In South Philly the halfball base hits were: 1) Single if ball makes far curb without being caught 2) Double if ball hits first floor windows and not caught 3) Tripple if ball hits second floor windows and not caught 4) Home Run ball makes it to the roof and stays up there. Every one aspired to be called a roofer. One swing per at bat, wiff or foul ball your out.
Grew up in S/W Schuylkill (56th & Paschall ave) We played all the street games listed back in the 50’s and early 60’s. Hide and seek was referred to as “Ring up” wall ball was referred to on some corners as “chink” Loved them all! We also nailed the broken bats, taped the ball playing Hard ball, Buck-Buck, baby in the air and alot of half ball in the summer and “two hand touch” in the winter. Great era and a great time! They actually had “box ball leagues” in the summer at the Mitchell school yard at 56th and kingsessing ave!
OK, well, I’ll stand up for West Oak Lane and for girls, ’cause we played chink (OMG–I shudder at that name now!), wallball, pimpleball (broomstick and whole ball), halfball, and, oh Lord, who could forget Buck, Buck–a totally terrifying game if you were a girl. Also dodgeball, baby in the air, kickball. If anybody still plays any of these or other “playground” games as an adult, anywhere in the U.S., please let me know ’cause I’m writing an article on the subject (deadline: Dec. 31, 2008) We played in the streets of West Oak Lane(Tulpehocken, Rodney, Thouron, Wynsam), at the corner store, in the rowhouse driveways, in the schoolyard (Pennypacker) and at Simons Playground (where we also ice skated). The owner of the Flyers (Ed Snider) just saved Simons and 2 other rinks that were gonna close due to budget cuts. The smell of a pimpleball is like the smell of bright yellow mustard and a fresh pretzel–you can never get it out of your soul!
I lived on 10th st between Dickinson & Tasker until I left Philly in 1976 at the age of 13. Played everything up Wilder st and Greenwhich st. I completely forgot about Manhunt and Hide the Belt. We could think of anything even if nobody had a ball. Love trying to explain Buck Buck to people. I remember between 5 kids nobody had 35 cents for a pimple ball. I used to be able to climb the alleys up 3 story buildings onto the roof. I’d collect all the “roofed” balls and come to the edge and yell “Jackpot!” throwing down a half a dozen pimple balls and halfballs. Would love to get my hands on a pimple ball now just to feel it. I remember it was soft enough to pinch with your middle finger so when you pitched it for slapball it would take a crazy bounce right before the other guy could hit it. Great website. Thank you for the memories.
I played handball, chink, stick ball, halfball, and wireball, in Lawndale, in the 1950s. Lately I have been playing halfball, but with halved tennis balls because the “pimple balls” and “pinkies” are nowhere to be found. – MERK
I am not from Philly myself but half ball was huge where I come from in Charlestown, Massachusetts. My grandfather used to run the tournaments and I remember hearing of a team from Philly coming up here to play and vice versa. I was just wondering if anyone on this website would remember that.
What an excellent site. I was just talking to a co-worker about pimple balls and decide to do a search. I came upon this site. Man, in Mayfair/Holmesburg life was great in the 70’s and 80’s. Wall ball, ass ball, step ball, wire ball, stick ball, half ball, homerun derby, man hunt, hide the belt. All classic games only played in Philly as far as I knew anyway. Oh, can’t forget wiffle ball. We had the perfect field for wiffle ball. We would play ovet at Forrest Elementry at Cottage and Bliegh St. We played between two buildings. Hitting the ball past the defense and the ball hitting the wall below the ledge was a single, above the ledge but below the window was a double, in the area where the window was, was a triple and above the window was a homer. The defense could catch it off the wall and it was an out. If they missed it and it hit the ground then it was a hit. Great game!
A big shout out from Jim Marino way out in Chicago. Do you remember the Broadway Movie, Colonial, Savoia. Gone but not forgotten. I alway try to get to Geno’s for a cheese steak when we get back for a visit. Ever try to explain what and how you play halfball. Not very easy. This site is great. Other games. How about war games with bottle cap/top guns. Those guns made from clothes pins, sticks and rubber bands. Lots of epic battles on the streets of South Philly.And also lots of “you’ll shoot somebody’s eye out. Although I remember a few scrapes and cuts, no eyes were ever shot out. Also when we really had no money we plaed a game called Kitten and stick. Sometimes using a 6 inch piece of hose or a 6 inch stick sharpened on both ends. The object was to hit one end of the stick and cause it to bounce in the air, then hit it while in the air. Distance made the hits or scores. All of these were great. Stay in touch. Kitty where are you?