History of National Pro Fastpitch: Part 1
Former Utah State University softball player Jane Cowles and her collegiate coach, John Horan, develop plan for a women's professional softball league.
Cowles introduces plan to her parents, John and Sage, owners of the Cowles Media Company in Minneapolis, Minn. Family agrees to fund research on league's potential.
John Horan begins field research and tests game-modifying proposals.
National Fastpitch Association (NFA) established in Boulder, Colo. National marketing strategy and business plan devised.
NFA assembles two teams of former collegiate softball players to participate in Midwest exhibition series.
John (Jay) Cowles III named NFA CEO.
January 19, 1994
Jay Cowles announces plan for 1995 Women's Pro Fastpitch (WPF) Tour. NFA receives formal endorsements from MLB National League President Len Coleman and former MLB Commissioner Bowie Kuhn.
August 11, 1994
Decatur Pride and California Commotion make NFA debut in Decatur, Ill.
June 15-July 13, 1995
Blaze and Storm visit 16 Midwest cities on 1995 WPF Tour. ESPN2 televises four games on tour.
July 7, 1995
4,307 attend 1995 WPF Tour Game in St. Paul, Minn.
July 21, 1995
1995 WPF Tour featured on NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw.
October 31, 1995
1996 WPF Amateur Draft held in Minneapolis, Minn. October 8, 1996 WPF announces that it will begin play in May 1997. AT&T Wireless Services Inc. named title sponsor.
March 20, 1997
1997 WPF Senior Draft held in Denver, Colo.
May 30, 1997
Virginia Roadsters defeat Durham Dragons 2-1 to record first win in WPF history.
July 1, 1997
Orlando Wahoos clinch WPF first-half title with 10-0 win over Tampa Bay FireStix.
July 22, 1997
2,517 watch Tampa Bay FireStix defeat Orlando Wahoos 4-1 in Winter Haven, Fla., for a WPF record 13 consecutive victories.
July 31, 1997
Gabby Guerrero throws first no-hitter in WPF history as Virginia Roadsters defeat Durham Dragons 2-0.
August 21, 1997
Virginia Roadsters clinch spot in inaugural WPF Championship Series after finishing second overall.
August 26-31, 1997
Orlando Wahoos defeat Virginia Roadsters three games to one in inaugural WPF Championship Series.
December 6, 1997
1998 WPF Senior Draft held in Palm Springs, Calif.
December 17, 1997
Carolina Diamonds relocate to Sims Legion Park in Gastonia, N.C. Georgia Pride relocates to South Commons Softball Stadium in Columbus, Ga.
April 15, 1998
1996 U.S. Olympic gold medalist Dot Richardson named WPF Spokesperson.
May 29, 1998
Durham Dragons defeat Virginia Roadsters 7-0 in Hampton, Va. to begin 1998 WPF season.
History of National Pro Fastpitch: Part 2
July 12, 1998
Carolina Diamonds capture WPF's first-half title and a berth in the championship series with record of 21-12.
July 14, 1998
3,873 pack Akron, Ohio's Firestone Stadium to watch Stars defeat Stripes 8-1 in inaugural WPF All-Star Game.
July 27, 1998
5,136 attend regular-season game between Georgia Pride and Orlando Wahoos in Jupiter, Fla.
August 1, 1998
DeeDee Weiman records first perfect game in WPF history as Tampa Bay FireStix defeat Carolina Diamonds 2-0.
August 25, 1998
Orlando Wahoos win WPF's second-half title and earns a berth in the championship series with 25-8 record.
September 4-5, 1998
Orlando Wahoos sweep Carolina Diamonds two games to none to win second WPF Championship Series.
November 6, 1998
WPF suspends operations of Wahoos in Orlando, Fla. Contracted players assigned to Racers of Akron, Ohio.
November 10, 1998
WPF announces hiring of full-time head coaches.
November 16, 1998
WPF announces addition of third team to 1999 postseason. Inaugural WPSL Championship Semifinal scheduled to be played Aug. 24-Aug. 25.
December 5, 1998
WPF changes name to Women's Pro Softball League (WPSL). 1999 WPSL Senior Draft held in St. Petersburg, Fla.
December 15, 1998
AT&T Wireless Services Inc. renews title sponsorship. January 1999 International Softball Federation (ISF) rules that national team members can compete professionally and maintain international eligibility.
January 25, 1999
WPSL and Amateur Softball Association (ASA) announce signing of joint-marketing agreement that allows the two entities to seek sponsorship opportunities together.
