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Modern-day Spaldeen

A Spalding Hi-Bounce Ball, often called a Spaldeen or a Pensie Pinkie, is a rubber ball, described as a tennis ball core without the felt.[1] These balls are commonly used in street games developed in the mid-20th century, such as Chinese handball (a variation on American handball), Australian Handball, stoop ball, hit-the-penny (involving trying to make a penny flip on a sidewalk), butts up, handball, punchball, boxball, half-rubber, Wireball and stickball (variations of baseball).


The term arose from a local pronunciation of "Spalding" in Brooklyn, with Spalding being the sporting goods company that produced the balls. The name has become so common that Spalding now uses it in marketing, and it is now a registered trademark.[2] The ball is also known as a "Pensie Pinkie" or "Pennsy Pinky" referring to Penn Racquet Sports, another sporting goods manufacturer brand.[3][4]


Spaldeens were popular with children from the 1930s through to the 1970s. The balls sold for 15 cents in the 1950s.[3] In urban areas sparse in grass, Spaldeens became integral to many street games due to their bounciness and light weight. Players of these games at the time said of the spaldeen, if dropped from a person's eye height, it would rebound to half of their total height.[5] Citing the declining popularity of stickball, Spalding took the ball off the market in 1979, but it returned in 1999 to much fanfare.[2][6] After reintroducing spaldeens in 1999, Spalding sold more than 2 million in the first year.[7]

In his memoir, New York Senator Chuck Schumer recalls playing slapball with spaldeens as a child growing up in Brooklyn, and refers to the baseball-inspired game and its bouncy ball as his era's video game.[8]


a newer Spaldeen in blue, autographed

Since its return in 1999 Spaldeens have been manufactured in a variety of colors in addition to pink. Some of them are black, blue, green, orange, purple, red, and yellow.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The encyclopedia of New York. David Haskell (1st ed.). New York. 2020. ISBN 978-1-5011-6695-2. OCLC 1197762213.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. ^ a b "The Spaldeen Is Back (Even if the Dodgers Aren't)". The New York Times. 13 March 2005.
  3. ^ a b The games we played : a celebration of childhood and imagination. Steven A. Cohen. New York: Simon & Schuster. 2001. ISBN 0-7432-0166-3. OCLC 46240269.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  4. ^ Chetwynd, Josh (2011). The secret history of balls : the stories behind the things we love to catch, whack, throw, kick, bounce and bat (1st ed.). New York: Perigee Trade. ISBN 978-1-101-50547-2. OCLC 773612052.
  5. ^ Curran, William (1985). Mitts : a celebration of the art of fielding. New York: W. Morrow. ISBN 0-688-04489-1. OCLC 11650679.
  6. ^ "New Life for an Old Favorite; The Spaldeen, Stickball's Bouncy Foundation, Makes a Comeback". The New York Times. 5 May 1999.
  7. ^ Noxon, Christopher (2007). Rejuvenile : kickball, cartoons, cupcakes, and the reinvention of the American grown-up (1st ed.). New York: Three Rivers Press. ISBN 978-1-4000-8089-2. OCLC 124510965.
  8. ^ Schumer, Charles E. (2007). Positively American : winning back the middle-class majority one family at a time. Daniel Squadron. [Emmaus, PA]: Rodale Books. ISBN 1-59486-572-8. OCLC 78894999.

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