corkball n chiefly St. Louis MO area, sIL
A bat-and-ball game usu played with a small cork ball, similar to work-up n, but usu not involving any base-running; hence noun corkballer one who plays this game.
1901 St. Louis Post–Dispatch (MO) 2 Aug 6/6, Corkball, a game that seems to have invented itself, has conquered juvenile St. Louis in a fortnight. Hundreds of boys of North and South St. Louis east of Grand avenue are corkball enthusiasts. . . Usually there are three players to a side, a pitcher, a catcher eand [sic] a fieleder [sic]. . . There are no bases and no runs in cork ball. But there are imaginary bases and imaginary runs. . . The rules given may not apply to every game of corkball, because there are no official rules and different players may have different rules. . . It is probable that the corkball game first originated in a brewery bottling room. A beer bottle cork makes a good corkball. It is said that South St. Louis boys have known the game seven years. 1919 St. Louis Globe–Democrat (MO) 29 July 9/2, The South Side Corkball League started the season with four games. 1938 St. Louis Star & Times (MO) 3 Mar 24/8, Corkballers Getting Ready. After two successful campaigns, the American Corkball Association is making preparations to begin its third in April. At the present time, three teams of last season have announced their intentions of re-entering the league. 1955 Bradenton Herald (FL) 24 Apr sec D 8/5, Here boys get supervised training and recreation in archery, baseball, basketball, badminton, billiards, corkball, checkers, strap football, gymnastics, tumbling, . . and other activities. 1965 DARE FW Addit, Cork ball—A game played (as of the middle 1930s and 40s, and probably still going on) in the St. Louis, Missouri—Belleville, Illinois area. A minimum of four players use a ball made of cork, sometimes covered with horsehide, and a thin bat. The ball is a little larger than a golf ball in size. There is a pitcher, a batter, a catcher, and one or more fielders. Upon hitting the ball, the batter tries to run to first base and back to home plate before the fielder can throw the ball back to the catcher. However, if the fielder catches a fly, the batter is out and another player takes his place at bat. The fielder, pitcher, and batter rotate. 1967–69 DARE (Qu. EE11, Bat-and-ball games for just a few players) Infs IL26, 68, 77, 78, 85, 86, MO21, Corkball. 1974 St. Louis Post–Dispatch (MO) 7 Apr sec I 1/1, Just as it was with baseball and corkball when Dad was a kid, hockey today is the thing for thousands of youngsters growing up in St. Louis. 1990 St. Louis Post–Dispatch (MO) 9 Feb sec SC 5/3, His only involvement with amateur sports now is playing in a Sunday morning corkball league. 2004 DARE File St. Louis MO, In Saint Louis, there is what amounts to a local pastime called “corkball.” In my day, all guys played it, regardless of race, creed, etc. To play it, you needed a minimum of four guys: pitcher, catcher, outfielder, and batter, with the max being six guys, so that there were three fielders. The only equipment required was a broomstick and a used tennis ball. . . It was not a team game; it was every man for himself. The batter was not obliged to swing at any pitch and there was no base-running, so no umpires were needed. 2020 St. Louis Post–Dispatch (MO) 17 Aug sec A 8/1, “Julio” made friendships and memories at every stage of life—the ballfields, high school, the corkball club, Big Red football games, . . and many more experiences.