In Edison, New Jersey in the 1970’s I played stickball anywhere there was a wall. Mainly in the schoolyard which was behind my house. There were a few boxes (strike zones) painted on the various brick walls. Around the perimiter of the school was a 12 ft chain link fence which made up the fields. Most games were played with just two guys (pitcher and batter). Depending on the field hits were scored accordingly. Like past the pitcher on a fly, but before where the blacktop turns to concrete was a single. Past the tree on a fly was a double. To the fence on one bounce was a triple. If it hit the fence on a fly it was a homerun. Invisible men on base had to be forced in. Three outs each. Unlike most of the stories though we used a regular baseball bat rather than a broom stick. We also used a solid sponge rubberball. It was painted white and had threads molded like a real baseball. After a few innings the paint would crack and start to peel off. By the end of a game the ball was gray since all the paint had peeled off. I started playing again with my 13 year old. I live in North Carolina now and there aren’t many stickball boxes painted on the walls. Actually there aren’t any. We finally found a good field. We use masking tape to make the box and remove it when we’re done. I think its probably a little more responsible then painting on the wall. Anyway I haven’t been able to find these balls where I live. When I visit Jersey I usually pick some up, never enough. If anyone knows the type of ball I’m talking about and where I can get them let me know. I’d like to be able to buy them through the internet.
Original author: Joe Martin [e-mail]