Great site to bring back memories, had not thought about stick ball or pimple balls in 40 years. we played same way as the stories from NY up in Boston. We also played a version of stickball with out a stick on a corner (intersection) that had 3 sewers and a manhole cover in the center. Making up the mound, first and third. The plate was the last sewer and 2nd was the curbstone. We used our hand to smack the ball and had 3 players per side pitcher and two infielders. There was a limit to how far a ball could be hit on the fly. So the game was designed to be fast and close. So most would try to hit bouncers or line drives. Pitch speed was any thing goes. When we got older we played very fast and hard. Handball was what we called it but it was the base ball rules wonder if there was a similiar version in other cities. Thanks for bringing up the memories. Oh one fast question did any one every play stick ball with a superball and cut off hockey sticks turned edge wise. Hockey sticks where a fav type of stick.
I grew up on New York’s Lower East Side 80 years ago. About 40 years ago, I was amazed when a woman friend, reminiscing about her childhood in Winthrop Mass., north of Boston, sang a group street game chant: “Oh, Oh, the ring we leave-o!” It struck me immediately that her “Ring we leave-o” was obviously the phrase that somehow morphed into the Italian-sounding “Ringoleavio” in the streets of New York. It may or may not have been exactly the same game. Does anyone know? How did they play The Ring We Leave-o in Boston in the 1930s?
I’m from Boston and learned some of these song from my grandmother when we went camping and some from school. It’s funny how we all learn different versions (some are much better). This is one that I saw many different ways. This is how I learned it: In the land of mars, where the ladies smoke cigars Every breath they take, its enough to kill a snake When the snakes are dead, they put roses in their head When the roses die they put diamonds in their eye. When the diamonds break then it’s 1968
I grew up in Boston (Charlestown) in the 60’s. We played half ball with two players up against the doctor’s building near the monument. It was a solid 3 story brick building with just a few windows on the side of the street where we played. It was a great game because you only needed two kids and you could get a ball fairly cheap at Connie’s down the street. We’d cut a pimple ball in half and play for hours. Our rules were a hit to the opposite sidewalk was a single. Up to the first floor was a double, second floor a triple and third floor a homer. You could catch the ball off the building and it was an out. Or, you could play a one bounce rule and it was still an out. We usually used an old broomstick and threw some tape around one end for a grip. We’d always get in trouble because the doctor’s receptionist sat at the window and we’d inevitably slam one into it several times during the course of the afternoon. I don’t think we ever tried too, but it just happened over the course of the game. She was always yelling at us or telling our mothers to stop us from scaring the patients. 🙂 Those days bring back fond memories of living in the city and spending hot summer afternoons whacking around a half ball like our favorite RedSox players did at Fenway. Glad to see that some people are still keeping the memories of that game going after all these yrs. Thanks!
I grew up in South Boston “Southie’ and the white pimple ball (circus ball) was more expensive 15 cents and desirable than the pinky (pennsey?) 10 cents. Circa 1960. We played fast pitch stickball against a brick wall with a chalk marked strike zone and a short field. We played slow ball stickball in a bigger parking lot. Both ways meant some broken windows. Also played handball and “hin-do” to us was a “hin-da” Local accent of course. (Hindrance) We also used the pimple ball for “scrub”, previously referred to as punch ball and another game, “off the steps”. Finally, halfball when the pimple ball lost its bounce. Pinkies were rarely, if ever, used for halfball, and were a poor substitute for all the other games. We also scoured all the flat roofs we could get on and did all we could to get the balls out of the sewers. All and all great memories. You handball guys from NYC must remember Paul Haber, boy, kill shot king. He used to do exhibitions against the local talent at the L Street Bathhouse.
Slight local variation on “Suicide” in my area (Malden, MA, near Boston, at Forestdale Elementary): No one was ever out of the game for good–it went on until recess was over or everyone was bored. People just sort of came and went. You throw the ball against the wall. If someone catches the fly that person becomes the thrower. Otherwise you keep throwing. If someone touches it on the fly without catching it, (s)he runs for the wall while whoever happens to pick up the ball tries to peg him/her before (s)he reaches it. If the runner gets pegged, (s)he has to sit out until someone else gets pegged. This was not too long ago (1994, 1995). I just saw it as a more complex Off the Wall (also a great game).
I guess I will be considered the “old fogey” compared to those who have submitted their messages here. I found this site by accident and read all the letters posted here. I was born Oct 24,1921 in the very old original Bronx Hospital on corner Fulton and 169th St. It originally was a beer brewers mansion. Lived at 813 E 170th St (which does not exist anymore) around the corner from the Loews Boston Road Theatre. Schools: PS40, PS61, PS98, Morris H. S. The Bronx will always remain the great passion of my life. The memories that have been stated by others here are equal to mine. Its not easy to erase the past when it was the best time of our lives. and I grew up during the depression whose only silver lining was that folks had more respect and showed more kindest to each other. That we had less is the reason we created those great games like stickball, stoopball, johnny on a pony, kick the can, hide-go-seek, even potsie, I played that too. Nice talking to “ya old Bronxsites” and thanks for the memories Max
Here’s the version I know of the MTA song: Now let me tell you a story ’bout a man named Charlie On this tragic and fateful day He put ten cents in his pocket Kissed his wife and family Went to ride on the MTA CHORUS But did he ever return No he never returned And his fate is still unlearned (Poor old Charlie) He may ride forever ‘neath the streets of Boston He’s the man who never returned Charlie handed in his dime At the Kendal Square Station And he changed for Jamaica Plain When he got there the conducter Told him “one more nickel” Charlie couldn’t get off of that train CHORUS Now all night long Charlie rides through the tunnel Saying “What will become of me?” How can I afford To see my sister Chelsie Or my cousin in Roxbury? CHORUS Charlie’s wife goes down To the Scolley Square Station Every day at quarter past two And through the open window She hands Charlie a sandwich As the train comes rumbling through CHORUS