My name is Tom Hannon, and here is my story. As a kid I played baseball and stickball all year, except for July. My
parents typically loaded up the car and trucked down what seemed like every we owned and went to Wareham, MA (The Gateway to Cape Cod). Growing up in the city, the ideal Wiffle Ball Fields didn’t exist, but in Wareham, we had the perfect field, and I played countless games with my friend Mike Peck, my Dad, and whoever else wanted to join. They were wonderful times in a simple world.
Fast forward almost 20 years, and I was 35 years old. I tossed a few Wiffles with the kids every now and then, but it was not something I thought about too often. Then lightning struck. As a Christmas present, I gave my daughter tickets to the World Baseball Classics in 2006. As we strolled around the park in the outfield, I came across a Wiffle Ball Field.
I couldn’t stop thinking about it. My memories of my childhood were so thick I had to wipe them away. Although we had a fantastic time enjoying the baseball classics, the field was on my mind.
I would love to tell you, “I heard the voice.” Maybe I just missed my Dad, who passed away in December of 2004. But I recall telling my now ex Wife, I am going to build a Wiffle Ball Field. I was hoping to reconnect with my Dad.
As I started to research fields, I could not believe that many people had built backyard Wiffle ball fields. Not only have they made fields, but these were downright stadiums with scoreboards, lights, major league park replicas, and they were doing amazing things with them. Including raising millions of dollars for charity. I felt an entirely new world had opened up to me.
We had a yard with a slopped yard, not ideal, trees, brush, and a retention pond. I bought a fence, brought in yards of dirt (ask me about the dirt store), sod, clay, batting mats, cleared brush, trees, and gallons of paint.
It took a while, but by July, we had a Wiffle Ball Field, The Ball Park At Lake Gardner.
My research started drifting to equipment, and we found out the yellow bat era was dead (Sorry, Wiffle Ball Company, we still love your ball!). I always loved gadgets and new things to experiment with, and man, I got my wish.
There was a lot more equipment, bats, balls, pitching machines, field equipment than I ever remembered. The list seemed endless, and we had no idea where to start and no reference point to really know how well anything would perform.
We had no choice but to test them all. We became crash test dummies as we tried everything we could. Every day was like Christmas as packages and boxes showed up with new stuff all the time.
Life was fun, good and I had found a smile that I had thought I lost. Although I had not seen Dad on the field, I could feel his joy as I was no longer working my life away.
Then out of nowhere, my ex-wife decided she really wanted to move. My one condition was I wanted to build a field. See, my field was great, but it had limitations. After a long search, we finally found a house with a parcel of land that would allow me to build an actual field.
After much debate, we decided to build a replica of Ebbets Field. See my Dad was a Boston Braves fan, and when he spoke of old-time baseball Jackie Robinson was someone he spoke of in a different tone. He loved Gil Hodges, Duke Snider, and for some reason, Ebbets Field became the mission. After several months of work we played our first game in August on 2008 on Little Ebbets Field.
I will walk you through our story of building both fields. As James Earl Jones warned Ray, “people, we defiantly come” we will give you the stories there. The stories of people who built parks ran/run leagues, tournaments, how-to guides, equipment reviews, and so much more.
There are no bad stories in Wiffle Ball it was just a lot of fun.
There would be no Wiffle Ball without Baseball, so you will find some baseball history here too!
“You can be a kid as long as you want to when you play baseball” – Cal Ripken Jr.