The Twelve Months of Christmas -- Show 'n Tell!

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The Twelve Months of Christmas -- Show 'n Tell!

BaseballGamesBKW
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Joined: 25 Oct 2013, 10:10

14 Dec 2017, 19:29 #1

In one tenuous sense, it's Christmas all year 'round here in the front office -- 
anything game-related that we pick up, whether it's in January, July, October, 
whenever, is a Christmas present to ourselves.  
We don't often show off our recent acquisitions, but with just under twelve days left 
before the big day, we're going to trot out, one a day in random order, what we've 
gotten for ourselves since last winter or so, some big and flashy, some small and 
cheezy.  Drool with envy or laugh in derision, and feel free to tell what game-related 
things Santa or Hanukkah Harry brought you over the past several months...  

On the first month of Christmas, our budget gave to we...  



... a single card from Base Ball ~ The Modern Card Game (Schulz Amusement Card Co, 
1921).  We've never been in the habit of picking up individual cards from antique games, 
and we have nothing else of The Modern Card Game, but it's a really scarce, tough set 
(only other evidence we've ever seen of its existence was a complete game sold in a lot 
at Robert Edward Auctions eleven years ago), the card is in nice shape, and it cost us 
a whole buck.  Yep, one dolla.  Almost there!  Only 40 or 50 more cards and the box and 
gameboard to go!  
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BaseballGamesBKW
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Joined: 25 Oct 2013, 10:10

15 Dec 2017, 18:56 #2

In the second month of Christmas, our budget gave to we...  

  

...at last, the rules to Mather's Parlor Base Ball Game!  How this heavy-duty mechanical contraption 
(Mather Game Co, 1906) was actually supposed to work was a mystery to us (and most) for decades, 
and even after obtaining the game more than seven years ago for hands-on examination, its operation 
resolutely bafflled us, as well as two other personal acquaintances who have their own examples of 
the game.  Finally, all is clear, all is bright, in this slightly crumpled trifold rules pamphlet!  Two steel balls, 
different sizes, as we'd vaguely guessed.  Much dexterous hand/eye coordination required.  

... and a card from The Modern Card Game.   
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BaseballGamesBKW
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Joined: 25 Oct 2013, 10:10

17 Dec 2017, 01:00 #3

On the third month of Christmas, our budget gave to we...  
  
...  another little stocking-stuffer (because the little treats in the stockings hung by the fire 
get opened first before anyone starts unwrapping the big packages under the tree) -- 
Play Ball! by Mechanical Servants, possibly 1960s, early '70s, maybe considerably later.  
Simple but relatively clever little game with the three special dice.  Haven't yet played it 
to have any idea of how realistic the results are...  

We've seen these a few times over the years, but "1961Yankees" Dave, who picked up 
an example of the game last year, alerted us to some eBay sales of these a few months ago, 
and we jumped on one.  Super cheap.  The vendor -- practically local to us, it turned out -- 
told us there'd been a small "warehouse find" of these (and other Mechanical Servants 
vending-machine gimcracks) right in our neck of the woods as well.  By the way, Dave 
is still struggling through recovery from his illness (see the "Awful news about a valued 
member" thread) and could use some more well-wishes, especially here around the 
holidays.  

Play Ball! is definitely "new old stock," but how old we can't say.  Made in Hong Kong, 
no date.  But we remember spending 25 or 50 cents of our boyhood allowance on Mechanical 
Servants gewgaws well over fifty years ago, and somewhere in the back of our desk drawers 
we're pretty sure there are still plastic Scottie-dog fridge magnets and a glow-in-the-dark 
plastic skeleton in little white Mechanical Servants boxes.  We'll have to do a lot more 
research on this, but with a cursory look, the company seems to have been out of business 
for quite some time, although a new, different company with the same name seems to be 
doing a whole different business at the old company's same West Chicago address.  
There also appear to have been two different indie rock bands calling themselves 
Mechanical Servants, which gives both of them cred points for hipness.  

...  threee special dice 
rules to Mather's Game 
and a card from The Modern Card Game...  
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BaseballGamesBKW
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Joined: 25 Oct 2013, 10:10

18 Dec 2017, 05:18 #4

In the fourth month of Christmas, our budget gave to we...  

