It is just a backyard game . . . Right?

Different Types of Wiffle Ball

The Wiffle Ball is not the only plastic ball you can play with to have fun in your backyard, but the Wiffle Ball is one of the best products you can buy. There are many balls to choose from believe it or not and my intent is to tell you how they performed for us and to understand the pros and cons of each. 

Wiffle© Ball:

The high season of Wiffle Ball manufacturing runs from the day after Christmas through May. Clear polyethylene crystals are mixed with similar bits of white plastic and forced hydraulically into molds that deliver either the solid half or perforated half of the ball. The halves are then joined, through heating, by another machine. “That’s all there is to it,” says Dave Mullany says, the son of the creator of the Wiffle Ball. 

— Nathan Cobb, Boston Globe, 9/16/85

Wiffle© Balls can be found virtually anywhere, online, in toy and hardware stores they are well distributed on and offline and they are the king of backyard ball. This is a huge pro! 

The Pros:  This ball offers a lot of versatility and offers a unique experience with every pitch and hit and fielding chance. You can make them dance from the mound simply by your grip and nothing else. The variety of pitches is endless. Risers, Curves, Sliders, Knuckleballs, Fastballs, Change Up’s and many made up pitches. The best pitcher I have ever seen is known as Wiffle Boy 28, he has a fantastic youtube channel and has recently published a book on pitching – The Wiffleboy Pitching Program. I would highly recommend checking it out.  With this particular piece of equipment, even someone without electric arm action can be good.

One thing allot of leagues and players do is customize the ball. They allow scuffing of the ball which almost makes it unfair if someone can break a ball four feet, I have faced them and it is not a fun on comfortable at bat. 

What I love about a Wiffle Ball is it is hard, but not too hard. I have seen the ball dent some screens and leave a few tattoos from time to time, but I have never seen the ball break a window or any other property. I find they are the safest ball to use for your body and for items you will hit, such as homes, windows, cars and unintended guests. So they win a safety award for sure. 

How far can you hit a Wiffle© Ball? Take the following into account. While some people claim to have hit Wiffle©balls 150 to 175 Feet, most of us can’t do that.  We have hit thousands with every kind of bat. We have seen an occasional ball go 150 Feet, on average they don’t go too much further than 100 – 130 feet. There are so many bats and the distance is greatly affected by the bat.   

The ball is amazingly durable as long as you play when it is above 55 degrees. We had balls last us a fairly long time, they get softer over time, and eventually, they crack and if they get cold they will shatter. 

Cons: The only negative I see is weather; if it is windy you can hit a ball that starts out 50 feet in front of you and land behind you when it comes down. The other negative is there is only one pitching machine, the Juggs Lite Flight we found that will throw the ball with any consistency.

It is the king of the backyard world though. 

Glow In The Dark Wiffle© ball:

They are clear balls that you put a light in. They are very light and do not travel very far. The light pack gives it weight but it can spin awkwardly. We have had some fun with it, but it ended there for us. 

For its good intent, it is a novelty item. 

Solid Wiffle© Balls:

These balls have no holes. These balls were probably made for batting machine use. Which it is perfect for as you get consistent pitches from a machine or thrown by hand.

The ball goes much farther than regular Wiffle© balls as there is little resistance and for some reason these balls create a lot of spin, an oddity we have witnessed is seeing many balls travel 70 – 80 feet at 5 or 7 feet high then elevate to 10 or 18 feet in height and travel another 40+ feet.  The ball, in general, goes a good distance, these balls can be hit 150+ feet with regularity. We enjoyed hitting the balls because of the distance and they are less affected by wind. They also have a good sound and feel off the bat.  They are actually pretty durable from what we experienced with them to date. They will crack or break however in cold weather.

The negative if you are using them to play a game is that catching this ball is very difficult and is almost impossible without a glove. It also makes sharp moves away, down and over you and there are no clear lines on line drives or semi line drives. Fly balls are impossible to judge. This is a batting practice ball only. Also, because it is solid if you get hit with it, it can really sting. A hidden effect of this bat is because it is solid it will beat up and flatten your bats.    

Holes on Both Side Wiffle© Balls:

This is a ball made by “Wiffle© Ball” not a training ball found at Wal Mart©. I came across these balls in a sporting goods store. They are holes on both sides and the purpose seems to be to throw a straight ball. We picked up 50 of them used them for a few days and realized they were not for us. The balls don’t go very far, without the harder opposite side the wind knocks the ball down. I would not recommend buying this ball.

 

Stee Rike Three Balls~

They are also known as training balls you can buy at Wal-mart© and online. They offer 2 Balls, 

stee-rike3
stee-rike3 also called training balls.

the Curveball and a training ball which has holes on both sides. These balls are harder balls and will damage bats so beware if you have an expensive moonshot bat! We shattered a moonshot with this ball, unfortunately.  

