GM disk, ALL Star Disk, etc………set up so many fantasy teams…..thoroughly enjoyed that game.

  62. I too had “Stat-O-Matic”, “Superstar Baseball” and “Challenge the Yankees”.
    Yet, what about the simple deck of cards where you could shuffle and play a game with various base hit cards, out cards, etc? I don’t see them in the stores anymore.
    Kids don’t even play ball with neighborhood kids anymore….everything is organized, uniformed teams. Riding bikes around the neighborhood, sock tag, baseball pitch backs, whiffleball, off the stoop, collecting cards for the players, not their future potential value……. being a kid is not the same………too bad for them….
    how much they miss….like conflict resolution skills among themselves…….without
    umpires…..or bringing guns to school !

  63. Shoot. Microleague Baseball was the game for me. I played for the Atari and I played that game along with the General Manager’s disk and the seasons 1986,1987, and 1988 disk that it was worn out. General Manager disk was the bomb. Tony Larussa comes in a close second.

  64. What was the board game called that you had to spin the spinner and it landed on what the HOF guy did based on his hitting ability, I was into it from 7- 9, graduated to strat o matic and reading all this makes me want to play it again.

  65. I love the vintage games, but I want to bring it to the now for a minute. The biggest complaint I have about a lot of games recently (I’m looking at you, 2K series) is that they tend to be buggy. Old games didn’t have that problem–or if they did, it was a failing of the hardware itself. Who else ever had to blow into a Nintendo cartridge to get it to work? I remember almost hyperventilating to get some of my games to work.

    BUT, of all the baseball games made (ever), my money goes to a Japanese one. Sure, you have to either read Japanese or something, but if you do and love baseball games, look for [puro yakyuu supirittsu], whatever the most recent release is. It pulls together all the nuance and complexity of all the best games we have in the States. It doesn’t freeze up. When it says the shortstop’s name, it’s the right person (again, looking at YOU, 2K). Hitting, fielding and running are hard, and you have to time everything just right, like in real life. I seriously can’t say enough good about this game. The only issue someone might have with it is that you can’t play the Mets. You can play the Hanshin Tigers, and that’s pretty much the same thing, though.

    However, there is a small silver lining. Go to spiritstranslation.com, and they’ve translated most of the game into English. It might be hard to find here, but it’s well worth a try.

  66. Grew up with APBA and rolling the dice matter of fact I played it so much that my sons first words were dice than i moved on to the computer with Ernie Harwell and now the best game to play is Action PC Baseball but those days with my brother playing APBA were great,

  67. On Baseball Stars, there was a team that was all named after John Waters actors in hiss movies and even John Waters himself which, as I got older, I found both extremely weird but hilarious. What a great game. If only life was still that simple.

  68. I didn’t really play the baseball computer games as a kid but I had an Entex Electronics Baseball 2 handheld game. I would take my Dad’s Sporting News (the version where they had all the stats from all the players every week) and I’d draft my own teams. I’d play the teams against each other and actually score the game based on the handheld results. I actually hand calculated the stats as I went. Cesar Cendeno was a superstar …… those were the days. The primitiveness of it all is what made it fun. I was very excited to discover Fantasy Baseball back in ’91 (even if you hand calculated it all). And yes, I am female!

  69. I’m not that young but yes a relatively new gamer.
    At #1 I have Aklaim sport’s All Star Baseball 2001. They made an effort to give u an idea of what stadium you are at unlike 2K. They featured the end of USA and CAN anthem, still to this date the only mlb game with dynamic weather, play through rain, rain delays and double header. It helps that the ivy wasn’t always green in Chicago. All this in a N64 cartridge shame on you 2K
    #2 Triple Play Baseball 98. First to introduce walk up music, gameplay was amazing. You still had to battle to beat the Yanks but wouldn’t punish you for picking Kansas City unlike MLB the Show which seems to punish your bad team during emulation even if your team is on fire. Had fun with create a player. I would create a starting pitcher as good as Kerry Wood but as Powerful as Sammy, place him with the Cubs then see my brother walk the bases loaded intentionally in search of a double play and instead see it travel 500ft. Good times.
    #3 Baseball Stars 2 and 2020 (neo geo) a little ahead of it time regarding graphics finally a true homerun celebration unlike other games from the era where home plate seemed to be a sink hole after scoring. A close call at first base and the manager make Lou pinella look like a saint
    #4 RBI baseball of course (played in 1996)
    #5 Baseball heat 2000 (Windows)

