I can picture a brand new spaldeen vividly today, almost smell it. What a great feeling to go to the local “candy store” and buy a new spaldeen. Always preferable to a pensy pinky, which were also good.We used spaldeens in stickball, punchball, fungo, slapball, A’s-up,stoopball, and different “box games”-boxball, box baseball, five boxes, hit the penny, etc., in Bayside, Queens. As far as Johnny Pump goes, it brings to mind the old game “Johnny on the Pony”. I would love to buy some spaldeens, if there is a place to order them, I’d like to know.
THE THING THAT MADE THE PENSIE PINKIE BETTER WAS WHEN I FISHED IT OUT OF THE SEWER WITH A HANGER, THE SPALDEEN WOULD BE FLAT OUT DEAD…WATER LOGGED AND THE PINKIE WOULD BE READY TO USE…ALSO, IF YOUR BALL WAS DEAD, YOU COULD RUN IT UNDER HOT WATER. CAN ANYONE DRAW A SCOREBOARD?
In the mid to late 1940’s a Spaldeen cost $.19 in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. I don’t remember Pensie Pinkies – did they come along in the 50’s? Three sewers was a home run. In the 30’s the “big guys” used to play great stick ball games but that stopped when they went to WWII and rubber balls were not avaialable. While most of the guys came back, they went on to other pursuits after the war. Our games were fun, but they never seemed, in my mind, to match-up with those the “big guys” played.
Vandeveer Estates – late 50s early 60s — all games, no question, Spaldeen…Pennsie Pinky was just a ball you could buy when you could’t get a Spaldeen…but you could always get a Spaldeen, ’cause you just didn’t want a Pennsy Pinkie. But when the ball was dead it was time to use it for ‘Squash’ – you know, handball with tennis raquets – because if a ball had too much bounce, it would move so fast it would be impossible to hit, and when it was on its last legs it was PERFECT for squash.
We also played potsy and punchball in the “playgrounds” – which were really just fenced in squares at the apartments at 215th street, near 47th and 48th Ave in Bayside. I always prefered a Spaldeen to a pensy-pinkie.
I lived in East Flatbush during the late fifties to early sixties then after moving out to L.I. came back to hangout with my friends through the early seventies. PS 209, on Ave D and East 48th St., was one place where we played stickball. 209 was shaped like a U and we played strikbox, width wise. We played “automatics” where your hits were determined by where the ball hit the opposite wall. Had lots of fun there. Spaldeens ($.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.