Updated: Jan 6
My name is Tom Gannon, but when I’m on a Wiffle® ball field some people refer to me as Dr. Winkly. I got that nickname back in 2013 when I thought my friend’s backyard tournament was the biggest stage in Wiffle® ball. A few years later I found out there was a league in my hometown that sent an all-star team to the National Wiffle® League Association Tournament, and I joined their team. That summer I went just about all the way down the Wiffle® rabbit hole, watching hours of YouTube videos, reading old online articles on the 12th page of my google search results, and playing Wiffle® in 10 different states.
I played ultimate frisbee in college, and I think there are a lot of parallels between ultimate frisbee and Wiffle® ball. Some people exclusively call it ultimate, and they refer to the frisbee as a disc because frisbee is trademarked by Wham-O. With Wiffle® it’s the opposite. Most people say Wiffle® ball when referring to any form of backyard baseball. People look at me funny when I tell them I wear cleats playing each sport, and every game features a play or two worthy of ESPN. People think of them as kids’ games, but anyone who has played at a high level will attest to the intense competition.
This year I wanted to try to show other people what Wiffle® ball is all about, so I bought a tripod for my smartphone, and I recorded my games as often as I could. Carl Coffee helped me start the Wiffle® Now! Podcast Network, and he hosted dozens of podcasts about Wiffle® ball throughout the year. We also reposted photos, highlight videos, announcements, and just about anything we could find relevant to Wiffle® on our Twitter & Facebook pages. There are so many different ways to play Wiffle® ball, and so many places with unique styles and traditions. Putting them all in one place makes it easier to check out various forms of Wiffle® without having to dig as much to find it. That’s what I’m hoping National WIFFLE® will be all about.
There are really competitive guys scattered all over the country that can throw well over 80mph, and have at least half a dozen different pitches. There are also tons of people who just play for fun in a charity fundraising tournament once a year, but it’s their favorite day of the summer. There’s really something for everyone whether it’s more casual slow pitch in the backyard, or a major tournament with teams coming from throughout the nation trying to prove they’re the best.
My main goals for National WIFFLE® are to show current players, and prospective players, where they can play, and highlight those who, as Golden Stick Wiffle® League puts it, have taken this backyard game way too far. If you run a tournament or league, you built a field in your backyard, you can throw a nasty pitch, or you just want to learn more about this game, reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send us a Facebook / Twitter / Instagram message because I’m sure there are plenty of people out there we don’t know about that should be featured on this website.