Few enthusiasts seem to know much about Midway's 1963 Slugger. It's a real "under-the-radar" pitch & bat with a great array of features, i.e. 6 drop targets which disappear flat to the playfield, 9 fly-away targets, 2 ramps, 2 gobble holes, 4 slingshots, variable scoring when lit inserts, a variety of extra ball awards, and a replay award.
The placard above the fly-away target bank illuminates randomly to invite a challenging shot at one of the two ramp targets to score either 30 runs or alternatively win 3 extra balls. The player can swing the bat twice, allowing for pinball-like play when the ball strikes a slingshot. Indeed, a good strategy is to aim for a slingshot in order to accelerate the resetting of certain fly-away targets, which have already been achieved. Whenever I play a Slugger, I'm impressed with its successful playfield design. It's got that elusive "just one more game" addictive quality. All of this in an eye-catching dominant green art package. Also, the Midway games of this era are compact, consuming less floor space than many other pitch & bat games.
Midway employed the add-a-ball feature more than other manufacturers in the early sixties (e.g Flying Turns). This is my second Slugger, having sold the first one (a major restoration project) many years ago. Although I've seen only a handful of Sluggers, this title seems to often suffer from marked backglasses flaking/fading, pitted chrome (particularly the chrome aprons and slingshot covers), target and placard damage, and cabinet paint degradation. This one was in great mechanical and cosmetic shape when it arrived at my house a couple of weeks ago, requiring unusually little detail work.
Slugger is my favorite pitch & bat game, which does not feature a running-man unit, and proof that such a unit is not a requisite to a fun pitch & bat game.