I read with interest a post on the APBA forums about the revisions that the APBA baseball boards have gone throughout the years. The original post was in 2004 but forum readers are so interested in the topic that they have been discussing the the same topic to this day.
The original poster was F.A. ‘Dusty’ Welsh who did some extensive research on all the changes the boards went through in APBA’s glorious history and posted his results. So I asked Dusty if he would be willing to summarize his findings for an article here on The APBA Blog. Lucky for us, he agreed. Here is what he has to say… –tbz
The APBA playing boards for the basic baseball game have undergone multiple revisions since the original 1951 version. However, the number of versions that exist, as well as the time of their introduction, was not known. Thus began a quest to document all of the revisions in the basic game boards.
The first step was to obtain early versions of the boards, or copies of them. Because no dates were printed on the early boards, complete games were needed to identify their vintage. With the help of many individuals in the APBA community, most, if not all, versions of the basic game boards have been tracked down (Table 1). In some cases, the vintage was deduced by comparing the play results with those in versions of known vintage. Revisions of the boards were frequent during the 1950s; no fewer than ten were produced in this decade. I began with the assumption that there was a one-to-one correspondence between card seasons and board versions, but this assumption proved to be incorrect. Complete games containing the 1952 season cards have been found with two different versions of the boards, and a third version may have been used with this same season. Similarly, more than one version of the boards has been associated with other card seasons. Presumably, whenever the game company’s supply of boards ran low, a new batch of boards was printed, sometimes incorporating revisions in the play results.
Finding the different versions of the boards was fascinating to me, but identifying the changes in play results between different versions was tedious. This was my method. First, Xerox copies were made for each version, reducing the size of the playing boards to 8×11 for convenience. Second, the play results between two consecutive versions were compared, highlighting any alterations on the later version. In this manner, I marched through the 22 versions, highlighting any revisions. Details of the changes in play results were compiled in separate files, too long for this blog. Many of these files can be found on the Delphi website, APBA between the lines, post #16001. If there is sufficient interest, more details of the different versions can be posted on this blog site.
Finally there may still be additional versions yet undiscovered. In fact, the investigation was thought to be complete several years ago when a new version surfaced (version 5). More recently, another new version was discovered (version 10a). So, this is still a work in progress.
Chronology of the APBA Board Revisions
|1||1950||Patterned after National Pastime boards;|
|Addition of pitching and fielding grades;|
|Two large boards (14” x 22”) and large game box|
|2||1951||Several errors changed to outs;|
|Some play results switched between fielding grades|
|3||1952||Reassignment of outs on play results 8, 9, and 10|
|4||1952||Addition of hit-and-run to sacrifice booklet (runner on first only);|
|Elimination of “batter takes second on throw” on play result 7 with runners on first and third|
|5||1952||Hit-by-pitch changed to error on play result 23 with bases empty;|
|Double play changed to fielder’s choice on play result 12 with runner on first|
|6||1953-1954||Ball and strike counts added to play results 10 and 11 on stolen bases|
|7||1954-1955||Four smaller boards (14” x 11”) and smaller game box;|
|Addition of optional pitching rules (grade reduction after 6 ER/3 IP)|
|8||1956-1958||Addition of pitching (W,X,Y,Z) and running symbols (F,S);|
|Optional base coaching (playing it safe); optional fielding rules;|
|Hit-and-run with runners on first and third added to sacrifice booklet;|
|New font; several revisions in play results unrelated to new symbols|
|9||1959||X and Y added to play results 27, 33, and 34 with bases empty;|
|Several play results switched between fielding grades|
|10a||1959-1960||Addition of large letters “A”, “B”, “C”, and “D” to boards;|
|Daggers used to denote extra-base hit on double-column cards|
|10b||1960-1962||Grade reduction after 5 ER in 3 IP;|
|Play result 22 with runner on first changed to hit-by-pitch|
|11||1963-1966||Alteration of two fielding plays with two outs|
|12||1967-1976||New font; changes in sacrifice fly balls|
|13||1977-1984||Addition of play result 14* and 42 to boards (previously on cards)|
|14||1985-1994||© 1986 printed on boards; thinner cardboard stock in later years|
|15||1995-1998||Color-coded play results; radio-style descriptions of play results;|
|Addition of ZZ pitching rating; © 1986 and © 1995 printed on boards;|
|Outfielder assists on extra-base hits varied with pitching grade; fly out to centerfield on play results 30 and 32 with two out and bases empty;|
|Omission of infield rating|
|16||1999||First booklet; brown cover; premier edition (APBA 2000); tabs used for different base situations; © 2000 printed on back of booklet|
|17||2000-2001||50th Anniversary edition (APBA 2001); restoration of infield rating;|
|© 2001 printed on back of booklet|
|18||2002-2004||First “66” booklet; traditional descriptions of play results; play result 12 with bases empty a grounder to thirdbaseman; ZZ-ball added to several base-situations; © 2003 printed on back of booklet|
|19||2005-2006||New K and R strikeout symbols; optional scorer’s rule to adjust errors by season; © 2006 printed on back of booklet|
|20||2007||New artwork on cover; no changes in play results; © 2007|
|21||2008-2010||A few typographical omissions corrected; © 2009|
|22||2011-present||No known changes in play results; © 2011|
Thanks to Dusty for his work and willingness to share it. Fantastic stuff!