Letters: Philly can't take credit for inventing halfball

Posted: July 16, 2011

What makes B.G. Kelley think that halfball is a Philadelphia game ("Halfball was wholly Philadelphia," July 7)?

I was raised in New York during the Great Depression some 80 years ago. We depended on our ingenuity for games and playthings. Popular ball games used the pimple ball or the pink rubber ball. Since there were no rowhouses, our "ballparks" were the city canyons lined by six-story apartment buildings.

We played halfball, stickball, stoopball, stepball, curbball, wallball, boxball, and punchball. With the exception of halfball, which used half of a pimple ball, all the other games used the 5-cent pink rubber ball, which had fantastic bounce. The bases in halfball and stickball were manhole covers and fire hydrants. The other games used the physical attributes of the neighborhood structures.

Where did we get a nickel to purchase a pink ball? We scrounged the trash barrels for deposit bottles, from which, on a good day, we could make 15 cents. Kelley is at least a generation late with his games, which probably were imported from the sidewalks of New York.

Myron Halpern

Delanco

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