Wiffle ball

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Game Wiffle ball
Game Family Fungo Fungo
Regions US
Eras Derivative, Post-1900, Contemporary
Invented No

A Wiffle Ball is a hollow plastic ball with holes strategically placed in order to exaggerate sideways force, and thus enabling pitchers to produce severe curves and drops (and rises?). Competitive games of Wiffleball are known, some exhibiting team play. Few, we believe (as of September 2018), appear to involve active  baserunning, and the Wiffle Ball company site's "suggested rules say that live running "has been eliminated."

Note:  Wiffle Ball, Inc., which holds and protects key trade marks, has set out a set of rules at http://www.wiffle.com/pages/game_rules.asp?page=game_rules.  However, many leagues, and tournaments, treasure their innovative rule options, including the doctoring of balls to make them curve more dramatically, and of bats that are dissimilar to those familiar thin yellow plastic cudgels you may think of.  Multiple leagues and tournaments seem to claim that their championships produce the true national crown for wiffle ball.   

The poem, Wiffle Ball, appears in he Supplemental Text below.  It was furnished to Protoball by its author, Glenn Stout, on 8/17/2018. 

A fine recollection of wiffle ball games is found in Glenn's "Wiffle Rules", at https://verbplow.blogspot.com/2018/08/wiffle-rules.html.

A September 2019 Boston Globe article by Billy Baker (cited below), features an account of the National Golden Stick Wiffle Ball championships (motto: "A backyard game taken way too far.")



For a longish New Yorker article on an advanced form of wiffle ball, see https://www.newyorker.com/news/sporting-scene/the-men-who-have-taken-wiffle-ball-to-a-crazy-competitive-place?mbid=social_twitter.  (Submitted 9/3/2018 by Glenn Stout; pitches have been measured at over 90 mph.)

A web search for <ben mcgrath wiffle ball> may help you locate the New Yorker piece.  It is dated August 31, 2018.

For a lighthearted You Tube exposition of the fourth-best team in the the National Wiffleball Championship Tournament (what year? where played?), see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPEnXCtwHeU

The Wiffle Ball Company's somewhat spartan site is at http://www.wiffle.com/

Also, see Billy Baker, "Takes a Swing at Wiffle Ball Legacy," Boston Globe, September 9, 2019, pp 1 and A7.  



Well, that You Tube video shows, but does not define, a form of live running by batters.  And fielding, too, for balls that do not leave the yard.   Protoball still has some things still to learn about the variants of this derivative game.

A Youtube search of "wiffle ball" returns dozens of entries, which appear to reflect several variant rule sets.  For instance, one records a game without field markings for singles, doubles, etc.  An outfield fence allows for home runs, but otherwise play resembles common baseball rules, with  baserunning for hit balls, and using 3 strikes for outs and 4 balls for walks.  The pitcher and two other fielders do not wear gloves, but can throw out runners at first.  Hitting a strike zone device distinguishes strikes from balls. 

Your patient help with this page is warmly welcomed.


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Are there documented forms of wiffle ball that use live baserunners?

Has anyone done a directory of known variant games played with a wiffle ball? 

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Has Supplemental Text Yes


<comments voting="Plus" />

Supplemental Text

(1) Verse


by Glenn Stout (for Chris Tillman)

I pitch and then
your memory rises high above the house to bounce
upon the roof, careen across the shingles
and then begin to roll back to earth.
I dash beyond the porch
on backyard, left field grass to warning track
beneath the eaves and overhang
calculating hit to carom to catch
last moment stride to blind belief
see it all bounce off the gutter once
reach up and try to hold it
but it falls beyond my grasp
then lies there still, a ground-rule double.
Your ghost man lopes toward second base
but turns, pulls up then kicks the bag
and stays there. You laugh
and then, too late, I kneel
and grab the ball. It is
empty, white, weighs almost nothing.
One side is cracked, and full of holes.


(2) The Golden Stick Wiffle Ball Championship

(Protoball's notes from the 2019 Globe article, cited above.)

-- Thirty teams played in this year's tourney, most of then from the Boston and New York (City?) areas.

-- Its rules have evolved in Mass., but recently more teams attend from New York.

-- There is no live baserunning, but batted balls are judged by their length (implying that imaginary runners do the scoring?)

-- Pitchers "scuff" or "knife" balls to improve their aerodynamics.

-- Outfield walls are at 100 feet, and a pitch travels 43 feet to the plate, and if it hits a metal plate suspended back of home plate it is called a strike. Two strikes constitutes a strikeout.

--  The pitcher and two fielders comprise the team defense. (And, we assume, a team's batting order.)

-- Two New York teams played in this year's finals.  

-- Another tournament in Illinois calls itself the World Series of wiffle ball.