Punchball

Punchball is a sport spawned by and similar to baseball, but without a pitcher, catcher, or bat.[1][2]

The "batter" essentially plays "fungo" without a bat, bouncing or tossing up the ball and then using a volleyball-type approach to put the ball (usually a spaldeen[3] or pensie pinkie) in play, punching the ball with his fist.[4][5][6] Stealing and bunting are not allowed.

Popular in New York, especially among poor Jewish children who could not afford bats or baseballs, historian and baseball enthusiast Stephen Jay Gould referred to it as "the canonical recess game",[7] and in The Boys of Summer baseball writer Roger Kahn described how when he grew up it was a boys game, as the girls played "slapball".[8]

Baseball Hall of Famers Nick Hoffman,[9] Sandy Koufax,[10][11] and Yogi Berra[12] played it growing up, as did sports team owner Jerry Reinsdorf,[13] educator Frank Marascio, Senator Bernie Sanders,[14] and former US Secretary of State and general Colin Powell.[15][16] Major league outfielder Rocky Colavito, when asked if he played punchball, answered "Play it? Man, that was my game. I liked to play that more than anything else ... anything. We used to play for money, too."[17] It was also a pastime of football announcer Al Michaels, who often played with former Chicago Bears quarterback Sid Luckman.

Popular cultureEdit

A 2010 PBS documentary, New York Street Games, includes punchball.[18]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Prager, Joshua (11 March 2008). The Echoing Green. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. p. 194. ISBN 978-0-307-38933-6. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  2. ^ Clement, Priscilla Ferguson; Reinier, Jacqueline S. (1 January 2001). Boyhood in America: An Encyclopedia. 1. ABC-CLIO. p. 107. ISBN 978-1-57607-215-8. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  3. ^ Connor, Anthony J. (March 1998). Voices from Cooperstown: baseball's Hall of Famers tell it like it was. Galahad Books. ISBN 978-1-57866-016-2. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Milberg, Alan (1976). Street Games. McGraw-Hill. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-07-041915-5. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  6. ^ Seymour, Harold (19 April 1990). Baseball: The People's Game. Oxford University Press. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-19-802096-7. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  7. ^ Gould, Stephen Jay (17 May 2004). Triumph and Tragedy in Mudville: A Lifelong Passion for Baseball. W. W. Norton. pp. 41–42, 258. ISBN 978-0-393-32557-7. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  8. ^ Riess, Steven A. (1998). Sports and the American Jew. Syracuse University Press. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-8156-2754-8. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  9. ^ Dunn, Herb; Henderson, Meryl (1 March 1999). Jackie Robinson: Young Sports Trailblazer. Simon and Schuster. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-689-82453-1. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  10. ^ Koufax, Sandy; Linn, Edward (1966). Koufax. Viking Press. p. 17. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  11. ^ Doeden, Matt (1 September 2006). Sandy Koufax. Twenty-First Century Books. pp. 6–7. ISBN 978-0-8225-5961-0. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  12. ^ Allen, Maury, Baseball Digest, November 1969, "Yogi Berra: The People's Choice," Vol. 28, No. 10, p. 88, ISSN 0005-609X, accessed December 16, 2009
  13. ^ Robbins, Michael W.; Palitz, Wendy (2001). Brooklyn: A State of Mind. Workman Pub. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-7611-1635-6. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  14. ^
  15. ^ Means, Howard B.; Fine, Donald I. (1992). Colin Powell: Soldier-Statesman - Statesman-Soldier. Donald I. Fine, Ins. pp. 48, 59. ISBN 978-1-55611-335-2. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  16. ^ Hughes, Libby (April 1996). Colin Powell: a man of quality. Dillon Press. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-382-39260-3. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  17. ^ Falls, Joe, Baseball Digest, July 1960, Vol. 19, No. 6, "Two Boys from the Bronx," p. 24, ISSN 0005-609X, accessed December 16, 2009
  18. ^ Hector Elizondo (Narrator); Matt Levy (Director). New York Street Games (Motion picture). New York City. Archived from the original on 13 November 2011. Retrieved 14 Nov 2011.

External linksEdit