Hardball Retro

dedicated to the enrichment of casual and serious enthusiasts in all aspects of professional baseball

Retro Computer Baseball Game Review – Tony La Russa Baseball 3 – 4 – Old Time Baseball

This is the twentieth entry in a series focusing on computer baseball simulations to supplement the chapter “Play Retro Baseball Video Games In Your Browser” from my Hardball Retroactive book along with the corresponding post at Baseball Analytics. The series focuses on baseball simulations – games in which the primary emphasis is on managerial strategy and the ability to replay entire seasons with a degree of realism. Baseball video games that are strictly arcade representations of baseball (based solely on reflex and hand-eye coordination) are excluded.

Tony La Russa Baseball 3

Publisher – Stormfront Studios

Release Year – 1995

Platforms – IBM PC

Credits

Product Director:             Hudson Piehl
Executive Producer:      Don L. Daglow
Programming:Lex Chesler, Jeff Heier
Interface Screen Design:Traci Grellinger, Jim Larsen, Eric Nava, Michael Cincotta, Gregory Atwood
Audio Engineering:Sean Carson, William Beckman
Testing:Steve Borstead, W. Bray Coleman, Stephen L. Kozlowski, Michael Daglow, Peter B. Zerbib, Steve Rosenberg, Ben Stricker
Baseball Manager AI:Tony La Russa
Announcer Voices:Mel Allen, Hank Greenwald, Lon Simmons
Art Director:David Bunnett
Programming Team:Hudson Piehl, Masami Yamada, James H. Grassi, Phillip King
Additional Programming:Mark Buchignani, Clay Dreslough, Randall Turner
Animation Team Leader:John Keester
Animations:Christopher Gray, Uday Kadkade, Geraldine Kovats, Jim Larsen, Delphine Louie, Kimberly Moriki, Al Roughton, William M. Sullivan
Stadium Team Leaders:Marina Goldberg, William Dwyer
Stadium Artists:Michael Barber, William Boyer, Kenn Berry, Eric Grbich, Hugo Kobayashi, Martin Servante, Arturo Sinclair
Interface Screens Team Leader:Sergio Lobato
Interface Screens Artist:Traci Grellinger
Intro Animation:David Clemons
Special Interface and Intro Screens:Gregory Atwood, Raymond Monday
Original Music:Steven Scherer
Announcer Script Design:Mark Buchignani
Sound Specialists:Andrew Boyd, Sean Carson
Video Specialists:Sean Carson, Andrew Boyd
Stadiums Technical Assistant:Stephen L. Kozlowski
Art and Animations:Steve Borstead
Technical Assistant:Lex Chesler
Testers:Stephen L. Kozlowski, Steve Borstead, Lex Chesler, Christine Sun, Will Beckman, Bray Coleman
Research Archivist:Maria Cosgrove
Baseball Statistics:Pete Palmer (Total Baseball)
Player Ratings:Gary Gilette (The Baseball Workshop)
Video Director:Dan Smith
Video Editor:Roger Krakow (Rough House Editorial)
Videography:Ray Santiago (Beyond Pix)
Manual:Tim Flanagan
Resource Consultants:Chuck Thegze, Don Jamerson
Baseball Talent:Joe Millette, Eric Mooney, Barrett Nitschke, Pat Brady
Umpire Voice and Actions:Tony Patch
Intro Motion Capture Consultants:Optimum Human Performance Center
Intro Animation Baseball Talent:Randy Cooper, Michael Harrison, Gil Orta
Special Thanks:Katie Jack, Mickey Shirley, Tom Halliday, Alyssa Finley, Mark Fong, James H. Grove III, Pat Killingsworth, Robert S. Smith, Nick Keren, Hugh Fisher, Howard Bryant, The Oakland Athletics, St. Mary’s College, Moraga, California

Old Time Baseball

Publisher – Stormfront Studios

Release Year – 1995

Platforms – IBM PC

Credits

Statistical Database Licensed From:Total Baseball
Stadium Blueprints Licensed From:Osborn Engineering Inc.
Baseball Manager AI Consultant:Tony La Russa
Stadium Histories Author:Michael Gershman
Stadiums Consultant:Steve Kozel
Executive Producer:Don L. Daglow
Executive Art Director:David Bunnett
Technical Director:           Hudson Piehl
Programming:Lex Chesler
Stadium Art Team Leader:Michael Barber
Interface Art:James Larsen
Stadium Art Team:William Boyer, Martin Servante, Olga Chudnovsky, Kris N. Johnson, John Keester, Sergio Lobato, Gigi Lorick, Kimberly Moriki Zamlich, Nels J. Potts, Al Roughton
Additional Stadium Art:Kenn Berry, John Chui, William A. Dwyer, Marina Goldberg
Additional Interface Art:John Keester, Eric Nava, Raymond Monday, Max Brace, Sanjay Patel
Music:Steven Scherer
Sound Specialists:Sean Carson, Andrew Boyd
Sound Technician:William A. Beckman
Resource Consultant:Chuck Thegze
Stadiums Research:Marla Cosgrove
Testing:Steve Borstead, Bray Coleman, Michael G. Daglow, Stephen L. Kozlowski, Jeremy Krames, Peter Zerbib
Stadiums Technical Assistant:Stephen L. Kozlowski
Play by Play Announcers:Mel Allen, Curt Gowdy
Original Baseball Engine Programming:Hudson Piehl, Masami Yamada, James Grassi, Phillip King
Original Animation Team Leader:John Keester
Original Animation Team:Christopher Gray, Uday Kadkade, Geraldine Kovats, James Larsen, Delphine Louie, Kimberly Moriki Zamlich, Al Roughton, William M. Sullivan
Original Interface Art:Sergio Lobato, Traci Grellinger
Baseball Talent:Joe Millette, Eric Mooney, Bayer Nitschke, Pat Brady
Umpire Talent:Tony Patch
Acknowledgements:Art Commission of the City of New York, John Davids, Judy Davids, Tiger Stadium Fan Club, Bronx County Historical Society, Cincinnati Historical Society, Charles Postel, H.J. Brunier Associates Structural Engineers, Marty Adler, The Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Fame, Parkinson Field Associates Architects and Preservation, Massachusetts Archives at Columbia Point, Sanborn Mapping and Geographic Information Service
Special Thanks:Mark A. Fong, Masami Yamada
Stadium Histories Photos 
Ebbets FieldElias Dudash, Michael Gershman
Old Yankee StadiumMichael Frank, Bronx County Historical Society
Polo GroundsEliot Knispel, Michael Gershman
Sportsmans ParkGavin Riley, Michael Frank
Shibe ParkGavin Riley, Philadelphia Bulletin
Griffith Stadium               Sporting News, Gavin Riley
Crosley FieldGavin Riley, Dick Miller
Forbes FieldNational Baseball Library & Archive, Vic Pallos
Braves FieldGavin Riley, John Brooks Collection
Old Comiskey ParkElias Dudash, Lawrence Okrent
L.A. ColiseumGavin Riley
Seals StadiumSan Francisco Public Library, Gavin Riley
Wrigley FieldNational Baseball Library & Archive
Fenway ParkMichael Gershman, Vic Pallos, Chris Nichol
Milwaukee County StadiumElias Dudash, Gavin Riley
Briggs StadiumRay Madeiros, Gavin Riley
Other Photos 
Season Menu ScreensGavin Riley
League Menu ScreensJohn Thorn
Utilities Menu ScreensJohn Bunting
Manager Menu ScreensNew York Historical Society
Action Game ScreensSan Francisco Public Library
Fantasy Draft ScreensGavin Riley

Tony La Russa Baseball 4

Publisher – Maxis

Release Year – 1997

Platforms – IBM PC

Credits

                Stormfront Studios
  
Baseball Manager AI:    Tony La Russa
Announcer Voices:Mel Allen, Hank Greenwald, Lon Simmons
Director of Product Development:Hudson Piehl
Executive Producer:Don L. Daglow
Action Programming:Mike Dufort, Hudson Piehl, Lex Chesler
Screen Programming:Michael Esposito, P. J. Snavely
3D Engine:Ralf Knoesel, Randall Turner, Randall Stevenson
Interface Design:Gregory Atwood
Interface Art:Gregory Atwood, Traci Grellinger, Sally Ho, John Chui, Michael J. Cincotta, Jedidiah Melnik
Lead Artist (Animations):John Keester
Animators:John Keester, Geraldine Kovats, Kenn Berry, Michael J. Cincotta, Traci Grellinger, Hugo Kobayashi, Kimberly Moriki Zamlich
Lead Artist (Stadium):William A. Dwyer
Stadium Artists:William A. Dwyer, Jay Davis, Michael Barber, David Clemons, Scott Foust, Kenn Berry, Olga Chudnovsky, Martin Servante, Peter A. Davis
Audio Engineer:Sean Carson
Video Engineer:William A. Beckman
Assistant Producer:Ben Stricker
Testing:Steve Borstead
Baseball Statistics:Gary Gillette, Pete Palmer, The Baseball Workshop – Philadelphia PA
Baseball Talent:Mike Harrison, Jeff Scarpitti
Special Thanks:Donna Buchignani, Katie Jack, Randy Thier, Garth Chouteau, Rick Naylor, Rob Claire, William R. Moore
     Maxis Sports  
Producer:Alan Barton
Product Manager:Corinne Finegan
QA Manager:Frank Vigil
Lead Tester:Myka G. Macaraeg
Lead Assistant:Bubber Macaraeg
In the QA Dugout:Liam Patterson, Scott Shicoff, Joe Longworth, Marc Meyer, Keith Meyer, Owen Nelson, Russell Johnson, Shannon Copur, Sean Blair, Haji Robinson
Special Support:Paul Zuzelo, Sam Poole, Tom Forge, John Ylinen, Serdar Copur, Andy Derber
Tony 4 Readme:Kirk Lesser (Blud)
Contributions by:Andy Derber (Mr. Fabulous), Cory Dodt, Sean Blair, Myka G. Macaraeg (as the Beaver)
And last but not least, for all of the fans that helped support this product:Manny Montez, Dennis Perry, David Eng, JT Carey, Jason Dendler, Les Hamilton, Michael Jeffress, Adrian Booker, Wendell Joyner, John Ylinen (Jussi), Serdar Copur, Shannon Copur
Special Thanks to:Monique Macaraeg, Lucky Macaraeg, Jessica Barton, Sabrina Barton

Interview

Don Daglow served as the Executive Producer for the Tony La Russa Baseball series along with Old Time Baseball. He graciously responded to my inquiries specific to TLRB3 & 4 and OTB.

DB – Tony La Russa Baseball 3 and Old Time Baseball were nearly released simultaneously in 1995. When was the concept for OTB conceived and was it intended to be a parallel project to TLRB3? Was there any concern about releasing two baseball products into the marketplace around the same time?

DD – The decision to release both was a calculated risk. Our theory was that the baseball history fans (like me) whose baseball desires were satisfied by Old Time Baseball and wouldn’t buy TLRB wouldn’t cannibalize too many TLRB sales. I also had dreamed for many years of creating something like OTB and we had our proprietary baseball engine upon which to base it, and that felt like the moment when I could “make the dream come true.” Of course, the factor we didn’t think about was the baseball strike!

