Hi, I’m Alan Zick (Mizzou77). From my username, you can guess that I have a University of Missouri connection. My wife, Suzanne, and I live in the Houston region, specifically Magnolia, about 30 miles to the north.
I grew up in St. Louis from age ten on, but prior to that our family moved around a lot as my dad worked in the Aerospace industry. We made our final move in the fall of 1963, this time to St. Louis. I just missed seeing Stan Musial play as he retired after that season, but I did get to experience the next year’s team, the 64 Cards who won it all. I’ve been a diehard Cardinal fan ever since. My favorite player was Julian Javier, a quiet-natured, good-gloved second baseman. Thinking about it, I don’t think I’ve ever used him in IS.
I have geology degrees from The University of Missouri – Columbia (Mizzou) but trained and worked as a geophysicist during my career in oil and gas exploration, nearly all of it in Houston. I retired in 2016. I worked many different areas in the US and around the world. One experience that stands out to me occurred while on a geology field trip to southern Chile. We had arrived at a remote lodge just prior to sundown. Following dinner I stepped outside. It was pitch dark and as I looked up, my mouth fell open and I quite honestly didn’t know what I was looking at. It stretched across the entire sky from horizon to horizon. The guy behind me said “That’s the Milky Way”. Boy, I can still see it in my mind as if I’m standing there right now.
I taught geology at a local community college for three years (kudos to all you teachers and former teachers). I currently volunteer at the Friends of the Library that serves the community library system and my wife and I have volunteered at and donated to no-kill shelters. We love all animals but we’re especially cat lovers and all of our cats over the years have been adopted or were foundlings. One piece of advice . . . Don’t ever foster animals if you’re weak-willed, as they will win your heart and wiggle themselves into your home. Take it from someone with experience.
Fantasy Baseball Beginnings
I started playing fantasy baseball with a good friend in 1981 with the APBA board game and we still play on occasion. I started with IS in early 2013 after seeing a play-by-play demo on the website. I signed up within a few days and had my first team going within a week. That first team, the Homestead Grays, was in a non-DH Standard league playing in Forbes-49. We actually finished 88-74, made the playoffs as a wildcard, and lost in the World Series in five games. All beginner’s luck. Johnny Lush was my ace with 16 wins and the defense had Bill Spiers and Travis Fryman up the middle with Albert Belle, Ron LeFlore, and Vlad Guerrero from left to right. I’m sort of wincing thinking about that defense, but that team could hit. I’ve been hooked on IS ever since.
Vicky Jewell (TombRaider) was in that first league, and I could tell from the banter on the league board that she was friendly, well-liked, and approachable. I emailed her with a ton of beginner questions, and she graciously responded to each one, something I’ve never forgotten. Thanks, Vicky.
Imagine Sports Stats & Strategy
My overall winning percentage at IS is 546. SSG is my favorite and definitely my best format, and I have tended to play mostly high-cap leagues here recently. I love the challenge of identifying the right mix of players and then trying to manage injuries and PTL. Synergy is so important and sometimes the lesser/cheaper player is the better fit for your team, but I’m personally a sucker for big bats. My absolute favorite SSG player is Gehrig (1927), obviously more affordable in high cap leagues, and I will generally grab him much earlier than most owners.
But it’s not just the strategy that keeps me coming back. It’s also the camaraderie and the great owners I’ve encountered. It’s very entertaining reading the board banter and seeing just how funny and clever many of the owners are. Over time, you really get to know and appreciate their varied personalities. There are certain top owners that I play against a lot and always struggle against. I’m sure I have a losing record against them (Jack Rudack and Jon Karraker immediately come to mind), but I enjoy the challenge and I learn a lot from playing them. Innovation is great but I’m never too proud to emulate a good strategy.
Well, hopefully all of you have gotten to know me a little better. Thanks for reading.