Punchball

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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 closed fist.[4][5][6] Stealing and bunting are not allowed.

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 Jackie Robinson,[9] Sandy Koufax,[10][11] and Yogi Berra[12] played it growing up, as did sports team owner Jerry Reinsdorf,[13] educator Frank Marascio, and former US Secretary of State and general Colin Powell.[14][15] 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."[16] It was also a pastime of football announcer Al Michaels, who often played with former Chicago Bears quarterback Sid Luckman.

Popular culture[edit]

A 2010 PBS documentary, New York Street Games, includes punchball.[17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  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. ^ 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. 
  15. ^ Hughes, Libby (April 1996). Colin Powell: a man of quality. Dillon Press. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-382-39260-3. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  16. ^ Falls, Joe, Baseball Digest, July 1960, Vol. 19, No. 6, "Two Boys from the Bronx," p. 24, ISSN 0005-609X, accessed December 16, 2009
  17. ^ Hector Elizondo (Narrator); Matt Levy (Director). New York Street Games (Motion picture). New York City. Retrieved 14 Nov 2011. 

External links[edit]