108 Stitches

The pill. The round wound. The ball.

It is the single most important element in the game. It’s the name of the game.

In all of its glory, at its essence is a cushioned cork core sphere called ‘the pill’ and it is made of rubber and cork. A black rubber layer is wrapped around it, followed by a red rubber layer on the outside. It now is 4 1/8″ in circumference. Four layers of wool and cotton are wrapped tightly around it. The first layer of four ply wool is followed by a three ply layer of wool. The third layers is three ply yarn followed by a fourth layer of polyester yarn. Each layer is wrapped tightly around the pill. The circumference is now 8 3/4″ in circumference.

The outer cover is made of cowhide, tanned Holstein cowhide. Holstein is cleaner and smoother than other hides. It is stitched together with 88 inches of waxed thread. Strangely, it is the same amount as keys on a piano. But that’s another story.

Then comes the stitching. There are 108 stitches, 106 stitches are visible. The first and last stitches are hidden. The stitches are raised to give the pitcher the ability to handle it better and turn the ball. It weighs between 5 and 5.25 ounces and is 9″ to 9.25″ in circumference.

In the majors, 160,000 baseballs are used during the season.

Only forty-four days before we can get into the stands on Opening Day and get one.


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