US 3152803 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 13, 1964 J. F. SAIN, JR
BASEBALL. PITCHING EDUCATIONAL DEVICE Filed Dec. 12, 1962 V FIG. 2
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JOHN F SAIN JR 4 aha FIGS FIG
United States Patent F 3,152,803 BASEBALL PITCHING EDUCATIONAL DEVICE John F. Sain, In, R0. Box 487, Walnut Ridge, Ark. Filed Dec. 12, 1962, Ser. No. 244,215
' 1 Claim. (Cl. 273-26) The present invention relates to the art of educational devices, and in particular to devices for educating youthful baseball players in the mechanics of spinning a baseball to achieve desired results when pitching curves and other ball flight variations which require that a rotative twist or spin be imparted to the ball at delivery.
In pitching a curveball, slider, sinker, screwball rising fast ball, and other variations in which the ball deviates from a straight line, the ball must be caused to spin during its flight. The spin is'initiated by a twist applied to the ball by the pitcher at delivery so that as the ball travels through the air it rotates. In order to obtain optimum results the ball should rotate on an axis that bears a predetermined, definite, fixed relation to the location and arrangement of the ball cover stitching seams. The direction of rotation, rate of rotation, and the directional disposition of the axis of rotation vary according to the particular type of flight variation selected for delivery and individual style of delivery. Their principles are so well known that exposition is unnecessary. An example of their application is shown in US. Patent No. 2,925,273 of February 16, 1960, to William D. Pratt.
The act of imparting to a baseball at delivery the twist necessary to produce a curveball or other variation entails the use of muscles which, unless properly exercised and trained, can lead to permanent impairment of pitching ability through strain. I Beginners in the game of baseball often start at an early age and without proper knowledge of the mechanics of spinning a ball in the correct manner to produce curves, etc. Unless they receive adequate training, they almost invariably assay curveball pitching before development and coordination of the proper arm muscles, with consequent damaging strain.
As hereinbefore stated, for optimum results in spinning a baseball, regardless of the desired type of curve or other flight variation, the ball must rotate on an axis that has a predetermined, definite and fixed relation to the ball cover seams. A baseball as contemplated in the present invention is the standard oificial ball used'by the major baseball leagues. Its cover consists of two identical 8- shaped sections arranged in complemental relation forming a sphere. Their meeting edges are joined by a single line of stitching which, because of the configuration of the cover sections, provides what is known and referred was the cover seams.
For pitching delivery the ball is gripped between the pitchers thumb and first two fingers, with the forefinger and second finger laid over the seams either transversely or longitudinally thereof at the waist portion-of one of the cover sections, and with the'thumb engaging the diametrically opposite waist portion or a side seam thereof onthe other cover section.
The twist to .be imparted to the ball at delivery should be such that the ball will rotate on an axis that lies wholly within a diametrical plane passing through the waist portion overlain by the fingers, transversely between its side 'etc. It varies also according to the type of curve or other flight variation to be thrown. It is a matter of individual judgment.
. Various attempts have been made in the past to demonstrate to the novice the properspin to be applied to the 3,152,803 Patented Get. 13, 1964 ball as it proceeds along its flight path, and the proper directional disposition of the axis of rotation at delivery. However, such devices have been in the form of baseballs or the like having indicia on their covers which, when rotated at the relatively high speed of ball delivery, will indicate to the careful viewer the rotational movement which has been imparted to the ball as it proceeds along its flight path. Obviously, such a device requires the student to deliver the ball each time with the same force and effect that would be utilized if the .ball were actually being pitched to a batter. Such an experience is not only difficult and tiring for the untrained novice, but it has been found that such activity frequently produces muscle fatigue and other physical strain, which if continued can permanently impair the arm of the player, at least insofar as his ability to control a baseball is concerned. It is, therefore, desirable thatthe' mechanics of imparting rotary motion to a baseball about its axis with respect to a particular angular relationship with the ground be visually demonstrated Without the attendant necessity of actually propelling the ball through the air.
