Softball lovers know so much about the sport to the best of their knowledge. However, some things are yet unknown, like – how many softball players are in the world? Why is Softball called “Kitten ball?” Check for the 10 fun facts about Softball below.
What are Softball Unknown Facts?
Origin: The First Softball was a Glove
In 1887, Softball was invented by a Chicago Board of Trade Journalist, George Hancock. It first existed as an indoor sport – like baseball, only that there was a specific time it was played – winter. The story behind the sport’s invention is an interesting one, as it was during a football game between Harvard and Yale teams. A Yale fan threw a boxing glove at a Harvard player. Immediately, the Harvard player picked up the glove and hit it back to the fan with his bat. After that happened, George Hancock screamed, “Play Ball!” That was where he got the idea from.
Softball Had 4 Names
After discovering the game by George Hancock as “Play Ball,” the following year, it had a name change to “Kitten Ball.” It was named after Lewis Rober’s fireman softball team, “The Kittens.” For a while, Kitten Ball and Indoor Baseball were used until they became an outdoor sport. People started calling it “Mush Ball” and “Pumpkin Ball” years later. Eventually, it was renamed “Softball” in the 1920s. The reason behind the name was that it was safe and adult- & kid-friendly.
In Chicago, Softball is still called mushball.
Softball Has Simple Rules
In 1889 when the game was moved outdoors, rules were established, including a league by the Boat Club. The official rules were published in which some of them included a 16-inch circumference with 9 fielders. As time went by, Softball was divided into two – Fastpitched and Slowpitched games. The fastpitched had a 12-inch circumference with 9 fielders, and the slowpitched had an 11-inch circumference with 10 fielders. Overall, the rules are simple and easy to understand by anyone.
2 Softball National Teams in the USA
Softball originated from the United States, and currently has two official teams. They comprise of the male and female categories; both play at the international level. However, they are not professional units.
Over 40 Million People play Softball
More than a century after the invention of sports, it has gained wide recognition in several parts of the world. Today, there are over 40 million summer softball players in the United States alone. Indeed, it is one of the country’s favorite sports.
The idea of Softball being played mostly by women than men is untrue. Some even regard it as a “women’s sport.” Surprisingly, there are more men than women that play Softball.
Softball is One of the Safest Sports
Compared to other sports like football, soccer, and baseball, Softball is the safest sport. It has a low injury rate, making it quite exciting and suitable for everyone – including kids. While being a professional sport, you may go on for months or years without getting injured.
Besides, Softball was designed in two forms depending on skill levels, i.e., fastpitch and softpitch. You are likely only to get injured or bruised while playing the fastpitch or playing excessively.
Softball Has Two Balls
Since there are two types of softball games, two balls are used depending on the forms, i.e., fastpitch and softpitch. A smaller ball is perfect for fastpitch games, while a regular-sized ball is suitable for softpitch games. On the international stage, fastpitch games are only recognized.
Softball Has Closer Bases Than Baseball
Softball was invented from the game of baseball, so that means there will be similarities and differences. One of the significant differences is the distance of the bases. Unlike baseball with bases that are 90 feet apart, Softball’s bases are 60 feet apart.
The distance doesn’t limit the fun of playing Softball; as a matter of fact, it keeps your heart racing while being competitive. Other differences are in the field equipment and accessories.
Olympics Recognition & Championships
Softball’s first world championship was held in 1965 as a women’s tournament. This tournament didn’t hold in the USA but Melbourne, Australia.
The first Olympics was in 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia, when America won the gold medal. However, Softball became the first sport dropped from the Olympics in 69 years. This decision was made in 2005, and it took effect in 2008.
Softball is Played in Over 140 Countries
Softball didn’t only become a sport that got highly recognized in the United States; it also became one of the most popular games in the world. Currently, there are over 140 countries that play Softball either on the local or the international level. There are video materials and resources online for people to grasp the sport, which has helped in unimaginable ways.