If you love baseball, then you must know that choosing a baseball is not an easy job. You need to go through its various features, see the types of stitches, core material, and other factors before making a purchase. With the increasing popularity of the game, there has been an increase in the production of balls as well. As there are countless balls available in the market, it can become difficult to select a single one. That’s why we filtered and reviewed the seven best baseballs in 2021 that will help you get the perfect one for your practice sessions.
Each ball has a synthetic leather cover with raised seam stitching for better grip
This set is made as per the official baseball standards
Have a strong core made of rubber and cork
Rawlings is known for manufacturing the best baseball equipment, and this pack of balls is one of its finest products. This set contains 12 league baseballs made as per the official standards for recreational use. Each ball contains a solid core of cork and rubber that is perfect for practicing on the ground. Though these balls are not suitable for official games as they can easily wear out, you can still use them for team practice sessions.
Contains a red cushioned cork core that gives it a good bounce
Has a synthetic leather covering that protects the ball from dirt
Sewed as per flat stitching design, highly durable
This baseball from Wilson is specifically designed for small matches. It is made with high-quality leather and has a proper red cushioned cork core for a high bounce. The full-grain leather cover has flat stitching on it. Though this ball is difficult to get a good grip on due to the type of stitching, it’s highly durable. You can use it for catch practices at home or in the field. As this ball is not designed as per the official standards, you cannot use it for seasonal matches.
Comes in a six-gallon bucket with a soft-padded seat
Each ball contains a cork core with a leather covering
Have flat seam stitching, great for throwing and catching
You get a set of 24 balls at an affordable rate
This ball bucket from Hit Run Steal is the best deal for people who need affordable and decent baseballs. You get a six-gallon bucket full of 24 balls, each made with faux leather. The bucket comes with a thick padded cover that you can double-up as a seat during the practice. Each ball has a solid core made with high-quality cork and synthetic leather covering to increase its durability. Moreover, they have flat seam stitching, due to which it might be a bit difficult to get a good grip the first few times. This set is perfect for middle-school practice sessions and home practices.
Features raised seam stitching that gives a good grip
Has full-grain leather covering that makes this ball durable
For beginners, it is important to know the official rules of the game properly. That applies to using a ball that meets the USA baseball standards. This ball from Diamond Sports is made as per the official standards. It is constructed with a solid cork and rubber core with a protective covering of full-grain leather. This baseball has an extremely good grip due to the raised seam stitching, done with yarn so that you don’t miss out on your chance of striking out the batsman in front of you. Moreover, it is sturdy, durable, and can be used for casual practices as well.
Each ball is constructed with soft cushion material
The weight of a single ball is around 5 ounces
Playing with hard balls can be dangerous for kids as it can cause severe injuries, due to which manufacturers started making softballs. This set of two softballs from SKLZ will not only allow you to have an amazing practice session with your kid but also not burn a hole in your pocket with its affordable price tag. Each ball is made with soft foam and cushioned material so that kids can get a good grip without hurting their hands. Moreover, these balls look like regular baseballs and give off authentic game vibes, so your kid will feel like they are playing a professional game.
This baseball from SPARK CATCH can glow in the dark, thanks to the use of amazing patented technology. Apart from that, this baseball has passed the impact test that is done by pitching it at a speed of 86 mph from a machine. It is extremely durable and perfectly safe for playing at all kinds of matches. As it comes with a battery for switching on the light, this ball is not meant for playing in the rain and might get damaged if it ever comes in contact with water. However, it does offer a good grip due to its cow leather covering and raised stitches.
Has a solid center of cork and rubber for a good bounce
Affordable as compared to other baseballs
Synthetic leather covering to protect it from wear and tear
Offers a good grip due to raised seam stitching
The All American baseball is constructed with high-quality composite cork and rubber that gives it the perfect bounce. To protect it from any kind of wear and tear, the manufacturers have added a synthetic leather cover that makes this ball durable and provides an easy grip as well. Its total diameter is around 2.9 inches, which gives you enough space to get autographs of your favorite player. Moreover, you can use it for all kinds of practice sessions and small matches.
Before buying a baseball, it is important that you know the various factors that impact a baseball's quality, durability, and game performance. Though it might seem like the features of a ball don’t matter much, they do make a difference in the game. Some balls are constructed with high-quality materials, some are designed for kids, while there are balls made as per official game standards. Below, we have gone through all the important factors that you should consider while buying a baseball. Knowing these factors will help you make a wise baseball purchase.
What Are The Things That You Should Look For In Baseball?
