Friday, January 30, 2009

Join the Swingers

The skyscraper, zipper, Twinkie, electric blues - Chicago has blessed the world with many 'firsts.' Add 16 inch softball to the list. You know the game - no gloves; a squishy ball that's like whacking a small pumpkin; teams named the Manglers, Nine Inch Males and Spicy Meatballs.

It started more than 100 years ago, a practical game for Everyman. The ball's large size meant it couldn't be hit far - perfect for Chicago's small playlots. And the lack of equipment needed (other than a bat) meant people of all income brackets could partake.

Approximately 30,000 locals have at it. February is league sign-up month. Join the swingers at or

And keep an eye out for the forthcoming 16 Inch Softball Hall of Fame Museum in suburban Forest Park.

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