Women in Sports: Softball

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff
  • The first world softball championship was a women's tournament which was in held Melbourne, Australia, in 1965.
  • Joan Joyce played basketball, volleyball, and softball as a teenager in Waterbury, Connecticut, but it was as a pitcher in softball that Joyce became a legend. During 20 years of competition (1955-1975), she won 509 games and lost only 33.
  • In 1982, softball became an officially sanctioned NCAA sport. With eight national championships, UCLA has been the most successful Division I program to date.
  • In 1995, the Women's Professional Fastpitch Tour traveled around the United States to bolster interest in their new fastpitch women's league. The league actually began on May 30, 1997 with teams in Atlanta, Charlotte, Durham, Hampton Roads (Va.), Orlando, and Tampa.
  • In December, 1998, the name of the league was changed to Women's Pro Softball League (WPSL) and in 2002 it was changed again to National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) with league play starting in 2004. The New England Riptide won the 2006 NPF Championship.
  • Softball became an official Olympic sport in 1996. The United States won the gold medal, while China took the silver. The U.S. successfully defended its title in Sydney in 2000 and in Athens in 2004.
  • U.S. Olympic team member Dot Richardson, who hit the game winning home run in the 1996 gold medal game, is an orthopedic surgeon.
  • The USA Women’s National Team lost to Japan by 5-2 during the final game of the Japan Cup in 2007. This was the team’s first loss in over a year.
  • In 2010, the Amateur Softball Association of America and USA Softball named Jennie Finch the USA Softball Female Athlete of the year. Her performance in the Championship Game of both the Japan Cup and Canada Cup secured the USA victories. Also in 2010, Team USA won its seventh-straight World Softball Championship, going undefeated, 10-0.

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