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Thanksgiving Day 1887

A group of Harvard and Yale alumni gathered at the Farragut Boat Club in Chicago awaiting results from the Harvard-Yale football game
A Yale man playfully threw a boxing glove at the Harvard grads. A quick thinking Harvard fan deflected the glove with a stick - supposedly a broom handle. What followed was a game of indoor baseball
George Hancock, one of the graduates, fashioned a large, soft ball by binding the glove with its laces and chalked out a small baseball diamond inside the boat club
He wrote down the rules and created a soft, over-sized ball and rubber-tipped bat that could be used indoors. He also painted permanent foul lines on the floor of the Farragut Boat Club
Indoor baseball spread throughout the Chicago area that winter


A winter outdoor league was formed
"Indoor-outdoor" was now used for the sport
Hancock's rules were officially adopted by the Mid Winter Indoor Baseball League of Chicago
Louis Rober, a Minneapolis Fire Department lieutenant used the game to keep his firemen fit. The game became popular overnight and other fire companies began to play, as well


Rober's game was called "kitten ball" in honor of his team's name and contests between firehouses began to draw as many as 3,000 spectators


The game was officially adopted by the Minneapolis Park Board and was played in parks and playgrounds throughout the city
The Board changed the name to "diamond ball"


The game took on the moniker "softball" after a Denver YMCA official suggested the name


Efforts to organize softball on a national basis materialized with the staging of a softball tournament during the World's Fair in Chicago
Leo Fischer and Michael Pauley invited 55 teams to participate in three divisions: men's fastpitch, men's slowpitch and women's
More than 350,000 saw the games
The success of the tournament led to the creation of the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) which brought the much-need standardized rules to the game


The Playground Association Softball guide wrote: "The years of persistent effort, constant promotion and unchanging faith of believers in softball proved to be not in vain, for in 1934 softball came to its own. All over America hundred of leagues and thousands of players enthusiastically accepted the major team game."


The International Softball Federation governs all worldwide softball competition


First women's fastpitch world championship was played in Melbourne, Australia with the host country winning the tournament


First men's world championship was played in Mexico City


Softball became a Pan Am Games demonstration sport


Softball was officially added to the Pan American program, with both men's and women's fast pitch softball contested


Softball was finally accepted as an Olympic sport, thanks to the efforts of former ASA Executive Director and international Softball Federation President, Don E. Porter

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