Well, I’m from Chicago and we played may of the games mentioned here. I want to actually write about these games in my Family Tree book so that my grandchildren would know how their grandmother played when she was young. I especially, like playing with the spauldeen and used it to play the Russian Ten, O’Leary, and Roly/Poly. Does anyone know the verses, order, and directions on how these games were played? I would love to know, since I’ve forgotten a lot! Thanks. thiele007 [at] hotmail [dot] com.
I’m Tony from Astoria Queens. We used to play with Spalding Balls and played stick Ball, Strike Box (AKA Alley ball), Stoop Ball, Box Ball, Handball, and all the others mentioned. One thing I haven’t heard about the spalding’s were the types or classes of each. I can remember there being four to choose from numbered 1-4. They went from #4 being softer (less air) to #1 being the hardest (most air). When you bounced the #1 you could hear the p’ing’ or ‘ting’ sound it made from it being so tight. In stickball, I could hit that ball for two blocks in the air and it would bounce for about five more blocks! Telling my kids this seems unbelievable to them; and if you really think about it, you start to second- quess yourself about being able to hit it that far–but you know you could. I think we (ALL) were the true superheroes of NYC and the Tri-State area. Never forget where you came from is my moto!!!
DOES ANYONE REMEMBER THE BALL GAME CALLED “I DECLARE WAR” WHERE A LARGE CIRCLE WAS DRAWN IN THE STREET WITH CHALK AND PORTIONED OFF LIKE A PIE FOR THE NUMBER OF PLAYERS EACH OF WHOM WOULD CHOSE A COUNTRY TO REPRESENT THEM AND WRITE THE NAME IN THIER COUNTRY IN THAT SECTION….THE BALL WAS BOUNCED AS HARD AS THE FIRST PLAYER COULD BOUNCE IT YELLING “I DECLARE WAR ON (WHATEVER) COUNTRY HE CHOSE” AND EVERYONE WOULD SCATTER. THE DECLARED COUNTRY PLAYER HAD TO RETRIEVE THE BALL AND YELL FREEZE (EVERYONE FROZE STILL). HE THEN TRIED TO HIT A FROZEN PLAYER WITH THE BALL…IF HE WAS SUCCESSFUL HE GOT TO CARVE OUT A PIECE OF THAT PLAYERS COUNTRY (USUALLY THE SIZE OF HIS FOOT SQUARED) AND WRITE HIS COUNTRY’S NAME IN IT…IF HE MISSED WITH HIS THROW THE PLAYER ATTACKED COULD CUT OUT A PIECE OF THAT PLAYERS COUNTRY AND CLAIM IT AS HIS….AND SO ON TILL THE WORLD WAS OCCUPIED BY THE BEST PLAYER (OR YOU MOTHER CALLED YOU HOME FOR SUPPER OR DARKNESS)…LET ME KNOW IF YOU REMEMBER THIS GAME. ANDREW BROOKLYN 1949 – 1962
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..
The only other ball game we played not listed here was called something that might have been spelled “sluuuugie”, which was played with 2 teams. Each team would throw the ball to only their teammates, while the other team tried to steal it. Stealing the ball often was physical rough housing allowed. One last game also unmentioned, but played with out a ball was johnny on a pony, usually we played against a johnny pump (fire plug), but sometimes against a telephone pole. Charlie from Ozone Park 1965-1978
NorthEast Philly and Feltonville in the late 40s and 50s. Step(stoop) ball, curb ball, wall ball, wire ball were all the best games. Many of the row houses had alleys between them, so you got points by the times you hit both walls. Only had smooth Pennsie Pink and white-pimple balls, and each had it purpose. Loved the smell of the new ball. Charlie, Mike, Leroy, Bobby all great street ballers. Richie was a big kid that usually won, and beat you up if he didn’t. Nancy was as tough as Richie and she beat us up too, but nobody cared. LOL
I grew up in the South Bronx during the seventies, less than a half mile from Yankee Stadium. We played a version of stoopball where there were delineations across the street at different heights of the building which indicated singles, doubles, triples, and homers. Outs were only made by catching the ball in the air, or by catching three balls on the bounce (or, three strikes.)