Here's a spring training stat for you: Strat-O-Matic is turning 50.
The dice-powered baseball board game, a brainchild of Great Neck native Hal Richman, hits the half-century mark this year after taking the world of baseball strategy into family living rooms since 1961.
Richman began to develop the game as an 11-year-old in 1948 after becoming dissatisfied with the statistical randomness present in other baseball games of the era. He found that using dice added an element of predictability that jibed with the results of actual ballgames.
Richman used a $5,000 loan from his father to produce the first sets of the game in the early 1960s and things took off from there.
"I never would have expected this to be the only job I ever had," said Richman, who is being inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in Commack on March 27. "I feel so lucky to have spent my life creating something that has brought so much joy to so many people and had such a positive impact on the game of baseball. To think that Strat-O-Matic still thrives despite all the changes in the world over the past 50 years is truly remarkable."
The highly successful Strat-O-Matic company, based in Glen Head, now produces both board and computer games.