RBI Baseball originated as a stand up arcade game, sometime in the mid-1980's. The home version of the game was released sometime around 1987 and 1988, for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Tengen, a subsidiary of Atari Games Corporation, was the licensee of the game.
For those who have played it, the game itself is a simplistic and raw simulation of an actual baseball game, in which the computer as an opponent offers no particular challenge.
But as a head-to-head game with two evenly matched opponents, there is nothing better. It is better than any baseball computer game you may ever play. Both fast-paced and situationally realistic, the lack of graphic sophistication becomes irrelevant.
The College Years
The game found it's way to the Castillian dorm rooms at the University of California at Davis, in the fall of 1989. What started out as an innocent diversion from studying, soon evolved into a highly comepetitive and strategic test of wills, where tempers flared and blood spilled.
The First "Unofficial" Championship
In Spring of 1990 the first "unofficial" RBI Tournament took place. The finals featured Chris Wend, who pulled off a surprising upset of the then-dominant Donovan McConn in the semis. He played Dennis Kim in the finals who defeated Amir Massih in a best-of-five series.
The opponents were able to select their own team in this tournament. This was to change in later tournaments when the random team selection rule was in place, (please see West Coast Rules). Chris selected Detroit and Dennis selected Minnesota. Dennis went on to defeat Chris 4-2 in a best-of-seven series.
The Ledger Era
The ledger was introduced by Amir Massih in the year of the Burr House, circa 1992-93. Through 3 years of intense RBI gamesmanship amongst a close circle of friends, it never occurred to anyone to write down the actual scores of the games, and keep a record for posterity. This way you can tabulate all the wins and losses, and figure who truly is the King of RBI. So we began to keep track of the scores in a loose-leaf spiral notebook, and a new era was born.
The First "Ledger-Era" Championship
The first official tournament was held in the spring of 1993 at the Burr House in Davis. The final round matchup featured Amir Massih taking on Brandon Wright. Amir prevailed in the best-of-seven series. This was the first recorded championship during the Ledger Era. (*Although many of the early Ledger entries are missing to this day, including Amir's Championship victory of 1993).
Hammer of the Gods Trophy
RBI veteran Brandon Wright introduced the The Hammer of the Gods Trophy in the year 2000. He engraved a large glass beer stein with the title Hammer of the Gods on one side (in reference to Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song), RBI on the opposite side, and Champions in between -- in which the current champ engraves his initials and the date in which he claimed the title. The trophy goes to the best RBI Baseball Player in the world, and that person keeps it until he is defeated, much like a Heavyweight prizefighter keeps his belt until he loses.
Tournaments are at least an annual event, usually coinciding with Super Bowl Weekend. But it is not restricted to this. The "Hammer" can be challenged at any point during the year, as long as a tournament set-up is approved upon by the parties involved and the current champion.
First Hammer of the Gods Tournament
The first "official" Hammer of the Gods/Quest for the Cup Tournament took place during the weekend of 6/16/00. Laurence Witschi was crowned champion and had the privilege to be the first to engrave his initials on the Hammer of the Gods Trophy.
Today the Cup represents the highest of excellence in RBI Baseball competition. To have your name on the cup as a current or past champion is one of the great honors in the world of sports video games.
If you think you are up for the challenge, and think that you can compete with the world's best, then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.