Out of the Park Baseball 19 - The quest for the Perfect Team


So early impressions.

First off, the 3d presentation is nice enough, I suppose, though I’d never imagine playing more than a couple of games in a season with it. The historic stadiums are recognizable…and I’ll just give them that.

What I’ve really liked about the game though is that it seems to have considerably continued tightening the AI on trades. On that last bit, I think I need to be a little more specific. It’s tough to pull any kind of outright fleecing of the AI at this point. I’ve tried some of my favorite go-to trades from OOTP 15, 16, and 17, and those get swatted away like Dikembe Mutombo in that commercial.

That’s cool, though it seems to result in even more ridiculous trade proposals (No, AI, I would not like to consider trading you Bill Caudill and Garry Templeton for 36-year old Tommy Davis, thankyouverymuch.)

And so I’ve embarked, hopefully, on a project I’ve long wanted to do: building the mid-1970s Cardinals.

The Cardinals went 15 years between World Series titles, but it was bleaker than that. The 1970s were NOT a kind decade to the Redbirds. That ridiculous Steve Carlton trade was just the beginning.

So I’ve started with the 1975 Cardinals. And it’s not as hopeless as it seems. They’ve got some established players who either superstars or on the verge – Ted Simmons, Reggie Smith, Lou Brock, Bake McBride, Keith Hernandez. They’ve also got some arms: John Denny and Bob Forsch in the rotation with a guy who has disappeared from memory in Lynn McGlothen. They’ve got Al Hrabosky and Elias Sosa in the back of the bullpen.

Oh, and down on the farm, they’ve got Garry Templeton, Tommy Herr, Ken Oberkfell, and Bill Caudill. So there’s some things there too.

I try a couple of lopsided trades to see if the AI is paying attention. It is. So I set my sights a little lower. I’m very concerned with the state of my starting pitching long term. Bob Gibson is pitching his last season on an arthritic knee with a fastball that’s a shadow of it’s former self. But he’s in the rotation. Bespectacled John Curtis is fooling no one, but also in the rotation because he’s a warm body. There’s precious little behind Forsch, Denny, and McGlothen, and I have no idea how the OOTP development engine is going to treat McGlothen at all.

There’s also no arms besides Caudill in the minors, and Caudill looks like a starting pitcher who should be relieving (which, historically accurate.) Gotta shore that up, and so I have to hope my biggest surplus–those two giant arms at the back of the bullpen–can be converted into something useful.

So…I do some shopping and it turns out the Dodgers are interested in Hrabosky. And they have players I want that they’re willing to deal. So, I turn this little deal to start the season:

Cardinals send:
Al Hrabosky (who in real life 1975 won Fireman of the Year)
Jim Dwyer (who in real life would be a useful platoon piece for the Baltimore Orioles)

Cardinals get back from Dodgers:
Bill Buckner, who at age 25 is still a corner OF and can run a little
Dave Stewart (who’s in AA ball)
and an 18-year old named Rick Sutcliffe.

Now I’ve got some starting pitching prospects in the minors.

As training camp goes along, I lose my starting 3b, Heity Cruz for the first 6 weeks of the season. Jose’s younger brother wasn’t ever very good in real life, but was a huge prospect back in the day (he hit 30 HR and OPS’d over 1.000 for a full year in AA ball). He’s not great, but I like his potential power better than my other starter choice, Ken Reitz. I also hate that Ron Fairly is sticking around to steal ABs from both 25-year-old Buckner (who I envision as a utility OF to spell Brock) and 24-year old Keith Hernandez at first. Since I don’t want to babysit the computer AI, I deal Fairly to the Reds for Joel Youngblood. We’ll see how that works out.

In the first week of the season, I lose my two corner OF, when Brock and Smith are both hit by pitches against Montreal. Both are only gone for two weeks, but only through the graces of the baseball gods do the Cardinals win any games. Hernandez, still years away from leading the league in BA is having a nice rookie campaign. Ted Simmons is knocking the cover off the ball.

After a few weeks, I get both Brock and Smith back, and both immediately commence to joining Simmons and Hernandez in tearing the cover off the ball, and soon enough Bake McBride joins in. Youngblood and Buckner aren’t hitting at all, though, and in mid-May I lose Bob Forsch until after the All Star break with a sore shoulder (which sounds ominous.)

My starting rotation is trash, but I’m not sure what’s to be done for it. I press Eric Rasmussen into starting work from his long-reliever role in the bullpen. In real life Eric “Don’t call me Harry anymore” Rasmussen was a guy with good stuff who seemed to break down when called upon to start. He’s most famous as the guy the Cardinals traded to get George Hendrick. But so far this year, he’s been a decent stopgap.

