MANHATTAN - Fans of Strat-O-Matic gathered this past weekend in Manhattan to celebrate the 50th birthday of the popular baseball board game that originated on Long Island.

In 1961, Hal Richman was an 11-year-old growing up in Great Neck when he came up with the idea of putting the stats of Major League Baseball players on a card and using dice to simulate a game.

This past Saturday, Strat-O-Matic aficionados came from as far as Saskatoon, Canada to celebrate Richman's invention, and also play some Strat-O-Matic. John Garcia, of Oakdale, says today's high-tech video games have nothing on this old-fashioned board game.

"You never get the feel of a real baseball game with a video game," he says.

There are also Strat-O-Matic games for football, basketball and hockey.