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

BALLIN’: Peter “Stickball Pete” Syrdahl, of Dyker Heights, holds up a Spalding ball at the Brooklyn Stickball Old Timers’ 43rd annual game, which was held on Oct. 1 on 80th Street between Third and Fourth avenues.
Photo by Alice Proujansky

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.

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