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SMILEY: The Strat-O-Matic Internet League of Yesterday
A replay of baseball seasons from 1968 to the present

Commissioner: Alan Boodman (alan.boodman@verizon.net)
League mailing list: smileylist@googlegroups.com
League Web Page: http://smileyleague.org

Last Revised: 3/5/2018

League Mission and Requirements Overview:

The goal of SMILEY is to replay the seasons from 1968 forward, attempting to maintain a certain amount of the integrity of the actual franchise rosters through those years, while at the same time allowing owners the flexibility to manipulate their team through trades and yearly free agent drafts. Owners play their own road games and submit instructions for home games.

This league is designed for owners who may be fans of a single club, and want to experience both the high and low points that their favorite team went through over the course of the past 30-plus seasons. At the outset of the league, each owner selected a team, received all players on that team for the 1968 season, and will automatically receive all future rookies for that team. We began play with 8 A.L. and 8 N.L. franchises in 1968, leaving 4 teams permanently unowned.

You must have the latest version of the Strat-O-Matic CD-ROM Baseball game at all times and each season's roster disk. You will also need a utility that can zip and unzip files.

We are looking for owners who intend to make a long-term commitment to this league and to their franchise, and ones who can keep up with a schedule which currently calls for the playing of about four games per week.

Role of Commissioner:

The Commissioner has the authority and the responsibility for seeing that the SMILEY league is run in a fair and equitable manner at all times. The Commissioner may take any action deemed to be in the best interests of the league, including, but not limited to:

Penalties up to and including expulsion from the league may be imposed for continued violation of league rules, or for any action which is detrimental to a fair and accurate replay. Actions taken by owners which constitute making a travesty of the league may result in immediate expulsion.


The SMILEY league will largely follow the structure of Major League Baseball in any given season, with the exception that we will have four fewer teams. In 1968 there were two 8-team leagues with no divisions. From 1969 to 1976 there were two 10-team leagues, each split into two five-team divisions. From 1977 to 1992, the A.L. had 12 teams (two 6-team divisions), while the N.L. remained at 10 teams. From 1992, both leagues had 12 teams in two 6-team divisions until 1994, when we switched to three 4-team divisions per league with a wild-card team also qualifying for the playoffs.

Each SMILEY season will be 162 games, including all years such as 1972 and 1981 which were shortened by player strikes. Player usage limits will be adjusted in those seasons to reflect 162 games' worth of play.

Beginning in 1969, SMILEY will imitate the playoff structure used by Major League Baseball in a given season. Even though MLB expanded the League Championship Series to 7 games in 1985, we will continue to limit those series to 5 games in order to expedite them. Beginning in 1994 there is a divisional round of playoffs, followed by the league championship series and the World Series. All series aside from the World Series are best-of-5. In the divisional round the wild card team meets the divisional winner with the best record, however (as in MLB) 2 teams in the same division cannot play each other in the first round.

While ownership of multiple teams is permitted (an owner can have no more than one team in a league), trades of either a direct or indirect nature will not be allowed between teams owned by the same person. No owner will ever be required to own more than one team.

Weekly Deadlines:

The deadline for game results and free agent requests is 8 PM ET on Fridays. Shortly after the deadline all roster moves (trades and free agent acquisitions) and all CM updates that have been received will be processed and a preliminary version of the next week's files will be posted. Those files are to be used for any further CM updates. The deadline for CM updates is 11:30 AM ET on Saturdays. At that time the new files for the upcoming week will be posted, and those are the ones to be used (not the preliminary files) for league games.

An owner may request extra time after the 11:30 AM deadline to submit a CM update. In that case the owner must either set (and meet) a specific time to submit the update otherwise he has 24 hours, until 11:30 AM ET on Sunday, to deliver the update. After that time the series may be played even if no CM has been received.

Inaugural Teams / Disbanded Teams:

Exactly 8 A.L. and 8 N.L. teams were selected. The four teams which did not get selected in 1968 (the Phillies, Angels, Astros & Indians) have permanently ceased to exist in SMILEY, and the players on their 1968 rosters were dispersed in a six-round draft, the order of which was the reverse of the actual 1968 standings. Expansion took place in 1969, 1977 and 1993, however Tampa Bay and Arizona were not added in 1998, and those two teams will be treated exactly the same as the other permanently unowned teams.

