World Softball Day
annually on June 13th (since 2005)
International Softball Federation (ISF) President Don Porter on April 25th, 2005
World Softball Day celebrates softball all around the world. It was declared in 2005 by Don Porter—then president of the International Softball Federation—to be held on the anniversary of the date in 1991 when an announcement was made at the 97th International Olympic Committee (IOC) session in Birmingham, England, that said that women's softball would be added to the Summer Olympics. Porter's announcement also coincided with the 40th-anniversary celebration of the first softball championship, which took place in February 1965 in Melbourne, Australia, where the host country overcame Japan, New Zealand, New Guinea, and the United States. The International Softball Federation encourages people of all ages to play softball on World Softball Day. It's "an opportunity to think, express, and share what softball represents," and is also "about promoting physical activity and good health, as well as international spirit and social integration."
Softball is popular around the world, particularly in the United States. It is a variation of baseball, where the field is smaller and there are only 7 innings. It contrasts with baseball in that the ball is larger, usually 12 inches in circumference, and pitching is underhand, not overhand or sidearm. Slow-pitch softball is a common version of the game. The game is derived from indoor baseball, which was first played in 1887 in Chicago. Early on, softball was also known as kitten ball, diamond ball, playground ball, mush ball, and indoor-outdoor.
In 1923, a rules committee was appointed to come up with rules for the game, and from it came the International Joint Rules Committee on Softball. Then in 1933, the Amateur Softball Association of America was organized, which governed organized national competition. The International Softball Federation was formed in 1952. It connects softball organizations in many countries and coordinates competitions and championship tournaments. Now it is part of the World Softball Baseball Federation. Softball was first played at the Summer Olympics in 1996 in Atlanta and has been played during subsequent Olympics. Australia, Canada, China, Taiwan, Japan, the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, and the United States competed in the Atlanta games. Softball has not been played at every Summer Olympics. For example, it was not part of the games in 2012, 2016, and 2024.
How to Observe World Softball Day
The best way to celebrate is to play softball! You could also join a softball team or watch a softball game. Share your feelings about softball and how you're celebrating the day on social media with the hashtag #WorldSoftballDay.