George Hancock (softball)

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George Hancock, at the time a reporter for Chicago Board of Trade, invented the game of softball in 1887. The first game was played indoors, inside the Farragut Boat Club in Chicago.[1] Someone found a boxing glove and threw it and someone else hit it with a stick. George Hancock shouted, "Let's play ball", and tied the boxing glove into the shape of a ball. The men chalked a diamond shape onto the floor and broke a broom handle to serve as a bat. This is credited as the first softball game which was played on Thanksgiving Day November 24, 1887 after a Harvard-Yale football game that had been followed by telegraph.[2][3][4][5][6][7]

Hancock's original game of indoor baseball quickly caught on in popularity, becoming international with the formation of a league in Toronto. That year, 1887, was also the premiere publication of the Indoor Baseball Guide. This was the first nationally distributed publication on the new game and it lasted a decade. In the spring of 1888, Hancock's game moved outdoors.[8] It was played on a small diamond and called indoor-outdoor. Due to the sport's mass appeal, Hancock published his first set of indoor-outdoor rules in 1889.[9]

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  1. ^ The Farragut Boat Club is mentioned in a news item that appeared later. See: "Sports of the Athletes" (PDF). The New York Times. July 30, 1889. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  2. ^ "History of Softball". Retrieved 2009-08-12. 
  3. ^ "The History of Softball". International Softball Federation. Archived from the original on 2006-12-12. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  4. ^ David Levinson & Karen Christensen, ed. (1996). Encyclopedia of World Sports. London & New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 371–73. ISBN 0-19-512778-1. 
  5. ^ "Ivy League Sports". Archived from the original on August 17, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  6. ^ "Harvard-Yale Football "The Game": History". Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  7. ^ "Hancock, George - World of Sports Science". Retrieved 2009-09-24. 
  8. ^ Plummer III, Bill (1998). "Slow Pitch Softball History Definition Page". Retrieved 2009-09-24. 
  9. ^ "History of Softball". Archived from the original on 2009-06-27. Retrieved 2009-09-24.