The Invention of Softball

Softball pic

Softball
Image: softballperformance.com

William D. Jones, MD, has focused on occupational and preventive medicine at his own practice in Oklahoma City, OK, since 1996. A softball enthusiast, William D. Jones, MD, plays on two slow-pitch softball teams and has sponsored softball teams in OK for years.

While softball is, of course, very similar to baseball, the first softball game occurred as the result of a football game. The sport began when Yale and Harvard graduates gathered at the Farragut Boat Club in Chicago, Illinois, on Thanksgiving Day in 1887 to await the result of the annual Harvard vs. Yale football game.

Upon the announcement that Yale had won, an alumnus from Yale good-humoredly tossed a boxing glove at a Harvard grad, and the frustrated fan swung at the glove with a stick. The interaction provoked the crowd’s imagination, and a reporter for the Chicago Board of Trade, George Hancock, cried out, “Play ball!”

Hancock then used the glove’s strings to tie it up into a ball-like shape, marked lines on the floor with chalk, and found a broomstick handle with which to hit the “ball.” The first softball game took place that night, resulting in 80 runs. Hancock himself is credited with writing the first rulebook in 1889.

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