Pro Baseball Teams Use 900,000 Balls Each Year

May 25, 2011 at 2:00 am 9 comments

By Kaye Nemec

It’s the top of the 6th inning in the Milwaukee Brewers vs. Washington Nationals baseball game and the TV announcers just provided me, and the rest of the at-home audience, with an interesting fact. According to the Brewer’s equipment manager, 6 dozen brand new baseballs are prepared before each home game. Some games an additional 2 or 3 dozen balls will be used before the final out.

And that got me researching…

On average, Major League Baseball teams go through 900,000 baseballs each season. Any time a ball is thrown in the dirt, dinged by a bat or scuffed up, it is taken out of the game and of course, all homerun and foul balls go home with a lucky fan. Thousands of additional balls are tossed into the stands by generous players.

In order to prevent teams from having to travel with dozens of balls, equipment managers have agreed that the home team will provide the away team with 6 dozen balls before each game. Individual teams are still responsible for providing their own batting practice balls – which is usually 14 or 15 dozen balls, some of which are brand new and some that have been used in a game.

Some used balls are also sent to minor league teams to use for practice. Thankfully 900,000 balls are not simply thrown out each year. However, some would argue they are still a complete waste given the price tag. If you calculate in tax and shipping, the average cost of a dozen baseballs is $72.00. That means the MLB is spending around $5.5 million dollars each season on baseballs alone.

Sources: Post-Gazette

Photo: Paul Hadsall

Entry filed under: Sports. Tags: , , .

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9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Pyxl  |  August 12, 2011 at 11:05 am

    There was an episode of “Dirty Jobs” that showed the man that collected the mud to rub on all of the balls before each game so they are not so shiny and slick. http://www.lenablackburne.com/

    Reply
  • 2. Luke Herklotz  |  March 11, 2013 at 3:39 am

    As we all know, there are several different positions in baseball. One common strain between all of these positions is speed. Speed is an important role in all positions. In the workout that we are going to be doing, we are going to focus on explosive behavior. Such exercises will help us with reaction time, strength, and stability. *

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    Reply
  • […] an article I read by a fellow blogger, it showed that MLB teams go through average 900,000 baseballs a year. A […]

    Reply
  • 4. Ben  |  April 29, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    Your 5.5 million is a bit off. I doubt MLB is paying retail for baseballs.

    Reply
  • 5. Marty  |  April 19, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    5.5 million a year for baseballs?? I would find a different supplier or have Pres Trump renegociate the price for mlb!

    Reply
    • 6. Dan Kearfott  |  July 14, 2017 at 11:26 pm

      $ 6.00 per ball seems like a reasonable price.

      Reply
  • 7. The Hit Man  |  July 14, 2017 at 11:38 pm

    I don’t know where the 900,000 figure came from but it seems unlikely to me.
    There are 30 teams that play 162 games per year.
    That means a total of 2,430 games per year.
    There are less than 300 pitches thrown on average per game.
    2430 x 300=728,000 pitches per season.
    900,000 balls divided by 728,000 pitches = 1.23 balls per pitch.
    Could someone please explain to me how that could be possible?

    Reply
    • 8. Andy  |  August 9, 2017 at 7:45 pm

      It’s literally laid out in the article.. Can you read?

      Reply
    • 9. Marshall Haynes  |  August 24, 2017 at 8:35 pm

      Game used balls are around 125-130k per season. MLB teams hit new balls in batting practice, and warm up balls are generally new. Poor writing didn’t explain the discrepancy, but it probably is around 900k to 1M balls purchased by MLB teams…and <$6M/yr is pretty cheap when major league minimum salary is over $500k/yr…

      Reply

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