How Often Are Baseballs Replaced During An MLB Game?

A 2012 Fox Sports report revealed that the average baseball used in a game only lasts for about two pitches, resulting in over one hundred baseballs being needed for each professional match. This may seem excessive, but several reasons exist for the high number of balls required.

One reason is that foul balls or home runs that enter the stands are not returned, increasing the need for more baseballs. Additionally, if a ball becomes dirty during play, the umpire may remove it from the game for safety or fairness reasons. This can happen if a pitcher throws the ball into the dirt, and the umpire may throw it away instead of allowing it to be used in the next at-bat.

Furthermore, the need for many baseballs in a match is also due to safety concerns for players and fans. In 1920, a player named Ray Chapman was tragically hit in the head by a baseball while batting, resulting in his death. At that time, only a handful of MLB baseballs were used in a game, regardless of how dirty they got. Nowadays, swapping out baseballs frequently during games ensures that players and fans have a clear view of the ball coming toward them.