I.       GENERAL




Changes to these Rules for Play and other items open for vote shall be determined by a simple majority of owners, with the exclusion of (i) in-season rule changes, and (ii) realignment.  In-season rule changes must be approved by unanimous vote.  Realignment must be approved by a simple majority of owners and must not be objected to by any owner having a team in a division that has its composition changed as a result of such realignment.  All votes will be decided by those general managers in good standing that cast ballots.  There will be one vote for each member regardless of the number of teams currently being managed.  Rule changes can be suggested by any manager in good standing and such changes will be voted on as set forth below in “Off-Season Activities.”




The Commissioner shall be the caretaker of the league.  He shall be invested with the powers to protect the best interest of the league.  The Commissioner is empowered to enforce the Rules for play and league maintenance.  The Commissioner shall enforce the will of the league, not enforce his will upon the league.  There will be a yearly vote for Commissioner.  In cases where there is only 1 candidate, there will be a vote of confidence.  In cases where a vote of “No Confidence” is cast, the league will set about to find a new person to assume the office.




The purpose of ARBA is the simulation of the previous year’s baseball season.  Teams will be assembled to replay a full major league season.  The emphasis will be on developing and procuring talent in the same manner as actual major league GMs with some of the similar constraints.  The current game of choice is Strat-O-Matic.  Any rule or situation not covered within these Rules shall be covered by rule of common sense and fair play.  The Home Team should try to treat the Visiting Team as if it was his own.  Cheating will not be tolerated.




It is each Owner’s responsibility to prepare their team to play the upcoming season.  These duties include, but are not limited to, the following, each as described in greater detail in these Rules:


  1.       Participation in, or preparation of, the following activities or forms:

            a.  Salary Report

            b.  Free Agent and C Player Auction

            c.  Inverse Order Draft

            d.  Contingency Instruction Report Forms

            e.  Pitching Rotation Form

  2.  Adhering to schedule and deadlines set forth for the activities of the league, including the Regular Season Schedule:

       a.  The Home Team will be responsible for ensuring that games are played and reported by the deadline set forth in the Regular Season Schedule.  Reporting shall be made by the Home Team to the Visiting Team, the Statistician, and the Commissioner, and shall consist of: (i) box scores for each game played, (ii) subsets for each team, and (iii) “game files” generated automatically for the computer game for each game in the series (located in the “Export” folder, there will be two game files produced for each game played).

       b.  In the event that the Home Team fails to play the series within the time allotted, the Visiting Team will have the next 2 reporting dates to complete the series.

       c.  In the event neither the Home Team nor the Visiting Team has played the games, the games shall be played by the Commissioner using the “Quick Play” function.

       d.  Instructions are due from the Visiting Team to the Home Team by the series start deadline set forth in the Regular Season Schedule.  The Home Team is under no obligation to contact the Visiting Team for instructions.  If instructions are not received by the Home Team by the date on which a series is scheduled the start, the Home Team is free to start the series using the default lineups and settings in the game for the Visiting Team.

  4.  Managers are required to play the games.  “Quick Play” by computer is not allowed with the exception of the Commissioner or his representative assigned to play late series not played by the Home Team or the Visiting Team.




The selected game of choice (currently Strat-O-Matic) shall govern play, as adjusted pursuant to the following ARBA rules.  Those areas not specifically governed by ARBA rules shall revert to the default game rules.  To the extent possible, the Commissioner shall select available settings within the league files to comply with the below rules.


The “Maximum Rules” as of the 2018 SOM game will be used, with the exception of: “Improve Statistical Accuracy,” “Home Field Advantage,” “Starting Pitcher Clutch,” “Force Daily Injuries,” “Realistic Throwing Errors,” “Allow Extra Pre-1920 Errors,” “Correct Board Game Excesses,” “Allow Errors on Pickoffs,” “Pro-Rate Injuries to Length of Season,” “Limit All Injuries to Current Game Only,” “Allow Defensive Shifts,” and “Extreme Batter-Pitcher Matchups.”  New Maximum Rules introduced by SOM following the 2018 season shall be implemented or not at the discretion of the Commissioner with the advice of the league and subject to a league vote where appropriate.


“Weather Effects” shall not be used.  “Clutch Hitting” shall be used.  Individual Pitcher Hitting Cards shall not be used.




All pitchers other than unlimited pitchers (see below) will be eligible to pitch a total of 110% of their actual MLB innings pitched in the prior season. 


