As a big fan of baseball, you surely get much information about its rules, techniques and greatest baseball players of all time. But, Have you ever learned about the history of baseball, or got in mind the question: “How much does a baseball weigh?”
Well, the weight and size of a baseball are not standardized. It depends! Sometimes whether a ball used by kids or adults can also have an impact on its weight.
According to the official MLB rules, a baseball used in the Major Leagues needs to weigh from 5 to 5 1⁄4 ounces (142 and 149 g). It is 9 to 9 1⁄4 inches in circumference and 2 7⁄8–3 inches in diameter.
How much does a Little League baseball weigh? As specially made for smaller players with less energy, they are quite light. On average, a baseball of the little players weighs between 4 and 5 ounces.
How about the yarn? Well, you may be surprised as it often extends to a length of 1.6 km.
What Are Official Specifications for an MLB Baseball?
MLB baseballs, produced by Rawlings in Costa Rica, comprise a rubber-coated cork center that is wrapped in thick layers of yarn. The exterior shell of the ball is made of cowhide or horsehide with 108 double stitches surrounded. Interestingly, all were done manually. Though much effort has been put in automating the manufacturing process of baseballs, it unfortunately failed. It’s worth noting that the materials used to make yarn and pattern have an effect on the ball aerodynamics.
It’s true that there are various materials used to construct a single baseball. And yet, what probably appeals more to you is the evolution of baseball.
Brief History of the Baseball
Wonder what Baseballs look like during its evolutions? Learn about the actual history of the baseball, from its inception over one hundred years ago to its current form.
Since the inception of the game in the mid-1800s, Baseballs have gone through four main evolutions (The dead-ball era, The live-ball era, World War II, After World War II – today).
Baseball lore said that Ellis Drake, the son of a shoemaker, was the very first one to introduce the design for a baseball that would probably look quite similar to the baseballs used today.
Dead Ball Era – How Much Does a Baseball Weigh?
In the early Dead Ball era, baseballs were crafted in a variety of materials often by pitchers, so they were literally different in weight and size.
In 1876, when the National League was established, a pitcher named A.G. Spalding designed the ball whose center has a core of rubber. The National League approved the use of his baseball in the official league.
Before changes to the game rules in 1920, an entire game would often use the same ball, even after a four-ball or home run. Only when it became unraveled, was it replaced. Thus, the ball would get dirtier, making it difficult to see. Plus, as the game progressed, the physical wear on the ball resulted in the reduction of its elastic properties, preventing players from hitting for distance. As a result, pitchers are given more advantages over batters. According to Baseball-Reference.com, there was an average of 3.94 runs and 0.13 home runs per game scored from 1901 to 1910.
During the 1910 Fall Classic, the league then officially introduced a new ball with a cork core instead of a rubber.
Live Ball Era
Live Ball Era began in 1920, the year Mr. Spalding used Australian wool to make the yarn, which wraps the baseball cores. The new ball suddenly threw the balance into the favor of batters. After the introduction of the Australian yarn ball, seasons experienced a small increase in hits, home runs, and a general trend towards a more offensive game.
Also in this year, new rules outlawed spitballing were put into place, thus working against pitchers, and balls began to be replaced in games once they became dirtier, softer and lost their toughness throughout the game.
In 1934, the American and National Leagues standardized manufacturing process for a ball.
The ball has a cushion cork core surrounded by a layer of black rubber and a layer of red rubber. The yarn was then added with 71 yards of blue-gray woolen, contributing to the ball’s circumference of 7 3/4 inches and the weight to 3 1/8 ounces. The next wrapping was 41 yards of white, adding the circumference to 8 1/4 inches and the weight to 3 7/8 ounces.
What was even more interesting is the tanned horsehide cover, which weighs 1/3 ounce and 5/100 of an inch thick. The size of a finished ball was not different from the one used in modern days, varying from 5 ounces to five and one-eighths ounces.
World War II
Everyone knows that a fair number of talented players had to leave Major League Baseball to join the military in World War II, right? However, people paid less attention to what happened with the ball.
Rubber was an essential material to make a baseball, but because of the war, America suffered from a shortage of rubber. Besides, as rubber is a necessary ingredient in arms and ammunition, rubber was limited to all things that were unnecessary to the war, which included baseballs.
A baseball in the wartime didn’t have a high-grade cork core and rubber mixture, but a granulated cork core instead. Two shells wrapping the core were made of a rubber-like substance called “balata”.
There were continuous changes to the ball as the 1943 season took place. By 1944, the States was mass-producing synthetic rubber, and plenty of it was used for making baseballs and baseball was back to how it looked like before. This brought scale back to batters.
Post World War II – Nowadays
Since then, there have been little changes to baseball. The core of League baseballs was made of cork mixed with a small amount of rubber, hugged by a layer of black rubber. The outer shell was red rubber. The yarn was then made in a room with highly controlled temperature and humidity using a machine.
The use of this ball does well to home runs (10 30-homer guys in 1929 and 1930). Such a rare occurrence! However, paying the most attention to the contribution of the ball alone caused the denial of the popularity of home run hitters.
The 1970s saw a few more changes. the exterior shell of horsehide was replaced with cowhide.
The core of today’s standardized ball kept unchanged, containing a cushioned cork, wrapped with two rubber layers. However, there were some changes to the little league baseball weight and size.
While the circumference of the old balls varied from 9 to 9 1/8 inches and the weight was 5 to 5 1/8 ounces, the balls used today could be thicker and heavier.
It is worth noting that Major League Baseball ended its contract with Spalding in 1976. All baseballs in modern days are produced by the Rawlings Company.C
How Are Baseballs Made?
The First Steps in Creating the Ball
The process of making baseballs begins with a rubber cork core that is surrounded by a layer of black rubber and then red rubber. After that, the yarn is made using a revolving machine.
This stage is done in a temperature-controlled room to prevent the rubber from sweating or changing the complexity of real baseballs.
The addition of various yarn versions to the ball raises its weight to 4 ounces. You will need to separate the yard by length and color. First, add 121 yards of gray wool to the mixture, then 5 yards of white wool, and finally 150 yards of fine white cotton.
The next step is rubber cementing the horsehide to the yarn and rubber base of the ball.
Eventually, bright red double stitches (108 stitches) are added to the ball, and the finished ball must weigh from five to five and a quarter ounces.
Major League baseballs are exclusively manufactured by Rawlings, an American sports equipment company based in Town and Country.
What does the future hold for baseball? Well, the size and weight of baseballs probably remain unchanged in the foreseeable future. If any, changes may be expected in the process of making baseballs.
There may have some possible controversy about the increasing use of juiced-up balls as long as the game of baseball is played and fans seek an explanation for fluctuations in the home run results.
Where to buy baseballs?
Baseballs are available to buy from Amazon