Baseball strategies evolve. While in many ways the baseball of
the 1930’s was very similar to today’s game, in many other ways it
was very different. The following will give you a better idea of
how the game differed back then, and what you can do to guide the
OOTP A.I. to manage your team appropriately for the era.
Some ways in which baseball was different in the early ’30s
There was basically no such thing as a pitcher who only
started or who only pitched in relief. All pitchers were
starter/reliever hybrids (there might be a handful of pitchers
each year who only started or who only pitched in relief, but
these were pitchers who only appeared in a few games. Anyone
who got a full-season’s worth of work would start some and
Firpo Marberry was a famous exception—sort of. One year
Marberry pitched 55 games, all in relief, and there were a
couple of other years in which he started only a few times.
He was primarily a reliever for about half his career and
primarily a starter for the other half, but like everybody
else, he usually did a bit of both.
The top starter on a staff often doubled as the team’s ace
reliever, which meant he might “close” 10 to 15 games a year
(while still starting 30 or more). The notion of a “save” or a
“save situation” didn’t exist. The ace would come into a close
game, regardless of whether it was what we would now call a
“save situation”. He might come in when the score was tied or
even when his team was down by a run.
Rotations were fluid. This was mostly a result of the
preponderance of doubleheaders and off-days. It wasn’t
possible to stick to a strict five-man rotation through a
five-day stretch in which the team played seven or eight
games, nor was it sensible not to skip the less effective
starters during a five-day stretch when only three games were
scheduled. Rainouts exacerbated this situation, resulting in
even more off-days and doubleheaders. Consecutive
doubleheaders (four games in two days) were not uncommon.
Seven or eight pitchers logged almost all the innings for
most teams. A team might use 10 or 12 pitchers during a season
but some of them would only be on the roster a short time and
pitch only three or four times.
Pitch counts were not something anybody had even thought of
yet. Not every game was a complete game, but generally
pitchers who were not getting hammered (or who weren’t
injured) did not come out of the game.
There was no such thing as a “specialist”. Managers rarely,
if ever, switched pitchers to gain a platoon advantage. If
they were going to the ’pen anyway they might decide to bring
in a lefty to face three left-handed hitters in a row, but
they never brought in a pitcher just to get one guy.
Managers did not experiment with their lineups all that
often. Once they figured out who their starters were and what
the batting order would be, they tended to stick with it
unless an injury or a slumping player compelled them to make a
Platooning, in vogue during the ’Teens and early ’20s, was
falling out of fashion by the late ’20s and was extremely rare
in the ’30s.
After WWI the roster limit prior to September call-ups was 25
in the majors (although that number would occasionally
change). It is clear, though, that teams did not always carry
25 players even when the rules allowed them to do so.
I have not found corroboration for this, but it’s been my
assumption that teams might have commonly carried fewer
players on road trips, especially in the minor leagues.
How to get OOTP to use your pitching staff like a late
’20s-early ’30s staff
Use a 5-man rotation in a normal week (that would be one with
7 or fewer games and fewer than two doubleheaders). Go to a
6-man in a week that has more than 7 games or two or more
Never use “Strict order” (except in Spring Training).
Use “Always start highest rested” or “Strict, on occasion
highest rested”. These settings will tend to use your top two
or three starters as often as possible while skipping your
bottom two or three when it is reasonable to do so.
Use the “YES” setting for “Allow SP in Relief”.
Avoid setting pitch counts for starters during the regular
season, especially on pitchers with high (16 or above) Stamina
ratings. If you’ve used pitched counts for Spring Training,
remember to clear them out when the regular season begins.
For the bulk of the season use an 8-or 9-man staff. You can
push that to 10 occasionally if your pitching is lousy and/or
if you have a series in one of the extreme hitters’ parks
(Wrigley Field and Civic Field). Having 12 pitchers on the
staff, except in Spring Training or after the September
call-ups, is anachronistic and probably a waste of a roster
spot, as the game will rarely if ever use those last three
All the above is optional EXCEPT you must use either a 5-man
or 6-man rotation at all times during the regular season. I
have resisted the temptation to make any of the other directives
mandatory, mostly because I don’t want to have to monitor each tam
on a regular basis.
Lastly, remember OOTP isn’t perfect. Even using the ideal
settings the game will still do some goofy things. The company
seems pretty dedicated to improving its product, so when you see
something wacky, either make a post in the OOTP forum about it or
let me know so that I can do so. It might spur them to fix it in a