Please allow me to share my views on the subject. IMHO, Spaldeens (as they are pronounced) are the proper tool for games such as stickball, however I have found Pennsy Pinkies more appropriate for Chinese handball and boxball.
Grew up on Wilson Street and Lee Avenue in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Attended Boys High School. Most friends went to Eastern District or Seward Park High School. Most of us played punch ball with a “baby line.” three steps to Germany, Johnny on the Pony, Chinese handball and box ball. We read and traded comic books. “Action Comics, Detective Comics, Marvel, King Feature Comics and read the comics in the newspapers. Dick Tracy, (my favorite), Smiling Jack with Fat Stuff losing a button to a ubiquitous chicken who followed him everywhere. Saturday matines for 5 cents we saw a chapter (Tim Tyler’s Luck or Flash Gordon) the Paramount News (Monkees do the craaaaziest things,)two or three features, a cartoon and sometimes a door prize announced from the stage. I could go on forever and include the radio programs for which we raced home from the school playground to hear.
Out on LI, just off Hempstead Turnpike in W. Hempstead, there was a long red brick supermarket wall, and concrete paving all the way to the street. This became known as “The Office.” Games of ‘Chinese’ Handball went on all day long in the late 50s and early 60s. Chinese handball was played in a ‘court’ usually two pavers square and was distinguished by one rule: You had to bounce the ball once before it hit the wall. “The Office” was well equipped: Across the street was “Three Finger Jack” McGinn’s candy store, and there was a staircase next to the handball wall where you could climb down and have more ‘private’ conversation, or hide if your mom came looking for you and your cigarette-smoking hooligan friends.
I was thinking of the games we used to play with a Spaldeen. There were games for only one person up through a full baseball team. As I remember them they were: 1 Person Catch with yourself- throw the ball up and catch it. Practicing your pitching against a box on the wall Throwing the ball against the wall to see how high you could throw it. On the roof was the ultimate Throwing the ball off the wall (or stoop) and practicing your catching ability. 2 Persons Box Baseball Hit the penny. Stickball Catch American Handball, paddle ball, etc. Off the wall Stoopball 3 Persons Monkey in the middle Running Bases Salugi (?) or keep away Chinese handball Larger Groups Punchball Slapball I’m sure there are more. But for 25 cents, nothing could beat thatbeautiful pink ball with the word Spaulding stamped on it. We didn’t need our parents making schedules, driving us all over the place. Just us and a little ball, and we were in heaven for hours. Mark Podhorzer Now of Atlanta GA, but in my heart always from Brooklyn
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