WWBC and the Baseball Hall of Fame
We never thought the World Wiffle Ball Championship would headline a national sports and entertainment website, collaborate on a beer with an exceptional brewery, or be featured in a magazine for one of the world’s most famous museums.
But the Baseball Hall of Fame? That’s a dream for any bat and ball fanatic.
Memories and Dreams, the Baseball Hall of Fame’s quarterly magazine, featured the wiffle ball in its “baseball” toy-themed issue. Obviously, we were beyond honored to be mentioned.
Meanwhile, several states away in 1980, Jim Bottorff, a 19-year-old working at a summer camp in Mishawaka, Ind., organized Wiffle ball games for his campers. Seeing the fun they had inspired him to put on an eight-team tournament dubbed the World Wiffle Ball Championship. Its popularity has grown steadily over the past four decades. In 2019, 60 teams traveled from 12 states to take part.
Interest among adults playing Wiffle ball across the country has similarly exploded during that time. While nobody has been able to take an accurate census, estimates put the number of leagues in the country somewhere between 80 and 100. Some of them have been around long enough to have established their own Halls of Fame.
There are basically three levels of Wiffle ball leagues, each determined by how hard the ball is pitched. Slow pitch dictates that pitches must have an arc, but pitchers are still able to throw sweeping curves and jittery knuckleballs. Batters use the traditional yellow Wiffle bat, which resembles a skinny plastic fungo, and in the absence of called balls and strikes, can wait for a hittable pitch.
“We want to make sure anyone can play, from age 10 to 60, in our tournament.” said Nate Hansen, commissioner of the World Wiffle Ball Championship, which is a slow-pitch event.
And that’s all part of the appeal. Hansen, 38, played organized baseball into high school, but at age 15 became more focused on playing Wiffle ball with his childhood buddies. In August, he teamed up with them in his 29th World Wiffle Ball Championship.
“We decided this is going to be our thing, playing this kid’s game and having a blast doing it.” Hansen said.
While some tournaments offer cash prizes where the winning team can take home as much as $3,000, for most champions there’s only personal glory – and, at the World Wiffle Ball Championship, their name on a trophy shaped like the World Series hardware with Wiffle Bats standing in for the flags.
Check out the full article here. We can’t thank the Baseball Hall of Fame enough for including the WWBC’s story.
43rd World Wiffle Ball Championship Details
We’re now less than three months away from wiffles flying all over Memorial Park in Midlothian, Illinois, July 16-17, 2022. Here’s what you need to know:
Eligibility: Anyone. Period. In 2021, our youngest competitor was 13 years old and our oldest competitor was 73 years young. Hall-of-Famer, Chris Montgomery of the Monon Yankers, took over the record of oldest to homer at 62. In fact, he has now homered in five decades.
Registration Deadlines: Each team that registers before June 15 will receive t-shirts for each player. The final deadline to register for the WWBC is July 1. The design of the 2022 WWBC shirt will be released in May.
Tournament Format: Every team is guaranteed four games in Round Robin play on Saturday. A 2-2 record qualifies for the single-elimination tournament on Sunday. At the completion of pool play, all 1-3 teams will play in an extra-inning tournament with the final spot awarded to the survivor.
Defending Champion: New Carlisle Newts of New Carlisle, Indiana.
South Suburban Humane Society: We are pleased that we will again provide proceeds from the 43rd WWBC to this wonderful organization for the fifth year. This year, we will cross the $10,000 mark in total donations to SSHS. Every dollar after tournament costs goes to help animals in need.
Flash Sales: Throughout May, we will be running sales linked to the outcomes of certain sporting events. Keep an eye on our social media accounts as they will pop up periodically. The White Sox didn’t come through last night, but we’ll certainly try the pale hose again soon.
Social Media: Twitter/Facebook (@worldwiffleball) Instagram (@worldwiffleballchampionship)
We hope to see you in July for a weekend of fun hitting white plastic balls with a yellow plastic bat!