This blog is now sugar FREE, fat FREE, gluten FREE, all ORGANIC and all NATURAL!!

Monday, May 4, 2015

GARAGE-WALL BALL - a cranky re-run

This re-run is from April 2012

It is the start of baseball season and as usual my thoughts go back to my youth.  Baseball is a great game, but playing it takes lots of space.  It also takes lots of players.

Children find ways to conquer this problem by inventing different forms of the game.  In the city, kids played stoop ball.  The “batter” would throw a tennis ball against the step of their stoop and the fielders, usually only an infielder (before the street) and an outfielder (in the street), would have to catch the ball as it bounced back off the step.

If the infielder fielded it cleanly it was an out.  If the outfielder caught it on the fly it was an out.  If the batter caught the point of the step just right, the ball had a chance to sail over the street for a home run.

Another form of city baseball was punch ball.  In this game the batter punched a spaldeen, an orange rubber ball which was pretty much the insides of a tennis ball, with his fist.  The ball could be punched pretty far by a good batter, but the game did not take up nearly the field size of a game of stickball.  Stickball was played with a spaldeen and an old broom stick.  We never did play stickball in my suburban Long Island neighborhood.

The game we did invent BWB (before whiffle ball) was one that was totally unique.  I have never met anyone who played even a variation of “Garage-Wall Ball.’

We played in Danny Tully’s back yard.  The Tully’s had a garage made of brick.  In the backyard, a concrete walk ran five feet in front of the rear garage wall.  The pitcher bounced a spaldeen onto the walk, off the garage wall and back towards the batter who was facing the wall, his back to the pitcher.  The batter then hit the ball against the garage wall to ricochet back towards the field.  If the ball went past the pitcher on the ground it was a hit.  If it reached the swing set it was a triple; over the swing set was a homerun.  There were no doubles; we only had first, third, and home bases.  With the garage wall absorbing most of the batter’s power we were able to play on a field no more than sixty feet deep and still be able to take a full swing.

We played “Garage-Wall Ball” for maybe ½ a summer; then we discovered Whiffle Ball.   Whiffle ball was the end of a great game.  A great and unique invention was made extinct before the world ever discovered it.  “Garage-Wall Ball” was an early victim of technology.


  1. What a nice memory. Kids needs stuff like this in their lives still.

  2. Maybe you could revive Garage-Wall Ball with your grandchildren. It might still catch on!

  3. I love it when you take a walk down memory lane. You made me think of the games my sister and I played when we were kids. We lived out in the middle of nowhere, so there weren't any other kids to play with.

    Have a fabulous day. :)

  4. Very creative to come up with garage ball! Kids nowadays I don't think would have been that adaptive! Sounded like fun too!


  5. Now that was creative and a great use of limited space. You probably could market a version of that today. That is if you can get the kids off their duffs and put away the Game Boys.

  6. i like how you made up your own games based on what you had available and what could work. :)

  7. I used to play entire baseball games all by myself throwing the ball at a stretch of concrete along the bottom of our garage wall. Hitting the dirt first could make for all kinds of strange bounces. But then, I was a strange kid.

  8. Amazing how creative kids were when TV was black-and-white, and had only three channels plus PBS.

  9. It's hard to imagine kids today turning off their electronic devices and inventing a game. Rather sad.

  10. As kids we didn't play baseball but we knocked hell out of people's walls with other ball games. Cricket bats caused the most damage.

  11. I don't think I ever touched any type of ball unless it was PE lesson in primary school. In high school I gave up altogether, volunteering to keep score for games like volley ball.

  12. If left alone, kids will always find new activities. (I think)

  13. This reminds me of the fun my sisters and I had tossing a tennis ball up the steep slope of grandma's garage. Whoever caught it after it rolled back tossed it up again. That's all. An over throw meant crawling into the thorny branches of the gooseberry patch on the opposite side of the garage to retrieve it. But that game was so much fun. More, I think, than my grandkids have today with the multi-hundred dollar Lego sets they "need."


I love comments, especially some of my commenters are funny as heck!

Oh, and don't be shy, Never miss a Cranky Post.

Sign up for an email of every post...over there...on your right...go on!