May 13, 1999
Tampa Bay FireStix edge Georgia Pride 2-1 in Ft. Myers, Fla. to begin 1999 WPSL season.
May 14, 1999
Akron Racers christen newly renovated Firestone Stadium with an 8-5 victory over Virginia Roadsters.
June 14, 1999
Akron Racers slugger Crystl Bustos becomes first WPSL player to make USA Softball Women's National Team.
July 13, 1999
4,223 watch Virginia Roadsters catcher Scia Maumausolo hit an eighth-inning home run to give Stars a 5-4 win over Stripes in WPSL All-Star game.
July 16, 1999
Desarie Knipfer throws second perfect game in WPSL history as Georgia Pride banks Durham Dragons 6-0.
August 19, 1999
Tampa Bay FireStix clinch WPSL Championship Series berth after finishing first overall in regular-season.
History of National Pro Fastpitch: Part 3
August 20, 1999
Virginia Roadsters clinch WPSL Championship Semifinal berth after finishing second overall. Carolina Diamonds slugger Monica Armendarez sets WPSL single-season home run record (12) with a grand slam in a 7-2 win over Durham Dragons.
August 22, 1999
Akron Racers clinch berth in WPSL Championship Semifinal after finishing third overall in regular-season.
August 24-25, 1999
Akron Racers earn WPSL Championship Series berth after sweeping Virginia Roadsters two games to none in WPSL Championship Semifinal.
August 27-28, 1999
Tampa Bay FireStix sweep Akron Racers two games to none to capture team's first WPSL Championship Series.
September 6, 1999
Akron Racers shortstop Crystl Bustos and Durham Dragons catcher Michelle Venturella named to 2000 U.S. Olympic Team.
October 14, 1999
WPSL suspends operations of Pride in Columbus, Ga.; Dragons in Durham, N.C.; Diamonds in Gastonia, N.C.; and Roadsters in Hampton, Va. Contracted Roadsters players assigned to Pride of Akron, Ohio. Contracted Pride players assigned to Wahoos of Plant City, Fla. Tampa Bay FireStix relocate to Plant City Stadium in Plant City, Fla.
December 4, 1999
2000 WPSL Elite/Supplemental Draft, 2000 WPSL Senior Draft and 2001 WPSL National Team Draft held in St. Petersburg, Fla.
February 2, 2000
WPSL and USA Softball announce "Central Park to Sydney," a nationwide pre-Olympic tour featuring 11 games between pro teams and the women's national team
June 1, 2000
Tampa Bay FireStix and Akron Racers begin 2000 WPSL season.
June 2, 2000
USA Softball Women's National Team edges the Florida Wahoos 1-0 in the first "Central Park to Sydney" game. Desarie Knipfer limits the women's national team to one earned run on two hits.
July 7, 2000
Ohio Pride starter Heather Compton sets the WPSL single-game strike-out record with 17 in a 2-1 victory over the Akron Racers.
August 25, 2000
Steph Klaviter throws the first perfect game in Championship Series history as the Florida Wahoos blank the Pride in game one of the championship in Springfield, Mo.
August 26, 2000
The Florida Wahoos capture the WPSL Championship Series with a 1-0 victory over the Pride. Steph Klaviter earns Most Valuable Player honors.
September 3, 2000
The "Central Park to Sydney" tour concludes as the USA National Team sweep the All-Star Series played in Honolulu, Hawaii.
February 27, 2001
WPSL announces suspension of the 2001 season to concentrate on expansion for the 2002 season. The league will sponsor the Tour of Fastpitch Champions during the summer of 2001 featuring a team of WPSL All-Stars against USA and international Olympians.
The 2001 Tour of Fastpitch Champions concludes with a stop in Omaha, Nebraska on August 31st. The 2001 tour traveled to 11 cities that were targeted as WPSL expansion candidates. Competition featured games between the WPSL Gold and All-Star teams as well as Canada, the USA National Teams and local all-star teams. Nine of these games were televised, seven on ESPN2 and two "live" on ESPN, a first for the WPSL. The season was deemed a success with more than three million households witnessing a WPSL game. Numerous cities are also being developed for future ownership in the league.
Candidate Team Owners and League Officials agree to develop all necessary marketing, operations and facilities throughout 2002 to allow for a full schedule of league play, nationwide, in 6-10 markets, in 2003.
December 10, 2001
John D. Carroll steps down as CEO/Commissioner and is succeeded by Richard A. Levine as President and CEO.