The back of the bullpen remains a strength. Elias Sosa is more than capable of handling things there, and sports a beautiful sub-2.00 ERA. Mike Garman and rookie farmhand Ryan Kurosaki are both fine so far as setup guys.

So I’m nearing the ASG here in 1975, and I’ve somehow got this motley cast sitting 39-35, 7 games behind a power Pirates team.


When you play historical, do you import players and base their current and potential ratings on their stats but let the OOTP development engine take over, or do you use recalc to keep their ratings in sync with their real life performance each year?

I’ll occasionally play as the Yankees from the 1970s. My gripe is that OOTP doesn’t value Ron Guidry’s great years very much when calculating his potential so if I don’t use recalc he isn’t that great. Since he was my favorite player, that bugs me. Don Mattingly’s potential seems a bit undervalued too.


Here’s my league settings to start:

  1. Choose year (1975 in my case)
  2. Import all minor leaguers (only way to get Tommy Herr in there.)
  3. Recalc based on OOTP development engine (which should use their starting real world potential along with their OOTP performance.)

As you note it isn’t perfect. Garry Templeton’s potential is three stars, and in any measure it should be 5 stars. Al Hrabosky’s potential is 4 1/2 stars, and by any measure that should probably top out at 3.

But, it is what it is.


That’s how you know it’s historical.


No doubt, no doubt. Stargell before injuries sapped him, The Cobra as a young man, with quality parts all over. That OF before injuries and trades broke it up, with Al Oliver and Richie Zisk. And the Candy Man as a 21-year old…


Two things:

  1. This is on sale for $9.99 just about everywhere for the World Series.

  2. I didn’t realize the Perfect Team stuff still wasn’t technically released. It seems late for that now, but I guess it’s still coming.


I read the article but still don’t understand what it is.


My initial thought was it was something like the Ultimate Team stuff in Madden or FIFA.


It totally is.


I don’t know what that means, having never played Madden or FIFA.


In Madden and I suspect FIFA it is a fantasy sports type mode, where you get collectible cards of past and present players and you put together a team. You can upgrade some of the cards, so for example the HoF Dan Marino card initially has a overall rating of 80, but you can upgrade it to the point he is a 94 or something. There are situational challenges that you beat to earn coins to buy more card packs, and you also get them as rewards for beating certain challenges. You also can play games against the rosters other people put together. I just started messing with it last night in madden, so I haven’t seen all it has to offer, but it has been entertaining.


Reading a bit on the ootp forums, it sounds like for the most part it will a very accelerated online ootp league, except your players are made up of cards you collect. Live cards will change as according to how players perform in real life, and then there will also be historical cards. Games are simmed apparently 28 times a day at 30 minute interval. You set the lineups. Guessing you can also set strategy. There is an auction house for cards, but don’t know if it is possible to trade with people. There is a 5 level league promotion relegation system with seasons lasting about a week. How your players and team do will generate points you can spend to buy card packs. There also is some solo challenge mode, but I didn’t see much detail on that.


Thanks @vyshka. That makes some sense. It disappoints me that OOTP has veered off in this direction, but on the other hand I could see it as something I could totally get obsessed with.


I’m not sure adding a feature to a game 8 months after release is something I’d characterize as the series “veering” off in a new direction.


I meant in terms of the entire franchise, not just this year’s release. I’ve been buying OOTP for years (skipping some years) and each version has brought refinements to the core game. I think this is the first time they’ve brought in a separate mini-game.


At this point, I do not know how much more they could add to the core game, at least in terms of major features. They could always refine strategies and financials, but other than that I’m not sure. The previous two added pro-rel leagues, proper winter leagues, standalone tournaments, international tournaments, and a negro leagues database (I suppose they could add historical databases for Japan, Korea, and the other non-MLB leagues). Perfect Team seems like a natural next step, though I haven’t tried it out yet.


I think there are still a lot of features they could add for online leagues.


I’d like for them to make players seem more differentiated so managing games feels more interesting. I’m not 100% sure I can explain what I mean by that, just that the system seems a little lacking to me. I don’t think its bad, but it never holds my attention.


Agree. And they can always work on improving the trade AI (although sometimes the trade AI shows better judgement than some real life MLB GMs; the bar is low).


Make multiplayer as seamless to play as single player - not requiring dealing with a bunch of jank to manage it. Downloading game files and passing them around? It’s ridiculous.