There is a little bit of math involved to answer this question. In another answer, we outlined that there are about eight dozen balls used per game in Major League Baseball. That is 96 balls. If we call it 100 for the ease of working out this question, we can get started.
How many games are there in a season of Major League Baseball?
Each season will consist of 2,430 games. This is because every team in Major League Baseball will play 162 games and there are 30 major teams. A season in Major League Baseball will run for 26 ½ weeks and runs from March or April to September or October.
2,430 games per season is a lot, and therefore a lot of balls are used.
Why are so many baseballs needed per game?
In another answer to this question, it is outlined that the reasons for the need of a new ball each game could be down to homeruns, foul balls, damaged balls and even simply because the player wants to change the ball. Around 100 baseballs are needed per game because a new one is put into play regularly due to these reasons.
Another reason is that players’ base percentages are constantly rising, meaning their hit rate will increase, therefore their homeruns will increase too. This means that in the future, even more baseballs could be needed per game. This shows no sign of slowing down.
Why do baseballs only last so long?
Each baseball will have a life span of approximately three pitches. This could be due to the reasons that we stated above, or even just because of wear and tear. The mentality around using a baseball for longer is simply non-existent.
The ease of changing out a baseball that is slightly uncomfortable for the pitcher to throw because some stitching may have come undone means that a team will fly through 100 baseballs in a game easily.
Can’t they just keep using the same baseball?
In a game setting, there are actually rules against this. An umpire has to throw a new ball in if the current ball has been hit or thrown into the crowd or batted out of the playing field.
They also have to throw a new ball in if the current one is discolored or deemed unfit for play. The other reason is that the pitcher can simply request a new ball. These are all reasons in the official rules of Major League Baseball that have to be abided by.
That is a lot of wasted baseballs!
Yes, it is. But they are not always simply thrown in the garbage. Some of these ‘unfit’ baseballs will be used for signing events for the fans, and some are even used for batting practice in between games, so that the better and newer baseballs are reserved for the main games. Some of these used balls can even be sold as collectors’ items.
They will be branded with a marking that depicts who hit the ball and who pitched it. These can sell for a lot of money at auctions depending on the game they were played in.
So, how many baseballs are used in a season?
Going back to the original question now that we have all the information we need; we can work out how many baseballs are used in a season. Let us remind ourselves of the data we have collected. In a season of Major League Baseball that lasts 26 ½ weeks, there are 30 major teams that play.
These teams will each use approximately 100 balls per game due to the reasons stated above. Each team will play 162 games per season. This means that there are 2,430 games per season. 2,430 games multiplied by 100 baseballs is a grand total of 243,000 baseballs used per season.
The real number will also more than likely be a lot more due to balls that are used for practice, signings and any other fan events that take place.
The answer to the question of how many baseballs are used in a season, is that it is hard to definitively say. But the math suggests that the average is around 243,000 balls used per season.
This does not consider balls used for other purposes, but it gives a rough indication based on the number of balls used in each game being approximately 100.