Two Pocket Knife Games

Learn how to play the pocket knife games mumbly-peg and knife baseball in your spare time.

| May/June 1978

  • This is the starting position for both of the pocket knife games, mumbly-peg and baseball.
    This is the starting position for both of the pocket knife games, mumbly-peg and baseball.
    Photo by Norma Morris

  • This is the starting position for both of the pocket knife games, mumbly-peg and baseball.

A guide to playing two pocket knife games: mumbly-peg and knife baseball.

Caution: This article is from the MOTHER Archive — we do not necessarily still recommend trying this game at home ...

Back when I was a lad — a period during which the pterodactyl was our national mascot — the pocket knife was as common as . . . well . . . pockets. And when it wasn't gouging out a corncob for a pipe, sharpening a pencil or hacking amorous indelicacies into tree trunks, the instrument was usually being flipped around in a game of mumbly-peg.

Later, city slickers would mutate the competition into something called knife baseball, but only the language and the scoring changed. The moves stayed the same.

When playing pocket knife games choose a serviceable two-bladed pocket knife, it will cost anywhere from $1.50 to $10 or more, but the cheaper the better if it's going to be used mainly for games. I bought the one I still carry — a Barlow — at a Pennsylvania feed-and-grain store seven years ago for 98 cents.

In mumbly-peg, the object is to score 300 points before your opponent does. And it used to be that the loser had to pull a matchstick-sized peg out of the ground with his or her teeth (hence the name of the game).

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