US 3446199 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
y 1969 A. L. SAVECA 3,446,199
SPRING ACTUATED BALL PROJECTING DEVICE Fig.2 Arthur L. Saveca INVIENTOR.
May 27, 1969 A. SAVECA SPRING ACTUATED BALL PROJECTING DEVICE Filed NOV. 12, 1965 SheetiofZ Arthur L. Saveca m 9mm United States Patent U.S. Cl. 124-16 8 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A ball-pitching apparatus including a base from which an elevated ball cradling and support member is supported defining more than two surface portions thereof facing upwardly and spaced circumferentially about a generally horizontally disposed circular path for engaging a ball to be pitched from more than two spaced points disposed below the horizontal center of the ball and with the central lowermost portion of the ball exposed for impact from below. The apparatus includes an impact member supported from .the base for reciprocal movement along an upstanding path in which the apparatus is operable to support a ball to be pitched and the apparatus further includes spring means yieldingly biasing the impact member to an upper position for impact with a supported ball, the apparatus further including means by which the ball supported therefrom may be supported in selected elevated positions.
This invention relates to a novel and useful ball pitching apparatus and more specifically to a device enabling a batter provided with a bat to cause a ball to be pitched up into the air adjacent himself without using his hands in order that he may more readily swing the bat with both hands to bat the ball.
The ball pitching apparatus of the instant invention includes a base adapted to be rested upon the ground and a ball cradling and supporting member supported in elevation above the base with the central portion of the lower extremity of the ball free of obstructions from below. The apparatus includes an impact member supported from the base for reciprocal movement along an upstanding path between an upper limit position and a lower position disposed therebelow. The impact member includes a portion adapted to engage the center portion of the lower extremity of the ball supported from the apparatus upon movement of the impact member toward the upper limit position and to propel the ball upwardly from its position supported from the supporting member upon final movement of the impact member to its upper limit position. In addition, the apparatus includes means operatively connected between the base and the impact member yieldingly urging the impact member toward the upper limit position from the aforementioned lower position and releasable catch means or latch means supported from the base and operable to releasably retain the impact member in the aforementioned lower position. Still further, the releasable catch or latch means is supported from the base in a manner so as to be readily operable by one foot of a batter standing adjacent the ball pitching apparatus. Accordingly, a batter may assume a batting stance with both hands grasping the bat before actuating the ball pitching apparatus by manipulation of the releasable catch means or latch means with either foot and causing the associated ball to be pitched up in the air.
There have heretofore been designed numerous types of ball pitching apparatus designed to operate in similar manners but most of these privious devices have either been too complex in construction to be economically feasible, inoperative to store the necessary energy to pitch the associated ball upon actuation of foot operable release means, and designed to handle only one specific size of ball thereby precluding the adaptability of such previous devices to handle balls to be batted which are of varying diameters such as baseballs and softballs. Further, such previous devices including impact members operable to impact upon the ball to be pitched thereby have not been provided with means to vary the impact deliverable by the associated impact member and accordingly no means to vary the upward thrust applied to the ball to be pitched.
It is accordingly the main object of this invention to provide a ball pitching apparatus constructed in a manner whereby it may be readily actuated to pitch an associated ball up into the air merely by a slight movement of the foot of the operator of the ball pitching apparatus.
Another object of this invention is to provide a ball pitching apparatus which is readily adaptable to handle various sized balls to be pitched.
A still further object of this invention is to provide a ball pitching apparatus which will be easily transportable from one location to another.
Yet another object of this invention is to provide a ball pitching apparatus of the type including an impact member for propelling a ball to be pitched and which may be adjusted to vary the impact deliverable by the impact member.
A final object of this invention to be specifically enumerated herein is to provide a ball pitching apparatus in accordance with the preceding objects which will conform to conventional forms of manufacture, be of simple construction, and easy to use.
These together with other objects and advantages which will become subsequently apparent reside in the details of construction and operation as more fully hereinafter described and claimed, reference being had to the accompanying drawings forming a part hereof, wherein like numerals refer to like parts throughout and in which:
FIGURE 1 is a side elevational view of the ball pitching apparatus of the instant invention;
FIGURE 2 is a top plan view of the embodiment illustrated in FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 3 is an enlarged fragmentary vertical sectional view taken substantially upon the plane indicated by section line 33 of FIGURE 2;
FIGURE 4 is an enlarged fragmentary vertical sectional view taken substantially upon the plane indicated by the section line 44 of FIGURE 3; and
FIGURE 5 is a vertical sectional view taken substantially upon the plane indicated by section line 5-5 of FIGURE 3.
