Origination of Softball


Photo from: Kenzii Rogers

You may think that softball originated from baseball; however it really started at a football game. Crazy right? Well it dated back to Thanksgiving Day of 1887 when several alumni (college graduates) of the Illinois Farragut Boat Club were anxiously awaiting the outcome of a Yale v Harvard football game. When Yale was announced the winner, a Yale alumnus playfully threw a boxing glove at one of the Harvard supporters. The Harvard fan swung at the balled-up glove with a stick, and the rest of the group looked  with interest. George Hancock, a reporter for the Chicago Board of Trade, jokingly called out, “Play ball!” and with this, the first softball game commenced with the football fans using the boxing glove as a ball and a broom handle in place of a bat.

Due to the initial excitement surrounding the game, the Farragut Boat Club decided to officially create their own set of rules. The game quickly spread to outsiders in Chicago and, eventually, throughout the rest of the Midwestern U.S. As the history of softball shaped itself over the next decade, the game had many different names such as: indoor baseball, kitten baseball, diamond ball, mush ball, and pumpkin ball. In 1926, Walter Hakanson announced the term “softball” while representing the YMCA at a National Recreation Congress meeting. By 1930, the term stuck as the sport’s official name.

In 1934, the Joint Rules Committee on Softball collaborated to create a set of standardized rules for the new sport. Up until this point, the game was being played with various rules, player positions, and ball sizes. The original softball used by the Farragut Boat Club was 16 inches in circumference. However, Lewis Rober Sr., the man responsible for organizing the softball games for firefighters in Minneapolis, used a 12-inch ball. Rober’s ball became the preferred softball size, and professional softball games today are played using a 10 inch ball for slow pitch and a 12-inch ball for fast. However, many Chicagoan still hold fast to the belief that real softball is played using a 16-inch ball which we know as a “lob” ball. Games using these 16-inch balls are often referred to as “cabbage ball,” “super slow pitch,” and “mush ball,” and unlike competitive softball, players are not allowed to wear fielding gloves because it was the softer out of the three size balls.

Softball is a sport still played today and is very popular. It is a fun, exciting, and amazing sport that is played. Maybe now you know more about this sport you will try it! If you want to read more visit this site in which I got all my information and then some:http://www.athleticscholarships.net/history-of-softball.htm.