DB – Is there any significance to the number “11” on the backs of the player uniforms?

DD – We weren’t yet at the point where available RAM and processor speed in the typical consumer machines would allow us to individualize the animations, and 11 was the least likely number to draw attention to that fact.

DB – The GM Challenge mode includes an undocumented feature where women begin to appear in the game after you progress into the 2040 season. MLB has been slowly moving in this direction on the field (female coaches and managers in the Minor Leagues) and the front office. Do you believe there is enough momentum towards this initiative to fulfill this prophecy within that timeline? When the Silver Bullets team was formed in the mid-90’s, there was some momentum in this direction.

DD – That’s outside my forecasting abilities, but I certainly hope we see more girls playing baseball in Little League etc. if that’s what they want to do. The hiring of Alyssa Nakken is also an encouraging signpost.

DB – Old Time Baseball featured the “Time Machine” to convert player statistics across different eras. What statistics were utilized when converting player data from one era to another? Did you utilize park factors, league runs per game, or a combination of formulas?

DD – We aggregated a series of factors, and I have to admit that 30 years later I don’t remember every step. Obviously, the toughest part was trying to maintain some kind of meaningful competition across the dead ball to modern ball transition. We even tried simulating 1871-92, though I’m not sure if that was a failed experiment.

DB – Tony La Russa 4 was the final edition in the series. Were further sequels with a revamped engine under consideration? What were some of the enhancements that you would have considered for a new game or series?

DD – There were two factors that caused us to end work on the series. First of all, the 1994-95 strike decreased consumer spending on everything baseball, even after play resumed. Our forecasts for unit sales of the games were dramatically affected. Second, over the course of the 1990s the large game publishers went public and started making games with much bigger budgets as a way to outsell and marginalize smaller publishers. Since we developed original games for publishers but baseball games were the only titles we published ourselves, this placed us at a big disadvantage. The combined effect of these two factors was to make another sequel a bad bet.

DB – You attempted to revive the La Russa product line in 2012 after a 15 year absence. “Tony La Russa’s Baseball With Fans” was targeted for Smartphone platforms but the Kickstarter support ultimately fell short. What would a re-imagined “Tony 5” look like and do you have any future plans for TLRB or perhaps an Old Time Baseball II with the ability to import statistics from online sources, internet play, etc.?

DD – That effort was undertaken when my passion for baseball caused me to not properly factor the fact that Kickstarter users usually support physical games, not digital ones. I always have dreams about making new kinds of baseball games, and one day one of them may come to life.

DB – If there are any important points about the Tony La Russa Baseball series and Old Time Baseball that I’ve missed, please share your thoughts here!

DD – Just that the roles of Mark Buchignani, David Bunnett and Hudson Piehl (in alphabetical order) in creating the games were critical in our initial and long-term success, and that without Katie Kelly coordinating everything the series would never have launched.

Review

Old Time Baseball

One of the neat features implemented in Old Time Baseball is the “Time Machine” which allows you to configure your league (universe) based on different eras in baseball history or you can select a specific season so the outcomes veer towards high, neutral or low-run environments. The available eras include:

All-Time Average, Early Baseball (1871-1892), Dead Ball Era (1893-1919), Babe Ruth Era (1920-1945), The Golden Age (1946-1960), Expansion Era (1961-1976), and Modern Baseball (1977-1994). The only competitor’s product offering similar functionality during this timeframe was Pursue the Pennant / Diamond Mind Baseball, to my knowledge. I imported the 1979 rosters and ran a test season using the Dead Ball Era to test-drive the Time Machine. Fred Lynn led the Majors with 10 round-trippers in the regular season. Five players tied for the runner-up spot with 6 circuit clouts apiece. Billy North (114 SB) was one of three players topping the century mark in steals as a dozen thieves pilfered at least 80 bags! David Palmer flummoxed the opposition, posting a Major League-best 1.44 ERA.

Experimenting further with the expansive Old Time Baseball statistics, I loaded the 1981 season into OTB and then imported that universe into TLRB3. Using the Player Stats function under the Utilities menu, I tabbed through each franchise and corrected the player names for individuals who were still active in 1995. Due to licensing issues with MLBPA, those player names in the OTB database were simply “Center Fielder” or “Pitcher”. However their actual statistics allowed me to easily discern their identities by browsing through the corresponding team roster on Baseball-Reference. So the Yankees “Pitcher” with an ERA of 0.77 and 46.2 IP became Rich Gossage while I ascertained the southpaw with the 2.05 ERA and 105.1 IP as rookie sensation Dave Righetti. I also encountered an issue with batter handedness. None of the players imported from the Old Time Baseball CD-ROM were listed as switch-hitters, so I had to scroll through each roster and compare to that season’s entry on the Baseball-Reference website. One other quirk involved primary positions for some outfielders. Many of them default to right field, making it necessary to peruse the actual games by position and correct those that should be in left or center field. I adjusted the lineups and rotations according to the historical record and simulated the season using a 162-game schedule.

I used the “Create Team” option in Old Time Baseball to build rosters from another project that I’m working on, tentatively titled “The Ones That Got Away”. I organized the best players that each franchise traded, released, or allowed to otherwise leave via free agency or other means, sorted by their WAR and Win Shares totals in their best seasons for their new club and divided into teams by decade. In this edition I elected to use the squads from the 1970’s as OTB contains all player-seasons through 1981. After I drafted the players on to their respective franchises, I selected starting lineups (vs RHP and LHP), starting rotations and bullpens. Stadiums were assigned to each team from the list of 16 beautifully rendered old-time ballparks that are included in the game. Since I had 24 teams (the 16 “original” franchises from the turn of the century plus the expansion teams through 1969), I opted to assign two teams to some of the stadiums.

Los Angeles Coliseum – Angels, Padres
Braves Field – Braves
Crosley Field – Reds, Indians
Briggs Stadium – Tigers, Expos
Griffith Stadium – Orioles, Rangers
Milwaukee County Stadium – Brewers, Twins
Polo Grounds – Mets, Astros
Fenway Park – Red Sox
Yankee Stadium – Yankees
Seals Stadium – A’s, Giants
Shibe Park – Phillies
Sportsman’s Park – Cardinals, Royals
Forbes Field – Pirates
Ebbets Field – Dodgers
Wrigley Field – Cubs
Old Comiskey Park – White Sox

The 70’s Yankees, Phillies, Athletics and Giants’ “Got Away” squads led their respective divisions at the All-Star Break. I signed on as the skipper for the American League All-Stars. A couple of left-handers, Vida Blue (OAK) and Wilbur Wood (PIT), were rewarded with the starting assignments. The afternoon affair at Fenway Park commenced with a scoreless first inning but George Foster (SFG) but the Senior Circuit on the board with a solo blast over the Green Monster. Davey Johnson (BAL) crushed a three-run shot into the netting above the left field wall to propel the Junior Circuit into the lead with two outs in the bottom of the third. He repeated the feat with two aboard in the fifth as the American Leaguers extended their advantage to 6-1. Foster tallied another RBI when he hit into a fielder’s choice with runners on first and second in the visitor’s sixth. Gaylord Perry (TEX) relieved Blue to begin the seventh frame and proceeded to set the NL crew down in order. Perry’s brother Jim held the opposition in check during the eighth inning and Andy Messersmith entered the contest to nail down the final three outs as the American League triumphed by a score of 6-2.

The season concluded with the Tribe outlasting the Bronx Bombers by a five-game margin in the AL East while the Angels, Athletics and Rangers each posted 90+ victories in the AL West. Texas emerged with the division title by a lone victory over Oakland. In the National League, Philadelphia claimed the Eastern Division crown and finished five games ahead of St. Louis. The Astros topped the Majors with 97 wins and prevailed in a tight race with the Reds to take the NL West.

Cleveland stormed out to a 3-0 lead in the American League Championship Series. Tommy Harper clubbed a round-tripper and knocked in four runs while Dennis Eckersley hurled 8 strong innings as the Tribe took Game 1 by a score of 7-3.  Sonny Siebert (CLE) and Bert Blyleven (TEX) engaged in a pitcher’s duel in Game 2, trading zeroes for eight frames until Ray Fosse singled home Joe Rudi with the game’s lone run off Don Stanhouse to propel Cleveland to a 1-0 triumph. Harper led the Indians’ offensive ambush with 4 of the team’s 13 base knocks in Game 3. Jim Perry and Jim Kern held the Rangers at bay, allowing 4 base hits as Cleveland pushed Texas to the brink of elimination. The Rangers showed their resiliency in Game 4 with a 4-3 victory in a ten-inning affair. Texas hurlers Joe H. Coleman, Stan Thomas and combined for a 2-0 shutout in Game 5. Harper swatted a big-fly and Rudi drove in 3 runs to clinch the AL pennant as Cleveland defeated Texas, 6-5 in Game 6 to advance to the World Series.

Philadelphia prevailed 12-9 in Game 1 as Houston wasted a home run and 5 RBI from first-sacker John Mayberry and Joe Pepitone’s 3 RBI. The Phillies countered with four circuit clouts – a couple of taters off the bat of Barry Foote along with big-flies by John E Briggs and Don Money. Also known as “Brooks” for his fielding prowess, Money cashed in with a 5-for-5 day at the office. Everyone in the Phillies lineup contributed at least one base hit as Astros’ southpaw Dave A Roberts and a trio of relievers yielded 20 base knocks. The Fightin’ Phillies repeated the feat in the second contest, a 12-0 shellacking in which the Houston staff allowed 19 hits while Fergie Jenkins spun a 5-hit shutout. Dick Allen went yard twice and John “Bad Dude” Stearns delivered a solo shot. The Astros triumphed on the road in Game 3 as the ball club rallied with 2 runs in the ninth to secure a  7-6 victory. Rusty Staub plated three baserunners and Joe Ferguson added a pair of RBI. Ken Brett (PHI) twirled a 3-hitter to claim victory in a 1-0 affair in Game 4 despite a one-hitter by Houston’s Jerry Reuss. Unfortunately for the ‘Stros, that one hit was a solo round-tripper by Toby Harrah in the sixth inning. The visiting Astros held a 3-1 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth in Game 5 when the hometown Phils erupted for 3 runs against Howie Reed and Fred Scherman to capture the NL pennant. I elected to skipper the Phillies in the upcoming Series.

Philadelphia travelled to Cleveland and the World Series commenced with a pair of aces on the hill for their respective clubs. Dennis Eckersley got the Game 1 nod for the Tribe while the Fightin’ Phillies countered with Fergie “Fly” Jenkins. Toby Harrah advanced to second on a two-base error by left fielder Joe Rudi. “Eck” walked John Stearns and Dick Allen to load the bases with nobody out. Oscar Gamble lofted a fly ball to center, deep enough to score Harrah. John E. Briggs rapped into a 5-4-3 double play to end the threat. Tommy Harper laced a two-bagger off the center field wall to ignite a potential rally for the Indians. Rudi atoned for his earlier miscue to knot the game at 1-1 with a double to right-center field. Eckersley held the Phillies hitless until Cesar Tovar delivered a clean single to left with one away in the top of the fifth. The match remained tied until the bottom of the eighth when Jenkins yielded consecutive two-base hits to Alfredo Griffin and Harper. Cleveland assumed a 2-1 lead and Philadelphia elected to call upon Grant Jackson after issuing a free pass to George Hendrick. Jackson got out of the jam and the Tribe brought Jim Kern on to pitch the ninth inning. Oscar Gamble drew a base on balls. Briggs bounced a high chopper back to the mound. Kern whirled and fired to second to gun down the pinch-runner, Bill Robinson. Don Money drilled a double up the gap in left-center and Briggs was off to the races, scoring all the way from first to tie the game at 2-2! Cleveland’s skipper held up four fingers and Kern walked Del Unser intentionally to face Tovar. I countered with pinch-hitter Willie Montanez, who promptly whiffed on a 3-2 curveball. Dave Cash lined out to third for the final out of the frame. Jackson retired the Indians in order and the game headed into extra innings. Harrah belted a double high off the center field wall to commence the top of the tenth and he advanced to third on a slow roller to first off the bat of Stearns. Cleveland chose to pitch to Allen even though first base was unoccupied and the slugger drove in Harrah with a sacrifice fly to left to put the Phillies in front, 3-2. Darold Knowles shut down the Tribe offense in the home half of the tenth to notch the save as Philadelphia took a 1-0 lead in the Series.

Jim Perry merited the starting nod for the Indians in Game 2 while the Phillies countered with Rick Wise. Cleveland scratched across a run in the first when Toby Harrah booted Joe Rudi’s grounder to short with the bases loaded. Another miscue by Harrah with two outs in the second allowed George Hendrick to bat with a pair of baserunners aboard. “Silent George” took a mighty cut and deposited the ball far beyond the center field fence for a three-run bomb as the Indians extended their lead to 4-0. Harrah drew a leadoff base on balls in the fourth and later scored with two down on an opposite-field single off the bat of Oscar Gamble. Ron Schueler relieved Wise after he issued a free pass to Alfredo Griffin with one out in the sixth. Tommy Harper promptly rapped into a 6-4-3 double play to keep the score at 4-1. Rudi’s web gem, a diving catch that robbed Cesar Tovar of a base knock, keep the Phils at bay in the visitor’s seventh. Griffin laced an RBI double in the eighth to provide further cushion for the Tribe. Perry cruised to a complete-game six-hitter, retiring pinch-hitter Johnny Callison on a pop-up to Ray Fosse to end the contest and knot the series at one game apiece.

In the City of Brotherly Love, the two teams prepared to square off in Game 3. Tommy Harper worked a base on balls leading off the contest and Jose Cardenal followed with a two-run blast off Ken Brett which landed just inside the left-field foul pole. Tommy John served up a gopher ball to left-center field off the bat of center fielder Jerry Martin to cut the Indians lead in half. Toby Harrah and Dick Allen tagged solo shots off “TJ” in the third frame to put the Phillies on top, 3-2. Rico Carty belted a triple over Martin’s outstretched glove in center to start the visitor’s fourth. Brett whiffed Graig Nettles and Joe Rudi to nearly escape the inning unscathed, but Chris Chambliss laced a single to center to drive home the tying run. Alfredo Griffin singled to commence the fifth frame, moved to third on Harper’s two-base knock and scored on a solid single to center by “Silent” George Hendrick. Jackie Brown relieved Brett in the top of the sixth. The Tribe tacked on a run in the eighth after Harrah committed a pair of errors. John hurled scattered eight hits across eight innings before Jim Kern entered the game in the bottom of the ninth. The “Emu” yielded a one-out single to John “Bad Dude” Stearns but he induced a 6-4-3 double play ground ball off the bat of pinch-hitter Willie Montanez to secure the 5-3 victory as Cleveland assumed the advantage in the Series.

The Tribe had another ace up their sleeve as the wily right-hander Gaylord Perry got the starting assignment in Game 4. The Fightin’ Phils countered with southpaw Rudy May. I noticed a bug in the box score when Cleveland tallied an unearned run in the top of the third inning. Chris Chambliss singled and advanced to third base on a two-out base knock off the bat of Tommy Harper. However, Chambliss twisted his ankle on the play and had to be removed from the contest in favor of Vada Pinson. A surprise bunt by Jose Cardenal caught May off-guard and the pitcher bobbled the ball, allowing Pinson to score as Harper moved up to second and Cardenal beat the throw to first. The box score credited Chambliss with the run scored instead of Pinson. Regardless, the Indians held a 1-0 advantage after May whiffed “Silent” George Hendrick. Philadelphia knotted the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the third. Toby Harrah drilled a two-bagger up the gap in left field. Willie Montanez and John E. Briggs delivered consecutive base hits with Harrah coasting home when Cardenal trapped Briggs’ liner to center. May struck out nine batsmen through 6 2/3 innings but ran out of gas and yielded the bump to right-hander Dyar Miller. Harper drew a walk to load the bases. Cardenal jumped on Miller’s first offering and ripped a double that one-hopped the fence in left-center, scoring a pair to put the visitors out in front, 3-1. Hendrick struck out but the damage was done. Jim Kern entered the game in the bottom of the ninth after Perry held the Phillies to one run through eight frames. Don Money coaxed a base on balls leading off the inning and Johnny Callison blooped a base hit to right field. Del Unser slapped a single past a diving Pinson at first base, cutting the lead to 3-2. Kern proceeded to strike out the side as Oscar Gamble, Harrah and Richie Hebner were punched out in succession to slam the door shut on the Phillies’ rally.

Philadelphia returned to the ballpark for Game 5 facing a must-win scenario with Ferguson Jenkins on the hill for the hometown squad and Dennis Eckersley slinging for the visiting ball club. Both hurlers held the opposition in check until the visitor’s fifth when Jose Cardenal laced a sharp single over the head of second-sacker Dave Cash, scoring Ray Fosse from third. In the bottom of the seventh, Del Unser led off with a base hit to center field and reached second on a throwing error by Cardenal. Dave Cash delivered a single but Unser was only able to advance one base. John Stearns drew a base on balls following a strikeout by Toby Harrah. Dick Allen whiffed for the second out but Willie Montanez stroked a solid single back through the box and into center field to tie the game at 1-1. Johnny Callison slashed an opposite-field single to left with one away in the eighth, sending “Eck” to the showers in favor of the Tribe’s closer, Jim Kern. Cesar Tovar came on as a pinch-runner. Cash executed the hit-and-run to perfection, lining the ball up the right-center field gap for the go-ahead double. Grant Jackson replaced “Fly” to begin the ninth frame and he retired the Indians in order to secure the save as the Phillies prevailed, 2-1 and sent the Series back to Cleveland.

The skippers for Philadelphia and Cleveland turned to veterans Rick Wise and Jim Perry, respectively, for Game 6 matchup. Joe Rudi commenced the scoring with a two-run blast over the right-center field wall in the home half of the second inning. Ray Fosse drilled a one-out double to deep center field in the fifth to plate Vada Pinson. The Indians loaded the bases but Wise extracted himself from the jam with a pair of grounders to shortstop Toby Harrah, the first one resulting in a force out at home. John Stearns and Dick Allen rapped back-to-back two-base hits in the top of the sixth to put the Phillies on the board. Oscar Gamble ripped a hot grounder past a diving Tommy Harper to drive in Allen, cutting the Cleveland advantage to 3-2. Darold Knowles replaced Wise to start the sixth inning. He kept the Tribe in check for two frames before yielding to Dyar Miller in the eighth. Miller and southpaw Grant Jackson worked in and out of trouble in the eighth. Cleveland’s manager summoned Jim Kern from the bullpen to pitch the ninth. Gamble led off with a line-drive single to center. Don Money ripped a tailor-made double play grounder to shortstop but Tommy Harper failed to handle the throw from Alfredo Griffin and the ball sailed into right field for a two-base error. The unexpected gift gave the Phillies new life, placing runners on second and third with nobody out. Johnny Callison’s next swing silenced the hometown faithful as he connected on an opposite-field, three-run round-tripper over the left field wall. The FIghtin’ Phils loaded the bases on one-out singles by Dave Cash and Harrah, followed by a base on balls to Stearns. Kern struck out Allen but Willie Montanez laced his fourth base knock of the day to extend the Phillies’ lead to 6-3. Kern was mercifully removed in favor of portsider Brent Strom. Pinch-hitter Bill Robinson greeted him with a single to center, tallying another run for the visitors. Money grounded out to Griffin to conclude the inning with the Indians trailing 7-3. Bill Champion took the mound for the Phillies and promptly served up an opposite-field long ball to Rudi. Consecutive two-base hits by Chris Chambliss and Duke Sims brought the fans to their feet and sent Champion to the showers. Veteran left-hander Woodie Fryman entered the fray with Sims on second base and the tying run at the plate with nobody out. Harrah made a diving stop on a hot grounder up the middle and fired to first base in time to retire Griffin. Harper went down swinging and Rusty Torres flew out to center for the final out as Philadelphia claimed a 7-5 victory to force a seventh game.

A couple of southpaws, Ken Brett for the Phillies and Tommy John for the Indians, received the starting assignment in Game 7. Both lineups were stacked with right-handed batsmen save for Graig Nettles. The visitors loaded the bases on consecutive singles by Bill Robinson and Jerry Martin, followed by a walk to Don Money. John whiffed Cesar Tovar but Barry Foote crushed an 0-1 curveball deep over the fence in center field for a grand slam! In the fourth, John Stearns ripped a two-run single to left which knocked John out of the contest. Brent Strom came on in relief as Cleveland trailed 6-0. Money deposited a long ball in the right-center field bleachers for a solo shot off Strom in the seventh. Brett yielded his first tally in the home seventh when Ted Ford drilled a two-bagger off the center field wall to plate Rico Carty. Jackie Brown entered the game in the eighth with a 7-1 lead. He skated through his first frame without issue but ran into trouble in the ninth as Duke Sims and Alfredo Griffin produced successive RBI singles. The Phillies’ skipper called upon the closer, Darold Knowles, to extinguish the fire. He got Tommy Harper to ground into a fielder’s choice and Jose Cardenal on a two-hopper to second-sacker Dave Cash for the final out. The Fightin’ Phils gathered near the mound to revel in the victory. Fergie Jenkins earned MVP honors with 15 1/3 innings pitched, 11 strikeouts and 3 runs allowed.

Tony La Russa Baseball 3

Tony La Russa Baseball 3 introduces the GM Challenge, a “career mode” option in which the user assumes the role of the General Manager. You begin in the currently selected universe’s year. I imported the 1961 Season from Old Time Baseball so I could oversee the roster construction for the expansion Angels’ ball club. So you have the players from 1961 on their actual teams to start the GM Challenge. You adjust the levers on the Scouting Emphasis screen to determine an order of preference with regards to available amateur talent in the upcoming draft. The drafting is performed behind-the-scenes and consists of fictional players. This is where my interest in this mode drifted… I am just unable to find any enjoyment managing fictional players when it comes to baseball simulations. I put the game through its paces for several seasons using the GM Challenge but it failed to capture my attention. One interesting note that I came across during my research – if you play into the 2040 season or thereabouts, female ballplayers will begin to appear on your rosters.

All three games include the Fantasy Draft. This allows you to create a brand new baseball universe using a variety of standard fantasy or Rotisserie baseball options. You can choose the draft order (cycle, snake or random) and whether to utilize “Rotisserie Points” or conduct an Auction Style draft, where owners can bid on each player. You can assign human or computer general managers to each team prior to the draft and the user is able to modify the General Manager Profile for each individual GM with custom or preset biases: Tony La Russa (balanced pitching, hitting, defense), Power Hungry (emphasis on homers), Steal Bases/Steal Hits (emphasis on speed and generating one run at a time), Pitching-Pitching-Pitching, and Tough in the Field (defense and pitching). Each draft can last for up to 40 rounds, provided there are enough players in the free agent pool.

I elected to simulate the 1995 season with the hopes that my favorite team, the Angels, would somehow avoid their September collapse and reach the playoffs. The Halos achieved this goal with 95 victories in the regular season. California triumphed over Baltimore in the first round, 3 games to 1. Chuck Finley went the distance in Game 1, yielding only two hits while striking out seven O’s. Mark Langston out-dueled Scott Erickson as the Halos took Game 2 by a score of 5-2. The Orioles prevailed in an extra-inning slugfest in Game 3, 9-8, in a contest featuring 8 circuit clouts. Mark Dalesandro, Tony Phillips and J.T. Snow cleared the fences at Camden Yards as the Angels advanced to the next round with a decisive 6-1 victory in Game 4.

Cleveland and Boston squared off in the other American League Division Series. Dennis Martinez blanked the BoSox on three hits in Game 1. Carlos Baerga rapped four base knocks as Cleveland prevailed 7-5 in Game 2. Albert Belle swatted a pair of big flies and drove in five runs to propel the Indians into the next round with a convincing 9-0 rout of Tim Wakefield and the Sox in the third contest.

The National League Division Series featured Cincinnati’s sweep of San Diego. The Redlegs’ Jerome Walton provided the margin of victory with a two-run jack in the top of the ninth off Scott Sanders. Eddie Taubensee clubbed a couple of long balls and knocked in four runs as Cincinnati rolled to a 9-1 triumph in the second game. Back on their home turf in Game 3, the Cincinnati lumber crew belted 4 round-trippers and David Wells twirled a 3-hit shutout to close out the sweep of the Friars.

Los Angeles won a hard-fought series over Florida in 5 games. The Dodgers outlasted the Marlins, 6-5 in Game 1 as Jose Offerman recorded 3 hits and Bill Ashley mashed a two-run tater. Bobby Witt whiffed 10 in 6 2/3 innings as Florida evened the series at one game apiece. The Marlins nearly wasted a brilliant effort by Chris Hammond in Game 3 (8 IP, 5 H, 0 R) when the Dodgers rallied for a pair of runs in the top of the ninth to tie the score, but the LA bullpen imploded in the bottom of the inning. Antonio Osuna walked Gary Sheffield, then Todd Worrell issued free passes to Charles Johnson and Jesus Tavarez before pinch-hitter Jerry Browne slapped a game-winning single! Hideo Nomo flummoxed the Fish in Game 4, striking out ten and allowing only three hits in an 8-0 rout as Offerman homered and knocked in 4 runs. Dave Hansen plated 3 baserunners and Tom Candiotti’s flutterball finished off Florida with a convincing 8-2 triumph in Miami.

The Angels took the Indians to six games in the American League Championship Series but California’s pitching staff took a collecting beating from the Tribe offense. Orel Hershiser struck out 13 Halos in Game 1 while Kenny Lofton and Paul Sorrento knocked in three runs apiece as the Tribe notched a 9-1 victory. Angels’ hurlers served up seven gopher balls in Game 2 including 4 jacks by Paul Sorrento! Shawn Boskie allowed 11 earned runs and Brian J. Anderson coughed up 5 of the round-trippers as Cleveland trounced California, 19-8. The Angels’ offense came to life in Game 3 as the club registered 19 base hits, but the Indians countered with 15 of their own in a 13-8 decision that put the Tribe in position to sweep the series. Tim Salmon produced 3 hits, a home run, 3 RBI and stole a base as California finally recorded a win, 6-5 in 10 innings. J.T. Snow, Rex Hudler and Spike Owen cranked circuit clouts and southpaw Mark Langston held Cleveland in check over 8 1/3 innings as the Halos claimed Game 5 by a score of 5-3. Alas, the Indians returned home for Game 6 and got their mojo back as Hershiser spun a five-hitter and blanked the Angels, 8-0. The “Bulldog” was mobbed by his teammates at the mound and Cleveland was headed to the World Series.

The Dodgers coasted to victory in the National League Championship Series in six games. Raul Mondesi launched two long balls and drove in four runs as the Dodgers defeated the Reds in Game 1. Cincinnati only registered three base knocks in Game 2 but they somehow managed seven tallies against one for Los Angeles while Pete Schourek scattered 9 hits over 8 innings. Todd Hollandsworth swatted a big-fly and knocked in 3 runs for LA to secure a 5-3 victory in Game 3. The Dodgers belted three solo shots but fell to the Reds, 4-3 in Game 4. With the series knotted at two games apiece, Los Angeles seized the upper hand when Raul Mondesi walloped a majestic three-run blast and his teammates scratched out a couple of late-inning tallies in a 5-4 triumph. Jose Offerman and Roberto Kelly delivered 3 hits each and the Dodgers prevailed in Game 6, 5-4 in 10 innings to claim the National League pennant!

The World Series commenced at Dodger Stadium and I elected to manage Los Angeles. Carlos Baerga delivered a solo blast off Ismael Valdes in the top of the first. Mike Piazza countered with a line drive that cleared the fence in left-center off Mark Clark to tie the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the second. Paul Sorrento slapped a bases-loaded single just beyond the reach of shortstop Jose Offerman to briefly give the visitors a 2-1 lead in the sixth but Eric Karros led off the home half of the frame with a towering four-bagger into the center field bleachers to knot the game at 2-2. Valdes supplied seven strong innings of 5-hit ball but the manager summoned Antonio Osuna from the bullpen to start the eighth. Osuna immediately allowed a double up the gap in right-center to Kenny Lofton and later issued a pair of walks. John Cummings extinguished the blaze when he fanned Sorrento for the third out. LA loaded the bases against Clark on successive singles by Piazza and Karros followed by an intentional pass to third baseman Dave Hansen later in the frame. Pinch-hitter Henry Rodriguez popped up to Jim Thome in foul territory to quell the threat. Light-hitting backstop Tony Pena greeted the Dodgers’ closer Todd Worrell with a deep fly that landed in the left field seats. The hushed crowd stared in disbelief as Worrell grabbed the rosin bag and tossed it behind the mound in anger as Pena trotted around the bases. He retired the next three hitters in order. I noticed a potential glitch in TLRB3 at this point. Jose Mesa was announced as the new pitcher, followed by a notification that Julian Tavarez and Paul Assenmacher were warming up in the bullpen. Immediately thereafter, the game advised that Tavarez was now pitching. To confirm that I wasn’t imagining this, I checked the box score and confirmed that indeed Mesa was listed for the Indians and removed without pitching to a batter. Perhaps he was injured on his journey from the bullpen to the mound, or hurt himself throwing warm-up tosses? Chad Fonville reached on a single and advanced to third when Offerman’s grounder snuck through the hole vacated by Omar Vizquel when the shortstop went to cover second on the hit-and-run play. Raul Mondesi stepped up to the plate with runners on the corners and nobody out. Tavarez whiffed Mondesi and Piazza hit a slow roller towards Vizquel who wheeled and fired to Baerga for the second out. However, Piazza just beat the relay to first and Fonville easily crossed home plate with the tying run! Vizquel settled under Karros’ pop-fly to shallow left and the game drifted into extra innings. Baerga belted a two-base knock into the left field corner to start the visitors’ tenth and the Dodgers elected to issue an intentional pass to Albert Belle. Willie Banks replaced Worrell on the bump and peered in to Piazza for the signs as Manny Ramirez took a couple of practice swings. Ramirez grounded into a fielder’s choice, erasing Belle from the base paths. One man out and runners at the corners for Thome, who delivered a liner between first and second for a run-scoring single as Baerga trotted home with the go-ahead run. Mondesi gunned down Belle at third base as Thome snuck into second. Sorrento drew a base on balls, so I summoned Pedro Astacio from the bullpen. Pena ripped a sharp single to left and Roberto Kelly came up firing. Inexplicably, Offerman cut off the throw and fired to first base which allowed Thome to reach home plate uncontested! Vizquel lined out to Fonville to end the inning but the Tribe now held a 5-3 advantage. Tavarez remained on the bump to begin the frame. Roberto Kelly scorched a hot grounder down the third base line. Thome gloved it, fired across the diamond and almost nailed Kelly but the ball ticked off Sorrento’s mitt and landed near the tarp. Pena backed up the play so Kelly did not attempt to advance. Jim Poole answered the call to the ‘pen. Hansen rapped a base hit to right sending Kelly scampering over to third. Brett Butler popped up to the catcher behind the plate. Billy Ashley, batting for Astacio, coaxed a base on balls to load ‘em up. Fonville lofted a fly ball to medium center, just deep enough to score Kelly. Offerman skied a pop-up behind the dish and Pena settled under it for the last out to secure a 5-4 triumph for the Indians.

Game 2 was slated to be the “Battle of the Martinez’s” as Ramon J. of the Dodgers prepared to square off against Dennis of the Indians. Sandy Alomar Jr. put the Indians on the board with a solo blast in the top of the second. Later in the frame, Dennis Martinez clubbed a two-run dinger off his counterpart to give the Tribe an early 3-0 advantage. Carlos Baerga belted a long ball leading off the third, which sent Ramon J. Martinez to the showers in favor of Pedro Astacio. Albert Belle walloped a tape-measure job deep into the left field bleachers. Manny Ramirez laced a double into the gap in left-center followed by a Jim Thome single. After Paul Sorrento popped up to third, Alomar slapped a base hit to right field to plate Ramirez. Omar Vizquel drilled a two-run triple to left-center, knocking in a pair of runs. When the dust finally settled, Willie Banks was on the bump for LA and the Tribe had a comfortable 8-0 lead!  Undaunted by the deluge of runs tallied by their opponents, the Dodgers mounted a comeback against “El Presidente” in the home half of the third. Jose Offerman and Raul Mondesi hammered back-to-back doubles with two outs to put LA on the board. Mike Piazza drew a base on balls and Eric Karros smacked a three-run bomb into the right-center field bleachers to cut the Indians’ lead to 8-4! Offerman injured himself on a defensive play in the fourth, so Chad Fonville moved from second to short and the Dodgers substituted Garey Ingram at second base. Los Angeles scratched out a run in the bottom of the sixth. With a pair of runners aboard, Fonville delivered a sacrifice bunt and pinch-hitter Todd Hollandsworth grounded out to short for an RBI fielder’s choice. John Cummings and Antonio Osuna held the Indians in check. Roberto Kelly led off the eighth with a base knock. Dave Hansen executed a perfect hit-and-run play as he slapped a slow roller through the hole vacated by Vizquel. Fonville’s two-hopper between short and third was fielded cleanly by the Tribe shortstop, who gunned the ball to second for a fielder’s choice. Dennis Martinez remained on the mound as the Dodgers sent pinch-hitter Henry Rodriguez to the plate with runners on the corners and only one away. Baerga snared Rodriguez’s liner for the second out and Brett Butler grounded out to short to retire the side. Todd Worrell served up a two-run blast to Sorrento in the ninth to extend the Indians’ lead. Martinez finished off the Dodgers to preserve the 10-5 victory and send the Indians home with a 2-0 advantage in the Series.

The festivities commenced in “The Forest City” with Charles Nagy on the hill for the hometown team. Japanese rookie sensation Hideo Nomo got the nod for the visitors with the added pressure of his squad’s 0-2 deficit entering the contest. Eddie Murray batted cleanup for Cleveland, making his first appearance as the designated hitter was implemented only in the American League ballpark per the rulebook. Nomo suffered control problems throughout the early innings, issuing 5 free passes through the third inning. He wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam when Manny Ramirez took a mighty cut and came up empty in the home half of the third. Kenny Lofton launched a moon-shot into the right-field seats to give the Tribe a 2-0 lead in the fifth. Nagy and Nomo racked up the strikeouts as both clubs flailed wildly at their offerings. Nomo yielded to Antonio Osuna to start the eighth frame after his pitch count climbed to 129 with his 10 strikeouts offset by 7 bases on balls but only 3 hits allowed. Nagy was absolutely dominant, completing a 12 strikeout, 2-hit shutout by fielding a comebacker off the bat of Eric Karros and flipping to Paul Sorrento to ice the game. The Indians shook hands at the center of the diamond and looked ahead to tomorrow’s match, confident that they would sweep the Dodgers and secure the trophy.

Veteran right-handers Orel Hershiser and Tom Candiotti took the mound for their respective ball clubs in Game 4. Paul Sorrento crushed a knuckleball deep into the right-center field bleachers to notch the first tally of the contest in the third inning. Later in the frame, Kenny Lofton drew a walk and scored on Carlos Baerga’s big fly. The Tribe led 3-0 and they had Candiotti on the ropes. Albert Belle struck out to end the threat but Pedro Astacio entered the game in the bottom of the fourth. Brett Butler led off the top of the sixth with a two-bagger off the center field wall. “Bulldog” escaped the jam with a soft fly out to right, a strikeout of Raul Mondesi, a free pass to Mike Piazza and a lineout to first by Eric Karros. Cleveland threatened to extend their lead in the seventh, loading the bases on a pair of singles by Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome, along with an intentional walk to pinch-hitter Herb Perry. Mark Guthrie departed in favor of Antonio Osuna, who was called upon to face Sandy Alomar Jr. with the infield in and nobody out. Alomar delivered a sacrifice fly to center, easily plating Ramirez for the 4-0 lead. Thome wisely tagged up and reached third on the play. Omar Vizquel slapped a hard grounder to third which was fielded cleanly by Dave Hansen, who fired home in plenty of time for Piazza to apply the tag on Thome for the second out. Lofton flew out deep to center but the Dodgers’ hopes of extending their season were rapidly fading. Butler ripped a long single towards right-center to start the eighth. Hershiser induced Chad Fonville to hit a comebacker and he nailed Butler at second base, but Fonville beat the relay to first. Perry took the wind out of LA’s sails when he snared a liner off the bat of Mondesi and instinctively tagged Fonville for an unassisted double play! Hershiser retired Piazza on a one-hopper to Vizquel and appeared to be in complete command as he attempted to shut out the Dodgers and finish the series sweep. Eric Karros lined a double up the gap in left-center and he advanced to third on Roberto Kelly’s ground out to Baerga. Henry Rodriguez coaxed a base on balls and Hansen subsequently singled to left to drive in Karros with LA’s first run of the contest. Billy Ashley, batting for Garey Ingram, swung through a full-count off-speed delivery. Hershiser was mobbed by his teammates in the middle of the diamond and there was pandemonium at Jacobs Field as the Indians prevailed 4-1!  Cleveland thoroughly outplayed their opponents in all facets of the game, breezing through October with an 11-2 record in the playoffs to secure the World Series trophy.

Tony La Russa Baseball 4

Tony La Russa Baseball 4 comes with the 1996 Season and the 1997 Opening Day rosters. TLRB4 includes a Remote Game option (which I never tested) that permits a connection to another TLRB4 user via modem, serial or local area network (LAN). The ballpark resolution is enhanced from the prior iterations but the gameplay, announcers, and menu options will otherwise be familiar to individuals who played any of the first 3 editions in the series or Old Time Baseball. Additional bells and whistles in TLRB4 consist of League News, Trade Offers and Free Agents. League News will provide up-to-date information for your replay league such as injuries, recently released and traded players. Trade Offers indicates which players might be available in a deal with another ball club. Free Agents displays a sortable list of the players currently not under contract by any of the teams in your league.

I replayed the ’96 campaign and stopped the action at mid-season to manage the American League squad in the All-Star matchup. Both lineups were stacked and the Senior Circuit elected to send Al Leiter (11-8, 2.22) to the hill while I handed the ball to Pat Hentgen (6-7, 3.71). Both hurlers extracted themselves from jams in the first inning. The Senior Circuit loaded the bases with three walks in the third but Hentgen whiffed Gary Sheffield and Todd Hundley to keep the contest scoreless. Ivan Rodriguez plated Alex Rodriguez to draw first blood for the A.L. squad in the fourth. The pitcher was due up next so I pulled a double-switch with Hentgen, sending Cal Ripken up to bat. The “Iron Man” whiffed on a 3-2 pitch but I kept him in the game at third base, replacing Dean Palmer as Roger Clemens trotted in from the bullpen. Sheffield tied the score at 1-1 with a run-scoring single to left off the “Rocket Man” in the fifth frame. Alex Fernandez entered the ballgame for the AL in the sixth inning. “Rip” laced a one-out single off Leiter in the seventh and Roberto Alomar followed with a base hit. Chuck Knoblauch replaced Ripken as a pinch-runner at second base as Frank E. Thomas strolled to the plate. The “Big Hurt” grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat. Fernandez put up a pair of goose eggs to preserve the tie game. Leading off the next inning, Juan “Igor” Gonzalez belted a solo shot over the fence in left-center to propel the Junior Circuit into the lead. The National Leaguers failed to tally a run against Troy Percival in the eighth, saving their heroics for the following frame when pinch-hitter Ellis Burks launched a game-tying circuit clout into the center-field bleachers off John Wetteland. Leiter reluctantly yielded to Rich Batchelor as the match entered extra innings. “A-Rod” delivered a base knock to start the eleventh and advanced to second on a slow roller to the pitcher. Batchelor issued a free pass to pinch-hitter Terry Steinbach. The N.L. skipper made the call to the bullpen and Mark Petkovsek took the mound. Ivan Rodriguez flew out to left for the second out. Knoblauch slashed a liner through the hole between shortstop and third but it was hit with such force that the third-base coach signaled for the lead runner to put on the brakes. Two outs, bases loaded for Jim Thome. The lefty slugger took a mighty cut but fanned on a 2-2 changeup. Jose Mesa jogged in from the pen, took his warmup tosses and picked up the rosin bag as Jeff Bagwell knocked the dirt from his cleats and settled into the batter’s box. “BagPipes” worked the count to 3-2 before drawing a base on balls. Barry Larkin barely got a piece of the ball, tapping a little dribbler in front of home plate. “Pudge” Rodriguez pounced out it and threw down to first to nail the speedy Larkin as Bagwell advanced to second. Steve Finley was walked intentionally to set up the double play and bring up the pitcher’s spot in the batting order. Andres Galarraga took a couple of practice swings in the on-deck circle, surveyed the defense and walked up to the plate. Galarraga swung at Mesa’s 3-0 delivery and hit a sky-high pop up towards third base. Thome camped under it as the umpire ruled “infield fly”. Eric Young struck out on a 1-2 changeup and the contest extended into the twelfth inning. Scott Sanders entered the game for the National Leaguers and set the opposition down in order. Heathcliff Slocumb retired the side in order in the bottom of the twelfth and escaped a jam in the thirteenth when he struck out Finley with two outs and the potential winning run on third. Mike Piazza rapped a pinch-hit single down the left field fence off Andy Pettitte in the bottom of the fourteenth. Eric Young popped up to third for the first out. Ken Caminiti hammered a fastball over Ken Griffey Jr.’s outstretched glove in center field for the game-winning double!

The Cleveland Indians topped the Junior Circuit with 102 triumphs and the Texas Rangers snatched the AL Wild Card spot while the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners claimed the remaining division titles. The M’s rallied from a 0-2 deficit to defeat the Bronx Bombers with three consecutive wins at the Kingdome in the opening round of the playoffs. The Tribe swept the Rangers to advance to the next round. In an epic Championship Series, Seattle emerged victorious after a fierce seven-game bout with Cleveland.

The Atlanta Braves (96-66) recorded the highest victory total in the Senior Circuit. The San Diego Padres and the St. Louis Cardinals seized the other divisional crowns while the Montreal Expos outdistanced the Cincinnati Reds by a five-game margin to snag the NL Wild Card entry. The Braves trailed the Redbirds two games to one before rallying to take a pair of contests at home to prevail in the Divisional Series. The Friars obliterated the Expos in three games to move on to the Championship Series. Atlanta again found themselves behind the eight ball as San Diego nabbed a 2-1 lead in the NLCS before the Braves rebounded with three successive wins to secure a World Series berth.

A pair of portsiders prepared to square off in Game 1 of the 1996 World Series as Tom Glavine and Sterling Hitchcock warmed up in their respective bullpens. Atlanta quickly put a crooked number on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first. Hitchcock yielded a base hit to Mike Mordecai and issued successive walks to Chipper Jones and Fred McGriff. Ryan Klesko laced a long single that one-hopped the wall in right-center to drive home Mordecai and Jones. Side note: TLRB (all versions) seemed to suffer from an inordinate number of “long singles” – understanding that the occasional hard-hit ball in combination with a strong-armed outfielder will cause a slow-footed slugger to think twice about stretching a single into a double, the frequency of these outcomes seemed a bit off. I believe one or more patches attempted to resolve this issue, but thought I’d mention it here since it occurred in the fourth edition of the game. Back to the action.. Javy Lopez lofted a sacrifice fly to center field and McGriff cruised home with the third tally. Marquis Grissom sprinted into the gap in left-center and made a diving catch of a line drive off the bat of Jay Buhner for the first out in the fourth frame. Two batters later, “Hard-Hittin’” Mark Whiten belted a hanging curveball over the fence in left for a solo blast, cutting the Braves’ advantage to 3-1. Luis Sojo clubbed a long drive over Grissom’s head for a two-base knock leading off the fifth but Glavine retired the next three Mariners in succession. Glavine noticeably tired in the sixth when he allowed singles by Hitchcock, Edgar Martinez and Ken Griffey Jr. to load the bases with one out. As the Braves skipper in this series, I summoned Greg McMichael from the bullpen. Jay Buhner deposited a split-fingered fastball into the left field bleachers for a grand slam and the Atlanta crowd sat in utter disbelief as the M’s dugout erupted! Seattle suddenly had a 5-3 advantage. The Braves orchestrated a two-out rally in the bottom of the inning. Grissom reached via base on balls and Jermaine Dye delivered a pinch-hit single. Chipper Jones rapped a grounder back through the box that bounced into center field for a base hit, scoring Grissom and cutting the Mariners’ lead to 5-4. Seattle skipper Lou Piniella made the slow walk to the mound, retrieved the ball from Hitchcock and waited for Mike Jackson to jog in from the ‘pen. The “Crime Dog” stepped into the box and belted one high in the air towards the gap in right-center, but Buhner camped under it on the warning track and made the catch for the third out. Jackson got into trouble again in the seventh as Klesko ripped his third hit of the contest and Andruw Jones drew a free pass with one out. David Justice batted for light-hitting shortstop Rafael Belliard and promptly rapped into a 4-6-3 double play to extinguish the threat. The game doesn’t remind you that your pinch-hitting from the previous inning is now playing out of position, so you need to be cognizant of that scenario. I moved Chipper Jones over to shortstop and substituted Terry Pendleton for Justice. Mike Bielecki came into the ballgame in relief of McMichael and hurled a scoreless frame. Norm Charlton trotted in from the bullpen as the Mariners clung to a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth. With the Braves’ bench nearly depleted, Luis Polonia grabbed a bat and strolled to the plate to pinch-hit for Bielecki. The fleet-footed outfielder came through with a line drive single over the second baseman’s outstretched glove. Grissom fouled out to third baseman Dave Hollins. Dwight Smith, pinch-hitting for defensive replacement Ed Giovanola, flew out to Griffey Jr. for out # 2. Chipper Jones kept the inning and Atlanta’s hopes alive when he coaxed a four-pitch walk. The stadium was rocking as McGriff dug in to face Charlton. He connected on a deep drive down the right field line.. would it stay fair? … yes!! McGriff’s mammoth blast measured 496 feet. His teammates mobbed him at home plate after he circled the bases to celebrate the walk-off, come-from-behind, 7-5 victory for the Braves!

Greg Maddux and Chris Bosio received the starting assignments in Game 2. The Braves threatened in the bottom of the third when Maddux and Marquis Grissom produced back-to-back singles and Bosio issued a four-pitch walk to Mike Mordecai. Bosio carved up the heart of the Atlanta lineup, sandwiching a pair of strikeouts to Chipper Jones and David Justice around a line out by Fred McGriff. The Bravos botched another bases-loaded opportunity in the fourth when Maddux popped up into a double play and Grissom whiffed. Seattle placed a couple of runners aboard and Bosio successfully sacrificed them over to second and third, but Joey Cora hit a harmless fly ball to right field for the last out of the visitor’s fifth as both hurlers continued to put goose eggs on the scoreboard. Chipper Jones hammered an off-speed offering from Bosio deep into the center field seats (475 feet) to put the Braves on top, 1-0. Jay Buhner drilled a two-base knock to place runners on second and third with one out in the sixth. Maddux got a reprieve when Mordecai ranged into short right-center to snare a pop fly off the bat of Paul Sorrento, then whirled and fired a strike to home plate to nail Ken Griffey Jr. Maddux departed after a loud single of the bat of Edgar Martinez with two outs in the eighth. Terrell Wade entered the contest and induced “Junior” to bounce back to the box. Salomon Torres kept the Braves at bay after relieving Bosio with two down in the fifth before he finally ran out of gas in the bottom of the eighth. Justice singled and Ryan Klesko doubled to begin the frame. After Javy Lopez whiffed, pinch-hitter Luis Polonia grounded into a fielder’s choice to plate Justice. Terry Pendleton, batting for Wade, delivered a worm-burner up the middle to score pinch-runner Andruw Jones to provide the Braves with a 3-0 cushion. Mark Wohlers took the mound in the top of the ninth. Buhner drew a base on balls and Sorrento singled to left field. Mark Whiten scorched a line drive to short which was snagged by defensive replacement Rafael Belliard. Buhner was caught in no-man’s land, too far off second base, and he was easily doubled off as Mordecai took the throw from Belliard. Luis Sojo lined out to short on a 3-0 heater from Wohlers to complete the shutout. The teams headed to the Pacific Northwest as the Braves held a commanding two games to none advantage.

Injuries to starting pitchers Randy Johnson and John Smoltz forced both managers to improvise. The M’s moved Bob Wolcott into the third slot of the rotation while the Braves countered with lefty Steve Avery. Alex Rodriguez returned to the Seattle lineup after missing the first two games in the series, as did Atlanta shortstop Jeff Blauser. After Joey Cora reached on an error to commence the bottom of the first, “A-Rod” ripped a double into the left field corner to put his squad ahead, 1-0. Avery battled control issues, loading the bases with only one out. Paul Sorrento drilled a double into the right-center field gap to plate two of his teammates. Dave Hollins contributed a sacrifice fly to put the M’s ahead by a score of 4-0. Edgar Martinez and Jay Buhner produced back-to-back RBI singles to extend Seattle’s advantage to 6-0 in the bottom of the second. Jermaine Dye led off the visitor’s third with a long ball deep into the left field seats. Avery was replaced on the mound after only two innings of work in favor of right-hander Jason Schmidt. Dave Hollins drew a base on balls and later scored when Fred McGriff muffed a pop-up near the first base cutout (the “Crime Dog” claimed that the ball disappeared against the backdrop of the Kingdome roof). The Braves threatened in the fifth but Marquis Grissom lined into a double play with runners on the corners. Seattle scratched a pair of runs across in the home half of the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Buhner and a sharp single off the bat of Sorrento. Atlanta unloaded their bench in the seventh inning, sending out five defensive replacements. Brad Clontz pitched two frames in relief of Schmidt, yielding an RBI single to Hollins in the eighth. “A-Rod” made a dazzling, diving stop of a hot grounder up the middle and then fired a strike to first to nab pinch-hitter Eddie Perez for the final out of the contest. Wolcott scattered eight hits for a complete game, 10-1 triumph.

The starters from Game 1 would greatly benefit from one more day of rest, so the bullpens would likely get a workout in the fourth match. Bob Wells of the Mariners and Mike Bielecki of the Braves received the unexpected honor of making a World Series start, but both right-handers were on a short leash. Darren Bragg blasted a three-run dinger off Bielecki with two outs in the bottom of the second to give Seattle a 3-0 lead. Bielecki got a quick hook from Atlanta’s skipper as southpaw Brad Woodall jogged in from the ‘pen. Meanwhile, Wells held the Braves hitless through four frames before David Justice grounded a clean single up the middle. Marquis Grissom connected on a 400-foot long ball over the fence in left-center field to put the Braves on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth inning. Later in the frame, Chipper Jones reached on an error by Sorrento. Fred McGriff laced a single to right to put runners on the corners and Ryan Klesko coaxed a walk to load the bases. Justice crushed an inside fastball from Wells into the right-center field bleachers for a grand slam and suddenly Atlanta went ahead, 5-3! Seattle stormed right back in the bottom of the sixth. Joe Borowski issued three bases on balls and he was rewarded with a quick trip to the showers. Bragg tied the contest at 5-5 with a base knock to shallow center and Dan A. Wilson slashed another single to plate the go-ahead run. Pedro F. Borbon recorded three outs and Greg McMichael struck out Jay Buhner to end the seventh. The Braves knotted the scoring at 6-6 when Chipper Jones led off the visitor’s eighth with a 385-foot drive to right-center that just cleared the wall. Mike Jackson relieved Wells with one out in the inning. Klesko earned another free pass but Jackson escaped without allowing any further damage. Seattle had McMichael on the ropes in the bottom of the eighth following back-to-back singles by Dave Hollins and Mark Whiten, but the Braves caught a break when Wilson whiffed and Hollins was inexplicably gunned down attempting to steal third base. Jermaine Dye greeted M’s reliever Norm Charlton with a big fly that landed in the left field seats to put the Braves back on top, 7-6! Mike Mordecai bounced back to the mound but Charlton fired the ball over defensive replacement Brian R. Hunter and down the right field line for a two-base error. Charlton regained his composure and retired the next three batsmen in order. Mark Wohlers was summoned from the Atlanta ‘pen to face the top of the Mariners’ lineup in the bottom of the ninth. Wohlers gave up three consecutive singles to Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr. and Edgar Martinez to load the bases with one out in the frame. Buhner struck out after battling Wohlers to a full count. Atlanta’s manager made the unorthodox move of the game as he called upon the young left-hander, Terrell Wade to face the right-handed Hunter. The gamble paid off when the first-sacker grounded into a 6-4 force play and the Braves outlasted the Mariners, 7-6.

Game 5 offered a rematch of the opening contest as Tom Glavine and Atlanta geared up to clinch the Series while Sterling Hitchcock and his Seattle mates hoped to stave off elimination. It was quickly apparent that both hurlers were dealing. Glavine held the Mariners hitless into the sixth frame when Joey Cora and Alex Rodriguez delivered consecutive singles. Ken Griffey Jr. sent Marquis Grissom back to the warning track to retrieve a long fly ball to center, easily scoring Cora on a sacrifice fly to put the M’s on top. Edgar Martinez ripped a two-bagger up the gap in left-center to knock in “Junior” for a 2-0 lead. Glavine retired Jay Buhner on scorching hot grounder to Chipper Jones at third for the final out. Atlanta threatened in the top of the seventh as Jeff Blauser led off the inning with a single back through the box and Chipper Jones drew a base on balls. The Braves’ middle-of-the-order batsmen failed to come through in the clutch as Fred McGriff and Javy Lopez flew out and Jermaine Dye lined out to third base. “Hard Hittin’” Mark Whiten started the home seventh with a base hit and advanced to third on a double by Dave “Head” Hollins. Glavine issued an intentional pass to Brian R. Hunter to set up a force at any base. Brad Clontz was summoned to face John Marzano. The backup backstop belted a base hit to left, plating Whiten. Joey Cora hit into a fielder’s choice but another run scored. “A-Rod” ended Clontz’s night with a solid single to left as the M’s went ahead, 5-0. Terrell Wade entered the contest and induced Griffey Jr. to hit a short pop-fly to right. Martinez laced a line drive to left-center to knock in Cora, then Buhner struck out to mercifully close out the frame as the Mariners assumed a commanding 6-0 advantage. Joe Borowski took the mound in the bottom of the eighth. Whiten coaxed a walk and with one away, Hunter put the icing on the cake with a two-run blast into the center field seats. Atlanta went quietly in the ninth and Hitchcock’s teammates greeted him at the pitcher’s mound with high-fives and handshakes. The southpaw etched his name in the record books with a two-hit shutout that sent the Series back to Georgia.

John Smoltz was healthy enough to go in Game 6, so the Braves’ skipper elected to start him and give Greg Maddux an extra day of rest, lining him up for a potential Game 7 assignment if necessary. Seattle countered with Chris Bosio. David Justice connected on a 401-foot blast to right-center in the bottom of the second to put the hometown team on top, 1-0. Bosio issued three successive walks to open the sixth before inducing a 4-6-3 double play grounder by Justice. However, Jeff Blauser scored on the play, and the Mariners called upon Terry Mulholland to face the left-handed hitting Ryan Klesko with a runner on third and two away in the inning. The crafty portsider pulled the string on an inside breaking pitch and Klekso swung right through it for the final out. In the seventh with Atlanta clinging to a 2-0 advantage, Andruw Jones drew a base on balls as a pinch-hitter for Mike Mordecai. After striking out Smoltz, Mulholland promptly picked off Jones to keep the contest tight heading into the eighth but the M’s were running out of chances. Smoltz was in complete command but the Braves began warming up a pair of relievers, Pedro Borbon and Greg McMichael, just in case. “Smoltzie” culminated a 1-2-3 eighth with a punch-out of Alex Rodriguez. Atlanta went quietly in the bottom of the eighth, registering merely two safeties against Bosio and Mulholland. Smoltz was back on the hill for the ninth with Mark Wohlers getting ready down in the ‘pen. Facing the heart of the Seattle lineup, he got Ken Griffey Jr. on a pop fly to short right field that Fred McGriff snared for the first out. Edgar Martinez ripped a base hit to center field and that was it for Smoltz. Jay Buhner worked the count to 2-0 against Wohlers, then scorched a sizzling grounder to deep short. Jeff Blauser corralled it and fired to Rafael Belliard at second, who pivoted and fired a bullet to McGriff. The relay beat Buhner to the first base bag and the Braves’ bench and bullpen emptied as the Atlanta faithful erupted in cheers. The Mariners battled but came up short as the Braves took the Series in six games, with Smoltz and Wohlers combining for the 2-0 shutout.

Ratings

Note – ratings below for Old Time Baseball – deduct 1 point for Rosters in Tony La Russa Baseball 3 and 4

Graphics – [5] All three games deliver the goods with stunning ballpark renderings that are highly detailed and based on blueprints from the modern (TLB3 & 4) and classic (OTB) stadiums. The player animations are on par with the competition from that timeframe. I encountered some stuttering with the animation at times but that might be specific to my emulator configuration, so I’m not deducting points for it. The Jumbotron display also lagged a bit for me; while amusing at first, I ended up disabling this option. The menus are well-designed and intuitive but TLB4’s scroll bars hinder navigation instead of helping. You can select a manager view (overhead) or close-up view for balls in play and there are four options when watching the batter/pitcher matchups: (camera behind the) batter or pitcher, or home team / visiting team view which alternates the camera angle depending on the team that is currently on the field. Instant replay is available for the previous play in all versions. However TLB4 adds the ability to change the camera angle between a preset view and free-floating, allows the user to zoom in/out, and load/save a highlight. TLB3 includes a “Making of Tony La Russa Baseball 3” video – you can view it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_d05f46_X8&t=2s

Sound – [4]Ambient crowd noise is a welcome addition to the three games covered here. The audience will offer an occasional “boo” when the visiting team scores. The original music that is heard as you navigate the various menus is upbeat and memorable. The organist delivers a bubbly rendition of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch and blasted several different versions of “Charge!” when the home team attempted to rally from behind in the late innings.

Strategy – [4]

The offensive and defensive strategy options remain consistent through the entire TLB series (including OTB). TLB3 & 4 incorporated “Tony’s Tips” videos highlighting La Russa’s insights and strategies for various pre-game and in-game situations. This link contains all of the Tony’s Tips in a single video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOqlgM6hLFo

Artificial Intelligence – [4] – Customized manager profiles enable the granular configuration of each team’s skipper with regard to lineup selection and game-level strategy. “Tony” effectively handles the in-game decisions with enhanced algorithms, giving the illusion that you’re facing a human opponent. TLRB3 introduced the “Argue with Umpire” option. You can give the ump an earful but don’t wait too long before walking away, or you might find yourself ejected from the contest! (You can go back into the Game Options and restore yourself as the manager.)

Box Score – [3] – When the ballgame ends, you are taken to the first of several screens to review the results from the contest. After perusing the line score, the user can navigate between expanded batting and pitching box scores for the visiting and home team. The pitching box also contains the location, time, attendance, runners left on base and double plays. There are no options to view a game summary (how they scored). You can save the box score to disk or print out a hard copy (the box score is automatically saved if you selected that option in the Season / Games of Note menu.

Rosters – [5] You manage a 40-man roster with 25 active and 15 reserve players at any time (excluding exhibition games, where all of your players are available). The active roster is divided among 15 batters and 10 pitchers with reserve slots allotted for up to 9 additional batsmen and 6 hurlers. All 3 games come with the Fantasy Draft option. The Old Time Baseball CD allowed the user to import 110 seasons with more than 12,000 ballplayers!

Statistics – [5]The number of categories for record-keeping increased from 19 batting, 22 pitching and 7 fielding in TLB2 to 33 batting and 35 pitching in TLB3 with a nod to Sabermetric formulas such as RC (Runs Created), RP (Runs Produced), ISO (Isolated Power) and OP (Opponents Production). The ability to sort the league leaderboards with a multitude of options persisted through the balance of the series. TLB4 offered a League News feature to provide the latest injury and other pertinent information.  

Usage/Injuries/Ejections – [4]Just like your real-life counterparts, as the manager of your squad, you now have the ability to argue with the umpire. Spend too much time debating “The Boys in Blue” or say the magic words and you’ll get the heave-ho. Unlike real life, you are able to go into the Game Options screen and resume your managerial responsibilities if you wish, or you can allow the computer skipper to manager the remainder of the contest once you’ve been tossed. The injury and fatigue options from TLRB2 remain the same in TLRB3/4 and OTB. You can elect to use Injuries but a player’s stint on the sidelines is capped at 30 days. Pitcher usage must be monitored as they can become fatigued with regular or over-use (denoted by a “#R” in the Days Unavailable column on your roster).

Ballparks / Park Factors – [4]TLRB3 and 4 deliver the 28 ballparks that were currently in use in the mid-1990’s. Old Time Baseball allows the user to select one of sixteen classic ballparks such as Crosley Field, Ebbets Field, Forbes Field, Griffith Stadium, L.A. Coliseum, and the Polo Grounds. Park effects – altitude, wind speed and direction, average humidity and temperature – add another level of realism. OTB also provides “Stadium Histories” with succinct, well-written outlines of each ballpark along with one or two postcard photographs depicting the exterior and interior.

Commentary – [3]You get to choose among three broadcasters for the play-by-play in TLRB3 and 4: Yankees legend Mel Allen, Lon Simmons and Hank Greenwald. Old Time Baseball offers the voices of Allen and Curt Gowdy. The player’s names are spoken if they were among the words vocalized during the recording sessions with those announcers, otherwise the program will identify them by their position. In comparison to APBA Broadcast Blast, there does not appear to be nearly as much variety in the narration.

Scale:  Ratings from 1 (worst) to 5 (best)

Tony La Russa Baseball 3 – Total Score: 40 out of 50

Old Time Baseball – Total Score: 41 out of 50

Tony La Russa Baseball 4 – Total Score: 40 out of 50

Enhancements and Features

FeatureTLRB IIIOld Time BaseballTLRB IV
View Scores of Games In ProgressYESYESYES
Scheduling Options162 Games, 81 Games, Round Robin or Generated162 Games, 81 Games, Round Robin or Generated162 Games, 81 Games, Round Robin or Generated
Roster Slots15 batters, 10 pitchers, 15 reserves (6 Pit/9 Bat)15 batters, 10 pitchers, 15 reserves (6 Pit/9 Bat)15 batters, 10 pitchers, 15 reserves (6 Pit/9 Bat)
Long Relief, Setup, Closer designationYESYESYES
Park FactorsYESYESYES
Manager ProfilesYESYESYES
Automatic ReplaysYESYESYES
Quick off the FieldYESYESYES
ScrollingYESYESYES
Animation SpeedYESYESYES
Camera ViewBatter or PitcherBatter or PitcherBatter or Pitcher
# Stadiums28 Current Stadiums as of 199516 classic ballparks28 Current Stadiums as of 1996
Special Box Scores (Games of Note)YESYESYES
How They Scored   
All-Star GameYESYESYES
Roster Expansion after September 1YESYESYES
League NewsNONOYES
GM ChallengeYESYESYES
Fantasy DraftYESYESYES
Trade OffersNONOYES
Free AgentsNONOYES
AnnouncersMel Allen, Hank Greenwald, Lon SimmonsMel Allen, Hank Greenwald, Lon SimmonsMel Allen, Hank Greenwald, Lon Simmons
Teams  1996 MLB Teams
# Leagues / Divisions / TeamsMax. 2 Leagues, 3 Divisions, 32 TeamsMax. 2 Leagues, 3 Divisions, 32 TeamsMax. 2 Leagues, 3 Divisions, 32 Teams
Remote PlaynonoModem, Serial, LAN

Observations

If you want to visualize how baseball was played at the turn of the (Twentieth) century with fully rendered ballparks restored to their original glory, look no further than Old Time Baseball. The organ music, stadium histories and Time Machine will stimulate your senses and whisk you back in time to the early days of the National Pastime. Tony La Russa Baseball 3 and 4 represented significant progress in the baseball simulation field. The ability to select among three announcers, the beautiful and highly detailed depictions of modern stadiums along with the GM Challenge helped to deliver the most complete product on the market in the mid-1990’s.

Please add a comment below if you spent a significant amount of time and/or have any recollections of Tony La Russa Baseball 3, Old Time Baseball and Tony La Russa Baseball 4.  

Screenshots

Old Time Baseball

Tony La Russa Baseball 3

Tony La Russa Baseball 4

Articles in the Series

SSI Computer Baseball Retro Computer Baseball Game Review – SSI Computer Baseball
Computer Statis Pro Baseball Retro Computer Baseball Game Review –Computer Statis Pro Baseball
MicroLeague Baseball Retro Computer Baseball Game Review – MicroLeague Baseball
Avalon Hill Pro Manager / Major League Manager Retro Computer Baseball Game Review – Avalon Hill Pro Manager / Major League Manager
Pure-Stat Baseball Retro Computer Baseball Game Review – Pure-Stat Baseball
Monday Morning Manager Retro Computer Baseball Game Review – Monday Morning Manager
Radio Baseball Retro Computer Baseball Game Review – Radio Baseball
Earl Weaver Baseball Retro Computer Baseball Game Review – Earl Weaver Baseball
Full Count Baseball Retro Computer Baseball Game Review – Full Count Baseball
MicroLeague Baseball IV Retro Computer Baseball Game Review – MicroLeague Baseball II – III – IV
Tony La Russa’s Ultimate Baseball Retro Computer Baseball Game Review – Tony La Russa’s Ultimate Baseball
Earl Weaver Baseball II Retro Computer Baseball Game Review – Earl Weaver Baseball II
APBA Baseball Retro Computer Baseball Game Review – APBA Baseball
  Tony La Russa Baseball II Retro Computer Baseball Game Review – Tony La Russa Baseball II
  Front Page Sports Baseball '94 - '96 - '98 Retro Computer Baseball Game Review – Front Page Sports Baseball ’94 – ’96 – ’98
  ESPN Baseball Tonight Retro Computer Baseball Game Review – ESPN Baseball Tonight
  Hardball 6 Retro Computer Baseball Game Review – Hardball 3-4-5-6
  Pursue the Pennant - Diamond Mind Baseball Retro Computer Baseball Game Review – Pursue the Pennant – Diamond Mind Baseball
  Pro League Baseball Retro Computer Baseball Game Review – Pro League Baseball
  Tony La Russa Baseball 3 & 4 and Old Time Baseball Retro Computer Baseball Game Review – Tony La Russa Baseball 3 – 4 – Old Time Baseball

