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1939 Newspaper Clipping
Yellow Baseball Heads to Coopertown
First Yellow Baseball heads to HOF

1960 Newspaper Clipping
Glo-Ball Orange Baseball
Orange Baseball

Spalding 5X Baseball
Spalding 5X Center Baseball

1969 Strike Zone
Rule Change
1969 Strike Zone

Official Baseball
 Dating Guide
Official Baseball Dating Guide

 
 
 
 
 
 KeyMan Collectibles  NEWSLETTER July 2017  
Yellow Orange Juiced-Up Baseball Experiments
 Steven KeyMan
Steven KeyMan
 No Horsing around  - By Steven KeyMan
Founder of Keymancollectibles.com, and a long time collector, Steven KeyMan has more than 30 years of experience in researching, and cataloging information on Baseball Memorabilia. Researching his own personal collection, and helping others find information on their collectibles, the website grew into the largest online resource for baseball memorabilia
 

   Ask Steven: Direct your questions or feedback, about Baseball Memorabilia to Steven KeyMan Steve@keymancollectibles.com You can also Send KeyMan pictures of your personal Memorabilia Display, and get your own Free  Collectors Showcase Room featured on the website..   
 
 With Home Runs being hit at a record pace in 2017, the "Juiced" baseball is back in the news. Since the dead ball era, there have always been accusations that Spalding periodically introduced lively or "juiced" balls, made by winding the yarn inside the ball tighter. Through the years whenever the offense was dominated by good pitching Major league baseball either made rule changes to give the batter an edge over the pitcher or try to introduce a baseball that was more lively or easier to see.
1938-1939 Ford Frick Official National League Yellow Baseball
 The Yellow baseball was an experiment brained stormed by Brooklyn Dodgers president Larry MacPhail in 1938. The inventor Fredric H. Rahr, felt the high viability of the Baseballs were easier to hit, field, and lesson the danger of players being hit by pitched balls. Advocate's for the ball also pointed out that the ball would be seen better at night, and would be a great help to hitters when the pitcher was working against a white background of "Shirt-Sleeved bleacher boys."

 Used in an official Major League game, the yellow baseballs were given a trial on August 2, 1938. The first game of a  Brooklyn Dodgers double header against the St. Louis cardinals at Ebbets Field. The two teams went back to the white ball in the second game as the Dodgers swept the doubleheader 6–2 and 9–3. The trial resulted in a hung jury, and mixed reviews. It seemed that the players that did well approved of it, and the players that had a bad game did not.
Aug. 2 1938 Box score Dodgers Vs Cardinals
 Babe Ruth a coach for the Brooklyn Dodgers at the time said "I didn't even know it was yellow until somebody fouled one down there by me. The color don't make no difference. Its the guy who's chucking 'em at you that counts. When a good pitcher is throwing that ball they all look like aspirin tablets." Dodgers shortstop Leo Durocher said he didn't care what ball the league used. "When you hit the way I do," Leo Laughed, "they can throw a red ball, a green ball, or a fancy dress ball, even, and it doesn't make any difference. I can miss any and all kinds."

 Dodgers starter and winning pitcher Freddie Fitzsimmons, said something has to be done about the yellow dye before the ball would be any good. "That dye started coming off all over my hands before the first inning was over, and soon after the ball got so slick I could Hardly get a hold of it."Inventor F.H. Rahr who attended the game said We've had chemists working for months trying to find a dye that would withstand perspiration and still not be oily."

 The following year the problem with the dye running was solved. The ball was used for the second time on July 23, 1939 in the first game of a double header against the St. Louis Cardinals who won the game 12-0. The St. Louis players were overwhelmingly in favor of the yellow ball, and the Brooklyn Dodgers more or less opposed it. The Yellow Ball was used for the last time on July 30, in the first game of a Cardinals, Dodgers double header in St. Louis. Although the fans, and press were in favor of the ball, it did not win out with the players or the league.

Charles O. Finley Orange Baseball  In 1963 Kansas City Athletics owner Charles O. Finley came up with the idea in coloring the baseballs orange. According to Finley's suggestion the 'Alert Orange' used to identify military planes would make the flight of the baseball easier to follow. The idea was quickly shot down by Warren Giles, President of the National League and quoted "Whether or not formal league action is taken, I would not permit use of the orange ball. Only baseballs bearing my signature as league president may be used in National League games and I would not allow my signature to be applied to any baseball color other than white."

