Hauser: Before video games, ‘All-Star Baseball’ captured the imagination

From Thomas Hauser at The Sporting News on April 30, 2019:

You’ve probably never heard of Ethan Allen. He was born in 1904, died in 1993, and played for the Cincinnati Reds, New York Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Browns from 1926 to 1938. He had a career batting average of .300 and amassed 1,325 base hits. From 1948 through 1968, he was the head baseball coach at Yale, where his players included future United States President George Herbert Walker Bush.

And Allen’s real claim to fame?

He invented a game called “All-Star Baseball” that was manufactured by Cadaco-Ellis and became the best-selling baseball board game of all time.

Before the Ping-BOOM-Splat!-Bonk of the video age, sports games for children involved throwing dice, spinning a wheel or pointing a piece in the right direction. No quick hands or hand-eye coordination were necessary. The games were durable. More than a few baby boomers still have their old Monopoly and Scrabble sets in a closet, not to mention chess and checkers. They’re a half­century old and remain in vintage working order. Kids never had to buy new software or a new operating system.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: May 1, 2019. Last Updated: May 1, 2019.