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Reference Guide to All Diamond Baseballs

I’ve been coaching local rec and tournament baseball leagues for over a decade, so I’ve had my hands on pretty much every brand of baseball out there. One of my top picks has consistently been Diamond baseballs (along with Wilson). They stand out because of their robust construction and top-notch materials.

While Diamond baseballs might set you back a few more bucks compared to similar models from Rawlings, MacGregor, and other smaller brands, they really live up to the saying, “you get what you pay for.” Diamond offers a wide array of baseballs tailored for different levels of play, from youth leagues to NFHS high school and college baseball.

With such a vast lineup, it can be tricky to navigate through all the options and find what’s best for your needs so I put together this post to break down the differences between the models and their appropriate age groups. Given the extensive variety of Diamond baseballs, I might have missed a few. If so, don’t hesitate to drop a comment and let me know.

reference guide to all diamond baseballs 99baseballs featured

Side Note

On or about April 2023, you may have heard that Diamond Sports Group (DSG) declared bankruptcy. Please note that DSG is not related to Diamond Sports. DSG belongs to Sinclair Broadcasting Group which operates Regional Sports Networks (RSN) under the Bally Sports brand.

Diamond Sports is the the maker of Diamond baseballs for youth and college leagues.

Deciphering Diamond’s Baseball Naming Convention

Unlike other manufacturers, Diamond prints a comprehensive set of information about a baseball specifications on every single baseball.

Along with the “Diamond” logo on each baseball, you will find a model number and other descriptors in a small print. Over the years, I kind of figured out the pattern so I will share what I know here. Ahem, that means this is not an officially sanctioned information from Diamond Baseball.

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Descriptor A: usually contains three sub-components – (a) league or school affiliations; (b) seam type; (c) intended level of play

Descriptor B: A league affiliation is printed to indicate that a it is approved for game play (or practice).

Descriptor C: Two pieces of information are indicated – type of baseball core/pill, and winding materials


Descriptor A

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Some have said that Diamond baseball model names ending with “-1” or “-2” usually indicate that they are intended for batting or practice balls with two distinct characteristics:

  • Contains about 75% less yarn/wool winding than a similar model without the “-1” designation (thicker yarn makes the ball more “lively”)
  • The center cork on these “-1” or “-2” baseballs are larger (i.e. larger cork center decreases the amount of energy from the bat to ball)

All tournament grade Diamond baseballs come with a double cushioned pill with full-grain leather for increased hitting performance.


Descriptor B

A league affiliation is printed to indicate that a it is approved for game play (or practice). If there are no league affiliations, the words “Official”, “NFHS” or “Professional” are printed. A league affiliation is printed to indicate that a ball is approved for league’s game play (or practice). If there are no league affiliations, the words “Official League” is printed instead.

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Descriptor C

In this section, two pieces of information are indicated: type of baseball core and winding materials.

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List of All Diamond Baseball Models

Diamond XX Blemished baseballs

Diamond has strict quality control so any finished baseballs with unacceptable flaws are marked as “blemished” (BLEM) balls and are sold at a discount. Other manufacturers like Wilson and Rawlings mark these flawed baseballs with the letters “BLEM” in small print. Diamond, however, wants consumers to know that blemished balls are clearly marked so marked “DIAMOND” with two large “X” letters.

In my personal experience, Diamond blemished balls come with minor superficial flaws (uneven stitching, slight discoloration, etc.). If you are a coach, you know how many balls are lost during practice so these blem balls offer excellent value.


Diamond DFX-LC1 baseballs

Diamond DFX-LC1, also referred as a Little League RIF Level 1 Safety Ball, is designed for tee-ball players. The ball comes with low density, high compression core, is very popular among tee-ball players.

  • Model: Diamond DFX-LC1 (check price)
  • Intended for 6U and under
  • Equivalent to SEV1 / RIF1 / tee balls
  • Solid sponge core (“safety baseball level 1”)
  • Wrapped with a fine poly thread to bond sponge to cover
  • Synthetic leather cover

Diamond DFX-LC5 baseballs

Diamond DFX-LC5 is a medium compression (RIF Level 5) baseball for Little League (sometimes referred to as a Little League Level 5 Safety Ball. It has a sponge core with medium density is very popular among junior tee-ball players.

  • Model: Diamond DFX-LC5 RS (check price)
  • Intended for 8U and under
  • Slightly harder than a tee ball
  • Solid sponge core (“safety baseball level 5”)
  • Wrapped with a fine poly thread to bond sponge to cover
  • Synthetic leather cover

Diamond D-OB baseballs

Diamond D-OB is a popular safety baseball, designed to be used with players eight years or younger.

