NorthEast Philly and Feltonville in the late 40s and 50s. Step(stoop) ball, curb ball, wall ball, wire ball were all the best games. Many of the row houses had alleys between them, so you got points by the times you hit both walls. Only had smooth Pennsie Pink and white-pimple balls, and each had it purpose. Loved the smell of the new ball. Charlie, Mike, Leroy, Bobby all great street ballers. Richie was a big kid that usually won, and beat you up if he didn’t. Nancy was as tough as Richie and she beat us up too, but nobody cared. LOL
Grew up in S/W Schuylkill (56th & Paschall ave) We played all the street games listed back in the 50’s and early 60’s. Hide and seek was referred to as “Ring up” wall ball was referred to on some corners as “chink” Loved them all! We also nailed the broken bats, taped the ball playing Hard ball, Buck-Buck, baby in the air and alot of half ball in the summer and “two hand touch” in the winter. Great era and a great time! They actually had “box ball leagues” in the summer at the Mitchell school yard at 56th and kingsessing ave!
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 Olney in the late 70’s through the 80’s at 2nd and Albanus. We played tons of street games such as; -Wire ball -Step ball -Light ball -Homicide -Suicide -Dead box or bottle caps -Wall ball -Box ball -Stick ball -Halfies -Hose ball -Wiffle ball -Hide the belt -Kick the can -Spring -Catch one catch all -Keep warm -Pile on the rabbitt -King of the hill Those were the days!
Original author: Robin Warshaw (robinwarshaw) [e-mail]
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!
What an excellent site. I was just talking to a co-worker about pimple balls and decide to do a search. I came upon this site. Man, in Mayfair/Holmesburg life was great in the 70’s and 80’s. Wall ball, ass ball, step ball, wire ball, stick ball, half ball, homerun derby, man hunt, hide the belt. All classic games only played in Philly as far as I knew anyway. Oh, can’t forget wiffle ball. We had the perfect field for wiffle ball. We would play ovet at Forrest Elementry at Cottage and Bliegh St. We played between two buildings. Hitting the ball past the defense and the ball hitting the wall below the ledge was a single, above the ledge but below the window was a double, in the area where the window was, was a triple and above the window was a homer. The defense could catch it off the wall and it was an out. If they missed it and it hit the ground then it was a hit. Great game!
War and Spud, around my neighborhood, West Philly, was called Baby In The Air. Don, I also remember, Wallball, loved it. We played in the back of our houses, across the narrow, one lane driveways. Threw the ball against one house and had to hit the opposite house’s wall, try to avoid the kitchen windows. Some guys were great in just being able to ‘grease the wall’
I remember playing stickball (fast pitch wall ball against the school wall in the summer months from early morning until the sun set and we could no longer see the ball. Unlike most of the games played in NYC, those of us on Long Island that played usually used a tennis ball instead of a pinkee ball. The advantage of using a tennis ball was it couldn’t be hit as far. This was critical if you were playing on a small field. It was also great for pitching because the seams on a tennis ball are shaped exactly like a baseball and you can throw all of the same types of pitches (curve, screw, 2 & 4 seam fastball, etc). Actually, you can get a lot more movement on a tennis ball than you can with a baseball. One of the great things I remember about stickball was the ability to get a game going just about anywhere at any time. Our group of kids used to go from school yard to school yard and play against anyone who was willing to play. Those were some great times.
We played many of the same games, as mentioned above, in a little section of heaven, right in Philadelphia. We were considered Wynnefield, but our streets were seperated from the rest of the city by City Line Ave, Belmont Ave, and Conshohocken Ave. Loved chink, wire ball, box ball. 46th and Sherwood was the best box ball locale in the city. You had to be fast and know how to hit low grounders, with spin. We also played a version of wall ball, where we would throw it off of one wall of a back of a row house, onto the opposite row house’s back wall and the opposing player would have to catch it. Some guys were great at making them just kiss the second wall. You had to make basket style catches on those. Great days and great memories.