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Miniature Cricket anyone....?

Posted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 11:48 am
by gameswat
Just wondering if anyone in the UK has one of these machines? Usually it's called Miniature Baseball but this version was specially made for export to cricket playing nations. Two have turned up in Aust so it seems logical that some made it to Britian. When my friend found this one at a swap meet in Melbourne years ago he contacted the collector with the other example because he knew it was complete with the top tin sign. Sadly since he'd seen it last the sign had rusted away to nothing! Luckily he did give me this photo of the graphics before they died, though not great by any means. Note the handle is a cricket bat compared to the original baseball bat! And also that they left the mitt there, at least the ball makes some sense even if the stitching is wrong! :lol:

Just remembered that quite a few years ago when i got this I researched it and I'm sure it was made by Gottlieb. There seems to be a few different makers of the Baseball versions and they often get mis-identified by the sellers as they all look very similar.

Re: Miniature Cricket anyone....?

Posted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 5:50 pm
by gameswat
I still only know of two of these games surviving, both in Australia, and both missing cabinets. Mine came with a rudimentary case that was ok for playing, but way off size and shape of original. As luck would have it a friend delivered a complete Baseball version to my house a week ago to rebuild for him! This has a manufacturing label for company called Tecumseh, which I'd never heard of, but the machine owner found a 1931 page in a trade mag that said they had the rights from Peo and Gottlieb to now make it. After a little while I discovered my door would not quite fit this Baseball cabinet, my door needed a slightly shorter cabinet. So after a lot more research I finally put all the pieces together and figured out my Cricket was actually made by Keeney, based on their version called Electric Baseball! They are not common. My main castings actually have the part numbers EC1 and EC2 cast into them, so seems Keeney were calling it Electric Cricket to begin with anyway, then for whatever reason the water decal label on the front says Miniature Cricket instead. The electricity is a battery and seems unique to only Keeney versions. It powers a small buzzer and single globe in mine, four bulbs in the baseball version to show you which base the batter has hit to. Actually makes sense this is by Keeney since they had a distributor in Australia, as seen by this brass name plate (photo attached) that turned up on a late 1920's ABT Target Skill pistol game, though private labelled with the Keeney name on the top plate. Quite a few of these same ABT/Keeney machines have turned up here so they were a large operator.

The Keeney Baseball and Cricket versions share some unique features, the front casting surround has a central racing stripe, the game name is a water decal while on all other makers it's cast in, the use of electricity with light globe/globes in the marquee, the back bonnet has an oddball half angled shape which is there to hold the battery, the shorter wooden case even though every brand of the machine all sit the same height once assembled.

Re: Miniature Cricket anyone....?

Posted: Tue Feb 18, 2020 7:48 pm
by gameswat
So after a lot of work and experimentation (when is there not!?) I was eventually happy to glue the new case together and then dark stain it. I've actually done some more work to the outer castings since these photos but lately been bogged down with other peoples projects that have consumed most of my time. While I'm over the moon to finally be getting this close to original after owning since 2004/5, it's also tinged with saddness as this came from Bob Klepner who died late last year. And I can't tell you how many times after figuring something out about the machine my first thought was to tell Bob as he'd be as excited as I was about it! Bob chose to sell me quite a few very rare pieces over the years knowing I had the excitement to take them further than he'd got with them. I was also able to copy everything I needed from the Baseball example that was in for detailing and then finally able to give that back all done to the owner.

Re: Miniature Cricket anyone....?

Posted: Tue Feb 18, 2020 8:56 pm
by john t peterson
Long live Bob Klepner! (And you too, Gameswat.)

J Peterson
Admirer, USA

Re: Miniature Cricket anyone....?

Posted: Tue Feb 18, 2020 11:23 pm
by gameswat
Thanks JP! Glad to see you still peruse the site when not too busy farming, and driving sexy Corvettes.

Re: Miniature Cricket anyone....?

Posted: Tue Mar 03, 2020 7:36 am
by ddstoys
Looking good mate, always love seeing your work.

And it sucks, doesn’t it, not being able to share our wins and findings with bob anymore.