Champion, circa late 19th century
In my last posting, "Table Top Baseball Games; an appreciation," I wrote about the board game industry's love of baseball. In this post I want to share some of what I discovered when reviewing a list of every table top baseball game ever published.
- There are, not surprisingly, 28 Japanese versions. One, called simply "Base Ball Game", was the first appearing in the 1920's. It was fun to see some of the great names like "Mr. Baseball" and "Tokyo Dome Big Egg Baseball".
- Major League players have been putting their names on table top games for a long time. The leader, not surprisnigly, is Babe Ruth with five games bearing his full name and 3 bearing the sobriquet "Bambino". Interestingly, to those in the business of play, there was an apparent knock-off called "Ba-Be Baseball" that was published in 1937. I wonder if the Babe let them get a way with it.
Babe Ruth Baseball, circa 1920's
- Fictional characters like Dennis the Menace ("Dennis the Menace Baseball Game"), Chef Boyardee ("Chef Boyardee Baseball Game"), Charlie Brown ("Charlie Brown's All-Stars") and Yogi Bear "Yogi Bear Baseball) were awkwardly licensed in association with baseball. In fact, it seems a bit of a shame that Yankee great Yogi Berra barely beat out his namesake Yogi Bear. Berra had two games and Bear had one.
- There appears to have been a need to connect 19th century baseball with the far more modern 20th century. Hence there are a large number of games bearing "scientific" names like "Radio", "Electronic", "Computer", "Calculator" and "Magnetic" baseball.
- Religion shows up as well with "Mormon Baseball" and four versions of "Bible Baseball."
Psychic Baseball, circa 1930's
Let me close, however, with my discovery that I found three "Psychic Baseball" games dating from the 1920's and 1930's. I did a little research but to my disappointment (and I am sure yours as well) there are no psychic abilities required to play "Psychic Baseball".
Still, there is something psychic about the game of baseball. Think about the players who don't change their socks while having a string of hits; the fans who "will" a home run and that weird, nagging feeling you get that the only reason your team lost (or won) was because you went to the game.