32¢ Women’s Softball
1996 Summer Olympics
Issue Date: May 2, 1996
City: Washington, DC and Atlanta, GA
Printed By: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
Women’s softball will make its debut at the 1996 Olympic Games. The game was originally developed as a form of indoor baseball by George W. Hancock of the Farragut Boat Club of Chicago in 1887. In 1895, Lewis Rober of the Minneapolis Fire Department adapted the rules for outdoor play, creating the modern version of the game.
In the United Sates, softball is a popular alternative to baseball for women at both high school and college levels. Although softball resembles baseball, the rules differ several ways: softball pitching is done underhand; the base-runner must stay on base until after the ball is released from the pitcher’s hand; the ball is larger, with a regulation circumference of 12 inches. Also, in softball the infield is smaller – the distance between bases is 60 feet, and the pitcher’s mound is 46 feet away from home plate for men, and 40 feet for women.
Americans are familiar with “soft pitch” softball. However, the “fast pitch” version of the game is much more exciting and competitive. The pitch can be delivered to the batter at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour in fast pitch softball! As a new sport, the world will watch women’s softball with much anticipation; the U.S. team is considered a top medal contender.