Spaldeens were always the ball of choice for me. Money was something only grownups were allowed to hold, so spaldeens were the kids eqivilent of cash. It you had one, you got to play. In the mid-60s we played punchball day after day against the expansive brick wall of the New Yorker Theatre on 89th Street between Broadway and West End. Mostly 2-on-2. Hitting the New Yorker Bookstore sign was a homerun. The game pretty much broke up by middle school, when some kids started into drugs and others were diverted to supervised activities. I was never much of a ballplayer, but punchball required more finesse than power and I was pretty good at it.
Does anyone know where I can get a dozen or two pimple balls? I’m starting up a fistball (punchball) league for the Masters Division (55 years+) and I’ll be damned if we’re going to play with a Spaldeen. …Let’s Show The Kids How The Game Is Played (Taking leads, cuffing the ball, no gloves, etc…)
I grew up in South Boston “Southie’ and the white pimple ball (circus ball) was more expensive 15 cents and desirable than the pinky (pennsey?) 10 cents. Circa 1960. We played fast pitch stickball against a brick wall with a chalk marked strike zone and a short field. We played slow ball stickball in a bigger parking lot. Both ways meant some broken windows. Also played handball and “hin-do” to us was a “hin-da” Local accent of course. (Hindrance) We also used the pimple ball for “scrub”, previously referred to as punch ball and another game, “off the steps”. Finally, halfball when the pimple ball lost its bounce. Pinkies were rarely, if ever, used for halfball, and were a poor substitute for all the other games. We also scoured all the flat roofs we could get on and did all we could to get the balls out of the sewers. All and all great memories. You handball guys from NYC must remember Paul Haber, boy, kill shot king. He used to do exhibitions against the local talent at the L Street Bathhouse.
I grew up in Brooklyn on Atlantic Ave., near Saratoga, (Bed Sty). I went to PS 87. I don’t remember a “Pinky” we all had Spaldeens. I remember the smell of a new one, just thinking about those games; stick ball, stoop ball, punch ball, box ball and hit the penny brings back fond memories. when we moved to Brownsville, all the kids there had Spaldeen’s too.
Does anyone remember playing Giant Steps? And I had great fun playing punchball, red light green light, red rover, potsy, stoop ball, I declare war on …., hit the penny, hot potato and other city kid games. We really used our imaginations, got lots of exercise, and learned how to get along with others and organize ourselves. I feel sorry for the kids today. They are so programmed by adults.
My name is Don Whelan I lived at 1419 New York Ave until 1969 when I was 13 years old. I also attended St. Jeromes up until the sixth grade in 1969. I was younger then Bobby Lacourte and Charlie Ambruso but I use to tag along with them and play sports with them. They nicknamed me Quack because Donald Duck had the same first name as me and that’s the noise he makes. We use to play the following sports in the center court of Vanderveer slap and punch ball, hockey, softball. We also use to play stoop ball, scully, johnny on the pony, ring a leaveo, put a coin on the ground and try and hit the coin with a spalding ball and get points. We use to create All Star Baseball leagues from a board game that had a spinner on it. You would place the baseball players round card on the spinner and spin it, I remember a 1 was a home run. I remember during the summer nights our parents sitting in lawn chairs all over the Vanderveer. I remember making go carts out of baby carriage wheels or roller skate wheels and wooden milk cartons. I remember seeing the biggest water bugs walking thru the basements of Vanderveer. Finally when the neighborhood was going bad I remember the cops walking around with german shepards and driving around in scooters. I am now living in N.J. since 1969. These are great memories and a great website. Don Whelan
I grew up in Flatbush in the 50’s. For some reason, we did not play stickball, but we did play punchball and slapball. In slapball, the ball is pitched on a bounce to the batter who hits it with an open hand. You could put all kinds of different spin on the ball so that after it bounced it would swerve left, right, stop dead, or shoot ahead. We called this “fluking”. Anyone else remember that word? We used mainly Spaldeen, though I do recall Pensy Pinkies. Many balls were lost in the sewers. I recall kids saying to each other, “Walk me to the corner. I have to get a new Spaldeen.”
I played punchball in the early 1950’s in Brooklyn, New York. We played in the middle of the street. Home plate was one sewer (manhole cover) with Second Base the next sewer down. First and Third bases were halfway between home and second next to the curbs. We chalk marked First and Third bases. There were usually 3 – 5 players on a team, no pitcher or catcher. We had a first, second and third baseman, with the extras either in the outfield (beyond 2nd base) or playing a rough shortstop position (either between lst and 2nd or between 3rd and 2nd. The batter would throw the ball up in the air high enough that he could hit it with a clenched fist when it came down. Baseball rules were followed. I can recall being good enough to hit a scorcher which would just clip the corner of First Base just out of reach of the first baseman while a buddy could hit the ball beyond second base. If the ball landed on the sidewalk on the fly, it was either a foul ball or an out (I can’t recall which). It was a grand game! Too bad today’s youngsters can’t play without being in organized teams with uniforms, etc.
I grew up in the Boro Park section of Brooklyn (13th Ave, and 48th St.)in the 70’s and our ball of choice was the “Spaldeen” given that we could play handball, stickball, or baseball with a wooden bat. The pinkie was too heavy and mushy and didn’t hit as well (or as far) when playing stick or baseball. We however did use the pinkie for playing punchball, given that it was softer on our knuckles. The Spaldeen for us was the “King of Back Alley Ball”