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How to Buy Baseballs – Guide to Baseball Buying Secrets

It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of baseballs available on the market, each promising to be the best.

Maybe you have no clues about the sport but your child wants to be a budding baseball player or perhaps you will be coaching a youth baseball team this spring. The confusion only amplifies when terms like, ‘official league’, ‘youth’, or ‘professional’, are thrown around along with cryptic model names.

Different Baseball Models

That’s why I’ve decided to use my decades of experience in baseball to provide you with a comprehensive, easy-to-understand guide to demystify the baseball buying process to help you identify and purchase age-appropriate baseballs for your child.


New baseballs, while being pristine and undamaged, will be more expensive than their used counterparts. On the other hand, used baseballs, though affordable, might have hidden damages that could affect their performance.

We will also dive into the bulk buying world, comparing the value and benefits of buying a box of baseballs versus a bucket. For instance, a bucket of baseballs might be the better option if you need a large quantity for drills and practices, where a box of baseballs could offer better quality control and uniformity for match situations. Both options have unique advantages and may be more suitable for different scenarios.

One thing many overlook while buying baseballs is the timing of the purchase. Did you know there is an ideal time to buy baseballs for the best deals?

Used, MiLB, bulk baseballs

There is also the question of the brand. With numerous brands claiming to offer the best baseballs, how do you choose? I will give you my insight and experience to help you decide the right brand for your little player.

Lastly, we will briefly review age-appropriate baseballs (for more in-depth recommendations, you should read the Age Appropriate Types of Baseballs and Softballs post).

Ultimately, this guide is about making your baseball buying experience a home run. So, let’s get started and knock this one out of the park!

New Baseballs

The allure of new baseballs is hard to deny. They’re clean, undamaged, and provide a consistent, predictable performance. They’re like a blank canvas, waiting to printed with marks of a great game. But, as with everything, there are several considerations you should keep in mind before buying new baseballs, including the player’s age, the purpose of the baseball (practice, game, etc.), your budget, and more.

The material of the ball also matters. Most new baseballs are made with a cork and rubber blend core, wrapped in yarn, and covered in leather. The quality of these materials can significantly affect the ball’s performance and durability. High-quality baseballs will usually have a full-grain leather cover which offers an excellent grip and durability. Synthetic covers, on the other hand, can be a cost-effective alternative but may not provide the same performance or lifespan.

New baseballs are obviously never used and often in pristine condition. They come in a variety of types and prices, from inexpensive training balls to high-quality professional league balls. They are more expensive (usually $5-$8 per ball) than used balls due to their untouched condition, providing a clean and unaltered playing experience.

The consistent quality of new baseballs makes them an excellent choice for competitive plays where small differences  can make a significant difference. They offer consistent performance, and players can reliably predict their behavior when pitching, hitting, or fielding.

Used baseballs

On the other hand, used baseballs carry a unique history. They’ve seen action, and their condition varies widely. Some are lightly used, showing minimal wear, while others have weathered numerous hits, pitches, and throws.

The primary advantage of used baseballs lies in their cost. Generally priced between $1 to $3 per ball, they offer an economical option for those on a budget or looking to purchase in bulk.

When considering used baseballs, the first thing that you should understand is that not all used baseballs are created equal. The condition of a used baseball can vary dramatically, depending on how extensively it has been used and the care it received during that time. Some may be nearly as good as new, with just a few scuffs and minor wear, while others might be on their last legs, with heavily worn coverings and loosened stitches.

A key point to remember when considering used baseballs is their purpose. For competition, where consistent performance is critical, new baseballs are usually the way to go. However, when dealing with young and/or inexperienced players, used baseballs are a superb choice for stocking up for batting cage sessions to reduce ball pick up time between batters. Stocking up on used baseballs is especially important during a live batting practice on the field as most inexperienced players tend teh undercut the ball with their less precise bat control, which produce a high number of pop-up foul balls that can go astray.

Free baseballs

If you’re looking to expand your collection of your practice baseballs without breaking the bank, don’t miss my other post “Where Can I Get Some Free or Unwanted Baseballs?” which explains how to find free or unwanted baseballs.

Bulk Buying – Box vs Bucket of Baseballs

Now that we’ve covered the ins and outs of new and used baseballs, let’s turn our attention to the logistics of buying in bulk.

If you’re a coach or a parent who frequently practices with young players, you’re likely to find yourself needing more than just a handful of baseballs. Buying in bulk can be cost-effective, but should you choose a box or a bucket of baseballs? Let’s break down the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Buying in bulk: boxes

Most baseball manufacturers sell their game-ready baseballs by the box. A box of baseballs typically contains individually wrapped baseballs, ensuring each ball remains in its original state until it’s time to use them.

