HISTORY OF SOFTBALL
HISTORY OF MALAYSIAN SOFTBALL
- Softball is a game played by men, women and children of all ages all around the world. The game of softball was invented by George Hancock of the Farragut Boat Club in 1887 in Chicago, USA and it was an indoor game. In 1895, the first women’s team was formed in Chicago; the sport was reinvented, taken outdoor and called ‘Kitten Ball’. It was later re-named ‘Mush Ball’. The rules were standardized in 1926 and the name changed to ‘Softball” by Walter Hakanson. Since then, the game grew rapidly and is now played by more then 20 million people all over the world. It has become very popular game among a number of countries, including USA, Australia, Japan, China and many others countries. The International Softball Federation (ISF) is the governing body of the sport. ISF was established in 1962 and it presently consists of 125 members countries. The ISF headquarters are in Plant City, Florida, USA.
- Softball is played in two versions, characterized by the kind of pitch delivered; fast pitch and slow pitch. Elite fast pitch competitions become popular, with the Women’s Championship in 1965 being the first tournament of its kind. Softball was introduced at the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996 and as an Olympic Sport it is played only by women. In Sydney 2000, 8 teams participated in the Olympic Games, with the USA team winning the Gold Medal for the second time, with China second and Australia in the third place. During the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. Women’s fast pitch softball was played at the Olympic Softball Stadium in the Helliniko Olympic Complex. 8 teams participating in Softball’s third appearance in the Olympic Games are USA, Australia, Japan, China, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Greece and Italy. The United States team captured the Gold Medal once more.
HISTORY OF MALAYSIAN SOFTBALL
- Softball activity in Malaysia began long before 1972 when individual States in Malaysia had their own teams. However on 2nd September, 1972, after the Pesta Sukan Softball Championship hosted by the Singapore Softball Association, where Penang, Perak and Selangor upon invitation, participated, the Softball Association of Malaysia (SAM) was born.
- SAM is the sole body representing the game of Softball in Malaysia. It was established and registered with the Registrar of Societies on 16 March, 1974 pioneered by the states of Penang, Perak and Selangor. The pro-tem committee was headed by the late Dato' Sri Hj Kamaruddin Hj. Mat Isa (then Chief Minister of Perak) and committee included En. Chong Keong Seng (Secretary/Treasurer), En. Koh Kim Eow (Penang), Tn. Hj. Abd. Ghafar Hashim (Perak), En. Gerry Salvador (Selangor) and En. Wilfred Vias (Ministry of Sports)
- SAM started with six (6) affiliate members i.e. the state Softball Association of Penang, Perak, Pahang, Kelantan, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor and two associate members, i.e. The Royal Malaysian Police Force and The Council For Sports for Universities (Majlis Sukan Universiti-Universiti Malaysia [MASUM]). Since its formation, SAM has organized annual national championships (Dato' Haji Kamaruddin Challenge Trophy for men; Hooi Seng Tuck Challenge Trophy for women; Ghazali Hj. Maulud Challenge Trophy for boys; Tuan Syed Abu Bakar Barakhbah Challenge Trophy for girls) and the Malaysian Open Men's and Women's Softball Championships. The National Open Men & Women Softball Championship is also held annually.
- The development and promotion of softball in Malaysia was given a boost when the 1st Malaysian Open Softball Championship was organized in 1974; the 2nd Open in Penang in 1975 and the 3rd Open in Ipoh, Perak in 1976. Because of the recognized need to provide more playing opportunities for the youth and also to give strong base for the national teams, the National Under-21 Championship was initiated in 1976 in Ipoh, Perak.
- SAM's first international exposure began with SAM proposing the formation of the Association of South East Asian Softball Federation and hosting the 1st ASEAN Championship in Kuala Lumpur in 1976. Malaysia finished third behind the Philippines and Singapore, and the other nations which took part were Indonesia and Thailand. Since then, SAM has participated in a number of international competitions. In 1979 softball was included for the first time in the 10th South-East Asian Games (Jakarta). SAM has sent out National Men's and Women's teams to participate in various regional tournaments such as the 5th Women's World Softball Championships in Taipei in 1982 and 3rd Asian Men's Softball Championship in Shizuoka, Japan in 1985 and the ASEAN Men's and Women's Softball Championships and the Annual Malaysian and Singapore President Cup series. In the ASEAN region our National teams have managed to win the third place (3rd) several times i.e. SEA Games 1979; ASEAN Softball Championship 1988 and SEA Games 1997.
- In 1987, SAM introduced the National Under-15 Championship and as part of SAM's continual efforts to improve the standard and popularity of Softball in Malaysia, the co-operation of the private sector was sought. The resulted in National Youth Championship sponsored by SHELL and the National Softball Championship sponsored by MOBIL in 1990.
- SAM at present has nine (9) affiliate members, i.e., Penang, Perak, Pahang, Perlis, Johor, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor,Terenggnu and Kelantan and two (2) associate members i.e., Polis Di Raja Malaysia and Majlis Sukan Universiti-Universiti Malaysia (MASUM). Nevertheless, softball is also played on in the states of Kedah, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, particularly in the schools, Sabah and Sarawak who are yet to register with the Commissioner of Sports. The Malaysia Schools Sports Council is also an integral part of SAM's membership.