1969 Williams Fastball*

Description: Fast Ball*, Williams #370, 4/69, two players, animated backglass with men running the bases in a vertical style running man unit, three pitches (fast, curve, knuckle), two player controlled target groups (infield and outfield) with "catch" buttons used by defensive player to "field" the ball, target style scoring, one inning play (but extra innings can be won), pointy artwork, extremely wide 30" body.

The vertical style running man unit is motorized and well done. Though probably not as classic as the horizontal style running man unit (used by Williams since 1952), it's still really well cool. Game also has two playfield magnet based pitches. The fast ball uses no magnets. The curve ball uses one magnet. The knuckle ball uses both magnets, which can give some pretty wacky pitches.

The playfield "catchers" work in both one and two player modes. They come up to catch the batted ball randomly. Or the player can over-ride the game's decision, and can put up just the four infield catchers, or three outfield catchers. (Note the infield catcher trap doors are off-white in color, and the outfield trap doors are green.) If a ball is caught, an out is registered, and the catchers retract. If the ball is not caught and a rear target is hit, the catchers then retract. The game also keeps track of strikes, where the batter does not swing and hit the ball, or the hit is a poor one, and the ball rolls back down the playfield behind the bat.

This game can be adjusted to "novelty" or "replay". It is a single inning game, but if the game is set to "novelty", a certain number or runs (operator adjustable) will give an additional inning of play. In replay mode, reaching the required number of runs gives the player a replay (free game).

This game is really wide at nearly 30 inches (for both the playfield and the backbox.) Also the playfield came two ways: formica or lacquer. Though Williams hadn't used a lacquer based baseball playfield since the 1955 King of Swat, for some reason they made a number of Fastball games with lacquer (pinball style) playfield. The formica version is easy to see, as the infield is white in color (where on the lacquer playfields the infield is natural wood grain.) Though the formica version is not as attractive, it sure wears a lot better than a lacquer Fastball playfield.

Lacquer pinball style playfield:

Formica playfield:

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