Attached to this story is a picture of a Stickball Plaque onMulberry Street in Little Italy. Mulberry Street may have been a play streetduring the week, but on Sundays it was a field where great stickball games wereplayed. Teams from the South Bronx played there for years. We could play thefield as well as the Mott Street Team and they could do the same on our fields.It was common for another team to show up on a field where a big game was beingplayed so they could play the winner. I played for the Tigers and a few timeswe played the other team right there on Mulberry Street rather than going totheir field or ours. We flipped a coin for who batted last.
A few years back I wrote a story “Mott Street’s Version of Stickball Games Against the SouthBronx Teams”, but it never got to the NYESL web site. This story is below andfrom it you can get a good idea of what old time stickball was like betweendifferent neighborhoods. You can see the great respect the top teams had for each other. Here is that story.
MottStreet’s Version of Stickball Games Against the SouthBronx Teams
Up until now, I have been writing stickball stories from theperspective of the South Bronx. This story is different in that it’s MottStreet’s perspective of games against the South Bronx teams. It is based on anarticle in streetplay.com in the 2003 archive.
Years ago many teams did not have a name and they were often referred to by the name of the street they played on or the ethnic make up of the team or neighborhood. In the article, the Italians are Mott Street and the Puerto Rican Bronx team is what I have been calling the South Bronx team. We knew the Mott Street team was good and games against them would be tough, but it is always interesting to hear the story from the other teams side. I hope this this provides an insight on old time stickball and how great these games were. The following is part of the article.
These guys are not in the Stickball Hall of Fame but certainly belong there. They used to play for the Little Italy team that played against the great Puerto Rican teams from Spanish Harlem and the Bronx in the late 50s and early 60s.
Whoever had the opportunity to witness a game between the Italians and the Puerto Ricans on Mulberry Street on a Sunday afternoon saw stickball at its best. Both teams had outstanding hitters and fielders. And, unbelievable hustle and heart!
Outstanding hitters, fielders and unbelievable hustle and heart says it all. Years later when I met players from the other teams(Not only Mott Street) we talked about how great those games were. We nevermentioned who won, who lost or who was better. Just about how much we enjoyed playing those games.
I sent Vido a CD with stickball pictures from 1963 and 64. The first nineteen guys played in the Mott Street games at one time or another starting in 1956. Hope you get a chance to see what we looked like.
Push-Push (South Bronx Player)
Tiger (Mott Street Player)
Wally South (Bronx Player)
Junior South (Bronx Player)