Chronology:Table-top Base Ball
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1866.6 First Known Table-top Base Ball Game Appears
Table-top Base Ball
John Thorn writes:
"Who is the Father of Fantasy Baseball? Most today will answer Dan Okrent or Glen Waggoner, but let me propose Francis C. Sebring, the inventor of the table game of Parlor Base-Ball. In the mid-1860s Sebring was the pitcher (clubs only needed one back then) for the Empire Base Ball Club of New York (and bowler for the Manhattan Cricket Club). At some time around the conclusion of the Civil War, this enterprising resident of Hoboken was riding the ferry to visit an ailing teammate in New York. The idea of making an indoor toy version of baseball came to him during this trip, and over the next year he designed his mechanical table game; sporting papers of 1867 carried ads for his “Parlor Base-Ball” and the December 8, 1866, issue of Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly carried a woodcut of young and old alike playing the game. A few weeks earlier, on November 24, Wilkes' Spirit of the Times had carried the first notice. (In a previous 2011 post I discussed other fantasy-baseball forerunners, from Chief Zimmer's game to Ethan Allen's: http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2011/10/17/fathers-of-fantasy-baseball/)
Our Game posting, June 2, 2014; see -- http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2014/06/02/first-baseball-table-game/. An illustrated advertisement for Parlor Base-Ball had appeared in Leslie's Illustrated Weekly, December 8, 1866.
The game had spring-loaded mechanisms for delivering a one-cent piece from a pitcher to a batter and by a batter into a field with cavities: "a pinball machine is not very different," John observes.
For a short history of table-top games, see
 are there other reliable published sources of the evolution of table-top games, besides John's 2011 blog?
 is anyone known to be attempting to reconstruct and play this game, or others?
 can we determine what game events are given in the field of this apparatus?