Referring now more specifically to the drawings, the numeral generally designates the ball pitching apparatus of the instant invention. The apparatus 10 includes a base plate 12 including pairs of opposite end depending foot portions or members 14 adapted to support the base plate 12 in elevated position upon the ground surface 16 upon which the apparatus 10 is disposed.
An upright tubular support member generally referred to by the reference numeral 18 has its lower end secured to the upper surface 20 of the base plate 12 in any convenient manner such as by a plurality of circumferentially spaced angle brackets 22 secured to the tu bular support member by means of fasteners 24 and to the upper surface of the base plate 12 by means of fasteners 26 secured to the base plate 12.
The tubular support member 18 may be constructed in any suitable manner and includes an upstanding slot 28 in one side thereof adjacent the base plate '12. A bearing block 30 is secured within the tubular support member 18 intermediate its upper and lower ends by means of suitable fasteners 32 and is centrally apertured as at 34. An impact member generally referred to by the reference numeral 36 is provided and includes an upper shank portion 38 reciprocal through the aperture 34 and a lower piston head portion 40 which is snugly received within the tubular support member 18.
A strong compression spring 42 is disposed between the upper surface 20 of the base plate 12 and the undersurface of the piston head portion 40. The lower end of the spring 42 is secured to the base plate 12 in any convenient manner such as by a clamp 44 and the upper end of the spring 42 is secured to the undersurface of the piston head portion 40 by means of a similar clamp 46.
An annular support member 48 is adjustably secured in recessed position within the upper end of the tubular support member 18 in any convenient manner such as by pins 49 receivable through selected pairs of vertically spaced and diametrically opposite apertures 51 formed in the walls of the support member 18 and seatable in diametrically opposite blind bores 53 formed in the support member 48. A ball cradling and support member 50 of annular con-figuration is recessed within the upper end of the tubular support member 18 and rests upon the vertically adjustable support member 48. The ball cradling and support member 50 is removable from the upper end of the tubular support member 18 and may be replaced by a similar ball cradling and support member having an inside diameter difierent from the diameter of the opening 52 formed through the ball cradling and support member 50. In this manner, ball cradling and support members adapted to support balls larger and smaller than the ball 54 illustrated in FIG- URE 3 of the drawings may be supported from the support member 50 and utilized in conjunction with the ball pitching apparatus 10.
The piston head portion 40 includes a laterally directed arm 56 provided with a removable free terminal end portion 58 and an elongated latch bar is supported from the base plate 12 for horizontal reciprocation toward and away from the slot 28 through which the arm 56 projects.
The base plate 12 includes two U-shaped support members 62 each including a pair of generally parallel upstanding legs 64 interconnected at their lower end portions by means of a bight portion 66. The support members 62 are aligned with each other and the slot 28 and are spaced from the tubular support member 18 and each other. A pair of vertically spaced rollers 68 are journalled between each pair of corresponding legs 64 by means of axle forming fasteners 70 secured through selected pairs of vertically spaced and aligned apertures 71 formed in the legs 64 of each support member 62 and the opposite end portions of the latch bar 60 are guidingly engaged between the pairs of rollers 68 supported from the support members 62. Further a first 4 notched abutment bracket '72 is supported from the base plate 12 by means of suitable fasteners 74 between the support members 62 and a second notched abutment bracket 76 is supported from the base plate 12 by means of suitable fasteners 78. The second abutment bracket 76 is disposed outwardly of the support member 62 furtherest from the tubular support member 18 and the latch bar 60 has an abutment washer 78 slidable thereon and disposed between the notched upper end of the second abutment bracket 76 and an abutment pin 80 carried by the latch bar 60 for limiting movement of the latch bar 60 toward the tubular support member 18. In addition, a second :abutment washer 82 is slidable on the other end portion of the latch bar 60 adjacent the tubular support member 18 and bears against a latch pin 84 carried by the latch bar 60 and disposed between the washer 82 and the tubular support member 18. A compression spring 86 is disposed about the latch bar 60 with one end thereof engaging the abutment Washer 82 and the other end thereof engaging a further abutment washer 88 also slidable on the latch bar 60 but disposed between the adjacent end of the compression spring 86 and the upper notched portion of the abutment bracket 72.
