I grew up in Summerdale (Oxford Circle) in the early-mid 80s. We played: * wireball * suicide (we called it “sooey”) * pitched quarters * flipped baseball cards * stoop ball (no one called it “step ball”) * Deadbox (not in Summerdale, but played with my * older cousins in Harrowgate) * Wall ball * Hand ball * stick ball * halfies * hose ball (my father grew up in kensington and taught us that) * wiffle ball (regular wiffle ball and padded bat with tennis ball — a lawn chair for the strike zone) * Spring * Freedom * Knock Knock Zoom Zoom * King of the Hill * hide and seek in the back alley/cubie holes * kick the can * foot hockey * 2 hand touch/1 hand touch * steal the bacon * straw races (when someone turned on the fire plug and we’d race drinking straws all the way down the street to the sewer) I can’t count how many pinkies, tennis balls and pimple balls I roofed from the age of 5 to 13!
I grew up in Olney in the late 70’s through the 80’s at 2nd and Albanus. We played tons of street games such as; -Wire ball -Step ball -Light ball -Homicide -Suicide -Dead box or bottle caps -Wall ball -Box ball -Stick ball -Halfies -Hose ball -Wiffle ball -Hide the belt -Kick the can -Spring -Catch one catch all -Keep warm -Pile on the rabbitt -King of the hill Those were the days!
We played a variant of Deadbox in Feltonville (4500 Hurley near D & Whitaker) where the numbered boxes went from 1 to 16. The 14,14,15,16 boxes were long and narrow, and arranged along the four sides of the deadbox. I’ve got the board memorized and can supply a diagram. Jim – dtvjho-dead [at] emailias [dot] com
It’s a pleasant surprise to find this site. Hello everyone. Stickball allows for great memories and stories. Friends play together and are made. We respect the game. Part of our youth, our culture, and gave us something positive to do. I have some truly wonderful memories of this game, the people who I played with, those times pretty much long gone. Here’s my story, and I will try to keep it as short as possible, if maybe your time might be limited. I grew up in Flatbush Brooklyn for most of my life. I began playing stickball at about 10 years old. The older I became, the more I seemed to play. I’m in my forties now. The time for my story spans nearly a quarter century. During the late 70’s to just before 2000. We played the fast-pitch version. Funny thing, in how I read that the pitcher was supposed to be about 55 feet from the strike box. Well, no one really ever told us (lol) because there was this long crack in the pavement, which couldn’t have been more than 40 feet from the strike zone. I just thought hey, that’s kinda close, but I kept my eyes so trained on the pitcher, it really didn’t matter. Everyone who played there used that same pavement crack for the pitcher’s rubber. (mound). We rarely played in the streets like many others commonly did. In our neighborhood, we had this playground – a small park, with one of those brick little Parks Dept. Buildings. Its two windows were boarded, but right under each of their ledges, was just the right height to put a strike zone. Some used paint to mark the square. I mostly used 3″ masking tape to box out the zone, so no one would complain. (lol) Nothing more frustrating, than salivating to get your stickball fix, and someone telling you about marking public property. So, ok, anyway… We had our own league. Everyone who could play from the neighborhood and closeby neighborhhods. All in all, I must’ve seen at least dozens of different players on a weekly basis, and with only two courts, you know there was a race to get dibs on any one of them first. Sometimes, the courts were less crowded, and man, those were the days. Our “Stadium”. Small park, with nearby fences and high trees. We usually had person vs. person (singles), Two-man, and Three, even Four-man teams playing. I was game for any combination. Man, this is bringing the memories. The guys I played with were fierce competitors to the core. No easy game vs. any one of them. So, based on the park’s layout, we had all concrete, a Tall Tree for a Third-Base Line, and the foot of a sliding pond for the First-Base line. You could hit either a Single, which was basically a grounder past the infield or untouched, a Double, which was a line – drive through the base of the surrounding trees or into them, or a Homer, which had to go clear over any one of them in Fair Territory. It was a Natural Mini-Stadium for sure. The hardest part of all, was just making contact, because that pitcher’s mound was like right on you. We played 7 to 9 inning games. The players I remember most, were Frank & his brother John, Toto and his Two Brothers Junior & Claude, and some other fellas who were all brothers and lived down the block. John, Dennis, George among them. Then there was Luther, and Gerald, and this guy named Johnny. Duncan, Fritz, Patrick, Will, Tyrone, & so many more. Honestly, they were all very good players. I know the rest of you grew up with some great players too. Respect there. But to tell you, it was routine that searing line drives would be traded back and forth which were really entertaining. These guys could hit. And pitch. Lots of strikeouts. How did I do? Well, I can’t or won’t brag. These guys I played with, made me the best player I could be. I had memorable games with all of them. My pitching was almost unbeatable. Consistent in the strike zone, working the corners, and changing speeds and angles into the zone. I gave every single one of them fits. I also was a switch hitter, with great contact & with power. Mainly, Frank and I played the most it seemed. Just ahead of the guys who were there the most. Him and his brother John, and Toto, and his brother Junior would come out in the Rain with me to play. Duncan & Fritz too. Frank was a monster. Super-fast pitching, like a no-mercy style. When he got hold of one when hitting, well, it was air time as the pink “Hi-Bounce” or “Spaulding” turned into an asteriod headed somewhere. That guy cost me a small fortune in Homers which we at best had a 50/50 chance of finding. Frank was awesome, and when we weren’t playing each other, we were team-mates in Two-man. I really don’t think we ever lost that much because it was a one – two punch with both of us being excellent pitchers and hitters. Great memories. I really liked those guys, every last one of them. I guess the highlight years when we all played together for so long covered the very early 80’s to 90’s. Many moved away. We also played together on championship baseball & softball teams, which is probably why the enthusiasm we shared was carried back & forth from the baseball/ softball field to the stickball court. I loved it. Those weekends rocked. I’m so grateful for them. Two last things. A. When I was alone there, sometimes I went to practice. Rain or not, I wanted to be there. Occasionally, some younger kid was there, and I could see that desire in his eyes, so then, I tried to teach him a couple of things. What I do know, …
I still have a 1966 pimple ball. We used two driveways for boxball in case we got chased from one or there was hanging wash in the way. Our stickball field was a bank parking lot behind Castor Ave; homers had to cross the lot and the street. Handball was played at recess and lunchtime at Carnell. For Deadbox, we put an extra cork in bottlecaps for added weight and control. We called manhunt “wolf”; kids on my street today play the same game and call it “freedom.” Running bases was for all the kids (including girls) of all ages, not just us “athletes.”
This is too cool. My boys were whining there’s nothing to do outside…so it was time to teach them “bottlecaps” as we called it in NE Philly (circa mid-70s). I couldn’t remember all the rules, called my sister and brother, both not home, and started surfing. What a great site! We played a variation with a deadbox in the center. We only used bottlecaps(soda or beer), as is…no wax or anything to weigh them down. We had other/different rules (like if your cap got run over by a car, you advanced a box – 2 boxes if both tires nailed you.) We used “head for the hills” instead of “out of town”. We used to kick a player’s cap down the street, but I can’t remember why. You could also “cuff” your cap into a box if you were within a certain distance of the box, a foot length, I think. (I know…Baby s@*^!) I wish I could remember them all…we played this game for hours, every day, until mom was yelling at us to come in. If anyone remembers this version, feel free to email me. Thanks for the memories…looking forward to new ones with my kids and bringing the game to Cherry Hill, NJ!