Monday, March 24, 2014

So you wanna play Hardball, eh?

My love for G.I. Joe began in 1987 and ran through the original series official end in 1993. Coincidentally, '87 is probably the same year that I started to pick and choose my own toys. I can clearly remember seeing the likes of Big Boa and Croc Master hanging from the pegs, while I stood there trying to decide which one was coming home with me. Both of them did, eventually.

1988 was one of my favorite years for the G.I. Joe toyline. Things hadn't gotten too weird by this point in the  franchise and it saw the introduction of some pretty cool vehicles and characters. This was the year Destro's Iron Grenadiers were introduced, adding a third faction to the already crowded battlefield. It's also the year that Wilmer S. Duggleby decided he was tired of playing minor league baseball and joined up with the world's most elite military unit.

According to his filecard, Duggleby realized that he didn't have the star potential the major league scouts were looking for, so he joined an organization that could use someone that could accurately judge distance in an instant. Or, as one of his teammates says, "Hardball can drop a 40mm frag into a bucket from 75 meters, simply by eyeballing it. The man's a natural."

I'm still not sure why I picked Hardball to go home with me. Beyond Nolan Ryan being my favorite baseball player for a few years, I've never really had an interest in the sport. In fact, I always found it a bit odd that he was wearing his baseball jersey as part of his uniform. Was he about to go fight Cobra or play a game against the Tides? Of course, this was the same toyline that featured a tax consultant that dressed up as a giant bird, so I guess we can forgive the man for taking his sportswear into battle. I think it was the humongous grenade launcher that drew me to his figure. Look at that thing, it's nearly as big as he is! It's also packed with detail, as well as a rotating and removable drum magazine. Most G.I. Joe weapons were a single piece of molded plastic, so it was nice to get one that added a bit of extra play value. 

If you're launching a large number of grenades at Cobra forces, you need to make sure you carry plenty of spares. Hardball made sure to pack enough grenades to share with all the Vipers. He would hate for any of them to feel left out. By my count, he has enough grenades between his pack and his legs to reload at least three times. After that, he'll  have to make his way back to base to re-arm or resort to throwing rocks. Either way, I think Cobra's in for a headache. 

For some reason, this is the only version of Hardball ever made. He's one of the few figures that's never had a repaint or an update. I know he probably wasn't one of the more popular characters, and I can't remember seeing him on the cartoon or comics. Still, I think they missed an opportunity by not teaming him up with Capt. Gridiron, Bazooka and the other sports themed Joes, and calling them the Pro Squad.

This is yet another G.I. Joe figure sent to me by John over at The Clawful Punch. Stay tuned, because there are still many more to come. 


  1. He's cool - I was never into Joes, but that gun would have cinched the deal for me too!

  2. Glad you are enjoying the Joes Chris. : )


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