I am from Flushing Queens, where we would usually buy Pensie Pinkies and Spaldeens from Joe’s, which was the nearest candy store. Sometimes when I had no money, I ‘d swipe a Pensie from my sister, who, along with her friends, used them mostly in an activity that involved keeping the ball in bounce while reciting different rhymes that were punctuated by passing their legs over the ball before it would bounce back up. I lived on a hill where many of these balls ended up in the sewer at the end of the block. You could retrieve them using a garden rake, but if they remained in the water too long, they almost certainly went dead. We used to play stick ball, box ball, Chinese handball, catch a fly and you’re up, and many, many more games using them. As I recall, the favored brand for stickball at least, was Spalding, but I never observed too much difference between the two.
Oh, the memories. Spaldeens ruled, anything else was second rate. I keep one in my car to this day. In the Dyker Heights section we used the Spaldeen for everything,slap ball, punch ball , handball, cather-flyers-up, stoop ball, box ball, stickball. Didn’t know pensies existed till we moved to Nassau County. We would use them if local candy store was out of spaldeens or we couldn’t put together the 25 cents for the real deal.
I grew up in Gravesend, Brooklyn (West Street and Ave. U) in the 50’s. I remember Spaldeens being our ball of choice for almost all street games. I also remember using Pensie Pinkey’s but I dont remember them being more expensive than a Spaldeen. We would only use a Pensie for box ball or in situations where a Spaldeen ball could be easily lost or stolen. By the way, does anyone remember 4-box baseball and War?
Yes, Pensie Pinkies were hollow, pink rubber balls, just like Spaldeens. But Pensie Pinkies were a lot softer, maybe because they had less air in them, or maybe the rubber was thinner. In any case, because they were softer, Pensie Pinkies were easy to “fluke” (put a spin on the ball by squeezing it between thumb and knuckles as you tossed it. (Very good for Box Baseball.) I don’t recall any sponge rubber ball. You’da got kicked out of the neighborhood for that. Steve S.
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 Bayside, Queens in the 1950s. We used Spaldeens for stickball and stoopball. The new ones cost a quarter and bounced higher than Pensie Pinkies (which, I believe, cost 15 cents.) Girls used Pensie Pinkies for punchball because they were so much softer. For that reason, they were also preferred for box baseball. For stickball, we played “fungo,” that is, no pitcher. Toss the ball in the air and hit it. Anyone remember the term “fungo?”
I grew up on Gun Hill Rd halfway between Jerome Ave and Webster Ave. Lived in Norwood(we didnt call it that back then) from 1960 to 1971.A perfect neighborhood to be born into.Leaving as an eleven year old for Southern California was heartbreaking. We played Stickball in the schoolyards of PS94. Fastpitch-box on the wall style. The spaldeen was the ball of choice over the soft and wussy pensie pinky. Does anyone remember splitting a spaldeen when hitting an “eggie” and putting the halves on your elbows? Arrived in Los Angeles suburb of Encino in summer of 1971 and promptly found out that kids had no idea what stickball or spaldeens were. What an underpriviledged culture. All we had were swimming pools,golf courses, and movie stars for neighbors. lol. I wanted the Bronx back. If I could turn the clock back I would still want the bronx back.Money doesn’t buy happiness:for me it was the bronx culture that made me rich. Bill from Gun Hill
The Marcy Projects 1966 to 1972, those were the days I was happy to have either one of these great balls. It meant the games would go on! I had a ball during this time of my life, wouldn’t have it any other way. True sluggers can remember the smell of the pensie pinky ball after it was split open on a good connect.It held the chalk (Strike), well also.