The ball was invented by David N. Mullany at his home in Fairfield, Connecticut in 1953 when he designed a ball that curved easily for his 12-year-old son. It was named when his son and his friends would refer to a strikeout as a "whiff".
The classic trademarked Wiffle Ball is about the same size as a regulation baseball, but is hollow, lightweight, of resilient plastic, and no more than 1/8 inch thick. One half is perforated with eight .75-inch (19 mm) oblong holes; the other half is non-perforated. The approximate weight of a Wiffle ball is 0.7 ounces (20 grams). This construction allows pitchers to throw a tremendous variety of curve balls and other odd trajectories.
The game became popular nationwide by the 1960s and is played in backyards, on city streets and anywhere there isn't a lot of room. There is also an official Wiffle ball site.
In April 2011, the government of the State of New York proclaimed that Wiffle ball, as well as kickball, tag, red rover and dodgeball were "unsafe" and a "significant risk of injury" for children, and declared that any summer camp program that included two or more of such activities would be subject to government regulation.
|Ready for some Wiffle ball|
Parenting.com sarcastically commented that surviving these games was like cheating death. Understandably, Wiffle ball executives originally thought it was a joke. The company has never been sued over safety issues in its 50+ year history.
Included in the legislation were provisions that would have required camps in many smaller towns and villages to add staff such as nurses and pay $200 for a state permit.
Public ridicule and disapproval of people from across the nation pressured the New York legislature to remove Wiffle ball and many other entries from the list of high risk activities.
It's to their credit that public ridicule worked on members of the New York...it's too bad that it doesn't work on most other public officials; ridicule rolls off them like water off a duck's back.