Box of new, dozen MLB baseballs

Moreover, boxes are easier to store and stack, taking up less space in your garage or your car trunk. If you’re ordering online, boxes also tend to be more secure for shipping, minimizing the chance of balls getting lost or damaged in transit.

Buying in bulk: buckets

Most practice and blemished (“blem”) baseballs are commonly sold in buckets. These buckets provide convenience, particularly for practice sessions, as they are durable and equipped with a handle for easy transportation of baseballs from the storage area to the field.

Bucket of new baseballs

Additionally, the bucket can serve as a makeshift seat during practices. Utilizing one or two buckets during a batting cage practice session can significantly save time, as it minimizes the interruptions for collecting baseballs when you run out.

The Best Time to Buy Baseballs

As with many purchases, timing can be everything when buying baseballs. Just as savvy shoppers know when to find the best deals on electronics, clothes, or cars, those in the know can save a considerable amount on baseballs by purchasing them at the right time.

Generally, the off-season is a great time to buy baseballs. As the demand decreases, retailers often lower their prices to clear out stock. This period typically falls during the winter months in the United States. This strategy can apply to both new and used baseballs, and you might find some incredible deals if you’re willing to buy in bulk.

Fall Ball

Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales also present excellent opportunities to save money. These retail events often lead to significant discounts on a wide variety of items, including sports equipment.

Additionally, many stores offer “end-of-season” sales, typically when the baseball season is winding down. Retailers often reduce prices significantly to make room for new inventory for the upcoming season.

It’s also worth signing up for newsletters or loyalty programs from sports retailers. Not only will you be among the first to know about upcoming sales or discounts, but you may also receive member-exclusive offers.

One thing to note, however, is that waiting for a sale means you may not have as wide a selection as during peak season. Certain brands or models may be sold out or available in limited quantities. Therefore, if you’re looking for a specific type or brand of baseball, you might need to weigh the potential cost savings against the risk of not getting exactly what you want. In summary, by timing your purchase wisely, you can make your budget stretch further without compromising the quantity or quality of the baseballs. Be patient, keep an eye out for sales, and you might find yourself snagging an amazing deal.

Choosing the Right Brand of Baseballs

Choosing the right brand of baseballs can be as crucial as any other factors previously discussed. The brand can dictate the quality, durability, performance, and price. With multitudes of brands on the market, each with unique selling points and quality standards, it can be quite the task to sift through them, so we cover many key aspects you should consider in this post, “Types of baseballs – Decoding Brands“.

Price and Value

As with any other product, more expensive doesn’t always mean better when it comes to baseballs. Consider the value a brand offers. Does the quality of the baseball justify the price tag? Brands like Franklin Sports and Baden often offer decent quality baseballs at a more affordable price, making them good options for practice or casual play.

Age Appropriateness

Some brands specialize in baseballs for certain age groups. For example, brands like Safety 1st and SKLZ produce softer, safer baseballs perfect for younger kids. On the other hand, brands like Rawlings and Wilson offer high-quality, professional-grade baseballs suitable for older players.

Material and Construction

High-quality brands typically use premium materials in their baseballs. For instance, Rawlings’ official Major League baseballs have a cushioned cork center, wool winding, and a full-grain leather cover, providing superior performance and durability.


Certain leagues or tournaments may require baseballs to be certified or approved by specific organizations (such as NFHS or NCAA). Brands like Wilson and Rawlings often offer such certified baseballs.

Remember, the best brand of baseballs for you will depend on your specific needs. A brand that’s perfect for a Major League player might not be the best fit for a Little League team or a casual backyard practice. It’s all about finding the right balance between quality, performance, and price for your specific situation. Take your time, do your research, and you’re sure to find a brand that hits it out of the park for you.

Choosing the Right Ball for Different Age Groups

Choosing the right baseball for different age groups is vital for a player’s development and safety. The weight, size, and hardness of a baseball can significantly influence a young player’s ability to throw, catch, and hit.

It’s essential to understand that a baseball that is perfect for a high school player could be completely unsuitable for a young child just starting in Little League.

You can read more on this topic at Different Types of Baseballs for Different Age Groups post.


As we wrap up this comprehensive guide, it’s clear that buying baseballs involves more than a casual trip to the sports store. The right ball can help hone skills, increase safety, and enhance the enjoyment of baseball for players of all ages.

While new baseballs offer consistency and peak performance, they come at a higher cost. Used baseballs, on the other hand, can provide excellent value, especially for practice sessions, provided they are in good condition.

