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  • Bill Chastain

TOYS AND GAMES: Wiffle Ball Rocks

The late Wally Richardson of Columbus, Georgia, was the most devout Wiffle® ball enthusiast I’ve met.

“Jolly Wally” worked for the PTL Club during its heyday and traveled nowhere without his beloved Wiffle® ball bats – “The White Whale” and “The Yellow Snail.”

When Richardson discussed his knuckleball his voice adopted a tone of reverence: “To watch my knuckler come over the horizon in the morning is a thing of beauty.”

Wiffle_ball The Wiffle® ball

Fact is, everybody’s junk is better with a Wiffle® ball. That’s half the attraction of the game. Kind of like playing basketball on an 8-foot goal and being able to dunk.

How many times have you played Wiffle® ball and thought how your Wiffle® ball stuff would buckle Mike Trout’s knees? Like, Maddux never broke off a curve like this.

Charles Kettering had nothing to do with the invention of the Wiffle® ball, even though its simplicity made it a brilliant discovery.

David Mullany of Shelton, Connecticut dreamed up Wiffle®ball in 1953 after witnessing his 13-year-old son and a friend playing baseball in their backyard using a plastic golf ball and a broom handle. Mullany, who had played college baseball, knew he’d have something if he could harness a ball that would curve.

After some trial and error, the Wiffle® ball was born.

Since then Wiffle® ball has somehow managed to span the generations. Youths and adults alike still enjoy the game.

In hindsight, Jolly Wally was a visionary. Whether it was through tea leaves or Tarot cards, he foresaw the day he could pull his car into any city in the United States and have a Wiffle® ball game. He wasn’t far off.

Today there are Wiffle® ball associations and tournaments everywhere. You can play the game in some organized fashion in all 50 states. If you chose to, you could even play in a Wiffle® ball tournament every Saturday in the summer.

I’ve just got to believe that somewhere in the great hereafter Jolly Wally is wagging his beloved White Whale with a smile.

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