gate with ball from Genco Official Baseball

The first step in my restorations is to research the game as much as possible. I look in my pinball library for references to the game, such as the one in Pinball 1 by Richard Bueschel. These pictures and descriptions provide some information about how the game looked.

They may also provide hints on how the game is played. For example, the game came with only one ball. In Richard's description, he indicated the game was played with 16 balls.

Another exceptional source of information that helps with a restoration is the original patent. It is often difficult to find the patent as the numbers are not often found on these games. If the designer or the company is known, then the patent index may have a listing for various patents awarded and provides the patent numbers. Once the number is known, the patent can be accessed on the internet. Unfortunately the patent indexes are not online yet and need to be found at a patent library.

I visited the patent section of the Sunnyvale Public Library, one of the few Patent Library annexes in the United States and looked in the index for 1934 and 1935. I found several patents granted to Meyer Gensburg, including 1,992,659 in February of 1935. Patent 1,992,659 is the patent for the gates in the Official Baseball! I have converted the patent to text using a character recognition software and have included it for reference.

I played around with the game for a bit and learned how it works. The ingenous use of gates allows the game to keep track of men on base and award runs after the correct series of singles, doubles, triples and home runs. I created a mechanism animation to explain how these gates work and another to show how a home run is scored.

Unfortunately, the game appears to have been restored previously. While the work may have been done like the original, I cannot be certain. The gates are replacements and were done with soft brass wire. They will have to be redone. Since I do not have an original, it will be difficult to reproduce them correctly. The current gates work. I will make some measurements and try to understand their exact design before I reproduce them in a stiffer and stronger wire.