Scott Fennessy: XC – Ecstasy or Excessive?

I was recently purchasing a season for the upcoming Chicagoland Tournament and I chose the 2016 Chicago Cubs.  But since I don’t have the team and also wanted to own the first Cub world championship roster in my lifetime I went ahead and ordered it.

However, when I went to APBA’s site to purchase the team and then added the XC cards to the cart I was sort of floored by the total cost.  No, I am not slamming APBA for the cost of the set, but was somewhat surprised as I have usually purchased deadball era teams and they are a lot less.

I realize the difference is the number of teams, therefore the much larger number of cards, hence the cost.  But the question remained, do I really need to spend $100 dollars on a set if you include the XC’s?

I looked at the rosters and then the XC’s.  This brought about the subject matter.  Do I or don’t I want or even NEED the XC cards.  In the two seasons that I have purchased since APBA has begun to reissue the sets I did get the XC cards.

In all honesty, I find that while you get some monster cards here and there, they are mostly cards that won’t see much past a defensive replacement or blowout relief appearance.

Back in the “old days” when APBA had 20 -25 card rosters and 10 XB cards that you had to tear apart as an option; I always ordered the XB’s as I always needed them as the seasons progressed.

Maybe I am just lazy, but I really don’t need the set for replay purposes.  80% of the cards end up in an envelope stuffed so full it can barely hold them and never get used.

But I realize they play a vital role for those that do actual game day lineups (and for putting THAT much work into a replay I salute you.)  So to those of you who read this, how important to you is the XC card set to you?


Thanks to Craig Christian for the photo!


  1. They are necessary for a full season replay. If you are following the season “as played”.

  2. In hindsight I would have passed.

  3. I do think XCs are essential for full-season replays (even if you aren’t going the as-played route, getting realistic IP/AB numbers is going to require more than the base set) or for completists. Just know that in even those cases good money is going to be spent on cards that never see more than a few dice rolls.

    But I just don’t see other cases where the cost is worth it.

  4. I’d personally rather see the XC cards be PDF files that the replayer can print off themselves. If it’s a guy who is going to appear in only a couple games, I’m fine having a printout to look at. I don’t need a physical card for that, especially at the cost.

  5. I’m in my fifth cards and dice replay, and with rare exceptions, I found the XC’s to be superfluous. They’re mostly D pitchers or infielders with a 600 OPS. If needed, I just find another player with similar stats and use that as a proxy (e.g. XC 1983 Tony Perez has basically the same stats as regular card Pete Rose. I use the Rose card, but with a better second column).

    The only exception is those rare XCs that had bonkers seasons.

  6. I wish the game company would go back to making XC’s an option, rather than include them with the season sets. That way, the cost of the newer seasons would be more affordable, especially for those who don’t wish to have the XC’s.

  7. I generally only replay seasons of my favorite team (Red Sox) and usually a National League team. I easily get by with the 25 to 30 players included in a set. I do use actual lineups but substitute a similar player left or right handed when necessary.

  8. I go back even further than most of you and I remember the first extra “cards” came on sheets of regular paper, all in black print, and you had to cut them up w and if you wanted them to last mount them on cardboard. They first came out in the late sixties. Back then their were only 20 players per team and it really made a big difference if you replayed a season. My sense today is that unless you are a strict as played replayer they are probably unnecessary, of course that comes from a computer player were most seasons include everyone.

  9. I hate the cards for players who only batted once or pitched 2 innings. I am a season replayer, but do not use actual line-ups (“You are the manager!”) and i don’t see how it matters if i use Joe Blow for an extra 15 ab’s instead of fooling with five different guys for those 15 abs. Besides, the cards are meaningless, drawn as they are from such a small sample. To me, 30 cards per team is ideal. I recently bought a set–1966 maybe?–in which the Houston Astros have 49 cards! Who needs 49 players for one team? And, as has been pointed out, they don’t even all fit in the envelopes provided. I say, offer them separately for those who want them. I don’t want to fool with a “minor leagues.” Give me 25 or 30 guys, so I can draw up my stat sheet knowing who will be playing, and fit them in the envelope, and go.

  10. Scott:

    I agree with you on the XC cards. I just finished a 1912 replay and the contribution of the XC players was below minimal. I could have saved $30 or so and generated the same kind of results with the cards (regular cards and XBs).

  11. Where have you gone? You haven’t posted in a month. hope all is well.

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