A Waaaaaaay Back

I looove Baseball!!!!!  I love my logo, too.  :))))  Start counting contest friends.  So, I happened to find that photo, second from bottom. A guy’s son did this for school. (I think) He wanted to show the different insides of a softball, tee ball, Little League and Major League baseballs. Pretty cool, huh.  Lastly, I had this prototype made for the Kowalski team hat. Let me know what you think.  Happy reading!!

Isn’t it interesting how some everyday items have a “secret recipe” behind them – the colonel’s chicken, sauce for a Big Mac, Doubletree’s cookies, Heinz ketchup, Coca Cola, Bush’s Baked Beans, Hersey chocolate bar – I could go on, but getting very hungry.  One item that caught my attention recently is the Professional Baseball made by Rawlings Sporting Goods.  I came across this article in the Wall Street Journal, and just had to share.  I can remember as a kid cutting open a baseball, and unwinding it (golf balls too), and was amazed at the amount of string used – it just keeps going and going. According to Rawlings, it takes them about 10 days to make a major-league ball—but just don’t ask too many questions about the wool at its core.  Here’s some cool info, nice video courtesy of YouTube, and some fun facts.  Enjoy – and with baseball back in full swing (get it?) next time you are at the ballpark, you’ll have a better idea of what’s behind those long balls flying out of the stadium.  GO TRIBE!!
Cool video on how balls are made
Little baseball music to get in the mood

  • About 1.2 million major-league baseballs are made by Rawlings Sporting Goods that can pass inspection to achieve “pro” grade each year.  But a lot about the official ball is kept secret.  The exact color of red used for the laces? Proprietary. The kind of wool that encases the cork-and-rubber center? Confidential. The number of balls that fail to meet quality-control standards?  Don’t ask. (But if you must know, a committee appointed to study whether juiced balls led to the recent surge in home runs reported that only 55% pass inspection).
  • Here’s what Rawlings, the maker of the official balls since 1977, was willing to reveal about its product ahead of next Thursday’s Opening Day, when as many as 5,400 balls will be rubbed up for use by Major League Baseball’s 30 teams.
  • A baseball’s center is a multilayered formulation of cork and rubber that measures 1.37 inches in diameter—a little smaller than a golf ball.
  • The pill, as it’s known, is coated in a tacky adhesive and wound in three layers of wool, including one four-ply and two three-ply yarns. A fourth, and final, winding is done with a thin poly-cotton for a smooth finish to help the ball’s leather cover adhere to the fiber.
  • The factory in Costa Rica where all major-league balls are made isn’t open to the public, but Mike Thompson, Rawlings’s chief marketing officer, described portions of the operation.
  • The ball windings, he said, are done with proprietary machines Rawlings has devised over the years. After the pill is wrapped with each length of fiber, its circumference and weight are measured to ensure it falls within specifications.
  • According to MLB rules, a finished ball, including its leather cover, shall weigh not less than 5 ounces nor more than 5¼ ounces and measure not less than 9 inches nor more than 9¼ inches in circumference.
  • After the pills are fully wound with yarn and string, they’re ready for leather.
  • These days, the balls are clad in American cowhide, rather than the horsehide of the past. The leather is supplied by Tennessee Tanning Co., a Rawlings subsidiary located in Tullahoma, Tenn.
  •  Top-grain leather, the second-highest quality behind full-grain, is used to avoid blemishes and wrinkling, but not all of the hide is suitable.  “Belly leather stretches too much,” Mr. Thompson said. “The strongest is from the back area.”
  • The cover is made of two pieces of leather shaped like figure eights that fit together to make a sphere. Each panel is punched out with a hydraulic press fitted with a die that also perforates the perimeter with 108 holes to accommodate the ball’s laces.  The figure eights are weighed and cut into thin layers to meet thickness and weight requirements.
  • A single cowhide yields about 250 figure eights – meaning the hides of roughly 9,600 head of cattle are used each year to make MLB baseballs.
  • Before the final layer is attached, they’re moistened for a minimum of 20 minutes to make the leather more pliable.  The pills are tumbled in a container to lightly coat them with a tacky adhesive to hold the softened leather in place.
  • To hold the covers in place, the balls are then clamped into sewing vises in a large room where 300 to 400 workers, depending on the production schedule, hand-stitch the covers into place. The workers sew the leather panels together using pairs of 4-inch-long needles, each threaded with 110 inches of red lacing.
  • The operators sew with both hands at the same time, pulling thread through the holes and extending their arms up in the air. It’s a concert of arms.  It takes about 15 minutes to stitch each ball.
  • Afterward, the workers use a pick-like tool to align the stitches into the familiar formation of “vees,” and a final turn in a rolling machine ensures the seams are consistent.
  • The finished balls are then stamped with the MLB emblem, the commissioner’s signature and the Rawlings logo.  Start to finish, it takes about 10 days to make one ball.
  • On average, teams use seven dozen to 10 dozen balls a game, not including those used for batting or fielding practice.
  • A committee commissioned by MLB in 2020 studied the spike in home runs and concluded that small differences in the hand-sewn seams combined with the current style of hitting, which emphasizes launch angles to help lift hard-hit balls out of the park, were responsible for the rash of dingers.  To offset this trend, Rawlings confirmed it has loosened the tension of the first layer of wool wound around the pill to reduce its bounciness and shave a foot or two off the distance a long ball can travel.  While the adjustment could reduce the number of homers, so far in spring training, not much luck.

Special thanks to Jo Craven McGinty at the Wall Street Journal for the insights.

 Indians Baseball 1960’s

Wahoo Cleveland 2007



Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!



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