PARDEEVILLE, April 8, 1959 – (AP) - You could lose all the people in Pardeeville in Yankee Stadium, but on the other hand Yankee Stadium fans would be lost without Pardeeville.
How’s that again, you say?
Well, it’s like this. The new scoreboard for the huge 75,000-seat home of the Yankees is being built in this town of 873 population out here in Wisconsin. You can see how all the Pardeevillians could get lost in the stadium and you can see, too, how the fans there would be at a loss without the scoreboard.
Simple, isn’t it? The scoreboard isn’t, though.
It’s 73 feet long, 34 ½ feet high and contains 200,000 feet of wire, some 4,800 electric lights and 126 banks of switches, each bank consisting of 40 push buttons.
M. H. Spicer and his sons, Myron and Dale, aided by seven helpers, have the bid board just about completed. The elder Spicer and an assistant will supervise its installation at the Stadium in time for the Yankees’ home opener April 21.
The board will tell, in lights, just about anything Stadium fans will want to know. It’ll show the score by innings, who’s batting, balls, strikes, errors and outs in one of six banks of lights which will form letters and numbers from 19 to 24 feet high. Other banks will handle out-of-town games in virtually complete detail.
Spicer has built scoreboards in use all over the country, including football stadiums at the Universities of Washington and Texas, William and Mary College and the Polo Grounds.
What does a board like the Yankees’ cost? Spicer wouldn’t quote a price, but his catalog shows a pair of boards like high schools use for football at $973. You could fit a couple of dozen like them on the face of the Yankees’ purchase and have plenty of room to spare.
By ED CNARE, Sentinel Staff Writer
PARDEEVILLE, April 8 – The fact that a firm located in a small Wisconsin community should be given the contract for the mammoth new Yank stadium scoreboard is amazing in itself. But it’s even more amazing when one learns that this concern is less than four years old and is housed in an old department store located right on the main street of Pardeeville.
Behind it all is the story of 57 year old Myrl Spicer, a tale which might well be offered as proof that American ingenuity isn’t dead.
Born and reared in Pardeeville, Spicer went on to the University of Wisconsin, majored in Physics and received his degree in 1917. After a short stint overseas with the Armed Forces in the first World War, he returned to civilian life and began teaching.
He taught at Antigo, Fond du Lac, Washington, Ill., and Morrisonville, Ill., and finally wound up as principal at Wisconsin Dells High School.
In 1933, under Spicer’s guidance, a new gym was added to the Dells’ prep school. It was his duty to equip it, his unsuccessful search for a scoreboard is what changed his whole life.
Unable to find a board that was operated by controls that would give rapid and selective powers to the operator so the score and other details could be flashed onto the board instantly, besides providing a mechanism for immediate correction in case of errors, Spicer decided to make such a board himself.
He adapted the “plunger” principle used in the common adding machine and used his knowledge of physics plus his manual dexterity to come up with his own type of what he calls the “adding machine” control.
SET UP WORK SHOP
During the next three years officials of other schools, seeing this board in operation, wanted similar boards for their football and basketball scoreboards. So Spicer set up a workshop in his basement and made boards in his spare time at the high school. During this time he also applied for a patent.
He received so many orders that in 1936 he quit teaching and began making scoreboards as a full time job. A year later he joined forces with a board concern in Keokuk, Ia.
This firm, however, was forced to suspend operations when the war broke out. So Spicer took a job as school principal at Columbus (Wis.). When the war ended, he bought out the Keokuk company and moved the firm to his hometown of Pardeeville. In 1947, he incorporated under the name of All-American Scoreboards, Inc.
BUILT BUSINESS SLOWLY
A firm believer that “haste makes waste” Spicer has been building his business slowly since that time. Now he has built scoreboards for high schools, sports arenas and colleges in every state.
An average of eight men working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week for the past six weeks has been on the Yankee board. It won’t be fitted together until it’s housed in the superstructure waiting its arrival in Yankee Stadium.
Although the board will be housed in a steel frame, it is made of aluminum. There are 4,800 recesses, which will be filled with 25-watt clear bulbs. The four control panels, to be operated by two men, have over 2,500 buttons arranged in a manner that will provide for easy operation.