What is softball?

  • (noun): A game closely resembling baseball that is played on a smaller diamond and with a ball that is larger and softer.
    Synonyms: softball game
    See also — Additional definitions below


Softball is a variant of baseball played with a larger ball on a smaller field. Invented in 1888 in Chicago as an indoor game, it was at various times called indoor baseball, mush ball, playground, softbund ball, kitten ball, and, because it was also played by women, ladies' baseball. The name softball was given to the game in 1926. A tournament (1933) at the Chicago World's Fair spurred interest in the game. The Amateur Softball Association of America (founded 1933) governs the game in the United States and sponsors annual sectional and World Series championships. The International Softball Federation regulates rules of play in more than 110 countries, including the United States and Canada. Women's fast-pitch softball became an Olympic sport in 1996, but it (and baseball) was dropped in 2005 from the 2012 games. Despite the name, the ball used is not soft. It is about 12 in. (30 cm) in circumference (sometimes larger for slow-pitch), which is 3 in. (8 cm) larger than a baseball. The infield in softball is smaller than in baseball; each base is 60 ft (18 m) from the next, as opposed to baseball's 90 ft. (27 m). There are two types of softball: in the most common, slow-pitch softball, the ball, sometimes larger than the standard 12 in, must arch on its path to the batter, 10 players make up a team, and bunting and stealing are prohibited; in fast-pitch softball the pitch is fast, there are 9 players on a team, and bunting and stealing are permitted. Softball rules vary somewhat from those of baseball. Two major differences are that the ball must be pitched underhand—from 46 ft. (14 m) for men or 43 ft. (12 m) for women as compared with 60.5 ft. (18.4 m) in baseball—and that seven innings instead of nine constitute a regulation game.

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Some articles on softball:

List Of Providence College Alumni - Athletics - Softball
... Kate Drohan – head coach for Northwestern Wildcats softball. ...
St. Michaels Middle/High School - Sports
1975 - Boys' Soccer 1974 - Boys' Soccer State Finalist 2003 - Softball 2000 - Baseball 1997 - Boys' Soccer 1984 - Boys' Soccer 1983 - Girls' Field ...
Softball - International Competition - Europe
... Softball is played in almost every country in Europe, mainly fast pitch ... Softball is the most popular participant sport in the United States, as it is estimated that 40 million Americans will play at least one game of softball during a year ... Softball is played, at some level, in over a hundred countries around the world ...

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