Review: Statis Pro Baseball

Statis Pro Baseball. Avalon Hill, 1971. Jim Barnes, designer.

Today, we welcome guest meeple Dave Summers to talk a little about the classic game Statis Pro Baseball!

Statis Pro Baseball is a tabletop baseball simulation game. It’s best played with two players but can easily be played by one. It was created in the early 1970s and published by Avalon Hill from 1978 until 1992. Most cards were part of annual team sets with a few special sets such as the 10 great teams box. 

Having a basic understanding of baseball and the positions is required but otherwise the learning curve is not steep. The game takes about forty-five minutes to an hour to play.

I played hundreds of games growing up and recently started playing again regularly.


The game is played on a big green board with quite a few tables, representing different situations within the game.

Teams choose a lineup and starting pitcher and place them in the appropriate locations. Each player is assigned a position on the field, which may impact fielding events. A marker is placed in the pitcher reduction box on the board.

Each pitcher and hitter card lists a series of potential outcomes. Those on the pitcher card tend to favor the defense, while those on the hitter card tend to favor the offense. There are 64 total outcomes on each card, which is shown in base 8 (numbers range from 11 to 88).

The pile of Random Action Cards (RACs) is placed in the appropriate location. These cards represent the various modalities of each hitter/pitcher interaction. There are a lot of numbers and codes, but each has its place within the game at various points.


The game, like baseball, is primarily focused on hitter/pitcher interactions. The rules of baseball apply at all times.

You have a choice of whether to go through a normal hitter/pitcher interaction or perform a special action on the board.

Normal Gameplay

You flip the top Random Action Card to the discard pile and review the PB number. If the number falls within the range of the pitcher, then the outcome will be read off the pitcher’s card. If the number is outside the pitcher’s range, the outcome will come from the hitter’s card.

(Side note: If the PB number says Z, CD or BD, then a special play has occurred and the next RAC is turned to determine what happened. Consult either the appropriate Z or CD chart or the player’s BD section to see the result of the special play.)

You then flip the next RAC to reveal the general outcome of the play. This may result in a hit, strikeout, walk, passed ball, wild pitch or out.

For each hit and each run, you move the Pitcher Reduction marker down one spot. If it reaches zero, you must replace the pitcher with a reliever.

For all outs, you consult the next RAC to determine the type of out. These are either ground balls or fly balls. Consult the outcomes tables to see the exact outcome, as this does vary depending on baserunners.

Ground balls that have an “x” after them mean the lead runner is out; those with an “A” after them mean only a play at first is made. Fly balls that are deep are indicated with a “D”. For either case, you may have the option of sending a runner home from third. If there is an asterisk, you check the next RAC to see if there was an error.

You then put the batter on the bottom of the lineup deck and start the process again. After 3 outs, you switch offense and defense.

Special actions

You may choose to play a special action from the board. You declare your choice and then draw the next RAC to determine the outcome. Among your special actions:

  • Hit and run
  • Stolen base
  • Sacrifice
  • Squeeze play

Note that some actions can only take place at certain times during the game. For example, you can’t steal a base or sacrifice with no one on base.


The gameplay does feel authentic and replicates a Major League Baseball game. A more modern version may include more offense and strikeouts, but overall that is more of a product of the player cards than the RACs.

The ability to create a lineup is quite fun. Having to balance offense, defense and baserunning can be quite challenging. Would you put someone slow as the leadoff hitter if they can get on base consistently, or do you prefer a speedster? Do you risk putting Kevin Mitchell of the 1986 Mets at 3B despite his abysmal defense?

(Another side note: I do always play with a DH, as I prefer hitters getting plate appearances over overmatched pitchers. This can give you a lot more lineup flexibility, as it gets a bad glove off the field.)

The Great Teams collection is the best set, as the teams themselves are highly interesting and tend to be of a higher quality. I am currently playing a tournament of the Great Teams plus a couple extra teams from the 80’s to make an even 12. I seeded them based on their total team WAR from Baseball Prospectus. More on this tournament in a future blog post.

The photos below show game 1 of this tournament between the 1961 Yankees and 1975 Athletics. There’s an interesting power vs. speed dynamic between these teams, as well as a bunch of infielders who can’t really hit. The game itself felt like a normal baseball game and in fact finished with some late game heroics from both teams.

I have typically played single games or best of 7 series. The issue that this may cause is that the positions listed on the cards may be for small numbers of games so you can usually play guys outside of their typical positions for that year. 

The small sample size of certain players does lead to some odd and out-of-place cards. Earl Torgeson played a few games for the 1961 Yankees but half of his outcomes are walks, so he’s super valuable as an on-base machine. Wayne Twitchell was mainly a reliever for the 1976 Phillies, but he counts as a starter since he did start a few games. His 2-9 SP is as high as possible in the game (typical good starters are either 2-7 or 2-8).

Despite a few minor flaws, the game is a great approximation to the real-life game. It’s easy to pick up and easy to play. It does get a bit repetitive with turning over RACs but once new players get the hang of it the process is lightning fast.

For both baseball fans and casual observers, Statis Pro Baseball is highly recommended.

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