Base Runners, Rundowns and Pickles

One of our favorite games as young boys growing up in New York was Base Runners. Some people call it Pickle. Others prefer the name Rundown. Whatever you call it, Base Runners is a classic childhood game to play when you have a few friends together on a summer evening and want some high energy entertainment.

In baseball, the rundown is full of well thought out strategy. There are critical roles for each member of the infield to ensure that a runner doesn’t advance when he’s caught in a pickle.

For kids playing base runners in the backyard, it’s just a great, fun game of cat and mouse. Basically, there are two bases. For us, this meant a couple of jackets on the ground more often than not. The two defensive players each covered a base and the third took position either between the two bases or tagging one of the two bases. The objective of the game was for the runner to make it to one of the bases without getting tagged. Each time he did this, he got a point. When he was tagged, he covered one of the bases and the kid who tagged him became the runner. This game really let you showcase your juking ability, your hesitation moves and your speed. It also let you show off a good throwing arm.

We often played in our street in front of our house for some reason. The rule was ‘no sliding’ for obvious reasons. Many times, we played with just a tennis ball and no mitts. This made it much more difficult for the defensive players as it was much easier to drop the ball and let the runner advance on an error. Backyard games of Base Runners were much more serious affairs, which usually resulted in nice grass and dirt stains on our pants and sometimes even battle scars.

Where did you play Base Runners? What did you call it?

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