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The “Pinball Wizard” of The Villages

What started as a college side gig turned into a thing of passion for Jeff Monasch. Known by many as the neighborhood pinball wizard, Monasch hails from the Village of Fenney, where he lives with his longtime girlfriend, Jeanean Best, and their two rescue cats.

Monasch recollects his earliest pinball experiences, growing up in Brooklyn, New York.

“I’d go with my dad for a soda at a lunch cafe, and we played a couple of games of pinball,” he said during an interview with The Villages Daily Sun. “It was something to do with my dad.”

After around 50 years, he is still close to his first pinball machine, as well as his favorite pinball game called “Fireball,” which is still in his possession. 

“It’s an early multi-ball machine, and it’s also an electro-mechanical machine,” Monasch explained.

He and his fraternity brothers moved the first pinball machine down the basement steps of the frat house. With some assistance from a mechanically adept friend named Duck, Monasch learned to repair pinball machines.

Initially, he bought a few pinball machines, installed them in few taxi garages and small stores, and also did the maintenance.

“We rotated the machines every three or four months to give people something new,” Monasch said of himself and his friend. “At the peak of my business, I probably had maybe five pinball machines in a store.”

“It was my investment to make some money,” Monasch said of the Bally’s “Dogies” machine he bought in 1969.

Duck is alive and well somewhere on Staten Island. He was the right-hand of the whole operation.

“He drove an old hearse,” Monasch said with a laugh. “It was perfect for hauling pinball machines. We just slid them in and out of there.”

Jeff has six pinball machines arranged in his perfect Florida room, which still keep him busy. It’s hard to find a speck of dust on any of the playboxes. He has both the most vintage pinball game “Dogies” and the computerized version of “Fireball.” 

“She goes in there and plays too,” Monasch said of Best.

“I can hardly ever beat him,” Best replied.

Attributed Source, The Villages Daily Sun