Anyone try to revive a dead spaldeen? We tried frying and boiling them…no good! Anybody sing out “get the ball” back in the Bronx when trying to retrieve your spaldeen but you were too young to cross the street? Anybody ever hit an eggball in stickball where the spaldeen comes back at you?
I lived in East Flatbush during the late fifties to early sixties then after moving out to L.I. came back to hangout with my friends through the early seventies. PS 209, on Ave D and East 48th St., was one place where we played stickball. 209 was shaped like a U and we played strikbox, width wise. We played “automatics” where your hits were determined by where the ball hit the opposite wall. Had lots of fun there. Spaldeens ($.25) were primarily used. We used Pensy Pinkies ($.30) for punch ball and king/queen. “Eggballs” were used as a last resort. They came in various colors. Asses up/ace king queen was played routinely. I also fished balls out of the corner sewers as did many of my contemporaries.
In my neighborhood (Brownsville, Brooklyn), a Spaldeen was 15 cents–too steep for a lot of kids. An alternative was an ugly, underinflated, evil-smelling, grayish-pink ball with crudely vulcanized hemispheres that we used to call the “eggball.” It got that name because, no matter where you hit it with a stickball bat, it’d go almost straight up, and oscillate wildly in an egg shape. Impossible to catch without it squirting out of your hands. Stickball games were won on lopsided margins on errors alone using eggballs. If we were really lucky, the local toy store or candy store would get a load of “seconds”–Spaldeens that were defective in some way, so they had “second” stamped on them. They were 8 cents or a dime, and were a real bargain.
I remember that there were 2 tests you gave a ball to check it. First you bounced to see if it was dead or live. Second, you sqeezed it to see if it was cracked, soft or hard. Once, I was in the candy store and a little kid was buying an egg ball and wanted to check it out. He innocently asked the store owner: “George, can I squeeze your balls”. We cracked up and the kid did not understand why. Remember stoop ball and 5 boxes.