Pinball seeds planted early on
I was born and raised in the Southwest Side of Chicago. There was a sandwich shop that my Dad would frequently take us to pick up sandwiches. My first remembered exposure to the world of Pinball happened at this shop. They had a baseball pinball machine that cost a dime to play. My Dad would give my older brother and I a few dimes to play while we waited for our order. The game was a pitch and bat style game complete with running man unit. I remember playing against my brother and selecting different pitches.
Fast forward 40 years. I decided to see if I could find that baseball game and embarked on my internet quest. I posted in a few forums what I was looking for but couldn't narrow it down to an exact game. I completly forgot about my shot in the dark. About six months later I received an email from a nice guy who said that he saw my ad on the internet about the baseball game. He said he thought he had the game I was looking for. Before getting too excited since with the internet he could have been in Mongolia for all I knew. I asked if he could send me some pictures and I asked where he was located. I received an email with pictures of the game I was remembering. It turned out to be a 1966 Williams Pitch and Bat.
To my amazement not only was he located in the same state Arizona, but lived less than an hour away! What are the odds I was so excited but only had enough money for a deposit since I needed to arrange for a friend to loan me a truck.
I met this kind elderly man and he explained that his Dad ran a pinball route before he passed away several years earlier and that he had sold off most of his games but had a few in storage. The head was not on and the legs were off the game, but it was all there. I told him I only had $100 bill to hold it while I got my friends truck.
I told him my story about remembering it as a kid. He looked at me and didn't say anything for a minute. Then I remember him ask me an awkward question. "How much money did you bring with you" I then looked in my wallet and I had $128 dollars and some change. He said I could keep the change but said he would sell the game for $128. The game was dirty, had been painted over so all graphics were gone and it was sporting an odd design. The back glass was almost mint. Setting it up in the garage brought back a flood of memories. I still have this game and have completely restored it to all of its glory.
I thought I would bring my story up to date...
I finally sold the Williams Pitch and Bat. I found a real cool Williams Ball Park. Being from Chicago I thought it would be cool to make a custom game that reflected the Crosstown classic which is when the White Sox play the Flubs (Cubs). The Ball park stock colors and graphics leave a bit to be desired and the players on the backglass look like they are wearing flippers (period correct flippers though for 1968). And way The Ball Park was made with a strange running man unit which makes them look like they are playing on the side of a steep hill. The background also ruined the cool look of an actual playfield. I went to work. First leveling the park so to speak and then going crazy with photoshop. Making grandstands and a repro unbreakable plastic with the competition decal. It even shows me up at bat! Attached are the before and after pictures. Now THIS game will never be sold.