stickball n : a form of baseball played in the streets with a rubber ball and broomstick handle [syn: stickball game]
- For the traditional sport native to North America: see Stickball (Native American).
Stickball is a street game related to baseball, usually formed as a pick-up game, in large cities in the Northeastern United States (especially New York City and Jersey City). The equipment consists of a broom handle and a rubber ball, typically a spaldeen, pensie pinkie, high bouncer or tennis ball. The rules come from baseball and are modified to fit the situation, i.e. manhole covers for bases with cars or buildings for foul lines. This game was widely popular among Irish, Italian, Jewish, and Puerto Rican youths growing up from the 1930s to the 1980s in Boston, Philadelphia, New York City and Northern New Jersey.
There are three different styles of stickball based on how the ball is pitched. In fast pitch, the batter has a wall or fence as a back stop. A rectangle is drawn on the artificial backstop in order to create a strike zone. The rectangle is chalked. If the batter does not swing and any part of the ball has chalk on it when it bounces back to the pitcher, the result is a called strike. If there is no chalk on the ball, the result is a ball. This type of play (seen in the picture to the right) is most commonly seen in schoolyards throughout Queens, NY and Jersey City, NJ. In slow pitch the pitcher stands 40 to 50 feet from the batter and the ball is hit after one bounce. In fungo, the batter tosses the ball into the air and hits it on the way down or after one or more bounces.
The batter may be out after one, two or three strikes, depending on regional rules. If the ball lands on a roof, porch or breaks a window far away it is usually ruled a home run. Hits are decided by how far the ball travels. In some versions of stickball there is no running, however in most leagues, including the New York Emperors Stickball League, the batter has to run the bases just like in baseball.
The NYESL is a stickball league in the Bronx, NY. There is an annual tournament during Memorial Day weekend that draws teams from San Diego, New Jersey, Orlando, Miami and Puerto Rico. The labor day tournaments are rotated between San Diego, Florida and Puerto Rico.
The MSBL is also another stickball league that plays fast pitch, wall ball. They are the first league to keep in depth stats and play with small teams to keep everyone involved in the action at all times. You can find them at http://www.scorebook.com/stickball. They have a message set up for league discussion as well. They play 3 seasons, spring, summer, and fall with 3 championships, MVP's and Cy Young's given out. Right now, they are the best game in town. With major ballplayers and skilled self promoters from the local tri-state area, such as Jimmy Wendling of Mamaroneck NY, Scott Gaska of Harrison NY, James Ruocchio of Long Island, and Kyle Lucas from upstate NY. The league bosts a pair of fireballing brothers, the Yurchak's of Bayonne, NJ and the Annoscia's of Long Island.
In Boston variations of stickball, a broomstick is usually replaced with a cut hockey stick, allowing a little more 'pop' on the ball if hit correctly. Also, when playing slowpitch, the ball is not necessarily bounced while pitched. 'Monkey Ball' is also usually allowed in slow pitch, regarding base runners. When 'monkey ball' is allowed, fielders can throw the ball at baserunners, eliminating the need to tag a base to get a runner out.
In another completely unrelated game by the same name, players stand in a circle all holding sticks, usually broom handles. They then pass a giant tennis ball to each other by rolling it along the stick and launching it. The objective of the game is to keep the ball flowing. Each player is unique in their technique. Unlike the other games which are related to baseball, this game is more akin to hackey sack
- Bragging Rights: Stickball Stories (2006). Directed by Sonia Gonzalez.
stickball in Japanese: スティックボール