A good sized crowd has turned out for the Manhattan competition. We’re opening up with the longball competition – 1st batter Richard Mojica knocked one 260 feet.
Today’s event is at 109th St between 2nd and 3rd Ave
A story from Bill Rammelkamp. Years ago the guys from Maujer st and Teneyck st played the Hasidm boys from Marcy Ave in a game of punchball. This must be back around 1960. Before the game a fight almost broke out because we played with a tennis ball and they played with a white pimple ball. It was decided that one game would be played wih each ball. We did some special stuff to the tennis ball. It was taken and put in a brown paper bag. Then the bag was put on fire so all the heavy hair was burned off. We used these heavier balls instead of the Spaldeen because we could get more English on it. When we played stickball if we didn’t have the money for a ball, we would take a newspaper, fold it up to abou 1 1’2 inches. After you had that thickness you’d roll it up, put a rubber band around it as tight as you could get it and then put it on the curb and bang it down with a stickball handle, to make it as hard as possible. You could do all kinds of things with that kind of ball. Great spins & flukes and when you hit it, you could make it fly. ——— Well, we were definitely more interested in that story than the game that was going on. The Bronxfield Bombers won 13-2. We’re cleaning up and getting ready to go. More pictures will be posted on the site over the weekend. See you next week in Manhattan.
Sliwa on the mike about one of the players “Last seen this man was actually breaking knee caps with the stickball bat. Remember – you have to swing at the ball!” There are about 100 people around now as a procesion came by – selling bread and playing music. Tomorrow there is a celebration, the Gigilo, the big Italian feast celebrated in Williamsburg every year for more than 100 years. It originated in Nola Italy. The story is that the Bishop gave himself up so children who had been held captive would be released. When they later released the Bishop, came across on a boat from Turkey, and the people met him with Lillies, which is what the Gigilo symbolizes. It takes about 100 men to lift it, it’s about 6 stories high. It weighs a couple of tons. Anyone who will be near the neighborhood should come by to see the event. It starts at 1:00 and runs all afternoon.
Curtis Sliwa, the Stickball Commissioner has arrived. To put it mildly, the tone of the event has changed. John Campi presents a dignified call of the game, when Curtis steps up o the mike all rules go out the window. Yes, each player gets a nickname, a review of his nationality, comments on his food choices, clothing style and anything else that comes to mind “Neil’s luncheonette in desperate need of a geritol fix or a shot of Jolt cola. Anything to help get them moving.” You can imagine Sliwa’s reaction as the Dodger Sym-Phony band plays Rudolf the Red nosed Reindeer to cool the crowd. Curtis insults the crowd, the neighborhood, the band, the teams. He clearly feels at home. Top of the 4th inning Brookfield Bombers 7 – Neil’s Luncheonette 1
We had a bit of technical difficulty as the transmission was interupted mid delivery – but the final of the first game was theBrookfield Bombers 6 the E 36th Street Frantics 3. After the game, a local player came in and said they wanted to challenge the winners. Yes representing Neil’s luncheonette – a proud pickup team walked up to challenge these Staten Island Hotshots (given the age and looks of these guys, we’re bettin on the S.I. crew). In the meantime, a bit more longball competition.
We’re about to begin the 1999 Brooklyn Stickball Classic – We’re at Driggs and N 7th, the border of Greenpoint and Williamsburg. About 40 or so players have shown up and are taking their first swings. Spalding is giving out balls & tee sirts and the Daily News is setting up the “officials booth.” Butch Yung of the Guardian Angels, one of the event coordiators has asked the captains of the competing teams to come register for the event. Registration fees are $50 money goes to the Police Athletic League (PAL) Street Games Program. Team players receive official 1999 shirts. Teams get bats. John Campi of the Daily News just officially started the event. The first competition will be the “long ball.” $5 to register – money again going to PAL. If you hit it 200 feet you get a Daily News 2 sewer pin. Today’s winner gets a gift certificate from Modells. The winner at the end of the citywide competition will get a free trip to Puerto Rico.