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?”
OK, well, I’ll stand up for West Oak Lane and for girls, ’cause we played chink (OMG–I shudder at that name now!), wallball, pimpleball (broomstick and whole ball), halfball, and, oh Lord, who could forget Buck, Buck–a totally terrifying game if you were a girl. Also dodgeball, baby in the air, kickball. If anybody still plays any of these or other “playground” games as an adult, anywhere in the U.S., please let me know ’cause I’m writing an article on the subject (deadline: Dec. 31, 2008) We played in the streets of West Oak Lane(Tulpehocken, Rodney, Thouron, Wynsam), at the corner store, in the rowhouse driveways, in the schoolyard (Pennypacker) and at Simons Playground (where we also ice skated). The owner of the Flyers (Ed Snider) just saved Simons and 2 other rinks that were gonna close due to budget cuts. The smell of a pimpleball is like the smell of bright yellow mustard and a fresh pretzel–you can never get it out of your soul!
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.
I’m from Bay Ridge Brooklyn and remember the Spalding being the better/best ball to have and play with. I vaguely remember that if a Spalding ball was not there was an inferior ball we played with and it must have been the “pinkie” ball, but the Spalding was the best and more expensive of the balls to play with.
I lived on 10th st between Dickinson & Tasker until I left Philly in 1976 at the age of 13. Played everything up Wilder st and Greenwhich st. I completely forgot about Manhunt and Hide the Belt. We could think of anything even if nobody had a ball. Love trying to explain Buck Buck to people. I remember between 5 kids nobody had 35 cents for a pimple ball. I used to be able to climb the alleys up 3 story buildings onto the roof. I’d collect all the “roofed” balls and come to the edge and yell “Jackpot!” throwing down a half a dozen pimple balls and halfballs. Would love to get my hands on a pimple ball now just to feel it. I remember it was soft enough to pinch with your middle finger so when you pitched it for slapball it would take a crazy bounce right before the other guy could hit it. Great website. Thank you for the memories.
I played handball, chink, stick ball, halfball, and wireball, in Lawndale, in the 1950s. Lately I have been playing halfball, but with halved tennis balls because the “pimple balls” and “pinkies” are nowhere to be found. – MERK
Hey Bob. Saw your message about playing stickball with fading fuzz tennis balls prior to WWII. I’m a 30’s guy who played in the streets of Jersey City and scattered with the rest when the “Mickey Mouse” popped in. Great times,guys and memories there.I just found this site as I’ve been trying to find a place out here that sells those balls we used so I can infect some grandkids with those old street/school yard games. My recollection is that we used a pinkish ball which I then understood to be manufactured by the companies that manufactured tennis balls. What they purportedly did was stop the process before putting the fuzz on to make our ball. At least that’s what my understanding was. They stopped making them, I was told, in the fifties. I’ve not been able to find anything in the San Diego area yet that is described as a Pensie Pinky or Spaldeen to compare it with what I knew as THE BALL.
I’m a gal who was born & raised in B’klyn.(1953)& lived entirely in Brownsville, ENY for my entire life. You name the street game, I played it, & if it involved a ball, it was a SPAULDING,,(aka as we called it “SPAUL-DEEN”..) & I cant eva recall a “Pensie Pinkie.” There was several balls we called “Flat Balls”..but (maybe pensie pinkies..??) but were quickly replaced if somebody came in with a “Spauldeen”,cause they just didnt have the bounce. Long Live BK, BROWNSVILLE, B.R.C, BETSY HEAD, were we played like no tomorrow.