WIFFLEBALL How it all began: It was a lazy summer afternoon in Fairfield, Connecticut, 1953. Thirteen-year-old David A. Mullany and his friend were locked in another marathon game of backyard ball. The boys used a broom handle and a plastic golf ball, because every kid knows you can't play hardball in the yard. "We had tried playing with tennis balls at first, but one day my friend's mother was hanging laundry and I drilled a shot through her arms and into the backdoor light." David's father, David N. Mullany - a former college and semipro pitcher - watched his son trying to throw a curve with the plastic golf ball, and he got an idea. "Whether they're playing the outfield or infield, warming up or just throwing the ball around, everyone is always trying to throw a curve," he told a Network News Service reporter thirty years later. "Then it hit me. If you could take a plastic ball and make it curve, you'd probably have something." He needed something - his auto polish business had gone bust; he was broke and unemployed. The elder Mullany called a friend who worked at the nearby Colt Firearms factory. Besides guns, the company made packaging products. "They made a plastic-ball gift box for Coty, the perfume company," said Mullany. "The mold was still there so my friend pulled off some samples for me." He brought them home, and that night he and his son sat at the kitchen table with white plastic hemispheres, a few razor blades and some scotch tape. With a baseball, a pitcher throws a curve by creating unequal spin on the two sides of the ball. David N. Mullany reasoned that a plastic ball could be made to curve if its two hemispheres were of unequal weight. Father and son cut holes, diamonds, and other shapes out of the balls, to create an imbalance. Then they'd tape two halves together and try out the ball. The Mullany's finally concluded that it was the shape of the holes, rather than the precise volume of plastic removed, was the critical factor in the ball's performance. The ball that worked best had eight oblong holes on the top half, and a solid bottom.