A baseball is the ball used in the game that shares the same name. A baseball is a round shaped ball, but is not a perfect sphere, and is most commonly white in color. It also features a red raised seam, made of 108 double stitches, which allows the pitcher to impart spin on the ball. A standard sized baseball has a weight between 5-5.25 oz (142-149 g), a circumference of 9-9.25 in (22.9-23.5 cm) and a diameter of 2.875-3 in (7.3-7.6 cm). Regulation balls used in professional and college competitions are made under very strict standards and the balls must pass strict quality controls. Let’s find out what a baseball is made from and a little bit about the history and development of the ball.
What is a baseball made out of?
A baseball is made out of a round shaped center made of rubber or cork. This material is then wrapped tightly in yarn (string) and is wrapped with a plastic or leather cover. Horsehide was once used for major league balls, but cowhide is used today. There are 4 layers of yarn used on a baseball. The first layer is gray woolen yarn, the second and third are three-ply woolen yarn and the final is white cotton-polyester yarn. If this yarn was combined it could reach up to 1 mile (1.6 km) in length! The stitching is made from red thread that is 88 in (223.5 cm) long and it has a protective wax coating to ensure it is waterproof. Balls made of synthetic materials are also now common, but are considered to be inferior to the more traditional manufacturing method and are not used in the major leagues.
In the late 19th century cushioned wood cores were created by Spalding, founded by baseball star A.G. Spalding. Rubber became the common material during World War II due to shortages of materials.
Did you know?
A single baseball was once used for each game. However, the ball became discolored during the game and made it hard for the players to see. After the death of Ray Chapman during a twilight game in 1920 the ball began to be changed more often during a game.
Baseballs are often caught and kept by fans and some of these balls are worth considerable money. The ball hit by Mark McGwire for his 70th home run in a single season (then a record) was sold by a fan for $3.2 million at auction.