Softball History

 

Softball has a long and rich history in Australia dating back to 1939. The following timeline traces this history.

1800s  | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000

1887

The first version of Softball was developed by George Hancock in Chicago Illinois. The earliest known game of softball was played on Thanksgiving Day in 1987 as a winter version of baseball between Yale and Harvard alumni. It was intended to be a way for baseball players to keep in shape during the winter. At the time, the sport was called "Indoor Baseball"

 

 

1895

Softball moved outdoors as an exercise for fire fighters and was known variously as "kitten ball", "pumpkin ball” or "diamond ball"

 

 

1926

The sport adopted the name softball

 

 

1933

Fastpitch and slowpitch were present at the 1933 World's Fair. After the tournament a Joint Rules Committee was formed, which developed unified softball rules. The Amateur Softball Association grew out of these meetings

 

 

1939

Softball was introduced into Australia in NSW when the Director of Physical Education in NSW, Gordon Young, began promoting the game in schools and colleges

 

 

1940s

Fastpitch began to dominate the game

 

 

1942

Softball was introduced as an organised sport. US Army Sgt William DuVernet organised Softball as a recreation for the US nurses stationed in Melbourne and consequently the Victorian Women’s Softball Association was formed with Irene Burrows as President

 

 

1944

Adelaide Women’s Softball Association was formed

 

 

1946

An American, Mack Gilley, introduced the game in Queensland and soon thereafter the Queensland Softball and Baseball Association was formed with Mack Gilley as President. The Gilley's Shield (Open Women’s Championships) is named in recognition of the monumental efforts of Mack Gilley

 

 

1947

NSW Women's Softball Association was formed with Pat Young as President. Queensland issued an invitation for the first interstate championship to be played in Brisbane. NSW, Queensland and Victoria, together with a team from Ballarat, participated and Victoria won the series. During the series, a meeting was held where the possibilities of forming a national Softball body was discussed. The meeting closed with Irene Burrows, Mack Gilley and Pat Young taking responsibility for drafting a Constitution

 

 

1949

The Western Australian Women’s Softball Association was formed.

At the second interstate championships in Melbourne, the national body was formed as the Australian Women's Softball Council (AWSC). Founding members included NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria. The Australian Women's Softball Council met annually during the Australian Women's Championship held in March, with the host State providing the Chairperson for the meeting

 

 [Back to top]

1950

The International Softball Federation (ISF) was formed under the auspices of the Amateur Softball Association of America

 

 

1951

Western Australia joined the Australian Women's Softball Council

 

 

1952

Tasmania joined the Australian Women's Softball Council

 

 

1953

Australia became affiliated with the ISF

Slowpitch achieved formal recognition when it was added to the program of the US Amateur Softball Association and within a decade had surpassed fastpitch in popularity

 

 

1954

Instigation of an examination for umpires

 

 

1959

The ACT Women's Softball Association formed

 

 [Back to top]

1960s

Men's Softball was played in various States and in the mid 1960s Nox Bailey promoted men's Softball in Western Australia. In recognition of his contribution to the sport, the Under 19 Men's Australian Championships was named the Nox Bailey Shield

 

 

1961

The ACT joined the Australian Women's Softball Council (AWSC)

 

 

1962

Three Australian officials, Esther Deason, Merle Short and Marjorie Dwyer attended the USA World Series, where they held discussions with American and Japanese officials with the aim of furthering international competition

 

 

1965

From the very beginning Australia took an active part in the ISF with representation at all ISF Congresses. The first international meeting was held in Melbourne during the World Championship. The past President of the ASF, Esther Deason, served as Vice President (South Pacific), from 1965 to 1970, and again from 1977 to 1979. Another ASF President, Rosemary Adey, also served as Vice President (South Pacific and then Oceania) from 1993 to 2005

Upon returning to Australia, invitations were sent for the first World Series to be played in Melbourne. The Series was a great success and Australia became the first World Champions competing against the USA, Japan, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea

 

 

1967

The Australia Women's Softball Council (AWSC) changed its name to the Australian Women's Softball Federation (AWSF) with Esther Deason as its first President

 

 [Back to top]

1970s

John Reid, an ex New Zealander, fostered men's Softball in NSW which led to NSW hosting the State Championships in 1981. The Open Men's Australian Championship was later named in his honour with theJohn Reid Shield

 

 

1972

The AWSF changed its name to the Australian Softball Federation (ASF) and incorporated

 

 

1975

After several years of meeting during the Australian Women's Championship, the ASF decided to commit to a separate AGM in October

 

 

1978

NT joined the ASF

 

 

1979

The ASF realised its long time dream of having a full-time Executive Officer, Mr Kai Roland. The appointment was made possible by a grant from the Federal Government. 

