Stickball is a game played on a street or some other restricted area. It is played with a high bouncing rubber ball and a stick such as a mop handle or a broomstick. Sometimes players wrap adhesive tape around the stick for better grip.
The modern version of stickball is particularly played in New York City and follows baseball scoring and rules. There are stickball leagues, web sites, blogs and reunions. The game is even referenced in movies, poetry and songs (like Billy Joel’s tune “Keeping the Faith”). The game is usually played on a street with walls, cars and fire hydrants serving as foul lines and manhole covers serving as bases. Willie Mays used to play stickball in Harlem after day games when he was a New York Giant in the 1950s. He could hit the ball four sewers. A “sewer” was the distance between manhole covers.
There are 3 major forms of stickball: fast pitch, bounce pitch (also known as “slow pitch”) and fungo (the baseball term describing the act of hitting the ball yourself). Fast-pitch is usually played by 1 to 3 players per side in a schoolyard or parking lot where there is a big wall for the backstop and some open space for the field. Slow-pitch and fungo are usually played in the street by anywhere between 3 to 8 players per side.