Softball has a fascinating and rich history. Even if you are a big fan of softball, you might not be aware of some amazing facts about this popular sport.
|15 Surprising Facts About Softball That You Might Not Know|
There are some facts about softball that are well-known, but there are many more facts that will astonish you. Here are 15 surprising facts about softball that you might not know.
1. Softball was invented by George Hancock.
Before it became the sport we love today, softball was created in Chicago in 1887. George Hancock, a journalist for the Chicago Board of Trade, is said to have invented the sport which was originally designed to be an indoor version of baseball for the winter.
2. The first softball was not a ball.
Softball was created while waiting for the outcome of a football game between Yale and Harvard. George Hancock, who supported Yale, threw a rolled-up boxing glove at someone who cheered for Harvard. The Harvard supporter picked up a stick and hit the rolled-up boxing glove back at him, and a new sport was born.
3. The first rules for softball were published in 1889.
Softball was first played in 1887, and the first official rules of softball were published in 1889 by George Hancock because the sport had a lot of appeal.
4. Walter Hakanson came up with the name “softball”.
Walter Hakanson, a member of the YMCA, is credited for naming the sport “softball” at the annual meeting of the National Recreation Congress in 1926 and made the sport more popular across the United States by 1930.
5. Softball has had many different names.
Although it is now called softball, this sport has had many different names over the years. It has changed to stay relevant and interesting. Now, it reflects everything that is good and fun about the game.
Some of the different names that softball has had are mushball, kitten ball, diamond ball, indoor baseball, pumpkin ball, cabbage ball, ladies baseball, and many more.
6. There are two kinds of softball.
There are two main kinds of softball that are played which are fast pitch and slow pitch. The difference is in their names.
In slow pitch, the pitcher has to pitch a slow, curving ball to the batter which makes it an easier kind of softball for beginners.
On the other hand, instead of pitches being thrown in an arc to the batter, fastpitch softball pitchers usually throw underhand with speed. The result is a game that requires more athletic skill than its slow-pitch counterpart.
7. Chicago still plays mush ball.
In Chicago, where softball was born, a version of the original game called 16-inch softball or mushball is still played today.
A softball that is bigger and softer, looking like a boxing glove is used to play this game. There are also no gloves used to catch and field the ball like how it was played in the past.
8. Softball is played all over the world.
Softball is currently played in more than 140 countries around the world on every continent, showing how much people love this sport. While the game started in the United States, it soon spread to other places.
9. Softball was removed from the Olympics after only 12 years.
Softball was part of the 1996 Summer Olympics and was first played in Atlanta, Georgia, United States., but it did not last for long. The Olympic Committee took out softball from the Olympics in 2008, leaving many people sad about losing their favorite sport.
It is not in the Olympics right now, but there are some efforts from softball fans to bring back Softball as a Summer Olympics sport.
10. International softball games are still happening today.
Even though softball is not an Olympic Sport anymore, there are still Softball World Championships that host international games for both men's and women's softball teams. The women's fastpitch softball championship takes place every two years, while the men's championship takes place every odd year.
The Pan-American Games also feature softball as one of the sports that takes place every four years. Also, ASA organizes World Cup tournaments every year.
11. The first Women's Softball World Championship took place in 1965.
The first women's fastpitch championship took place in 1965 in Melbourne, Australia. The host country, Australia won the tournament with an impressive winning streak and took home the trophy after beating five other teams.
12. There are 197 softball players recognized in the Hall of Fame.
The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) keeps a Hall of Fame for softball players. This program honors great softball players from past and present.
As of now, there are 197 players who have been admitted into the ASA Hall of Fame for their excellence in softball which includes players from as early as 1941.
13. One player in the Hall of Fame is a 16-Inch softball player.
Out of the 197 players in the Hall of Fame, Eddie Zolna is the only player who played the Chicago-style 16-Inch Softball which was started in 1989. He was a pitcher for the Bobcats and won 12 national titles during his career and was MVP three times in national championships.
14. The first no-hitter in a Softball Olympics game was in 2000.
The first softball no-hitter in the Olympics was pitched by Lori Harrigan of the United States during the 2000 Summer Olympic Games. She is an American softball player who set the record against Canada in women's fastpitch softball.
15. Softball is said to be one of the safest sports.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that softball has one of the lowest rates of injury compared to other sports. Also, many of the injuries that are reported can be avoided with safety gear and following the safety advice of the AAP.
Famous Softball Players
Softball has produced many skilled players throughout its history. Here are some famous softball players and their achievements:
- Lisa Fernandez: A three-time Olympic gold medalist, Fernandez is regarded as one of the best pitchers in softball history. She also won two NCAA championships while playing for UCLA.
- Jennie Finch: Another famous pitcher, Finch led the United States to a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics. She was also a two-time National Player of the Year at the University of Arizona.
- Cat Osterman: Osterman is a left-handed pitcher who won a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics and a silver medal at the 2008 Olympics. She also won two NCAA championships while playing for the University of Texas.
- Dot Richardson: Richardson was a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a two-time National Player of the Year at UCLA. She also played on several World Championship-winning teams.
- Jessica Mendoza: Mendoza was an outstanding player at Stanford University and played for the United States at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. She later became a commentator for ESPN.
Softball has been a popular sport since the 19th century and is truly a fun sport around the world.
This article is about various fun facts related to softball. I hope you liked reading it.