History of Softball....

The history of softball dates back to 1887, Chicago, Illinois. The first game was played with a broom handle for a bat! The first version of the game was played on Thanksgiving Day, by George Hancock. He intended the game to be a winter version of the American favorite field sport, baseball. Way back then, the game was referred to as 'Indoor Baseball'. History 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.

Hancock had knotted the boxing glove into a ball and used a broom handle as a bat. With a score of 44-40, the first softball game came to an exciting end. The impulsive improvisation made that day was the barehanded fielding of the softball. In time, Hancock developed a special softball and bat and set down rules for the game in 1889. Under the name of 'Indoor-Outdoor', the game was an instant favorite. The first outdoor version was developed by Lewis Rober, Sr., in the year 1895. The outdoor game developed for the Minneapolis firefighters went by the name of 'Kitten Ball'. During the latter part of the nineteenth century, softball was also referred to as Pumpkin Ball and Diamond Ball.

The outdoor version developed by Rober introduced a 12-inch ball, as opposed to the 16-inch ball used earlier. In 1897, the first softball league was organized outside the United States, in Toronto. The game was officially coined as 'Softball' in 1926, by Walter Hakanson. By the 1930s, softball had made its way 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. The game swept across Europe by 1972. While 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. Today, softball remains a popular sport in elementary and high schools across the globe.





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