US 2267163 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 23, 1941. B, W MQSER 2,267,163 BASEBALL PITGHING MACHINE Filed Feb. v14, 1941 5 sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR. BYRON W. MOSER ATTORNEY Dec. 23, 1941. B. w. MOSER BASEBALL PITCHING MACHINE Filed Feb. 14, 1941 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR.
BYRON W. MOSER ATTORNEY Dec.' 23, 1941.
B. w. MosER l BASEBALL PITCHING MACHINE Filed Feb. 14, 1941 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 INVENTOR. BYRON W. MOSER ATTORNEY Patented Dec. 23, 1941 BASEBALL PITCHING MACHINE Byron W. Moser, St. Louis, Mo., assignor to Baseball Machines, Inc., St. Louis, Mo., a corporation of Missouri Application February 14, 1941, serial No. 378,864
This invention relates generally to baseball pitching machines, and more specifically to a machine of this type which, because of its improved construction and arrangement, is capable in use of more nearly duplicating the baseball deliveries of human baseball pitchers than has been possible with mechanical baseball pitching devices heretofore known, the predominant object of the invention being to provide a machine of the type mentioned which includes improved means adapted for such adjustment that the machine may deliver baseballs which follow sharply deiiected curves, whereby socalled curves thrown by human baseball pitchers may be accurately duplicated by the machine during operation thereof.
Another important object of the invention is to provide a baseball pitching machine which is of such improved general construction and arrangement that the machine is capable of functioning in an improved and highly efcient manner.
Fig. 1 is a side elevation of the improved baseball pitching machine.
Fig. 2 is a fragmentary end elevation of the machine illustrated in Fig. l and looking toward the forward end thereof.
Fig. 3 is an end elevation of the upper portion of the machine illustrated in Fig. 1 looking toward the rear end thereof.
Fig. 4 is a plan view of the machine illustrated in Fig. 1.
Fig. 5 is a cross-.section taken on line 5 5l of Fig. 1.
Fig. 6 is an enlarged section taken on line-S of Fig. 4.
Fig. '7 is a cross-section taken online 1-'1 of Fig. l.
Fig. 8 is a perspective of the means of the machine which receives and projects a baseball in the operation of the machine.
Fig. 9 is a sectional elevation illustrating the In the drawings, wherein is shown for the purpose of illustration, merely, one embodiment of the invention, A designates the improved machine generally. 'Ihe machine A includes a base structure lwhich serves to support the machine in its operative position, said base struc ture comprising an annular portion 2 from which are projected convergent extensions 3, as shown to the best advantage in Fig. 4. While the portions 2 and 3 of the base structure l may be formed from material having any suitable crosssectional shape, the parts mentioned are illustrated in the drawings as being of angle crosssection with a leg of the angle arranged hori- Zontally and the other leg arranged vertically. The annular portion 2 of `the base structure of the machine may, if desired, be secured in place by bolts 4 which extend through bolt-receiving portions 5 of the annular portion of said base structure. Also the base structure includes a head 6 which is disposed in vertical alinement with respect to the annular portionZ of said base structure, and this head is supported by inclined braces which are secured at their upper ends to said head and at their lower ends to the annular portion 2 of the base structure l of the machine.
The head 6 of the base structure I of themachine A is provided with a recess 6' which receives for rotary movement therein the lower ange portion 'lal of an adjusting member l, said adjusting member including also an upper flange portion 'lb which may be grasped for rotating the adjusting member. The lower flange portion 'la of the adjusting member 1 is retained within the recess 6 of the head 6 by a platey 8, which is secured to said head at the top thereof and which` overlaps said lower flange portion o f baseball receiving and projecting means in front said adjusting member. The adjusting member 1 has formed vertically therethrough an opening which is provided with a screwthreaded wall, and extended through this opening is an eX- ternally screwthreaded rod 9, the screwthreads of which engage the screwthreads of the wall of the openingthrough the adjusting member l. It is obvious, in view of the arrangement just described, that rotation of the adjusting member 'l with respect to the head 6 and relative to the rod 9 will cause said rod to be adjusted upwardly or downwardly, depending on the direction of rotation of said adjusting member.'
