Perhaps the most important component of the sport of baseball is perhaps the ball itself. You just can’t play a game of baseball without a baseball.
That said, many people wonder, what are baseballs made out of?
It’s a really interesting question, one that we are going to answer in quite some detail right now. Let’s figure out exactly what baseballs are made out of and how they are built.
The Baseball: Some Basics
For those of you who don’t know, baseball has officially been around since 1845. There was another sport that was very similar to baseball prior to this, that used a similar ball. However, these balls were fairly large and soft. These were something like softballs.
However, in 1845, these were then replaced with the smaller and harder baseballs we know today. That said, the actual baseball, both the construction and the materials, have remained fairly similar during these years.
There are some allegations that the MLB used so-called juiced up baseballs to increase flight distance during times when the attendance was low. However, the Major League Baseball association has denied these allegations.
The interesting statistic is that during the course of a single season, MLB teams used as many as 600,000 baseballs. Although baseballs are built very durably, they don’t last all that long. They are used for only about 5 to 7 pitches in a single game.
Something else important to know is that each ball has to meet certain requirements. First and foremost, every single baseball has to weigh between 5 and 5.25 ounces. Every baseball also has to measure between 9 and 9.25 inches in circumference.
These are the official MLB standards, and if balls do not meet them, they are not allowed for use. These weight and size requirements were established in 1872.
What Are Baseballs Made Out Of?
Every single baseball is made with three standard components. The first component is a round and cushioned cork pill that forms the core of the ball. You then have the wool and poly cotton windings in the midsection. The exterior of the ball is then made with a cowhide cover.
The Inner Layer – The Pill
The first component, the inner pill, is a sphere that measures around 13/16” in diameter. This is a very small sphere that is made out of a combination of cork and rubber. This small sphere features two layers of rubber, a red outer layer and a black inner layer.
What is interesting to note is that the inner layer is made out of two hemispheric shells. These are made out of black rubber, and are then joined together using red rubber washers. The sphere or pill measures 4-1/8 inches in circumference.
Next, there are then four layers of wool and poly cotton windings that encase this cork pill. These four layers have various thicknesses and form concentric circles around that pill.
Each layer is made out of a slightly different material. The first layer of this winding is made with four ply grey woolen yarn. The second layer is made out of three ply white woolen yarn. The third layer is made out of three ply grey woolen yarn. The fourth layer is then made out of white polycotton finishing yarn.
Keep in mind that the very first layer is the thickest one. When all four layers have been wrapped around the pill, it brings the circumference of the ball to just under 9 inches. For those of you who are wondering, wool is used due to the fact that it is very durable.
Wool also has a good deal of memory. This allows it to compress and then return to its original shape when pressure or force is applied.
The poly cotton blend is used for the exterior due to its great durability. There is a very low chance of damage or tearing to this outer layer. This is especially the case when the cowhide cover is applied to the exterior.
The Cowhide Exterior
We then have the exterior of the baseball, which is made out of number one grade alum tanned full grain cowhide. These are generally made from Midwest Holstein cattle.
This type of cattle has very smooth and clean hides with a good grain that makes for a good baseball exterior. What is also interesting to note is that the outside of a baseball, the cowhide, has to be stitched together with exactly 88 inches of red thread that must be waxed.
Another interesting fact is that these cowhides are tested for 17 different deficiencies and problems before they can be approved for MLB baseballs.
The Composition of Baseballs
There you have it. You should now know exactly what all layers of a baseball are made out of.
Thanks for stopping by ~Jeremy