My recent buy from an eBay seller a month or so a 58, Williams Deluxe Short Stop Baseball Game, 2 player. Picked it up last week from Maxwell, Nebraska and brought it to Sugar Land Texas. Three day one way road trip. Maxwell is not near any major airport so was an additional 300 mile drive from Denver. The game has been with the seller since 1976 but probably has not operated since the nineties. Randy the seller said the back box door was never part of the game since he owned it. How usual is that.
Game safely in my workshop.
Back Glass and running men
The cabinet paint is still mostly intact. It is very dirty but overall in very good condition. All parts are present but everything is gummed up. Original back glass paint is holding on barely but flaking in critical spots and needs a Mylar backing to save it ASAP. This is an excellent restoration candidate will restore very well.
Original Batting Unit and Pitching Unit that’s unusual.
Internals are all in place
The game’s history seems to be that there were two owners the operator and then Randy the seller. Randy, got the game as a graduation gift in 76 from his parents. He is originally from LA and he remembers being told the game came out of the Pike Amusement area in Long Beach. His parents dealt in antiques.
From reading Wikipedia the Pike amusement zone seems like an interesting area that was very popular with the public before Disney and Universal Studios siphoned away interest. As it is part of the game’s history I dug into the Pike Amusement area as a back drop to the game.
Pike Amusement Zone
After World War II it was renamed Nu-Pike via a contest winner's submission in the late 1950s, then renamed Queen's Park in the late 1960s in homage to the arrival of the Queen Mary ocean liner in Long Beach.
1979 was the year Long Beach city council refused to renew the land leases and demolished all of the structures and attractions it could that weren't trucked away. The 58 Short Stop game was probably already not a premier attraction by 1976 and now having no further long term future was sold off.
Further descriptions of the area include entering the park at the "Walk of a Thousand Lights". You could very well have walked through an arcade archway entrance to the Ocean Center Building that contained the Hollywood on the Pike cabaret and an amusement arcade.
Ocean Center Building Today.
One could then stroll west along the midway past storefront games, such as ball-pitch and shooting galleries, as well as outdoor amusement machines like the ever popular fortune predicting weight-scales, and several large indoor collections of coin-operated Electro-mechanical amusements - pinball, skill-prize merchandisers, penny-pitch, nickelodeon viewers, love and strength testers, fortune tellers, the House of Mirrors and more. Among the most popular coin-operated amusement machines and devices were the redemption games which dispensed tickets, such as skee-ball.
People enjoying the amusements 1950’s.
People enjoying the amusements 1960’s.
Miss Universe Contestants.
One of the best-known historic coasters, the Cyclone Racer was built in 1930 to replace the Jack Rabbit Racer. The Cyclone Racer was a dual-track (two trains could launch side-by-side at the same time), It was a racing wooden roller coaster and the brain child of Fred Church.
To increase the thrill, the new coaster was built on pilings over the ocean, several hundred feet beyond the shore. Eventually the entire pier stood over sandy beach, not water, because of the sand deposition due the slowing of water caused by the new harbor expansion and breakwater. Over 30 million riders rode on the Cyclone before it closed in 1968.
It was removed to clear space for a Shoreline Drive road cloverleaf to the Magnolia Bridge in anticipation of the RMS Queen Mary's imminent arrival. This was found later to be not required proving the Cyclone Racer was removed unnecessarily. The Cyclone Racer was the last remaining seaside dual-track roller coaster of its kind in the United States until it was disassembled and cataloged in September 1968 with the promise to Long Beach citizens that it would be rebuilt elsewhere. Which it hasn’t.
Amusement Area looking back at the Ocean Center Entrance late 70’s.
Arcade Entrance to the Arcade area late 70’s
Queen Mary at its final Berth.
It now needs serious refurbishment or taken offshore and scuttled.
So what started this muse, Randy the guy that I bought the 58 Short stop restoration project said I should look up the history of Pike Amusement area. I found it very interesting and thought you might too.