Baseball, the Game, and Life: RIGHT OFF THE BAT®
The creator of RIGHT OFF THE BAT® is Robert L. "Bob" Franklin..........
When Bob was eleven years old he began delivering GRIT newspaper. Eventually he earned enough points to receive an incentive gift and the gift he chose was a tiny transistor radio. By the time he was 16 years old he would listen to radio broadcasts of major league baseball games on his miniature earphone, deep into the night (when his parents thought he was fast asleep). Bob lived and breathed baseball. But living in rural Vermont and having no transportation to and from local Baseball Parks. He loved baseball so much that he needed to figure out a way to play the game without ever leaving his humble Vernon, Vermont home.
Inventing the game..........
At sixteen-years of age, he started working on the game. His very first drawings were done on the side of a paper grocery sack, (which by the way he still has). He tried many different combinations of playing board diagrams, numbers, dice and/or spinners. He soon found himself consumed with the idea of creating a baseball game that he could play by himself His love of the Boston Red Sox prompted him to track the statistics of every game the team played. Carl Yastrzemski was his favorite player and remains his hero to this day. The "Yaz" gave Bob the incentive he needed to continue perfecting his game. And since Bob had never set foot on a real baseball diamond to play (except at a back yard barbecue game, at his folk's home in Vermont's Green Mountains) he needed to learn the intricacies of baseball just like those who actually played the game.
1967 Perfecting the game..........
Bob had to try many different combinations to get the reality he was trying to achieve. He never had more than dice, paper and a pencil drawn game board and thus began his long time perfection of RIGHT OFF THE BAT® Eventually after years of playing different combinations, got to a point where he was quite pleased with his results. Every play seemed so real. He loved playing the game so much that he played for both opposing teams. He kept track of every statistic pertaining to the games as he played them.
1969 Board Game Completed..........
Once his game was complete and in order to make the game as realistic as possible Bob spent over 23 years playing every game of the 1967 season (from 1969 to 1992). Keeping track of every statistic, every play on his board was recorded. He used the actual teams and players from the '67 season so as to achieve realistic results. He didn't intend to copy anything, he just wanted to get realistic results and what better way than to use actual teams and players? He played an amazing 1,620 games on his paper playing board.
1992 The final game of the '67 regular season..........
When Bob relocated to Greensboro North Carolina, he was ready to play the final game of the 1967 regular season on his on his newly made, one off, first produced prototype of the game. That game was made by John McCarthy of Mac signs in Hinsdale, NH. To see and play on a game board, so close to his dreams was exciting for Bob. Next the tide turned, in a series of events that would forever change Bob's outlook on what he had with Right Off The Bat®.. As luck would have it, a player named Jose Santiago (who played for the Boston Red Sox in the 1967 World Series) was in Greensboro coaching the Puerto Rican Palomino World Series team. Bob met Jose Santiago at the playing field (through a mutual friend) and after describing his baseball board game, he asked Jose to do him the honor of playing the final game in the'67 season. Jose agreed to play the game representing himself on the mound! That afternoon at Stoner White Stadium in Greensboro, NC, home of the Palomino World Series, Jose said "I'm pitching to you, right Bob." Suddenly panic rolled over Bob. Right off the bat Bob was in a dilemma with Jose! Up until now Bob had always played the game with the rollir of the dice representing the batter batting. Now suddenly here stood an idol of Bob's ready to pitch to him. This was on top of the fact that in this final season game that "Right Off The Bat ®" had produced, actually called fc Jose to pitch for his team in this game!!
Bob trembled with anxiety and and suddenly he was blessed with an idea. and it occurred to him if he rolled the dice and moved Jose's game piece it would represent the pitcher pitching and visa versa. This would give full control to the game to the pitcher as in real life baseball. WOW !Astoundingly it worked and offered a whole new dimension of playing "Right Off The Bat ®" A true aspect of the game that had gone undetected till now, was now to become a choice for any and all our future players. Thank you Jose for the challenge! Jose liked the game so much he said, "Every kid in Puerto Rico would want one" and called Bob "The Einstein of Baseball!"
To prepare for playing the final game of the 1967 World Series, Bob created a complete event, right down to Authentic Jerseys, player's numbers and caps too. Friends, relatives, wives and children all dressed as real players to re-play the board game version of the '67 World Series. The game was played in Alan Ashkinozys Greensboro Batting Cages. Alan has always been a strong supporter of "Right Off The Bat ®" (It) As a huge 20 foot banner hung out front reading; 1967 World Series being replayed here today! Philadelphia PhiHies vs. California Angels. Needless to say it got the curiosity of many a baseball fan as to what was happening inside that day. As the luck of the dice would have it, the Philadelphia Phillies lost the series 4 to 3, (just like in the real world) but as Bob sees it he won and he will continue to win as baseball fans worldwide play "Right Off the Bat" year round because this game has no season unless you the player create it.
Click here to see RIGHT OFF THE BAT®'s statistical year compared to the actual 1967 season.
Bob wants to share his once private game with you and he promises you can have as many exciting baseball games that he has had and still has! It's a great way to break the ice with new friends or show your old friends how to 'really' play baseball. Teach your Little Leaguers the game, even if it's raining outside! If you want a real humdinger just get the guys together.
RIGHT OFF THE BAT® Is copyrighted in 88 countries and the name is a registered trademark
RIGHT OFF THE BAT® Is a tribute to a man who believed anything is possible and the invention of this board game is genuine proof that Bob is a true believer!