 The maverick owner of the newly located Oakland Athletics, Charles O. Finley, was at it again in 1973. Making its debut in a major League game, on March 29, the orange ball was used in a spring training exhibition loss to the Indians 11-6. Although the ball was used one more time, 4 days later against the California Angels, Bowie Kuhn balked at letting him try it in a regular-season ball game. Both Major League pitchers, and hitters had complaints about the orange ball. The hurlers said the ball was too slick, while the batters, despite the offensive barrage, said they were unable to pick up the spin on the ball.Charles O. Finley Baseball box

 In lower level exhibition games, fans reacted in an overwhelmingly positive manner to the Orange Baseball. Umpires also attested to the benefits of the Orange Baseball, stating that the ball was not only easier to see from behind the plate, but gave rise to a greater number of hits and fewer fielding errors in exhibition games in which the orange baseball was used. The ball never caught on at the big league level.

 The Spalding 5x baseball, so called because it was 5% livelier, was an experimental baseball used in selected spring training games in 1970. Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn allowed Major League Clubs to experiment with the Juiced-up 5X baseball, to be used in every exhibition game played on Wednesdays during the spring training exhibition schedule. The first round of Wednesday games played on March 18, 1970, saw four teams scoring in double figures, and lost. There were 208 runs scored for an average of 17.3 per game, which was more than twice the average scoring of 8.1 runs in games played in 1969.
Spalding 5X Center Baseball
  The Seattle Pilots combined with the Cleveland Indians for 34 hits and 7 home runs. The pilots who moved to Milwaukee after spring training and renamed the Brewers won the game 19-13. The Washington Senators produced 8 runs in the 6th inning against Kansas City then 5 more in the 11th to win a close one 18-13. The Cubs beat the Athletics 12-11. Detroit collected 19 runs and 21 hits in beating the White Sox 19-13. Chicago's manager Don Gutteridge told Joe Cronin, President of the American League that four pitchers were hit by line drives.
Spalding 5X Juiced baseball
 Cronin said that he saw enough, and that the 5X baseball should be outlawed. The experiment was discontinued because of concerns over the safety of both players and fans. Bowie Kuhn who was in favor of all the run scoring canceled the remaining Wednesday Juiced-Ball games. The Major League pitchers were thankful, but felt the baseballs used in the 1970 season were livelier than the year before, as evident by the improved success hitters were having. A.G. Spalding denied that the regulation balls were livelier.

 Bob Gibson of the St. Louis Cardinals thought that the batters were just hitting better. He went on to explain "The new strike zone is beginning to take effect. Everything they have been doing to the rules has hurt the pitcher, and then they wonder why the earned run averages aren't lower.

  Green Ink Joseph Cronin Reach OAL BaseballReports of Juiced American League baseballs surfaced in 1973. Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn was asked to investigate the inconsistency of baseballs being made at the time. One with green printing and the other with blue. Numerous pitchers have remarked about the larger size of the blue-labeled balls and Dick Walsh, general manager of the Angels, had asked Kuhn to investigate. The blue-labeled balls were larger by about one-quarter inch in diameter, had wider stitching, looser covers and don’t go as far when hit.

 The green-labeled balls were said to go farther when hit, especially in cool weather. The balls were made in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. The green ball had glue all over it right under the cover, which was responsible for its greater resiliency. Poor quality control was blamed and the problem was corrected.
Cowhide Baseballs
 In 1974 after more than 100 years of using horsehide covers Major League Baseball approved the use of cowhide. Horsehide became hard to come by, and cowhide was more accessible. On April 4, 1974 the the first cowhide baseballs were introduced into the game using specially marked commemorative baseballs. In the national League game Hank Aaron hit Home run 714, putting him in a tie with Babe Ruth for career Home Runs.

 Both the Cowhide and Horsehide baseballs were used in the game. Arrons Record tying home run came with the Horsehide ball. Home run hitters across the league complained about the switch from horsehide as Hank Aaron stated months later "If you hit the cowhide baseball once or twice, they go soft. There's just no question about it, I know the ball is softer." In 1974 Home Runs decrease by 15 percent. By the end of the 1975 season the Horsehide baseballs were completely gone. Finally a baseball made in favor of the pitcher. The Cowhide baseball had less Horsepower.

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