1995 32¢ Recreational Sports
· Stamps honor popular sports enjoyed by everyday Americans
· Stamps coincided with centennial anniversaries for three of the five sports featured
Stamp Category: Commemorative
Set: Recreational Sports
Value: 32¢, rate for first-class mail
First Day of Issue: May 20, 1995
First Day City: Jupiter, Florida
Quantity Issued: 150,000,000
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method: Lithographed
Format: Panes of 20 in sheets of 120
Why the stamps were issued: To pay tribute to the recreational sports enjoyed by everyday Americans.
About the stamp designs: The USPS wanted these stamps to stand out from previous sports issues. They brought in illustrator Don Weller, who created vivid, poster-style images of the athletes. He produced a number of quick sketches before settling on the five used on the stamps. He and the art director also consulted several sources to ensure the athletes were all positioned correctly for each sport.
Volleyball (#2961) – Weller’s volleyball illustration underwent several changes. The height of the net and the athlete’s hand positions were re-done numerous times. Additionally, Weller’s first draft pictured a woman with a bikini top and hair down. After consulting the women’s volleyball coach at the University of North Florida, he gave her a more appropriate halter top and hair pulled back in a ponytail.
Softball (#2962) – The softball stamp saw few changes from Weller’s original sketch. It shows a female athlete swinging the bat.
Bowling (#2963) – Weller based his image of a bowler on a photo of Hank Marino, who had been voted “Bowler of the Half-Century” in 1951. The photo was provided by the Bowling Hall of Fame and Museum in St. Louis, Missouri. After the stamp design had been shown to the public, Weller was asked to adjust his illustration, so it wouldn’t so closely resemble Marino.
Tennis (#2964) – For the tennis stamp, Weller referenced a photograph of a male tennis professional. His stance was unusual, and the USPS requested that Weller change to one more likely to be used by a recreational player.
Golf (#2965) – Weller used a photo by Jeff McBride of Hal Sutton for the golfer illustration. In the original photo, Sutton was using an iron club, but Weller replaced it with a wood. And after the stamp was made public, he made changes to the face and hair so it wouldn’t look as much like Sutton.
First Day City: The Recreational Sports stamps were issued at the Stamporee Stamp Expo at the Jupiter Beach Resort in Jupiter, Florida.
Unusual facts about this stamp set: A small number of freak panes were discovered in which the bottom left corners folded inward during the trimming stage. As a result, the selvage was larger in those corners and they included the alignment and other marks that are normally discarded during the trimming stage. These stamps have also been found imperforate as well as versions with the yellow omitted and the yellow, blue, and magenta omitted.
About the Recreational Sports Set: Several stamps had previously honored the Olympics and professional sports, but the USPS created these as a tribute to the most popular recreational sports in America.
Additionally, three of the sports were celebrating centennial anniversaries in 1995. The US Golf Association (USGA) had held its first championship at the Newport Golf Club in Rhode Island in 1895. The American Bowling Congress was founded on September 9, 1895. And volleyball was invented in 1895 by YMCA employee William G. Morgan.
History the stamps represent: Every day, millions of Americans gather at diamonds, courts, lanes, and links to participate in their favorite recreational sport. The five Recreational Sports se-tenants honor these amateur athletes and the games they participate in.
Since the end of World War II, sports have become an important element in modern life. More than simply providing pleasure, sports also improve an individual’s physical and mental health. In fact, Baron de Coubertin, father of the modern Olympics, found that nations that excelled in sports excelled in other areas as well. Today, higher incomes, improvements in working conditions, and better transportation allow people more time, money, and mobility for recreation, including sports.
Created in 1895 by William Morgan, a YMCA physical education instructor, volleyball was originally designed for businessmen who found the game of basketball too strenuous. First called mintonette, the name was changed when a college professor, noting the volleying nature of the game, suggested calling it volleyball. Immediately popular, it was soon being played in schools, industrial leagues, the armed forces, and other organizations. During World War I and II the sport spread to Europe, Japan, and Korea.
