Since I started traveling to new ballparks in the summer of 2010 for my website, TheBallparkGuide.com, I’ve collected a decent number of balls. When I go to any game, getting one or more balls isn’t my chief goal, but I do try to get one if I can.
One of my favorite elements of my collection is that I have at least one ball from several professional leagues, all the way from Major League Baseball to the Short-Season Class-A New York-Penn League.
Right now, my collection totals 59 balls.
Here’s an artsy look at some of them:
As far as totals per league, here’s what I’ve got:
Major League Baseball: 22
New York-Penn League: 15
Eastern League: 6
Midwest League: 4
South Atlantic League: 4
International League: 3
Minor League Baseball: 2
Northwest League: 1
And I’ve also got two generic Minor League practice balls.
I’ve only been to one Carolina League game so far, and didn’t manage an official Carolina League ball. (I did get two generic practice balls, though.) It’s a fair trade-off considering I’ve never been to a Northwest League game and still have a ball from that league.
Here’s a look at some of the notable balls in my collection:
A pristine Official Major League Baseball:
And a dirty Official Major League Baseball:
I snagged this foul ball during a New York-Penn League game last August:
If you look at the blue mark on the side of the ball, you can tell it’s caused by the letter ‘n’ in the word Rawlings. Obviously, another ball rubbed up against this one in a ball bag or the umpire’s pouch:
This is another NYPL ball, only this one is marked on the sweet spot with ‘SI,’ which stands for Staten Island. I snagged this one during Staten Island’s batting practice in Aberdeen last summer:
Here’s one of my Official Eastern League balls; this one is a foul ball from Erie:
And here’s an Official Midwest League ball that was a foul ball at a Great Lakes Loons game:
All four of the Official South Atlantic League balls in my collection are well worn, including this one:
This Official International League ball is in the best shape of any of my IL balls:
My Official Minor League Baseball has seen better days:
Believe it or not, I picked up this Official Northwest League ball in Vermont, of all places:
And finally, this Official Minor League practice ball looks like it might’ve only been hit once:
I’ve snagged nearly all of the 59 balls during or immediately after batting practice at various ballparks. Four of my balls, however, were game foul balls that I grabbed and one was a home run.