The Potomac Wiffleball League was formed in May 2005, by Commissioner Chris Gallaway. Gallaway had been the commissioner of now defunct Lawrence Wiffleball League in Lawrence, Kansas, in 2003.
2005 saw the playing of Wiffleball on the banks of the Potomac for the first time since the Senators moved to Texas. The league grew from 5 to 12 teams before crossing the river and moving to the highest point in DC, Ft. Reno in 2008. After a two year break, the league returned to the flight path at National Airport and has featured as many as 20 teams.
During the 20th season, in Spring 2015, Commissioner Gallaway released a list of the all time top 20 league moments.
The Washington Post ran a feature about the league in the spring of 2009.
- Photo Gallery
- Video Story
- Feature Story on the Post Website
- Post Transcript of Online Q and A on Wiffleball Article
Where do you get these rules?
The rules were first taken from the London (OH) Wiffleball League. (http://www.londonwiffleball.com/) A few modifications were made for the purposes of the League, but for the most part, they were the same. The Rules can be changed by a super-majority vote of the mangers of all the league teams.
The super-majority allows for ridiculous suggestions to be smacked down as they so richly deserve. Among these, the case made by Just Look at Yourself that girls be allowed to use a bigger bat, and that they need to get permission from their husbands before they can play, or vote in federal elections.
How do you create the stats, box score, and scoresheets?
We use FixedIt! Baseball Scorebook to generate our box scores, stats, and scoresheets. They’re a great outfit, and you pay for the software once and get updates for life.
All games are videotaped, and in the early day the Commissioner uses the software to score the games off of the videos that aren’t scored live to ensure consistent scoring. Now there is a staff of official scorekeepers who score all games live during play.
Are you violating some copyrights with your use of the terms “Wiffleball”, “World Series”, and “All-Star Game”?
We love the Wiffleball people, and if we’re violating their copyright, we sincerely apologize. It’s definitely not for profit, and, trying to track down the assets of the League would involve unlocking the trunk of the Commissioner’s car and taking out the bases, fence, poles, and balls and bats.
As far as the rest, we love major league baseball the sport, but we could give a warm bucket of spit about what the Major League Baseball owners, which clearly includes the Commissioner’s Office, thinks they own. We’ll make a deal with them; they elect an independent Commissioner, and we’ll honor their copyrights. In the meantime, it’s best we go our separate ways. (If the Lerner family is reading this, we don’t lump you in with the other owners.
So if you are willing to upgrade the Commissioner’s season tickets, currently Club, looking for Lexus, we’re willing to talk.)
Who designed your official logo?
Peter Feddo, a young turk from Richmond, VA, with ambition beyond his ability and a bit of a snotty temper designed the PWL logo free of charge. We like it, and we like Peter. Which usually puts us in the minorty on both counts. The logo features the Potomac River, a Wiffleball, a Wifflebat, and the US Capitol, which we could see from our original fields at Gravelly Point.
What’s this other logo?
This logo was first used for our Spring 2009 Season T-shirts. It was designed by Ross Nover, who we also like. It’s now the official logo.
What’s the deal with the fence?
The fence, the most important part of any Wiffleball field, is erected before every game. And what goes up, must come down. In fact, tradition holds that the losing team of the last game played on the field is responsible for taking down and rolling up the fence.
The fence itself is 4’ by 100’ bright orange safety/construction fence available for $28 from any hardware store. There are 5 poles that hold the fence up, and they are 5’, lightweight steel fence post. After the 2009 season, the league upgraded to Enduro fencing, 4’ by 150’ temporary outfield fence. The two foul poles (which really should be called “fair” poles, right?) are made out of 4’ to 14’ telescoping poles designed to attach pool skimmers. It’s all held together with a little love and some straps.
What is your equipment?
Balls – Official Regulation Baseball Sized Wiffle Ball made by The Wiffle Ball Inc, Shelton, CT.
Bats – 32” yellow Wiffle Bat made by The Wiffle Ball Inc, Shelton, CT.
Bases – 15” x 15” x 3” padded bases
Pitcher’s Rubber – Junior Sized Pitching Rubber
Strike Board – Wood, 20” x 30” and sits 10” inches off the the ground, 2’ behind home plate
Radar Detector – SpeedTracX
Two or three new balls, (from boxes, not bags) are used for each league game. Though many Wiffleball pros know that new balls are not desirable from a pitching standpoint, and in some leagues, pitchers use balls for years, or until they get a 1/4 in crack or larger, at the PWL we’re more of the “live” ball era. Like all new balls, they have a lot of factory shine. The balls are rubbed with a special mud, pulled from a secret location in Potomac River. In addition to taking the shine off the ball, this had the added benefit of making them toxic.
