Miniature versions of baseball have been played for decades, including stickball, improvised by children, using everything from rolled up socks to tennis balls. The ball most commonly used in the game was invented by David N. Mullany at his home in Fairfield, Connecticut in 1953 when he designed a ball that curved easily for his 12-year-old son. It was named when his son and his friends would refer to a strikeout as a "whiff". The classic trademarked Wiffle Ball is about the same size as a regulation baseball, but is hollow, lightweight, of resilient plastic, no more than 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick. One half is perforated with eight .75-inch (19 mm) oblong holes; the other half is non-perforated. This construction allows pitchers to throw a tremendous variety of curveballs and risers. Wiffle balls are typically packaged with a hollow, hard plastic, yellow bat that measures 32 inches (810 mm) in length and about 1.25 inches (32 mm) in diameter.
Tournaments have been the driving force in modern wiffle ball and have been held in the United States and Europe since 1977. That year, Rick Ferroli began holding tournaments in his backyard tribute to Fenway Park in Hanover, Massachusetts. In 1980, the World Wiffleball Championship was established in Mishawaka, Indiana. With the explosion of the Internet in the 1990s, there are now hundreds of Wiffle ball tournaments played in the United States, most in the same place every year, with a few tournament "circuits". The World Wiffleball Championship remains the oldest tournament in the nation, having moved to Skokie, Illinois in 2013, after introducing regional stops over three decades in Baltimore; Los Angeles; Indianapolis; Eugene, Oregon; and Barcelona, Spain. The tournament is featured at #20 in the popular book, "101 Baseball Places to Visit Before You Strike Out."
Some wiffle ball enthusiasts have taken field construction to inspiring heights, having built fields to resemble major league ballparks. Thomas P. Hannon, Jr. authored a book, Backyard Ball, on his experiences building a smaller version of Ebbets Field. Patrick M. O'Connor wrote a book, Little Fenway, about building his versions of Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. But not all wiffleball fields have been modeled from major league ball parks. Some have created original fields, Strawberry Field in Encino, California being the most exquisite. Rick Messina spent over $700,000 constructing Strawberry Field, which features lights for night games, bleachers, and a press box. He also converted a neighboring house into a clubhouse/pub.
Building fields can lead to controversy and legal issues. In 2008, The New York Times published an article about Greenwich, Connecticut teenagers who were forced by the city to tear down a wiffle ball field they had built because of neighbor complaints.