How Many Baseballs Are Used in an MLB Game?

John Means

How Many Baseballs Are Used in an MLB Game

Baseball often hailed as America’s national pastime, has enthralled fans for generations with its timeless allure. Amidst the crack of the bat and the roar of the crowd, one lingering question among enthusiasts is the number of baseballs utilized during a Major League Baseball (MLB) game. 

Delving into this captivating topic, we embark on a journey through the intricacies of the sport, unraveling the factors that influence the number of baseballs employed, the circumstances warranting their replacement, and the destiny that awaits these venerable spheres after they have witnessed the exhilarating action on the diamond. 

Join us as we explore the fascinating world of baseballs in MLB and the pivotal role they play in shaping the game.

How Many Baseballs Are Used in an MLB Game?

In a typical Major League Baseball (MLB) game, multiple baseballs are used. The exact number can vary depending on various factors such as the number of foul balls, home runs, and the condition of the baseballs during the game.

Generally, several dozen baseballs are prepared and available for use in each game. These baseballs are provided by the league and are meticulously inspected and prepared before the game to ensure consistency and fairness. They are rubbed with mud to remove the shine and make them easier to grip.

In Major League Baseball (MLB), approximately 120 baseballs are used per game. This number takes into account the regular replacement of balls due to scuffing, fouls, home runs, and other factors that can affect their condition during gameplay.

Over the course of a typical MLB season, which consists of 30 teams playing 162 games each, we can calculate the total number of baseballs used.

First, we multiply the number of balls used per game (120) by the number of games played by a single team in a season (162):

120 balls/game × 162 games/team = 19,440 balls/team

Since there are 30 teams in MLB, we then multiply the number of balls used by a single team by the total number of teams:

19,440 balls/team × 30 teams = 583,200 balls/season

Therefore, based on these calculations, approximately 583,200 baseballs are used throughout an MLB season. It’s worth noting that this number can vary depending on factors such as weather conditions, game duration, and other variables that may impact ball usage.

When Does a Baseball Get a Replacement in an MLB Match?

When Does a Baseball Get a Replacement in an MLB Match


A baseball in an MLB game is typically replaced in a few different scenarios. Here are the common situations when a baseball is replaced:

Scuffed or Damaged

If a baseball becomes significantly scuffed, cut, or damaged during the game, the umpire will replace it. Scuffs or cuts on the ball can affect its flight and make it easier for pitchers to manipulate or control the ball, giving them an unfair advantage.

Lost or Foul Ball

When a baseball is hit into the stands and not returned, or if it goes out of play due to a foul ball, the umpire will replace it with a new ball. This ensures a consistent and fair supply of baseballs throughout the game.

Home Run

When a home run is hit and the ball goes over the outfield wall and into the stands, it is typically replaced. Fans are allowed to keep the home run balls as mementos, and the umpires will provide a new ball for the game to continue.

Dirt or Foreign Substances

If a baseball gets excessively dirty, covered in mud, or has foreign substances on it that could affect the game, the umpire may replace it with a clean ball.

The decision to replace a baseball is at the discretion of the umpire crew working the game. They monitor the condition of the baseballs throughout the game and ensure that fair and playable balls are in use at all times.

Why Different Baseballs Are Used in an MLB Match?

Different Baseballs Are Used in an MLB Match


Different baseballs are used in Major League Baseball (MLB) matches for various reasons, including:

Official Game Balls

The MLB uses specific official game balls that meet league standards and are manufactured under strict guidelines. These balls are provided by an approved supplier and are the standardized baseballs used in MLB games. They are designed to meet specific performance criteria and consistency.

Quality Control

Using standardized official game balls ensures quality control. MLB closely monitors the manufacturing process to maintain consistency in the materials, size, weight, and performance of the balls. This helps ensure fairness and consistency in gameplay.

Player Comfort

Baseballs go through a breaking-in process to soften the leather and provide a better grip for players. In MLB games, balls are used for a limited time before being replaced to maintain optimal conditions. 

New balls tend to have a slicker surface, while used balls can become scuffed or have a more broken-in feel, allowing players to have a better grip and control.

Equipment Safety

By providing standardized balls, the MLB can ensure that all players are using equipment that meets safety standards. Consistency in the balls used helps prevent any significant variations that could affect player safety.

