The Truth About the History of Softball

The Truth About the History of Softball

The history of softball. Have you ever wondered where it all began?

I can tell you that softball originated from Chicago, on Thanksgiving Day, 1887. After a group of about twenty young men had gathered in a Boat Club, to hear the outcome of a football game. After the winner was announced, a man picked up a boxing glove left on the side and threw it at someone…who then hit it away with a pole.

A man named George Hancock is known in the history of softball, as the man who shouted, “Let’s play ball!” He tied the boxing glove into a ball shape, drew out a diamond on the floor and found a broom handle to use as a bat.

That is how the idea of the game of softball was born. Now, how did this twisted version of baseball grow into the sport that it is today?

George Hancock, the man that almost single handedly invented the game of softball, created an over-sized ball and a slightly smaller bat with a rubber tip on the end. He also went and painted permanent white foul lines on the floor of the gym and wrote new rules to the game he called “indoor baseball”.

Indoor baseball spread fast internationally. Many played it to keep practicing during the winter months, a great alternative to playing outside in the freezing cold snow! When the weather became warmer, the game was moved outdoors and the new name “indoor-outdoor” was given to the sport. The sport exploded in popularity and Hancock published indoor-outdoor rules in 1889.

Another important event in the history of softball was when the game was limited to about an hours length, by cutting down the innings to seven. This happened because a fireman decided to adapt the game to keep his fellow firemen busy between fire calls.

The game was finally given the name “softball” in 1926, after a Denver YMCA official suggested it. In 1933, softball was introduced to the rest of the world when it travelled with the world’s fair.

An important year in the history of softball was 1933. This was when the Amateur Softball Association was founded. The association brought standardized rules to the game, including rules about different age groups, sizes of balls and sizes of pitches.

In 1939, softball was introduced to Australia and Canadians introduced softball to the Netherlands after the Second World War. Later in 1962, softball was introduced to the United Kingdom, the first British women’s softball league was established in 1983.

The first women’s fast-pitch world championships in the history of softball were played in 1965 in Melbourne, Australia. The first men’s world championships in the history of softball were played in 1966 in Mexico City. Since 1970, softball world championship tournaments have been played every four years and in 1996, women’s softball became an Olympic medal event.

Today, million’s of people in the United States, and the rest of the world play the game of softball…me included!

This is just a brief segment of information about softball history. For the full version, visit the Baseball Brainiac page “History Of Softball”.