Accordingly, it may be seen that the latch bar 60 is urged toward the limit position illustrated in solid lines in FIGURE 3 of the drawings and defined by engagement of the washer 78 with the notched abutment brackets 76 by means of the compression spring 86. As also shown in FIGURE 3 of the drawings the impact member 36 is movable from the upper solid line limit position downwardly to the lower position illustrated in phantom lines in FIGURE 3 with the end portion 58 disposed beneath the adjacent end of the latch bar 60. Accordingly, it may therefore be appreciated that the latch bar 60, when in the solid line position as illustrated in FIGURE 3 of the drawings, is operable to retain the impact member 36 in the lower position illustrated in phantom lines in FIGURE 3 of the drawings.
A release member 90 is supported from the base plate '12 by means of a pair of upstanding spring metal standards 92 secured to the base plate 12 by means of fasteners 94. The upper ends of the standards 92 are angulated as at 96 and secured to the release member in any convenient manner. Further, a notched arm 100 is secured to the release member 90 by a fastener 98 and embracingly receives the end of the latch bar 60 remote from the tubular support member 80 and is engageable with still another abutment washer 102 slidably disposed on the latch bar 60 intermediate the am 100 and ,a forward stop pin 104 carried by the bar 60.
The tubular support member '18, in addition to the slot 28, includes a pair of diametrically opposite slots 106 disposed on a diameter of the support member 18 extending normal to the radius thereof on which the slot 28 is disposed and the lower end of the shank portion 38 includes a pair of oppositely outwardly directed handle portions 108 provided with suitable protective tips 110 at their outer ends and which are slidably received in the slots 106.
In operation, the ball 54 to be pitched upwardly in the air in position to be batted by the operator of the ball pitching apparatus 10 is first placed in the phantom line position illustrated in FIGURE 3 of the drawings resting upon the ball cradling and support member 50' after the impact member 36 has been urged downwardly by a downward force applied to either one or both of the handles 108. Downward movement of the impact member 36 will of course cause downward movement of the end portion 58 which includes a cam surface 112 engageable with the adjacent end of the latch bar 60 to urge the latter away from the tubular support member 18 so as to allow the end portion 58 to pass downwardly by the latch bar 60 whereupon the latter will be allowed to again assume the phantom line position illustrated in FIGURE 3 of the drawings. The handles 108 may then be released to allow the end portion 58 to engage the undersurface of the adjacent end of the latch bar 50 whereby the latter will of course retain the impact member 36 in the lower position illustrated in phantom lines in FIGURE 3 of the drawings. Thereafter, the release member 90 may have its free end depressed downwardly from the solid line position illustrated in FIGURE 3 of the drawings to the phantom line position so as to retract the latch bar 60 away from the tubular support member 18 thereby moving the latch bar 60 from out of overlying engagement with the end portion 58 and allowing the impact member 36 to move rapidly upwardly by means of the spring 42 so as to engage the center portion of the lower extremity of the ball 54 and pitch the latter upwardly into position to be batted by the operator of the ball pitching apparatus 10.
Inasmuch as the ball cradling and supporting member 50 is removably supported in the upper end of the tubular support member 18, it may be replaced by a similar support member having a smaller or larger opening therein adapted to cradle and support smaller and larger balls. Further, such a substitute support member may also have the opening formed therethrough eccentrically disposed whereby the inclined face 120 of the upper end of the shank portion 38 may be caused to impact a different trajectory on the ball 54 as the impact member 36 moves rapidly upwardly into engagement with the ball 54.
Further, inasmuch as the support member 48 is vertically adjustable by positioning the pins 49 in selected pairs of the vertically spaced apertures or bores 51, the height of the support member 48 may be adjusted so as to vary the ultimate impact of the impact member 36 on and the height which will be obtained by the ball 54. In addition, the latch bar 60 may be vertically adjusted by vertically adjusting the rollers 68 thereby varying the compression of the spring 42. This of course will also have an effect of adjusting the height to which the ball 54 is thrown by the impact member 36.
