US 3222067 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 7, 1965 D. LITWHILER ETAL BASEBALL BATTING CAGE Filed NOV. 6, 1962 'FILLI United States Patent O 3,222,067 BASEBALL BATTING CAGE Danny Litwhiler, 308 Mayo St., Tallahassee, Fla., 'and Murray G. Grabowsky, 933 1st St., Menominee, Mich. Filed Nov. 6, 1962, Ser. No. 235,699 7 Claims. (Cl. 273-26) This invention relates to a batting cage and more particularly to a batting cage which has a substantially closed front portion for retaining in the cage balls struck by a batter. U
In order to give baseball players batting practice, various devices are provided for retaining passed balls or fouled balls. However, all of these devices have one common failing, in that balls which are hit by a batter usually travel a substantial distance from the batter and they must be retrieved. Fielders are often positioned in the eld for catching these hit balls. However, the amount ot practice received by the felders is not greater, 'and thus batting practice is inefficient. It is also desirable for baseball pitchers to receive practice in pitching the balls to a batter in practice. As is well recognized, it is desirable for a pitcher to practice pitching into a strike zone. The present-day batting cage makes no provision for gauging the pitchers throws, so that it is diicult to evaluate the pitchers practice without a catcher to call balls and strikes Furthermore, the present-.day batting cages require a substantial amount of space for effective practice, so that only a vfew batters and pitchers may practice while the remainder of the team gets little practice at batting. It is therefore one of the principal objects of the herein-disclosed invention to provide a batting cage which retains within the cage practically all of the balls struck by the batter.
It is another object of the instant invention to provide a batting cage which provides a means for gauging the accuracy of a pitcher who is pitching balls to a batter in the cage.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide a batting cage which permits a number of batters and pitchers to practice in close proximity to each other in safety.
It is a still further object of this invention to provide a batting cage which is easy to maintain, inexpensive to manufacture and simple to erect.
Other objects and uses of the herein-disclosed invention will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art upon a perusal of the following specification in light of the accompanying drawing in which:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a portion of a batting cage embodying the instant invention and showing two batting areas of the cage;
FIGURE 2 is a cross-sectional view taken on line 2 2 of FIGURE 1; and
FIGURE 3 is a cross-sectional view taken on line 3-3 of FIGURE 2.
Referring now to the drawing and especially to FIG- URE 1, it may be seen that a batting cage, embodying the present invention and generally indicated by numeral 10, consists of a frame 12 positioned on a at portion of ground, an enclosure 14 mounted on the frame, and a plurality of dividers 16 within the enclosure and supported by the frame.
The frame 12, in this instance, is made up of a plurality of pipes although any other suitable material may be used. The frame includes a plurality of front posts 13 which are fixed in a vertical attitude in the ground. It may be noted that any suitable means of keeping the front posts 18 in an upright position may be used. Adjacent front posts 18 are connected to each other by means of front stringers 20 which extend along the front upper porice tion of the frame. Each of the stringers has each end fixed to a joint 21 which is also fixed to the top .end of its respective front post to provide a rigid connection between each front post and its respective stringers. The rear of the frame has a plurality of bent rear posts 22 fixed in the ground although it is obvious that any suitable means of supporting the posts may be used. Each of the rear posts includes an upright portion 24 and a sloping upper portion 26. The upright portion 24 is fixed in the ground Awhile the upper ends of the upper portions 26 of adjacent rear posts are connected to each other by rear stringers 28 which are identical to the front stringers 20. The rear stringers are rigidly connected to their respective rear posts by joints 29 which are identical to joints 21. The number of front posts and rear posts are equal and each front post is connected to a rear post by a top beam 30. Each top beam 30 has one end fixed in a joint 21 and the other end in a joint 29. It is apparent that the construction of frame 12 is such that the frame is rigid and it conveniently supports enclosure 14. Although the entire frame is not shown in FIGURE 1, it is readily apparent that the frame is elongated in its general shape and the length of the frame is dependent upon the requirements of a given application as Will be seen from the instant disclosure.
Enclosure 14 includes a oor 32 which rests on the ground within the frame. The enclosure also includes an elongated back wall 34 which is made of canvas. The height of the wall is approximately six feet for reasons which will become apparent hereinafter and the rear wall extends continuously over the entire length of the frame. A rope 36 is -attached to each of the upper portions 26 of the frame and to the back wall to support the canvas 'back wall.
An elongated sloping rear wall 38 made of a net material has one edge sealingly attached to the upper edge of the canvas wall 34. An elongated roof 4d also made of netting is formed integral with the sloping rear wall 38 and is supported by the frame 1t?. A pair of ropes 42 and 44 which are secured to each of the roof members 30 support the roof portion. A rope 46 is attached to each of the rear posts 22 to hold the sloping rear wall 33 in position.
