I,m writting from Philly and I,m trying to find out if you have a game in NY which is similar to our version of “Boxball”.”Boxball” in Southwest philly was very similar to baseball as we had four bases and a pitchers ‘mound’.It was played in the street where their were spaces between the parked cars.Anything could be a base-a car fender,a lamp-post,a tree, a curb- or the bases could be marked with chalk or a broken red brick.The ball of choice in Philly was the “Pimple Ball”.The game could be played with any number of players and you could change sides as some players came and went.According to what block (the street you lived on) you played on the rules would change whether you could hit the ball with a closed or open hand.When you did hit the ball it had to hit inside the infield or you where out. A swing and miss was also an out. Chopping the ball was called a “Baltimore Chop” and of course that was an out.Once you hit the ball you ran the bases in the same way as regular baseball.The ‘pitcher’ pitched the ball by bouncing it to the hitter on one bounce.Before the game could begin it was decieded if the pitcher could put a spin on the ball when he pitched it in. This spin would make the ball do tricks equal to a curve or sinker in real baseball.This was determened by asking “Stuff or no stuff?” before the game.If you have a game close to this what do you call it ? Is this your game called “Punchball”I would appreciate reading any responces
Hello, My name is Dan Harrell and I was raised in Southwest Philadelphia. I’m 56 years old and I’m doing a paper on the game of “Box Ball” as we played it back in the 50’s.I recently had a reunion game with friends of mine of my own age . Since they no longer make the “Pimple Ball”(a little bigger and not quite as bouncy as the pink,or bubble gum colored,ball)we used what I guess you call a “Spaldeen” in New York.Maybe its because we are older but the pink ball is a shade too small for our game and a little too lively.In fact, I’m not too sure but, I believe the “Pimple Ball” was the only ball we used for our street games-I don’t recall any other ball outside an occasional “Star Ball” being used. I enjoy reading your site and wish you the best with your ‘bounce off’. Yours In Street Games Dan Harrell
Spaldeens were used for Stoop,Stick and Wall Ball. In the area known as Red Hook south Brooklyn. There was a street game that most called “punch ball” We chose to call it fist ball, since you didn’t hit it with a punch but rather your closed fist or in some instances an open hand, to slap it or slice it. The ball was hit with the exposed flat joints and heel of the hand The prefered ball for this was known as a “Pimple ball”, it was white and a little softer than a Spaldeen. The ball had dots in between lines that ran around the ball. Some had a star at the top and bottom of the ball. There was no room on our block to play stick ball, with cars parked on either side and there were only a few stores in the area that sold it. One was Scamadellas, on Court and Baltic Streets. 15 cents each.
I’m 34 YO and grew up in a suburb of West Philly playing three kinds of stick-ball. One-bounce stick-ball had two or three outs an inning and you got either one strike or two fouls. Fastball involved pitching into a box painted on a wall and has three strikes and four ball walks. Half-ball involved cutting a tennis ball or pimple ball in half and playing by fast ball rules, with no walks. All hits were automatics with telephone poles or manholes determining the bases.
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
A story from Bill Rammelkamp. Years ago the guys from Maujer st and Teneyck st played the Hasidm boys from Marcy Ave in a game of punchball. This must be back around 1960. Before the game a fight almost broke out because we played with a tennis ball and they played with a white pimple ball. It was decided that one game would be played wih each ball. We did some special stuff to the tennis ball. It was taken and put in a brown paper bag. Then the bag was put on fire so all the heavy hair was burned off. We used these heavier balls instead of the Spaldeen because we could get more English on it. When we played stickball if we didn’t have the money for a ball, we would take a newspaper, fold it up to abou 1 1’2 inches. After you had that thickness you’d roll it up, put a rubber band around it as tight as you could get it and then put it on the curb and bang it down with a stickball handle, to make it as hard as possible. You could do all kinds of things with that kind of ball. Great spins & flukes and when you hit it, you could make it fly. ——— Well, we were definitely more interested in that story than the game that was going on. The Bronxfield Bombers won 13-2. We’re cleaning up and getting ready to go. More pictures will be posted on the site over the weekend. See you next week in Manhattan.
I have written and illustrated a book on “City Games” played with a “pimple ball”. These games include: stickball, wallball, wireball, boxball, miniature,ledgies, points, dinky and the ultimate and most sublime of the street games, halfball. Halfball is one of the greatest games ever, and if anyone has any info or comments regarding these games feel free to e-mail me at bearncrepe [at] aol [dot] com. Thanks, Bob Bu