While looking for a baseball, pay attention to the type of cover that it has. Usually, there are two types of materials used to construct the cover: leather and synthetic. Leather coverings provide a better grip and can last for a long time. You can play with a leather ball for years, and it would still have the same bounce.
On the other hand, a synthetic cover is made with vinyl or any other material that covers the core and protects the ball from dirt. These balls are affordable and perfect for practicing before the big game. Players tend to use synthetic balls for practice sessions to improve their skills and leather ones for the actual game.
The type of stitching done on the baseball matters a lot. A single baseball has over 108 stitches to ensure perfect grip and durability. There are three types of stitching used for sewing a baseball: raised-seam, rolled-seam, and flat-seam.
Raised seam stitching has elevated stitches that you can feel on the ball’s surface. Due to this, you get to enjoy a proper grip while throwing or catching a ball, and there are fewer chances of slip-offs. Moreover, these balls are perfect for beginners, allowing them to get acquainted with different bowling tricks.
Rolled seam stitching has low elevated stitches on the surface and provides less air resistance while handling the ball. They are comfortable to hold and are used by the majority of high-school leagues.
Flat-seam stitching has no elevated stitches on the ball’s surface and is the most difficult one to handle. This type does not offer a good grip and is mostly preferred by professionals who have proper control over the ball. These balls are also used in pitching machines as the stitches don’t create any interference.
Hardball Vs. Softball
Whether you want a hardball or a softball, it all depends on the player’s age and their bowling experience level. Hardball, as the name states, is constructed with high-quality core materials and has a strong outer shell covering. They are designed for players who are well acquainted with the game. As they have a sturdy construction, these balls are not suggested for kids as they can get injured during the game.
Softballs are constructed with foam and other soft materials, which reduces the ball’s weight and impact as well. They are perfect for kids under the age of ten years, as these balls won’t hurt them at all. Moreover, softballs look like regular baseballs to give off authentic look, so kids won't feel weird playing with them.
The core of a baseball determines the type of bounce and impact that it would have. Most manufacturers use cork, rubber, or a combination of both. The density of the cork and rubber determines whether the ball would have a good impact or not. Lesser is the density of the core material; more is its impact and bounce. For balls made as per the official baseball standards, the density is usually less, so lesser pressure is required while throwing the ball. However, in the case of softballs or other beginner balls, the density of the core is high so that there is not much bounce or impact, making it safer for players.
SEV Index or “SEVerity Index” is the factor that represents the impact or force of the ball when it comes in contact with any player. The SEV Index starts from TEE level (beginners) and goes up to Level 10 (professionals). This index level states the safety level of the ball and whether it would hurt a player or not. For kids, the SEV Index of TEE or a level higher works fine. Most middle schoolers play with baseballs of SEV Index level 8 as they are highly accepted in majority leagues and are safe as well.
Reduced Injury Factor or RIF is a tag that is stamped over most baseballs. It means that these balls are constructed with soft coverings like polyurethane so that youngsters won't get hurt if hit with the ball. Most middle schools and high schools use RIF balls to remove the fear amongst kids of getting hurt during the game. They are soft and have lesser weight as compared to professional balls. That doesn’t mean these balls do not offer great bounce or impact. Only the covering is different, but the core material remains the same.
Though buying a baseball might seem like the easiest thing, it’s not. If you buy the wrong type of ball for your needs, then it can either ruin the game or hurt the players badly. There are different balls designed for different types of players, and you should be aware of them while making the purchase so you get the most suitable ones. You can go through our top picks in this article to choose the best baseball for your practice sessions.
What type of core material can create maximum bounce and impact?
A baseball with a core of rubber and cork is highly preferred as it has a good impact and bounce. The density of rubber and cork is less due to which it can bounce better.
Can kids play with hardballs?
No, kids should not play with hardballs as they are constructed with strong material that can cause some serious injuries. Instead, softballs are more suitable for kids. Manufacturers make softballs with foam and other soft materials for kids as they do not have such a high impact, helping kids in overcoming their fear of baseball.
Is it important to get a baseball as per the league standards?
Yes, it is important to get a baseball that meets the league standards as different leagues have different types of restrictions. Instead of wasting money on a ball that your league doesn’t allow, invest in a ball that is widely accepted.
A three-sport athlete in high school, Casey has always been in love with football, baseball, and basketball. Since college, he has returned to his high school to help coach all three sports when he can. Casey is an avid writer and excited to bring his perspective on the various products required to get one at the top of their game. When Casey isn't writing or coaching, he's hosting the neighborhood softball or basketball tournament to help keep others' love for the game from fading.