The Wiffle® ball is a plastic ball with eight holes on the top, used in a popular backyard game similar to baseball. It was invented in 1952 by David A. Mullany and is sold in different sizes. The game is played with a plastic bat and doesn’t involve running bases. The ball’s design and safety have contributed to its popularity, and it is sold in many countries.
The Wiffle® ball is the central piece of equipment used in a popular backyard game played in America and many other countries. Wiffle® balls are typically white and have a pattern of eight oblong holes in the top, while the bottom half is solid. They are made of plastic beads, about the size of rock salt, which are dissolved in liquid in a tube. Each hemisphere is injected into its own mold for shaping and then they are fused together with heat to form a single Wiffle® ball.
An accompanying bat is plastic and typically yellow in color. For golf enthusiasts, Wiffle® golf balls are also available on the market.
The ball’s name comes from puff, a slang term for hitting. Wiffle® Ball Inc. of Shelton, Connecticut, owned by the Mullany family, dropped the “h” in the product name.
A game of Wiffle® Ball can be played with two people – a pitcher and a hitter – or by teams of up to five players each. While the game has similarities to baseball and softball, the players do not run the bases. The score of a single, double, triple, or home run is determined by how far the batter hits the ball.
It takes three outs to retire a team per inning. There are nine innings per game and extra innings are played to break a tie. Each team gets one turn at bat to complete an inning.
The design of the Wiffle ball and its light play have helped increase its popularity. Because the punctured balls don’t travel far and don’t have a history of damage to windows, families consider them safe for play in residential areas.
The company offers three size options: junior size, which usually costs about $1.10 United States Dollars (USD) each or $13.20 USD per dozen; baseball regulation size, $1.15 USD each or $13.80 USD per dozen; and the regulation softball size, $1.35 USD each or $16.20 USD per dozen. Wiffle® balls have been sold in countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, Ireland and Japan.
Their birth dates back to 1952, when David A. Mullany was playing stickball with a friend in his backyard in Fairfield, Connecticut. In that game, he used a small plastic golf ball and a broomstick. He was 12 at the time.
David told his father — David N. Mullany, a retired semi-pro baseball pitcher — that his arm was sore from trying to throw curveballs. So, father and son started drilling holes in plastic balls, experimenting on designs that would make it easier to throw curved balls. A year later, the Wiffle® ball made its debut at 49 cents (USD) each. The company doesn’t release exact sales figures to the public, but it generally claims that millions are sold annually.