A man heads a ball as he plays next to a blown up ball bearing signatures, in the fan zone in downtown Basel, Switzerland, Friday, June 6, 2008. The Euro 2008 European Soccer Championships in Austria and Switzerland kicks off on Saturday. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

Where would we be without it? (Ivan Sekretarev/AP)

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.

The current hall of famers:

Alphabet Blocks
Atari 2600 Game System
Baby Doll
The Ball

Barbie
Bicycle
Big Wheel
Candy Land

Cardboard Box
Checkers
Crayola Crayons
Duncan Yo-Yo

Easy Bake Oven
Erector Set
Etch A Sketch
Frisbee

G.I. Joe
Hula Hoop
Jack-in-the-Box
Jacks

Jigsaw Puzzle
Jump Rope
Kite
LEGO

Lincoln Logs
Lionel Trains
Marbles
Monopoly

Mr. Potato Head
Nintendo Game Boy
Play-Doh
Radio Flyer Wagon

Raggedy Ann and Andy
Rocking Horse
Roller Skates
SCRABBLE

Silly Putty
Skateboard
Slinky
Stick

Teddy Bear
Tinkertoy
Tonka Trucks
View-Master

categories: Fun

8:50 - November 6, 2009