Softball - History Print
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Sunday, 11 February 2007 06:39

Softball - History

women's softball players at base Softball was invented in Chicago, Illinois in 1887 as an indoor version of baseball

In 1887 in Chicago, United States, Yale and Harvard alumni had gathered at the Farragut Boat Club in Chicago to hear the score of the annual football game.

When the score was announced, one person threw a boxing glove at another. The other person grabbed a stick and swung at it. This spur of the moment activity formed the basis for a new game - softball.

George Hancock, a reporter, then tied a boxing glove into the shape of a ball, and a broom handle was used as a bat. Hancock developed a ball and an undersized bat and the Farragut Club set rules for the game, which spread quickly.

In 1895, outdoor games separate from the Farragut Club rules, were also organised as exercise for fire-fighters. This game was known as kitten ball, pumpkin ball, or diamond ball.

The sport was played internationally and Toronto, Canada, organised the first softball league outside the US in 1897. It then spread to European countries during World War Two, when US soldiers were stationed abroad.

By the mid-1990s, softball was played in more than 85 countries under the auspices of the International Softball Federation (ISF), the international governing body of the sport, founded in 1952.

The first ISF Women's World Championship was held in 1965 in Melbourne, Australia, and the first ISF Men's World Championship a year later in Mexico City, Mexico.

Softball hit its way to the Asian Games in 1990 at the 11th Asian Games in Beijing, China.