Additional Links

Playthroughs – Hardball Retro

Tony La Russa Baseball 3

Old Time Baseball

SABR Stay at Home – Don Daglow

Tony La Russa Baseball 3 – Gindin, Jim. “Baseball: Diamonds Are A Fan’s Best Friend”. Computer Gaming World. May 1995. p62. http://www.cgwmuseum.org/galleries/issues/cgw_130.pdf

Tony La Russa Baseball 3 – Gindin, Jim. “Swinging For the Fences: Stormfront Studios Goes For the Long Ball With Tony La Russa 3”. Computer Gaming World. August 1995. p110-112. http://www.cgwmuseum.org/galleries/issues/cgw_133.pdf

Tony La Russa Baseball 3 – Jones, George. “Holiday Top 100: Sports”. Computer Gaming World. December 1995. p110. http://www.cgwmuseum.org/galleries/issues/cgw_137.pdf

Tony La Russa Baseball 3: 1996 Edition – McCauley, Dennis. “Atop the Mound: Baseball Slides Head-First Into Your PC”. Computer Gaming World. July 1996. p76. http://www.cgwmuseum.org/galleries/issues/cgw_144.pdf

Tony La Russa Baseball 3: 1996 Edition – Green, Jeff. “Holiday Hot 100: Sports”. Computer Gaming World. December 1996. p180. http://www.cgwmuseum.org/galleries/issues/cgw_149.pdf

Tony La Russa Baseball 4 – McCauley, Dennis. “Sim World Series: Winners and Losers in This Year’s Baseball Sim Contest”. Computer Gaming World. December 1997. p312.

http://www.cgwmuseum.org/galleries/issues/cgw_160.pdf

https://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/tony-la-russa-baseball-3

https://www.mobygames.com/game/windows/tony-la-russa-baseball-4

https://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/old-time-baseball

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0ckttRyjdU, Tony La Russa Baseball 3, video by John Fowler

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVF8xLHkh_A&t=63s, Tony LaRussa Baseball 1996 Edition, video by John Fowler

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YroFO5Dz2Ls, Tony La Russa Baseball 3: 1996 Edition (PC) – Gameplay, video by 30-30 Club – Baseball Video Game Encyclopedia

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOqlgM6hLFo, All of Tony’s Tips from Tony La Russa Baseball 3: 1996 Edition (PC), video by 30-30 Club – Baseball Video Game Encyclopedia

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_d05f46_X8&t=2s, The Making of Tony La Russa Baseball 3, video by Zeke Miller

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dNPQpMvDLc, Tony La Russa Baseball 3 | Sports Game Ballparks, video by Pichu London Sports and Stadiums

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wRGnIopRww, Tony La Russa Baseball 4 | Sports Game Ballparks, video by Pichu London Sports and Stadiums

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOgVEP_Lo18&list=PLc2AYL7_CrPGUavZpH4EDVDwY376047TU, Old Time Baseball Opening Sequence, video by Brad Kay

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nNSLV5DmYU, Old Time Baseball PC Game 1941 Redsox @ 1910 Philadelphia A’s, video by mrwrestlingII

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhlzNb8Vj7g, Old Time Baseball Full Game (’27 Yankees v. ’68 Cardinals), video by Enrico Dandolo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J95g0DJ3Ilc, Old Time Baseball | 1975 Reds and Red Sox, video by Beatles Eternally

About the Author

I am a New Jersey native with a passion for baseball, statistics, computers and video games who enjoys spending quality time with his family.

Hardball Architects – Volume 1 (American League)“, published in July 2020 and
Hardball Architects – Volume 2 (National League)”, published in April 2022, examines the trades, free agent acquisitions, draft picks and other transactions for the 30 Major League Baseball franchises, divided into a 2-volume set. Both books are available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com. All key moves are scrutinized for every team and Sabermetric principles are applied to the roster construction throughout the lifetime of the organization to encapsulate the hits and misses by front office executives. Team performances are analyzed based on transaction type with graphs depicting the WAR (Wins Above Replacement) in every decade. Individual results for each player-transaction is charted over the duration of their stint with the franchise. Every team chapter includes All-Time Rosters and Single-Season Leaders based on transaction type. The Team Trade Record chronicles the WAR and WS (Win Shares) accumulated by players acquired in comparison to those traded to opposing teams. The opening chapter is devoted to the Evolution of the General Manager and incorporates a discussion with former Dodgers GM Fred Claire (along with former Angels and Red Sox GM Mike Port and current Reds GM Nick Krall in Volume 2) on a variety of front office topics.

Hardball Retroactive”, published in June 2018, is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com.  Hardball Retroactive is a modest collection of selected articles that I have written for Seamheads.com along with my Baseball Analytics blog since 2010. Exclusive content includes the chapter on “Minors vs. Majors” which assesses every franchise’s minor league successes and failures in relation to their major league operations.

“Hardball Retrospective” is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com. Supplemental Statistics, Charts and Graphs along with a discussion forum are offered at TuataraSoftware.com. In Hardball Retrospective, I placed every ballplayer in the modern era (from 1901-present) on their original teams. Using a variety of advanced statistics and methods, I generated revised standings for each season based entirely on the performance of each team’s “original” players. I discuss every team’s “original” players and seasons at length along with organizational performance with respect to the Amateur Draft (or First-Year Player Draft), amateur free agent signings and other methods of player acquisition. Season standings, WAR and Win Shares totals for the “original” teams are compared against the real-time or “actual” team results to assess each franchise’s scouting, development and general management skills.

Don Daglow (Intellivision World Series Major League Baseball, Earl Weaver Baseball, Tony LaRussa Baseball) contributed the foreword for Hardball Retrospective. The foreword and preview of my book are accessible here

“Hardball Retrospective – Addendum 2014 to 2016” supplements my research for Hardball Retrospective, providing retroactive standings based on Wins Above Replacement (WAR) and Win Shares (WS) for each “original” team over the past three seasons (2014-2016). Team totals from 2010 – 2013 are included for reference purposes. “Addendum” is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com. 

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I am a New Jersey native with a passion for baseball, statistics, computers and video games who enjoys spending quality time with his family. Co-chair of the SABR Games and Simulations Committee (https://sabrbaseballgaming.com) since August 2022.

Visit my Amazon author page to check out my books, promotional videos, and post a review if you're a Hardball Retro fan!

https://www.amazon.com/author/derekbain

My Books:


Hardball Architects – Volume 1 (American League Teams)”, published in July 2020, is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com. 


Hardball Architects – Volume 2 (National League Teams)”, published in April 2022, is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com. 

“Hardball Architects” examines the trades, free agent acquisitions, draft picks and other transactions for the 30 Major League Baseball franchises, divided into a 2-volume set (American League and National League). All key moves are scrutinized for every team and Sabermetric principles are applied to the roster construction throughout the lifetime of the organization to encapsulate the hits and misses by front office executives.


Hardball Retroactive”, published in June 2018, is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com. A cross-section of essays that I penned for Seamheads.com along with my Baseball Analytics blog spanning nearly a decade touching on subjects including "Taking the Extra Base", "General Manager Scorecard", "Worst Trades", "BABIP By Location" and "Baseball Birthplaces and the Retro World Baseball Classic". Rediscover your favorite hardball arcade and simulations in "Play Retro Baseball Video Games In Your Browser" or take a deep dive into every franchise's minor league successes and failures in relation to their major league operations in "Minors vs. Majors".


“Hardball Retrospective” is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com. Supplemental Statistics, Charts and Graphs along with a discussion forum are offered at TuataraSoftware.com. In Hardball Retrospective, I placed every ballplayer in the modern era (from 1901-present) on their original teams. Using a variety of advanced statistics and methods, I generated revised standings for each season based entirely on the performance of each team’s “original” players. I discuss every team’s “original” players and seasons at length along with organizational performance with respect to the Amateur Draft (or First-Year Player Draft), amateur free agent signings and other methods of player acquisition. Season standings, WAR and Win Shares totals for the “original” teams are compared against the real-time or “actual” team results to assess each franchise’s scouting, development and general management skills.


Don Daglow (Intellivision World Series Major League Baseball, Earl Weaver Baseball, Tony LaRussa Baseball) contributed the foreword for Hardball Retrospective. The foreword and preview of my book are accessible here


“Hardball Retrospective - Addendum 2014 to 2016” supplements my research for Hardball Retrospective, providing retroactive standings based on Wins Above Replacement (WAR) and Win Shares (WS) for each "original" team over the past three seasons (2014-2016). Team totals from 2010 - 2013 are included for reference purposes. “Addendum” is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com. 

Tagged:
I am a New Jersey native with a passion for baseball, statistics, computers and video games who enjoys spending quality time with his family. Co-chair of the SABR Games and Simulations Committee (https://sabrbaseballgaming.com) since August 2022. Visit my Amazon author page to check out my books, promotional videos, and post a review if you're a Hardball Retro fan! https://www.amazon.com/author/derekbain My Books: Hardball Architects – Volume 1 (American League Teams)”, published in July 2020, is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com.  Hardball Architects – Volume 2 (National League Teams)”, published in April 2022, is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com.  “Hardball Architects” examines the trades, free agent acquisitions, draft picks and other transactions for the 30 Major League Baseball franchises, divided into a 2-volume set (American League and National League). All key moves are scrutinized for every team and Sabermetric principles are applied to the roster construction throughout the lifetime of the organization to encapsulate the hits and misses by front office executives. Hardball Retroactive”, published in June 2018, is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com. A cross-section of essays that I penned for Seamheads.com along with my Baseball Analytics blog spanning nearly a decade touching on subjects including "Taking the Extra Base", "General Manager Scorecard", "Worst Trades", "BABIP By Location" and "Baseball Birthplaces and the Retro World Baseball Classic". Rediscover your favorite hardball arcade and simulations in "Play Retro Baseball Video Games In Your Browser" or take a deep dive into every franchise's minor league successes and failures in relation to their major league operations in "Minors vs. Majors". “Hardball Retrospective” is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com. Supplemental Statistics, Charts and Graphs along with a discussion forum are offered at TuataraSoftware.com. In Hardball Retrospective, I placed every ballplayer in the modern era (from 1901-present) on their original teams. Using a variety of advanced statistics and methods, I generated revised standings for each season based entirely on the performance of each team’s “original” players. I discuss every team’s “original” players and seasons at length along with organizational performance with respect to the Amateur Draft (or First-Year Player Draft), amateur free agent signings and other methods of player acquisition. Season standings, WAR and Win Shares totals for the “original” teams are compared against the real-time or “actual” team results to assess each franchise’s scouting, development and general management skills. Don Daglow (Intellivision World Series Major League Baseball, Earl Weaver Baseball, Tony LaRussa Baseball) contributed the foreword for Hardball Retrospective. The foreword and preview of my book are accessible here “Hardball Retrospective - Addendum 2014 to 2016” supplements my research for Hardball Retrospective, providing retroactive standings based on Wins Above Replacement (WAR) and Win Shares (WS) for each "original" team over the past three seasons (2014-2016). Team totals from 2010 - 2013 are included for reference purposes. “Addendum” is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com. 

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