We will offer a separate review for each ball.

The training ball:

Because this ball is balanced with holes on both sides it is great for pitching machines. It has some movement but has a true flight off the bat and is the most like a baseball we have found. The ball is harder and heavier so it is not as affected by the wind. 

Fielding is like a baseball, true lines to the ball, not many crazy dips. Hitting the ball is true and the ball goes a good distance, 125 – 135+  foot homers are possible and consistent. They are fairly durable and great for batting machines. They sometimes dent but pop back into shape.

Cons: Although durable, once they crack in the middle they are done. They are hard balls I and will sting if they hit your body. Don’t have too many little kids around as your ripping them in BP, be careful with them. These balls beat up your bat’s they will create a flat spot (which isn’t always a bad thing) however many leagues include major league baseball prohibit flat bats. We hit these balls with normal bats and the balls durability goes down quickly. The package says good for wood and aluminum bats but our experience says otherwise.

The Curve Ball:

Pitching this ball is a blast as it moves! It is a hard and heavy ball and you can make this ball rise curve and do a lot. Don’t miss your spot though because it goes a mile when hit well. We have hit this ball 160+ feet on many occasions and it gets there in a hurry. This ball travels far and does not play as true as a training ball.

This ball doesn’t feed great from a batting machine and they are not super durable. If you hit one on the end of the bat the ball does dent and once dented it doesn’t always pop back into place. They also crack after a good amount of use. We love the ball because they go far. However as stated above, play with caution to avoid the sting on your body and they beat up the bats. See above for health warnings and flat bat warnings.

Note: Stee rike Three has a web site and offers a batting Machine hooked up to a leaf blower. It is definitely doable, we tried it, we didn’t like it, it was really noisy. 

Easton Pro Stix Ball:

The Easton Pro Stix 1000 bat comes with a solid ball. If you want to have BP this ball is fun, it goes a mile. We hit this ball 225+ Feet. Both my son and I hit one out of a little league park from home plate. We lose them so we don’t know how long they last. I would not play a game with these balls or pitch them from anything less than 60 feet away. They fly off the bat they are rock solid so be careful. After catching a few barehanded, I would also say to use a glove! 

We only use this ball in the toss pitching machines. 

Polyballs:

These are like nats on a hot summer day lots of brands you can find in Dick’s Sporting Goods©,

poly balls
Poly Balls

Wal-Mart© and other places. I bought most of them I can only however truly comment on 1 Brand:

Jugs Bull Dog Polyball:

This Jugs ball has a true flight and pitch. It works great out of a pitching machine. Our problem is the distance that they go. You are not going to hit this ball beyond 100 feet with any consistency. If you have a small field they are okay. It isn’t too soft, but not as hard as a Training ball, it will, however, beat your bat up pretty good over time. 

As stated above we like the consistency and durability of the jugs ball. The balls are fairly durable, they will crack and split over time and the color fades. These balls were made for the light flight pitching machine and work well with it. We have hit these balls with plastic, wood, and aluminum.  Plastic is best because they don’t go anywhere otherwise. I cannot attest to the durability with hard bats long term, we used them minimally. 

JUNK BALL:

This is a fun ball that has an adjustable ring where the holes are. It also has a scuffed part of the ball. It allows for an interesting game. The ball can go a good distance if solid. If you open the holes it goes for less distance. The hard part- it is $4 for a 2 Pack, so $2 a ball is pricey. The balls also can get dented; however, they do seem to fix themselves. 

Junkball eventually came out with a second solid ball, which we never used. 

Ripken Quick Bat Ball’s:

These balls are small hard balls with holes. They can be crushed. They go hard, fast and deep. I would not pitch this ball from 40 feet away to anyone who could swing a bat. It stings. It also beats up your bat and because it is small it doesn’t fit any pitching machines.

The balls you use and play with are your choice of course and you can’t go wrong if you enjoy playing. The main reason we listed distance is when you start hitting them you want to pick the right spot and be aware if there are any dangers. So pick your ball to fit your field and needs.

Blitz Ball:

This is what the Blitz Ball Website says – 

Taking backyard baseball seriously.
Throw any MLB pitch for 10 times the curve!

Blitzball is the ultimate backyard baseball! With its unique, patent-pending design, Blitzball gives players MORE curving action, speed, and Home Run distance than any other backyard / plastic baseball! Weighing just under 1 oz. each, Blitzballs are safe enough for everyday backyard use and are proudly made in the USA from the highest-quality plastic polymers. Great for players of all skill levels, Blitzball takes ordinary backyard baseball games to a whole new level!

I have only hit this ball and I can attest it goes a mile. 

By Tom Hannon

Builder of two Wiffle Ball Fields, The Ball Park At Lake Gardner and Little Ebbets Field. Author of a book of backyard ball and Little Ebbets Field.

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