History Of Softball

The history of softball can traced back to 1887, Chicago, Illinois. The first version of the game was introduced on Thanksgiving Day by George Hancock as a winter form of baseball. It was planned to be a way for the players of baseball to keep in practice throughout the winter. The game was however known as ‘indoor baseball’. Origin of softball reveals that in the winter of 1887, when a Yale alumnus pitched a boxing glove at a Harvard supporter on hearing the score of the annual football game at the Farragut Boat Club, the latter grabbed a broom and swung it right back. George Hancock yelled "Play ball" and the first ever game of softball began.

Some days later, Hancock invented a special ball and a bat. The Farragut Club soon makes rules for the softball game which spread rapidly to outsiders. The game was named as "Indoor-Outdoor", and the first rules were established in 1889. However, a winter league was founded in the same year. In softball history, the outdoor version was developed by Lewis Rober in the 1895. He introduced a 12-inch ball, opposing to the 16-inch ball used earlier. By 1913, the game was officially adopted by the Minneapolis Park Board and was played in parks and on playgrounds all over the city. The game that begins in Chicago and Milwaukee became popular and spread through the upper Midwest and Canada. The first softball league outside the United States was organized in Toronto in 1897.

In the history of softball, the name of the game as ‘Softball’ was coined by Walter Hakanson in 1926. By the 1930s, the game of softball spread across the United States and Canada. The Joint Rules Committee on Softball was established in 1934, to standardize the game's rules and regulations. By the 1940's, softball was characterized by fast pitching and a lengthened pitch distance. However, in 1953, the Committee officially made slow pitching compulsory, under the Amateur Softball Association program. In 1939, softball was introduced to Australia. Softball was introduced to the United Kingdom in 1962 when the movie A Touch Of Class was being filmed in London. The first British women’s softball league was established in 1983.

By 1972, the game of softball spread across the entire Europe. However, the American Professional Slow Pitch League or APSPL became the first professional softball league to play (1977-1982), the Detroit Caesars were the first winners of the professional softball World Series in 1977.Since 1951; the International Softball Federation has governed worldwide softball competition. Moreover, the 1996 Olympics also marked a key era in the introduction of technology in softball; the IOC funded a landmark biomechanical study on pitching during the games. Today, softball remains a popular sport in elementary and high schools across the globe.

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