Homers By Female Players
The first over-the-fence home run hit by a female player was hit in 2005 by Liz Smith, a guest player with some college ball experience for Showcase Showdown. When asked what she thought about the suggestion that girls should use a larger bat Liz said, “Girls? Girls are what you sleep with after the game. Not what you play with during the game.”
Liz Smith holds the ball that she hit the first ever female home run with. The ball has since been signed, and now resides in the Wiffleball Hall of Fame.
The Potomac Wiffleball League Hall of Fame shared space with the league offices until December 2012 at 2852 Connecticut Ave NW, in the Woodley Park neighborhood of Washington, DC.
At that time the building was taken over by greedy developers who decided to gut it and turn it into condos.
No individual players have been inducted to the Hall of Fame, but the Hall has been collecting memoribilla from special events, including shirts, bats, balls, and scorecards.
The Hall of Fame was open to the public before it closed, every day of the year, except Christmas Day. Post-season Champions Dinners were also held at the Hall of Fame during the 2010 to 2012 seasons.
The League is currently looking for a replacement facility.
Player induction has long been discussed. Commissioner Gallaway appointed a blue-ribbon commission to study the issue of player induction. The following recommendation were made, but have not been acted upon.
- There shall be an annual ballot to induct players into the Hall of Fame.
- Any player with a minimum of 200 Plate Appearances shall be eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame
- At no time shall the membership of the players in the Hall of Fame equal more than 10% of the players eligible for induction.
- Any player with a minimum of 100 Plate Appearances shall be eligible to vote on players to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
- Each voter shall be entitled to vote for up to two times the number of eligible inductions that could be made on their ballot.
- Players that appear on 75% of the ballots cast, shall be elected for induction into the Hall of Fame, unless the amount of players meeting that criteria would violate the 10% membership cap, in which case the the total number of players receiving 75% of the vote shall be elected in order from appearing on most ballots to least amount of ballots until all positions are full.
- Non-Players may be inducted through a special balloting process, separate from the player process.
As of April 1, 2015, there are currently 65 eligible players and 146 eligible voters under these rules. The Hall of Fame Ballot provides a listing of all eligible players.
- Greg Hudson (2015 to Present)
Greg Hudson served as Deputy Commissioner from 2013 until his election as Commissioner by the Managers on August 11, 2015. Hudson had been chosen as Commissioner-elect prior to the Spring 2015 Season to overlap for the final few months of Commissioner Gallaway’s term.
Hudson founded, and has managed the DC Twits since the Spring 2011 season.
- Chris Gallaway (2005 to Present)
Chris Gallaway became the first Commissioner of the Potomac Wiffleball League, elected in 2005 by the teams, mostly because he owned the balls, bats, bases and fence. In order to avoid the conflicts that would seem so apparent in a player in the league also serving as commissioner, Gallaway entrusted the day-to-day management of his team and his play during the games to Wendy Selig-Prieb. This allowed him to act as a fair and impartial commissioner on league matters.
He was re-elected before the Summer Season by league managers in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013. In 2012 and 2013, Gallaway was named the National Commissioner of the Year by the National Wiffle League Association.
He retired following the Spring 2015 Season.
- Stephen Zigmund (Summer 2006 to Spring 2009)
For the Summer 2006 season and beyond, Gallaway named a Deputy Commissioner to assist with the management of the league. Originally this meant helping setup the fence and helping to umpire and score. Stephen Zigmund was named the league Deputy, ignoring complaints that the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner shouldn’t be from the same team. Zigmund was instrumental in the layout of Field 2 at Gravelly Point in one of his first acts as Deputy Commissioner. But from that time, until he went missing during the middle of the Spring 2009 season, was honestly a bit of a disappointment.
- Brian Clapp (Spring 2009 to Summer 2011)
Brian Clapp, of the Rossi Posse, was named Deputy Commissioner for Public Affairs in Spring 2009. After Stephen Zigmund left the staff, the title was shortened to just Deputy Commissioner.
- Greg Hudson (Spring 2013 to Summer 2015)
Greg Hudson was named the third Deputy Commissioner on February 27, 2013. He was elected Commissioner on August 11, 2015.
There have been additional roles from time to time assist in the operation of the league.
- Derron R. Parks (2005 to Spring 2015)
New Media Director
- Tony Cani (2008-2009)
- Andrea Pagano (2007)
- Andrew Martin (Spring 2012 to Summer 2014)
- Alex Filides (Spring 2012 to Spring 2015)