Baseball is one of the most popular sports in the United States and around the world. Major League Baseball (MLB) is the top level of professional baseball in the U.S. and the games are played with official MLB baseballs. But who makes the baseballs used by MLB? In this article, we will explore the history and process of making the official MLB baseballs.
History of Baseballs Used in MLB
The baseballs used in Major League Baseball have a long history, stretching back to the 1800s when the first MLB teams were formed. The first official MLB baseballs were made by A.G. Spalding & Bros in 1876. The baseballs were made from cowhide and hand-stitched with a red thread.
Since then, the baseballs have evolved and the materials and production methods have changed. In the 1940s, the MLB adopted a new standard for the baseballs, which included a cork and rubber center and raised seams. This new design helped pitchers get a better grip on the ball, making it easier to throw various pitches.
Modern MLB Baseballs
Today, the official MLB baseballs are made by Rawlings Sporting Goods Company. Rawlings has been the official supplier of the MLB since 1977 and the company has been making baseballs since 1887.
The modern MLB baseballs are made from cowhide and have a cork and rubber center. The cork is encased in four layers of wool yarn, with a rubber core and then a final layer of wool yarn. The cowhide is then tanned and treated to make it durable and weather-resistant.
The Process of Making MLB Baseballs
The process of making MLB baseballs is a complicated one, with many steps involved. Here is an overview of the process:
Step 1: Cutting the Leather
The first step in making an MLB baseball is to cut the cowhide leather into two pieces. The two pieces are then stitched together with a red thread to form the baseball’s cover.
Step 2: Shaping the Ball
The next step is to shape the ball. This is done by hand, using a special tool to press the leather into the desired shape.
Step 3: Stitching the Ball
Once the ball is shaped, it is then stitched together with a red thread. The ball is stitched in a figure-eight pattern, which allows for a tighter closure and better grip.
Step 4: Filling the Ball
The final step is to fill the ball with the cork and rubber center. The cork is encased in four layers of wool yarn, with a rubber core and then a final layer of wool yarn.
Step 5: Finishing the Ball
Once the ball is filled, it is then finished with a special coating to make it more durable and weather-resistant. The ball is then stamped with the official MLB logo and ready to be used in a game.
The baseballs used in Major League Baseball have a long history, and the process of making them is a complicated one. The official MLB baseballs are made by Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, and the process involves cutting the leather, shaping the ball, stitching the ball, filling the ball with the cork and rubber center, and finishing the ball with a special coating.
The MLB baseballs are an important part of the game and the process of making them requires skill, precision, and attention to detail. The end result is a high-quality ball that is durable and weather-resistant, making it perfect for playing the game of baseball.