What some people call Box Ball, we on Cabrini Blvd. between 177th & 178th Streets in Washington Hights, NY we called SLUG. Slug was played on a street bldg. wall and the expansion joints on the street was the dividing line to the curb. Also, baseball was played in the Court Yards to the entrance of buildings (somewhat confining, but you played a good quick game..
I grew up in Astoria, Queens 60’s – 70’s went through countless number of spaldeens (most lost on roof of P.S. 85). Played Ace King Queen, Punchball, Stickball and Russia (Russian). Have 3 spaldeen balls a 60’s, 70’s and one of the new ones probably 90’s. Moved to Malvern, PA in ’74 and nobody knew what a spaldeen was.
as a kid in the Bronx i played stickball, handball and slugs. what fun it was to play stickball. we played against the wall – fast pitch, one bounce and the 3 sewer home run derby. i remember playing fast pitch with the coke factory behind us. a hit was anything not caught after one bounce. an out was over metal mess fence, over roof and the person who hit it there had to get it. sometimes the workers in the coke plant had windows open for air and watching us kids play. if ball went through open window it was an out. fast pitch and one bounce was two strikes per out. left the Bronx and came to Worcester ma. everyone was into hardball and never heard of stickball. still love stickball at age 62. in wheelchair now but want to play. would love to start a league here. any ideas?
It was Cornelia Street between bushwick and Broadway. Stickball was king unless Mrs. Grillo (2nd floor #24 on the block) called the cops at the 81st Precinct. Mostly they just told us to quit. a few mean ones would drop the bats down the manholes. if they did that, we’d just swich to punchball. Do something about that, Mrs Grillo! When it wasn’t stickbasll or punchball it was triangl;e, stoopball, Ace-King-Queen, zig-sag-tag, johnny on the pony or ringelevio. Boxball was also popular and every so often someone would get those wooden paddles with the little ball attached. When the rubber string broke, we’d use the paddles to play a sort of tennis. Lots of fun until the guy who was losing took his paddle and hit the ball as far awy as possible. Oh well, time to play stickball again. Bill Mahan
Its funny how it was then. we couldnt wait to grow up and get a car and our own place,and not have all our parents rules and school would be gone. I’ve dreamed of those wonderful days in Queens 1950’s and 1960’s. We tend to remember all good times when thinking of those days. I did some deep thinking about it,and remember alot of boring days too. I think the lack of responsibilities of childhood is the key to it all. I dont think the 1960’s way is gone,the inner city and poor sections still have that look and feel of outdoor streetplay. Im sure someone is still playing ace,king queen or Skullie somewhere. Saloogie!
I learned this game in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn where it was called KING’s and the scoring was different from how it’s described on the main page. Where we played, the King would server and would have to hit the ball out of his box, but it didn’t not have to go the next box or the Queen, it could go to anyone. So you could hit the ball to a player three or four down the line. Also, a player in the middle of the line, could hit to his left or his right, so the game had a lot of variety. For us, the ACE, was the last guy in line, also called the ass. When a ball came to you, you could hit it to anyone or you could play it to yourself. A good strategy was to play it to yourself several times, until you were real close to the wall, forcing your opponents to come in to the wall too. If they came up close, you could hit hard and deep on them. If they didn’t come up close, you could hit soft and shallow, like a drop shot in Tennis. The scoring worked like the basketball game of HORSE, where each time you missed, you got a letter. If you spelled out KING’S you lost, (K-I-N-G-‘-S six points including the apostrophe.) If you were the King you got to serve, but if you lost the point, you moved all the way to the end and became the Ace, and the Queen became King. Serving had great advantages and most people tried to become King. I think also if you were King and lost you didn’t get a letter. The other strategy was for everyone to keep hitting the ball to one player, trying to get him out first. When a player first got the apostrophe, they then became King which gave them a chance of lasting a little longer. You need a good flat wall to play this on with a good sidewalk. We used to play in alley down my block, flat walls and good deep boxes in the cement. If you lost, you went Asses Up.
Thats chinese handball! or ace, king, queen. I dont remember it being called slug. Names of games changed in all areas of ny in the 1960’s.In QUEENS it was,hey you wanna play ‘chinese’. We played in the school park against the brick wall of a park bathroom building.We used a spaldeen.It was a very fast game,played low to the ground,and wore out alot of Keds sneakers. You had to find a good place with a wall or fence in back of you,so you didnt have to chase the ball.
I don’t have much to add, so forgive me for repeating anything: Spaldeens cost about 25 cents in the 1960’s in my neighborhood in The Bronx near Morris Avenue and 164th Street. Occasionally Harry’s candy store sold “seconds” for about 15 cents or twenty cents. The Five and Ten on Morris Avenue sold P Pensie Pinkies, which I remember as softer and inferior balls — they were for girls’ games. They were not the ball of choice for the boys. And new Spaldeens had some kind of powder on them — and had a distinctive smell. And some were harder than other — those are the ones you wanted, because they bounced better. We didn’t play stick ball on my block but we played Slug — also known as King Queen Jack on some blocks — who remembers that game? It was played in the boxes on the sidewalk, against the apartment house wall — WHO REMEMBERS SLUG?
I am from Flushing Queens, where we would usually buy Pensie Pinkies and Spaldeens from Joe’s, which was the nearest candy store. Sometimes when I had no money, I ‘d swipe a Pensie from my sister, who, along with her friends, used them mostly in an activity that involved keeping the ball in bounce while reciting different rhymes that were punctuated by passing their legs over the ball before it would bounce back up. I lived on a hill where many of these balls ended up in the sewer at the end of the block. You could retrieve them using a garden rake, but if they remained in the water too long, they almost certainly went dead. We used to play stick ball, box ball, Chinese handball, catch a fly and you’re up, and many, many more games using them. As I recall, the favored brand for stickball at least, was Spalding, but I never observed too much difference between the two.