What happens to all the baseballs used in a game?

Baseball is one of the most popular sports in the world today. It has been around since the mid-19th century and is loved by fans of all ages. Baseball games involve a lot of balls being thrown and batted around. So, what happens to all the baseballs used in a game? This article will explore the journey of a baseball from the time it is thrown into the game to the time it is retired.

The Baseball

Before a game begins, the umpire inspects each baseball to ensure that they are up to the standards of Major League Baseball. Baseballs used in MLB games must be of the following specifications:

  • 9 inches in circumference
  • 5 ounces in weight
  • Cork core with a rubber or cork wound with yarn
  • Leather cover, with 108 hand-stitched double-laced stitches
  • Stamped with the official Major League Baseball logo

The umpire then places the balls in a bag, which is kept at the side of the field during the game. The umpire or the players can then take out a new ball from the bag when needed.

In Play

Once the game begins, the balls are constantly in motion. They are thrown and batted around, sometimes reaching speeds of up to 100 mph. The balls are also exposed to dirt, mud, and other substances on the field. This can cause the balls to become dirty and scuffed up.


If a ball becomes too damaged during the game, it is replaced with a new one from the bag. The umpire will inspect the new ball and make sure it is up to the standards of Major League Baseball. The damaged ball is then removed from the game and placed back in the bag for later use.


At the end of the game, the umpire and the grounds crew will retrieve all the balls from the field. This includes the balls that are still in play, as well as the ones that have been replaced or removed from the game.


The retrieved balls are then taken to the clubhouse for cleaning. The balls are scrubbed and polished with special cleaning solutions to remove any dirt, mud, or other substances that have accumulated on them during the game.


Once the balls have been cleaned, they are placed back in the bag and are ready to be used in the next game. A new set of balls is usually used in each game, but it is not uncommon for some of the balls from the previous game to be used again.


If a baseball becomes too damaged or worn out, it is retired and is no longer used in the game. The umpire or grounds crew will inspect the ball and decide if it needs to be replaced. If it does, a new ball will be used in the game.


Some baseballs that have been used in a game are kept as souvenirs or sold as memorabilia. If a home run is hit or a no-hitter is thrown, the ball is often collected and kept for future generations to remember the historic moment.


When a ball is deemed too damaged to be used again, it is reclaimed and recycled. The leather cover is removed and the cork core is broken down into small pieces. These pieces are then used to make new baseballs, ensuring that the sport of baseball can continue to be enjoyed for years to come.


From the time a baseball is thrown into a game to the time it is retired, it takes quite a journey. The balls are constantly in motion and exposed to dirt and other substances. Umpires and grounds crew must inspect and replace the balls when needed. At the end of the game, the balls are retrieved, cleaned, and either reused or retired. Some balls are kept as souvenirs or sold as memorabilia, while others are reclaimed and recycled to make new baseballs.

So, the next time you watch a baseball game, think about the journey that each ball has taken and the care that goes into ensuring that the game can be enjoyed for years to come.