   
... another '40s bookshelf-style game.  
We've long had an unaccountable fondness for these wartime-era little baseball games 
disguised as small (about four-inch square) hardcover books -- there are quite a number 
of them, made by several different manufactures / publishers -- and our "completist" 
mentalities compel us to try to acquire an example of each.  

There are Baseball Vol. 105 by LS, Baseball Vol. 123 by Drueke, Baseball Vol. 533 (two 
versions of the gameboard / playing field and two different coloured bindings) by E S Lowe, 
Baseball Vol. 607 made by an unidentified company, and a much larger tome, Four Hits
by Evan Johnson Co.  The item shown above (apologies, these were enormous pics from 
the eBay auction, and reducing them to "forum size" hurts the resolution) is Baseball Vol. 295 
by Metro, which was produced both as a dice game and as a spinner game.  We'd picked up 
the dice version several years ago, but had to wait until this year before we found a decent 
example of the spinner game at a reasonable (cheap!) price.  

We wish we knew anything of the provenance on these games (we have a 533, a 607, 
Four Hits, and now both versions of 295) -- small, almost weightless, they clearly appear 
to have been made with the idea that they'd sell as gifts to be sent to military servicemen 
overseas.  For all we'll ever know, the examples in our collections may never have gotten 
much farther than a luxury apartment on the Upper East Side, or they may have seen duty 
in a foxhole near Remagen or on Iwo Jima.  

Anyway, that about empties our Christmas stockings.  What are those big items under the tree...?  

... '40s bookshelf game 
three special dice 
rules to Mather's Game 
and a card from The Modern Card Game...  
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BaseballGamesBKW
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Joined: 25 Oct 2013, 10:10

19 Dec 2017, 03:49 #5

On the fifth month of Christmas, our budget gave to we...  

  

 

...  oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy.  Thanks, budget!  
Major League Base Ball Game -- Philadelphia Game Manufacturing Co, 1913.  
Can a serious collection be complete without one of these?  We've been waiting for almost 
thirty years for a nice example to be offered at a reasonable price at the rare moment that 
we could afford it.  That confluence of circumstances finally occurred, and we got this really 
sweet example for a good price -- still the second highest price we've ever paid for a game, 
but we think a fair price both for ourselves and for the experienced vendor.  

You can see there are some very trivial condition issues on the lid -- some subtle bubbling 
on the left, some minor scuffing on the right -- but they're kind of overwhelmed by the size 
and gloss of most of the lid when seen in person.  Inside, the gameboard is nearly pristine, 
the big chrome spinner gleaming far more brightly than the photo suggests, the spinner dial 
free of any tracking / gouging, the peg holes showing essentially no wear at all.  

This is a 1913 "first edition," too, as evidenced by the players included on the roster strips.  
Or what had been roster strips -- they're mostly cut apart, as, despite its shelf-fresh appearance, 
the game evidently had been played by someone who wanted to set the batting orders to their 
own liking.  Those player tabs, along with an almost full set of wooden pegs, are enclosed in 
the two minty red parts boxes.  

That's the bell-ringer for this Christmas parade, to be sure, but there are a few further 
interesting items to be unwrapped...  

a fine... Major... thing... 
'40s bookshelf game 
three special dice 
rules to Mather's Game 
and a card from The Modern Card Game...  
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BaseballGamesBKW
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Joined: 25 Oct 2013, 10:10

20 Dec 2017, 16:16 #6

Whoops, got interrupted and skipped a day...  well, two for today, then...  
maybe we overlooked some little thing in the stockings...  yep, here we go...  

In the sixth month of Christmas, our budget gave to we...  

 

... Magnetic Baseball, made or marketed or both by Cathay, a Hong Kong company, 
probably 1970s.  NSC (Norbert Specialty Corp) produced a nearly identical edition 
-- the Cathay games have the blue background you see above, the NSC games 
a yellow background.  A company credit line is absent on some examples of both.  
These are pretty much always available on-line, but it took us a while before we 
spotted one at a fair price (super cheap) that had all seven magnetic baseball 
markers and didn't have damage to the CD-style case.  

