Stickball

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For the traditional sport native to North America: see Stickball (Native American).
For the traditional sport native to Australia: see Stickball (West End).

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). The equipment consists of a broom handle and a rubber ball, typically a spaldeen or pensie pinkie. 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 Italian and Irish youths growing up from the 1930s to the 1980s in New York City. It is still popular today among city kids of all backgrounds.

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. This type of play (seen in the picture to the right) is most commonly seen in schoolyards throughout Queens, NY, and is arguably the most challenging style of play. In slow pitch the pitcher stands 40 to 50 feet from the batter and the ball is hit after one bounce. In fungo, the style most often used in organized league play, 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. Hence, the batter does not run in stickball. Otherwise the rules follow those of baseball.

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Stickball

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