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1999 NYC Stickball Classic
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1999 NYC Stickball Classic
section guide

Intro / highlights

• 1999 Stickball Classic home
• Kickoff ceremony coverage
• Finals coverage
• Event rules

• Go to Stickball section


• 1999 NYC Stickball Classic discussion
• Stickball: general discussion
• Streetplay discussion home

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Finals (10/3/99)

• Finals coverage
• Photo galleries: 1 | 2 | 3

Semi-finals (9/18/99)

• Semi-final coverage
• 4th Str. vs. Emperors
• Latinos vs. Bombers
• Knights vs. Old-Timers

Staten Island (9/11/99)

• Staten Island event overview

New Jersey (8/28/99)

• NJ event overview

Queens (8/7/99)

• Queens event coverage
• Essay: Caledonia Old-Timers
• Essay: Family values
• Essay: Positively Fourth Street
• Photo galleries: 1 | 2 | 3

Bronx (7/24/99)

• Bronx event coverage
• The Latinos, Bronx champions
• Longball contest
• Einstein's team
• The Emperors
• Curtis Sliwa speaks
• Photo galleries: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Manhattan (7/17/99)

• Manhattan event coverage
• Longball contest
• The Clean Machine
• The Bronx Old Timers
• Photo galleries: 1 | 2 | 3

Brooklyn (7/10/99)

• Brooklyn event coverage
• Photo galleries: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Event kickoff (6/29/99)

• Kickoff coverage
• Photo galleries: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

The Bronx Old Timers

Manhattan longball champions
Click for bigger picture
Old Timers (left to right): George Lolin Oscorio, John Stephens, Charlie Ballard, Charlie Diaz, Vito Giannone
When it's close to 100 degrees and you're involved in a stickball game on a sun drenched street, no one wants to see extra innings. But the Old-Timers and the Bad Boys were locked in a 3-3 tie after 7. It wasn't until the end of the 9th that the the Old-Timers would emerge victoriously with a 4-3 win from this tough fought game.

The game was notable for the heat, the great play and the fact that Mick from Streetplay umped! Perhaps the most interesting story was the composition of the Old-Timers team.

About half of the guys are young bucks, who can knock the ball a good 300+ feet, but true to their name, the Old-Timers boast some legendary players from NYC's Stickball past. Captain Charlie Diaz, a 25 year stickball veteran, might be considered an old-timer by many of the younger players, but the real old-timers joke that he's still a kid.

Several of the players made a name for themselves as stickball legends on one of the great NYC stickball teams of the 40s and 50s, Minton's Playhouse. According to Charlie Ballard the Playhouse captain, "We'd play teams from all over the city and bet anywhere from a couple of hundred to a thousand dollars on the game. Five hundred dollar games were common."

Five hundred dollar games back in 1950? That was a lot of money. "Yeah," said Charlie, "some of the guys were living off of that. It was rent money, and we played some tough teams. We had an all Black team made up of some of the best players from different neighborhoods."

John Stephens, the team's first white player was affectionately referred to as "Stickball's Jackie Robinson in reverse." "I guess I was considered a pretty good player back then." said John. "One day our team played against Minton's and after the game, Charlie came up to me and asked if I wanted to join their team and make some real money. I said sure. We played all over the city and won a lot of games. I was the only white guy on the team for awhile. Vito and a couple of other guys came along a little later.

Do you have any good stories we asked? "Oh there were so many." said John. I'll tell you about the time when we were playing a team of Italian guys from Pleasant Ave and 114th street. It was late August and we were up by about 6 runs near the end of the game. At that point, the team would tape their money up to a post - so people knew it was there. Anyway, just then, a procession for Our Lady of Mt. Carmel proceeds down the street, through the field. By the time it passed, the other team was nowhere to be found and neither was the money they had posted up. They knew they were going to lose, so they just made a nice quiet and clean get away. They probably went to Church and had a good laugh."
Manhattan event coverage

Story: Longball competition
Essay: Old-timers
Essay: Clean Machine

Photo gallery: Warming up
Photo gallery: Winners
Photo gallery: Cool and not cool

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