And now, back to the bigger items...  
In the seventh month of Christmas, our budget gave to we...  

 

...  Official American Baseball.  Thanks again to "1961Yankees" Dave for the heads-up on this one!  
Until more examples show up, this qualifies as a "rarity" -- the one Dave bought last spring was the 
only one we'd ever seen, but soon thereafter the one you see above popped up as well.  
1947-official-american-baseball-t405.html#p1147  

Dave's 1947 edition is subtly different in construction (no hinges) and, no question, in much better 
condition than our 1950 example -- Dave's looks like new, ours has colour loss and scuffing on 
the outside of the board.  But the inside, the playing field, is in real nice shape, and as regulars 
on board here know, rare indie games from roughly the WWI era into the 1950s are the special 
collecting passion of the front-office crew.  Both the '47 and '50 editions of Official American 
Baseball sport a Robert J McLean copyright, but neither has any company / printer / distributor 
indication beyond that.  We paid about the same price for ours as Dave did for his, and given 
the rarity of both editions and their relatively decent condition, we were surprised and delighted 
(speaking for ourselves, but we'd expect Dave feels the same) to get it pretty cheaply.  

... rare Official hinging 
slick cheapy spinning 
a fine... Major... thing...  
'40s bookshelf game 
three special dice 
rules to Mather's Game 
and a card from The Modern Card Game 
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BaseballGamesBKW
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Joined: 25 Oct 2013, 10:10

21 Dec 2017, 17:36 #7

On the eighth month of Christmas, our budget gave to we...  

 

... Bambino (Mansfield-Zesiger Mfg Co, 1946).  Another readily available, not too terribly expensive number 
we should have had in our collection long ago.  This was a particularly nice example, completely complete 
and showing almost no wear and tear whatsoever, which was the tough part, since it's a rather rough-and-
tumble action game made mostly of cardboard and therefore susceptible to damage through play.  

It's fundamentally similar to the metal Bambino of twelve-fifteen years earlier made by Bambino Products 
and Johnson Store Equipment -- sort of a tabletop version of T-ball.  Smack the ball with the miniature bat, 
and where the balls hits or lands determines the result of the at-bat.  In this '46 Bambino, the ball rests on 
a wiry stand -- the thing that looks like Ebenezer Scrooge's pince-nez there on the board -- which is mounted 
on the end of the box bottom / playing field.  The ball is attached to a cord, which, after the ball is struck, 
usually comes to rest in one of the notches you see on the upright outfield wall.  

Yes, we like the obscure oddities, but adding another "famous" game makes our collection feel a bit more 
complete and substantial.  

... Bambino swatting 
rare Official hinging 
slick cheapy spinning 
a fine... Major... thing...  
'40s bookshelf game 
three special dice 
rules to Mather's Game 
and a card from The Modern Card Game ... 
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jballgameca
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jballgameca
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Joined: 03 Jan 2014, 05:50

24 Dec 2017, 06:56 #8

Nice score on the Major League game, boys! Was that an eBay find?

The only baseball games I've purchased this year are John Swistak's 
Baseball Manager and Coleco's Pro Stars Baseball. I bought the Pro Stars game 
for extra parts as my Montreal Expos version was missing a player base and 
I wasn't sure if the ball was correct for the game.

I've had better luck with rare hockey board games this year.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!
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BaseballGamesBKW
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Joined: 25 Oct 2013, 10:10

26 Dec 2017, 00:44 #9

Merry Christmas to you, too, John, and Happy Holidays to you 
and to everyone on board here! -- as we'd planned to say in what 
was to have been last night's wrap-up to our Twelve Days expo...  

... alas, endless interruptions, significant others' last-minute changes 
of holiday plans, minor but annoying medical issues for the front-office 
geezers, heavy weather, assorted unanticipated errands, and sheer 
exhaustion found the front-office elves up to their bristling little eyebrows 
with a hundred other things, and we didn't get to complete our musical 
countdown.  Yet!  
It's still Christmas!  What else was in Santa's bag?  

