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Why Is Softball Called Softball?

   
8:24 am on Oct 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

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System: The following message was cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/foo/3127946.htm [webmasterworld.com] by lawman - 6:28 pm on Oct. 28, 2006 (est -4)


Can anyone tell me why a "softball" is called a "softball"? As the last time I was hit by one it bloody hurt - and was certainly anything but soft!
5:02 pm on Oct 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member quadrille is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



all things are relative - try being hit with a cricket ball :)
5:29 pm on Oct 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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darn good question, since I have 8 implant teeth to replace the 8 real teeth that a "softball" cut-off throw removed for me!

Kiss a 90 MPH "softball"... then tell me just how soft it is!

5:39 pm on Oct 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator lifeinasia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Kiss a 90 MPH "softball"... then tell me just how soft it is!

I would imagine that it would be softer than a 90 MPH hardball. Even though the different might be only 8 teeth instead of 9 teeth...
10:16 pm on Oct 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The ball is bigger, firstly.

You pitch it differently (at least when i was a kid and played soft ball, i assume it is still the case). Fast ball is an overhead pitch ( like in the MLB), softball is underhand pitch. Therefore slower and softer.

11:03 pm on Oct 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Fast ball is an overhead pitch ( like in the MLB), softball is underhand pitch. Therefore slower and softer.

Except in fastpitch softball where the speeds can get up over 100 mph. That hurts ;-)

9:41 am on Oct 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I reckon that it was because the creator of the game had a very nasty sense of humour.

"Yes stand right there - the ball will be hurtling towards you. No, no - its not agony at all if you get hit by the ball because its - er.. yes, that's it - its a SOFT ball"

It's to lure kids/adults new to the game into a false sense of security at the start, to inflict the maximum amount of pain as is possible.

5:59 pm on Oct 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

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>>>>Except in fastpitch softball where the speeds can get up over 100 mph.

If you can throw a ball that fast you should be a pro.

7:01 pm on Oct 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Except in fastpitch softball where the speeds can get up over 100 mph. That hurts ;-)

Notice how even high level softball games almost never show radar readings, unlike baseball? Top women softballers top out around 70 mph which is average speed for a high school freshman baseball pitcher. I used to hear about male softballers who could hit 100... in the days before radar. LOL Most of those played exhibition softball and likely juiced the facts to draw paying crowds.

Throwing underhand just isn't as fast as doing it overhand. Baseball submarine pitchers often top out in the low 80s although a few are faster.

[edited by: jsinger at 7:18 pm (utc) on Oct. 31, 2006]

7:05 pm on Oct 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I recently read something where the "official" record of 104 mph was set sometime in the past few years. Don't know how many folks can get it over 100 or even in the 90s, but even just in the 80s is pretty fast.
8:04 pm on Oct 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I've seen Joel Zumaya, Tigers relief pitcher, hit the 102-103 mph mark quite often.
8:27 pm on Oct 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I guess I should have said "official" fastpitch softball record.
8:55 pm on Oct 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I'm sort of an expert on this subject. Son is a college pitcher and I've owned a couple of radar guns including a $900 pro model.

Zumaya was hitting over 100 on ESPN's radar. The Busch Stadium radar, otoh, showed him topping out around 99 when I was at the WS game last Tuesday. (he was very wild, btw). I doubt these guns are precisely calibrated. The networks have a strong incentive to provide a good show.

There are no "official records." But Guiness says:

The greatest reliably recorded speed at which a baseball has been pitched is 100.9 mph by Lynn Nolan Ryan (California Angels) at Anaheim Stadium in California on August 20, 1974.


Some others including minor leaguer Steve Dalkowski were probably faster at times. I've seen 102 on TV.

How fast did old timers throw? (a very popular discussion on baseball groups)

In the 19th century, teams sometimes held various contests between double headers. There are records of players throwing 350 feet on the fly which requires a velocity of more than 90 mph. A critical missing piece of info is whether the thrower was running before the toss, and what the wind was doing.

There were scientific attempts to measure velocity around WWI. They suggest that the fastest were near 90 but those methods "timed" a ball over a distance. The ability to measure a peak reading, from the pitcher's hand (the modern method) waited for the arrival of radar much later.

One thing is clear. Top pitchers haven't gotten much faster over the past 100 years. That contrasts with athletic improvement in almost every other field. Limiting factor is mostly the ability of the skeletal system to withstand the peak forces.

 

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