Big League Manager Baseball Game from West Duluth

To mark the start of the 2024 baseball season we take a look back at the Big League Manager Baseball Game, which was made in Duluth beginning, as near as can be determined, 70 years ago in 1954.

The 1960 magazine ad shown above, which at one time was for sale online through periodpaper.com, includes an illustration of the game box with a side panel indicating it was made by the Arrowhead Trading Post of Duluth, Minn. The address at the bottom of the ad is 232 Central Ave. in West Duluth, the present-day location of Spin City Laundry.

The oldest reference to the game that can be easily found on the internet is its listing among “current and renewal registrations” in the Catalog of Copyright Entries. Third Series: 1958: July-December.

From the copyright listing we see Donald R. Henricksen and Kent Lynn Henricksen are likely responsible for creating the game and marketing it through their company, Arrowhead Industries.

The listing also shows a copyright issued for a football version of the game. A basketball game was later developed; an old eBay listing offered the opportunity to buy the rules and instructions for the 1964 edition.

Among the versions of the game for sale or previously sold online is the one above, which the seller dates as a 1955 edition.

The box cover changes by 1957, according to a listing on Google Arts & Culture.

The Noble Knight Games website, lists the game as “out of stock,” offering the images above, but with no year given.

The images above are from a listing on boardgamegeek.com. This listing offers a game description, but what year the game represents gets confusing.

Big League Manager Baseball contained two large charts, which were accessed by using a 100-number spinner. Each player (pitcher and batter) has their own card. One fairly unique aspect of the game was that the pitchers had a separate rating for giving up hits with men on base as they did for bases empty.

All the standard options are available. The instructions are copyright 1958 and the charts 1963 in a set representing the 1968 season.

The boardgamegeek.com listing also notes:

Big League Manager was originally published in 1954. Most of the published editions through 1994 are still available from the original publisher Big League Co at Po Box 247 Hinckley Mn 55037-0247. email address: [email protected]

In a recent YouTube video, tabletop game aficionado Steve Etzel unboxes the game to show its components and then offers his analysis.

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