  70. What about Extra Innings for Super Nintendo? Everyone had giant heads and small bodies

  71. When I was a kid, we played Sports Illustrated Baseball 1972. Strategic game using three dice and team “sheets” that provided results based on dice rolls. Must have been pretty accurate since I won my leagues with the Mets and A’s, and the ’73 series had …

  72. I thought there were gonna be some older but more recent games. My favorite baseball video games were the All-Star series for N64 (I had fun playing with my brother and 2 other people….remember when you could have 4 people on one tv, I never thought they would just say F*** you video game consumers and make everyone need their own pc and/or console and game and online dlc etc etc now to do any sort of multiplayer. I also loved the MVP series for the Xbox (I think that was like 03-04, I remember one having Manny Ramirez on the cover). I miss MVP so much, let alone a good baseball game to play once in awhile in general; its really the only EA game that they seemed to try to make good. I didn’t like MLB The Show at all when I tried it :(

  73. What was wrong with just going out and playing baseball with the neighbor kids. That’s what wrong today, staying inside and playing video games. Just because you struck out throwing the ball up by yourself and couldn’t hit it.

  74. Loved Baseball Simulator 1.000, but Baseball Stars was the best. My brothers and I had some epic seasons. We actually had to make a rule limiting players to 12 power because we got too good at bunt home runs!

    Baseball Stars also was the closest I’ve ever come to a no-hitter, in any game. I had a custom women’s team (secret code) and I was playing the Japan Robins. I had a perfecto through 8 1/3, and I gave up a triple. Boy was I mad!

  75. My all time favorite pre-video baseball game was All Star Baseball by Cadaco. I spent hours spinning that dial, and actually made some of my own player discs. Of course i skewed all of of the Twins players, especially Harmon Killebrew. I still have the original game, and may have to drag it out of storage since I’m still a 64 year old kid.

  76. We also used to play hours and hours of wiffle ball in the back yard, when there weren’t any Little League games. I could throw a mean curve with that ball.

  77. APBA was and still is the best. I started playing the dice version in 1960 and am still playing APBA’s computer version today and am curently in leagues with people from all over the US. Bought my first board game with money I made cutting lawns in the neighborhood and then would replay the entire MLB season right by the schedule keeping my own stats. I remember my mom calling it the “best baby sitter ever”. What a great game!

  78. First played APBA in 1962. Played the entire ’61 season. I am a statistic nut and APBA was as close to reality as you could get. In 1993, I ordered the Sporting News box scores and played the complete season. I still have my old cards and computer games.. I introduced my son to the game and he was just as dedicated as me..
    He loved statistics and eventually got a part time job with the Blue Jays doing computer statistics. He is now the manager of communications for the Jays. APBA definitely was a major factor in his job with the Blue Jays.

  79. The OS 9 version of Backyard Baseball was classic — Major Leaguers as kids playing some seriously goofy baseball. My son and I played it endlessly. We still quote some of the commentary: “That’s in there like swimwear,” and on-field chatter: the priceless scene of child Nomar Garciaparra on the mound (you could play anyone anywhere), dangling his dead arm and muttering, “So tired … Get me out of this, Skipper.”

  80. Little league baseball for NES. Great game! Also, baseball stars by far was the best baseball game for the earlier systems. World Series baseball for SEGA Saturn was also an amazing game!

  81. What about Dusty Diamonds All Star Softball for the NES?? You got to draft your players and choose the type of field. Epic game!

  82. Started APBA with a friend who had 1953 and 1955 seasons. Bought my own 1958 and 1959 seasons. Played full 1958 and 1959 schedule keeping stats etc. Braves & Yanks won 58 season with Yanks winning World Series. Braves and White Sox won 59 season with Braves winning series. Was disillusioned because pitching stats were only roughly accurate. Actually at that time I felt Stratomatic was better. In 1978 I discovered APBA Master Game. Completed most of the 78 season, but when they came out with Original Franchise All-Stars, I completed a full season. NL won by Phillies !! who beat the Giants in a playoff. Yanks won the AL of course and won the World Series as well. APBA computer game is nice, it makes it easier to keep accurate stats.

  83. There are many reasons why Baseball Stars was great, and they’ve mostly been touched upon in the article and comments. But the biggest reason, in my opinion, why Baseball Stars was so great was because it was the only game where pitching not only mattered, but was fun! In most other games, it was all about hitting and hitting only. The person controlling the pitcher would deliver a pitch, make it move a little, and hope there wasn’t solid contact. But in Baseball Stars, you could build an elite staff with filthy stuff, and really make your human opponent (i.e. your buddy) look foolish.

