SOFTBALL

"A Younger Version of Baseball"

Where It All Began

It started with a boating club, a boxing glove and a football game. Softball was introduced on Thanksgiving Day in 1887 at a Harvard-Yale football game. A man from Yale playfully threw a boxing glove at the Harvard grads after the game was done and bets were paid. A fan from Harvard hit the glove away with a broom handle. A game of indoor baseball commenced as a result. The game lasted an hour and ended with a score of 41-40. George Hancock wrote down rules and came up with a big soft ball and a bat that had a rubber tip that was good for indoors. He even painted permanent foul lines on the floor of Boat Club.

Lauren Chamberlain

  • Corner
  • 2013 NCAA Women's College World Series Champion with the Oklahoma Sooners
  • Two-time NFCA All-American
  • Top 3 Finalist for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year
  • 2010 Pan American (18-Under) Gold Medalist
  • 2013 USA Women's National Team Member
  • Team USA Member

A Little Later

That winter in the Chicago area, indoor baseball became very popular. It was meant to be a way for baseball players to keep in practice during the winter. By 1889, a winter league was formed. When the weather became warmer, softball was taken to outdoor field (all of which were too small to be baseball fields.) The same large and soft balls that were anywhere from 10 to 20 inches in diameter that were used indoors were also used for the outdoor games.

Keilani Ricketts

  • Pitcher
  • Plays professionally with the USSSA Pride
  • Member of Team USA
  • 2013 Women's College World Series Champion with the Oklahoma Sooners
  • Threw 50 Strikeouts in the 2014 season with the Pride
  • Two time USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year

Timeline

  • November 24th, 1887: The first softball game was played
  • Winter 1889: The first winter softball league was formed
  • 1897: The first softball league outside of the United States was organized in Toronto, Canada
  • Summer 1913: Softball was adopted by the Minneapolis Park Board and was played in parks and playgrounds all over the city
  • 1926: The game took the name softball when a Denver YMCA official brought the idea up
  • Summer 1931: A group of men named "Kids and Kubs" drove around the country playing softball. They were all at least 75 years old and played in suits.
  • Summer 1933: The first softball tournament was organized by a Chicago salesman
  • Fall 1933: The Amatuer Softball Association was founded
  • 1939: Softball was introduced to Australia
  • 1951: The International Softball Federation began governing worldwide softball competition
  • 1962: Softball was introduced to the United Kingdom
  • 1965: The first women's fastpitch softball World Championships were played in Melbourne, Australia
  • 1966: The first men's fastpitch softball World Championships were played in Mexico City
  • 1977: The American Professional Slow Pitch League became the first professional men's softball leagues
  • 1983: The first British women's softball league was established
  • 1996: Women's Softball became an Olympic medal event
  • July 2005: Softball was dropped as an Olympic sport

Janie Takeda

  • Outfielder
  • Graduate of the University of Oregon
  • Two time NFCA All-American
  • Two time First Team All-Pac-12
  • Member of Team USA

Popularity Boost

A fireman, Lewis Rober, boosted the game of softball immensely. He needed something to keep his Minneapolis firemen busy while waiting for fire calls. He marked a field in a lot next to the fire station. The smaller field and softer ball used in the game of softball made meant more offense and action in the field than baseball. Rober decided to limit games to seven innings because this allowed games to be completed in an hour while being active and competitive. Contests between different firehouses began to draw as many as 3,000 spectators.

Amber Freeman

  • Catcher
  • Graduated from Arizona State University
  • 2013 World Cup Silver Medalist
  • 2011 ISF Junior World Champion
  • 2010 Pan American (18-Under) Gold Medalist
  • Team USA Member

Economic Impact

Softball brings in a lot of money. The Women's College Softball World Series have been happening for 32 years. In those 32 years, 1,022,117 people have attended various games throughout the tournament. That means that over a million people have traveled to another city, and spent money there for food, lodging, and tickets. All of which put money back into society. Other popular tournaments have the same effect. These tournaments include the Youth Softball World Series, the Softball World Cup and many other youth softball tournaments on a smaller scale such as the ASA National Championship for girls aged 10 to 18.

Social Impact

Softball changes the lives of many young girls today. WIthout softball, they may never know the importance of confidence but not cockiness, hard work, or friendship. The girls learn that you have to be confident to be successful in the game of softball. This can transfer into all parts of their lives, at school, and later in the workplace. The concept of hard work is imperative to live a successful life, without it school with be almost impossible, and holding down a job will be even worse. Friendship is something even more important. Many girls will meet their best friends through softball, or any sport, and friends are something that you need to get through life. They make it more fun.

Political Impact

Many years ago, softball was a men's sport. But just like everything else, women wanted to work their way into the sport. Without the help of the Women's Rights Movement, it would have stayed a women's sport. Today, softball is something that is mostly underappreciated. Many other athletes believe that it is easy, or boring, or both, which tends to cause arguments and fighting between kids and even adults.

Video!

Stuff softball players say