Play Ball!


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!

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About John Briggs

I live in Seattle and love telling stories about Americans, the places where they work and the things that they make. I have just published a book, Simply American, encouraging Americans to purchase American made products; the book can be ordered at Lulu.com.
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