Stick it to ‘em! ‘Old-timers’ face off with next generation in annual stickball tournament

Brooklyn Daily
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PICK-UP STICKS: A player picks out a bat at the Old Timers’ stickball game on 80th Street between Third and Fourth avenues.
YOUNG-TIMER: Kurt Sullivan, 15, at bat during the game. Sullivan lives on the block where the game takes place and has been playing for four years.
BRING ‘EM IN: One of the “old timers” runs for home.
REPORTER’S EYE: Bay Ridge reporter Dan MacLeod — who has a natural swing, he was told — poses briefly before knocking the old Spalding ball nearly two sewer caps away.
SAFE!: Dennis Murphy of Duncan Hills, Staten Island, makes it to first base.
HIGH ART: Dennis Murphy of Staten Island poses next to a drawing of the Brooklyn Stickball Old Timers, commemorating the group’s 43rd year.

A group of stickball veterans celebrated its 43rd year annoying neighbors.

The Brooklyn Stickball Old Timers’ annual tournament pitted younger players against their older counterparts for a series of stickball matches on 80th Street between Third and Fourth avenues on Oct. 1.

The event is a reunion for the former neighborhood kids who grew up on the block playing stickball, but now largely live elsewhere.

“Everybody loved it. There were at least 10 or 11 players on each team — it was actually crowded on the field,” said Peter “Stickball Pete” Syrdahl, the organizer. “Everyone was playing well.”

The geezers squeaked by the younger players in the first game — driving in 20 runs over the youngsters’ 18 — but they fell, and fell hard, in the second game.

“All the older guys were so tired that they lost 14-2,” said Syrdahl, who said a gas smell in neighborhood made them cut short the second match at five innings.

So they did the next best thing: they drank.

“That’s a lot of running around for us old-timers. Those beers around the corner tasted really good,” said Syrdahl.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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