Columbia's Shores finds a kick in electric football


January 07, 1996|By Ruth Sadler | Ruth Sadler,SUN STAFF

These days, people shopping for sports games often find them in video and computer stores.

But electric football, the game that plugged in in 1949, is holding its own -- with avid players and collectors.

In electric football, the field-shaped metal board vibrates, moving the plastic players, sometimes in unexpected directions.

Earl Shores, of Columbia, estimates that he has 30 electric football games, probably five from his childhood. "Mom was really good about keeping things," he says.

Some of those games were missing pieces, and Shores began looking for complete versions.

Besides buying games, Shores, a free-lance writer, was learning about them. In September 1994, Collecting Toys magazine printed an article he wrote, and he began hearing from other collectors. He also heard from people in electric football leagues who did not collect games and from the president of Miggle Toys, which revived the game in 1993.

There's a convention in Chicago Jan. 20 and 21. Older games will be on display, and there will be an auction and electric Super Bowl.

Shores has games by all the companies that made them -- Tudor, Gotham, Coleco and Monroe.

His favorite is Tudor's 1967 Model 620 that features the Cleveland Browns and New York Giants. Although Tudor had been making the games since 1949, this was the first time it had an NFL license and players were painted in NFL uniforms. That year, Tudor made two other models, the 510 (Colts and Green Bay Packers) and 613 (sold only by Sears, Chicago Bears and St. Louis Cardinals).

Shores says the players not only looked more like real players, but their play improved because Tudor introduced detachable bases.

"If you got enough bases, you could get a team that ran straight," he says.

Another of his original games is a 1973 Monroe model with battery-operated floodlights (for night games) and players in Canadian Football League uniforms.

Shores says games can be found for as little as $10 or $15 for a common model from the 1980s. Even the generic models of the '50s and early '60s are relatively inexpensive.

"It's still a really affordable collectible," he says. "The drawback with these is the size. The basement's kind of stuffed."

Miggle puts out a newsletter, Plugged In. Call (708) 432-0140. Another newsletter is The Read Zone, 2092 Angiers Road, Huntsville, Texas 77340.

Grey Cup stuff

Colts Corral No. 27 has Grey Cup merchandise, including Stallions championship T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats, programs, unused game tickets and commemorative Coke cans. There are also Stallions items for sale. Call Marc Lombardi at (410) 544-8240.

Prime Basketball

Signature Prime Basketball has 45 basic cards and two insert sets. Each pack includes an autographed card in a plastic holder. The set, from Signature Rookies, includes every first-round pick.

Tetrad '95

Signature Rookies' Tetrad '95 has 76 basic cards of first-round draft picks in four sports. Each pack has an autographed card, and one insert set features Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Roberto Duran, Bob Griese, Dennis Rodman and Katarina Witt.

Coming events

Through March 31, "The Faces of Baseball," exhibit featuring more than 40 photographic portraits of baseball's most famous faces, Babe Ruth Museum, 216 Emory St., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,(410) 727-1539.

Saturday, card show and auction (including items signed by Hall of Famers) to benefit Cub Scout Pack 447 and the National Kidney Foundation-Md., St. Philip Neri School Hall, Linthicum, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., (717) 456-7014 ext. 4072 days or (410) 789-1488 evenings.

Saturday-next Sunday, card show, Pikesville Armory (expected signers include Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan Saturday, Lou Brock and Ozzie Smith next Sunday), Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., next Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 682-4375.

Jan. 19-21, 25-28, NFL Experience, Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Ariz.

Card of the week

Edge Ice Series 1 is a 200-card set from Collector's Edge featuring stars from the AHL and IHL. There are four insert sets and randomly inserted cards redeemable for autographed cards and memorabilia. (Shown is Dwayne Roloson of Saint John.)

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