  • Model: Diamond D-OB (check price)
  • Intended for 8U and under
  • Economy Official League Baseballs
  • Solid cork composition core (“safety baseball”)
  • Wrapped with a fine poly thread to bond cork to cover
  • Leather cover

Instead of a traditional design used by high school, college, and MiLB/MLB baseballs, D-OB safety baseballs are made from large chunks of cork, rubber, and adhesive, then shaped into a ball under high pressure.

After cooling, a worker sprays the cork and rubber ball with a thin layer of adhesive to bond it to the white poly/cotton finishing yarn (yarn increases the circumferences to 9 inches or 22.52 centimeters).

A worker dumps the thread wrapped balls into a tumbler for another layer of glue before assembling the leather cover along with stitches.

As you can see from above, all Diamond D-OB baseballs come with a durable, leather cover that feels great (like a “real baseball”). Provided that you take care of them (not leaving them out in rain, or in direct sun), they can last two seasons or more.


Diamond BB-OL Baseballs

Diamond D-OL is another popular Diamond baseball, designed to be used with players thirteen years or older

  • Model: Diamond BB-OL (check price)
  • Intended for 15U and older
  • Economy Official League Baseball
  • Cushioned cork center
  • Select wool blend winding (two layers consisting of wool poly threads)
  • Raised Diamond Seam
  • Leather cover
  • Designed for practice

Diamond BB-OL official league practice ball is another excellent baseball.

The core consists of a double cushioned pill (i.e. two layers of rubber surrounding a small cork ball) , wrapped in wool. As is the case with all Diamond baseballs, the wool is then wrapped tightly with a fine poly-blend thread to retain shape.

The cover is made from real leather, though it can get shiny and slippery (like synthetic balls) after multiple batting practices.

Overall, Diamond BB-OL is an excellent choice for practice baseballs.


Diamond DLL-1 RS baseballs

Diamond DLL-1 RS is widely used in the intermediate category for the Little League teams.

  • Model: Diamond DLL-1 RS (check price)
  • Approved for Little League 12U and under
  • Competition Grade RS
  • Cork and Rubber core
  • Yarn wound
  • Raised seam
  • Full-grain leather cover

It is re-branded with various league stamps and is commonly used in normal league games.


Diamond DLL-2 RS baseballs

Diamond DLL-2 RS is widely used in the beginner/intermediate category in the Little League divisions(notch above D-OB baseballs).

  • Model: Diamond DLL-2 RS (check price)
  • Approved for Little League 12U and under
  • Competition grade
  • Solid Cork Composition core
  • Yarn wound
  • Raised seam
  • Leather cover

So, what is the Difference Between Diamond DLL-1 and DLL-2? Both baseballs are approved for Little League game play. DLL-2 comes with 100% cork core whereas DLL-1 comes with a cork and rubber mixture core. 100% cork core is geared towards younger players because they absorb (rather then) transfer energy from a swung bat. Cork and rubber core is move lively so they are more suited for old players.


Diamond DLL RS-T baseballs

Unlike the Diamond DLL-1 and DLL-2 balls, Diamond DLL RS T is specifically designed to be used with players competing at the tournament or travel levels.

  • Model: Diamond DLL RS T (check price)
  • Approved for Little League 13U and older
  • Tournament Grade RS T
  • Cork and Rubber pill
  • Yarn wound
  • Raised seam
  • Full-grain leather cover

The construction of DLL RS-T closely resembles tournament grade high school baseballs with its double cushioned pill so DLL RS T balls are “lively”.


Diamond DSLL-1 RS baseballs

Diamond DSLL-1 RS baseball is virtually indistinguishable to Diamond DLL-1 baseball with its large cork and rubber core. Of course this particular model comes with the words “Senior Little League” printed on each balls.

  • Model: Diamond DSLL-1 RS (check price)
  • Approved for Little League 12U and under (senior league)
  • Competition Grade RS
  • Cork and Rubber Core
  • Yarn wound
  • Raised seam
  • Full-grain leather cover

Little League may have rules about using league-marked baseballs during playoffs so make sure to check with your local league. But for practice, you can buy either DSLL-1 or DLL-1 baseballs.


Diamond DSLL RS-T baseballs

Diamond DSLL RS-T is intended to be used in the Senior Little League or by tournament-level players. It comes with a traditional “pill” with tightly wound yarn, giving the ball a high bounce.

