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billyb 08-06-2017 09:01 PM

Beginning of softball
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Hi all,
Today, I picked up a few interesting items. Being an old softball player, I am sure as many of us were, I researched this old oversized softball and found the oversized softball interesting. In this article I found it pictures this same ball. Please check out the first pic of that oversized softball. It came in an Winchester box marked "official indoor ball".

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Researching a little further, the article stated they used to use shorter bats to prevent the ball from going too far. I did happen to pick up two bats along with this softball, and neither have any markings on them, anywhere, including the knob. But they did seem to match the era of this ball. The top bat, the longer of the two, measures 33" Length, 4" around at grip area, and about 6 1/2" around at sweet spot. The second is much fatter, but shorter. It measures 30" in Length, 5" at grip and 7 1/2" around at sweet spot. As you can see, it appears as if the second bat was sawed off on the end.

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My question is, the ball appears to be one of the early indoor balls used, but can we say these bats may have been used for indoor softball?
I am not an expert in judging an era for bats without the logos, so I need some help. So from one old softball player to another, can you help ID the approx year of these bats? These items were purchased from the same owner.

In addition, I purchased several other older items, one was a 1930s/40s, Western catchers Mitt, Frank Hayes model. The glove number I cannot read entirely but ends in 354. A 50s style Sonnett glove, #I4F, Enos Slaughter model. A few other older soft balls and hardballs, but cannot read anything on the balls. But I am more interested in pictured items I posted. Thank you all.


vintagesportscollector 08-06-2017 11:15 PM

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Hi Bill. nice pickups. The ball appears to be about c.1930 - a little further research could probably confirm that based on that Winchester box design.

Those early multi-color stitched softballs are not in great demand as a collectible, but I find them to be cool display items, and have a few (pics below).

It is hard to tell from your pics much about the bats. Can you post a full picture of the bats?

The feature that most defines an early indoor baseball bat is that they were much thinner than a regular bat, designed to have a smaller batting surface. I've typically seen them around 32". There were a lot of bats designed for recreational, playground, youth, or indoor use, so it may be hard to ever confirm if your bats were necessarily intended for indoor rules use.

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billyb 08-07-2017 12:18 AM

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Thanks Joe,
I was suspicious that it was later then 1900s softball because of the stitching. So now for the bats. Lighting is not too good down here in my mancave, so I won't be able to get a good natural light photo of them until tomorrow, but here is what I have. On the left I placed a 1940s H & B Leader bat only to give you all a normal bat to compare the others to.

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