16-inch softball (sometimes called clincher, mushball,cabbageball, puffball, blooperball, smushball and Chicago ball ) is a variant of softball, but using a larger, softer ball with no gloves or mitts on the fielders. It more closely resembles the original game as developed in Chicago in the 19th century by George Hancock, and today it remains most popular in Chicago, New Orleans, Portland, Oregon, where leagues have existed since the 1960s, and Atlanta, Georgia. It also saw some popularity in Nashville, Tennessee, in the early 1980s.
The first set of rules were published in 1937 by the Amateur Softball Association, in the same manual as the rules for fastpitch softball.
Game play for 16-inch softball is mostly consistent with standard softball game play. In contrast to standard, or 12-inch (30.48 cm) softball, it is played with a ball 16 inches (40.64 cm) in circumference. Leagues may form co-ed, all-male, or all-female teams. Additionally, teams may choose competitive or recreational leagues. There may be rule variations associated with the specific field or league of play. When playing in a co-ed league, there may be other rules that relate to the male-to-female ratio of team members and batting order. The National Softball Association (NSA) also has a published set of rules governing 16-inch softball play.
The earliest known softball game of any kind was played at the Farragut Boat Club in Chicago on Thanksgiving Day 1887. The first softball was a wrapped up boxing glove and the bat was a broom. Play was encouraged by a reporter, George Hancock, who had been looking on. Harvard and Yale students played the game while waiting to hear the results of the annual Harvard-Yale football game.
Until the turn of the 20th century, ball sizes ranged from 12 to 17 inches in circumference. The 16-inch softball was eventually adopted in Chicago, perhaps because it did not travel as far as the popular 12- or 14-inch balls. This also may have allowed for play on smaller playgrounds or even indoors, accommodating the Chicago landscape and climate. Another possible advantage of the 16-inch ball was that it allowed everyone to play barehanded, and gloves were a rare luxury as the Great Depression hit Chicago particularly hard.
After the first national championship held in 1933 at the Century of Progress World's Fair, the sport grew in popularity. A professional league was formed that lasted through the 1950s. Teams drew crowds of over 10,000 each night. Leagues continue today but not at the same level of popularity. There are co-ed recreational leagues, competitive leagues and even a league for Chicago Public School students.
Many local organizations host regular season play, typically weekly games, as well as their own playoff systems. National organizations, such as the NSA, host a variety of tournaments. By placing well in NSA tournaments, teams can qualify and compete for the 16-inch softball world series.Because local leagues may have slight variations in rules, the NSA world series is played by its own set of world series rules. One notable change is that Chicago area players, who typically are not allowed to wear gloves, may choose to wear gloves in world series games.
In the Bay City, Michigan, area the game is known as "blooperball." Blooperball has been played in the area continuously since the 1930s and there is a ten-team league for players forty years old and over,as well as a charity blooperball event called "The Rehab," which has been held the weekend after Labor Day for almost forty years.
Games are played with a deBeer Clincher 16" ball and gloves are used.
In 1996 Al Maag and Tony Reibel established the 16" Softball Hall of Fame. Since inception, the organization has held annual inductee dinners attended by over 600 guests. There is a museum in Forest Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The Chicago 16" Softball Hall of Fame is a registered 501(c) not-for-profit organization.
Albert Goodwill Spalding was an American pitcher, manager, and executive in the early years of professional baseball, and the co-founder of A.G. Spalding sporting goods company. He was born and raised in Byron, Illinois yet graduated from Rockford Central High School in Rockford, Illinois. He played major league baseball between 1871 and 1878. Spalding set a trend when he started wearing a baseball glove.
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Michael Royko Jr. was an American newspaper columnist from Chicago. Over his 30-year career, he wrote over 7,500 daily columns for the Chicago Daily News, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the Chicago Tribune. A humorist who focused on life in Chicago, he was the winner of the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for commentary.
Softball is a game similar to baseball played with a larger ball on a field that has base lengths of 60 feet, a pitcher's mound that ranges from 35 to 43 feet away from home plate, and a home run fence that is 220–300 feet away from home plate, depending on the type of softball being played. It was invented in 1887 in Chicago, Illinois, United States as an indoor game. The game moves at a faster pace than traditional baseball due to the field being smaller and the bases and the fielders being closer to home plate. There is less time for the base runner to get to first while the opponent fields the ball; yet, the fielder has less time to field the ball while the opponent is running down to first base.
Tee-ball is a team sport based on and simplifying cricket, baseball and softball. It is intended as an introduction for children aged 4 to 6 to develop ball-game skills and have fun.
Little League Baseball and Softball is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, United States, that organizes local youth baseball and softball leagues throughout the United States and the rest of the world.
Catcher is a position for a baseball or softball player. When a batter takes their turn to hit, the catcher crouches behind home plate, in front of the (home) umpire, and receives the ball from the pitcher. In addition to this primary duty, the catcher is also called upon to master many other skills in order to field the position well. The role of the catcher is similar to that of the wicket-keeper in cricket, but in cricket, wicketkeepers are increasingly known for their batting abilities.
The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) was a professional women's baseball league founded by Philip K. Wrigley which existed from 1943 to 1954. The AAGPBL is the forerunner of women's professional league sports in the United States. Over 600 women played in the league, which consisted of eventually 10 teams located in the American Midwest. In 1948, league attendance peaked at over 900,000 spectators. The most successful team, the Rockford Peaches, won a league-best four championships. The 1992 motion picture A League of Their Own is a mostly fictionalized account of the early days of the league and its stars.
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John Beasley Brickhouse was an American sportscaster. Known primarily for his play-by-play coverage of Chicago Cubs games on WGN-TV from 1948 to 1981, he received the Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983. In 1985, Brickhouse was inducted into the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame along with the Voice of the Yankees Mel Allen and Red Sox Voice Curt Gowdy. Brickhouse served as the organization's Secretary/Treasurer and was a member of its board of directors.
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Fastpitch softball, also known as fastpitch or fastball, is a form of softball played by both women and men. While the teams are most often segregated by sex, coed fast-pitch leagues also exist. The International Softball Federation (ISF) is the international governing body of softball. The ISF recognizes three pitching styles: medium pitch, "modified" fast pitch, and slow pitch. Fast pitch is considered the most competitive form of softball. It is the form of softball that was played at the Olympic Games in 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008. The fast pitch style is also used in college softball and international competition.
The National Softball Association (NSA) “is a sporting governing body. The NSA gives softball teams the opportunity to play in qualifying tournaments for State, National - Regional and World Series Tournament play. Also in certain NSA qualifying tournaments, teams are able to win a berth into the NSA Super-World Series. The NSA Super-World series features teams from all over the country. Some municipal park district leagues and corporate leagues follow NSA guidelines to some extent, especially in what bats are not allowed in play, however most competitive leagues require bats with ASA 2004 Certification.
Jean Ann Havlish [Grasshopper] is a former female shortstop who played from 1953 through 1954 in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Listed at 5' 6", 130 lb., Havlish batted and threw right-handed. She was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Erma M. "Bergie" Bergmann was an American baseball pitcher and outfielder who played from 1946 through 1951 in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Listed at 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m), 155 lb., she batted and threw right-handed.
Viola Thompson [Griffin] was a pitcher who played from 1944 through 1947 in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). Listed at 5 feet 5 inches (165 cm), 120 pounds (54 kg), she batted and threw left-handed.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to baseball:
The Babe Ruth League is an international youth baseball and softball league based in Hamilton, New Jersey, named after George Herman "Babe" Ruth.