Disposed in vertical alinement with respect to the base structure l of the machine A is an elon-V gated T-bar l0, which serves as a support for the Yupper Vstructure of the machine, which Will be hereinafter described, said T-bar Ill being arranged so that one of its legs is disposed vertically and the other horizontally, as shown in Fig. 5. The rod 9 previously mentioned is provided with a bifurcated head portion II at its upper end, the spaced legs of which are located at opposite sides of a portion IG of the vertical leg of the T-bar I6, with a rod I2 being extended through alined openings formed through the spaced legs of the bifurcated head of the rod and through said portion IG of the vertical leg of the T-bar to pivotally connect said rod and T-bar.
At the forward end of the machine A a bar I3 is provided which extends upwardly from the forward ends of the convergent extensions 3 of the base portion of the machine, the lower end portion of said bar being pivoted to said forward end portions of the upstanding legs of said extensions 3, and between same, by a pivot bolt I4. The bar I3 has formed therein, longitudinally of the upper portion thereof, an elongated, screwthreaded opening I5 which receives the lower portion of an externally screwthreaded rod I6, and this rod is sWiveled at its upper end,r as indicated at I6 in Figs. 1 and 2, to a clevis I1 which embraces the vertical leg of the T-bar it) and is pivotally attached thereto by a pivot bolt I8. The screwthreads of the rod I6 and the screwthreads of the opening I5 of the bar i3 are in engagement and said rod I6 has formed thereon an annular flange I9 which provides a grip adapted to facilitate axial rotation of said rod I6. Also the rod I5 has screwthreadedly mounted thereon a lock nut 2i), which also is provided with a grip in the form of an annular flange and is adapted to be screwthreadedly jambed against the upper end of the bar I3 to prevent unintended rotation of the rod IS. v
When the adjusting member 1 is manipulated, as has been previously explained herein, to elevate or lower the T-bar I0, the rod I6 may be likewise rotated relative to the bar I3 by manipulation of the flange I9 thereof, to elevate or lower the forward end of said T-bar, the lock nut being set after the adjustment of the rod I6 has been made to prevent accidental disturbance of said rod. In this manner the 'T-bar I0 and the mechanism supported thereby may be brought to any position required for operation of the machine in a simple way and with absolute accuracy.
Secured to the T-bar I0 at the forward end thereof and secured to said T-bar at the rear end thereof is a pair of upwardly extended members 2I and 22. The members 2| and 22, ,which are of like construction, are shown in side elevation in Fig. 1, and the member 2| is shown in end elevation in Fig. 2. As is shown in the latter view, the member 2i includes a vertically extended portion having flanges at its lower end through which bolts 23 are extended to secure said member 2| to the T-bar I0. Also, at the upper end of each of the members 2| and 22 a horizontal portion 211 is provided which atits opposite ends includes upwardly projected extensions 24'. These extensions 24 support a pair of transversely spaced, elongated guide members 25 which extend from a point located forwardly of the member 2I to a point in substantial alinement with the rear end of the member 22, said guide members being Welded or otherwise secured to the upwardly projected extensions 24' of the members 2I and 22, and having channelways 28 formed therein which are open at their inner faces of said guide members and are alined with each other horizontally. Each of the members 2I and 22 is provided with a portion 21 of slightly increased Width, which is located immediately beneath the horizontal portion 24 of said member, and an opening 21 is formed through this wider portion 21, said openings 21 of the members 2I and 22 receiving and supporting opposite end portions of a guide bar 28 which extends horizontally from one to the other of said members 2I and 22, and said opposite end portions of said guide bar being secured to the members 2I and 22 by bolts 28.
Supportedfor sliding movement by the transversely spaced guide members 25 is the baseballreceiving means 29 of the improved machine. This means is shown to the best advantage in Figs. 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12, and comprises a structure including opposed side portions 3B which are provided with extensions 3o' that project into the channelways 26 of the guide members 25, as shown in Fig. 9, whereby the baseballreceiving means of which the side portions 33 form parts is supported for sliding movement longitudinally of said guide members 25. The side portions 30 of the baseball-receiving means are connected together by a section of material 3I and by a portion 32 which is disposed between and above the side portions 30 and has a semi-circular cavity 33 formed therein.
Formed in the rear part of the portion 32 of the baseball-receiving means of the machine is a recess 34, and projected rearwardly with respect to said portion 32 is a pair of transversely spaced extensions 35. Seated in the cavity 34 is a portion of a strip of rubber or other suitable elastic material 36, said strip of material 36 being substantially heavy in cross-section and being of rectangular or any other suitable crosssectional shape. The portion of the strip of material 36 which is located within the cavity 34 is clampedtherein by a member 31 that is drawn into clamping engagement with said portion of the strip 35 by bolts 38, said bolts being extended through openings formed through the upper portion of the member 31 and being screwthreadedly seated in screwthreaded openings formed in the extensions 35 of the part 32 of the baseball-receivingmeans of the machine. By referring to Fig. 11 it will be noted that the inner wall of the cavity 34 is curved to provide a substantially semi-circular face, as indicated at 34 in that View, with which the portion of the strip of material located within the cavity contacts. Also, it will be noted from Fig. 1l that the face of the member 31 which contacts with the portion of the strip of material 36 that is located within the cavity 34 is also of substantially. semi-circular shape, as indicated by the reference character 31. Because of this arrangement no sharp corners are present at the point Where the strip of material is clamped to to the best advantage Vin Fig. 5. In other words, each of the elements 4| includes lower portions 4|a which are arranged in contact with opposite faces of the vertical leg of the T-bar I and are secured thereto by bolts 42 and 43, transversely spaced, vertical portions 4|b located above the T-bar l0, more widely spaced portions 4|c located above the portions 4|, horizontal portions .4|d which extend outwardly from the upper ends of the portions 4|, and upwardly extended portions 4|e located at the outer ends of the horizontal portions 4|d. The elements 4| are braced at their outer ends by bracing members 44 and 45 which are secured to the T-bar IIJ and toV downwardly projected extensions 4|f formed on said elements 4| at the outer ends thereof, asA shown in Fig. 5. The lower parts of the elements 4I which include the portions 4|8L and 4|b are of greater width than the upper portions of said elements, as shown in Fig. 1, and extended from said elements 4| is a horizontally disposed member 46 which in plan is shaped as shown in Fig. 4, and which serves a purpose to be hereinafter set forth.Y
Mounted on the horizontal portions 4|d of the elements 4| of the supporting structure 40, for sliding adjustment with respect thereto, is a pair of members 41, said members being each constructed in cross-section as shown in Fig. 6; in other words, each of the members 41 comprises a wall portion which embraces the portion 4|@1 by which it is supported, and said wall portion includes downwardly projected extensions 41 through which a bolt 48 is extended for drawing said extensions together. Each of the members 41 is provided with an upstanding, arcuate extension 49 which serves with a semi-circular element 50 to secure the opposite ends of the elastic strip 36 to the members 41, said end portions of said elastic strip being interposed between =1 the associated extensions and semi-circular elements, and bolts which are arranged above and below the portions of the elastic strip interposed between the extensions 49 and elements 58' and which are provided with elongated nuts if' 5|', as shown in Fig. 5, being adapted to force the elements toward the extensions 49 to clamp the end portions of the'elastic strip therebetween. Each of the members 41 is provided with an upwardly extended ear 52 having a screwthreaded opening formed therethrough. Also, supported for rotation by the upstanding extensions4|e at the outer ends of the elements 4I are adjusting screws 53, the screwthreaded shanks of which extend through the screwthreaded openings of the ears 52 of the members 41. It is obvious that by rotating the adjusting screws 53 in the approximate direction the members 41 may be shifted slidingly with respect to the portions 4|d of the elements 4| outwardly or inwardly thereof to tighten or loosen the elastic strip 35. Also, if desired, the nuts of the bolts 49 may be tightened, when the members 41 have been properly adjusted by the adjusting screws 53, to draw the extensions 41 of said members together and thereby clamp the members 41 in fixed positions with respect to the elements 4|.
Supported by the guide bar 28 for sliding movement longitudinally thereof is a traveler 54 which comprises a body portion having an opening 54' formed therethrough through which the guide bar 28 extends. Extended upwardly from the body portion of the traveler 54` is a bifurcated portion 55, and extending downwardly from said body portion of said traveler at a side thereof (see Fig. 7) is a leg 59 which is provided .with a rearwardly extended, horizontal portion 56.
y The bifurcated portion of the traveler supports between the spaced legs thereof a catch 51, said catchy being pivoted to said spaced legs of the bifurcated portion 55 by a pivot element 58. The catch 51 is of substantial length and is provided at its forward end with a shoulder 51 (Fig. 10) and at its rear end said catch supports a pin 59 which extends laterally therefrom. The catch also has formed thereon abutments 60 which are adapted to contact with abutments 6| formed on the bifurcated portion 55 of the traveler 54 when said catch is rocked on its pivot in one or the opposite direction. Additionally the catch 51 has associated therewith a coil spring 62 which tends to elevate the rear portion of said catch and depress the forward, shouldered end thereof. At the rear portion of the body portion of the traveler 54 anabutment 63 is formed thereon, and an inclined face 53 leads from the rear face of said body portion to said abutment.
Mounted on one of the guide members 25 is a tripping mechanism 54 (Figs. 1 and 7) which serves,'during a certain phase of the operation of the machine A, to depress the rear end portion of the catch 51 and elevate the forward portion thereof. The tripping mechanism 64 comprises a body portion |35 provided with an opening formed therethrough, through which the associated guide member 25 extends, said body portion having associated therewith a set'screw 68 for* rigidly securing said body portion to the associated guide member 25, and a lock nut 61 being provided which is mounted on the shank of the set screw and is adapted to be jambed against a face of the body portion 65 so as to prevent unintended rotation of said set screw. Extended upwardly from the body portion 65 of the tripping mechanism 64 is a rigid arm 68 on which is supported for rotation a disk 69 which is adapted to engage the pin 59 ofthe catch 51 to depress the rear end portion of said catch for a purpose to be hereinafter set forth.
Supported by'an extension 1U (Fig. 3) of the T-bar of the machine A is an electric motor 1|, and associated with said motor and supported also by the extension 10 is a housing 12 which enclosessuitable speed-reducing gearing, said speed-reducing gearingnot being shown because it is of conventional construction and arrangement. The housing 12 provides supporting bearings for a shaft 13 (Fig. l) on which a sprocket wheel 14 is fixedly mounted over which operates a sprocket chain 15, said sprocket chain also operating vover a sprocket wheel l1li which is supported by a shaft 11 supported by bearings 13 associated with the portions 4|b of the elements 4| which comprise the transverse supporting structure 4i) located adjacent to the forward end of the machine A. By referring to Fig. 1 it I will be noted thatone link of the sprocket chain 15 isprovided with an upstanding abutment 19, and that the connecting pin between a pair of the links of the sprocket chain extends outwardly from a face of thesprocket chain, as indicated by the reference character 89.
YReverting now tothe baseball-receiving means 29 of the improved machine A, it is pointed out that said means includes a baseball-gripping means 29' which is associated with the portion 32 of said means 29 and is partially disposed within the .cavity 33 thereof. .The baseball-grip-- ping meansis in the .approximate form of a spider and is provided with acentrally disposed pin 8| which extends rearwardly through an opening 32 formed through a part of the portion 32 of said baseball-receiving means, and is provided with a head 8l' at its rear end which retains said pin in said opening and the baseballgripping means 29' in its proper position with respect to the portion 32. The spider of the baseball-gripping means 29' is formed of substantially resilient or sprngy metal, and extended outwardly from said spider and outwardly of the cavity 33 of the portion 32 is a plurality of resilient ngers, there being a pair of associated ngers 83, which in Fig. 9 are shown at the top of the cavity 33 of the portion 32, a finger 84 at the bottom of said cavity, and a finger 83 which is located at one side of the cavity 33. The associated fingers 83 function to grip a baseball, as do the index and second ngers of the pitching hand of a human baseball pitcher, and
the finger 84 serves to grip a baseball as does the thumb of a human baseball pitchers hand, While the finger 85 engages a baseball so that it performs the function of the fourth finger of a human baseball pitchers hand.
As is quite well known to persons familiar with such matters, a so-called curve is thrown by a human baseball pitcher as a result of the baseball being released from the pitchers hand so that it spins as it travels through the air on the Way to its object point, such spinning motion of the baseball causing a building up of air adjacent to a certain portion of the surface of the spinning baseball, which results in the course of the baseball being sharply deflected as the baseball reaches or approaches the objective point. The portion of the spider of the baseball-gripping means 29 of the machine of the present invention at a point immediately to the rear of the twin lingers 83 is provided with a protuberance 86, as shown to the best advantage in Fig. 10, and the face of the cavity 33 of the portion 32 of the baseball-receiving means is provided with a plurality of groups of depressions, there being one group of depressions 81 at the top of the cavity 33, another group of depressions 88 at one side of said cavity 33, and still another group of depressions at the opposite side of said cavity 33. The depressions of each group of depressions are of varying depths, there being a relatively shallow depression, a slightly deeper depression, and a still deeper depression in each group of depressions, as shown by the drawings, although obviously any desired number of individual depressions may be employed.
When a baseball is to be delivered by the improved machine disclosed herein, the spider of the baseball-gripping means 29' is adjusted by rotation thereof to position the twin fingers 83 at the top of the cavity 33 of the portion 32 of the baseball-receiving means 29, or at one or the other side of said cavity, depending on the desired direction of the curve to be thrown by the machine. When the spider of the baseballgripping means 29 is so set the protuberance 83 is caused to enter one of the depressions of the group of depressions adjacent to which said twin fingers are located to force said twin ngers inwardly of the cavity 33, the inward movement of said twin lingers being greater when the protuberance 38 is located in the shallowest depression, slightly less when the protuberance is located in the depression of intermediate depth, and still less when said protuberance is located in the depression of the greatest depth. As a result of the inward delec'tionof the twin fingers 83 by the disposition of the protuberance 86 in one of the depressions,.a baseball engaged by the baseball-gripping means 29 will be gripped with greater pressure by the twin lingers 83 than by either the linger 84 or the linger 85. As a result of this situation a baseball forcibly ejected from the cavity, in a manner to be hereinafter described, will be caused to spin due to the fact that the baseball will free itself from the fingers 84 and 85 before it frees itself from the greater pressure exerted against its surface by the twin fingers 83. If the twin ngers are located at the top of the cavity 33 the baseball will spin about a horizontal axis and one type of curve will result, while if the twin fingers are located at one or the opposite side of the cavity 33 the baseball will spin in one or the opposite directions about a vertical axis to provide a curve which breaks in one or the opposite direction. Also, because the twin iingers 83 may be caused to engage the baseball with greater or less pressure, the sharpness of the break of the "curve may be varied.
In describing the operation of the machine it will be assumed that a baseball has just been delivered by the machine and that the baseball-receiving means 29 is located forwardly 0f the machine. Under these conditions the pin traveling with the sprocket chain 15, which is driven by the motor 1l, will engage the leg 5B of the traveler 54 and move it forwardly of the machine along the guide bar 28. When the traveler has been moved to the forward limit of its travel, as defined by the member 46, by the pin 80 the shouldered forward end of the catch 51 will engage and ride upwardly over the inclined face leading to the abutment 39 of the member 31 of the baseball-receiving means 29, and the shoulder 51 of the catch 51 will snap downwardly and engage the said abutment 39. By this time the pin 80 will have rounded the forward end of the course of the sprocket chain and the abutment 19 of the sprocket chain will engage the abutment 63 of the traveler 54. The traveler is thus moved rearwardly by the rearwardly moving sprocket chain abutment 19, and because the catch 51, which is supported by the traveler, has engaged the abutment 39 of the baseball-receiving means 29, said baseball-receiving means will likewise be drawn rearwardly, thereby stretching the elastic strip 33. At the beginning of, or at some time during, the rearward movement of the baseball-receiving means a baseball is properly introduced therein, and as the baseball-receiving means 23 nears the rearward limit of its movement the pin 59 of the catch 51 will engage and press beneath the disk 69 of the tripping mechanism 64 to elevate the forward end of the catch and release the baseball-receiving means. Upon such release of the baseball-.receiving means 29 the stretched elastic strip 36 will move the baseball-receiving means forwardly of the guide members 23 at great speed, said elastic strip snubbing the forward movement of the baseball-receiving means as it reaches its forward limit of movement to cause the baseball to be projected from the baseball-receiving means at high velocity.
The limit of rearward movement of the sprocket chain abutment 19 is reached immediately after the baseball-receiving means is released for its forward movement, as has been described, and as said sprocket chain abutment passes downwardly around the sprocket wheel 14,- it disengages itself from the abutment 63 of the traveler 54. Immediately'upon such disengagement of the abutments 19 and 63, the pin 80 of the sprocket chain 19 picks up the leg 56 of the traveler 54 and said traveler is again carried forwardly of the machine by said pin 80 to repeat the operation just described.
In the drawings is illustrated a housing 90` which encloses switching and other electrical mechanism (not shown) required for operation of the motor 1I, said housing having switch buttons 9| and 92 extended therefrom for starting and stopping operation of the motor.
In Fig. 13 a modified form of the baseball-receiving means of the improved machine is illustrated, which differs from the baseball-receiving means of the preferred form of the invention in that the baseball-gripping means 29 includes an additional resilient gripping finger 93. The nger 93 resembles the finger 85 in construction and is extended outwardly from the base portion of the baseball-gripping means 29' at the side of said means 29 opposite from the side thereof at which the finger 85 is disposed. The purpose of the nger B3 is to aid in the gripping of a baseball received by the baseball-receiving means by the gripping means 29', and when this iinger 93 is employed a baseball is projected by the machine just as has already been described herein.
This application is a continuation in part oi' an application filed in my name on November 21, 1938, Serial No. 241,533.
1. A baseball pitching machine comprising a baseball-receiving means, supporting means for supporting said baseball-receiving means for movement, means for subjecting said baseballreceiving means to movement with respect to the supporting means by which it is supported whereby a baseball received thereby may be projected therefrom, said baseball-receiving means comprising a portion having a cavity formed therein adapted for the reception of a baseball, and an element disposed for rotary adjustment within said cavity of said portion and having resilient fingers extended therefrom and adapted to engage the surface of a baseball received by the baseball-receiving means, said resilient fingers including a pair of fingers arranged in relatively closely spaced relation, a nger spaced approximately 90 from said closely spaced fingers, and a finger spaced approximately 180 from said closely spaced iingers, and means for causing said closely spaced ngers to engage the surface of the baseball with greater pressure than do the other fingers, the last-mentioned means comprising a protuberance formed on said element adjacent to said closely spaced fingers and depressions of varying depths into which said protuberance may be moved to cause said closely spaced fingers to engage the surface of the baseball at diiferent pressures.
2. A baseball pitching machine comprising a baseball-receiving means, supporting means for supporting said baseball-receiving means for movement, means for subjecting said baseball-receivingmeans to movement with respect to the supporting means by which it is supported whereby a baseball received thereby may be projected therefrom, said baseball-receiving means comprising a portion having a cavity formed therein adapted for the reception of a baseball, land an element disposed for rotary adjustment within said cavity of said portion and having resilient fingers extended therefrom and adapted to engage the surface of a baseball received by the baseball-receiving means, said resilient fmgers including a pair of fingers arranged in relatively closely spaced relation, a finger spaced approximately 90 from said closely spaced fingers, and a finger spaced approximately 180 from said closely spaced fingers, and means for causing said closely spaced fingers to engage the surface of the baseball with greater pressure than do the other fingers, the last-mentioned means comprising a protuberance formed on said element adjacent to said closely spaced fingers and groups of depressions of varying depths into which said protuberance may be moved to cause said closely spaced fingers to engage the surface of the baseball at different pressures.
BYRON W. MOSER.