I grew up in the South Bronx in the early 1950’s, on 146th Street and Brook Avenue. When we played stickball a sewer was home plate and since cars were usually parked on the street we painted bases in the gutter next to the cars. If the cares were not on 1st and 3rd we had bases painted near the curb. Brook Avenue was center field, so the outfielder not only had to play the field but look out for cars. Any ball hit on the roof of the five story buildings was out and usually time was called until we could send someone up to the roof to retrieve the ball. We used the standard “Spaldeen” (Spalding)that we purchased at the local candy store. We would collect 5 nickels and go to the candy and hold two balls against another at about head height, drop them at the same time and pick the one that bounced the highest and then compare that on with another from the box of balls that the candy store owner had. We would go through the entire box until we buy the one ball the bounced the highest. If the ball went down the sewer we would fashion a wire coat hanger and try to scoop the ball out. Things were easier those days, we made our own fun out of the simplest things.
Original author: Gary Pearce [e-mail]