 

 

... in the ninth month of Christmas, our budget gave to we...  
"Let's Play Baseball," a 1950 creation of Frank Holt.  This seems very much 
in the same genre of indie products as Robert McLean's Official American  
Baseball from the same year, seen earlier in our Christmas parade.  You can 
see there's some residual staining on the big label on the outside of the big 
bifold board, which normally would really put us off -- but it was the only example 
of this game -- the only mention of this game, in fact -- we've ever encountered.  
We've cleaned the label to what you see now -- when we got it, it looked as if 
it had been used as a drop-cloth while someone painted a ceiling above it with 
creosote, then used it as bedding in a cage for wild ferrets with bowel-control 
problems.  The inside of the board, the playing field, is nice and clean, though, 
with the rules for a two-dice game printed thereon.  There's a two-step, two-roll 
procedure that, at a glance, would seem to produce lots of 1-0 results, given 
the preponderance of "out" results over hits, but we'll have to test that later...  

... Let's Play dice a-rolling 
Bambino swatting 
rare Official hinging 
slick cheapy spinning 
a fine... Major... thing...  
'40s bookshelf game 
three special dice 
rules to Mather's Game 
and a card from The Modern Card Game 
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BaseballGamesBKW
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Joined: 25 Oct 2013, 10:10

26 Dec 2017, 02:05 #10

A few minutes present themselves to us after dessert -- the ladies chat, 
the younger lads watch basketball on TV, the grandkids horse around, 
and we withdraw for cigars and another verse of our Christmas melody...  

On the tenth month of Christmas, our budget gave to we...  

    

... Play by Play Baseball Game, a 1942 product of Jerome Novelty Co.  Some 
requisite "famous" games for us this year, and some wonderful rare obscurities 
as well -- this is another of the latter group, the only example of which we've ever 
seen or heard hide or hair.  The box is a little rickety around the edges -- we'll 
have to strengthen the aprons a bit when next we do some repair / restoration 
work on our games -- but the top of the lid is reasonably clean and strong, and 
again the inside is in pretty sweet condition, along with a full set of playing parts 
and pieces.  Spin the spinner to get a ball or strike call or to learn where the ball's 
been hit, then draw a card (not shown, but all present) from the pile of little bitty 
cards appropriate to the fielder responsible, to find the ultimate result of the play.  

... Play spinner cards a-drawing 
Let's Play dice a-rolling 
Bambino swatting 
rare Official hinging 
slick cheapy spinning 
a fine... Major... thing...  
'40s bookshelf game 
three special dice 
rules to Mather's Game 
and a card from The Modern Card Game ... 
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BaseballGamesBKW
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Joined: 25 Oct 2013, 10:10

26 Dec 2017, 02:31 #11

Just one more verse after this...  

On the eleventh month of Christmas, our budget gave to we...  

 

... Portable Baseball, by the Diversified Sales and Mfg Co.  
Yet another real obscurity!  We'd seen another example or two 
of this over the years, but just those one or two, in very poorly 
presented on-line auctions that left us wary of bidding (poor 
photos or none at all).  We were determined to grab this one, 
though, despite how surprisingly high other bidders wound up 
pushing us.  It's all close to mint condition, which is part of why 
we estimate it's no older than an early 1960s product -- there's 
no date anywhere in the game, which has also been ascribed 
to the 1940s and '50s, but the condition and the graphics say 
1960s to us.  It's possible it's some sort of prototype, never 
actually brought to market.  More research necessary.  Loads 
of spinners, enough to wear a callous onto your finger and 
make you dizzy.  Start with the pitcher dial, take a swing (or not) 
with the batter dial, and if the ball's put in play, look to the 
spinner of the indicated fielder for the result.  

... Portable spinners whirling 
Play spinner cards a-drawing 
Let's Play dice a-rolling 
Bambino swatting 
rare Official hinging 
slick cheapy spinning 
a fine... Major... thing...  
'40s bookshelf game 
three special dice 
rules to Mather's Game 
and a card from The Modern Card Game ... 
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BaseballGamesBKW
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Joined: 25 Oct 2013, 10:10

26 Dec 2017, 06:29 #12

Christmas is over?  Heck no -- nothing's over until we say it is!  Anyway, it's 
Boxing Day now, the day when Canadians and Brits punch each other in the nose 
over imagined slights...  aw, that's not right either -- it's still a day of gift-giving, 
rewarding hard-working civil servants and the mailman and milkman and whatnot.  
Do we provide a civic service, no matter how ineptly, by maintaining this Forum?  
We'd like to think we do, and still being in a generous Christmas sort of spirit, 
we present this...  be sure to sing along at the end...  