It is accordingly an object of this invention to demonstrate the rotational movement imparted to a baseball with the axis of the .ball disposedat various positions relative to the ground whereby rotational movement may be actually imparted to the ball so that the ball may be caused to spin about its axis, thereby providing a positive indication as to Whether or not the desired rotational movement has been effected.
It is another object of this invention to provide a bearing within the body of the ball which will enhance the assembly of the ball on its mounting, while at the same time reducing the frictional engagement between the ball and mount in order that the rotational movement im parted to the ball when the device is in use will continue for a period of time suitable to demonstrate the rotative effect once the rotative movement has been eifected by a simulated pitch, separating the rotating ball from the pitchers hand.
Another object of the inventionis to demonstrate the degree of skill achieved by the student.
The present invention is a device which enables a user to spin a baseball with the throwing hand on an axis of rotation held and directed by the other hand, whereby to learn the spin that must be applied to a pitched baseball in order to make it accomplish desired variations in flight .and to develop and coordinate the requisite arm muscles. V
The invention contemplates the employment of a conventional baseball or facsimile thereof through which a tubular member is'disposed diametrically and a spindle means passing through the tubular member in the ball and extending into a handle or thelike with which the entire unit may be held by the free hand of the user. By such an arrangement the training device may be held by its handle in one hand and rotation imparted to the ball about the spindle by the other hand.
Referring now more particularly to the drawings in which like numerals represent like parts through the severalviews:
FIG. '1 is a perspective view of the invention with the handle supported in the left hand of the user and the ball gripped in pitching attitude by the right hand;
FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the invention;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of a detail of the invention illustrating the upper portion of the ball shown in FIG. 2 with the ball partially mounted on the spindle;
FIG. 4. is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of a detail of the invention similar to that of FIG. 3 with the ball completely mounted on the spindle;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of the lower end of the ball and spindle in mounted association with the handle; and
FIG. 6 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of another embodiment of the invention.
"As illustrated in the several views, this invention is characterized .by a handle member upon which a real or simulated baseball is rotatably mounted. The handle it) is provided with an'axially extending recess 12 at one end thereof in which is disposed at grommet 14. A ferrule 15-is disposed around a cylindrical portion of the upper end of the handle 10 and is in coaxial arrangement with the handle, axial recess and grommet 14.
A spindle 16 in the form of 'an elongated cylindrical shaft is provided with an enlarged head 18 on one end thereof and terminates in a pointed end portion 20 at its opposite end. A sleeve 22 is disposed over the spindle 16. The spindle 16 with the sleeve 22 disposed thereon'is mounted within the handle portion 14 with the pointed end 20 of the spindle disposed within the grommet 14. V
A real or simulated baseball 24 having a conventional cover of two 8-shaped sections Aand B includes an axiall-y extending bore 26 in which is disposed a suitable tubular liner 28. The liner 28 is of a length selected to extend outwardly of the upper end of the bore as shown at 30 in FIGS. 3 and 4 for a purpose to be described hereinafter. The liner 28 extends out of the lower end of theball a short distance as shown at 32 in FIG. 5 to provide a contact between the liner and the upper surface of the grommet 14. The lower end of the liner 28 thus precludes contact of the ball with either the handle 10, the ferrule 15 or the grommet 14 and acts as a bearing member for the ball 24.
The enlarged head 18 of the spindle T16 is adapted to extend 'out of the upper surface of the ball 24, but is disposed within the portion of the liner 30 extending out of the upper end of the bore 26. Thus, it may be seen that when the ball with its associated plastic liner is disposed of the invention the spindle lies wholly in a diametrical plane passing through the ball transversely between the side edge seams of a cover section waist portion at its narrowest point, which plane is perpendicular to a second diametrical plane passing through the ball longitudinally of said cover section midway between the side edge seams of the section waist portion at its narrowest point. The same arrangement is true of the liner mounted'in the diametrical bore in the ball itself. This is a fixed relationship which insures that the spin applied to the ball is correct to produce a desired curve or other flight variation if the ball were thrown in a normal pitch.
Operation The operation of this invention will be described in connection with a right handed user, although it is to be understood that it may be used with equal facility for left handed persons as well.
