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Halfball

Guys playing halfball
Click for bigger picture
Note the ball in the pitcher's hand!
The following FAQ and poem were submitted by Dave Mihal of Boston, Mass. You can send him e-mail for more information. Another halfball web resource site is www.halfball.com, offering various halfball and stickball related merchandise.

Halfball FAQ


Q. What is halfball?
Halfball is like stickball, but the ball is cut in half. The ball is thrown with the same motion as skipping a rock across the water. The batter has either a broomstick or halfball bat when they are up. The batter gets one swing and a miss, if the catcher makes the catch in the air you are out. If the catcher drops the swing and a miss the batter remains batting. Batted balls off walls or sides of gyms or buildings caught before they hit the ground are outs. Balls that are not caught will be awarded bases accordingly: double, triple, home run, depending where the balls are hit.

Q. Where is halfball played?
Halfball was a popular Boston game, though it is also played in other cities including Philly, St. Louis and parts of NYC.

Q. Where in Boston was halfball most popular?
I know I'll get arguments from Quincy, Cambridge, and Somerville. I say Dorchester, South Boston, and Charlestown.

Q. When was halfball popular?
During the 50's, 60's, and 70's. It is starting a comeback in the late 90's.

Q. Why do you want to bring it back?
I could say because of the great hand eye coordination it gives, or the many pluses it gives to any hitter. In halfball you never needed the perfect athletes body, everyone had the same chance to be the hero, without any adults around to foul things up. I want it to come back because it was a great game and it was a lot of fun.

Q. Batting balls off schools, houses, and buildings. How many windows did you break?
I never remember any windows being broken. Halfballs tend not to break windows.

Q. Why do players like halfball?
Again it is fun. If a halfball hits you it will not make you cry. The batter gets to take a good swing at the pitch with out being afraid of the ball.

Q. Is it hard to throw a halfball?
You throw it side arm, like skipping a rock across the water.

Q. What are some of the pluses to playing halfball?
Hand eyes, quicken your reflex, don't have to shag balls a long way, play in or out doors, it is a good game to carry on a conversation, great cookout game. Everyone loves to hit.

Halfball Poem


Dorchester, Charlestown and all through the Hub
Southie and J.P. have many a pub.
Halfballs the game and that is the truth
These fellows all played it during their youth.

Where did it start, this game of the street.
Hyde Park, West Roxbury or down Dudley street.
They all claim it's theirs, this game some don't get.
Like Ruth being sold for "No No Nannette."

The Red line, the Blue line, the Orange line too
Some say it started at the Franklin Park Zoo.
Halfball it's said, brings you closer to heaven
Did it start in Scolly Square by someone named Kevin?

You may just have your own little notion
How Boston's halfball was set in it's motion.
Wherever it started it started a trend
Old timers say it was in the West End.

Boston's the place if you wanted a game
Stickball's for New Yorkers it's just not the same.
Whiffleball's for children, who pitch with an arc
Halfball's for hitters just like Fenway Park.


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