 

 [Back to top]

1982

303 Open men's teams and 61 junior men's teams compete in NSW, Qld, Vic, SA and WA

 

 

1983

A further grant from the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) enabled the appointment of Jim Gibson as the first of many National Coaching Directors. Prior to Jim's appointment, a volunteer Coaching Committee administered coaching under the National Softball Coaching Accreditation Scheme (NSCAS). This Committee comprised State Women's coaches including Audrey McLaughlin (Qld), Joan Fitton (NSW), Shirley Schneider (WA) and Nancy Whittingham (SA)

 

 

1984

The first Australian Open Men's Championship played for the John Reid Shield in Sydney

 

 

1985

The National Umpiring Committee was established with a National Director of Umpiring, Margo Koskelainen and 3 Deputies, Lyn Bishop, Michael Palmer and Dan McKay. This Committee was established the National Umpiring Accreditation Scheme.

The ASF Board was established, consisting of President, Vice President and 5 Board members who were elected for a 2 year term. A Council, comprising the President, Vice President, 5 Board members and 1 delegate from each State was also established and met annually.

 

 

1986

Narelle Stafford was appointed as the Administration Officer

 

 

1988

Australia first participated in the ISF Open Men's World Championship

 

 [Back to top]

1991

Announced that softball would be included in 1996 Atlanta Olympics

Formation of the Australian men's and women's National Fastpitch Softball League

 

 

1992

The Australian U16 Boys' National Championship commenced, with NSW winning the inaugural Arthur Allsopp Shield named in recognition of Arthur's contribution to softball

Australia first participated in the ISF Junior Men's World Championship

 

 

1994

The World Championships grew and 28 nations played in the 1994 World Series in St John's Newfoundland, Canada

 

 

1995

Bob Crudgington appointed Head Coach of the Australian Open Women's team

 

 

1996

Australia wins bronze at the inaugural Olympic Softball tournament

 

 

1997

Australia wins gold at the ISF V U19 Men's World Championship

 

 [Back to top]

2000

On 28 April the ASF changed its trading name to Softball Australia

Australia hosts the Olympic Softball competition at Blacktown Olympic Park (NSW). Australia wins bronze.

Simon Roskvit appointed Head Coach of the Australian Open Women's team

 

 

2001

Australia wins gold at the ISF VI U19 Men's World Championship

 

 

2004

With the assistance of the ASC, many new initiatives have been introduced since 2004 that has set softball on a new and exciting path with increased participation from men, women, boys and girls nationwide

Australia wins silver at the Athens Olympics

 

 

2005

Australia wins gold at the ISF VII U19 Men's World Championship

Fabian Barlow appointed as Head Coach of the Australian Open Women's team

 

 

2007

In February, the Australian Softball Federation (ASF) Incorporated changed its name to Softball Australia Incorporated

Australia wins bronze at the ISF VIII U19 Women's World Championship

 

 

2008

In October, Softball Australia's Constitution was adopted

In April, the ASC published its report Too Few Too Much, a review of Softall in Australia. In response to that report, the governance and management of Softball Australia was transformed and modernised

Australia wins bronze at the Beijing Olympics

Australia wins the ISF VIII U19 Men's World Championship

 

 

2009

Australia wins the ISF XII Men's World Championship

Sue Noble commenced as CEO on 12 January

On 4 April at a General Meeting held in Melbourne, the new entity's first Board of Directors was elected

The 5-year Softball Australia Strategic Plan was ratified by the Board in May

In October, Softball Australia's first Annual Report was published

On 14 November, Softball Australia's first AGM was held in Sydney. Darryl Clout resigns from the Board.

 

 

2010

In February, Ashley Klein and Michelle Nancarrow join the Softball Australia Board.

Jenny Cassidy resigns from the Board

Bob Harrow reappointed as Head Coach of the Australian Open Men's team

 

 

2011

Kere Johanson appointed Head Coach of the Australian Open Women's team

Dennis Cullen elected Softball Australia Chairman

Annette Fidge and John Hollingsworth appointed to the Softball Australia Board

Softball Australia transitions the U16 Australian Championships to U17, retaining the Shield names in honour of Esther Deason and Arthur Allsopp

First Australian U15 Girls' and Boys' Regional Championship held in Rockhampton

 

 

2012

Peter Jon Hartshorne appointed, Helen Langenberg and Christine Heron elected to the Softball Australia Board

Australia wins bronze at the ISF XIII Women's World Championship

Australia wins silver at the World Cup of Softball VII

Baseball and softball present unified vision for the 2020 Olympic Games

 

 

2013

Australia wins bronze at the ISF XIII Open Men's World Championship

Chet Gray appointed Softball Australia CEO

Australia wins bronze at the ISF X Junior Women's World Championship

Australia wins bronze at the World Cup of Softball VIII

Australia wins silver at the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship

Dale McMann, Canada, replaces Don Porter as ISF President

 

 

2014

Australia wins bronze at the ISF XIV Women's World Championship

Riccardo Fraccari elected first-ever president of the World Baseball Softball Confederation

in 'New Era' for Baseball Softball

In October, John Hollingsworth elected Softball Australia Chairm 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Updated 1 April 2015

Notice Board

Photo Gallery