how about hit the penny and box baseball. I grew up on 63rd street in Mill Basin. Best punch ball players. Other blocks would come by and challenge us. NO CONTEST. With 20 guys on the block we had lots of talent. Both balls were great and it wqas good to switch off. Our children don’t know what they missed. By the way the best handball player in Brooklyn was Al Britvan as far as a defensive player on a doubles team. The man….now 81….never ended a game without bleeding from scraping the ground. Long Live our memories…..
The spaldeen was the only ball to use for street games. The pinkie was too mushy. I guess the pinkie would have been better for box baseball games, but you could put enough spin on the spaldeen. Stickball games ended when we lost all of the balls. We played in Bensonhurst.
I grew up in Gravesend, Brooklyn (West Street and Ave. U) in the 50’s. I remember Spaldeens being our ball of choice for almost all street games. I also remember using Pensie Pinkey’s but I dont remember them being more expensive than a Spaldeen. We would only use a Pensie for box ball or in situations where a Spaldeen ball could be easily lost or stolen. By the way, does anyone remember 4-box baseball and War?
Yes, Pensie Pinkies were hollow, pink rubber balls, just like Spaldeens. But Pensie Pinkies were a lot softer, maybe because they had less air in them, or maybe the rubber was thinner. In any case, because they were softer, Pensie Pinkies were easy to “fluke” (put a spin on the ball by squeezing it between thumb and knuckles as you tossed it. (Very good for Box Baseball.) I don’t recall any sponge rubber ball. You’da got kicked out of the neighborhood for that. Steve S.
I grew up in Bayside, Queens in the 1950s. We used Spaldeens for stickball and stoopball. The new ones cost a quarter and bounced higher than Pensie Pinkies (which, I believe, cost 15 cents.) Girls used Pensie Pinkies for punchball because they were so much softer. For that reason, they were also preferred for box baseball. For stickball, we played “fungo,” that is, no pitcher. Toss the ball in the air and hit it. Anyone remember the term “fungo?”
I grew up in the Pomonok project across from Queens College in the ’50’s and early ’60’s. Where we were Pensies were rarely available, though known of. Any of you remember that spaldeens varied somewhat in pressure. I’d go through the box and find the hardest ones I could. They could be punched further, hit further, but their principle advantage was in handball, if you were over six feet. It was an equalizer when playing with a short guy with better skills. In close play, a low hit would send it caroming over his reach. By the way Geoff, you sure could split a spaldeen with a broom stick or those slightly larger stickball bats that were sold in some places. A baseball bat compresses the ball too much and creates a greater area of contact making a split less likely. We used to turn the splits inside out and throw them. they moved like maniacal frisbees and were almost impossible to catch. Any of you remember three box baseball, a pavement game we played when it was just too hot and humid to play anything else?
I’ve been playing Wall-Ball for about 10 years now, I remember when I was little I’d walk by the local schoolyard and see older guy playing this baseball game against the wall. Since then a lot of things have changed. I remember we didn’t have a pitching mound so some kids would take wood chips and cover an area on the grass, eventually it killed all the grass in that area and the Local School board paved it over, so now we have a little strip that resembles a mound. Every Sunday here in Toronto the school is packed with 2-3 games going on side by side. We all use tennis ball and normal baseball bats and play 2 outs and we even have Pilons in the outfield marking the foul lines. We got the Double play rule where if you ground out to the pitcher and theres someone on base ( ghost runner ofcourse)the pitcher would pick up the ball and try to hit the box wherever he was standing and the trick was to get it past the hitter who was trying to block it with the bunt technique. Wall ball or Box baseball has come a long way for us and I hope it continues.
In Bensonhurst Brooklyn we played another version of boxball. We used 4 boxes and the pitcher threw the ball bouncing it in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th box in quick succession. The batter had to hit the ball back into the 1st box in front of the pitcher. Caught was out, out of the box was out. One bounce a single, etc. we considered the most advaced form of box baseball and the older kids were very good at throwing the ball in the 3 boxes with all kinds of spins and reversing bounces. You could almost have he ball grazing the ground by the third bounce and very difficult to hit. The games we played that were offshoots of punchball or slapball depended on how many players were available. We called them triangle (3 bases) and squareball (4 bases) They were played the width of the gutter (street). There was a chalk square in front of the batter that the pitcher had to lob the ball into for a strike. The batter could slap any pitch. Justballs was selling spaldeens as of a year ago.
A variation of corner ball which was played at the intersection of two streets was “triangle” which was played across any single street (less traffic and required fewer players). You had home and essentially first and third. A pitch bouncing on home was a strike-out. The hit had to land between the curbs or it was out. The pitching was similar to box baseball with lots of english.
I played box baseball in the Linden Projects (East New York, Brooklyn). We also played boxball. For boxball we used four boxes (2×2) and each player got a box. Then we would tap the ball back and forth between the players until someone couldn’t return the ball into one of the other boxes or couldn’t hit it before it hit the floor twice. There was also another game which used 5 boxes (in a straight row). First you have to make the ball bounce once in the #1 box. Then once in the #1 box and once in the #2 box & so on until you did all 5 boxes.