Stoop ball

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Stoop ball (also spelled "stoopball") is a game that is played by throwing a ball against a stoop (stairs leading up to a building) on the pavement in front of a building. Historically, it has been popular in Brooklyn and other inner cities. In Boston, the game is known as "Up-Against." In Chicago, the game is known as "Pinners." In Chicago's Bridgeport area the game is called "Three Outs". The game is also known as "Off the Point".[1] It first became popular after World War II.[2]


Stoop ball is a pickup neighborhood game played on the stairs of a residential dwelling by a minimum of two players. The rules [3] are based loosely on baseball. The object of the game is to score the most runs in 9 innings.

One player is the "batter" and the other players the "fielders". The batter stands immediately in front of the stairs while the fielders stand behind the batter across the sidewalk on to the street. The "batter" throws a pink rubber ball (either a "spaldeen" or "pensie pinkie") at the stoop. The ball flies back towards the fielders, who are also facing the stoop. The objective is to hit the ball at such an angle and velocity so that it bounces back in the air as far as possible over the heads of the fielders, therefore registering bigger hits. The number of bases registered by a hit is determined by the distance traveled by the ball before it is fielded, unless the ball is caught on the fly resulting in an out.

The Stoopball League of America holds its annual world championships every July in Clinton, Wisconsin.


In addition to the "baseball rules" or "bounces" variation described above, there is also the "curbball" version, often played in parks. In the "original" version of stoop ball, only one player at a time throws and catches. In St. Louis, Missouri, this game was known as "stepball", where it was played from at least the 1930 to the 1980s. A Portable Stoopball Striker has even been patented.[4]

Popular culture[edit]

Stoopball has been played and enjoyed by a number of prominent persons. Sandy Koufax played stoop ball before beginning his Hall of Fame baseball career,[5] and announcer Marv Albert missed the city game so much that he had a stoop constructed at his house in the suburbs.[6] Billy Joel played stoop ball on suburban streets.[7] Delio Jimenez also played stoop ball on 13th street Park Slope, Brooklyn. He went on to become the Worldwide Stoop Ball Champion in 1983. In 1988 he was inducted in the Brooklyn WSBCA (World Stoop Ball Champion Association) hall of fame and is still revered today as one of the most prolific stoop ball champions in the history of Brooklyn.[citation needed]

A 2010 PBS documentary, New York Street Games features stoopball and gives a brief history of the sport as it pertains to New York City. Although the documentary does not acknowledge Delio Jimenez as the stoop ball champion during that era, Billy Joel paid to have a likeness of Delio Jimenez painted on a Park Slope mural which stands on 12th street to this day.[8]


  1. ^ "Stoopball at". September 21, 2006. Retrieved March 18, 2010.
  2. ^ Schupak, Marty. "Stoop Ball on". Retrieved March 18, 2010.
  3. ^ "Official Rules – Stoopball League of America". Retrieved March 18, 2010.
  4. ^ United States Patent # 5531449 "portable stoopball striker"
  5. ^ "Harvey Frommer on Sports". January 13, 2009. Retrieved March 18, 2010.
  6. ^ Beller, Thomas (November 17, 2005). "Mr. Beller's neighborhood". Retrieved March 18, 2010.
  7. ^ "Growing up Billy Joel". Retrieved March 18, 2010.
  8. ^ Hector Elizondo (narrator); Matt Levy (director). New York Street Games (Motion picture). New York City. Retrieved 14 Nov 2011.