Get ready New York City the New York Emperors Stickball League is bringing OUR favorite past time to Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York. Coney Island’s historical importance will receive a boost on September 11th, 2010 as we remember Steve Mercado and pay tribute to his contribution to Stickball. This year will be the first of many Stickball exhibitions being played throughout NYC to re-introduce the game of Stickball and put on a show in order to help spread the word that Stickball is here to stay.
The Event will take place on 15th Street between Bowery Street and the Coney Island Boardwalk from 10am-3pm. Mark your calendar and get ready to enjoy some good old fashion Stickball! The events are still being finalized, so stay tuned for more information…
Coney Island, New York
Brief History of the Game
While the exact origins are up for debate, most accounts depict a game that rapidly began popularity in the early 1920s New York City. Baseball had firmly taken its place as America’s favorite pastime and kids hoping to emulate their heroes saw an opportunity. An urban environment unforgiving to the rules of baseball, they made do with no gloves, mop handles and Spalding’s known as pinkies rounded out the equipment… Parked cars, lamp poles, manhole covers, trees, buildings, fire hydrants were all part of the playing field. With all of those elements a traditional New York sport was born, Stickball “a poor man’s game”.
Stickball was used by inner city kids to mend racial tensions and to put an end to gang wars. Instead of fighting they will form teams and play for money, but the true prize was bragging rights, if you were the best Stickball team you were well known throughout the city. Throughout the years, Stickball players that left New York took the game with them. Now there are leagues in San Diego, Puerto Rico, and Florida.
The ‘80s is Stickball was starting to get more organized. In 1985 a group of young men, led by Frank Calderon and Frank Sanchez found a side street in Soundview Avenue in the Bronx and formed The New York Emperors Stickball League. They obtained a permit from the city to close Newman Street to traffic every Sunday from the first week of April through October. Three years later, the street was officially named Stickball Boulevard. In 2002 our fallen hero Steve Mercado was added to Stickball Blvd.