The enclosure has a pair of netting end walls 48 and 5t) which are fixed to the roof, sloping portion and canvas rear wall to close the ends of the enclosure. The netting end walls as well as the roof and back wall are made of 1% inch, 42E-thread netting which lis of suicient strength for the intended purpose.
The dividers 16 are spaced from each other and are suspended from each of the roof members 30 between the end walls 48 and Sti to define a plurality of batting areas within the enclosure. Each of the dividers 16, which is made of canvas, is supported by a plurality of ropes 52 which are secured to the frame 10. 'I'he number of batting areas Within the enclosure is determined by the length of the frame and the number of dividers. It may be seen that any number of batting areas may be provided by the present construction.
The front of the enclosure is closed by a front wall net 54, which is 11/2 inch, 84-thread netting, so that each of the batting areas is closed. It is evident that the front wall net must be heavier to withstand the impact of a ball pitched into the net or hit into the net by a batter. The front wall S4 extends over the entire length of the frame and includes a centrally positioned rectangular aperture 56 for each of the batting areas as may be seen in FIG- URE l. Each of the apertures 56 is approximately midway between adjacent front posts 18 and the aperture is approximately two feet above the ground, It has a width of approximately three feet and a height of approximately Ptented Dec. 7, 1965` .3 four feet, so that the aperture approximates a strike zone for a batter in a given batting area.
The instant batting cage is used in a fashion somewhat similar to the present batting cages though a plurality of closely positioned batters may use the cage. A batter takes his position within a selecting batting area. That is, the batter may stand in an area with the pair of dividers as side walls or at one end or the other of the present cage so that an end wall and a divider define the side walls of the batting area to provide a cage for the batter. The batter assumes his position adjacent to the front wall 54 though suiciently spaced from the wall so that it will not interfere with his swing. The batters position is such that the aperture S6 approximates the strike zone for the batter. A pitcher is spaced from the batter at a distance which is equal to the regulation distance from the pitchers mound to home plate.
With the batter and the pitcher in appropriate positions, the batting practice may ensue without any additional players. The pitcher hurls the ball toward the batter through the strike aperture 56. Inasmuch as the front wall 54 is netting, the batter is able to watch the pitcher and the ball approaching him. Inasmuch as the aperture 56 approximates a strike zone for the batter, if the pitcher successfully hurls the ball through the aperture, it indicates that the ball was a strike However, if the pitcher is unsuccessful in throwing the ball through the aperture 56, he then threw a balL In those cases where the batter allows the ball to pass him, the ball strikes the canvas back wall 34 and falls to the ground within the cage. The canvas back wall is of a durable quality and is capable of receiving the impact of the pitched balls at a given point over a prolonged period.
In the event that the batter hits the ball, the ball is ordinarily retained within the cage. When the batter hits the ball, ordinarily the ball strikes the interior of the front wall 54 and falls down inside the batting area. However, in the rare instances where the batter is able to hit the ball out of the cage, that is, out through the aperture 56, the ball is directed back at the pitcher and he usually can catch the ball. It is thus evident that there is no need for elders to be out in the eld to catch the balls hit by the batter. The pitcher is able to catch or stop these balls which are hit toward him, and the remainder of the balls are retained in the batting cage. In the event that the batter foul tips a ball, the ball may strike the roof net 40 or the sloping rear net wall 34 and fall down. It should also be noted that the sloping rear wall 34 provides an important safety feature in the event that there are any foul tips which fly to the back of the batter. Those foul tips strike the sloping wall and any ricochet from the wall directs the ball downward, although the netting absorbs and dissipates the force of the ball so that the rebound from the net is at a minimum.
The batter is protected from any balls from an adjacent batting area by the dividers 16. Each divider i6 is approximately nine feet in height, and there is a very small likelihood of balls going between the top of the divider and the bottom of the roof net. Those balls which do go over the divider hit the net 40 and drop harmlessly to the ground and even if the ball were to strike a batter, the falling distance is so small that imparts no damage to the batter, though experience has shown that very few balls ever approach adjacent batters.
It may be seen from the foregoing description that the instant device may be readily erected, that is, the frame may be simply put up and the enclosure and dividers connected to the frame to provide a large number of batting areas. This particular construction provides a saving in space and provides a substantial economy in the construction of a batting cage, inasmuch as a large number of batting areas are provided to achieve the utmost in utilization of parts. It is also readily apparent that the use of the instant batting cage eliminates the necessity of having many tielders out in the field to return balls which may be hit during batting practice and any balls hit out of the cage are directed in a narrow set direction toward the pitcher.
