Baseball remains one of the most beloved American pastimes, with millions participating in Little League, high school, collegiate and professional baseball every year. At the heart of the game is the baseball itself – that small, yet powerful core that transforms simple throws and swings into double plays and home runs.
But if you’ve ever held a baseball in your hand, you may have wondered – How much does a baseball weigh? Keep reading to find out the average weight of a baseball at all levels of the game.
Official Baseball Weight Regulations
Before diving into specifics, it’s helpful to understand the overarching weight rules across different baseball leagues and governing bodies:
Major League Baseball
- Official game balls must weigh between 5 and 5.25 ounces
- Equates to a size of 9 to 9.25 inches in circumference
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
- Game balls must be 5 ounces with a circumference between 9 and 9.25 inches
National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)
- Balls must weigh between 5 and 5.25 ounces and measure between 8.95 and 9.25 inches in circumference
Little League Baseball
- Ball size varies by age group, ranging from 1.75 ounces and 6.25 inches (tee ball) up to standard ball sizes
So in general, accepted baseball sizes at the professional, collegiate, high school and upper Little League levels fall within the narrow range of 5 to 5.25 ounces in weight. The material, manufacturing, and performance standards may vary, but the weight stays largely consistent.
Average Weights by League and Level
Now that we’ve covered the official rules, let’s take a closer look at just how much a baseball weighs at different levels of the sport:
Major League Baseball (MLB)
The average MLB baseball weighs 5.1 ounces, just over one quarter of a pound. However, some variance exists:
- Single game balls range from 5 to 5.25 ounces
- Practice balls weigh 5.5 to 5.75 ounces
- Special game balls like commemoratives can weigh 5.5 ounces
MLB regulations do allow for slight weight differences in approved balls, provided the performance standards are met.
Minor League Baseball
Minor league balls are nearly identical to MLB balls in weight and materials. The average single game ball weighs 5.1 ounces.
The average NCAA collegiate baseball weighs between 5.0 and 5.1 ounces, meeting the 5 ounce minimum standard. College games use minor league balls.
High School Baseball
High school baseballs weigh an average of 5.1 to 5.2 ounces, aligning with the NFHS weight standards. They tend to be a bit heavier than MLB balls.
Little League Baseball
In Little League, ball size and weight is based on the age division:
- Tee Ball: 1.75 ounces, 6.25 inch circumference
- Ages 7-8: 2.25 ounces, 7 inch circumference
- Ages 9-10: 2.75 ounces, 7.75 inch circumference
- Ages 11-12 (Major League): 5 to 5.25 ounces, 8.95 to 9.25 inch circumference
So a standard hardball weighs between 2.25 and 2.75 ounces until reaching the Ages 11-12 division, when it matches the 5+ ounce weight of high school, college and professional leagues.
Why Weight Matters
Baseball weight may seem trivial, but it has important implications for pitching, hitting and fielding:
- Pitching: The weight affects velocity, movement and control. Heavier balls mean faster pitches with more momentum.
- Hitting: Bat speed, power and contact are all influenced by baseball weight. Lighter balls travel further off the bat.
- Fielding: Weight changes how far balls carry when hit and how fast they move off the bat. It impacts reaction time needed.
That’s why governing bodies regulate baseball weight within such narrowly defined parameters – even slight differences can impact outcomes and records set on the field.
So next time you watch a baseball game, remember that the little white sphere being tossed around weighs only 5 ounces or so. But that small weight has big consequences for the game we love.