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Discussion: Origin of Slow Pitch Softball?

Posted Discussion
Dec. 22, 2010
155 posts
Origin of Slow Pitch Softball?
This might not be the offical origin, but here is how slow pitch softball started for me in NYC.

I've been playing slow pitch softball for about 64 years, starting in 1946. We initially played baseball on concrete school-yard fields and were injured just about daily. Yes, we could get true bounces, but the ball was too fast and too hard to play full time.

One of the kids got a "Clincher" ( a cloth-covered softball) for a birthday present. It was a bit softer and couldn't be hit as hard as a baseball; so we began to play softball instead of hardball.

The pitchers initially threw the ball overhand like baseball, but soon changed to throwing underhand as fast as possible. However, no pitcher could control the ball well enough and we had many base on balls.

We then decided to drop balls and strikes and went to letting the batters wait until they got a pitch they could hit. As you might expect, the pitches got slower and slower, and slow pitch became our game of choice.

I don't remember calling it slow pitch, for us it was just called softball.

We also played a lot of stickball, but the game was much different from our softball game. Our softball was played on a regulation-looking field with about 9 players per side, while stickball was played in alley-ways, on the streets, and against a wall - often with only 1 to 3 players per team.

Shane - thanks for the idea of this new thread.
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