How many stitches are on a baseball? Why does a baseball have red stitching?

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If you are wondering that the number of stitches on a baseball, this article will help you answer the question completely

How many stitches are on a baseball?


There are 108 double-stitches on a regulation baseball and 216 single-stitches. Despite all steps needed to create a baseball, the stitching process is the most complex and time-consuming. To keep the shape of the baseball intact, people have to stitch the baseballs by hand. However, baseballs did not always need 108 stitches to stay in form.

How many stitches on a baseball

How many stitches are on a Major League Baseball?


All standard baseballs, including Major League Baseball, have 108 double-stitches. However, baseball stitching in the MLB has not always been executed the way it is today although the number of stitches affect baseball performance.


The MLB has forever been divided into two leagues: the National League and the American League. For many years, these leagues used different methods to stitch their baseballs.


The MLB was founded in 1876, and in the decades following, baseballs used in the National League would have black laces twined with red, and baseballs in the American League used blue and red stitching. This distinction between the leagues would not last long.


In 1934, the MLB broke down the barriers and embraced a standard that still stands today: 108 double stitches of waxed red thread. Even though stitching styles have changed through MLB history, each baseball now uses 108 double-stitches and 216 single-stitches.

How many double stitches are there on a regulation major league baseball? : 108


Baseball Stitching – Why Are There 108 Stitches on a Baseball?

The number of 108 stitches may not have any significant meaning, but there’s reasoning for why there are so many stitches.


Firstly, it’s vital that the balls cannot easily separate on contact. By getting hit with metal and wooden bats at high speeds, baseballs endure a lot of wear. If just one stitch comes out on a baseball, the play could be affected, so using the high amount of stitches in 108 is the best way to keep the baseballs intact.


In addition to keeping the ball’s shape, a high volume of stitches also allows a better grip for pitchers to have on the baseballs. Many pitchers rely on the stitches to firmly throw on the mound, so the fewer stitches there are, the more difficult it would be for pitchers to control their throws.


Lastly, proper stitching makes for a quality baseball all around. Sewing numbers and positions also determine how the ball functions in the wind, so more stitches result in better baseballs and games.

Simple Stitches on a baseball

The baseball stitching process is the most intricate and time consuming part of the creation of a baseball.

Why Are Baseball Stitches Red?


In the early stages of the MLB, no baseballs with solely red stitching existed. This changed in 1934 when every baseball made for the MLB would have red stitching, but why the color red?


There is no definite answer to the question, but people made some informed theories. In the first few years of the MLB, the stitches were made out of white material, which did not help the batters see the ball.


The American and National League changed to colored stitches around 1900 to improve the ball’s visibility, which consisted of black, blue, and red stitching.


Red is the most visible color out of the three, so when the MLB decided to use one unanimous color for both leagues, red was the best option. This theory has further reasoning, as there is now an MLB rule where pitcher’s gloves cannot be white or any confusing color. The purpose of this is so the batters can distinctly see the ball as it’s thrown toward them, which is consistent with the rest of this proposition.


Why Do Baseballs Have Stitches?

Stitches are perhaps the most necessary element that goes into the making of a baseball since, without them, the game would not be the same.


Sure, the red stitching on baseballs certainly makes them more visually appealing than if white stitching was used. However, stitches impact the actual game of baseball in more ways than one may think.


Firstly, the stitches allow pitchers to throw faster and farther. The stitching allows the balls to break through what is known as the boundary layer, which is a layer of air immediately surrounding the exterior of the ball.


In addition, the stitches help pitchers grip the baseball. Pitchers have evolved to throw an expansive amount of pitches, such as fastballs, curveballs, sliders, change-ups, etc. Each of these pitches requires a different grip, so without the enhancement that stitches offer, pitchers would not have nearly as much control over their throws.

Why is baseball stitches red

Why Do Baseballs Have Stitches?


The outermost layer of a baseball is typically made from cowhide or horsehide, and stitching is necessary to keep the material together. If just a little bit of the material is disrupted, pitchers, batters, and infielders could all be affected. Just a few stitches would certainly not suffice, so that’s why the MLB optimizes a baseball’s protection by using over 100 stitches.


How do stitches affect baseball performance?

The stitches slightly affect the air drag, but they strongly affect the Magnus force. So, all baseballs are often based on baseball stitches standard (with 108 stitches) nowadays.

Who Is the Official Baseball Manufacturer of the MLB?


Rawlings is the official baseball manufacturer of the MLB, which constructs the balls in Costa Rica. Rawlings first connected with the MLB when they started providing gloves for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1906.


