In the north bronx in the late sixties early seventies, box ball remained a game of hitting a pinky or spaldeen with your hand into your opponents box. He or she, in turn, would need to return the ball to your box before the ball bounced more than once. Points could only be scored on your serve. Depending on the differing skills of the players, additional rules governing the way the ball could be “served” applied, usually requiring that the ball be served with a certain amount of arch on it to allow the receiver a better chance of returning it.
Please allow me to share my views on the subject. IMHO, Spaldeens (as they are pronounced) are the proper tool for games such as stickball, however I have found Pennsy Pinkies more appropriate for Chinese handball and boxball.
In my day the 50’s we played hit the penny. You would use two sidewalk squares with the penny starting on the middle line of the two boxes. if the thrower hit the penny he got a point. if the penny turned over you got two points. First player to reach 11 or 21 won the game
I have written and illustrated a book on “City Games” played with a “pimple ball”. These games include: stickball, wallball, wireball, boxball, miniature,ledgies, points, dinky and the ultimate and most sublime of the street games, halfball. Halfball is one of the greatest games ever, and if anyone has any info or comments regarding these games feel free to e-mail me at bearncrepe [at] aol [dot] com. Thanks, Bob Bu
Grew up on Wilson Street and Lee Avenue in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Attended Boys High School. Most friends went to Eastern District or Seward Park High School. Most of us played punch ball with a “baby line.” three steps to Germany, Johnny on the Pony, Chinese handball and box ball. We read and traded comic books. “Action Comics, Detective Comics, Marvel, King Feature Comics and read the comics in the newspapers. Dick Tracy, (my favorite), Smiling Jack with Fat Stuff losing a button to a ubiquitous chicken who followed him everywhere. Saturday matines for 5 cents we saw a chapter (Tim Tyler’s Luck or Flash Gordon) the Paramount News (Monkees do the craaaaziest things,)two or three features, a cartoon and sometimes a door prize announced from the stage. I could go on forever and include the radio programs for which we raced home from the school playground to hear.
In response to a request for the ‘weirdest’ skelly cap, I’d like to add that in Brooklyn, NY during the early ’70s we used the rounded metal feet from the bottom of Catholic school desks. Once we found how well they slid across the street pavement, many of the desks at school (St. Simon and Jude) were imbalanced. It quickly got out of hand and became an unfair advantage for those who were using the standard bottle cap with melted crayons (as the feet were much heavier). I’ll also note that most boards were made in the street with chalk (don’t remember any standard dimensions), but one year we carved a more permanent one into the tar with pocket knives. Thanks for the memories. Makes me think back on other street games like Johnny on the Pony, Ring-o-Leavy-o, Coco-Leavy-o, Slap ball, Box ball, the other game played on a box ball setup (2 adjacent sidewalk boxes) where you had to flip and/or move the popsickle stick or coin -sorry I can’t remember the name…
Hi Valerie, Since you were in Sunset Park, did you guys ever go out on Thanksgiving, in the Halloween Theme, and go door to door asking “Anything for Thanksgiving” .. We did that.. Dressed up like Hobo’s trying to get more candy.. Sounds stupid, but true. I never heard of anyone else doing that.. Except, Tom above.. 🙂
I grew up in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. I also remember playing “hit the stick”. We also played with the icecream stick, standing on opposite ends of 2 cement squares, and trying to hit the stick with a “spalding” ball. I think the winner would be the first one to score 10 or maybe 20 points.