Why Are There 108 Stitches on a Baseball MLB?
If you have ever played baseball or even watched a baseball game, there is a good chance that you have wondered what the actual baseball was made out of. While at first glance a baseball does not look like it is anything special, everything about it is actually going to be much more involved than you would ever imagine. Yes, a baseball is going to be made out of some very simple, unsophisticated materials (which include rubber, cowhide, cork, and a bunch of yarn), it is going to be these very same materials that have composed the baseball for over the past 150 years. Now, you would think that in this modern day of technological breakthrough, there may have been some advancement in the design or material makeup of the modern day baseball, but you would also be disappointed to learn that there has pretty much been no change to how a baseball is made whatsoever. With that being said, this means that every baseball is still going to essentially be made by hand, normally coming from the Rawlings Company which is based in Cost Rica.
With all of that being said, you may still be wondering how many stitches that there are on an actual major league baseball? To be exact, there are going to be 108 stitches on every single baseball that is used in the major leagues. However, the very first and the very last stitch on the baseball are going to be hidden from sight. On top of that, each baseball is also going to have stitching that is hand sewn and uses 88 inches of a very particular waxed red thread.
How Long Does a Baseball’s Hand Stitching Take to Make?
After looking at a professional baseball, you would think that it takes a long time to get all of the hand stitching done. However, you are going to be very surprised to discover that it only takes roughly 15 minutes to sew both of the figure eight pieces that you see on every baseball. IN fact, it is going to be this stitching that is responsible for keeping the cowhide exterior of the baseball together. Once this has been done, the baseball is then passed through a rolling machine that only takes about 15 seconds to level out any of the stitches that are raised.
How Much Do New Baseballs Cost on a Yearly Basis?
When it comes to Major League Baseball, the average amount of baseballs that are needed for the entire season of 162 games (not including the playoffs or the World Series games), are going to need to be enough to cover each of the 30 major league baseball teams. So, when you take all 162 games that each of the 30 teams is going to play every single year, you have 2,430 baseball games every single season.
The main baseball manufacturer, Rawlings, is going to be able to manufacture about 80,000 dozen baseballs every single season of Major League Baseball. This is going to equate to roughly 960,000 baseballs every single season. Now you multiply that by the average cost of a major league baseball, which is about $6.79 for each baseball, and Major League Baseball is spending about $8.56 million dollars on just baseballs every single season.
When you look at the more than 2,000 baseball games that are played every single season, the statistics are going to explain that there is always a need for many more baseballs than a single game is going to require. When you take a typical 9-inning baseball game, you are going to need an average of about 100 baseballs. This means that the league is going o spend more than $1,000 on baseballs for every single baseball game that is played. What makes this make more sense, is the fact that a single baseball is only going to stay in an actual baseball game for six pitches each. In fact, most baseballs are only going to be in play for 3 pitches total. This is going to be the very reason that a baseball does not last very long, despite how expensive it is to make.
Stitching a Baseball Together
To make a baseball, it is very involved but easy process. To start, you are going to have some cowhide that will become the surface of the baseball. This cowhide covering is going to be cut into two different figure-8 type patterns. Each one of these cowhide coverings are essentially going to become one half of the baseball. So, when they are combined, you will know have a baseball that has been completely covered in the cowhide covering.
Once the cowhide figure8-s have been temporarily stapled to the baseball’s surface, the stitching is then going to be done by hand. This is because the attempts at trying to stitch the baseball with some type of automation has been very unsuccessful when it comes to providing an evenness on the baseball after the stitching. After this, the cowhide is then dipped into a solution so that it is much softer and easier to manipulate the baseball.
To make a major league baseball, you have to take the two different figure-8 coverings and have them stapled to the actual baseball. Once this is done, they are now ready to be sewed to the ball. With only 88 stiches, the waxed red thread that is used only requires the worker to us a total of 108 stitches. What makes this even more neat is the fact that the very first and the very last stitch of the baseball are going to be hidden from sight. What this means is that the very final step of stitching a baseball takes a total of about 15 minutes to complete. Once this has been completed, the baseball is then run through a machine that evens out all of the stitching that was completed on the ball. After a final inspection, the baseball will be improved and then stamped with the Rawlings logo, essentially making it ready to ship to the major leagues.