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The Origins of Softball

Softball pic
Image: livestrong.com

Attorney Rami Shmuely brings over 13 years of experience to his role as managing partner with Chavin Mitchell Shmuely, P.A., in Miami, FL. Outside of work, Rami Shmuely enjoys biking, boating and fishing, and playing sports such as basketball and softball.

While softball shares many similarities with baseball, its origins actually date back to a Harvard–Yale football game held on Thanksgiving Day in 1887. After hearing that Harvard had beaten Yale, a Yale alumnus is said to have thrown a boxing glove at a Harvard supporter. In response, the Harvard fan swung at the glove with a broom handle. This action led to an impromptu game of “softball” played on a chalked-off baseball diamond at the Farragut Boat Club in Chicago.

A reporter named George Hancock participated in the game and later developed early rules and equipment for the new sport. As the game gained popularity, it was known by names such as “mush ball,” “diamond ball,” and “kitten ball,” but the term “softball” eventually caught on around the late 1920s.

The Amateur Softball Association helped standardize rules for the sport, which became popular worldwide between the 1930s and the 1960s. Softball made its Olympic debut in the 1996 Summer Games, but it was later dropped from the Olympic roster. Luckily for fans, however, the sport will return to the Games in 2020.