Mattel - Baseball

Game:  Baseball
Company:  Mattel
Model No.:  2942
Year:  1978
Power: 1 9-volt battery or AC adapter

Notes:  Probably the most recognizable electronic baseball game ever made, Mattel's Baseball introduced an entire generation of children to portable gaming.  This was a game (along with the Mattel Basketball) that was played for countless hours in my childhood.

The game was sold in two different style boxes - the one pictured below is the flapless version, with the game packaged in bubble wrap.  A second version has the same sized box with a flap and slightly different graphics.  The game in the box with a flap is packaged in Styrofoam.


Box front
Box back

Game front


Game back

Entex - Electronic Baseball

Game: Electronic Baseball
Company: Entex
Model No.: 8001
Year: 1979
Power: 3 AA Batteries or AC Adapter

The Entex Electronic Baseball game started it all for me. As a young baseball fan, I played Little League, collected baseball cards, engaged in an epic backyard Wiffle Ball league (where we actually kept stats) and hustled home after school to catch my favorite Cubs players like Bill Buckner and Dave Kingman on WGN.

In the Chicago winter, however, there was no baseball. At least not until Santa Claus deposited this beauty under the tree.  Seriously, how sexy is this game? It's a stadium that can be held in your hand!  No TV set is needed to play!

Either playing alone or with my brother or friend or cousin, this game and its emerald green playing field brought baseball to the dark days of winter. This game even had a separate controller that allowed the pitcher to choose from 5 pitches, including a knuckler. It was played in the dark, well after I should have been sleeping.  It was played on car rides, with incessant bleeps and bloops driving my parents to the point of threatening to throw it out the window.

It also caused an argument or two about who was winning because, for all of its astonishing technology, it did not keep track of total scores, only the number of runs in a given half-inning. But boy it feel awesome to hit a home run and make the game lights go crazy.

Box front full
Front of box - notice the generic batter about to lunge at a pitch way too far outside.


Back of box - great view of the Remote Control Pitching Module

Game front

Instructions booklet

Score sheet - at first we filled out dream lineups but eventually just kept score, while these sheets lasted


Parker Brothers - Starting Lineup Talking Baseball

Game:  Starting Lineup Talking Baseball
Company:  Parker Brothers
Model No.:  4010
Year:  1988
Power:  4 C batteries

Print ad (1988)
Notes:  This is the most sophisticated electronic baseball game ever made and was a favorite of mine as a young teenager.  Due to the level of sophistication, however, it was sometimes difficult to find someone to play against who had the patience to learn how to set up the lineups and play a full game.

The game has pre-installed lineups for American and National League All-Stars and can be played without any cartridges.  A Hall of Fame cartridge was also packaged with the game, however, so right out of the box a game could be played pitting Don Mattingly, Wade Boggs, Kirby Puckett and the American League All-Stars against Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson and the Hall of Fame team.  Sorry, but the cantankerous Ty Cobb is was not included.

The game included a set of baseball cards featuring each of the players on the American and National League teams that contained a photo on the front and statistics on the back.  The cards are an odd size (2 5/8"x 3"), however, and are almost too wide to fit in a baseball card album page.  None of the cards carry the team logos. 

Cards included with game.

Sample card front included with game

Card back
Here is a checklist of the cards included with the game.  They are not numbered in the traditional sense and only have a "Player Number" that corresponds to programming the lineup to include that particular player.  Player Number - (  ) and * means player is in starting lineup.

1. Bell, Buddy (15) 21. Puckett, Kirby (21)
2. Bell, George (22)* 22. Quisenberry, Dan (30)
3. Boggs, Wade (18)* 23. Raines, Tim (23)*
4. Brett, George (19) 24. Randolph, Willie (15)*
5. Carter, Gary (11)* 25. Righetti, Dave (29)
6. Clark, Jack (13)* 26. Ripken, Cal (16)*
7. Clemens, Roger (27)* 27. Ryan, Nolan (30)
8. Davis, Eric (20)* 28. Saberhagen, Bret (28)
9. Davis, Jody (26) 29. Sandberg, Ryne (16)*
10. Dawson, Andre (24) 30. Sax, Steve (12)
11. Fisk, Carlton (12) 31. Schmidt, Mike (19)*
12. Gooden, Dwight (29) 32. Scott, Mike (25)*
13. Gwynn, Tony (21) 33. Smith, Ozzie (17)*
14. Henderson, Rickey (23)* 34. Strawberry, Darryl (22)*
15. Hernandez, Keith (14) 35. Trammell, Alan (20)*
16. Kennedy, Terry (11)* 36. Valenzuela, Fernando (28)
17. Mattingly, Don (14)* 37. Whitaker, Lou (17)
18. Morris, Jack (25) 38. Winfield, Dave (24)*
19. Murphy, Dale (18)* 39. Worrell, Todd (27)
20. Murray, Eddie (13) 40. Yount, Robin (26) 

