Softball has changed a lot over the years. In the beginning, it was played not with the firm ball you now recognize, but with a ball that was actually soft.
It was a game called kitten ball, mush ball, diamond ball, and indoor baseball. The size of the ball and the playing field has undergone changes since 1887 too.
Official standardized rules were not introduced to the game until 1923. A short decade later the Amateur Softball Association of America was formed.
How Much Does A Softball Weigh?
There are actually two different sizes of softballs used.
The 11 Inch
This ball weighs between 5.78 ounces and 6.125 ounces.
It has a diameter of 3.5 inches.
It has a circumference of 11.88 inches.
The 12 Inch
This ball weighs between 6.125 ounces and 7 ounces.
It has a diameter of 3.8 inches.
It has a circumference of 12.13 inches.
In the game, there are 9 different positions the players play. They are:
- First Baseman
- Second baseman
- Third baseman
- Left fielder
- Center fielder
- Right fielder
Of all the positions the four hardest ones belong to the catcher, pitcher, center fielder, and shortstop. These are critical positions that require the player to have great skills and emotional toughness.
Both boys and girls can play this sport, but the majority of softball teams today are female.
The gameplay and rules of softball and baseball are very similar. One of the biggest differences is that in baseball the ball is thrown with an overhand pitch and softball uses the underhand pitch.
Both games will allow the players to steal a base, but the runner is supposed to keep in touch with the base until the pitcher releases the ball.
Did You Know?
- Regulation baseballs are smaller than regulation softballs
- In baseball, the distance between the bases is 60 feet but in softball, it is only 43 feet
- In Chicago, they still play mush ball. In this game, the ball is larger than the 12-inch softball. It is a 16-inch ball.
- Slow pitch is a better game version for beginners to play
- The softball must be thrown underhanded.
- The very first softball was actually a boxing glove tied up with its laces.
- Softball was added back to the Olympic games in 2020
- Softball is a part of the Pan American Games.
- Softball is said to have been invented by George Hancock.
- The game is played in more than 140 countries.
- Baseball bats are longer than softball bats. Baseball bats can be up to 42 inches in length. Softball bats are normally not longer than 34 inches.
- The outfield fence of a baseball field is about 200 feet further away than the one on a softball field.
- In baseball, the pitcher’s mound is elevated, but in softball, it is not.
- In softball, the fastest balls reach speeds of about 60 mph but in baseball, the balls can reach speeds of more than 90 mph.
- Softball games are shorter in duration than typical baseball games. In baseball, there are 9 innings to play but in softball, there are only 7 innings played.
- Softball games can end early if one team gets a score of 15 or more runs more than the other team.
- Uniforms for softball and baseball are very similar in style and appearance.
- The bats in softball are not only shorter than baseball bats but they are also typically lighter in weight.
- A shortstop needs excellent glove skills. The majority of shortstop players are between 5.5” and 5.9” in height.
- Many players never see their full potential because they play too long in a position that is not optimal for their skills and abilities.
- The first women’s championship happened in 1965. The game was played in Melbourne, Australia. The Australian team won the game.
- The first no-hitter softball game was not played until 2000.
- Softball is said to be the safest sport that you can allow your children to play. Most possible injuries can be eliminated if the player wears the proper protective equipment.
- The softball hall of fame has 197 players listed. The players started to be named for the hall of fame back in 1941.
- World Cup tournaments are hosted each year by the American Softball Association.
Why Do They Call Them Softballs, They Are Not Soft.
The balls are not soft today, but in 1926 when the ball got its name they were soft.
Why Is Softball Played With A Yellow Ball?
The yellow ball is easier to see than a white ball would be.
Has Softball Always Been Yellow?
The balls were not always yellow. In 2002 bright yellow was adopted as the standard color for the ball.