Pitcher fatigue will be monitored by the game.  The current setting for pitcher usage in the game is “Use SADV Fatigue Rules.”    A pitcher must be removed by the manager playing a game at the beginning of the inning after the inning he becomes fatigued; a tired pitcher may be brought into a game, but must be removed at the beginning of the inning following the one in which he enters the game; provided that these restrictions will not be applicable during the Playoffs.


Pitchings with starting pitcher ratings will be eligible to start games and shall be capped at 35 games started per season (or their actual number of games started in the prior MLB season, if higher).  Starters can only start on three days’ rest when designated by an asterisk on the Strat rosters that accompany the game disk.  (This is usually acquired by pitching 200+ innings and making 30+ starts in the previous year, but there have been exceptions from Strat in the past.)


All other starters except unlimited starters (see below) must have 4 days’ rest between starts.  All starters will be considered to be available to be used for relief within the guidelines set by the game software rules.


Relievers can be used at the discretion of the owning GM.


Any starter not having a relief rating or having a relief rating of 0 shall, if so requested by the player’s owner prior to the start of the season, have his relief rating adjusted to “1,” “2,” or “3” at the owner’s election.  This may also be adjusted by request of a playoff team immediately prior to the commencement of the playoffs.


Notwithstanding the above, pitchers with a MLB ERA of 6.00 or higher in the prior season will be eligible to pitch unlimited innings.  Unlimited pitchers will also qualify for up to 35 starts assuming that they started at least 1 game in the prior MLB season, and must have 3 days’ rest between starts.




Position players will be eligible to make 110% of their actual MLB plate appearances from the prior season, as computed by the Strat game by making a 110% adjustment in the official league files.  The number produced by the Strat game shall be the final determination of the limit on the number of PA for each player. 


Players with a batting average of .199 or lower will be eligible to make unlimited plate appearances.


Pitchers may be used as the DH and shall have unlimited plate appearances.




A pinch runner may come into the game and attempt to steal at any time.  Steals of home are not allowed.




Bunting is allowed within the game rules selected.




The game selected will determine defensive range and error ratings.  Players can only be used at positions for which they are rated; provided that a player with any outfield rating is eligible to play all outfield positions (with rating adjustments made automatically by the game).  If a player is the last remaining player on a team’s roster that is rated at that position, he cannot leave the game for any reason.




Injuries will not be used.






The regular season shall consist of a 162-game schedule played within two separate leagues.  The two leagues, Continental and Federal, will be made up of 3 divisions.  There shall be no interleague play during the regular season.  Each team shall play 12 games (6 as the Home Team and 6 as the Visiting Team) against each other team in the same league, with the following exceptions: (i) in each league, each of the teams in the five-team division shall play 18 games against each other (with each of them being the Home Team for 9 games), and (ii) in each league, each of the teams in the four-team division shall play 16 games (8 as the Home Team and 8 as the Visiting Team) against every team in its own division.  The Commissioner shall publish a League Schedule setting forth the order in which these series shall occur, and the start and completion dates for each series.


While a team may update its pitching rotation prior to a series by providing a revised rotation to the Commissioner in advance of the start date for such series, no substitution of a starting pitching may be made by the home team following the start date for a series without the express consent of the visiting team.


Four teams from each league will qualify for the playoffs: the 3 division winners plus the second place team with the best overall record (the “Wild Card” team).  In cases of tie, there will be a 1-game playoff with the Home Team determined by coin flip.  All players will be eligible for this game.




All of the normal Rules will apply for all playoff series unless noted below.


No team having $500,000 or more in fines for the regular season just completed shall be eligible for the Playoffs


Playoff Format -

The two teams with the best record that did not win a division will face off in a one-game playoff.  The home team will be the team with the best record.  The winner of that game will be the official “Wild Card” team and will advance to the Division Series.  Any pitcher who started 10 or more games in the MLB regular season will be eligible to start this game, as will any unlimited player or any player who had 150 or more plate appearances in the MLB regular season.  Any pitcher with more than 10 appearances will be eligible to relieve and any player with less than 150 PA may pinch-hit, pinch-run, or be used as a defensive replacement, but may only have 1 PA in the game.  The winner of the game shall receive 1 day off prior to the Division Series. 