Performance Factors

Baseball manufacturers and the league may make adjustments to the construction of the baseballs to address concerns about the balance between offense and defense, such as the ball’s “liveliness” or the way it carries when hit. These adjustments can influence factors like home run rates, pitching strategies, and overall game dynamics.

It’s worth noting that changes to the baseball’s design or manufacturing process can sometimes lead to controversies or debates about how they impact the game, such as changes in home run rates or pitching performance. 

The MLB continuously evaluates and adjusts the specifications of baseball to strike a balance between player performance, safety, and game dynamics.

What Happens to the Balls That Are Already Used in MLB?

Once baseballs are used in MLB games, they go through a specific process. Here’s an overview of what typically happens to the balls after they have been used:


Baseballs that are hit into the stands and kept by fans are generally allowed to be kept as souvenirs. However, some stadiums may have policies in place where fans return home run balls in exchange for other merchandise or autographed items.


In games where significant milestones or historical moments occur, such as a player’s milestone home run or a record-breaking event, the ball may be authenticated. 

A representative from Major League Baseball or an authorized authentication company marks the ball with specific information, including the date, the game, and details about the achievement. This authentication process helps establish the ball’s authenticity and enhances its value as a collectible item.


Many game-used baseballs are collected by the teams or league officials. These balls might be used for various purposes, such as giveaways, charity auctions, or for display in team museums or Hall of Fame exhibits. 

Some baseballs may also be given to players or coaches as mementos of special moments in their careers.


Baseballs that are no longer suitable for game use due to excessive wear or damage may be repurposed for other purposes. 

For instance, they can be used in batting practice, and training sessions, or even sold to fans as “game-used” baseballs. In some cases, the leather covers of the balls may be removed, and the cores might be repurposed for other purposes.

It’s important to note that the specific handling of used baseballs may vary between teams and stadiums. Each team may have its own protocols and procedures for managing game-used baseballs, including how they are authenticated, distributed, or repurposed.


Why are multiple baseballs used in an MLB game?

In an MLB game, multiple baseballs are used to ensure fairness and maintain the integrity of the game. As baseballs can become scuffed, dirty, or damaged during play, replacing them ensures that players have a consistent and playable ball throughout the game.

When are baseballs replaced during an MLB game?

Baseballs are typically replaced in several scenarios. They are swapped out if they become significantly scuffed, cut, or damaged, as this can affect the ball’s flight and give pitchers an unfair advantage. Umpires also replace baseballs that are lost in the stands or out of play due to foul balls or home runs.

Who determines when a baseball needs to be replaced?

The decision to replace a baseball rests with the umpire crew working the game. The umpires closely monitor the condition of the baseballs throughout the game and use their judgment to determine when a ball is no longer fit for play and requires replacement.

What happens to the baseballs that are used in an MLB game?

Used baseballs undergo different processes depending on their significance and condition. Some balls hit into the stands are kept by fans as souvenirs, while others are authenticated and may hold added value as collectibles. 

Many game-used baseballs are collected by the teams or league officials and can be used for giveaways, auctions, or displayed in team museums or Hall of Fame exhibits.

Can baseballs from an MLB game be repurposed?

Baseballs that are no longer suitable for game use due to wear or damage can be repurposed. They might be used in batting practice, and training sessions, or sold to fans as “game-used” baseballs. In some cases, the covers may be removed, and the cores might be repurposed for other purposes.

Wrapping Up

The use of multiple baseballs in an MLB game serves the purpose of maintaining consistency, fairness, and the overall integrity of the sport. The umpires’ diligent monitoring ensures that players have access to playable baseballs throughout the game. 

Furthermore, the fate of used baseballs varies, with some becoming cherished keepsakes for fans, while others find new roles in team collections, auctions, or repurposing. 

Understanding the lifecycle of a baseball beyond its time on the field adds another layer of fascination to the game and its enduring appeal. Have a nice day.

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John Means

John Means is a professional baseball player who has played in the major leagues for the Kansas City Royals and the Oakland Athletics. He made his major league debut with the Royals in 2009. He was traded to the Athletics in 2012. Baseball is his favorite sport. His passion about the game is evident in his play. Now he write blogs about baseball and other things whenever he has some free time. LinkedIn

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