dirty reverse playingfield Official Baseball

Cleaning Underneath the Playfield

As shown before, the cast and sheet metal parts are badly corroded. It does not hurt game play to have various parts with surface rust unless the ball needs to roll freely. Some parts of this game were so badly corroded as to no longer function correctly or to break if used.

ball pivot corrsioin

This is the pivot for the ball lift. The ball lift rod pushes against the half circle at the bottom and makes the ball lift on the left swing upwards, loading the next ball for play. The washer is corroded onto the axel and the return spring is broken. Heat and Kroil are used to disassemble the mechanism. (Kroil is a miracle penetrating oil that seems to get through anything.)

Official Baseball damper mechanism

The damper was not functioning because the rod was frozen in the plate by corrosion. (The damper is also known as a pump in slot machines. It is used to damp out the reset movement so the tilt ball does not fall off the pedestal.)

The damper usually does not pump air because the leather seal at the end of the rod is stiff and the lubrication has hardened. This is my favorite thing to restore as it makes a huge difference in the play of the game.

Lots of Levers

reset springs beneath the playfield on Official Baseball

The springs and lever underneath the pinball are activated by the coin slide and are used to release balls off the playfield, drop balls and ready them for play, and block the ball lift so as to prevent cheating. They are also used to reposition the tilt ball back on top of the pedestal.

disassembled parts for Genco Official Baseball
disassembled parts for Genco Official Baseball

The reset levers are photographed and placed in boxes. Note the above sequence of pictures that show the order and position of disassembly, with the holding plate on the right and all the parts being taken off appearing on the left.

Official Baseball parts ready to be cleaned

Here are boxes of parts, all removed from the bottom of the playfield, ready to be cleaned.

initials found on the bottom of the playfield

There are more initials printed on the bottom of the playfield. Perhaps someone serviced the game in 1941?

Top of the Playfield

empty playfield

The playfield is now empty on both the top and the bottom. It can be cleaned and waxed. I use Johnson's Wax to do both, rotating the cloth frequently as I wax. The wax contains a cleaner that removes the dirt and grime and the new wax coat will protect the wood and graphics from further wear while it retains the original patina.

wear pattern on playfield for Official Baseball

While waxing, I noticed a wear pattern on the playfield. It is not obvious what caused the texture as it only appears in this central area. It appears as if the person responsible for finishing the playfield went over this area a second time when the finish was not dry. Perhaps that or it is again water damage. It is not generally visible when playing the game unless you look closely and to refinish the game would remove the patina. (Note the picture is taken from an angle with light behind in order to emphasize the uneven texture.)

The post in the center is used to hold a plunger which is in turn used to release the balls during reset.