While the first All Church Softball Tournament was apparently held in 1938, competition among LDS wards started earlier than that. Wards, such as the Brigham City 2nd Ward pictured here, often had baseball teams (and softball teams later, as that sport developed) that played in stake and local leagues. But competitions involving LDS wards competing with other LDS wards took a while to develop. It wasn’t until after the Amateur Softball Associaltion standardized the rules for softball in 1933 that softball became widespread among LDS wards, and competition across stake boundaries became institutionalized.
This article, from the 1935 Improvement Era, looks talks about one of the first of these competitions in Salt Lake City. A similar competition was held in the 1930s in Provo.
Elders Enter Athletic Field
By Lee Thorup
DURING the past Summer the Elder’s Quorums in five of the seven Salt Lake city stakes carried through a successful softball tournament, approximately 30 teams participating.
The stakes played off their separate tournaments to determine the stake champions, completing their stake tournaments about August 1, 1935.
Wasatch Ward, Granite Stake, won the first interstake Elders’ Title, over the 18th Ward, Ensign Stake, with a decisive victory of 11-5.
The participating teams manifested a good spirit of sportsmanship and the interstake committee feel there is a wonderful field of activity for Elders’ Quorums in these athletic activities.
This Softball activity will be continued next year and we anticipate a much more extensive participation. The Interstake Tournament for 1936 will be held near Aug. 15, 1936. The Interstake Committee is desirous of making this tournament as inclusive as possible. All Salt Lake City Stakes and others interested are welcome to participate in all interstake activities.
Information concerning these activities can be had by writing Carl Fielding, Chairman Elders’ Interstake Activity Committee, c/o The Improvement Era, Salt Lake City, Utah.
The Interstake Committee will welcome expressions from the various stakes as to their feelings in regard to these activities, as well as suggestions as to other types of activity that would be of interest to the Elders’ Quorums of our Church.
Improvement Era, v38 n11
The first All Church tournament was held in 1938, featuring teams from some fourteen divisions. While the tournament was apparently put on hold during World War II, it was begun again in 1949 and by 1954 the tournament drew from 1,100 teams representing hundreds of stakes. At its height in 1970, nearly 4,500 teams participated. The Church discontinued the tournament in 1972.