With MLB taking a few days off it gave me time to think, it didn’t hurt that the other three major sports also have the days off the day before and the day after the All Star game. These are the only two days all year, which feature no scheduled games among the four major sports (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL). I started thinking about my youth, you might do the same when you turn 50, anyway my thoughts went back to a friend of mine when I was a kid – wiffle ball. When I was a kid we would play this game for hours behind my house in Chicago in the alley. You had to be a straight away hitter, because if you hit it into a yard you were out. A grounder that bounced by the pitcher was a single, there were marks in the alley signifying doubles, triples, and homers. A really big game would be three on three. We would bat just like our major league heroes, lefty/righty, and imitate their stances. A yellow plastic bat with black tape would be used to try to hit the dancing, curving, dipping sphere as it was hurled plateward. We didn’t call balls & strikes, hence the nickname The Statue of Liberty one player earned as he held his bat high in the air, just like Carl Yastrzemski, waiting for his pitch.

Click here if you wanna learn the history of the game and here if you wanna know about upcoming wiffle ball tournaments. Wiffle ball will live on forever in my memory, but I’m glad to report it is doing better than ever today.

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5 Responses to “WIFFLE BALL ALIVE & WELL”

  1. At the last home game, the Illini players bring the kids onto the field and play wiffle ball with them.

    That’s cool.

  2. Here’s another game from the past: Five Hundred. I was watching the neighborhood kids play a few days ago, and asked some of the dads if their kids ever played 500: none of the kids had any idea what we were talking about.

  3. Five Hundred??

    Doessn’t ring a bell.. how do you play?

  4. One batter, many fielders-the batter hits it out to the the fielders, who get 100 points if they catch it on the fly, 75 on one bounce, 50 on two bounces, etc. Object is to accumulate 500 points-then you become the batter. Usually the one guy in the neighborhood who had a bat that wasn’t nailed/taped back together took the first turn at bat. :-)

    Of course, there’s much jostling as two/three players get close to 500, and a lot of disputes about miscounts (as with most good kids games). But the good news is that you can play with any ol’ number of players, and one good athlete doesn’t necessarily dominate. Works with either softball or baseball, so if there aren’t enough gloves to go around its no big deal.

    Next, I’m going to ask my neighbors if their kids know “running bases”. :-)

  5. I seem to remember some variation of Five Hundred.

    Running Bases… like Pickle?

    that was a fav when there was just the three of us in the neighborhood.

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