  • Model: DSLL RS-T
  • Approved for Little League 12U and older (senior league)
  • Tournament Grade (T)
  • Double Cushioned Pill
  • Yarn wound
  • Raised seam (RS)
  • Full-grain leather cover

Diamond DLL-1 MC baseballs

Diamond DLL-1 Mid Compression (MC) is designed to be used in Little League youth games.

  • Model: DLL-1 MC (check price)
  • Little League – 7U to 12U (game)
  • Cork and Rubber Core
  • Yarn wound
  • Raised seam
  • Full-grain leather cover
  • Mid Compression roughly correlates to NOCSAE Mid performance requirement (moderate skill level)

Diamond DLL-1 MC baseballs are identical to DOL-1 MC baseballs.


Diamond DOL-A baseballs

It is re-branded with various league stamps and is commonly used in normal league games. Diamond DOL-A is widely used in the intermediate category in youth baseball.

  • Model: Diamond DOL-A (check price)
  • Intended for 12U and older
  • Tournament grade
  • Double cushioned cork center
  • Yarn wound
  • Wrapped with a fine poly thread to bond cork to cover
  • Raised seam
  • Full-grain leather cover

It is re-branded with various league stamps and is commonly used in tournament game play. The example show below is a Diamond DOL-A stamped with Cal Ripken league.

Diamond DOL-A baseballs come with a durable, full-grain leather so they are used extensively in middle games and high school practices (for high school games, DOL-1 HS balls are commonly used).


Diamond DOL-A HS baseballs

Diamond DOL-A HS virtually identical to DOL-A baseballs.

  • Model: Diamond DOL-A HS (click for price)
  • Intended for 13U and older
  • Tournament grade
  • Double cushioned cork center
  • Yarn wound
  • Wrapped with a fine poly layer and cotton thread to bond cork to cover
  • Raised seam
  • Full-grain leather cover

DOL-A HS baseball comes with four distinct layers, much like minor and major league baseballs.


Diamond DOL-1 Official League baseballs

Diamond DOL-1 is designed to be used in youth game and high school practice.

  • Model: Diamond DOL-1 OLB (check price)
  • 12U and under (game or practice)
  • Staff at 99baseballs.com do not recommend using this ball in high school practice as high impact force tends to misshapen the cork center
  • Large cork and rubber core center
  • Thin layer of yarn winding
  • Wrapped with cotton thread to bond cork to cover
  • Raised seam
  • Full-grain leather cover

Diamond DOL-1 baseball offers the same leather grip as higher grade baseballs and kids love using these baseballs.

DOL-1 is cross-branded with nationally recognized leagues like USSSA and Pony (DPL-1).


Diamond DCR-1 Cal Ripken baseballs

Diamond DCR-1 Cal Ripken is designed to be used in intermediate youth games and high school practice.

Diamond DCR-1 Cal Ripken baseballs are identical to DBR-1 Babe Ruth baseballs.


Diamond DOL-1 HS baseballs

Diamond DOL-1 HS is designed to be used in youth game and high practice.

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Diamond DOL-1 HS baseball offers the same leather grip as higher grade baseballs and kids love using these baseballs.

The designation “HS” for high school is bit of a misnomer as the baseball contains a larger cork designed to be used as game balls for younger players.


Diamond DOL-1 MC baseballs

Diamond DOL-1 Mid Compression (MC) is designed to be used in youth game and high practice.

  • Model: Diamond DOL-1 MC (check price)
  • 12U and under (game)
  • High school (practice)
  • Cork and Rubber Core
  • Yarn wound
  • Wrapped with cotton thread to bond cork to cover
  • Raised seam
  • Leather cover
  • Mid Compression roughly correlates to NOCSAE Mid performance requirement (moderate skill level)

Diamond DOL-MC baseball offers slightly lower quality standard leather (vs. premium leather).


Diamond DOL-2 baseballs

Diamond DOL-2 is very similar to Diamond Office League baseball (D-OB) with a large cork center.

  • Model: Diamond DOL-2 OLB (check price)
  • 10U or younger
  • Economy Official League Baseballs
  • Solid cork composition core (“safety baseball”)
  • First layer consisting of Poly + Cotton threads
  • Second layer consisting of Wool 1/2″ thick yarn
  • Raised seam
  • Leather cover

The difference is that the cork is slightly smaller to accommodate a thicker yarn wounding for enhanced hitting.

Diamond DOL-2 baseball leather and seams do not last as long as high school balls but these baseballs retain their shape better than D-OB due to outer yarn layer.


Diamond D1-PRO NFHS baseballs

Diamond D1-PRO NFHS is the predecessor to D1-PRO HS. They are identical in specifications except the label. Both baseballs are categorized as high school baseballs.

