World Softball Day Date in the current year: June 13, 2024

World Softball Day World Softball Day is observed annually on June 13. It celebrates a sport that is often confused with baseball and sometimes overlooked in favor of more popular team sports, but is nevertheless popular in many countries of the world.

Softball is a game similar to baseball played with a larger ball and shorter bats on a smaller field. Another difference between softball and baseball is that softball pitchers throw underhand, while baseball players pitch overhand. Due to the differences between the two games, softball is faster-paced than traditional baseball.

The earliest known game of softball was played between Harvard and Yale football fans at the Farragut Boat Club in Chicago, Illinois on November 24, 1887. The person credited with inventing the game is George Hancock, a reporter who initiated the first game and later developed an oversized ball and an undersized bat (the very first game was played with a boxing glove rolled up into a ball and a broom handle instead of a bat).

Originally called “indoor baseball”, the new game was intended to help baseball players maintain their skills during the cold season. It moved outdoors in 1888, and the first rules were published the next year. The first use of the name “softball” dates back to 1926. The various names used before that included “diamond ball”, “kitten ball”, “mush ball”, and “pumpkin ball”. By 1936, the naming and rules of the game had been standardized throughout the United States by the Joint Rules Committee on Softball.

Today, softball is played competitively at various levels: club, college, and professional. The two main types of the game are slow-pitch softball and fast-pitch softball. There’s also a less common variant of the game called 16-inch softball. It most closely resembles the original game developed by George Hancock in 1887.

The world governing body of softball is the World Baseball Softball Confederation, formed in 2013 as a result of the merger of the International Softball Federation and the International Baseball Federation.

World Softball Day was inaugurated by Don Porter, the then president of the International Softball Federation, in 2005. The date June 13 was chosen to commemorate the day in 1991 when the International Olympic Committee announced that women’s fast-pitch softball would make its Olympic debut at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

To celebrate World Softball Day, special tournaments are organized by softball federations, associations and leagues in over a hundred countries across the world where softball is played, including Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, the United States, and almost every country in Europe.

The best ways to observe World Softball Day are to learn more about the sport and its differences from baseball, read about famous softball players, watch a documentary or a fiction movie about softball, attend a softball game, or even play a game of softball yourself. And don’t forget to spread the word about the holiday on social media with the hashtag #WorldSoftballDay.

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World Softball Day, international observances, softball, International Softball Federation, World Baseball Softball Confederation