With the ball assembled over the spindle substantially as shown, the handle 10 is gripped in the left hand of the user, while the ball portion 24 is firmly held by the right I hand. By rotation of the left hand the inclination of the spindle] and the axis of the ball may be varied relative to the ground. Thus, rotative movement may be imparted to the ball with its axis in any selected position relative to the ground by simulating the action of pitch-,
' may be seen that if it is desired to throw a side arm over the spindle member as described, the lower end of theball is precluded from contact with either the grommet 14, ferrule 1'5or handle 10 by means of the short portionSZ of the liner 28, and the ball is precluded from axial movement relative to the spindle by means of the radial expansion of the outwardly extending portion 30 of the liner 28, such radial expansion being effected by the enlarged head portion 18 .of the spindle 16. As shown best in FIGS. 3 and 4 of the drawings, the enlarged head portion 18 is of a diameter greater than that of. the interior of the liner. 2S and thus in assembly of the ball and handle the .headed portion 18 of the spindle member 16 must be forced through the liner resiliently deforming the same, as at 34 in FIG. 3. Accordingly,
as the enlarged head 18 extends out of that portion of the liner enclosed within the body of the ball, the liner is caused to expand radially, as hereinbefore mentioned,
to retain theball rotatively on the spindle.
The sleeve 22 disposed over the spindle acts as an antifriction spacer aligning the spindle 16 within the interior of the liner 28 and preventing chattering therebetween as rotative movement is imparted to the ball relative to the spindle.
In the embodiment of theinvention shown in FIG. 6,
metallic tubing, preferably of aluminum, 36 is substituted for the plastic liner previously described. The aluminum tube extends outwardly, as at 38, a suitable distance from the lower end of the ball to providea bearing member in contactwith the upper surface of the grommet 14. In
this embodiment assembly is effected by striking the headed vportion'dtl of the spindle 16 a suitable number of blows to drive thepointed end of the spindle rigidly into curveball, which as previously described, requires vertical disposition of the axis of the rotating ball relative to the ground, it is merely necessary to rotate the left hand until the handle portion of the device is disposed above the ball portion, the ball thus being firmly gripped in the right hand; and when the wrist is snapped in a simulated pitch, a rotative movement is imparted to the ball. In handling a pitch colloquially known as a slider, it is desired that the axis of rotation of the ball be disposed substantially parallel to the ground and perpendicular to the batter. Thus, when the ball is delivered, it assumes much the same attitude that it would assume if it were rolled along the ground. To demonstrate such an attitude, the device of the present invention is utilized by holding the handle in the-left hand with the ball disposed to the right of the handle and with the spindle in substantially the horizontal position parallel to the ground.
The ball portion is then grasped in the right hand of the player with the free end of the spindle disposed between the first and second joints of the forefinger. Again, a simulated pitch and wrist snapping action imparts a rotative movement to the ball as the handis removed,
whichmay be observed by the user who proper or im- ,proper to accomplish the desired .slider elfect.
I It is not considered necessary to describe each of the many variations of pitches and rotative ball movements which may be demonstrated with this invention. It is,
' however, important to emphasize that with the use of (this device it is not necessary to expend considerable energy in actually handling the ball :as if it were to be struck with a'bat. Moreover, the proper method of gripping the ball and the proper amount and degree of wrist action may be readily demonstrated together with the proper disposition of the several fingers relative to g scope of the appendedclaim.
What I claim is: In an educational device-for demonstrating rotative movement of a baseball the combination comprising an elongated handle, spindle means mounted in and extending outwardly fromsaid handle, said spindle including a substantially cylindrical body terminating in an enlarged head portion on the free end thereof, a ball rotatably handle may be urged radially outwardly by said enlarged head portion of said spindle to retain said ball and said liner on said spindle and handle.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 234,050 McDonough Nov. 2, 1880 983,315 Rubens Feb. 7, 1911 1,808,354 King June 2, 1931 2,388,463 Benecke Nov. 6, 1945 2,633,320 Salmi Mar. 31, 1953 2,818,255 Ponza Dec. 31, 1957 2,935,321 Lhotka May 3, 1960 3,052,993 Olson Sept. 11, 1962