Yearly Free Agent Drafts:

All free agent drafts after 1968 are non-serpentine, and the draft order (with the exception of first-year expansion teams, which always pick at the top) will be determined as follows:

Round 1: the teams finishing in the bottom half of the standings during the previous year will participate in a lottery to determine their first-round draft position. The NBA-style lottery will be weighted so that the team with the worst record has the best chance of getting the #1 overall pick. Teams in the top half of the league will have their positions determined by reverse order of the standings. The lottery will be held online in a public forum. While not an ideal solution, the lottery is being used to discourage teams from "tanking" in order to guarantee themselves a better first-round draft slot.

Rounds 2+: all teams (with the exception of first-year expansion teams) pick in reverse order of their finish in the prior season. The lottery applies to round 1 only.

A coin flip is used to break any ties.

Effective with the 2001 draft, every draft slot will have a day and time assigned to it prior to the draft. Each pick has a half hour window in which to be made, with slots starting at 9 AM ET every day and ending at 10 PM ET.

When a team's window opens they are free to make their pick right away even if one or more teams prior to them have failed to make a selection; there will be no more emails from me putting a team "on the clock" because those are no longer necessary.

Picks can be made overnight: the team which is scheduled for 9 AM the next day can pick once ALL other teams in front of them have made their selections (if one or more teams have been skipped, you must wait until your window opens -- that applies to all picks, not just ones made overnight). If the 9 AM team picks overnight, then the 9:30 team can also pick during the night, then the 10:00 team, etc....

As always, if you know you will not be available during a slot then send me a list in advance. Lists should be specific players and NOT general instructions because if I am not at my PC with access to the game in order to determine what player meets that description, then your half hour window is very likely to expire and you will be skipped; if you submit a list with specific players, I will post the pick ASAP when your slot comes around.

Team Rosters and Limits:

Effective with the 2000 season, rosters are limited to a maximum of 37 players (formerly 35). We will draft up to 34 players per team (formerly 32), and free agents may be acquired during the season through the end of Week 24. The roster limit of 37 must not be exceeded at any time. If a trade is made where a team acquires more players than it gives up, it must release players in order to stay at or below the roster limit.

A team may acquire at most one free agent in a week. If multiple teams attempt to acquire the same player, the team which has the worse record as of the end of the previous week (the previous season, for Week 1 claims) gets precedence. If two teams with equivalent records claim the same player, the team which made the claim first gets precedence.

A season will consist of 25 weeks. A team's active roster is limited to 25 players from Week 1 through Week 20. From Week 21 to the end of a season, active rosters are expanded and any non-overused player may be activated. A team's roster for postseason play will be the players they own as of Week 21; no players acquired after Week 21 are eligible for postseason play.

Roster moves from the active to the inactive roster are unlimited and may be made weekly. Although a team is permitted to use different home & road rosters in the same week, roster moves are not permitted during any series. SMILEY will not use injuries, therefore there is no occasion for emergency roster moves. Owners may supply an updated active roster for home games each week along with the Computer Manager.

Trades may be made during each season through the end of Week 19. Effective in 1988, there is a brief postseason trading window following the draft lottery and before cuts and claims are due. The players and draft picks eligible to be traded during this window are the same as usual with one exception:

Tradeable players shown as "Lost" on the Player Status page cannot be traded during this window. If a team wishes to deal such a player, it must do so during the regular trading period which runs from the end of the draft through Week 19. Players shown as "Lost-Retainable", however, can be traded during the postseason window.

Trading resumes after the subsequent draft has been completed.

Trades may be consummated at any time (before the trade deadline), but trades will not become effective until the beginning of the next week. All trades must be approved by the Commissioner before they can take effect.

Trading of future considerations is not permitted. All trades must be final as of the time they become effective; no conditionality is allowed. Draft picks may be traded, but only picks from rounds 1 through 3 in the upcoming draft.

Your roster may include uncarded players -- players on your team who had a card during a prior season, but who do not have a card during the current one. Uncarded players are never eligible to be drafted, but they may be retained from year to year or released at the owner's discretion. Exception: uncarded players who had been previously claimed or retained under Prop 75-2 (see below) cannot be released even if they are uncarded. Uncarded players, if retained, do count against both the 34-man draft limit and the 37-man roster limit.


Effective with the 1998 season there is no inflation factor (it formerly was 110% and then 105%) and players are limited to the amount of usage shown on their cards with exceptions as shown below. Batters must not exceed the amount of plate appearances on their cards, and pitchers must not exceed the number of IP on their cards.

