Love this site! I grew up in Astoria, very familiar with “Last Licks” and “Chips on the Ball”. The home team, or team batting in the bottom of the inning was the team who got “Last licks”. “Chips on the Ball” meant, if the ball was lost or split ( Spaldings had way of splitting at the seams) the person who hit it had to give the guy who brought the ball money to buy a new one.
Gary, I grew up in Howard Beach , Queens and although 12 years your senior, even “back then” we used the term ‘chips on the ball’. Which indictaed the owner of the ball expected to be re-imbumbursed or have the ball replaced by anyone who caused it be lost (sewer, roof top), or broken. And I agree with your definition of “last licks”. Don’t see why anything one of the Yankee announcers (corporate shills) say should bother you. The default is that they’re wrong. I’ve been a Yankee fan since 1956 and this is the worst crew (by far) they’ve ever had.
First I’d like to thank this site. I was startled at my job that no one who I eat lunch with was familiar with the expression “chips on the ball” even though a few are my contemporaries (I’m 43), and they insisted “it must have been a Mineola thing.” I proved them wrong via your site. I am now seeking to clear up something that bothered me a lot this baseball season–hearing Yankee announcer Michael Kay referring to the 9th inning as being “last licks” for both teams. My childhood interpretation from our neighborhood was that ONLY the home team could get “last licks”, because they were the last to have an opportunity to bat. Indeed, in our neighborhood stickball contests, the ONLY advantage of being designated the home team was that you had last licks and the other team didn’t. What say you? Please reply either publicly or privately. Gary callisto [at] optonline [dot] net