  84. Wow. This is great to see all the old games. I grew up playing Strat and SI and a paper-and-pencil based sim I wrote myself using 3 six-sided dice. And spent many hours playing All Star Baseball with my next-door neighbor (the one with the spinners, mentioned above by Tony C: http://bit.ly/1gTyzPA).

    Then found Earl Weaver in high school and managed to get a job in 1993 working on the Tony LaRussa series before moving on to make Baseball Mogul.

    Anyway, seeing the Tony LaRussa screens is a real blast from the past. I spent many hours starting at and debugging that game. :)

  85. Howie, ya nailed it…. SNK baseball stars…. the only reason I still own a Nintendo at age 40.

  86. Loved Strat O Matic. Realized it was still around a few years back and purchased a few seasons since. But as the article stated just don’t have the time of a 7 year old ! I started playing board games in hockey & basketball with a game called (I believe ) Negamco. Anyone remember that ? Am I correct with the name

  87. Great to see Baseball Stars getting some long overdue love. I remember getting my first Nintendo at 16 (little too close to 50 here) and I’d asked my folks for RBI Baseball because all my friends had it. Don’t know the circumstances behind it, but they got me Baseball Stars instead. Within 2 weeks all my buddies would gather at my house on weekends for long late night marathons of Stars. RBI may have had the players names but Baseball Stars definitely had the better game play. Just seeing the teams names again brought a huge smile to my face.

    That was the start of a summer ritual between myself and 5 other friends: between games of our 2 summer Strat-o-Matic leagues (I still remember waiting for the new cards to arrive through the mail every year so I could devour the stat lines and prepare for our draft, something I was not quite as adept at as the guys who had a better handle on the laws of statistics and probability than I did. Probably why they all went on to major in Finance in college while I chose the less rugged path of Marketing, and why I didn’t recognize the fact that Chad Kreuter had one of the all time greatest basic Strato cards a catcher ever had after a handful of stat skewing games as a late season call up the prior year. Triple 1-18 on 3-8. God how I hated him.) we’d play a season full of Baseball Stars as well. We kept this up through college (although we added a season of Blades of Steel to the mix) and reading this made me nostalgic for those summers long ago where work didn’t matter much and baseball reigned supreme.

    • Baseball still reigns surpreme after 37 years of teaching , but teaching is now number two and number three is , wait, kids might be reading this.

  88. I have not seen anyone mention Super Action Baseball for Colecovision. Still the greatest baseball game for me. Because it required the special controller you could control all 9 players on defense, the pitching gave you control over 4 different pitches plus 9 different speeds then you could also determine the location. It was the first baseball game to have multiple screen, one while pitching/batting and a full field view after the ball was hit. You could control any or all of you base runners at the same time…this game was more advanced than most games even today, plus in 1983 it was an 8 bit system that provided graphics just like the arcade at the time. Unfortunately Atari 2600 cost half the price and was the dominate system at the time, but for anyone who played this game, it was way before it’s time.

  89. Pingback: Roundup: Swiss Cheese Pervert Arrested; Let’s Play Some Handball; Hey, Remember 1994? | The Big Lead

  90. You missed probably the most accurate simulator out there, one that was related to Tony LaRussa. That was Oldtime Baseball. It had classic stadiums including Ebbetts, Polo Grounds, Shibe etc. You could bring in the newer stadiums from Tony LaRussa. Stats for every team from the late 19th century to 1981. It had a time machine feature that allowed you to change the game to play like any era or specfic year. I had a league where we drafted the greatest players of all time and played against each other.

  91. Does anyone remember an arcade baseball game from the 1980s that had a horizontal joystick? There was a home run derby you could play on it that I wasted a lot of quarters on.

    • Never mind. I actually used the google to find out it was World Series Baseball from Cinematronics in 1984.

  92. How about Mattel Electronics, the baseball handheld? We are talking the 70’s! Sorry, i’m old.

    • nice game…..i played a lot. and if you are good enough on defense, we can still playing now. all the games between good players could ended in pitching gems. and against a good player scoring runs were very difficult.

  93. Strat-o-Matic Baseball is BY FAR the best baseball game ever made. Now, if I can just figure out the Chinese writing on my school-provided apartment (also school-provided and nice – I teach in China) I can play the game again after a 3 and a half year absence from the SOM world that began when I was 8 and contniues as I approach my 60th birthday later this year!!!

  94. We played an entire season of Strat-o-Matic, using the 1980 season cards, with eight teams playing 162 games. Many of the stats came out surprisingly close to the actuals. Including George Brett hitting .390.

