We used to play stick ball against the Acme wall. We drew a strike box on the wall and played with one pitcher and one outfielder. The batter was his own team.We used imaginary base runners and played until dark every summer day.I am a female and I would play with the guys and when I didn’t show up they would come find me.I would always be Chris Short from the Phillies cause I was a lefty.I still love the game and now as a 47 year old I still coach a varsity softball team and love every minute of it….Not bad for a kid from the projects……
Back in Philly we played stickball much the same wall, but we had an additional variation. We would find an old mop or broom handle. (sometimes it wasn’t that old). But we used the cheap rubber balls that had pimples (that’s what we called them) and we cut them in half. (old tennis balls were the best). Our game was called half ball. The same rules applied as stickball (distance determined postion on base, etc). We had no strike box, we would play against a wall or just on the street, much like streetball. We also had variations of the way the half ball was thrown. You could pitch the ball, mostly underhanded, like softball sometimes with an arch or fast and straight , so that the ball appeared to be whole as it approached the batter. Or it could be pitched sideways, so that the ball came at the batter like a flying saucer. A pitcher could actually make the ball rise or drop. The games usually ended whenever all the balls had been hit for homeruns and were on the rooftops. From time to time whenever a roof repair was being made in the neighborhood, the first thing we would ask the guy on the roof, was if there were any balls that he could throw down. My step-dad was usually the guy on the roof. So I always got first choice. As I got into my teens, and helped out I became the guy on the roof and would thrown the balls down to the younger neighborhood kids.
We’re I live not too many kids enjoy the game of baseball, and the adults despise the game of “Pepper.” Don’t even think of playing stickball, thats a mortal sin. What is this world coming to? Baseball America’s national past time is now like committing a federal offence. I think that this should upset everyone that played the game of stickball in the street with their friends and played sandlot ball at the broken down park in the middle of town. Look at what we’re doing to our children, its no wonder why drugs are taking over and sports are nothing but a business now. Thanks for your time, Gary “Hardball”
Wow, what great memories.!! Guess from the time I could swing a bat we played stickball,punchball,running bases ect. Grew up in Flushing,(P.S.22)..The game then was “strike-out” played mostly in the school yards with the “box” painted or chaulked on the wall. Another great “stadium” when you had fewer players,(or when it rained) was under the overpass`s of the L.I. Railroad. (158st). Can always remember playing center field (behind the 3rd manhole cover) and “Big Frankie” connected with a monster shot to center…With my back to the plate I was on my “Horse”…Had it all the way…Never taking into account the 1956 Buick which had parked in left center the end of last inning. Yup, hit that baby in “full stride” and paid a dear price.! Think “Big Frankie” cleared the bases on that shot.! Later on I had three of my own boys….Some of the greatest times we ever had together was playing “Strike-Out”! Where has the time gone.?? Thanks to all who contribute to those memories and for a few minutes take us back to the best days in our lives.!
I’m a 25 year old from Jersey and when I was a kid, I remember my dad teaching me a couple of the games he used to play when he was growing up in NE Philly. He showed us one game called “Halfball” where you would cut a tennis ball or raquet ball in half and play stickball with it. Some of the pitches you could toss with the half ball were more interresting than almost anything you could do with a regular baseball. That’s a game that teaches you how to keep an eye on the ball and how to swing properly to make good contact. Another game was a little simpler. All it required was a (whole) tennis ball and some overhead wires (preferably 3 or 4 running parallel one on top of the other). It played as a type of baseball game. You would allocate bases for each wire (bottom wire was a single, the second wire was a double, etc.) and the “batter” would toss the ball in the air in an attempt to hit one of the wires with the ball. If the “outfielder(s)” caught the ball before it hit the ground, it counted as an out. If the ball hit a wire and then hit the ground without being caught, you were awarded “bases” relative to which wire was hit. You had to get out 3 times before the next person was up. It was a pretty cool game that didn’t take up a lot of room in the street and still had a baseball-type edge to it. I highly suggest giving it a try.
In South Philly our ball of choice was a “pimple ball”, white or rather greyish rubber with 1/8″ dimples with bands running latitudily and stars embossed on both poles. It was used in many games, stickball, wallball, wireball, boxball, miniature,ledgies, points, dinky and the ultimate and most sublime of the street games, Halfball. In further postings I will detail the sublimities of this most enjoyable game.
I used to live on Madison Street in Ridgewood. We used to play stickball all the time. Even though I was a girl, they let me play. I only got one stitch in my entire life. I got it by waiting to get up to bat playing stickball. The guy before me hit the ball and threw the bat. The bat flew into my head just above my eye. Ouch! Did that hurt! When we first moved out to LI, we continued playing stickball at first, but then we started playing softball and kickball in the street. But since we had a stoop, we could still play stoopball.
We played with pitching against a wall with a chalk strikezone. It was a deadend street in Brooklyn that backed onto what we called the Long Island Railroad–actually the freight line. Past the pitcher on the ground was a single, unless caught. Over the fence and down to the tracks was an out, unless it made it all the way down the hill on a fly, in which case it was a double. Up the hill on the other side was a triple. All the way across the tracks and the fence on the other side was a home run. Over the top of the 6 story building that was across the tracks on the other side was a grand slam. We used to have to stop and go down to the tracks and get the balls to restart the game. You needed 3 or 4 balls if you really wanted to play all day. The BMT was right next to the “field” on the left hand side. Foul balls onto the BMT were only chased if you were out of balls because we would catch hell if our mothers saw us climbing the fence to go onto the subway tracks. We preferred spauldings because you could throw a wicked curve with it. When we first started playing we used broomsticks, but they soon came out with “official” stickball bats. Stickball was the greatest game ever invented. Why isn’t it a professional sport?