For the latest price and availability, please visit Best Baseball Prices by Age Group for Middle-School baseballs.

Please don’t forget to visit Buying Baseballs – Reference Articles page to read other fascinating information about baseballs!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some commonly asked questions that gets asked when buying baseballs.

What is the difference between new and used baseballs?

  • New baseballs are fresh out of the package, undamaged, and provide consistent performance. Used baseballs have been previously played with, so their condition can vary greatly. While they’re usually cheaper, they may show signs of wear or damage

Are used baseballs a good choice for practice sessions?

  • Yes, used baseballs can be a great choice for practice sessions, particularly because they are less expensive and can often be bought in bulk. However, it’s essential to ensure they are in reasonable condition to provide a beneficial practice experience

What should I look for when buying used baseballs?

  • You should check for any severe scuffs, tears, or damages that could affect the ball’s performance. The stitches should be intact, and the ball should maintain its shape and firmness. Do not buy baseballs with frayed stitches. Do not buy any wet baseballs or if they feel heavier than normal.

What are the benefits of buying new baseballs?

  • New baseballs offer consistent quality and performance. They are in pristine condition, without any wear or damage, and are often packaged individually to maintain their condition until use

Should I buy a box or a bucket of baseballs?

  • If you need to transport baseballs regularly or have limited storage space, a bucket may be more practical. If the baseballs are mainly for games and need to be kept in optimal condition, or if space isn’t an issue, a box might be the better option

What are the benefits of buying baseballs in bulk?

  • Buying in bulk can save money per ball, which is beneficial if you’re outfitting a team, or if you frequently lose or damage baseballs in practice

When is the best time to buy baseballs?

  • The off-season, typically during the winter months, can be a great time to buy baseballs, as prices often drop. End-of-season sales, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday are also good times to look for deals.

Are there specific sales or discounts I should look out for when buying baseballs?

  • Apart from off-season and end-of-season sales, Black Friday and Cyber Monday can offer significant discounts. Also, subscribing to sports retailers’ newsletters can alert you to member-exclusive sales or discounts

Which brands of baseballs are considered the best?

  • Rawlings, Wilson, and Diamond are well-regarded for their quality baseballs. However, the “best” brand can depend on your specific needs, such as the age of the player, budget, and whether the balls are for practice or competition

Are there different types of baseballs for different age groups?

Yes, baseballs come in different sizes and hardness levels appropriate for various age groups. Younger children use softer, smaller baseballs, while older players use larger, harder baseballs that meet official Major League standards

How do I choose the right baseball for my child’s age?

  • Use the player’s league guidelines as a start. For very young players (4-6), softer safety balls are suitable. Little League players (7-12) use slightly harder but still smaller balls, while youth players (13-15) transition to regulation-sized baseballs. Players 16 and up use baseballs that meet official Major League standards

Can I use the same baseballs for practice and matches?

  • While you can use the same baseballs, it’s common to use lower-cost or used baseballs for practice and save new, high-quality baseballs for matches.

Are there specific baseballs for indoor and outdoor use?

  • Some baseballs are designed for indoor use, made with softer materials to prevent damage to walls or floors. However, standard baseballs can generally be used both indoors and outdoors

What materials are baseballs typically made from?

  • Most baseballs have a core of cork and rubber, which is wrapped in yarn and covered with leather or synthetic materials. The quality of these materials can affect the ball’s performance and durability

How do the seams on a baseball affect its use?

  • Raised seams give players a better grip and are typically used in youth and high school baseball. Lower seams, used in the major leagues, make the ball more streamlined and suitable for higher velocities

Why do some baseballs have raised seams, and some have flat seams?

  • Raised seams offer a better grip, making them suitable for younger players. Flat seams reduce air resistance, allowing the ball to travel faster and farther, which is more suitable for advanced players

How can I ensure the baseballs I’m buying are of good quality?

  • Check for a well-defined shape, tight and consistent stitching, and a firm feel. Also, buying from reputable brands or vendors can ensure good quality

Are there baseballs specifically made for pitching practice or hitting practice?

  • Yes, there are specific training baseballs for different skills. For example, weighted baseballs can help develop strength, and small-size baseballs can improve hitting precision

How many baseballs should I buy for a season?

  • This depends on how frequently you play or practice and how well you take care of your baseballs. For a youth team, a good starting point might be 2-3 dozen for a season, but this could vary

What are some reliable sources to buy new or used baseballs?

  • Reliable sources can include local sports retailers, established online sports goods stores, and reputable marketplaces like Amazon. Always check customer reviews and ratings before purchasing

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