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Indoor Base Ball - a Precursor to Softball

Indoor Base Ball was a precursor to modern-day softball. The sport was developed in the late 19th century in the United States. It was played indoors in various venues such as gymnasiums and armories during the winter months when outdoor baseball was not feasible. The game evolved into softball, and is not played anymore.

Cover of Spalding's Indoor Base Ball Guide from 1904Cover of Spalding's Indoor Base Ball Guide from 1904

In an introduction of Spalding's Indoor Base Ball Guide, the sport was described as "having its origin in the aimless tossing of a boxing glove in a gymnasium". It was much more than that, and became a popular sport in the early 20th century.

The sport featured similar but modified rules compared to traditional baseball, enabling it to be played indoors in a smaller playing area with a softer ball.

Indoor baseball became a popular sport during the Wintertime baseball offseason, competing with Basket Ball at the time, and laid the groundwork for the creation of softball, which emerged as a distinct sport with its own set of rules and playing style.

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