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The Fate of Used MLB Baseballs: From Field to Auctions and Showcases

MLB Baseballs Usage: The Journey of a Pitching Projectile

Baseball is a beloved sport with a lengthy and complex history. At the center of each game are the baseballs, which undergo a journey of their own.

In this article, we will explore the different aspects of the journey and learn more about the usage and fate of MLB baseballs.

Number of Balls Used in an MLB Game

A baseball game is composed of nine innings, each lasting around thirty minutes. During a regular season game, a total of approximately 60-70 baseballs are used.

Postseason and special event games, on the other hand, may require a higher number of baseballs due to their increased duration and intensity.

Reasons for Ball Replacements and Discards

The baseballs used in MLB games are made by the Rawlings Company and are subject to strict quality control regulations. Despite this, baseballs can still become damaged and worn out during the course of a game.

Pitchers may request a new ball if they feel that the current ball is too scuffed or dirty to pitch properly. Other reasons for ball replacements include wear and tear, scuffing, discoloration, wild pitches, passed balls, and offensive players manipulating the ball by spitting or rubbing it with foreign substances.

The umpire has the final say on whether a ball should be replaced and may discard a ball if it is deemed to be in a poor condition.

Fate of Discarded Balls

Once a ball has been discarded, it may go through a variety of journeys. Some regulation baseballs are retrieved and authenticated by the MLB for historical purposes or kept by players as mementos.

Others are sold by collectors or placed in museums like the National Baseball Hall of Fame. In addition, discarded baseballs may be used for batting practice or by minor league teams.

The baseballs that do not meet the strict requirements for regulation play may be sold commercially as souvenir or practice balls. Umpires’ Role in Ball Replacements

Umpires play a crucial role in deciding when to replace or discard a ball.

Rule 3.01 of the MLB rulebook specifically states, “The ball shall be a sphere formed by yarn wound around a small core of cork, rubber or similar material, covered with two strips of white horsehide or cowhide, tightly stitched together. It shall weigh not less than five nor more than 5 1/4 ounces avoirdupois and measure not less than nine nor more than 9 1/4 inches in circumference.”

Umpires pay close attention to the condition of each ball and may replace them if they become too scuffed up or discolored.

Additionally, if a ball has dirt or foreign substances on it that could give a pitcher an unfair advantage, the umpire may dismiss that ball. Ray Chapman’s Death and Mays’ Pitch

The strong regulation of baseballs in the MLB was not always the case.

In 1920, Cleveland Indians’ shortstop Ray Chapman was hit in the head by a pitch thrown by New York Yankees’ pitcher Carl Mays and died from a skull fracture. Following this tragic incident, the league began implementing stricter quality control regulations that included umpires discarding scuffed and discolored balls instead of allowing pitchers to keep using them.

In conclusion, the journey of a MLB baseball is a crucial aspect of the sport and is heavily regulated to ensure consistency and fairness for all players. Baseballs can become damaged and worn out during a game, and it is the responsibility of umpires to replace or discard them as appropriate.

Discarded baseballs may go through a range of trajectories, from being authenticated and put in a museum to being used in practice or sold as souvenirs. The history of baseball is shaped by its regulations, and the tragic death of Ray Chapman is a reminder of the importance of ensuring the safety and fairness of the game.

Used Baseballs Fate: From Fans’ Treasures to Auctions and Showcases

Baseballs used in Major League Baseball games are items of high value. From collectors to fans, everyone wants to own a piece of history.

In this article, we will explore the fate of used baseballs after they have been collected by fans and how these baseballs go from the field to auctions, showcases, and museums.

Collection of Used Baseballs

Baseballs used in MLB games are highly coveted, especially those that have been used in a significant game or played by a legendary player. People who collect baseballs are usually fans of the game who want to cherish a piece of baseball history.

Some collectors may also have a more substantial financial investment in the baseballs they collect.

Reasons for Ball Collection

The reasons why people collect used baseballs vary. For some, it is merely a hobby.

For others, it is a way to show their love for the game or their loyalty to a particular team. Collecting baseballs may also serve as an investment, with the value of baseballs increasing over time.

Dispositions of Collected Baseballs

The dispositions of collected baseballs may vary depending on the collector’s preference. Some may choose to keep the baseballs as a prized possession, while others may opt to auction them off to the highest bidder.

The date of the game or the significance of the baseball may also impact the ball’s value. Auctions are a common way for collectors to sell their baseballs, with some baseballs fetching high prices.

A game-used baseball from World Series games has been known to fetch over a hundred thousand dollars in auctions. Some collectors may even donate their baseballs to museums or the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, where they can be viewed by thousands of people each year.

Record for Most Baseballs Used

The record for the most baseballs used in a single MLB game is held by the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics game played on June 29, 1995. A total of 98 baseballs were used in the game, which lasted 4 hours and 33 minutes.

Total Number of Baseballs Used in a Season

The average number of baseballs used in an MLB season is approximately 900,000. This figure includes those used during regular and postseason games.

In 2019, a total of 8,958 baseballs were used during the World Series.

Cost of an MLB Baseball

The official baseball used in MLB games is manufactured by Rawlings, and a single baseball can cost between $18 and $20. However, the cost of manufacturing a baseball is not the only factor that determines its final cost.

Marketing expenses, labor, and inflation are also significant factors that ultimately affect the price. Umpires’ Ball Pouch

Umpires play an important role in the regulation and use of baseballs during games.

Each umpire carries a pouch filled with several baseballs from both teams throughout the game. When a ball becomes worn out or damaged, the umpire will replace it with one from their pouch.

In Conclusion

Baseballs used in Major League Baseball games hold great significance to collectors, fans, and historians. From the moment a baseball is used in a game, it may begin its journey of transitioning from hand to hand, going through auctions and showcases, and eventually, its final resting place in a museum or Hall of Fame.

The record for the most baseballs used in a game and the average annual usage provide a window into the sheer scale of baseball production and how much the sport means to people across the globe. The article explored the journey of MLB baseballs, from their usage in games to their fate after being discarded.

We discovered the reasons for ball replacements and why umpires can throw out baseballs. We also explored the world of baseball collectors and the various dispositions for collected baseballs, including auctions and showcases.

Furthermore, we discussed four FAQs regarding the record for most baseballs used, the number of baseballs used in a season, the cost of an MLB baseball, and umpires’ ball pouch. In conclusion, the story of used baseballs is an excellent reminder of the sport’s rich history and the passion of fans worldwide.


1. What is the record for most baseballs used in an MLB game?

The Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics game played on June 29, 1995, holds the record for 98 baseballs used in the game. 2.

How many baseballs are usually used in an MLB baseball season?

An average of 900,000 baseballs are used in an MLB season, including both regular and postseason games.

3. How much does an official MLB baseball cost?

An official baseball used in MLB games and manufactured by Rawlings can cost between $18 and $20. 4.

What do umpires carry with them during games?

Each umpire carries a pouch filled with several baseballs from both teams throughout the game.

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