Today, the sport of volleyball is a far cry from the game invented by William Morgan. Although the fun still remains, it has become an intense and challenging sport requiring agility and speed.
Softball is played by more than 30 million people worldwide. Although batting and field strategy are the same as in baseball, the rules differ in several ways. Most noticeably, the ball is larger and the playing field is smaller. Also, pitching is done underhand, players must stay on the bases until the ball has left the pitcher’s hand, and games are only seven innings, not nine.
Softball was first developed by George Hancock in 1887 as an indoor game. In 1895, Lewis Rober of the Minneapolis Fire Department adapted the game for outdoor use. It was from his version that the present game developed.
In 1933 the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA) was founded to promote and govern softball in the United States. Until this time, softball, which was also known as kitten ball, mush ball, diamond ball, and playground ball, was played using more than 10 sets of rules. Under the ASA, a special committee standardized these rules, establishing those that are still used today throughout the world. In 1952 the International Softball Federation was founded. Currently it has about 60 member nations whose teams compete in regional, national, and international competition.
Bowling is one of the oldest and most popular indoor sports. Although similar games were played as early as 5200 B.C., modern bowling dates back to the Middle Ages. In Germany the game was played at village dances, baptisms, and other celebrations. And in England bowling became so popular it was outlawed by Parliament, since it interfered with the archery practice so vital to the kingdom’s protection.
When Dutch settlers came to the New World, they brought their version of the game, which used nine pins, with them. A fashionable sport, the game spread throughout New England. By the mid-1800s, gambling on the sport became so rampant however, that bowling came to be considered a social evil, and in 1841 the Connecticut legislature outlawed “nine pins.” To evade the ban, a tenth pin was added.
By the early 19th century, bowling had become so popular that lanes were built throughout the US. In the 1950s machines were designed to set up the pins – a job which had been done by hand. This invention greatly speeded up the game, and soon as many as 24 lanes were being built under one roof. Today, millions of people visit bowling alleys; many enjoy the competition found in leagues, while others play merely for fun.
A challenging sport, tennis is a game that players of any age can enjoy. In fact, millions of people throughout the world play tennis for exercise and recreation.
Although the French played a similar game called jeu de paume, in which players batted a ball over a net with their hands, Major Walter Wingfield, an Englishman, is credited with developing the game of modern tennis. In 1874, he published the first set of rules for playing on grass courts and the game came to be known as lawn tennis. Soon, it had replaced croquet as England’s most popular sport.
The game spread to the U.S. the following year when American sportswoman Mary Outerbridge saw it being played by British officers in Bermuda, and brought a set of rackets and balls home. With the help of her brother, who was director of the Staten Island Cricket and Baseball Club, she established the first US tennis court. Tennis soon spread to Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania.
With the exception of several alterations made in the 1880s, the original rules are still in use. Today, both television and the continuing success of the famous Wimbledon Championship continue to contribute to the international popularity of tennis.
Golf is one of the most popular outdoor sports. In fact, every year more than 20 million Americans enjoy the challenge and friendly competition of the game.
Although many similar games were played in different countries, including the Dutch game of kolven and the Belgian game of chole, Scotland is credited with developing the modern version of golf. Founded in 1754, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews became the leader in establishing golf’s regulations – setting a round of golf at 18 holes and ultimately determining the rules that still govern the game today. Eventually the game spread throughout the British Commonwealth, and then to Canada and the US.
Golf remained primarily a man’s game until the beginning of the 20th century when the rubber ball was introduced, drawing scores of women and children into the game. During the 1930s the putting game known as miniature golf became the latest rage, furthering the popularity of the sport. Today less difficult courses known as “par 3” courses have become increasingly popular among inexperienced players. And many golfers now spend their leisure time at driving ranges and putting greens where they are able to practice and refine their skills.