    One fun thing: we were summer camp counselors at a camp north of Montreal. The camp had a small AM radio station that broadcast a signal over camp loudspeakers throughout the camp. A friend and I played a simulated Strat-o-Matic all-star game and broadcast it with live commentary. Geeky but fun.

  95. Little known fact about Baseball Stars, which is indeed the best baseball game for any system, ever:

    If you get to extra innings, and manage to stay tied through the bottom of the 18th, the scoreboard will read “NO GAME” and everything you’ve done for the past two hours will cease to exist. Enjoy that.

  96. I don’t remember the name of the game, but in 1995 I played a baseball game for the Sega Genesis, and played a whole season as my Cleveland Indians (when they had a killer lineup), not only did I WIN the world series, but I managed to hit 100 Homeruns in the season with Albert Belle!!! The numbering system only withstood 2 digits, so it was reset to 00 once I (he) reached 100. Oh, the times!!!!

  97. It is very apparent that the gentleman that wrote this article is not a video game reviewer. Fortunately, I am. Or was. To not have the Intellivision baseball title in the late ’70s and the World Series titles from the Sega Saturn and Dreamcast is an insult to real gamers. The titles that were selected sucked. Especially, anything on the NES or SNES system. Stick to the actual players. Leave the game reviewers to those who have done it for years.

  98. Anyone ever play Baseball Mogul? More of a manager / owner view. Does not have the extensive pitch-by-pitch in many games mentioned. You can view play-by-play but more thought is on a total game-by-game experience. Based on ongoing seasonal stats, including minors, drafts / trades.

  99. My all time three favorites are probably 1. Tony LaRussa II – The old stadiums, the old players 2. High Heat baseball – The batter/pitcher interface was awesome and the graphics were great on the stadiums well before they started looking good on the consoles and finally the best of the bunch was probably 3. MVP Baseball 2005.. that is where EA did the best for gameplay and simulating a season…

  100. Intellivision for gameplay. Having your SS go deep in the hole to nab a gb then gun down the runner at first is a visceral memory.



  102. Baseball Stars and Baseball Simulator 1000 were my favorites baseball video games. Also had a Strato-Matic set in the 70’s. I had forgot about that til I saw this blog.

  103. Great article btw.

    In a country that never played baseball, never showed baseball on tv, and never even carried the baseball results in the newspapers, save a few lines on the World Series winners tucked away somewhere far from the headlines, the one game that introduced the fun of baseball to me and kept me hooked for 3 decaeds was HARDBALL, on the Commodore Amiga – for its time a marvel of a game with all the looks, strategy, action and tension of the modern super-sims.

    Now I can watch all the Redsox I want on MLB tv and indulge in as much discussion and fantasy baseball gaming I want thanks to the net. But in deepest darkest Scotland circa early to mid-80s, only HARDBALL shione alight. Thanks a million, whoever you Hardball creators were.

  104. I agree with u guys.
    I´m a little older than you. By the time rbi baseball appeared, i was 15. I start playing baseball video games with MLB baseball on Mattel Intellivision. Was the first game i remember with 9 vs 9 players. even if you see that the game is bidimensional, without a ball´s shadow indicating a fly or line drive, you can throw anywhere you want because of the control pad they developed.
    But in the “new era” of baseball games we are talking, i prefered rbi over the others, because of the simplicity and realistic. good old days. wao

  105. Feels great to know there are stat head/gamers out there besides just me. I run a fantasy baseball league each year on microleaguebaseball.com. I am too busy to update the site, but the league still runs. We have a killer time drafting players each year then simulating the season using an online provider. We have been with MicroLeague, APBA, DMB, OOTP, and now whatifsports.com

    Every year we are looking for a new owner or two to join. Let me know if interested.

  106. Tony LaRussa II was the best ever!!! Wish they would bring this one back for PS3/4 because Tony made sure that EA (who else?) would get it right and they did!!
    I really enjoyed the historical teams, one of the cool ways to learn about the history of the game and your favorite team. As an Oakland A’s fan, I was able to create the ultimate frankenstien-ish A’s Alltime All-Stars with past and present players on the roster and then proceeded to win 155 games out of 162!!! What a blast, and I wasn’t 7 then, I was in my mid 20’s when this and Madden Football hit the market and I’ve been a devotee ever since!!! Come on EA!!!! Bring back Tony LaRussa Baseball!!!

  107. Video games are so unrealistic. It’s more about who has the faster reflexes then anything else. If a person has faster reflexes he can win with the lowly Houston Astros. APBA Baseball and games like it are much more accurate and fun.