Roll A Bat

The past few weeks have provided great opportunities to spend time outside after supper time. The boys have been fixated on playing roll a bat lately. I can remember some good times playing this at home when I was little. We lived on a dirt road and there wasn’t any open spaces to play. You had to try and hit it straight or you would end up losing the ball. It was also sort of on a slope so if you hit a hard grounder it would roll for days down the road. It was always an accomplishment when you could drag momma out there to get in a few tosses. I have mentioned this game in the past and people just give you a confused look. Maybe it is a southern thing. I never got into the whole stickball thing so why should the Yankees understand roll a bat. I kid.

For those not so familiar I will share the rules of the game if you will. Some may vary depending who you are playing with i guess. We usually play with at least 3 but you could get by with 2 people. One person pitches and one hits. When the person hits the ball they have to drop the bat facing the ball. Wherever the person stops the ball is where they have to toss the ball from. The object is to try and hit the bat with the ball. Simple rules. Some people play with double and triple relays. You can relay the ball to another person closer to the bat and they can try and hit the bat from where they are standing. As long as they catch the relay throw in the air. If the ball is caught in the air it is an instant out and the batter and fielder switch places.

B1 likes to get sneaky and bury the bat in the tall grass so the ball rolls over the bat. All in all it is pretty good fun and you can play with a small number of people. Last night at one point we had everyone out there playing including uncle Ricky.

What are some fun games your family play out in the yard? We are always looking for new ones.

9 thoughts on “Roll A Bat

  1. We played roll-a-bat all the time when I was growing up in Raleigh, N.C., in the late ’50s and the ’60s. It did have the advantage of having relatively few players and it could last as long as the light did.
    I put a mention of it up on a “if you grew up in raleigh” page in facebook and several people remembered it fondly. some of your rules are a little more complicated than the ones we used, but it’s clearly the same game. it would be interesting to know where it originated. there are relatively few references on Google, in this age where everybody is supposed to be able to find everything!
    at the risk of sounding like a codger, I will end by noting that i never remember adults being involved in roll-a-bat. as kids, we got the game up, went by the rules passed down by older kids, settled our own disputes (not many) and had no one sitting on the sidelines with drinks, snacks and hollered instructions.
    my own kids, like millions of others, grow up in organized sports. they all really benefited from that, but i wish they had had more evenings playing roll-a-bat.
    (Our sons, now in their early 20s, got the usual trendy toys of the ’90s, but played most with two wooden swords they had gotten at a renaissance fair, making up their own tales of heroes and villains, treachery and mayhem….)

  2. We played roll-a-bat in Charleston, SC. One of our rules was that if the ball hit the bat and bounced up in the air, the batter could try to catch it. If he succeeded, he remained in bat.

  3. I played roll a bat as a girl in the 70’s & early 80’s. I am teaching it to 2 boys that I take care of and it took me about a week to get them to try it. They both play on baseball teams,it so we practice in the evenings. I finally talked them into trying it today and they LOVE IT!

  4. My husband, Jerry Brooks, age 72 remembered. Just wanted to verify playing rules. We live in Commerce, GA, He was born and reared in Atlanta, GA. oUR GRAND, pARKER, LOVES THIS GAME TOO/. tHANK YOU FOR YOUR POST (.sORRY FOR CAps0. I have done this two time I am weary after roll a bat. Happy Thanksgiving. May the Lord bless and keep all of you in his gracious grip

  5. I grew up near Elon College N C , born in ’48. We played roll a bat in the small back yards in the neighborhood, don’t know how we got the name. The batter would throw the ball up and hit it. He would lay the bat on the ground and whoever caught the ball rolled it up to try to hit the bat(relying on the honesty of the batter). Then that person got to bat.. and we wore our pants above our knees…and few of us kids carried guns

    • We played roller bat in the 50’s and 60’s in Hurdle Mills, NC. I couldn’t remember the rules and I wanted to teach my grandsons. Thank you so much for your description.

  6. I grew up in northeastern Ohio and we played “Roll A Bat” almost every night in the vacant lot between our apartment bldg and the old school bldg. As I remember, we usually had from 3 or 4 kids to as many as a dozen, with an adult or two to boot. I had never heard nor did I know that this was a “southern” game. I thought kids who loved baseball everywhere played this game.

  7. I was reminiscing about active outdoor games that my sisters and I played as children and decided to search roll-a-bat, never dreaming I’d actually find it. This is a game we’d play at my grandparent’s with everybody, and by that I mean EVERYBODY! From the smallest kid to the oldest adult, we’d get out in my grandparent’s front yard and garden and starting pitching, hitting and rolling. Some of the best fun I ever had!

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