Softball Timeline

1950-1960s

1952 - Nick Barack becomes the interim President of the newborn International Softball Federation (ISF). The first members were American Softball Association (ASA), the Canadian Softball Association and the Confederacion Deportiva Mexicana. Japan (JSA) joined soon after and Australia became a member in 1953.

1962 - ASA Commissioner for Southern California Donald Emmett Porter, then 32, joined the ASA as the assistant of Executive Director Gene Martin. After Martin's sudden death, ASA Vice President and Chair of the Personnel Commission Bill Kethan selects Don Porter as the new Executive Director

1962 - Japan sends their 1961 Champions Osaka Takashimaya to the ASA National Championship final, scheduled for August in Stanford, Connecticut. Professor Jiro Iwano, the head of the Japanese delegation, and three representatives of the Australian Women's Softball Council (Merle Short, Esther Deason, Marjorie Dwyer) propose to ASA a new international competition. The idea is supported by Jan Crafford, South African Softball President



1963 - Australia sends out invitations to 22 Nations for a Women's Softball World Championship

1964 - New Zealand accepts the invitation

1965 - The ASA agrees to participate in the World Championship with their National Champions Raybestos Brakettes. JSA also agrees to send their National Champions Osaka Takashimaya. New Guinea, not yet an ISF member, also joins

15 February 1965 - Australia calls the first ISF Congress in Melbourne. Interim President Nick Barack, who was recovering from an accident, delegates Bill Kethan to chair the meeting.

The first elected ISF Board had Bill Kethan as President, 3 Vice Presidents (Jairo Iwano, Japan, Esther Deason, Australia, Mick Murphy, New Zealand) and Don Porter as the Secretary General and Treasurer. In 5 more meetings were approved the bylaws.

1965 - Australia wins the first-ever Women's Softball World Championship on home soil in Melbourne

March 1965 - On their way home from Australia, the Brakettes stop in Amsterdam and play the first international softball game in Europe

July 1965 - First contact between the ISF and the International Olympic Committee. Secretary Lydia Zanchi writes back: "I must tell you that unless a sport is widely practised in at least 25 countries, it has no chance…"

1966 - The USA win the first-ever Men's Softball World Championship in Mexico

May 1967 - IOC Session 65 in Teheran, Iran, recognizes the ISF as "an organization that operates under Olympic standards"

1967 - Softball becomes a demonstration sport at the Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada

1968 - During a 15-minute meeting at the Mexico City Olympic Games, IOC President Avery Brundage tells Don Porter that the process to add softball to the Olympic programme was "going to take a lot of time"

1968 - South Africa becomes the first African nation to participate in a softball World Championship, in the II Men's Softball World Championship held in Oklahoma City

1970s

1972 - Title IX of the Education Amendments (a Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964) states: "All levels of education must give equalized opportunities to both sexes". This opens the way to athletics programmes all over the USA for Women's Softball

1977 - IOC Session 79 in Prague, Czechoslovakia, recognizes the sport of softball

1978 - The Amateur Sports Act, signed by President Jimmy Carter, made ASA the official Governing Body of softball in the USA

1979 - Softball becomes a permanent sport on the programme of the Pan Am Games. It's one of the 9 sports aiming to be a demonstration sport at the 1984 Olympics.

1980s

1981 - First Junior Softball World Championships in Edmonton, Canada. Men and women played together in the first two editions 1981 and 1985 (the latter in Fargo, Dakota, USA).

1985 - Don Porter and the International Baseball Federation President Robert Smith meet IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch and plan on building an International Confederation of Amateur Baseball and Softball

1986 - IOC Session 91 in Lausanne, Switzerland, approves baseball as a medal sport in the 1992 Olympic Games. Softball and baseball paths separate once again

1987 - The ISF Congress in Tokyo, Japan, elects Don Porter as the new President. Andy Loechner takes over as the Secretary General

1989 - The USA Olympic Committee President Robert Helmick becomes the advocate of Olympic Softball. He invites Don Porter to pursue the inclusion of Women's Softball only

1990s

13 June 1991 - IOC Session 97 in Birmingham, England votes Women's Softball a medal sport in the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games. The quest had taken 29 years, 6 months, 13 days

1996 - The success of the Atlanta tournament earn Women's Softball a spot in the programme of the 2000 Games

2000s

2000 - The Men's Softball World Championship becomes the first-ever softball World Championship played in Africa

2000 - The ISF meets during the Sydney Olympics the Chief Coordinator Jacques Rogge. At the end of the Games, the ISF moves to the new headquarters in Plant City, Florida. Membership is up to 100 Nations

2002 - Jacques Rogge, the eighth IOC President, and Gilbert Felli, the IOC Sports Director are "evasive" during a meeting with Don Porter in Lausanne. The Olympic Programme Commission President Franco Carraro follows the meeting with a letter that informs the ISF that softball, together with baseball and modern pentathlon, will be proposed for exclusion from the 2004 Games

November 2002 - During IOC Session 114 in Mexico City, 39 IOC Members speak in favour of baseball, softball and modern pentathlon. The case goes back to the Executive Board, that proposes a revision of the whole programme

7 July 2005 - IOC Session 117 in Singapore votes on the revision of the Olympic programme. American Member Jim Easton abstains to avoid a conflict of interest a baseball and softball goods manufacturer. The voting on softball results in a 52-52 tie.

9 February 2006 - IOC Session 118 in Turin, Italy, rejects (47-43) the opportunity of a new vote on softball

2007 - The Junior Women's World Championship is the first softball World Championship played in Europe.

2007 - The ISF launches the BackSoftball Campaign. It included references to an indoor game (Arena softball) and a Summer version (Beach softball). Porter had even tried to convince the IOC that a winter version of the game could have been considered for inclusion in the Winter Games

2008 - The Games of Beijing will be the last to feature softball on the programme. The ISF meets the IOC Programme Commission to earn a new chance at reinstatement in the 2016 Games. Don Porter states: "I would like to reiterate sentiments recently expressed by President Jacques Rogge, increasing the numbers and role of women in sport around the world."

October 2009 - The IOC Session 121 in Copenhagen, Denmark, awarded to Rio de Janeiro the hosting rights of the 2016 Olympics, elected Jacques Rogge to his third term as IOC President and included golf and rugby 7 in the programme. Softball had been excluded from the voting by the IOC Executive Board

2010s

2011 - The Junior Women's Softball World Championship is played in South Africa and becomes the first softball world championship being held in the five Olympic continents

2012 - ISF Extra-Ordinary Congress in Houston, Texas, USA, approves to unite forces with the International Baseball Federation (IBAF)

31 October 2013 - The ISF Congress in Cartagena de Las Indias, Colombia, elects Dale Mac Mann (Canada) as the new President

2017 - The II WBSC Congress in Botswana electes Tommy Velazquez (Puerto Rico) as the new WBSC Softball Chairman

2019 - The Men's Softball World Championship visits Europe for the first time, completing the five continents.

2019 - The inaugural U-12 Mixed Softball World Cup is held in Taiwan. Czech Republi becomes the first European nation to win a softball world cup medal.

2020s

2020 - Palmerston North, New Zealand, hosts the inaugural WBSC U-18 Men's Softball World Cup. For the first time countries from four different continents finished in the top-four positions of a Softball World Championship / Cup.


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