Each series (other than the 1-game play-in described above) will be a best of 7 with the first two games at the Home Team, a day of rest, 3 games at the Visiting Team, a day of rest, and 2 games at the Home Team.  The matchups will be determined by record.  The team with the best record will have home field advantage in the Division Series against the Wild Card team unless the Wild Card team is from the same division, in which case the team with the second best record will have home field against the Wild Card team.  The team with the best record will be the Home Team in the League Championship Series with the exception that the Wild Card team can never have home field advantage.  Home field advantage for the World Series will alternate between the leagues, with the Federal League Champion having home field advantage for the World Series in even-numbered years, and the Continental League Champion having home field advantage for the World Series in odd-numbered years.


The playoffs will be considered one continuous series with regard to player fatigue.  There will be one day off between series following completion of the longest series.  Ex: Team F wins its series in 5 games and Team G wins in 6 games.  Team F would have 2 days of rest before beginning the next series and Team G would have 1 day of rest. 


Home team for the playoffs in the event of ties will be determined in accordance with the rules of MLB.


Usage Restrictions -

Position players will be limited to following Plate Appearances per playoff series based on the number of Plate Appearances that they had in the prior MLB season:



PA Per Playoff Series












Pitchers will be limited to following Innings per playoff series based on the number of Innings that they had in the prior MLB season:


MLB Innings

IP Per Playoff Series














Only pitchers with a Starter rating may start playoff games. 

Unlimited pitchers shall be unlimited in the playoffs.




Each team will select a ballpark in which to play.  Teams will be allowed to change ballparks for a remodeling fee of 500K.  A free ballpark change will be allowed every 3 years and for any team that has a new manager.  The next free change will be for the 2023 ARBA season.




The maximum number of players on a team’s roster is 60.  This roster is made up of a maximum of 35 “Major League” and any number of “Minor League” players that result in a maximum of 60 players.  A “Major League” player is defined as any player with 50 or more Plate Appearances or 25 or more Innings Pitched in the prior MLB season.  A “Minor League” player is any person who is not a Major League player, and need not be a person in a Major League Baseball minor league system.  No more than 30 Major League players may be active for any series (as designated by the away manager in a CM or written instructions) other than the last two series.  Any playoff team may resets its 30-man roster for each round of playoffs.


Each team must carry a minimum of 10 Minor League players on its roster (not including “little a” players).  A team may drop below 10 Minor League players during the off-season as long as the required minimum of 10 is acquired before the start of the regular season.  During the off-season, teams can carry as many Major League players as desired, paying the salaries of all such players on their roster at the time that salaries are paid, but must cut back to the roster limits prior to the Waiver Draft.  Players (both Major league players and Minor League players) may only be cut from a roster when a Roster Report Form is turned in or when final cutbacks are made prior to the Waiver Draft.  Any players cut are available for the Waiver Draft, and the team cutting such players will not receive a refund of any portion of their salary.  Compliance with the roster limits is determined at the end of the 2nd trading period.


Trades can only be made between managers in good standing.  Trades may not be made, directly or indirectly, between teams owned by the same manager.  Managers who own 2 teams must ensure that each trade stands on its own merits (i.e., Team C cannot overpay so that Team D gets the player(s) it needs).  Only the current year’s Inverse Order Draft picks can be traded.   Trades may only be made during the 1st Trading Period or the 2nd Trading Period.


V.      MONEY


Each team’s yearly available funds will be determined within the following rules:


Each team will be given a BASE OF 7 MILLION + POSITION MONEY + PLAYOFF MONEY + MONEY CARRIED OVER from the previous season.


POSITION MONEY=10K for each win in the prior season, up to a cap of 950K.  A team winning less than 40 games in the prior season will not receive any Position Money.



Final Position in Playoffs

Playoff Money

Loser of Play-in Game


Loser of Division Series


Loser of League Championship Series


Loser of World Series


Winner of World Series



Money carried over earns 10% interest from the prior season.  All interest amounts are rounded to the next even 1K.




It is understood that due to the nature of play by mail that there can be some overuse of players.  This does not imply that it is condoned and the Commissioner will impose fines for overusage of players.  The fine schedule will be published before the beginning of the season; if no fine schedule is published before the season, the fine schedule used for the prior season shall be carried over.  The Commissioner is responsible to ensure that Owners are making every reasonable effort to comply with league rules in regard to player usage.  In cases of gross overusage, the Commissioner may impose greater penalties above and beyond the fine schedule.  Fines may be waived by the Commissioner in his discretion for good cause.


Fines will be as follows:


Player Usage

     Determined yearly by the Commissioner before the season.

Late Reporting

     50K per incident

Failure to play a series

     200K per incident

Failure to play 3 series consecutively can result in removal of the GM.




