G.U.S.S.O.M.O. is the Oldest and Longest Continuous running Computer Strat-O-Matic Draft Baseball League in the United States. We have just completed our 52nd consecutive Year!
Our League started in 1971 as a "straight MLB team" replay League and converted to a "straight Draft League."
Yes... we've been around for a very L - O - N - G time, but our success and the fun we've had over all these years, would not have been possible if not for the fact that we have a group of really great Managers.
Jeff Fleischman is the Commissioner of the League. Jeff "volunteered" to take over the reigns of the League less than one month into beginning of the 1st year. The original Commissioner (who was in the Air Force at the time) advised all the League members that he would not be able to run the League. He said that he was being transferred from Northern California to Germany. He sent all the League's material (paperwork and statistics) to Jeff...minus of course, the League treasury/dues. Jeff re-organized and cleaned things up... and has been successfully running the League ever since!
League Name: At the time that Jeff took over as Commissioner, our League did not have a name. Jeff felt that he needed to come up with a name for the League... something that captured the geographical expanse of our Organization (which had members located all over the United States).
Leagues in the late 1960's had names that started with the words "The Greater This" or "Greater That", followed by where the League was based, or where most of the members lived. With this in mind, Jeff decided to call our League "The Greater United States Strat-O-Matic Organization." This name has served us well.... as we get ready to start our 53rd consecutive years! Many people have heard of our League, with some having participated in what is truly a great S-O-M League... a League that is simply known as.... G.U.S.S.O.M.O.
We have had many members over the years..... however, many of our managers have been in G.U.S.S.O.M.O. for well over 25 years! The average number of years that a current manager has been in our League is currently 22 years.... and the total number of years of Strat-O-Matic Baseball experience from our Managers is 524 years!!
Larry Steinberg (from Chicago) was the only other manager from our first season that is still in the league. Larry took a couple of years off from the League (many years ago). Larry has been in the League for 49 years. A number of former League Managers decided that they wanted to come back and re-join the League. Mike Volberding, an original member in 1971 has rejoined the League and has been with us again since Season # 45. Bob Galvin, a member of the League for 21 years in the 70's, 80's and 90's also has rejoined the League, and now has been with us for 26 years!
We frequently joke about the following question.....
Is Strat-O-Matic and G.U.S.S.O.M.O. a "tie that binds?"... you bet it is!
Ralph Polumbo, who manages the Albany Internationals, has won the most League Championships (10), and has been a solid member for 46 years. Mike Lefkow is now in his 43rd year managing the Concord Grape. Dave "Peach" Taylor (former Manaager), guided the Georgia Crackers for 32 years before moving into retirement and horseback riding... and Nick Romano managed the Italian Stallions for 34 years before deciding to leave the League. Unfortunately, Nick passed away recently. Kevin Martin and his Richmond Banshees, always has one of the best teams each Season, He is in his 34th year. Jim Phelps, the Seattle Pilots manaager, has been with us for 39 years. His Son, Andrew, has managed some winning teams during his14 years. Yes, we are a "Second Generation" League. We have 4 sons in the League (Will and John Polumbo, Evan Steinberg, and Andrew Phelps).
One the best parts of G.U.S.S.O.M.O. (and perhaps the key factor with regards to the longevity of our League) is the camaraderie and the friendships that have been formed over the years. It is truly amazing to look back on the beginning of G.U.S.S.O.M.O. and realize that most of the managers were in High School or Junior High School. An even scarier fact is that some of the current managers in G.U.S.S.O.M.O.weren't even born when the League started... back in 1971. The Commissioner remembers very clearly the first time he met one of the current league members (Ralph Polumbo) in 1981. "While taking vacation with his Wife on the East Coast, we had the opportunity to meet Ralph at his home when he lived in Connecticut. Ralph and his wife Alice were very friendly and hospitable. We did some site-seeing, went out to dinner with another manager (Earl Brock) and his wife. Ralph and Alice were also the parents of two very small boys. I remember that one of their sons was sitting in a baby seat/highchair in the kitchen. I can't remember if it was John or Will, but in any event... both of Ralph's son's are now in the league, married and have kids of their own (John 3 and Will 2). And by the way... both John and Will are very good managers! (O.K., it was probably Will in the car seat... he's younger... and now that I think about it... he just might be a better manager than his brother John, who graduated from Syracuse University and is employed as a television news/broadcast producer and now General Managaer near Jackson, Mississippi). Will has finished up his studies at the University of Michigan and is working in a lead sales/product management position for an industrial equipment company. Will has managed winning teams with us for 26 years and John for 27 years. Jeff Wadkowski, one of the backbones of the League, is in his 20th year. Dave "Shoe" Shuey, a very successful Lawyer, just completed his 19th season with us. He was with us for 11 years (1990 through 2000) and came back to the League in 2015. Dave is the only manager in our League that has won 3 Championships in a row!
A few other things about G.U.S.S.O.M.O. While only a hobby, it has played a big part in many of the managers lives for many years. We've done a lot of "interesting" things over the years .... from being a bunch of "crazy teenagers" running loose "down by the East River... and riding the Subways at 2:00 AM in New York City (we went to the 2nd SOM convention at Abraham & Strauss in 1973) ... to playing some of our games over the phone. In fact, Jeff reportedly played the first SOM League game versus an opponent on the Phone "long distance." The game was played versus another League member... and both managers rolled their dice inning by inning for their own teams... reading off the results as the game progressed. Jeff lived in Southern California at the time, while the other manager lived in Ohio. (No, I don't remember how big the Phone Bill was... but, I do remember is was BIG).
Many years ago, our League started having an annual "Get-Together". The Get-Together is usually in the city of one of our League members.
Over the years we have had our get-togethers in cities such as Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Cincinati, Detroit, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Denver, San Francisco/San Jose and Minneapolis.
At least 1/2 of the league members (plus wifes and families) usually attend our "long weekend" Get-Togethers. Most of the time, a host manager makes all the arrangements for the group of managers... including Hotel Suites (with a meeting room so we all can play of our games face-to-face... with lap top computers spread all around the room), barbecues at the host's home, and tickets to a Major League Baseball game. It should also be noted that our League prides itself on being a "class organization." While playing our games is what the Get-Togethers are all about, we have made it a point to promote a certain level of style and "culture" for our members. Over the years, we have even made time to attend some of the best local "ballets." including the little known, but very popular "Cowboy Show" in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
As many of the members travel around the country today, (it's usually on business), we seem to make it a point to try to get together with the manager/friend that lives in that particular city. Isn't it crazy how a game can lead grown men to still act like kids?
It's hard to believe that G.U.S.S.O.M.O. has been around for so long.... but we're all still just having fun... and I suppose that we'll keep on rolling... or (as the case is nowadays) pushing those computer keys... for years to come.