Before we played a game of stickball or softball, before we would choose up sides, what was the one thing the owner of the ball would scream out?


Playing a street game that included a rubber ball, if you happened to lose the ball you had to pay the owner to replace it.

In the girls schoolyard playing stickball, if someone hit the Spaldeen over the roof on 9th avenue; pay me Reggie!

If you played baseball in the lot and out fouled off a pitch over the fence, game over.  Chip in for a new baseball!

Down at P.S. 154’s if someone “roofed” the softball you had to ante up. That is unless Joey Stasiak, Richie or Phillip Mullins were around to climb the roof and retrieve the ball.

To be honest though, I don’t ever recall anyone chipping in to buy a new ball.

Do kids still call, “chips on the ball?”

Let’s not forget the alert, smart aleck  kid prior to the game screaming out, “NO CHIPS!”



This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to CHIPS

  1. jimmyvac says:

    On Windsor, it was automatic , if you “roofed” it, you paide for it… hey..another Brooklynese sampling.. I think playing stickball made me
    a line drive hitter who went to center and right center when I played baseball…

  2. Glenn Thomas says:

    I recall the “Chips” rule.I can also recall paying out $$ when roofing a ball. I can also remember hitting all sorts of balls such as hardballs, softballs, and yes,,, spaldeens either onto the school roof itself or into the backyards that are adjacent to the P.S. 154 schoolyard. I can recall very clearly certain individuals who would climb the walls and scale the fences to retrieve a ball when that ball was “roofed”. Persons like Carson Tang and Jerry Simonelli come to mind. These guys were amazing climbers for they were the original spidermen! There was a certain “art” to this! When a ball went up on the school roof, all of us would get together and use a bat as a ladder. The climber would get lifted by 10 guys and grasp onto the grated windows. From the grated windows a person could get onto the small roof. There was a piece of a police barricade on the small roof. The climber would stand that piece vertically and use it as a ladder, That enabled a person to get up to the next level. After the balls were collected, the climber if daring could make it up to the very top of the school. There was a huge pipe on the outside of the school that ran up from the lower roof to the upper roof. I mentioned Jerry Simonelli and Carson Tang for I remember these guys climbing all the way up to the top. Usually these guys had someone waiting below that he could flip the balls to and this person would save the balls for him. Later these balls were sold to kids in the yard that were willing to pay for them. Entrepreneurship (spelling ?) at its best! I am surprised to this day that no one was injured while I witnessed that stuff.. I heard that years later a brother of the late Frankie Coles tried to do the same and climb the school and fell and died as a result. The things we did as kids just to play a game! Crazy! Only in Old Brooklyn!

  3. Maureen Rice (Flanagan) says:

    since I never see kids out in the neighborhood playing street ball, I am gonna say no- and if they were, these days, you would just go to mom and dad for the money to replace it (most likely)

    • Paul Kurella says:

      Say It Ain’t So Moe ! No vacation day camp at P.S.107 ? Where it always seemed like there were a million
      kids running in and out, playing checkers, noc-hockey, arts and crafts,softball games , talent contests and watching movies on rainy summer days? What’s become of Camp counselors Mr Dell and Mr Lefkowitz ? As Simon & Garfunkle sang, ” Preserve your memories ,there all that’s left you “……

  4. Kevin Mahoney says:

    I had the same type of swing in baseball and I always figured it was from playing softball in PS 107’s with the short fence. You had to go to the right side or up the middle off the wall and out of the yard. Unfortunately it didn’t translate well for playing in PS 154, I really had to concentrate on pulling the ball or it ended up on the roof.

  5. Willy Wickham says:

    Quite a few went down sewers. Just take a wire hanger and straighten it out, make a hoop at one end and scoop it up. If the sewer was a deep one something had to be added to the hanger to give the reach. Some of those balls came up looking very funky. There were alligators down there so one had to be careful.
    Remember chips and a penny a century but can’t recall anyone actually paying.

  6. Glenn Thomas says:

    @ Kevin Mahoney…The prized shot in PS 154 schoolyard was hitting the ball to RF over the 2nd baseman and onto the stairs. Once the ball hit the stairs it was almost an inside the park homerun for the ball was live and the fielders had to go up the stairs and retrieve it. If anyone had decent speed it was at least a triple. The downside was that if you missed the stairs as your target you risked “roofing” the ball which was an automatic 3 outs. I can remember some really good lefties that hit down in PS 154 back in the day and made a living of putting the balls on the right field stairs.Terrence Cregg, Tommy Christy, and Tommy Pantano come to mind. Great times!

    • hoopscoach says:


      Those stairs bring back one memory and one memory only.

      A make-out session late at night with a girl whose name will go unpublished. In the words of the late Frankie Paladino,

      “Hey Joe, don’t mention no names!”

  7. jimmyvac says:

    I was definitely a better pitchefirst r than hitter… because I was a big kid, the defense would play me to pull.. My only grandslam was a line driver over the
    first baseman’s head, that sliced into foul territory…basically your basic tape measure 135 foor homer.. never hear of CHIPs tll now… generation gap revisted!!

