The Baseball Story – How A Baseball Is Manufactured-xhero

This week, as Toy Tech was congratulating New York Yankees’ fans for their 27th all time World Series victory, and .miserating with Philadelphia Phillies fans regarding what might have been, one person asked Toy Tech how a baseball is made. After he had answered the question, Toy Tech reflected back on many similar questions that had been posed to him over the years. So, in honor of the just .pleted 2009 World Series, we decided to repeat the essence of Toy Tech’s explanation regarding the baseball in this space. The questions ran like this: "What about a baseball anyway? How are those things made? And, have they been ‘juiced?’ So many home runs. Aren’t the manufacturers doing something to the ball to make them travel farther?" Toy Tech’s Response: Well, at the turn of the 20th century, the baseball had a round rubber core. This gave way in 1910 to the livelier cork-centered ball, which was itself replaced two decades later by the even more resilient cushioned cork model. So, we can definitely say that the center of the baseball hasn’t changed much since 1930 or so, and the wrappings used inside the ball have been very consistent in terms of tightness and substance. In other words, the baseball of 1930 is pretty much the same as the baseball of 2009 from the standpoint of distance traveled on impact with a bat. On the other hand, many of the players, while we won’t use the term "juiced," have certainly found a way to grow larger and stronger. So the inevitable consequence of their increase in size and power is many more balls being hit out of the stadiums whose fences haven’t changed much in terms of distance from home plate over the last several decades. For instance, Boston’s Fenway Park carries the same dimensions as in 1912, so we can be certain that parks like Fenway, and the baseballs themselves haven’t changed much if at all. However, many players can’t seem to fit into medium-size uniforms anymore. For .parison, in 1931, with the baseball constructed the same way it is today, the Boston Red Sox as a team hit 37 home runs in 153 games. In 2003, they hit 238 in 162 games. You be the judge. Same park, same ball. (Interesting note: Between 2003 and 2008, all 456 Red Sox games played at Fenway sold out. Capacity: Approximately 39,928 persons per game. The players during that period hit a wondrous 1190 home runs.) Back to the baseball itself. The ball used by the major leagues, and the one you can purchase at any major sports store, consists of a "pill" (a central core) made of .pressed cork and rubber material. The pill at this stage is about the size of a cherry. The pill is then encased in two additional layers of rubber, an inner black layer (.posed of two hemispheres of black rubber joined by a red rubber washer), and an outer red layer of rubber. When all three layers are in place, the resulting ball is a little over four inches in circumference. After that .e the layers of wool and cotton. The first layer wound directly around the rubber encased pill is a four-ply gray woolen yarn, the second a three-ply white woolen yarn, the third of three-ply gray woolen yarn, and the fourth of white polyester/cotton finishing yarn. When all of the winding is done, the ball is just under nine inches in circumference. (Notes of interest: Baseballs are not made by machines. Many have tried to automate the process, and all have failed. So baseballs are one of the only hand made products remaining that have a mass market. Every year, the major leagues alone consume over 600,000 hand made baseballs. Each baseball purchased by the majors lasts an average of 5 to 6 pitches before it is either fouled off or in some other way lost or replaced.) Getting back to the wrappings. Wool is used because of its unique ability to remember its shape when hit, preferably by a bat rather than a helmet. That is, even when the baseball is hit very hard, it will return to a perfect round shape. That wasn’t always true of the baseballs made in the 19th century and well into the 20th. Also, baseballs were often made for each individual club in the 19th century, with each club using a cobbler or tanner who made baseballs as a sideline. So, a visiting team wasn’t always certain with what kind of baseball they would be playing. In times past, the weather would affect the way the ball performed. Naturally a soggy, loosely wound baseball isn’t going to go very far, even if it were hit by Paul Bunyan. Even though the cork center was available after 1910, Home Run Baker was able to win the American League home run championship in 1911 with 11 round trippers. How was that possible? Prior to 1920, the nature of the game involved lots of running and trick plays, most of them taking place on the infield. The home run was not part of the "strategy" of baseball teams. Babe Ruth changed all that, as players, following Ruth’s example, began aiming for the outfield seats. Today, an 11 home run seasonal production by an American League player would mean one of three things. The player is a pitcher; is hitting a ton of singles; or is on his way back to the minor leagues. After the wool and cotton layers are applied, the final outer cover, .posed of two pieces, is provided. As of this writing, the pieces are normally a Midwest Holstein cowhide. Holstein is preferred because its hide is clean and relatively free of imperfections. Uniform thickness is also a concern. The switch from horsehide to cowhide was made in 1974, as horsehide became more and more difficult to obtain in sufficient quantities to meet demand. he cowhide is cut into two figure-8 patterns. These are, at first, stapled to the wound ball, and then sewn using 88 inches of waxed red thread. There are 108 stitches in all. It takes a professional about fifteen minutes to hand-sew a baseball. The cover of an official baseball must be white (although we remember Charlie Finley, owner of the Oakland Athletics, convinced Major League Baseball to allow him to use both orange and green baseballs for a time). Cowhides are tested for seventeen potential deficiencies in thickness, grain strength, tensile strength and other areas before they are approved for use on official Major League baseballs. A finished baseball weighs between 5 and 5 1/4 ounces and measures between 9 and 9 1/4 inches in circumference. Ted Williams once said, "Using a round stick, hitting a baseball thrown by a Major League pitcher is the hardest single feat in the whole world of sport." Sure, sure, Ted. But where does that leave the rest of us? Ron – Toy Tech 相关的主题文章: