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Publication numberUS1170715 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 8, 1916
Filing dateMar 9, 1915
Priority dateMar 9, 1915
Publication numberUS 1170715 A, US 1170715A, US-A-1170715, US1170715 A, US1170715A
InventorsHarvey E Westgate
Original AssigneeHarvey E Westgate
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automatic umpire.
US 1170715 A
Images(2)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

H. E. WESTGATE.

AUTOMATIC UMPIRE.

APPLICATION FILED MAR. 9. m5.

1.1%.?15. Patented Feb. 6, 19m.

2 SHEETSSHEET I.

Invcnro I" Harveg EWesrdgare H. E. WESTGATE.

AUTOMATIC UMPIRE.

APPLICATION FILED MAR.9. 19x5.

Patented Feb.

2 SHETSSHEET 2.

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HARVEY E. WESTGATE, OF LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA.

AUTOMATIC UMPIR-E.

- Specification of Letters Patent. I

Patented Feb. 8, 1916.

Application filed March 9, 1915. Serial No. 13,285.

To all whom it may concern:

Be it known that I, HARVEY E. WEST- GATE, a citizen of the United States, residing in Los Angeles, in the county of Los Angeles and State of California, have invented new and useful Improvements ,in Automatic Umpires, of which the following is a specification.

This invention relates to an automatic umpire.

It is the object of this invention to provide a device which is particularly adapted for use by ball players and others in practising the delivery of the ball from the pitcher to the batter for developing skill in directing the ball on a path of travel through what is termed the batting zone,

that is, the space extending vertically between the batters knee and shoulder, of a width corresponding to the width of the home-plate.

Another object is to provide a device of the above character so constructed and arranged as to automatically indicate when the ball has passed through the batting zone to denote a strike. I

Another object is to provide-means for returning the ball to the pitcher after same has been delivered, which serves, in conjunction with the automatic indicating means, to obviate the use of a catcher or other person and enables the pitcher to practise alone.

Further objects and advantages will appear hereinafter.

The invention is illustrated in the accompanying drawings in which:

Figure 1 is a perspective view illustrating the application of the invention. Fig. 2 is a detail in perspective illustrating the construction of the rear portion of the target wall. Fig. 3 is a plan view with parts broken away. Fig. 4 is an enlarged vertical section on the line 4-4 of Fig. 3. Fig. 5 is a detail vertical section on the line 55 of Fig. 2. Fig. 6 is an enlarged vertical section on line 66 of Fig. 7 of a modified form of my device. Fig. 7 is a vertical cross-section on line 7-7 of Fig. 6. Fig. 8 is a rear elevation of the device shown in Fig. 6.

More specifically, 6 indlcates a platform or floor which is preferably rectangular in outline and has a convergent end portion 7 to which one end of a run-way 8 is detachably connected. The platform 6 and runway 8 are slightly inclined 'so that a ball falling on the platform 6 will roll into the run-way 8 and be delivered to the outer end of the latter which is situated a distance of approximately sixty feet from the rear end of the platform 6.

Erected on the platform 6 at its rear edge and demountably connected thereto, is a vertical wall 9 which is rigidly held against movement by' diagonal brace members 10 and 11. The wall 9 is engaged with the platform 6 by means of pins 12 formed on the lower edge of the wall 9, which extend Into sockets in the platform 6. The braces 10 and 11 are detachably' connected at their upper ends to the wall 9 by means of pins 13 and are likewise detachably connected to rearwardly extending beams 14 and 15 on which the platform'6 is'supported. Extending upward from the sides of the platform 6 are netting walls 16 and 17 which connect with the vertical edges of the wall 9 and with demountable vertical posts 18 and 19.. Rails 20 and 21 extend between the upper ends of the posts 18 and 19 and the wall 9 and are detachably connected in any desired manner, and a rail 22 extends be- .tween the upper ends of the posts 18 and 19. A sheet of netting 23 extends across the space between the rails 21 and 22.

The essence of the present invention recealed opening 24 of a size corresponding to the batting zone, through which the pitched ball must pass to register a strike.

The width of the opening 24 corresponds to the diagonal width of a home-plate 25, placed on the platform 6 adjacent the wall 9, centrally of the latter; this width approximating twenty-two inches. The opcning 24 is formed centrally of the wall 9 with its vertical edges on a plane in alinemcnt with the outer edges of the plate 2."). The length of the opening 24 approximately corresponds to the distance between the knees and shoulders of the batter, or approximately forty inches.

As a means for indicating the relative height and position of the opening 24, pictorial representations, or dummies, den0ting a man at bat, are placed on the outer face of the wall 9 on opposite sides of the opening 24, as indicated at 26 and 27; the figure 26 representing a left-hand batter and the figure 27 representing a right-hand batter. Pivotally mounted on the wall 9 sides in forming the wall 9 with a conabove and below the opening 24 centrally of the latter, is a pair of arms 28 and 29 which carry a vertical panel 30. This panel 30 is designed to be swung against the wall 9 on either side of the opening 24 to conceal one of the figures 26 or 27, as illustrated in Fig. 1. A cord 31 is attached to the panel 30 and extends to the pitchers box arranged at the outer end of the run-way 8; this cord enabling the pitcher to operate the panel 30 and swing it to one side or the other.

, Pivotally mounted on the back of the wall 9 and depending rearwardlv of the opening 24, is a metallic plate 32 which is of sufiicient weight to normally maintain a Vertical position and to rock slightly on the impact of a ball thrown forcibly thereagainst; the plate 32 serving asa gong to indicate a strike when a ball is thrown through the opening 24.

In Figs. 6, 7 and 8, I have shown a modified form of my device which provides for an automatic registry of the strikes, that is, the balls which hit the batting zone. The general structure of the elements composing this modified device is the same as in Figs. 15 inclusive, with the exception that a different mechanism is substituted for the vertical plate 32, shown in the first modification, and in addition means are provided for automatically registering the number of strikes. The opening 24 in the rear wall 9 is closed by means of a plate 32' which I have shown to be made of Wood and which fits the opening 24 so as to make a continuous rear wall, the outer surface of plate 32 being flush with the outer surface of wall 9, thus providing a wall in which the batting zone is indistinguishable from the rest of the wall 9 and therefore invisible to the pitcher delivering the ball. In this modification there is nothing to guide the aim of the pitcher except the home-plate and the figure representing a batter standing beside it, thus rendering theconditions more like those obtaining in the actual playing of the ame.

The edges of plate 32 are beveled outwardly, adapted to fit the beveled edges of wall 9 against which the'plate 32 is seated. Secured to the rear of plate 32 by any suitable means such as lugs 35, is a lever 36 pivoted on pivot-pin 37 carried by lug 38 mounted on the lower part of the rear of wall 9. The shorter arm 39 of said lever is pressed outwardly by means of a helical spring 40 mounted between wall 9 and arm 39, holding plate 32 against its seat with yielding pressure. On the inner side of arm 39 and positioned between spring 40 and pivot-pin 37 is contact point 41 adapted to make contact with contact point 42 mounted on wall 9. Electric conductors 43 of a suitable electric circuit are connected to a solenoid 44, adapted to operate the arm 45 of a registering device 46 of any suitable or preferred construction.

In the operation of the invention, the device is set up. at a convenient point, as illustrated in Fig. 1. The pitcher takes a position at the outer end of the runway 8 at a point a distance from the home-plate 25 corresponding to the distance between the home-plate and the pitchers box on a base-ball diamond. The panel 30 is swung to conceal one of the figures, accord ing to whether the pitcher desires to deliver the ball to a right or left-hand batter. The pitcher then endeavors to throw a ball over the home-plate 25 through the batting zone represented by the opening 24. A ball on passing through the opening 24 strikes the plate 32 and rebounds therefrom on to the platform 6 from whence it rolls on to the run-way 8 and is returned to the pitcher. The plate 32 is sounded by the impact of the ball therewith, thus indicating a strike.

From the foregoing it will be seen that considerable skill in the delivery of a ball through the batting zone may be developed by means of this invention and that the pitcher is enabled to practise alone with- .out the assistance of a catcher or other person. Furthermore, by proportioning the opening 24, as before stated, and mounting a sounding plate rearward thereof, the

pitcher using the device can accurately determine when the ball has been delivered through the batting zone.

The operation of the modified device shown in Figs. 6-8 inclusive, is as follows: When the ball strikes the batting zone. represented by the plate 32, the latter will be moved to the rear, causing the short arm of the lever 36 to approach the rear wall against the pressure of spring 40 and closing the electric circuit by means of contact points 41 and 42. i The electric current will energize solenoid 44 and operate the registry device 46, as will be understood. Spring 40 will return plate 32 to its seat in opening 24.. By means of the modified form of my device, it is not necessary to keep count of the number of strikes, as the same will be automatically registered on the registering device 46, and thus, the number of strikes that the pitcher makes in delivering, say, fifty balls, can be ascertained by reading the number indicated in the regis tering device 46. By constructing the device so that it may be taken apart, it may be readily transferred and assembled, as occasion requires.

I claim: I

1. In an automatic umpire, the combination of a platform, a home-plate on said platform and located near the middle of its farther end, means for returning a ball to the pitcher, said means comprising lateral run-way leading to the pitcher, a vertical wall extending from the rear edge of said platform, said wall having an opening above and behind said home-plate, .and of a size corresponding to the batting zone, apair of figures representing batters on opposite sides of said opening, a panel pivotally mounted on said wall and adapted to cover one of said figures, means operable by the pitcher for operating said panel, and means covering said opening and pivoted to the outer face of said vertical wall, indicating a strike when the plate is struck by a ball,

substantially as described.

2. In an automatic umpire, the combination of a platform, a home-plate on said platform near the middle of its farther end, means for returning a ball to the pitcher, a

vertical wall extending from the rear edge of said platform, said wall having an opening above and behind said home-plate and of a size corresponding to the batting zone, a pair of figures representing batters on opposite sides of said opening, a panel pivotally mounted on said wall and adapted to cover'one of said. figures, means operable by the pitcher for operating said panel, and a plate covering said opening, said plate being pivoted on the rear face of said wall, and adapted to indicate a strike, when the plate is struck by a ball, substantially as described.

3. In an automatic umpire, the combination of a )latform a home-slate on said platform and located near 1ts farther end,

means for returning a ball to the pitcher, a

vertical wall extending from the rear edge of said platform, said wall havingan opening above and behind said home plate and of a size corresponding to the batting zone, a pair of figures representing batters on-opposite sides of said opening, a panel pivotally mounted on said wall and adapted tocoverone of said figures, panel operating means capable of being operated by the pitcher, and means indicating a strike when a ball is delivered in said batting zone, substantially as described. a

4. In an automatic umpire, the combination of a platform, a home-plate on said platform and located near its farther end, means for returning a ball to the pitcher, a substantially vertical wall extending from the rear edge of said platform, said wall having an opening above and behind said home-plate and of a size corresponding to the batting zone, a pair of figures representing batters on opposite sides of said opening. a movable panel adapted to cover one of said figures, means for moving said panel operable by the pitcher, and means covering said opening and indicating a strike when a ball is delivered through the batting zone, substantially as described.

5. In an automatic umpire, the combination of a platform, a hon1e-plate on said platform and located near its fartherend,

means for returning a ball to the pitcher,

a substantially vertical wall extending from the rear edge of said platform, said wall having an opening above and behind said homeplate and of a size corresponding to the batting zone", a means for rendering the area of the opening indistinguishable from the pitching point, a figure representing a batter on one side of said opening, and means for indicating a strike when a ball is delivered in said batting zone, substantially as described.

6. In an automatic umpire, the combination of a platform, a home-plate on said platform, means for returning a ball to the pitcher, a substantially vertical wall extending from the rear edge of said platform, said wall having an opening above and behind said home-plate and of a size corresponding to the batting zone, a fig ure representing a batter on a side of said opening, a plate covering said opening, a lever pivoted to the outer face of said rear wall, one arm of said lever being connected to said plate, a spring mounted between said wall and the other arm of said lever and holding said plate on its seat in said opening with yielding pressure, an electric circuit, means mounted on said lever for closing said electric circuit when said plate is moved against the pressure of said spring, and means operated by said circuit for indicating a strike when a ball is delivered in the batting zone.

7. In an automatic umpire, the combination of a platformfa home-plate on said platform, means for returning a ball to the pitcher, a vertical wall extending from the rear edge of said platform, said wall having an opening above and behind said homeplate and of a size corresponding to the batting zone, a figure representing a bat ter on a side of said opening, strike indicating means covering said opening and pivoted to said wall, means for holding said first mentioned means in its position in said opening with yielding pressure, an electric circuit, means for closing said circuit when said first mentioned means is moved from its seat on being struck by a ball, and strike registering means operated by said circuit, substantially as described.

8. In an automatic umpire the combination of a platform, a home-plate on said platform, and located near its farther end a substantially vertical wall extending from the rear of said platform, a concealed opening in aid vertical wall above and behind said home-plate of a size corresponding to the batting zone, and means for registercal Wall above and behind said home-plate,

of a size corresponding to the'batting zone.

10. In an automatic umpire the combination of a home-plate, a concealed recording area positioned above and behind said home-plate, of asize corresponding to the batting zone; and signaling means operable by a ball pitched within said area.

In witness that I claim the foregoing I 15 have hereunto subscribed my name this 24th day of February, 1915.

HARVEY E. WESTGATE.

Witnesses JUSTINE LEVY, W. L. CONNOR.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3133733 *Mar 15, 1963May 19, 1964David C ElseroadBaseball game apparatus including movable target panels at which a baseball is thrown by the player
US3706451 *Dec 3, 1970Dec 19, 1972Jack R DixonTarget type scoring device
US4173337 *Nov 21, 1977Nov 6, 1979Okonowski Richard LBaseball batting and pitching apparatus
US4657250 *Mar 25, 1985Apr 14, 1987Newland Paul HBaseball pitching practice apparatus
US4781376 *May 7, 1987Nov 1, 1988Barnes Sr DaveLife-like baseball pitcher's training device
US4913427 *Sep 12, 1988Apr 3, 1990Wilson Jackie LBaseball pitching target with a ball return
US4978121 *Apr 23, 1990Dec 18, 1990Roger LarkeyBaseball and softball pitcher
US5133548 *Dec 11, 1990Jul 28, 1992Bedord Ii Joseph PPitching trainer with automatic ball return
US5746671 *Dec 29, 1995May 5, 1998Ritchie; GregoryPitcher's training device and method of training
US6926060Oct 9, 2003Aug 9, 2005Justin MarkCollapsible partition structure and backstop system
US6966853 *Jun 6, 2003Nov 22, 2005Jeremy WilkersonHockey training device
US7066845Mar 18, 2004Jun 27, 2006Shoot-A-Way, Inc.Baseball training system and method
US7479075 *May 18, 2006Jan 20, 2009Burruss Jr Norman WelchPitcher's catcher
WO1991016110A1 *Dec 13, 1990Oct 31, 1991Roger LarkeyPortable pitching practice system
Classifications
U.S. Classification473/432, 273/375, 273/397
Cooperative ClassificationA63B63/00