There are 4 salary levels.


  1.  “A” contracts for Superstar Players

  2.  “B” contracts for Protected Major League Players

  3.  “C” contracts for Matching Rights Major League Players

  4.  “E” contracts for Minor League Players


Protected Major League players may be offered 2-4 year long term contracts at their current salary level.  Major League players selected in the Inverse Order Draft are not eligible for long term contracts in the year they are drafted - such players are acquired as a B1 player and are protected the following year as a B2 player unless acquiring “A” player status.  Players on long term salaries are guaranteed their salary level even in the event they do not qualify as a Major League level.  Such players may be placed in the minors in future seasons if they qualify as a Minor League player but must be paid their full long-term contract salary.  The contract on such a player may be paid off in full (for all remaining years) if so desired, with the player then being placed on (and paid additionally for) an “E” contract, resulting in such player’s service time restarting just as with any other “E” contract.  If a “B” player on a long term contract earns “A” player status, the owning GM must offer an “A” salary immediately (without regard to the remaining length of the “B” contract) or lose the player without compensation at the end of the long term “B” contract. 


Any new owner (defined as anyone taking over ownership of a team following the previous year's roster/salary due date) will be allowed to cut, at no penalty, one player they inherited on his/her roster. This player will be put into the FA auction and the owner will not be allowed to re-acquire this player in that year's Free Agent Auction or that year via trade/waivers. 


“A” Players


The following formulas will be used to determine Superstar (“A”) Player status.


Hitters accumulate points for a MLB season based on the following formula:

TOTAL BASES + [ (BB+HBP+SB-CS)/2] + 25 for “1” defensive rating











Any player accumulating 3 stars in any period of 2 consecutive years earns “A” status.


Pitchers accumulate points for a MLB season based on the following formula:

(1.2*IP + GS + 1.5*Sv)/10 + 9* [(Combined MLB ERA - PLAYER ERA)]











For seasons prior to the 2006 MLB season, the following formula shall be used to determine pitcher stars:

(IP+GAMES)/10 + [(Combined MLB ERA - PLAYER ERA) * 10]


     Any player accumulating 3 stars in any period of 3 consecutive years earns “A” status.




“A” players will be given a base salary of 500K + 50K for each additional year at the “A” level.  For example:













A 100K discount will be given for “A” players on a long term contract.  Upon completion of the contract, the owning player may renew the “A” contract at the appropriate salary year or place the player on a “C” contract.  Should the player no longer qualify for “A” status, the player may be traded to a new GM and the player would then revert back to his “B” salary level, with seniority determined as though they had been on a B contract throughout their major league career.


Non-Superstar Major Leaguer players may be placed on “B” or “C” contracts regardless of their previous year status as long as they are not currently on a long term contract.


A “B” player will be paid a base of 200K + 20K for each additional year of service.  For example:













A player restarts his service computation every time he is placed on a “C” or “E” contract.


A “C” contract player is paid a base of 125K and exposed to open bidding during the off-season at the C Player Auction.  The Owner of the “C” Player has the right to match the highest bid.  If he matches the highest bid, the Owner must immediately make up the difference in salary between the high bid and 125K from his available cash.


If the Owner of the “C” Player declines to match, he receives a refund of the 125K “C” contract salary + 50% of the high bid.  If no one bids on the player, the Owner of the “C” Player must retain the player for 125K. 


Players receiving the following high bids on their “C” contract must be offered the following salary the next season to be protected, whether or not they are retained by the original Owner:


High Bid

Contract for Following Season










A1 2x2



The above chart only applies to the extent that the player is a Major League player in the following season, with the exception that a player to be put on an A1 2x2 contract must be put on that contract to be protected even if he is not a Major League player (although the contract may be bought out as with any other long-term A contract when a player is a Minor League player).  Any player obtained through the C auction may be placed on a “C” contract the following season if they are a Major League player.


Notwithstanding anything above, if an owner owns multiple teams such owner may not make the first bid on a C player on such owner’s other team.


An “E” contract player is paid a salary of 40K.  Only Minor League players may be put on an “E” contract.


All players obtained in the free agent auction will be paid the salary bid for such players in the auction, with their service time starting over the next season.


All waiver pick players are paid $40K (players cut immediately prior to the waiver draft will be paid $40K by the team taking them in the waiver draft, no matter what salary they were paid prior to the waiver draft).  Their seniority starts over the following year.  If such player is a Major League player  the following year, they must be  paid the appropriate contract at year one to be protected.




