Hey! Kids. Put down your Nintendos and try these super-cool games.
Kick The Stick.....
Johnny Ride The Pony
This game was almost always played at night.
It was scored like baseball.
One or two guys on a team were enough.
Longways boundaries were defined by the banquets(sidewalks) and street.
Sideways boundaries were defined by parked cars, light poles, etc..
The team "batting" would be on the banquet.The defenders would position themselves in the street.
The batting team would throw a ball (tennis, baseball, golf) up at the electric wire. If it hit the wire it was a "Home Run", providing the other team didn't catch it in the air. In that case it was an "out". A thrown ball that didn't hit the wire became a potential "Single" if not caught in the air. Singles had to stay in bounds or they were an out. But, once a ball hit the wire it was fair no matter where it landed. We usually played seven to nine innings per game. Three outs to an inning.
The best strategy was to "Hit the wire".
Next came "Throw it high into the night sky so the defenders would miss it".
A single would advance the "runners" one base.
A "Home Run" would clear the bases.
There were no doubles or triples.
All the kids in my neighborhood liked "Wire Ball" and we played it a lot.
I remember my Mom calling to me, "Come on in Butch, it's getting late."
Of course I yelled back, "Aw, Mom, just one more inning, Huh!"
Kick The Stick
This is another game that copied baseball. And, like "Wire Ball" we played it mostly at night.
The four corners of the street were Home Plate and the Three Bases.
The only fielder was the "Pitcher". Oddly enough he never pitched at all.
Everybody else were either "Inners" or "Batters".
The game went like this:
A "batter" would wedge a stick between a crack in the "Home" curbstone.
He would then kick it and try to get on base before the "Pitcher" could field it and "Call his name".
If your name was called by the "Pitcher", with the stick in his hand, you were "Out" and became the "Pitcher"
When there were men on base the "Pitcher", after fielding the stick, had the option of calling the name of any runner who was off base. There was no stealing, you had to stay on base until the stick was kicked.
If you kicked it far enough, you could take extra bases.
"Kick the stick" required a minimum of five guys,(four kickers, one pitcher).
Sometimes balls were scarce, but you could always find a stick.
All you needed to play Cork Ball was a broomstick and a bag
of bottle caps.
The field was usually the banquets and street.
You made up boundaries for "fouls" which were "outs". And you designated areas that were singles, doubles, triples and home runs.
A "swing and a miss" was an "out".
This game was usually played with just two guys. Seven to nine innings of three outs each were standard. There were no balls or strikes called. If the pitch was way off, we'd just let it sail by, but we swung at everything close.
Bottle tops in those days were made out of tin with a cork lining. They sailed nicely when thrown side-arm, and with practice, you could get a high percentage in the strike zone.
We valued our bottle tops and picked them up after every game. When we were running low, we'd make the rounds of the grocery stores and sweet-shops in the neighborhood to fill up the bag again.
Once in a while we'd be disappointed when the shopkeeper would tell us, "Sorry boys, so and so just cleaned me out."
Johnny Ride The Pony
This is a game that has four names: "Johnny Ride The Pony", "Post", "Buck Buck"
and "Break The Camel's Back".
It was the roughest game we played, next to tackle football. Four to seven guys per team was required.
The "Pony" team would make a "Pony" out of their members in the following way.
The lead guy stood upright, the next guy bent over and put his arms around the waist of the lead guy. The rest of the players also bent over and hugged the guy in front of him.
The "Pony or Camel" looked kind of like this: |----.
The other team would position themselves about ten yards behind the rear end of the "Pony" and one by one, they ran, and by "leapfrogging" off the first guys back, jump into position on the "Pony".
The first jumper had to jump all the way to the front, or the remaining jumpers wouldn't have room behind him to get on.
This would cost them the round and they would become the "Pony".
Once the jumper landed, no re-positioning was allowed.
When all of the team was on the back of the "Pony", the "Pony" had to then walk ten yards without falling down or pulling apart. A goal was designated for this purpose.
If this walk was successful they won the right to jump on the other team's back.
If any of the jumping team fell off of the "Pony", either during the jump or the ride, they had to become the "Pony".
Needless to say, it was more fun to be a jumper then a "Pony".
And, you were better off if "Tubby" was on YOUR team.