"Plate appearances", for the purpose of measuring usage, are defined as at bats + walks. PA does not include SH, SF or HBP. The reason for using the simplified formula is that Strat's Usage Report uses only AB + BB to track usage.

Pitchers are further limited in the number of starts they may make in a season: pitchers who started between 20 and 41 games in the season being replayed may start up to 41 times that season in SMILEY; all other pitchers are limited to the number of starts they actually made in MLB that year. Regardless of the number of starts a pitcher is limited to, all pitchers are limited by IP as stated above.

Starting in 1982, pitchers who meet BOTH of these criteria:

1.   Card ERA of 4.75 or greater
2.   At least 30 IP on his card

....will be permitted extra GS and IP as follows:

If the pitcher has 0 GS on his card: his limits are 5 GS and 100 IP.

If the pitcher has at least 1 GS on his card: his limits are 25 GS and 175 IP.

If a pitcher's GS or IP already shown on his card exceeds the above limits, the carded limits in those categories will be used (a pitcher's usage is never reduced because of this rule).

The purpose of this rule is to give owners more flexibility and to make it easier to avoid overusage penalties.

Effective with the 1983 season, certain batters will be permitted to exceed their usage limits. A player with less than 400 PA (but at least 30 PA) of usage AND less than .600 OPS (OPS = OBP + SLG) on his card AND a Balance Rating of less than 5 is permitted extra usage as follows:

1.   2 times the usage shown on his card, or
2.   400 PA

whichever is LESS.

The Commissioner reserves the right to force compliance with usage limitations by adjusting rosters which are in violation.

Other than outfielders, who may play any outfield position, a player may play only at a position for which he is rated. The only exception to this limitation is in extra-inning games where pinch-hitting or other moves have left a team with no players at a given position. Only in this case may unrated players appear at a position. This is meant to be an emergency situation and should not be abused.

Batters who are not rated at any position will be assigned a 5e30 at 1B.

Any player who has not been overused is eligible for postseason play, however postseason usage rules apply to certain players:

- a batter with less than 100 PA on his card is limited to 10% of his carded usage (rounding down) for the entire postseason,
- a pitcher with less than 50 IP on his card is limited to 10% of his carded usage (rounding down) for the entire postseason and may not start at all,
- a pitcher with 50 or more IP on his card and who has 1 to 6 GS may start at most once in the entire postseason (pitchers with 0 GS may not start at all).

Effective with the 1998 postseason: Starting pitchers must obey Strat's rules for rest. A pitcher with an * can start with 3 days rest while all others must have 4.

Player Retention:

Definition of "Contract": A player's contract expires between seasons in which he moved from one team to another in MLB. For example, any player whose 1969 Strat card is with a different team than his 1968 card (with the exception of players who went to the expansion teams) will be a free agent after 1968, and therefore eligible to be drafted prior to 1969.

For example, Nolan Ryan went from the Mets to the Angels after 1971; to the Astros after 1979; and to the Rangers after 1988. For our purposes, Ryan's contracts will be said to expire in 1971, 1979 and 1988.

The Player Status page is updated before the start of every season, and updated during the season as trades & free agent acquisitions are made. That page details the status (Restricted, Unrestricted, etc.) of all players. It is the responsibility of each owner to be aware of his players' contract status.

Definition of "Restricted Player": All players on a team's initial roster in 1968 (for expansion teams, it is the roster for the year in which the team joined MLB) are considered to be Restricted Players. All future rookies, which you will automatically receive at the beginning of each season, are also Restricted Players.

Restricted Players may not be released, although they may be traded once. Any team which receives a Restricted Player in a trade must retain that player for the duration of his contract; he cannot be released or re-traded. Exception: an uncarded Restricted player may be released prior to (or during) any season in which he is uncarded as long as that player was not previously claimed or retained under Prop 75-2 (see below). A player ceases being Restricted upon entering the free agent pool for the first time and will then be Unrestricted for the remainder of his career, with the exception of players who eventually wind up on the initial roster of an expansion team, who then become Restricted at that time.

Using the Nolan Ryan example from above: Ryan will be Restricted from 1968 until after 1971. From the end of 1971 onward, Ryan is Unrestricted. In addition, players who are on any of the four unowned teams' rosters prior to the 1968 dispersal draft, and all future rookies from those teams, are Unrestricted. The concept of Restricted Players somewhat mimics the effects of the old MLB Reserve Clause.

