By Mark Memmott
There's big news in the world of toys (and we could all use a break from the serious stories):
The Ball has been inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, N.Y.
Now, you're probably thinking to yourself -- as I did -- that this must be a new hall of fame that's just inducting its first honorees. Surely The Ball was put in the Hall with the first class of inductees? Like Babe Ruth at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Who's been bigger than Ball in the world of play? Stick? ("You'll poke your eye out!") Cardboard Box? Barbie? Please.
But no. It turns out that the Toy Hall of Fame has been around in one form or another since 1998. Here it is 2009 and The Ball is just getting its due. Stick, Cardboard Box, Barbie, Lincoln Logs, Play-Doh -- they were already in.
So I called curator Nicolas Ricketts at the Toy Hall of Fame. He says, basically, that the competition's tough and The Ball's time just hadn't come around until now. "Since we only take in two or sometimes three toys a year and it is a relatively young institution -- the Hall of Fame -- it's taken a while for some of the classic toys to catch up."
That's why playing cards and sidewalk chalk still aren't in the hall, Ricketts adds.
As you might expect, Ricketts seems like a good guy. He is after all, an expert on fun.
Here's some of our conversation:
If you're interested in nominating a toy for next year's class of inductees, click here.
Atari 2600 Game System
Easy Bake Oven
Etch A Sketch
Mr. Potato Head
Nintendo Game Boy
Radio Flyer Wagon
Raggedy Ann and Andy