How Softball Started


Natalie Hornbaker, Staff Writer

Softball is a sport that is known throughout the United States and the world. Softball originated in 1887 on Thanksgiving Day in Chicago. The game was said to have begun as an indoor game. Softball was started by a group of men who had gathered at a club to watch the Harvard vs. Yale football game. When the news came that Yale had defeated Harvard 17-8, one Yale supporter, overcome with enthusiasm, picked up an old boxing glove and threw it at a nearby Harvard alumni, who promptly tried to hit it back with a stick. This gave George Hancock, a reporter for the Chicago Board of Trade, an idea that started the game of softball.

Leagues began to be formed and the buildup for the game spread all over. At the time, it was known as kitten league ball, which was later shortened to kitten ball. In 1922 the name kitten ball was changed to diamond ball. At different times, the name of the game also would include mush ball and pumpkin ball. It wasn’t until 1926 that the term softball was used, when Walter Hakanson of the Denver, Colorado, YMCA conceived of it while attending a meeting in Greeley, Colorado to form the Colorado Amateur Softball Association. There have been many variations of the game over the years as well. As the sport became more popular, leagues formed to help the sport grow.

Through many years of growth, softball has become one of the most competitive sports, changing many people’s lives.