I grew up playing stickball in the bronx. I bought my bats at the sports store right at the 242nd street station. We played a great games with simple rules: Fast Pitch (balls and strikes like baseball) Strike zone drawn on a wall – from the shortest mans knees to the tallest mans numbers and as wide as the broadest man. We played on a very narrow field. about 40 degrees between the lines. The outfield wall was about 200 feet away and about 10 feet tall. Three outs an inning. Any ground ball fielded by the pitcher before the mound (except weak hits) were outs. Any fly or line drive cought was an out. Ground ball past the pitcher was a single. Liner or po that landed in front of the outfield was a double. Off the wall was a triple. Over the wall … gone! Ghost runners would advance on every hit – they did not need to be forced. A double scored a man from second even if no one was on first. And we developed as many rule as possible to make the game as much like baseball as possible. A foul tip strike three was an out if it hit the zone. With a runner on third you could tag up on a fly to the outfield, the runner scored if the outfield did not throw a strike from wherever he cought it. A wild pitch was a pitch that hit the window on the wall with the strike zone. etc… These were the rule that we spent days playing by and making up. They made for a great way to spend summer afternoons. Thanks
I grew up in Long Beach on Long Island in the fifties, where we played the fast pitch version of stickball…a “strike zone” chalked on a wall and a long asphalt school yard to blast away at. We used the distance demarkation method for single-double-triple etc, and the same strikeout, caught grounder or caught fly for outs. There was no base running; stickball in Long Beach did little for aerobic fitness. We used broomsticks and two brands of pink rubber balls. Preferred was the Spaulding version, prenounced “Spauldeen.” Amazingly, “SPAULDING” was imprinted on the ball, we could all read, yet swore by that pronunciation. The other ball was the less desireable Pensy Pinky, which didn’t bounce as well, and also a had greater propensity to be disassembled by a solid top-spin whack. Two halves flew from the bat. Was that a single or a double? I was not a good hitter because I developed a tendency to flinch very early on. In my first game, as a fifth grader, I ducked a close pitch but stood up too quickly. The rebound off the wall whapped me right in the ear. Talk about sting! I can still feel it.
Another ball game. We took a pensy pinkie or a spaldeen and put it into a knee-high sock. Then we stood with our back against the wall, and arms and legs spread, grabbing the open end of the sock with the right hand if you were right handed, and reach over and bounce the ball between the left arm and leg and back across to the right side off the wall. You could bounce it between your legs too going up and down between the wall there and back up to the right of you. I think we did this to some kind of rhyme, but I really can’t recall. Perhaps we just counted.
Do you guys remember playin’ wallball & roofball as well as punchball & stoopball? I lived in Yonkers and for wallball we would draw two foul lines and a short & long limit line. You would bounce the spaldeen off the wall & it had to bounce past the short line or drop in front of the long limit line. If it bounced short, too long or foul it was an out. If your opponent cought it on a fly it was an out, but if he didn’t catch it, you got a base per bounce til he got it. Ex. 2-bounces a double & 3 a triple!
The game called “pinners” above was a game we called “off the point” in the Bronx. We also played the other version,”off the wall” but you didn’t get a home run unless the ball hit the building across the street. You could still get an out by catching the ball off the building before it bounced on the ground. There were so many other great games. All you needed was a spaldeen and one other kid.
i live in philly, and i’m 20 years old, we still play all old street games, our fav is wireball, you play we go into the night just playing that game, we once had the cops coming around and kicking us off the street because it was so late, another favorite game is half ball, we cut a tennis ball, or a racketball in half, if we can find pimple balls we use them, and hit it off the wall of an old prison on fairmount ave. so all you guys that think none of these games are still played, guess again, just come to fairmount ave. in philly and join us
PS186 in Brooklyn: Sponge Ball: Basically a pitcher and batter. Box painted on the wall represents strike zone. Baseball wiht no running, the father you hit the ball the bigger hit you got Other huge games Ace King queen wiffle ball triangle ringolevio off the wall i declare war In winter, skitchin as well as bombing passing cars withe ice balls from the corner
On my block, there were a few more games played with either the Spalding ( courser better feel) or Pensie Pinkie. The first was stoop ball. On Haring Street in front of 2450 the stoop consisted of 4 steps. Each step was assigned a point value. The bottom three 100 points if hit directly on the point while the top step 500 points ( more hazardous). Games were for 1000 pts with 5 pts for hitting the stoop and catching it on 1 and only 1 bounce. 10 pts were gotten if the ball hit the stoop and caught on a fly ( not the point area). You were out if the ball was caught with more than one bounce, errored, or missed the stoop entirely(trying to hit the top stoop and failing, and finally hitting one of the elder mean you can’t play here or block the stoop from us using it to go down B00000000.Games could be either one on one or teams.Box ball ( 2 squares of concrete lenthwise), Box baseball ( 3 squares lenthwise), 4 person boxball ( 4 squares in a square pattern) and finally stoopball baseball. Finally I might add, actually the best balls for stickball off the wall was the cheaper no-name ones. They were usually 5 – 10 cents each (spalding 25 cents) softer, either yellow or pink and could be manipulated such that you could throw a really mean sinker Knuckleball, and a wicked slider that broke of the end of the table. Unfortunately they split easier too.
It’s great to see other city dwellers sharing their memories about what WE used to play. It is a far cry from little league and soccer moms. I grew up 6 blocks SE of Wrigley Field, before it was “the place to be.” We were busy playing “baseball” while we heard the crowds cheer (rarely!). We played in a back yard which was cement. Overhand pitching of a tennis ball against a mesh net. No balls or strikes. Just hitting. Invisible base runners if the teams were small. On the roof was an automatic out; off the wall of 443 was in play (our own “Green Monster”). We also played football with an all-time quarterback (the only kid w/an acurate arm). Our field was a 100′ driveway w/an equal width patch of grass along side it. It was tag/tackle. You could run on the cement for speed, then cut to the grass to avoid being tagged. Handball, dodge ball, and schmear the queer rounded out our list. I share these games with my 4 kids in central Illinois hoping the rich traditions will spread on the playgrounds. I’d love a reunion w/all the friends who used to play so we could show our kids what sports really are!