Foul balls and home runs are exciting for spectators in the bleachers. However, these lost balls mean extra expenses for the league. Therefore, these incidents can make you wonder, what is the cost of an MLB baseball?
One MLB baseball is US$6 on average. However, one MLB match uses an average of seven to ten dozen balls. Therefore, one official baseball game means the league is spending an average range of US$504 to US$720 on baseballs. Take note that once a baseball can’t return once it leaves the field.
Although baseballs aren’t expensive, the significant amount used per MLB game can make baseball purchases expensive. Also, take note that some baseballs are significantly more expensive than others, especially when signed by MLB legends.
An MLB baseball has an average price of US$6. Also, people purchase hundreds of thousands of baseballs per year. With the costs of shipping taken into account, the professional baseball league spends over US$10 million per year on baseballs alone.
Check out the following video to see manufacturers develop baseballs used in professional and casual baseball games:
What is the Average Number of Baseball Used in an MLB Season?
One MLB game uses seven to ten dozen baseballs. On the other hand, MLB teams will use approximately 900 thousand baseballs throughout a season. Take note that the MLB has 30 baseball teams, and each team plays 162 games in total, which sums up to 2,430 matches in one season.
With those numbers, the MLB baseball is one of the largest expenses the league has to face. Additionally, reports indicate that baseball use and expenses will be on the rise, especially after looking at the rise in player base percentages.
Did the MLB always use dozens of baseballs per match?
It wasn’t always this case. In 1988, the league used fewer baseballs when compared to modern matches. Before, teams would use an average of 135 pitches per game. In comparison, the average number of pitches from the 2008 playoffs was 145.
What are the Most Expensive Signed Baseballs in History?
The value of an MLB baseball skyrockets when a famous sports legend signs it. One particular baseball costs hundreds of thousands of dollars as it bears the signature of one of professional baseball’s most iconic legends.
1. Babe Ruth
This list wouldn’t be complete without the most expensive baseball in MLB history. The MLB ball signed by famous homerun hitter George Herman ‘Babe’ Ruth sold for over US$600 thousand at an auction in 2018.
Why is Babe Ruth’s baseball so expensive?
It’s because Ruth has one of the highest number of recorded home runs in the league. With 714 home runs in a 21-year professional baseball career, Ruth’s total homerun score is still one of the highest in MLB history.
This particular baseball came to be when Marv Owen, a former Chicago White Sox player, along with Hank Greenberg of the Detroit Tigers played in an exhibition match at Cooperstown. Greenberg carried two baseballs with him for Ruth to sign as he (Greenberg) admired the player (Ruth) for one of MLB’s legendary players.
However, Greenberg became too nervous to request the signature. Thankfully, Owen took it to himself to have the baseball signed for Greenberg. Owen then put the ball in a safety deposit box, allowing the iconic sports item to stay in excellent condition throughout the years.
2. Mickey Mantle
Although Babe Ruth’s signed baseball is the most expensive in MLB history, enthusiasts of the sport shouldn’t miss out on Mickey Mantle’s signed baseball. At the time of writing, a baseball signed by Mantle will cost interested buyers about US$500, which is still a far cry from the price of Ruth’s baseball.
Still, it doesn’t mean that Mantle’s signature on a baseball isn’t sought by many baseball enthusiasts. It’s because this particular signature has an excellent story to tell.
Mantle started in the MLB with humble beginnings as he was but a small-town prospect at first. As time passed, he became one of the most famous and idolized players in New York. Many baseball fans would see Mantle’s first signing as a professional baseball player to be akin to a child’s handwriting. However, this signature evolved to something that would cost US$500 to the right buyer.
Recommended Reading: How many players are on a baseball team?
3. Lou Gehrig
Heinrich Ludwig ‘Lou’ Gehrig rarely signed baseballs out of respect for Babe Ruth. Gehrig felt that he was the ‘Robin’ to Ruth’s ‘Batman.’ Therefore, it should be no surprise that this rarity would fetch Gehrig’s signed baseball an incredible sum of money.
Interested baseball collectors will need to shell out about US$65,000 for a ball signed by Gehrig. The rarity of Gehrig’s signed baseballs is also because the player didn’t stay in the professional baseball scene for an extended period.
Gehrig wasn’t always at the best of health. His deteriorating condition came to the point when he couldn’t sign baseballs even if he wanted. Therefore, Eleanor, Gehrig’s wife, would be the one to sign baseballs for his fans. Gehrig passed away at the age of 41 because of measles and whooping cough.
4. Jackie Robinson
An authentic Jackie Robinson signed baseball would net an interested baseball collector US$25,000 to the right seller. However, it’s quite challenging to find a genuine baseball signed by this MLB history. It’s because Robinson had to hire a ghost signer frequently. That way, Robinson can appease his fans while ensuring the frequent signing wouldn’t ruin his hand.
After Robinson’s career ended, he would still appear in many games and would even do the honors of singing balls for loyal fans. Robinson passed away from a heart attack at the age of 53 in October 1972. But even if his health was already declining near the time of his passing, Robinson would still honor appearances for his fans.
An MLB baseball costs about US$6 on average. However, one official league match will use and lose dozens of baseballs. Thus, baseballs are one of the largest expenses that the MLB needs to consider for each season. With that said, some baseballs are worth more than others because these items have signatures signed by historic baseball legends.