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Evolving from an 1887 innovation in Chicago involving a broomstick as a bat and a boxing glove as the ball, indoor baseball is described in a 1929 survey as particularly popular in gymnasiums in the US mid-west in the early 20th century. The game of softball traces back to indoor play.
Origins -- On Thanksgiving Day at te Farragut Club in Chicgo in 1887, a participant recalled, "[T]he fellows were throwing an ordinary boxing glove around the room, which was struck at by one of the boys with a broom. George W. Hancock suddenly called out, 'Bpys, let's play baseball!'" Hancock was later known as the Father of Indoor Baseball.
See Paul Dickson, The Worth Book of Softball (Facts on File, 1994), Chapter 3 (pages 46-59). Also, John Allen Krout, Annals of American Sport(Yale University Press, 1929), page 219.
The above quotation is found in Peter Morris, A Game of Inches (Ivan Dee, 2010 single-bvolume edition, page 498.
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