Aside from players who switched teams, other players in the yearly free agent pool include:

Teams will submit lists of released players after each season. After these lists are received, but prior to the yearly draft, each team is permitted to claim at most one player from the free agent pool. The only players which are eligible to be claimed by a particular team are ones who actually are carded for the upcoming season with that team. Players claimed in this manner must be retained for the entire length of their contract even if they become uncarded at some point during that contract; they can not be released or traded. A team claiming a player forfeits its first-round pick in the upcoming draft. If a team lacks its own #1 pick due to having incurred a penalty or having traded it away, that team cannot claim or retain any player that season.

For example, after 1971 Nolan Ryan went to the Angels in MLB. In SMILEY, the Angels -- and only the Angels (had they existed) -- may choose to claim Ryan prior to the 1972 draft. In this manner, we are trying to help the big-name players wind up where they actually played in MLB. Note that as we move into the free-agent era however, teams will find it impossible to acquire all of their big-name players in this way since at most one player per season may be claimed.

* * * EXCEPTIONS to the free agency rule:

If a player is acquired by the team which he moved to NEXT in MLB, that player does NOT become a free agent at the end of his contract, for the reason that he is already on the team he "should" be on. For example: Dick Allen is selected by St. Louis in the 1968 Dispersal Draft. After 1969, Allen -- in real life -- moved from Philadelphia to St. Louis. Since St. Louis already owns Allen (having picked him in 1968), and since St. Louis is the team where he went after 1968, Allen does NOT become a free agent (unless voluntarily released by the Cardinals), nor does St. Louis have to forfeit a pick to claim the player whom they already own. Note that if a Restricted player is acquired via a trade by the team he really went to NEXT, that player's contract does not expire and he remains Restricted and cannot be released (unless he is uncarded) or re-traded.

Prop 75-2:

If a team owns a player who moves to one of the unowned teams NEXT in MLB, the team may retain that player by claiming him in the manner stated above: the claim costs a team their #1 pick; a claimed player must be retained for the entire length of his next contract and cannot be released (even if uncarded) or traded. At most one player per season may be retained in this manner. For example: Bobby Bonds moves from NYA to CAA after 1975. Whoever owns Bonds in SMILEY in 1975 has the option to forfeit its #1 pick in the 1976 draft and retain Bonds for 1976. If that team does so, it would be required to keep Bonds in 1976 and 1977, until his contract with the Angels expires.

A team cannot both retain a free agent AND claim a player from the free agent pool in the same season, and a team must use its own #1 pick in order to claim or retain a player; it cannot use a pick acquired from another team.

As of 1983, certain "New" low-usage players may be cut as follows:

1.   The player must never be carded in any future season according to our definition (20+ IP for pitchers, 30+ PA for batters), and
2.   At most 2 players per team per season can be cut in this manner.

This rule change will permit teams to cut up to 2 useless short-term players per season. Each season's Player Status page will show which rookies are eligible to be cut.

Overusage and Penalties:

A player is considered to be overused once he has exceeded his adjusted usage figures for a season (in terms of PA, IP, or GS). A player who has exceeded PA or IP limits must be removed from the active roster immediately and remain inactive for the remainder of the season, and is ineligible for postseason play in that season. A starting pitcher who has met or exceeded his GS limit must be removed from the Starter screen and the Starter Schedule. A pitcher who has reached his GS limit can still be used as a reliever as long as he has IP remaining, but he is ineligible for postseason play in any capacity.

During the final week of the season (only), batters are permitted 1 PA of overusage without penalty, and pitchers are permitted 1 IP of overusage without penalty.

Any team with one or more overused players is subject to penalty as outlined below. It is the responsibility of all owners to draft (or acquire free agents, when available) to fill immediate needs as well as future ones. Insufficient IP or PA at a position is not an excuse for overusage.

Penalties will be applied based on the number of players overused in a season. The more players an owner overuses, the greater the penalty incurred will be.

1 player overusedloss of third round draft pick in the upcoming draft
2 players overusedloss of second round pick in the upcoming draft
3 players overusedloss of first round pick in the upcoming draft
4 players overusedloss of first and third round picks in the upcoming draft

...and so on.

A team which "loses" one or more picks will still draft up to a roster size of 34 players. However, the lost pick(s) will be transferred to the end of the team's draft. A team which loses its #1 pick may not claim or use Prop 75-2 to retain any player in the upcoming draft.


Several of the items here are covered in more detail on the Instructions page.

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