WPSL contracts with GBSM (a Denver-based marketing firm) to develop a comprehensive advertising and promotional campaign for the re-launch of the league.
July 20-21, 2002
The WPSL All-Stars compete against the Tennessee All-Stars at the National Softball Association's A division Eastern World Series in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The WPSL All-Stars win game one with a score of 13-1 and game two with a score of 7-1.
History of National Pro Fastpitch: Part 4
August 19, 2002
WPSL announces the 2003 Fastpitch Festival Tour. The tour is the centerpiece of a long-term sales, marketing and promotional campaign and will take place in lieu of league play in 2003. It will enable local markets to generate exposure and develop important relationships within their community.
November 21, 2002
On Nov. 21, 2002, WPSL announced a rebranding strategy and official name change to National Pro Fastpitch. Major League Baseball partnered with NPF as its Official Development partner as a continuation of MLB's efforts to connect with female athletes and women.
May 5, 2003
NPF, the nations only womens professional fastpitch softball league announces its 2003 All-Star Tour which will travel to 17 cities and partner with a dozen Major League Baseball Clubs to present fastpitch games, clinics and promotions during the 2003 NPF All-Star Tour.
July 14, 2003
Members of the 2003 NPF All-Star team participate in appearances and clinics as part of Major League Baseball's John Hancock All-Star Fanfest at McCormick Place in Chicago.
September 7, 2003
NPF All-Stars Venus Taylor and Danielle Cox participate in the final game of the 2003 White House Tee Ball Initiative. The players traveled to Washington, D.C., to represent the nation's only professional women's fastpitch league at the event, which celebrated the participation of women and girls in sports.
March 20, 2004
NPF signs multiyear sponsorship and licensing agreements with Majestic Athletic, a leading provider of authentic team uniforms, athletic apparel and sports licensed apparel and softball equipment producer, Rawlings.
March 21, 2004
NPF introduces the six teams participating in the 2004 season. The six NPF Ball Clubs include the Akron Racers (Akron, Ohio), Arizona Heat (Tucson, Ariz.), Texas Thunder (Houston, Tex.), New England Riptide (Boston/Lowell, Mass.), New York/New Jersey Juggernaut (Upper Montclair, NJ), and California Sunbirds (Stockton, Calif.).
May 6, 2004
Schutt® Sports, one of the last family-owned sporting goods companies in the United States, agrees to enter its seventh year of partnership with NPF in the category of protective equipment.
May 17, 2004
Adams USA, Inc., an original sponsor when the league launched as Womens Professional Fastpitch, agrees to enter its seventh year of partnership with NPF as the official supplier of performance gear.
June 1, 2004
NPF launches its inaugural season with three season openers in Upper Montclair, NJ, Stockton, CA and Houston, TX.
June 11, 2004
The YES Network agrees to broadcast four Juggernaut Games in 2004
July 13, 2004
NPF East and West All-Stars each give Team USA a run for their money in a doubleheader in Oklahoma City.
July 14, 2004
The West National Pro Fastpitch team earns a 1-0 victory over the East National Pro Fastpitch team at Don E. Porter Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
August 29, 2004
The NY/NJ Juggernaut defeat the New England Riptide in the leagues inaugural championship game on Sunday afternoon at Firestone Stadium.
October 14, 2004
National Pro Fastpitchs new expansion team, the Chicago Bandits, announce the signing of three 2004 Olympic players. Three-time Olympic Gold Medalist Leah OBrien-Amico and 2004 Team USA Olympic Alternate Jaime Clark will play for the team in the 2005 season, as well as decorated Canadian Olympic pitcher Lauren Bay.
December 3, 2004
Owners of the individual NPF teams announce a plan intended to transition operations of the womens professional fastpitch league from the founding Cowles family to an operating group consisting of team owners.
December 23, 2004
The Chicago Bandits announce the signing of Olympic gold medalist Jennie Finch. Finch helped lead USA Softballs Dream Team to a 9-0 record at the 2004 Athens Olympic. The former University of Arizona All-American pitcher, who holds the NCAA record of 60 straight wins, has captured national headlines both on and off the field for her athleticism, beauty and marketability.
February 16, 2005
The New York/New Jersey Juggernaut announce the signing of 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist, Natasha Watley.
March 10, 2005
The Akron Racers of NPF announce the signing of three members from the 2004 Gold Medal winning USA Olympic team. Infielder Crystl Bustos, outfielder Kelly Kretschman, and catcher Jenny Topping will all be members of the 2005 Racers Team.
