It is the name behind the game. Used in every major league baseball game and the more minor leagues also. Fans and club members get baseballs as gifts as well. Each of these round balls has an exciting story behind them. The making of these balls involves a lot of barehand work even today. Even the most basic baseball fan has asked, ‘How much does a baseball weigh?‘ at least once. So, for those basic fans, here is the basic answer 5-5¼ pounds.
The thing about modern baseball is that its design is as old as the game itself. The modern baseball design has gone through many changes over the years. Each of the changes made the game as a whole very different.
Fun fact for amateurs and fanatics, a pitcher uses a baseball for six pitches. So one baseball game will go through about a dozen baseballs.
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The History of Baseball
To understand the design of a baseball, we need to retrace its history. From the early dead-ball era to the live-ball era through World War II and finally to modern baseball. Also, we need to understand the standardized manufacturing process used in the making of today’s baseballs.
How much does a Baseball weigh in Dead Ball era?
In the early baseball era, each of the players made their own balls. People called it the dead ball era because player-made balls were “dead” or too soft. The different balls by different players meant that each one of them pitched differently.
The different balls lead to the batters having a massive headache! Each of the balls flew in strange ways, so it was hard to hit them correctly. Yet, it all changed in 1876 with the help of one pitcher.
A pitcher named A.G.Splading finally made a ball with a rubber core that the National League accepted for use in official games. Thus ended the dead-ball era and made way for the future.
Did you know that one single baseball was sometimes used for the entire game in the early years! Until the ball fell apart, players didn’t change it. The dirtier the ball got, the harder it was to hit. This led to a lower run rate from 1901 to 1910.
Live Ball Era
End of dead ball era is the time of live ball era. In 1920, A.G.Splading was again involved in the baseball design. He introduced Australian wool in the ball making process. It led to some interesting results when played on the field.
The Australian yarn ball caused some changes in the gameplay. Hitters could hit the ball more easily; thus, an increase in hits and home runs was common during the live ball era. Now the pitchers had a headache!
The 1920s saw some more changes in baseball, but it was not about the balls. Spitballing, using stuff to change ball pitch, was actually outlawed. Also, the new ball caused the game to become slightly more offensive.
The first standard manufacturing of baseball was in 1934. The standard included ball dimensions and raw materials. Cushion core became the new core for baseballs. Also, two layers surrounded the center, firstly black rubber and then red rubber.
After the layers came 71 yards of Australian wool yarn; it was blue-gray colored. The ball circumference was 7¾ inches and 3⅛ ounces. Next came 41 yards of white Australian wool yarn, increasing the circumference to 8¼ inches and 3⅞ ounces. Interestingly tanned horsehide application became the norm. It was 1/3 ounce and 5/100 inch thick.
World War II Era
World War II was terrible for people all around, and that includes baseball players. Many prominent players had drafted into the army during the war. Along with players living, the game and its ball also suffered.
During the war, rubber was an essential material for several reasons. It was useful in weapons and other manufacturing processes. So a baseball ball had to use different materials in the making process. After some trial and error, baseballs were then made using a material called “balata.” The core of the ball was also changed to a granulated center.
Throughout the war times, baseball was going through continuous changes. In 1944, synthetic materials were being produced, such as synthetic rubber. This was then used in the baseball-making process. The design of the ball went back to how it was after World War II ended.
World War II – Present Era
Since World War II, there hasn’t been that much change in a baseball design, to be honest. Current baseballs are being made using a core of cork and rubber mixture. The horsehide cover was eventually changed to cowhide in the 1970s.
The current professional baseball balls are around 5-5 1/4 ounces. I hope that answers the question, “how much does a baseball weigh?“
The rubber and cork core gets wrapped in a black and then red rubber. A temperature-controlled room is where the yarn gets made.
The design used in today’s game has made home runs quite common. There are games that have multiple home runs. I have seen pitchers throwing fits because of the ball specs. If that were to happen to you, wouldn’t you also throw a fit?
How are Baseballs made?
Types of Baseballs
Baseball is typically played using this type of ball. The modern variety of hard baseballs has a layer of cement that helps to hold the cowhide layer with the yarn. These balls all need to have the same size and weight always. These balls are pretty heavy, so make sure not to get hit by one of these!
These baseballs were first seen in Japan in 1950. Weight-wise these rubber balls are in the middle between hard baseball(hard and heavy) and tennis balls(soft and light). These were not that popular in America and are not seen that often. In Japan, these rubber baseballs are often seen and are used in many public sporting games.
Soft (Compression) Baseball
These soft baseballs are 93% lighter than regular baseballs. It contains artificial leather covering instead of cowhides. It has become an option for younger players that are just starting in baseball.
Baseballs comes from using a selected list of materials. Each selected material affects the performance of the ball. This materials help to make modern baseballs:
- Wool yarn
- Rubber cork
- Rubber casings
- Cowhide and
- Stitching threads
Each of the materials goes through multiple checkups before and after usage. Checkups help ensure that ball performance does not decrease.
All the materials are wound up in such a way to make the ball reach the proper weight. The manufacturing process of a baseball is like this:
- The rubber and cork core gets wrapped in rubber: the first layer black rubber and the second layer in red rubber.
- After the rubber casing comes to the yarn, the yarn encases the ball using a revolving machine.
- The machine is in a controlled room to make sure yarn does not expand and change the ball radius.
- The yarn gets wrapped in three parts. First is the 121 yards of gray wool; after that is the 45 yards of white wool, and lastly, the 150 yards of fine white cotton or wool.
- Rubber cement helps attach cowhide to yarn. The rubber cement weighs the ball appropriately.
- Cowhide goes through a tanning process to turn its color to white.
Did you know that the double stitches on all professional balls are hand-stitched!
Don’t miss out on watching the video on making baseballs on the youtube channel Insider.
How to measure Baseball weigh
Fans are quite divided in their opinion on baseball design in recent times. Some like me are happy with the design since we see so many home runs and grand slams. But, other fans are asking for a change so that their favorite pitchers get some break.
Change of baseball blueprint is not in the near future, sadly pitcher fans.
Here is some not so well known fact. In 1976 the Major League ended the contract with Spalding. They replaced Spalding with Rawlings Sporting Goods company, and the contract is still in effect. All the baseballs from Rawlings come from Costa Rica.
It is a complete overview of How much does a baseball weigh.
Read My related article:
How much does a baseball weigh in Kilograms?
It can vary between 142 and 149 g. 149 g is the weight of a ball in major league and national league. The exact weight around 148.83 grams for all you fanatics.
How many stitches does a Baseball have?
The MLB baseballs have exactly 108 double stitches, which means the number of actual stitches in a baseball is 216.
How much does Major League Baseball weigh?
A major league baseball weighs approximately 5-5¼ ounces, and a little league baseball weighs about 4-5 ounces. Converting them into grams gets us an approximate weight of 142-149 grams.