Rare Roger Maris Tabletop "Batter-Up" Coin-Operated Game

Sold For: $360

Auction Year: 2016 fall

Lot: 1763

Item Year: 1962

Category: Post-1900 Baseball Memorabilia

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In 1962 every company in America wanted to capitalize on Roger Maris' fame as baseball's new "home-run king." Many, however, either could not afford his endorsement, or simply did not want pay him for it, so they attempted to cash in by other means. Offered here is one such example in the form of a tabletop coin-operated baseball game titled "Batter Up" that uses Maris' name, but not as an endorsement. The game involves patrons dropping a nickel into a slot and then trying to stop its fall after a bell rings and the coin drops. It's a game that tests one's reaction time and reflexes, with the distance the coin falls corresponding to a batter's success or failure at the plate. Outcomes include a single, double, triple, out, double play, or a home run. The front panel pictures a generic ballplayer at bat, with the large caption above reading "Roger Maris hit 61 home runs in 1961. Can you beat his score?" This is the first example of this particular game we have ever seen, let alone offered, making it one of the rarest Maris-related products in the hobby. The game (12.5 [W] x 4 [D] x 22 [H] inches), which is in working order is composed of wood and glass, with a faux leather exterior. The hinged rear door is missing its locking mechanism and the game displays wear commensurate with its age and former use, including a moderate abrasion on the left front border. Excellent condition overall. Reserve $300. Estimate (open).

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