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Chicago 16-inch softball tournament returns after 10 years

July 4, 2021 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) — A citywide 16-inch softball tournament is returning to Chicago after a 10-year hiatus.

The Chicago Park District is reintroducing the tournament later this month, calling the game “a true Chicago tradition and staple.”

This Chicago style of softball is played with 16-inch balls and without mitts. According to the Chicago 16-inch Softball Hall of Fame the game dates back decades. It became popular in Chicago because city schools and parks were smaller, and the larger balls didn’t travel as far — making them more likely to stay in the parks.

Sixteen-inch softball was once an integral part of life for many people in Chicago, with leagues in almost every park and hundreds of fans turning out to watch.

This year’s citywide tournament is scheduled for July 24 in Humboldt Park, with regionals scheduled for July 17 at three Chicago parks. Teams are co-ed, and players must be 18 or older.