I spent my formative years in Los Angeles. We lived in a house overlooking the giant Silver Lake reservoir, named after Herman Silver, a member of LA’s first Board of Water Commissioners. Think Chinatown with Jack Nicholson. We were lucky enough to have a swimming pool at our Silver Lake house, so we always had mobs of kids over to swim. But children can not live by swimming alone. So after a few hours in the pool, we would adjourn to a giant vacant lot behind our house for endless games of Wiffle Ball®. In honor of my somewhat foggy childhood memories, I am proposing a Wiffle Ball® brand 32 inch bat in classic yellow with a regulation 9 inch circumference Wiffle Ball® bat combo as the seventh item on my top ten Made in America holiday gifts for 2011.
Wiffle Balls® and bats are made by the Wiffle Ball Corporation in Shelton Connecticut. The Wiffle Ball Corporation is really the Mullany family; David and Stephen Mullany are at the helm today. The Wiffle Ball® came into existence in 1953 after David and Stephen’s grandfather watched their father play a game in their backyard in Fairfield Connecticut, using a perforated plastic golf ball and a broomstick handle. They had come up with their makeshift baseball gear after too many broken windows resulted from using real baseballs and bats. Mullany the Elder had been a semi-pro pitcher and fearing for the health of his son and heir’s arm given his attempts to throw curveballs using a perforated plastic golf ball, came up with a ball with eight oblong perforations that worked great. That was how the WIFFLE® perforated plastic ball was invented.
I played thousands of games of Wiffle Ball® over the years. It was not until I visited the Wiffle Ball® website that I discovered that there are official Wiffle Ball® rules of play. Whatever rules they use, the son, daughter, niece, nephew or grandchild that receives a Wiffle Ball® this holiday season is in for a lot of fun. Get shopping!