(1) PLAYER A is on an A2 3x4 contract and is a Minor League player.  His owner may pay $450K (the remaining one year value of his A2 long-term contract) plus an additional $40K for his E salary, and PLAYER A is effectively on an E contract.  His service time starts over in the next season where he is a Major League player, and he is eligible for a B1 contract (unless he otherwise qualifies for a new A1 contract in accordance with the A contract rules).


(2) PLAYER B is on a B14 1x4 contract when he attains “A” status.  His manager must immediately place him on an A1 contract, or else he loses PLAYER B at the end of his B14 4-year contract without compensation.  PLAYER B may or may not be placed on a one-year or long-term A contract at the discretion of his manager.


(3) PLAYER C is obtained at the free agent auction for $2M.  The next season, PLAYER C is eligible for a B1 contract (unless he meets the requirements for a new A contract).


(4) PLAYER D just finished the last year of an A1 3x3 contract.  Although PLAYER D has been in the league for 12 years, 4 years ago he had been placed on a C contract.  IF PLAYER D is a Major League player and is traded to a new owner, the new owner may place PLAYER D on a B4 contract unless he meets the requirements for a new A contract.  If PLAYER D is a Major League player and is retained by his prior manager, he must be put either on a A4 contract or a C contract.


(5) PLAYER E is an unowned rookie who meets the requirements for an A contract.  The manager drafting PLAYER E may place PLAYER E on a B1 or an A1 contract, but if he places PLAYER E on a B1 contract, PLAYER E will be lost without

compensation as soon as his B contract is over.




Here is the basic off-season schedule:


  1.  Rule Change Votes

  2.  1st Trading Period

  3.  Salary and Roster Report Form due

  4.  Free Agent, C Player Auction

  5.  2nd Trading Period

  6.  Inverse Order Draft

 7.  Final Player Cuts

  8.  Waiver Draft


Dates will be published by the Commissioner in a timely manner.


The first trading period shall commence shortly following the conclusion of the World Series and ending on a date designated by the Commissioner that is prior to the date that Salary and Roster Report Forms are due.  The 2nd Trading Period shall commence on the day following the Free Agent and C Player Auction and ending on a date designated by the Commissioner following the Waiver Draft.


Salary and Roster Report Forms - Managers who fail to report their roster and salaries to the Commissioner by the appointed date will have all their player’s salaries renewed at their current seniority and are subject to fine.


Free Agent and C Player Auction – Promptly following the receipt of all Salary and Roster Report Forms, the Commissioner shall publish a list of all Free Agents and C Players.  Any player who (i) was a rookie or free agent in the prior season, and (ii) was not on any team’s roster during the prior season, and (iii) who will be a Major League player in the present season will be a free agent in the present off-season, eligible to be acquired in the free agent auction.  Carded players cut from a team’s roster and carded players cut in the roster cutdown period prior to the waiver draft will also be Free Agents.  C Players and Free Agents shall be bid on in separate auctions in an order randomly determined by the Commissioner, provided that players on the C list that are coming off of A contracts will be placed in a random order at the top of the C list.


Inverse Order and Waiver Drafts - Draft position for teams other than teams with the worst 5 records and the World Series Champion will be determined by record.  In cases of ties, a coin flip will determine which team drafts higher in the 1st Round, with such teams will alternate drafting higher each subsequent round.  The World Series Champion will always draft last, regardless of record.  Draft position in the 1st Round of the IOD only (and not the Waiver Draft) for the teams with the worst 5 records will be determined lottery-style, with the worst record receiving 5 balls, the second-worst team receiving 4 balls, etc.  Ties within the bottom 5 teams will get the same number of balls.  If there is a tie for the fifth-worst record, the tying teams will all participate in the lottery.


Rookies and Minor League players are available for draft in the Inverse Order Draft.  A Major League player should be designated a rookie, and thus available to be selected in the Inverse Order Draft, if he is unowned and he was not a Major League player the previous season. 


Final Player Cuts shall be made between the Inverse Order Draft and the Waiver Draft, and the Commissioner shall publish a list of such cuts promptly following the date when such cuts are due.


All unowned Major League and Minor League players are eligible to be drafted in the Waiver Draft.


Starting after the Free Agent and C Player Auction and up to the day before the Inverse Order Draft, owners may announce their selections, one-by-one, in the order of the Inverse Order Draft. There will be no deadline for any member to announce and no member should feel pressured to announce a selection prior to such date.