The foot portions or members 14 may be replaced by small diameter pins or spikes for penetrating the ground surface on which the apparatus is disposed. Further, any suitable materials may be utilized to construct the impact member 36 and the tubular support member 18. In addition, the impact member 36 may be of one piece construction and the ball pitching apparatus 10 may readily be operatively associated with an automatic ball feeding apparatus operative to successively properly position suitable balls to be pitched in position supported from the support member 50. Still further, numerous types of trigger mechanisms for retaining the end portion 58 in a lower position and subsequently releasing the end portion 58 in order that the impact member 36 may be urged upwardly by the spring 42 may be utilized. Additionally, the apparatus 10 could be readily modified so as to be powered thereby eliminating the necessity of manually lowering the impact member 36 each time the apparatus 10 is to be utilized. Finally, in addition to the vertical adjustability of the support member 48 and the latch bar 60 being operative to vary the height to which any given ball may be thrown, these adjustable features of the apparatus 10 also serve a means to allow different balls, both hard and soft, to be thrown to the same height by adjusting the mechanism 10 to suit whatever type of ball is to be utilized in conjunction therewith.
The foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention as claimed.
What is claimed as new is as follows:
1. A ball pitching apparatus comprising a base, a ball cradling and supporting member supported in elevated position above said base and including more than two surface portions thereof facing upwardly and spaced circumferentially about a generally horizontally disposed circular path for engaging and thereby supporting a ball to be pitched from more than two spaced points disposed below a horizontal plane passing through the center of said ball and spaced radially outwardly of a vertical axis passing through the center of said ball, said ball cradling and supporting member being free of portions obstructing direct access to a central portion of the area bound by said path from beneath, an impact member supported from said base for reciprocal movement along an upstanding path intersecting with said central portion of said area between an upper limit position and a lower position disposed therebelow, said impact member including an upper portion adapted to engage said ball when moving toward said upper limit position and to propel said ball upwardly from a position supported from said supporting member upon final movement to said upper limit position, means operatively connected between said base and said impact member resiliently urging said impact member toward said upper limit position, and releasable catch means operable to releasably retain said impact member in said lower position, said releasable catch means including a generally horizontally outwardly projecting arm carried by said impact member and an elongated latch member guidingly reciprocally supported from said base for movement along a horizontal path into and out of overlying position with a free end portion of said arm when said impact member is in said lower position, said catch means including means for vertically adjusting the horizontal path of reciprocation of said elongated latch member relative to said base.
2. The combination of claim 1 including a generally tubular upright supported from said base, said upright and said impact member including coacting means guiding said impact member for reciprocation relative to said base along said upstanding path.
3. The combination of claim 2 wherein the upper end of said tubular upright supports said ball cradling and supporting member therefrom.
4. The combination of claim 3 wherein said ball cradling and supporting member comprises a generally horizontally disposed annular member removably supported from and in alignment with the upper end of said upright tubular member.
5. The combination of claim 4 wherein said apparatus includes means operative to vertically adjust said ball cradling and supporting annular member relative to said tubular upright.
6. The combination of claim 1 including means operatively connected between said base and said latch member resiliently urging the latter from a first position out of overlying relation with said free end portion of said arm toward a second position overlying said arm.
7. The combination of claim 6 wherein said arm and latch member include coacting cam means operative to cam said latch member from said second position toward said first position upon downward movement of said arm from a position disposed above said latch member toward said lower position.
8. A ball pitching apparatus comprising a base, projectile support means disposed above said base defining upwardly facing support surfaces adapted to removably support a projectile in a predetermined location above said base in a manner affording direct access to said projectile from below, an impact member supported from said base for guided up-and-down movement along a path intersecting with said location, spring means connected between said base and said impact member yieldingly urging the latter upwardly, latch means carried by said base operative to releasably retain said impact member in selected vertically spaced cocked positions spaced below said location against the biasing force of said spring means, said apparatus including means for supporting said support means in selected predetermined vertically spaced positions relative to said base whereby the elevated supported position of a projectile supported from said'sup- FOREIGN PATENTS port means may be varied relative to the selected cocked A69 648 11/1950 Canda position in which the impact member is releasably retained against References Cited 5 W. R. BROWNE, Assistant Examiner.
UNITED STATES PATENTS U S C1 X.-R
1,486,807 3/1924 Skala. 12437, 41 2,055,097 9/1936 Eccles et a1 12434 the biasing force of Said spring means- RICHARD c. PINKHAM, Primary Examiner.