The earliest computer baseball games felt like pencil and dice tabletop baseball simulation games like Sports Illustrated Superstar Baseball, or the much more influential Strat-O-Matic Baseball, with the computer simply taking over the role of the dice, the pencil, and the scorecard.
As the hardware advanced and the programmers became more skilled, computer baseball games would begin to gain depth as well as better graphics and sound. Two styles of computerized baseball games emerged. One type allowed you to use, modify or enter new real-world sta- tistics. These statistics were easily found in the sports pages of newspapers, on the back of baseball cards, the Baseball Encyclopedia and other sources. These styles of games typically let you play the
field manager or general manager rather than the individual players. The other main style of computerized baseball games were the arcade-action twitch games in which one or two players could battle it out with buttons, joysticks, trackballs and/or the computer keyboard.
In the early 1960s, an IBM engineer and rabid baseball fan from Akron, Ohio named John Burgeson created an early punch card-based baseball simulation game for the IBM 1620 computer. While Burgeson programmed the game for his own use, it was later included in the free software library shipped with the million dollar (adjusted for today’s dollars) computer. In this one player game, the player would pick a team of nine baseball players from a preset roster. The computer would then form a team from the remaining available players. Once the two teams were picked, the computer would play the game based on programmed statistics and print the results.
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