Boston Red Sox Principal Owner John Henry: OOTP is an Astonishing Accomplishment


    John Henry (image used under Creative Commons license)

    Every so often, we hear from someone prominent in the baseball world who loves OOTP. A few years ago, it was former pitcher Curt Schilling, who told us “there is no comparison to any sports sim I’ve ever played.” Just recently, it was Boston Red Sox principal owner John Henry, who wrote to us and said: “OOTP is an astonishing accomplishment.”

    when asked to explain that and talk about how he plays ootp, henry replied: “of course i’m simulating media seasons, but i’m absolutely fascinated with the historical and fictional options available. what you offer is a comprehensive service. it allows someone to navigate through highly specific and adjustable scenarios through the seasons, limited only by their imagination, and it somehow automatically takes care of all the housework necessary to make it all real.”

    added: “last year i explored ootp 15 and was amazed at its breadth and depth. amazed actually. to think this is the work of a european is amazing. i’m involved in english football and most europeans have very little knowledge of how baseball works markus has become an expert in even the smallest nuances of the sport.”

    when asked about the ootp feedback he had, henry said “if you started asking me for suggestions, it would drive you crazy”. however, we’re more than happy to be driven crazy by someone like john henry, so we’ve continued our dialogue with him.

    from dreams of buying season tickets to owning the boston red sox

    henry was born in 1949 and divided his early years between illinois and arkansas before moving to california when he was 15, but grew up in st. louis cardinals fan. he said his childhood dream “was to move to st. louis and find a job good enough to pay for season tickets at busch stadium (as the cardinals’ ballpark was called at the time).”

    After founding the financial management firm John W. henry & company in 1981, he was so successful that he could afford much more than season tickets: He bought the Tucson Bulls minor league team in 1989 and acquired a small stake in the New York Yankees in 1991. He later bought the Florida Marlins (now called the Miami Marlins) in 1999, and in 2002 he sold that club, simultaneously leading the purchase of the Boston Red Sox with his business partners. (He and his business associates also currently own the Liverpool Football Club and are co-owners of the Roush Fenway Races.)John Henry speaking after the Red Sox won the 2013 World Series. (Click to enlarge)

    John Henry speaking after the Red Sox won the 2013 World Series. (Click to enlarge)

    He never forgot his love of baseball simulations, though. He describes himself as an “early adopter” of APBA Baseball in the late 1960s and rekindled his love for sims when he met the Miller brothers during the 1990s. He remembers: “I moved to New Canaan, Connecticut and Miller Associates had developed APBA into Baseball for Windows. They did a terrific job and suddenly stat-keeping and multiple simulations helping to answer multiple questions became possible.”

    continues: “they were having a bit of a financial struggle, so I became their main investor. at the same time, a group of us within my finance company formed a league, maybe two dozen of us in all. and we spent years competing in a continuously owned league.loved it.

    “the miller brothers finally moved on to other things and apba changed hands. apba has remained, to this day, mainly as a board game company. For someone who’s a numbers guy like me, I could never go back to that, so our continuing league migrated to diamond-minded baseball and continued for years.

    “i met tom tippett, the creator of dmb, and eventually went on to work for the red sox, running our baseball information systems and player analytics. To be a baseball fan, you have to be very lucky to work with Tom, as well as Bill James. Even though Tom sold the company, I still use dmb regularly for specific simulation projects of my own.”

    henry has now added ootp to his stable of baseball sims and has kept in touch with us. he goes on to offer suggestions that we hope to incorporate into the game. In the meantime, we wish you all the best with the Boston Red Sox in 2015 and beyond.

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