Although a specific embodiment of the herein-disclosed invention has been shown and described in detail, it is readily apparent that those skilled in the art may make various modifications and changes without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. It is to be expressly understood that the present invention is limited only by the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. A device of the character described comprising, in combination; a frame; a exible enclosure supported by said frame; said flexible enclosure including, a flexible roof, a exible rear wall, and a pair of end walls, a plurality of dividers supported by the frame dividing the enclosure into a plurality of batting areas, a net front wall supported by the frame and positioned in the front of each of said batting areas to enclose the batting areas, the net front wall in front of said batting areas having for each batting area a rectangular aperture contained therein approximating a strike zone to permit thrown balls to enter the cage, said net front wall being observable through to permit a batter to observe a ball flying toward said front wall; whereby a batter stands in a batting area while a pitcher appropriately spaced from the batter throws Ia ball toward the batter through the rectangular aperture in the net front wall.
2. A batting cage comprising, in combination, a frame, a exible back wall supported by said frame, a pair of flexible sides supported by said frame, a flexible roof supported by said frame, and a front wall net supported by the frame, said net having a rectangular aperture contained therein approximating a strike zone to permit thrown balls to enter the cage through a prescribed area and said net being observable through to permit a batter to observe a ball ying toward the front wall net.
3. A device of the character described comprising, in combination, a exible rear wall, a flexible roof connected to the rear wall, a pair of side walls cooperative with the roof and the rear wall, a net front wall cooperative with the flexible roof and the side walls, said net front wall having a rectangular aperture approximating a strike zone for a batter and being observable through to permit the batter to observe a ball flying toward said net front wall, and means for supporting the rear wall, roof, side walls and net front wall.
4. A batting cage comprising, in combination, a frame, a floor, a liexible back wall tixed to said floor, a rear wall net attached to the flexible back wall and being suspended from the frame, a roof net attached to the rear wall net and being suspended from the frame, a pair of exible side walls suspended from the frame defining sides for the batting cage, and a front wall net suspended from the frame to complete the batting cage, said front wall net having a rectangular aperture formed therein approximating a strike zone for a batter and being observable through to permit the batter to observe a ball flying toward the front wall net, whereby a batter stands in the cage while a pitcher appropriately spaced from the cage throws a ball toward the batter through the rectangular aperture approximating a strike zone.
5. A device of the character described comprising, in combination; a frame; a liexible canvas back wall supported by the frame; a sloping rear wall net supported by the frame and having its lower edge attached to the upper edge of the back wall; a roof net having one edge connected to the sloping rear wall and being supported by the frame; a pair of side walls supported by the frame and cooperative with the roof net, the rear wall and the back wall; and Va front wall net supported by the frame and cooperative with roof net, said front wall net having a rectangular aperture contained therein approximating a strike zone to permit thrown balls to enter the device through a prescribed area, and said front wall net being observable through to permit a batter to observe the thrown balls ying toward the front wall net.
6. A device of the character described comprising, in combination, -a frame, a exible back wall supported by the frame, a net roof connected to the exible back wall and supported by the frame, a pair of net end walls supported by the frame for closing opposite ends of the device, a plurality of dividers supported by the frame defining a plurality of batting `areas within the device, and a net front wall supported by the frame and connected to the net roof for closing the front of the device, said front wall having rectangular apertures contained therein equal in number to the number of batting areas, each of said rectangular apertures approximating a strike zone for its respective batting area, and said net front wall being observable through.
7. A device of the character described comprising, in combination, a frame, an elongated flexible canvas back wall supported by the frame in a substantially vertical attitude, an elongated sloping rear wall net supported by the frame land attached to the canvas back wall, an elongated roof net attached to the rear wall net and being supported by the frame, a pair of end wall nets supported by the frame and attached to the roof net and the rear Wall net for closing opposite ends of the device, a plurality of canvas divider curtains spaced from each other and suspended from the frame to form a plurality of batting areas, and a front wall net supported by the frame and attached to the roof net to complete the device, said front wall net being observable through to permit a batter to observe a ball flying toward the front net wall and having a plurality of rectangular apertures equal in number to the number of batting areas, each of said apertures being centrally positioned relative to its batting area and approximating a strike zone for a batter, whereby a batter stands in a given batting Iarea While a pitcher appropriately spaced from the batter throws a ball toward the batter through the rectangular aperture approximating a strike zone.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,856,658 5/1932 Rummler 135-1 2,126,102 8/1938 Fowler 273-261 2,493,749 1/1950 Brown et al 135-1 2,931,373 4/1960 Larson 135-1 3,058,480 10/1962 Blanchard 135--1 RICHARD C. PINKHAM, Primary Examiner.