There have been many incarnations of the Superstar Baseball board games over the years. The following is a brief overview of the pastime, some history behind the creation of the most popular versions of this game, and where you can find them today.
All About Superstar Baseball
The Superstar Baseball board games were first released in 1971 as Sports Illustrated Baseball, but they have changed significantly since then. The 1973 version was released as All-Time All-Star Baseball. It included each of the original American League and National League teams, with the twenty-five best players in each team's history. The 1974 version was released as Superstar Baseball and was simply the All-Time All-Star edition altered to provide an individual card format.
This is a basic-level baseball game and a good way to get youngsters started in tabletop baseball. It is certainly for those who enjoy batting around sports statistics and rolling dice. It is an excellent way to get young sports enthusiasts interested in math, as they can't help but use it when playing.
There are 96 pitcher and batter cards for the all-time best players as chosen by Sports Illustrated. Although unrealistic, this tabletop version of America's pastime allows you to match up great hitters like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig against pitchers like Cy Young and Sandy Koufax.
This is also fairly quick to play and, therefore, youngster friendly. A full 9-innings only takes about twenty minutes to play. An added benefit is that a single player can play this activity.
History of the Game
Superstar Baseball was originally produced by Sports Illustrated and its parent company, Time. When Sports Illustrated sold their games division, ownership was transferred to the Avalon Hill Game Company. Avalon Hill sponsored an annual convention known as AvalonCon, where they would have, among others, a Superstar Baseball tournament.
Over the years, as new versions were released, and some changes were made in the presentation of statistics, the All-Time All-Star version continues to be a fan favorite.
The 1971 version had large, 11" x 17" trifold charts. The front of each team's chart showed players' names, jersey numbers, and basic statistics for the 1970 season, including batters' home runs, averages, and RBIs. Wins, losses, and ERAs were included for pitchers. Once you opened the chart, you'd find batter's charts for lefties and righties and ratings for bunters. A third batting chart was included on the inside for pitchers, while the pitching charts were located on the trifold's back. Another panel of the trifold showed a ballpark layout and included notes about the particular team. This large trifold layout was not a favorite of players.
The 1972 version saw the charts changed to an 8 ½"x11" double-sided page. One side included batters' charts and their dice combinations, while the reverse side included pitching and pitchers' batting charts. This is the preferred chart format for most players of this game.
The 1973 version, named Sports Illustrated All-Time All-Star Baseball, continued with the 1972 chart format but only included the original sixteen National League and American League teams. This most popular incarnation of the game was sold in a manila envelope and cost consumers $5.95. You may find it costs considerably more today.
Superstar Baseball Classic Board Game Instructions
Playing the Superstar Baseball original game is pretty similar to how baseball is played on the field. But for the board game, you need to have your score sheets, playing board, charts, dice, and cards ready before you roll.
- Each player is the manager of a baseball team or multiple baseball teams. Per the instructions, they can draft players and trade players in both AL and NL All-Star teams.
- To play a game, determine who is on your teams and who will play each position on the field. Remember, players can only play those positions listed on the playing cards included in the game.
- Create your starting line-up.
- Using the cards, add up the starting line-up total. When the pitcher rolls this number, it creates an automatic ground out.
- Add your information to the scoring sheet.
- The dice are rolled to determine the actions of the pitcher. Match up the pitcher result to determine if it's a strike, fly, ground, walk, or wild pitch.
- The dice are then rolled to determine the batter's action.
- If the player makes it to base, they use the run rating and a roll of the dice to determine what happens.
- You use the catcher's rating to determine if steals are possible.
- You use the rolling of the dice and the stats on the game cards and charts to advance through the game.
- Use the scorecard to track the outs and keep score.
- Gameplay continues until all 9 innings have been played.
As the game progresses, players can change the lineup, bring in relief pitchers, etc., to help the game advance.
Where to Find Superstar Baseball
The most popular version of the game, according to aficionados, is the Sports Illustrated All-Time All-Star Baseball. Although none of these games are in production anymore, you can easily find previous incarnations, including the All-Time All-Star version, available at online auction sites like eBay, at sports card collectors' shops, or through baseball gaming groups. Happy playing!