Halfball I dream of the summer of ’61 when Roger Maris was engaged in his assault on the Babe’s record and for some uncanny reason I became the King of The Home Run in an Atlantic City half ball league. We played this most enjoyable of all the street games with a cut in two star ball, pimple ball or the rare pink ball. Fast pitch or underhand lob, it didn’t make a difference. The excitement was always there. I couldn’t hit squat on a regular diamond but half ball was my ticket to fame. Geez! I’m now living in Southern Cal and as soon as I’m done writing this note, I’m going out to the garage, cut off a broom handle and slice a few tennis balls. I’m going to show my seventeen year old surfer the real sport of summer.
Two players were separated by three squares of sidewalk pavement. One player ‘pitched’ the ball, a pinky, into the box closest to the other player. If the ball missed the box, it was a walk. If the ball landed in the box, the batter slapped the ball, trying to get it to land in the box closest to the pitcher. If he succeeded, each bounce of the ball was another base–one bounce, single, two bounces, double, etc. If the ball landed anywhere but in the box, or was caught on the fly, one out was recorded. The pitcher always attempted to ‘fluke’ the ball so the batter missed it.
two people were separated by four squares of sidewalk pavement. With a pinky, you had to bounce the ball in the boxes, without hitting the lines and without your opponent catching the ball before it bounced in the box closest to him. You had to bounce the ball in a progression, starting with the box closest to the opponent, then the two boxes closest, then three boxes, then all four boxes, with one bounce in each box only. It’s hard to explain, easier with a diagram.
We statred out using an old mop handle as our “stick,” but as we got older we would pool our money and go to the local lumber yard and buy a 32-34″ piece of closet pole and wrap the bottom with black sticky electric tape (before the pine tar era). We even graduated to an old beaten up tennis ball rather than a pinky.