We used to imitate those guys, Marichal and Tiant, when we played plastic-ball in the street. Not Wiffle-Ball, that was for wimps. We played with a plastic ball, with no holes, and a plastic-bat with a broom-stick stuffed inside, so it wouldn't break in half the second time you used it.
A single was across the street. A double was over the sidewalk. A triple was on the house across the street(could be caught for an out on the rebound, or rolling off the roof). A homer was over the house, into the backyard.
Marichal had the high kick, and the ball would nearly touch the ground behind you, before you brought it up and let fly. Not quite as jerky and weird as Tiant, but just as striking. No pun intended.
We also had the hitters. The Stargell flip-and-circle. The Willie Horton dee-e-e-e-ep stance. The Dick McCauliffe stance, so unique, wide-open, practically at right angles to the pitcher. I even spent some time trying to imitate the fearsome swing of one Ted Williams, which I'd only seen on film: the bat perpendicular to the ground, held low, around the waist, and snapped around almost entirely by the wrists. Didn't work for this youngster, as I recall. We always went back to the classic, "good swings," like those of Al Kaline and Jim Northrup, which were textbook beauties. Not that they worked as well for us, as they did for those guys, in their best days.
I remember, also, the year that "Plastic Ball" was made the mandatory street game, supplanting "Rubber Ball," which was played with a rubber baseball, a real bat, and real gloves. Too many broken windows, and the Dads rebelled. "Real Baseball" was moved to the nearby schoolyard, and Plastic Ball ruled the neighborhood.
At a company picnic a few years back, some guys broke out the Wiffle ball and skinny bat, and I tried to play. I sucked, but the game sucked more. The ball's flying around like a badminton shuttlecock in a stiff breeze, the bat's a weightless toothpick, and I just couldn't see the point. I guess it's a cultural thing, like Brooklyn kids who grew up on stickball, and don't see the point in anything else.
For the record, I'm not crazy about softball, either. The ball's too big, and throwing it is awkward. I also threw my arm out, for the first time, when I was about 27 and playing on the church team. Couldn't throw a ball at all, for a couple of years. If you've ever suffered that particular embarrassment, you know what I mean. I blame the oversized ball!