  • Model: Diamond D1-PRO NFHS (check price)
  • 14U or older
  • Best high school Baseballs
  • Double cushioned cork center
  • First layer consisting of Poly + Cotton threads
  • Second layer consisting of Wool
  • Raised seam
  • Ultra-Premium full-grain leather cover

The “ultra” premium leather cover feels great on your hands (some say it feels even better than Rawlings MLB baseballs) and the ball is constructed with multiple layers of a high quality yarn to maintain its shape.

Diamond D1-PRO NFHS/HS baseballs are more expensive than others so you may find that Diamond D1-HS baseballs are more common in middle and high school settings.


Diamond D1-PRO HS baseballs

Diamond D1-PRO NFHS is the predecessor to D1-PRO HS. They are identical in specifications except the label. Both baseballs are categorized as high school baseballs.

  • Model: Diamond D1-PRO HS (check price)
  • 14U or older
  • Best high school Baseballs
  • Supersedes Diamond D1-PRO NFHS
  • Double cushioned cork center
  • First layer consisting of Poly + Cotton threads
  • Second layer consisting of Wool
  • Raised seam
  • Ultra-Premium full-grain leather cover

Like the cover from D1-PRO NFHS baseballs, the “ultra” premium leather cover on D1-PRO HS baseballs have a solid, leather feel.


Takeaways

Diamond baseballs are in high demand, especially at high school and NJCAA levels. With high demand, your purchasing option may be limited so you need to plan ahead and stock up in November.

Since the details about Diamond baseballs can get a bit dense, I put together this post to break down the differences between the models and their appropriate age groups. Given the extensive variety of Diamond baseballs, I might have missed a few. If so, don’t hesitate to drop a comment and let me know.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

The following FAQ section serves as a comprehensive resource, offering quick and clear answers to the most commonly asked questions by users.

Why are some labeled with a league name like Little League, while the same balls are also named “Official League Baseball (OLB)”?

Official League Baseball is a way for a manufacturer to sell the identical “little league” balls without paying the license fees. Some cheap MLB baseballs are stamped OLB even though it comes with a synthetic cover and is more for display than anything else.

Do different leagues use different balls?

Diamond baseball makes a standard model for most age brackets. Youth leagues such as the Little League and Babe Ruth requires stampings on their league balls but in essence, they are identical to the standard model

How much do Diamond baseballs cost?

The average cost is $5 to $7 per ball. However, the price can increase significantly if the ball is associated with a notable event, such as a historic home run or a perfect game.

What materials are used to make Diamond baseballs?

Diamond baseballs are typically made with a cushioned cork center, wrapped in wool yarn and high-grade leather. Diamond also comes with higher quality stiches.

Are Diamond baseballs used in professional leagues?

Diamond offers baseballs used by many amateur leagues; Rawlings is the only official baseball supplier for Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball

What types of baseballs does Diamond offer?

Diamond offers a variety of baseballs to meet the needs of different levels of play, from youth baseballs to amateur leagues

Where are Diamond baseballs manufactured?

All Diamond baseballs are primarily made in China

What is the lifespan of a Diamond baseball?

The lifespan can vary depending on how often it’s used and the conditions. In professional leagues, balls are often replaced after a few pitches, but for casual play, a baseball can last several games or more.

Are Diamond baseballs approved for high school or college play?

Yes, many Diamond baseballs are approved for use in high school and college games, but it’s always best to check the specifications to be sure.

How should Diamond baseballs be stored?

To ensure longevity, baseballs should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight.

Does Diamond Baseball offer customized baseballs?

Yes, Diamond does offer customized baseballs, where customers can choose from a variety of options to meet their specific needs.

How are Diamond baseballs tested for quality?

Diamond baseballs undergo a series of industry standard tests to ensure they meet the performance and durability requirements.

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Mark B

Wednesday 24th of May 2023

I have a box of Diamond OLPB balls given to me by my father. It says Official League, 5oz, 9”, solid cork rubber core on it. Made in china or at least it has China on it in small letters. Still individually wrapped. Can you tell me if the OLPB stands for “Official League Professional Baseball” or is it something else?

Since I can’t find these balls anywhere on the Web can you tell me about them and their worth unused?

Baseball Dad

Wednesday 24th of May 2023

Hey Mark,

Can you post a picture of the ball? (or you can email it to kevin (at) 99baseballs.com)

Make sure the photo includes a clear shot of any small letters below the large "Diamond" script logo.

If it is what I think it is, the balls were made sometime in the early 1990s.

If I recall correctly, the leather cover was very thick which introduced gaps in the seams. You can probably sell them as game balls for around $60-100 bucks for dozen balls.