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Why Does A Baseball Travel Farther Than A Wiffle Ball?

The popularity of baseball is enormous and playing it is a blast.

However, a proper game of baseball requires a baseball field and specific gear which are not always available, especially to kids just looking to have some fun.

Because of this, baseball spawned several variants of the sport, more suitable for pop-up games, such as softball, stickball, or wiffle ball.

Wiffle ball is a fantastic option for those who love baseball but don’t have enough space or enough teammates to play it properly.

It brings plenty of excitement from the original game, but can be easily played in similar confined spaces.

You can even easily play it in your own backyard.

This is all possible due to the fact that the ball used for whiffle ball won’t fly as far as the baseball.

So, why does a baseball travel farther than a wiffle ball?

Why Does A Baseball Travel Farther Than A Wiffle Ball?

Even just a casual comparison between baseball and wiffle ball reveals significant design differences between the two.

To figure out why the two balls have different maximum flying distances, it’s important to understand how they differ from each other.

Differences Between Baseball And Wiffle Ball

Baseball is covered in cowhide or synthetic leather and features a cork or rubber core wrapped in yarn beneath the covering.

On the other hand, wiffle ball is made of plastic, and half of its surface features perforated holes.

Standard wiffle ball has 8.75-inch oblong holes on one half, while the other half is non-perforated.

Of course, baseball is also a lot heavier, with a mass between 5 and 5.25 inches.

Being hollow, wiffle ball is much lighter, weighing only two-thirds of an ounce, about eight times less than a baseball.

These differences are the main reason for the different travel distances each ball can reach after being hit with a bat.

Reasons For Longer Flying Distance Of Baseball

Due to different designs, baseball and wiffle ball are differently influenced by laws of physics during their flight.

As wiffle ball has very little weight and no compression, the speed of the bat is rather low.

Furthermore, the wind drag as the ball flies is high significantly shortening the flight distance.

The heavier and more compressed baseball has higher exit velocity and cuts through the air allowing it to fly farther.

Even if both balls would face the same wind drag, the weight would still make the difference.

Basic physics teaches us that force equals mass times acceleration, so even at the same drag, wiffle ball would deaccelerate eight times faster.

Another reason is that the baseball is fairly elastic, unlike a wiffle ball. So, when hit by a bat, most of the energy of the hit is transferred back to the ball.

How Far Can A Baseball Be Hit?

Many of us have heard stories about batters hitting the baseball over 600 feet.

However, legends and reality are two different things. When it comes to the longest recorded distance a baseball flew after being hit by a batter, it’s 582 feet.

The record belongs to former minor-leaguer Joey Meyer who used to play for Denver Zephyrs. Meyer set the record on June 6, 1987.

Unsurprisingly, the record for the longest hit in the Majors belongs to Babe Ruth. In 1921, he hit a home run at Navin Field (now Tiger Stadium) which flew an impressive 575 feet.

How Far Can A Wiffle Ball Be Hit?

As there are no professional wiffle ball leagues, the records on longest hit are a bit harder to verify.

Normally, a hard-hit wiffle ball would fly around 75-90 feet.

Wiffle Ball company, the largest manufacturer of wiffle balls, recommends home run distance to be set at 20-30 paces.

This equals around 60 to 70 feet. Still, in perfect conditions, wiffle ball can fly much farther.

Per some reports, one amateur league measured a home run in 2013 that was 235 feet long, and that is the farthest recorded distance for a wiffle ball.

Conclusion

One of the main draws of the wiffle ball is that it provides many thrills of baseball while still keeping the game easy, particularly for young players.

It is, in fact, mostly played by kids, or older players whose days of playing serious baseball are behind them.

It also provides a baseball-like experience to practically everyone but without the risk of injuries or a need for above-average athletic ability.

But, probably the biggest advantage of wiffle ball is that it can be played almost anywhere.

It can be played in a gym, backyard, or on the street. It’s perfectly suitable for highly congested urban areas.

The main reason for this is that wiffle ball doesn’t fly as far as baseball, So, there’s no risk of shattered windows or broken side-view mirrors.

The ability to play the game in much closer quarters than baseball or softball makes it accessible to everyone.

6 Differences Between Baseball And ... x
6 Differences Between Baseball And Softball
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