The lineups of each of the 26 Major League Baseball teams at the time were also available on 8 cartridges:

No. 4001 - Tigers/Blue Jays/Indians/Brewers
No. 4002 - Yankees/Red Sox/Orioles
No. 4003 - Royals/White Sox/Rangers/Twins
No. 4004 - Angels/A's/Mariners
No. 4005 - Cubs/Expos/Cardinals
No. 4006 - Pirates/Phillies/Mets
No. 4007 - Giants/Padres/Dodgers
No. 4008 - Reds/Astros/Braves

Each of the team cartridges also included baseball cards of all featured players on that team.  These cards are the same odd size as those included with the game unit; however, the team set cards feature paintings of the players on the front, not photographs.

Card sample from cartridge team set
The cards included with the game cartridges are somewhat representative of each of the teams but the fact checkers for this game made some obvious mistakes!  Several players appear on cards for two different teams.  One of those players, Lee Smith, is actually included in the Cubs team set with Calvin Schiraldi - one of the players he was traded for!  And they spelled Billy Ripken's last name wrong, even though he was listed alphabetically right next to his brother, Cal, whose name was spelled correctly.

Just a few of the players appearing in two different team sets
Here are players who appear on cards for two different teams:

1 Bradley, Phil (Mariners/Phillies)
2 Butler, Brett (Giants/Indians)
3 Clark, Jack (Cardinals/Yankees)
4 Davis, Chili (Giants/Angels)
5 Davis, Mike (Dodgers/A's)
6 Dernier, Bob (Cubs/Phillies)
7 Gibson, Kirk (Dodgers/Tigers)
8 Knight, Ray (Tigers/Orioles)
9 Moreland, Keith (Cubs/Padres)
10 Parker, Dave (Reds/A's)
11 Slaught, Don (Yankees/Rangers)
12 Smith, Lee (Cubs/Red Sox)
13 Wilson, Glenn (Mariners/Phillies)

These cards are somewhat difficult to come by.  In fact, Tim Stoddard, asked what the heck this card was when he signed it.  He said that in the thousands of autographs he has signed, he had never seen this one before!


Once the teams are set up - the game is played much like so many of the typical LED baseball games in which the pitch is represented by blinking lights and the batter has to time the pitch.  Once the "Swing" button is pressed, the announcer will say the outcome of the pitch and the crowd will cheer for hits.

The top of the box features a great picture of a father and son playing the game.  I can just imagine his dad was thrilled to get home from work and have to sit down for an intense half-hour baseball game before he even got to take off his tie.  That is a good dad.

The game included flags and light standards that could be inserted to make the stadium that much more realistic.  Not surprisingly, these items are often missing from the games nowadays.  Also included was a sheet of stickers to decorate the game.

I loved this game but the fact that second base is positioned incorrectly will always bother me.  The box features a number of players from the All-Star teams included in the game - can you name them all?

Box front

Box back

Box side flap

Box top
Can you name the players?  (*Answers below.)

Package inserts

Game top

Game bottom
Game from batter's side

Game from pitcher's side
Playfield - does second base bother you too?

Playfield


Batter's controls

Pitcher's controls

Instructions















Hall of Fame Cartridge Roster
Scorecard

Card pack front

Card pack back
Boston, New York (AL), Baltimore

Minnesota, Texas, Chicago (AL), Kansas City

Oakland, California, Seattle
St. Louis, Montreal, Chicago (NL)


New York (NL), Philadelphia, Pittsburgh

San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco
Houston, Cincinnati, Atlanta

Box back (all are the same)

Sticker sheet

Parts bag
*Players on front of box, clockwise from the top:  Dwight Gooden, Mike Schmidt, Wade Boggs, Jack Clark, Gary Carter, Darryl Strawberry, Roger Clemens and Don Mattingly.