... on the twelfth month of Christmas, our budget gave to we...  

  

...  the Album of American Athletes and Games, a 1937 premium from Kellogg's, the cereal people.  
We'd previously seen only a couple of examples of this game medley in many years, but suddenly 
there's a slew of 'em available on-line (including an auction from which we grabbed the pics above, 
just because it was quicker and easier) in various degrees of completeness and condition.  Ours 
is in something close to the condition you see there, and actually it's two complete albums, one 
intact and unpunched, the other cut apart to be playable.  There's a big spinner to punched out of 
one of the thin cardboard pages, along with all sorts of little markers and playing pieces to be cut 
out of the pages as well.  It's an "album" in the sense that stamps bearing the images of star 
athletes of the day -- men, women, and horses too -- were to be obtained though Pep Cereal 
offers and those stamps pasted into assigned places in the album.  The stamps we didn't get, 
but everything else is here in nice, barely-loved shape.  A big 80-year-old multi-game medley, 
a fitting capper, we think, to our year's haul.  Sing along now...  

In the twelve months of Christmas, our budget gave to we:  
Album spinners twirling 
Portable spinners whirling 
Play spinner cards a-drawing 
Let's Play dice a-rolling 
Bambino swatting 
rare Official hinging 
slick cheapy spinning 
a fine... Major... thing...  (ra-da dum dumm)...  
'40s bookshelf game 
three special dice 
rules to Mather's Game 
and a card from The Modern Card Game 

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!  
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stone193
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stone193
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Joined: 01 Jan 2014, 20:04

28 Dec 2017, 04:59 #13

He guys!
What a great bunch of games.
Some I've never seen before and really neat acquisitions by you all at the front office.
Have never seen "Portable Baseball" e.g.  Nice pick for sure.

With the holidays, I'm in full "procrastination" mode and hope to get a good start in January.
I did add to the front room - a NY Yankees stadium seat from the old park that "Ruth built"





Looking forward to being more active in the new year - Happy New Year to everyone! 
Mike
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BaseballGamesBKW
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Joined: 25 Oct 2013, 10:10

29 Dec 2017, 22:11 #14

Hey there, John -- thanks for the compliments on our Major League 
acquisition, and apologies for having momentarily lost track of your 
questions and comments amid the holiday hubbub.  

Yep, Major League Base Ball Game was an eBay BIN/BO purchase, 
and we were able to talk the vendor down just a little to the very limit 
of what for us was affordable.  

We're all hockey fans here in the front office, too, not far from the venue 
of the ongoing World Junior Tournament, and we like the tabletop versions 
as well -- so feel free to show those off in the sims-and-other-sports games 
subforum, and we'll be sure to say something nice!  (We do have a few 
rod-hockey games here... )  
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BaseballGamesBKW
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Joined: 25 Oct 2013, 10:10

29 Dec 2017, 22:14 #15

Howdy, Mike!  Been a while since we've heard from ya -- we were 
starting to worry!  Thanks for the compliment on our year's take 
(a little over a year's worth, actually, but who's counting!).  We thought 
maybe it would come off as self-serving, self-congratulatory -- echh! -- 
but we're always asking you and everyone else here to show off what 
they get or have gotten, and occasional requests for us to do the same 
usually wind up neglected (not ignored or refused, just neglected, because 
we're lazy and have short attention-spans).  

Gorgeous acquisition on the Yankee Stadium seat -- congrats!  We hope 
you've got some felt under those feet to protect that lovely new wood floor.  
Remind us where its equally handsome green companion hails from -- 
a stunning pair.  We've got a pair of seats from Buffalo's wondrous old 
Memorial Auditorium (the best venue ever for hockey, and we've been to 
all the other great, and mostly now demolished, NHL arenas), but they're 
the legless kind that were mounted on the stone riser behind them, so we've 
got to get those ski-like adapters to attach to them before we can use them 
as furniture...  
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