How Many Stitches Are On A Baseball? (The Right Numbers)

The intricate details on the baseball, such as the stitches give it its unique look, but have you ever noticed how many stitches are on a baseball? 

Well, if counted single, there are 216 stitches or 108 double, which are hand-woven with a red waxed thread.

These stitches don’t only look appealing, but they also have a pivotal role in the performance as well. They are prominent so that the batter can view the ball from far away, and help the ball to reach a good height. Let’s know more about these stitches and why they matter.

History of Baseball Stitching

The history of baseball stitching goes back to the mid-1800s, which is known to be an era of experimentation in baseball design. Back then, different manufacturers designed baseballs using different materials. In the early years, baseball was manufactured by using rubber from old worn-out shoes, which was then wrapped in yarn and encapsulated in leather.

From the 1840s to 1850s, baseball players became self-reliant by crafting their baseballs, which were humorously named ‘lemon peel balls’ because of their distinct lines and stitching patterns like lemon peel. 

Before 1876, there was no standard design and size of a baseball until when pitcher A.G. Spalding retired from his career and convinced the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs to adopt his invented baseball. After that, baseballs were manufactured by the Spalding industry. After 1976, the league baseball manufacturing shifted from Spalding to Rawling’s sporting goods in Costa Rica. 

How Many Stitches on MLB Baseball?

To understand, how many stitches are on a baseball, we must say in major league baseball, the number of stitches is the same i.e. 216 singles or 108 doubles. 

In MLB, these stitches are commonly known as virgules, which are so prominent that they are raised above the ball surface. For some people, these stitches are just for giving a baseball its distinctive design, but for pitchers, they can be a game-changing element. A pitcher can use them to take control of the game by changing the path of the throw, the pitch, or the ball spinning. 

How Many Seams Are on a Baseball?

The fault on the baseball where all the 108 double stitches go is called a seam. 

So, technically there is a single seam in a baseball. The outer shell of the baseball, which is composed of two sections shaped like an oval 8 is sewn together using the red thread forming one continuous sean going through the spherical ball. 

Why is the Color of Baseball Stitches Red?

To know the reason behind using red-colored stitches, it’s important to take a brief look into the history of baseball stitches. Back in the 1900s, the American League used red and blue stitches, while the National League used black and red ones. In 1934, the MLB announced the red color as a nationwide standard after introducing a baseball stitched with red waxed thread using 108 stitches. Following it, the American League and National League also adopted red as a standard color for baseball stitches as it is more visible in the sky than the blue and black colors. 

Do Stitches Affect The Performance?

The red-colored stitches not only look aesthetic, but also they serve other purposes. By understanding their use, the player can control the ball spinning and its trajectory, which can be game-changing for them. To understand the physics behind them, let’s understand two phenomena. I.e. the Magnus effect as the air drag phenomenon.

When the ball is moving through the air, the stitches interrupt the smooth airflow and deviate the ball from its path. This phenomenon is referred to as the Magnus effect.  On the other hand, the air drag phenomenon determines the friction of the ball with the air. 

Moreover, the stitches allow the pitchers to deliver a variety of pitches with their skills, which makes the game more thrilling. Hence, the stitches and their way of stitching affect the ball throw, that’s why the stitches in MLB have a narrow seam as compared to the other baseballs to make them less air resistant so that they can have a high throw speed.    

Baseball Stitching Process

Two pieces of cowhide leather cut as a round figure 8 are used to cover each side of a baseball. The cowhide is stitched by using a special glue by the manufacturers, this makes it easier to fold and shape the cowhide. Mostly, stitching is done by hand, as machines cannot complete the whole stitching process. Hand stitching is still used for sewing the stitches. Red waxed thread is used to stitch and then these stitches and the other exterior of the ball are leveled by using a rolling machine. After this processing, the baseballs are subjected to quality assurance and then released into the market. 

The Purpose of Baseball Stitching

Baseball stitching is a crucial feature of an entire game. It not only makes a ball visible in the sky but also serves many other purposes which are mentioned below


The baseball cover is held together by these stitches, which otherwise might not be as durable as it is now. The glue under the cowhide won’t be enough to withstand the harsh game. That’s why the stitches give the ball its durability by holding all the layers in place.

Good holding:

The bare cowhide would be slippery to throw and hold with a glove. So one of the purposes that these stitches serve is that they provide a good grip to the players so that they can apply force to throw the ball without it slipping. 

The trajectory:

The stitches can influence the motion and path of the baseball. The pitchers can change the whole orientation by understanding the stitches. That’s why the exact number of stitches is used as a standard for MLB.

Speed control:

These stitches help the player control the speed of the ball, which is an important factor in the game. The stitches provide the mass to the ball so that it can move across the the field at a high speed. 


What is the difference between baseball stitches and softball stitches?

The baseball has 108 double stitches which are tightly sewn with a red colored wax thread. While softball has less number of stitches i.e. 88 double stitches which are loosely bound. The thread color is either red or white.

Is baseball stitched by hand or machine?

Surprisingly, the baseballs are still stitched by hand, the stitches are applied by hand and then they are made even by using a rolling machine. After that trade mark is applied and sent to the sellers. 

How Long Does it take to stitch a baseball ball?

Hand stitching approximately takes 10 minutes, which is then followed by a 10-15 second process to make the seams and the outer surface smooth.

Final Words:

How many stitches are on a baseball can be concluded as the stitches of the baseball hold a wide history and serve a lot of purposes. The evolution of baseball from the ones made with old shoes to the ones with the red colored stitches says a lot about the craftsmanship behind its manufacturing. 

The exact 108 double stitches not only give the ball its aesthetic look, but also help the players take good control of the ball, take charge of its speed and trajectory, and also have a good grip. The understanding of these stitches helps the players to do game-changing stunts and deliver the best pitches.

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