  8. Jack Kelly says:

    The memory you just brought back to me was as a kid fishing the balls out of the corner sewers. You would get around four clothes hangers and tie them together. At the end you would make a bent circle and drop it down and scoop the balls out. Boy did some of them stink but who cared now that we had the balls we can use our money for more important things… the King Kong Ride.

    • hoopscoach says:


      Speaking of the King Kong ride, if I was fortunate enough to have the money, I always sat at the bottom!

      • Glenn Thomas says:

        I used to love the “Whip” ride that came around! We all used to run into our houses to get money from our parents! That was so m uch fun!

      • Don C says:

        I alwats remember the King Kong ride because the driver would let us get on at 18thst and 8th avenue and let us take the ride around the block to 19th st and 8th avenue slapping the trees as we went. Could you imagine the lawsuits today that man would be subjected to if anyone fell!!

  9. Tommy Cole says:

    Chips on they ball…they don’t even know what the ball is for anymore…too busy on the computer or mobile.

  10. John Langton says:

    I remember more than once when anyone in the neighborhood had any work done on their roofs, we’d be reunited with some Spaldeens and Super Balls from the past!

  11. Kevin Mahoney says:


    If you recall, there’s that small space in fair territory down the right field line between the foul line and the school building. I saw Jimmy Rail, another lefty, hit one that stayed fair down the right field line all the way to 11th ave.

    • Glenn Thomas says:

      We even had the foul line painted on the bars to the gardens with white paint! I remember that hitting it there which was an almost impossible shot for a person would wither hit the building or pull it foul. I wasn’t there for Jimmy Rail’s shot but that sounded quite impressive!

  12. Pat Fenton says:

    New York Times
    Published: August 26, 1987

    I am standing on the docks of the South Street Seaport, my tie snapping in the breeze, white shirt billowing out as I look across the water at Brooklyn. I can see its wide boulevards, its clusters of trees, its churches. If I look hard enough I can see me as a child playing the games of summer up on 17th Street in the ”Hill” section of Windsor Terrace. I can see the factories of 18th Street that once surrounded the neighborhood like an ancient wall and the sky above the tenements darkened by smoke from the chimneys of the Tell Chocolate factory.

    Memories move through my mind like a reel from an old movie, slowly reviving blurred images: the high curb on the apartment building next to Jack the Wonder Dairy store, from which we bounced a thousand Spaldeens playing a game called off the point; the smell of broom straws burning in a ritual that provided us with stickball bats (the best kind); the Pepsi-Cola billboard behind which we hid the bats each night.

    It is a bright summer day in the 1950’s and Jack Malone has just sent a Spaldeen sailing over the rooftops just down from McNulty’s bar. I see him standing there on the white-chalked home plate, a frozen tableau watching the ball streak out of sight of the make-believe stadium walls. And there am I, rounding chalked bases. Playing endless games of stickball. On and on through summers that seemed as if they never would end.

    I turn from Brooklyn and take my place among the throngs of Manhattan, wondering what it was that ever made me dream so longingly of leaving there. –

    • hoopscoach says:


      After reading your material, talking to you on the phone, reading an e-mail from you or a post here on the blog, I get inspired to write!

      Thank you.


      • Pat Fenton says:

        You are a fine, writer, Steve. One that shows a lot of talent. You have a very, easy flow to your work, and it never lags; always keeps the reader interested. As a writer myself, I know it’s not easy to do that. The idea is to make it look easy.

        And with Container Diaries, you have created something truly unique. Stay with it, and of course, it would be a great title for your book. Looking forward someday to standing in Farrell’s with you, beer in hand, and looking out that wide front window to what will always be our world.

        Your friend,
        Pat Fenton.

      • hoopscoach says:

        Thank you Pat, that is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.

        Coming from you it really means a lot; this craft can be tough!

        I too can’t wait for the day we get together. Let’s make that happen.

        BTW, you’ve been an inspiration to this amateur writer.

  13. jimmyvac says:

    I have a Spaldeeen in my desk at work… one of the greatest smells in the world .. I am talking about a fresh one not a Kelly Sewah Special…

  14. Jack Kelly says:

    Let me tell you something Jimmy…those Sewer balls were the best kind. And when I was a kid if you didn’t smell bad than you just wasn’t having any fun !

  15. jimmyvac says:

    That’s true, Jack.. sometimes you played great but still stunk, as my Aunt would say, to high heaven…how many times were we told to give over the clothes, and hit the shower or tub…..

  16. sal capatasto...capo says:

    you talk about chips on he ball,well let me tell you my uncle al barr the custodian at p.s.154 would come to my moms his sister with a big ole bag of balls. all kinds softballs spaldens you name it.then we would go over to p.s. 107 n play homerun derby in the coop. me my brothers Ronnie n eddie.. for hours so much fun n great times loved my Brooklyn life…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s