I played punchball in the early 1950’s in Brooklyn, New York. We played in the middle of the street. Home plate was one sewer (manhole cover) with Second Base the next sewer down. First and Third bases were halfway between home and second next to the curbs. We chalk marked First and Third bases. There were usually 3 – 5 players on a team, no pitcher or catcher. We had a first, second and third baseman, with the extras either in the outfield (beyond 2nd base) or playing a rough shortstop position (either between lst and 2nd or between 3rd and 2nd. The batter would throw the ball up in the air high enough that he could hit it with a clenched fist when it came down. Baseball rules were followed. I can recall being good enough to hit a scorcher which would just clip the corner of First Base just out of reach of the first baseman while a buddy could hit the ball beyond second base. If the ball landed on the sidewalk on the fly, it was either a foul ball or an out (I can’t recall which). It was a grand game! Too bad today’s youngsters can’t play without being in organized teams with uniforms, etc.
Original author: Edward P. Farrell [e-mail]