Brooklyn Stickball in Florida: Norm Graff

Brooklyn native Norm Graff played stickball with the Wycliff Stiffs until he was 89. He was born in East New York in 1926 so he has memories of how difficult it was for his family during The Great Depression. Graff has a great sense of humor. When he was joining the Navy in 1944, during his mental aptitude test the Navy psychiatrist asked him, “Does anybody in your family suffer from insanity? Graff, being a young wiseguy replied, “No, they all seem to enjoy it.” During the interview he said his wife of 64 years recently celebrated her 85th birthday; Graff said, “And she’s still a knockout.” … Read More >Brooklyn Stickball in Florida: Norm Graff

Brooklyn Stickball in Florida: Mel Zupnick

Mel Zupnick has played with the Wycliff Stiffs stickball league since it started about 20 years ago. He was born in East Flatbush and grew up in Brownsville. Zupnick is the third Brookyn native in Florida we have interviewed who delivered the Brooklyn Daily Eagle during his childhood to earn extra money. “I lived with my grandparents. My grandmother took whatever my grandfather earned and saved it so from the money I earned delivering the Eagle I would give my grandfather a few bucks a week to keep in his pocket. That would leave me about $6 or $7 to get what I wanted; you know, comics, movies, whatever. … Read More >Brooklyn Stickball in Florida: Mel Zupnick

Brooklyn Stickball in Florida: Harry Klaff

Harry Klaff, Chief of Operations for the Wycliff Stiffs Stickball league, is Brooklyn through and through. He grew up in a six-story apartment building on Bay Parkway in Bensonhurst. After graduating from Layfayette High he went to Brooklyn College and received a Masters in history and then taugh history at Tilden High in Brooklyn for 34 years. One of his favorite memories is watching the Dodgers raise their only World Championship banner on opening day at Ebbets Field in 1956. … “You gotta remember, in those days the average ball player made about three or four times what the average working stiff made, which was not a real lot of money, at least not like today. They were regular people, and in the off season they had real jobs. The Dodgers were part of the community.” … Read More >Brooklyn Stickball in Florida: Harry Klaff

Brooklyn Stickball in Florida

One of the founders of the popular stickball league in Wellington’s Village Park near Palm Beach, Florida, is former New Yorker Marty Ross. As Ross recalled: “Every time I asked them about their memory of the “spaldeen” their eyes would light up and all these stories came out of the woodwork. It’s like I made them relive something fantastic.” That’s when Ross decided he wanted to start a regular activity with all these people who had played stickball during their childhood, but he didn’t have a place they could play. … Read More >Brooklyn Stickball in Florida