Baseball (sports equipment)

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A baseball

A baseball is a ball that is mainly used in the sport of the same name . The inside of the baseball consists of a relatively small core (either cork or rubber ) around which a thick layer of yarn is wrapped. On the surface, the ball consists of two dumbbell-shaped pieces of white leather sewn with red thread .


Two halves of baseball in cross section. One with a cork core (left) and a rubber core (right), as it was used at the time of the Second World War due to a lack of material.

In the 20th century, the sporting goods manufacturer Spalding patented ball cores made of padded wood. At the time of the Second World War , rubber cores, originally from golf balls , were used because the use of other materials classified by the state as essential to the war effort was restricted or prohibited. Various synthetic materials have been used in recent years, but they are of inferior quality. Balls with such cores are therefore not used in the major league .

The different materials basically influence the properties of the baseball. In general, a tightly wound ball will fly further. The height of the seams also affects how well a pitcher can throw the ball. In children's, school and college sports, the seams are significantly higher than in the professional sector.

In the early days of baseball, typically only one ball was used per game. When the ball was hit into the crowd, stadium staff brought it back into play. Due to the very heavy use, especially from the hits with the baseball bat and the sometimes very hard impact of the ball on the ash floor, the ball usually got very dirty and minor damage during a game, such as cracks at the seams; only one completely burst ball was replaced. It was also common practice among pitchers, known as spitball , to intentionally contaminate the ball with soil from the playing field floor and / or with saliva and chewing tobacco juice, which not only influenced the trajectory but also the visibility of the ball. After the death of batsman Ray Chapman in 1920, who died due to such a poorly visible ball, attempts were made to use only clean and undamaged balls. Since then, several balls have always been in play, and today the ball is replaced in professional leagues after each successful stroke in order to ensure consistent throwing, hitting and flight characteristics.

In the 1930s, Athletics Third Base Coach Russell "Lena" Blackburne introduced the use of baseball rubbing mud to rub baseballs. This mud is used by almost every team in Major League Baseball to this day.

The official major league ball is manufactured today by Rawlings in Costa Rica . Rawlings has been the official supplier of the Major League since 1977, following the Spalding company, which was the official supplier for almost a century. Horse leather was still used in the profile leagues for the ball surface until 1973 . As this became increasingly difficult to deliver, the company switched to cowhide from 1974 .

During the 20th century, two identical but visually different balls were used in professional baseball. In the American League the ball bore the words "Official American League" and the signature of the AL league president, while the ball of the National League bore the words "Official National League" and the signature of the NL league president. After the reorganization in 2000, in which, among other things, the position of the two league presidents was abolished, there is only one uniform ball in the two leagues. It weighs between 142 and 149 grams and has a diameter of 7.3 to 7.62 cm .


At baseball games in professional leagues, it is common for balls that land in the audience, i.e. home runs and some foul balls, to be kept by the viewer who succeeds in catching the ball (it is not uncommon for some viewers to wear a baseball glove for this purpose ). This makes the balls collector's items that are an important part of baseball history and are sometimes sold on at high prices. For example, American comic artist Todd McFarlane bought the ball with which Mark McGwire scored his 70th home run in the 1998 season from a fan . McFarlane paid $ 2.6 million for the ball .

Web link

Commons : Baseball  collection of pictures, videos, and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Official Rules - Objectives of the game (Point 1.09) (PDF; 228 kB) In: . Retrieved February 19, 2010.
  2. Geoffrey C. Ward, Burns, Ken: Baseball: An Illustrated History . Knopf, 1996, ISBN 0-679-76541-7 , p. 153.
  3. ^ Major League Baseball: Official Rules: Objectives of the Game , Major League Baseball
  4. The Man With the Million Dollar Balls . In: . August 8, 2007. Retrieved November 13, 2010.