We have long wondered, what’s the oldest Strat baseball league in America, and where does the I-75 league stand?
We may finally have some answers, thanks to a recent Strat effort to get leagues to submit photos of their championship trophies. In so doing, many leagues volunteered how long they’ve been in operation. By combing through the trophy photos on Strat’s Facebook page, we have learned many of these other leagues are similar to ours and even have some connections:
The Greater United States Strat-O-Matic Organization (GUSSOMO) started in 1971, and is in its 42nd consecutive year. Their league Web site has an excellent “About Us” page that details the history of the league, which bears many similarities to ours in terms of managerial longevity and second-generation managers. From what I can tell, they are a 24-team league playing six games a week across 27 weeks for a 162-game schedule. Their league commissioner is Jeff Fleischman of Centennial, Colo., and one of their board members and managers is Mike Lefkow, who is an assistant sports editor at the San Jose Mercury News — which is one of the papers that Digital First Media (where Gary works) operates. Another manager, Will Polumbo, identifies himself as being from Farmington, Mich., which we know as the Detroit suburb from which several of our managers hail. Like the I-75 League, they have an annual get-together, but not for the draft: Theirs is in Kansas City this year, June 20-23.
Another one of GUSSOMO’s managers, Don Sprague, is a member of a second league that appears to be the second-longest-running league, the Capital Baseball League, a 20-team league that started in 1975 and is enjoying its 39th year. Like the I-75, they play a 160-game schedule with a 32-man roster, 25 of those active.