Keepin’ It Real—1960’s


Keepin’ It Real—1960’s

One of our new GMs asked me about the realistic use of the pitching staff in this era, so I thought I'd dust off an old article and update it where necessary. Consider this a companion piece to this, with some regrettable repetition.

OOTP’s Era Settings

If you’re the Commissioner of a historical league you can tell OOTP to try to mimic the way baseball was played in a specific era, plus you can tweak certain individual settings to fine-tune it rather than using the defaults. In all honesty, these settings are kind of hit and miss; they work well for certain aspects of the game and don't work all that well for others. I mention them here to alert you to the fact that we do try to replicate the style of baseball appropriate to the era as much as possible, and we utilize the historical settings towards this end.

Managing the pitching staff

Size of the pitching staff/rotation

Teams usually carried about nine or ten pitchers at this time, until September when the rosters expanded. September didn’t really change the number of pitchers used per game (which was usually about one to three), it just meant more guys were sitting around and the managers had more choices.

There were still a fair number of scheduled doubeheaders at this time, and as a result teams would sometimes need to use at least six different starting pitchers for short stretches. It was still the case that many "starting" pitchers would occasionally relieve, but less so than in previous years.

Starting sometime in the 60’s, most teams tried to use a four-man rotation whenever possible. but "whenever possible" just meant during stretches when there were no doubleheaders. They'd still need those extra guys who could start when needed.

Unfortunately the "historical" Pitcher Stamina settings in OOTP don’t really allow for a four-man rotation. At one setting pitchers can easily pitch on two days' rest with no ill effects, and on the next setting they're still not 100% on three days' rest. I opted for the latter setting, which means that you are generally going to want to give your starters four days of rest between starts. You can start them on less rest, but they won’t be 100% and their performance may suffer.

In this league it's uncommon but not completely unheard of for teams to have two doubleheaders in a week. If you're going with a nine or ten man staff it's not a bad idea to bring up an extra pitcher during a stretch when your team is going to play a doubleheader or two. Using Daily Lineups—at least for the rotation—during these stretches is also recommended.

Pitch counts

Nobody used pitch counts in the 1960’s (or in the 1970’s or 1980’s), and the Era Settings in OOTP make them entirely unnecessary in my opinion. You're not gaining anything by forcing OOTP to yank your starter out of the game two innings before he's starting to lose effectiveness.

Relief roles

There was no such thing as a “Closer” at this time, nor a “Set-Up Man”, nor a “Specialist”. What OOTP calls a “Stopper” represents the way a team’s best reliever (or relievers—you can designate more than one Stopper) were used. The Stopper or Relief Ace would basically come into any close game when the starter was out. If the team was up by a run or two, down by a run or two, or tied, the stopper would come in. Any other relief situation called for either a “Middle Reliever” or a “Long Reliever”.

The practice of bringing in a lefty to face a left-handed batter, then bringing in a righty to face a right-handed batter, then bringing in a lefty to face a left-handed batter absolutely did not exist at this time. Nobody would have used pitchers in this way. Relievers, when they were used at all, usually finished the inning, if not the game. Teams didn’t carry enough pitchers to bring pitchers in to face one batter.

I’m not going to mandate that you can’t assign your relievers the roles of “Closer”, “Set-up”, or “Specialist”, but be aware that if you choose to use these designations thinking the game is going to use your bullpen like a modern bullpen, you're going to be disappointed. The era settings are going to cause the game to try to use your 'pen like a 1960's 'pen, and as a result, you're going to have far fewer relief appearances and far fewer save attempts than a modern bullpen, regardless of what roles you're trying to force onto your pitchers. Let's put it this way: in our entire history up until the current season (1966) we have had a total of seven relievers notch 30+ saves in a season, and that's with most of our GMs stubbornly designating a pitcher as a "Closer". In modern baseball, about ten pitchers notch 30+ saves every season; in our league we've had seven in 90 years.

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