March 23, 2005
NPF announces the 2005 schedule that will include a 48-game regular season schedule for each of the six NPF teams. The six NPF teams include the Akron Racers, Arizona Heat, Chicago Bandits, New England Riptide, NY/NJ Juggernaut, and Texas Thunder. The California Sunbirds will also play a limited schedule in 2005.
History of National Pro Fastpitch: Part 5
May 24, 2005
The Arizona Heat of NPF announce the signing of two-time Gold Medalist Stacey Nuveman, the fourth member from the 2004 USA Olympic Team to join the Heat for 2005. Nuveman will join Lovie Jung, Tairia Mims-Flowers and Jessica Mendoza as Gold Medal winners on the Heat roster, along with 15 other NCAA All-Americans.
June 8, 2005
NPF announces the 2005 broadcast schedule which will include an umbrella of TV coverage by ESPN2, Comcast Sports Net Chicago and Telecare.
July 12, 2005
NPF announces plans to host the 2012 NPF International Championship. Bill Conroy, President and CEO of NPF and the owner of the Chicago Bandits will spearhead this event which will coincide with the Gold Medal phase of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
August 30, 2005
After trailing by four runs early in the game, the Akron Racers take the 2005 NPF Championship in a 5-4, eight-inning championship game over the Chicago Bandits, regular season champions.
December 22, 2005
NPF announces that the league will open the 2006 season with seven teams including, the Akron Racers, Arizona Heat, Chicago Bandits, Connecticut Brakettes, Philadelphia Force, New England Riptide and the Texas Thunder. The 2006 schedule will kick-off on Wednesday, May 31st with the first of 12 series for each team. The 48-game schedule will include seven (7) four-game home series and five (5) four-game series on the road.
January 13, 2006
NPF announces the appointment of Patrick J. Linden as its new president. Linden, a Denver-based attorney with the commercial law firm of Kamlet Shepherd & Reichert, LLP, succeeds Bill Conroy, owner of the Chicago Bandits.
August 28, 2006
The New England Riptide defeat the Connecticut Brakettes by a 2-0 margin, to win their first ever NPF Championship. Jocelyn Forest receives the NPF Championship Series Most Valuable Player award following her impressive performance which includes striking out seven and stranding seven Brakettes on base.
January 25, 2007
Cardinal Youth Softball, Inc. in Kimberly, Wisconsin is awarded the bid to host the 2007 NPF Championship Series, August 24-26 where four teams will compete in a double elimination format.
February 9, 2007
Six teams and 96 players join forces for the 2007 season to bring another exciting year of professional fastpitch to fans across the country. The six NPF teams include the 2006 Defending Champions, the New England Riptide, the Akron Racers, Chicago Bandits, Rockford Thunder, the Washington Glory, the leagues newest team and the Philadelphia Force operating under new ownership.
February 12, 2007
Cheri Kempf joins the league as its new commissioner and manager of game-day operations.
February 28, 2007
Tom Kleinman announced as the new owner of the Philadelphia Force.
August 8, 2007
Washington Glory clinch 1st place in the league and advance to NPF Championship Series.
August 26, 2007
Washington Glory win the NPF Championship Series in a 3-1 victory over the Rockford Thunder. Monica Abbott is names series MVP.
December 13, 2007
Chicago Bandits announce their move to Judson Field in Elgin, Illinois for the 2008 season.
June 3, 2008
NPF Announces Game of the Week on Fox Sports Net
The 2008 season kicks off with six NPF teams including the 2007 Defending Champions, the Washington Glory, the Akron Racers, Chicago Bandits, Rockford Thunder, the New England Riptide and the Philadelphia Force.
June 5, 2008
NPF kicks of the Battle of the Bats Competition (manufacturer's homerun challenge)
June 7 & June 14, 2008
Team NPF competes against the USA Olympic Softball Team. Both games are televised on ESPN
August 11, 2008
Lindsay Gardner subs for Tonya Callahan and wins the inaugural Battle of the Bats finals. Demarini leads all manufacturers with the most home runs for the season.
August 20, 2008
NPF is the first professional league to take the "I Play Clean" Pledge against steroids.
August 24, 2008
Chicago Bandits win 2008 NPF Championship; Nicole Trimboli names MVP
August 24, 2008
The Final game of the NPF Championship Series is produced by The Softball Channel.com and streamed live at MLB.com. Games #1-#6 were also broadcast via internet radio and Gametracker with video streaming available on a tape-delayed basis at The Softball Channel.com.
2009 Season...Stay tuned for more exciting NPF Fastpitch action!