Spalding bought Rawlings in 1955, but when the agreement ended in 1977, Rawlings became the official supplier for the MLB. They still hand-make all MLB baseballs in Costa Rica to this day, which raises questions as to why Rawlings has not automated the process. They tried to in past years, but the attempts were never entirely victorious, so each ball is manually designed.


Despite working with the MLB for multiple decades, Rawlings has not always designed the balls in the same manner that they do today. For example, in 2021, the MLB released a statement stating how Rawlings changed their manufacturing procedure to limit the ‘pop’ in their balls, as an unpredicted amount of home runs were being hit during the seasons prior.


The MLB claimed that these newly designed balls meet their requirements. So they should continue their tenured relationship with Rawlings and maintain their partnership for years to come.

Funny Image: Baseball stitches

What Is a Baseball Made Out Of?


The design of a baseball may be more complex than many believe. There are seven main layers used to create the simple-looking ball.


At the core, there is a compressed cushion cork, which was patented by technologist Milton. B Reach. Surrounding the cork is a thin layer of black rubber, which is surrounded by a thin layer of red rubber. In between these layers are red rubber washers, which keep the layers tightly connected.


Wrapping these layers is four-ply gray yarn, which takes up the most space inside of a baseball. Covering the bulk of the baseball is three-ply white yarn, covered by three-ply gray yarn. The last layer of the inside of a baseball is fine poly or cotton finishing yarn.


In total, over 360 yards of yarn are compactly curled around the cork. Pieces of cowhide or horsehide are placed over the yarn and stitched together with red string. This method was created in 1925 and is still used by Rawlings and the MLB, so the technique clearly works and is set to stay around for a while.


A Brief History of Baseballs


Believe it or not, in the early stages of the game, players used to make their own baseballs. From roughly 1845 to 1876, players completed their designs by forming a core and surrounding matter, such as feathers and yarn, around the core.


Covering the baseball would usually be a sole piece of leather stitched in an X-pattern. These baseballs were condensed and more miniature than the regulation baseballs used today.


In 1876, the design of the baseball would change forever. Former Boston Red Sox pitcher A.G. Spalding would always create his own baseballs and influenced the MLB to adopt his style of creation.


Spalding’s style consisted of two pieces of a leather covering and figure-eight-shaped stitching, which is the fashion that all baseballs are designed with today. Spalding’s company created MLB’s baseball until 1967 when Rawlings took over.


In 1910, cork became the common substance for the core of baseballs. Subsequently, batting averages soared, as did interest in the game.


In 1925, the method discussed in the last section took over the baseball production process and is still widely used today.

How many stitches on a baseball

Special Baseballs


In the MLB and all other professional baseball leagues, standard baseballs go through a similar creation process. However, for players who just want to play for fun, other baseballs have been created to fit their needs.


Wiffle balls are the most popular variant of a baseball. The main difference between the two balls is that a Wiffle ball is hollow and contains eight small cylinder-shaped holes. The reasoning for this design is so the balls won’t travel as far when hit powerfully, which is perfect for players who don’t have hundreds of feet of space to play.


Blitz balls have recently been on the rise among casual baseball players, as they offer the potential to throw unique curves without much skill or practice. These can be compared to swerve balls, which essentially share the same purpose. Swerve balls have patterns on certain spots that allow players to place their fingers on specific areas to throw distinct pitches.


How Often Are Baseballs Replaced During a Game?


In MLB games, balls are replaced whenever a ball is hit out of play, so essentially for every foul ball or home run. On average, baseballs are replaced every three to seven pitches.


If we assume there are 292 pitches thrown per game, that means roughly 42 and 97 balls get replaced in each major league game on average. Given the time and effort it takes to make a single baseball, it’s incredible to imagine that hundreds can be used in just a single game.


How Many Stitches Are on a Softball


Softballs will use at least 88 stitches. The process is not identical but is similar to that of a major league baseball.


Each softball is hand-stitched and contains a core with proceeding layers. The leading manufacturer of softballs is Wilson, which has been producing softballs for over 100 years.


The seams make it easy for pitchers to grip and control their throws, similar to a baseball. The reason softballs use fewer stitches is that their stitches are further apart than baseball stitches that are closer together.




Stitching baseballs has evolved over time, but nearly over the last century, the method has stayed consistent. If anyone asks you “how many stitches are on a baseball,” you’ll now know the answer: 108 stitches.


The history of baseballs and how their creation has evolved over time is intriguing, but one could imagine that no significant advances will happen to the item in the foreseeable future.

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