You may have heard someone refer to baseball as “America’s pastime”. It’s been around for a long time. In fact, the sport was played during the civil war to escape from emotional grief and increase confidence. You may know about the rules of the game, but how much do you know about the baseball itself? Do you know how much a baseball weighs?
Based on the specifications set in place by the MLB, the ball must be between five and five and ¼ ounces, which translates to 142 to 149 grams.
Knowing the weight of a major league baseball is only the tip of the iceberg. The game has evolved over the years, the iconic baseball along with it. To fully understand the core of the sport, one must look at the history of the ball, what it’s made of, how fast it travels, and so much more.
If you’re as intrigued as we are, take your place in the stands and continue reading.
How Much Does a High School Baseball Weigh?
Some may think that the difference between the ball used by Major League professionals and a local high school kid is different. Surprisingly this isn’t the case.
The Planet of Baseball points out that the average baseball in the younger leagues will weigh around 5 ounces, which is about 141 grams. This is slightly smaller when compared to the baseballs used in the MLB.
How Was the First Baseball Made?
According to Mental Itch, there were two separate variations of the original baseball used in this sport.
The original feather-filled baseball was used during what’s known as the “Dead Ball Era”, which took place before 1920. The name, interestingly enough, was given based on the contents of the ball itself.
In the Dead Ball Era, baseballs were quite heavy and did not travel far. This is due to the materials used. There was a central rubber casing on the inside, while the remainder of the space was packed with feathers. Home runs and hits were rare during this time based solely on the construction of the baseball.
What Country First Invented Baseball?
Contrary to popular belief, a man named Abner Doubleday was not responsible for inventing the game of baseball, even though some labeled him as the “Father of Baseball”.
We do not know exactly when baseball started to become a phenomenon, but have proof that states that the game was modified from English games such as rounders and cricket. Interestingly enough, the first ever-recorded baseball game took place in the year 1846 in the state of New Jersey.
How Did Baseball Become Popular?
Baseball wasn’t always so popular; it didn’t become America’s pastime until much later.
Baseball wasn’t considered an engaging spectator sport until 1947. Looking at the historical events in baseball, you might notice that this was when Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play with a Major League Baseball club, came onto the scene. He wasn’t welcomed warmly, but it started a new brand of baseball that was much more competitive. With more at stake, people began to place bets on players, thus bringing in large crowds.
What Are Baseballs Made of Now?
Remember the Dead Era Ball that was mentioned earlier? Although serving its purpose, the game wasn’t all that exciting. Nobody could hit it out of the park. And there began a new brand of baseball.
In the 1920s, a new era called the “Live Ball Era” came about. Modifying the ball, bits of yarn were instilled. This wool was taken from Australia making the ball a bit livelier as it was wound up tighter.
With a faster ball, more people gravitated toward the sport.
How Much Do MLB Baseballs Cost?
Being less than half a pound, you wouldn’t expect the baseball to be all that expensive. But then you need to consider the sheer number of balls needed for a ballpark season. The average number or used baseballs in a regular MLB season is close to 900,000 balls per year.
Let’s break that down a bit further. Considering tax and shipping, a dozen baseballs will cost around $72. Doing the math, that means that the Major League Baseball organization, as a whole, spends approximately $5.5 million on baseballs.
Why Do They Change Baseballs When It Hits the Dirt?
If you’ve watched this sport long enough, you may have seen a pitcher throw the ball in the dirt. Instead of continuing to play with that ball, the pitcher or catcher will give it to the umpire standing behind home plate where they will then receive a new baseball. But why not just play with the ball that landed in the dirt?
This is because a ball that touches the dirt can greatly alter the game. Baseballs aren’t all that hard to scuff up. A ball that has been altered will give the pitcher an unfair edge.
In 1920, the Yankees pitcher Carl Mays intentionally altered the ball’s appearance that made it harder to see. When he continued to pitch, the ball traveled in an unforeseen trajectory. The unlucky batter, Ray Chapman, was hit on the head where he immediately fell dead. If the ball had not been soiled, that batter would still be alive. From then on, this rule was put into effect.
How Many Stitches Are There on a Baseball?
One of the most iconic physical qualities of a baseball is the red stitching amongst the white ball. But, how many would you guess that these balls have?
The answer to this question is that baseballs have a precise 108 stitches. You are unable to see the first and last stitches because they are hidden and hand-sewn into the ball itself. Each ball requires 88 inches of waxed red thread to securely fasten the seams.
How Fast Can a Baseball Travel?
Did you know that a 90-mph fastball would make contact with the batter and travel at a whopping 110-mph? It also means that the ball would reach home plate in 400 milliseconds. That’s four-tenths of a second, too fast for a player to react. When you see a batter miss the ball entirely, that’s because they have to guess where to swing. If they waited to start swinging when they saw the ball coming their way, it would be too late.
Can You Keep a Baseball If You Catch It While at an MLB Game?
Have you ever been to a professional MLB game? Perhaps as a kid, you took your glove along for that lucky pop out. The official rules state that a fan can keep a ball if they catch it. Keep in mind that the ball must be out of play at the time. The only time that you can’t take a baseball home with you is if you reach out and catch a ball that is still actively apart of the game.
If you want to play it safe, wait for a ball to leave the field instead of reaching over and grabbing a baseball that hasn’t yet traveled into the crowd.
The game of baseball has been modified over the years to increase in popularity. The sport itself would not exist if it weren’t for the iconic white ball with red stitching. Now you know how vital that little sphere is, and the power that it holds when thrown at such speeds. The next time that you hear someone belittle baseball, you can relay one of these facts.