We statred out using an old mop handle as our “stick,” but as we got older we would pool our money and go to the local lumber yard and buy a 32-34″ piece of closet pole and wrap the bottom with black sticky electric tape (before the pine tar era). We even graduated to an old beaten up tennis ball rather than a pinky.
In our neighborhood (Boro Park section of Brooklyn) street stickball was played “up the middle.” No pulling the ball beyond the street curbs or parked cars (which were in play). It was strickly an up the middle hit or an out. We played the “one bounce” version which allowwed tricks on the ball to increase the ball movement and give the defense an edge.
Ken Edwards Brighton Beach 50’s and 60’s. You would wake up in the morning and wait. Soon you would hear, “Hey Kenny, could you come out?” If your parents were up, you would say, “Ma, can I go out and play?” In about 20 minutes, you had about 10 to 20 friends trying to figure out what to do first. Sometimes it was stickball, sometimes dodgeball, sometimes it was skelly or chinese handball. If it was too early in the morning, water would be flying out of somebody’s window and they would yell, “can’t you kids play elsewhere, it is too early in the morning.” No matter what, you were with a group of friends. This lasted till your mother popped her head out of the window and yelled your name to come home. 4 October 1997
How about “Corner Ball”. A four corner intersection was the “field” creating a “diamond”. Needless to say, a Spaldeen was the ball of policy and proceedure. No catcher position was required. The “Batter” took the ball in hand and hit it off the curb. If he missed the curb or hit it foul, he was out. All other rules of stickball applied, (although I can honestly say i have never heard of a guy “roofing it” in curb ball). In the summer on Briggs Avenue, we’d play at least 10-12 games a day while a bunch of other guys would be playing stickball. Now that I think about it, I guess corner ball allowed us to make room for another game to be played simultaneously while you waited to get on the stickball “field”. Of course, at least 4 guys would be off on the side with a game of “Off the Point” going, but that’s a whole other game.
Growing up in Queens, we would also play stoopball a lot, but we played it with a baseball theme. If the ball bounced in front of the first defender and he missed it, then it was a single; between the two guys – double; from the second guy to the row of cars – a triple; and in the street was a homerun (assuming he didn’t catch it while dodging a car). Hitting a “pointer” just meant that you had a great shot at getting a homer.[