US 3540726 A
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United States Patent  Inventors Richard S. Davis 2,017,720 10/1935 Lake 273126 1023 Union National Building, Wichita, 8, 1936 Walther 7 6 Kansas 67202; 2,405,313 8/1946 Martin.... 46/77 Oscar Bridge, Chandler, Oklahoma 74834 2,655,376 1 1953 ul 7 /74  Appl. No. 769,629 3,118,666 1/1964 Fitch 272/75  Filed 1968 Primary ExaminerRichard C. Pinkham Patented 1970 Assistant Examiner-Theatrice Brown Attorney-John 1-1. Widdowson  BATTING PRACTICE APPARATUS i F1 zclmmsgmfaw g 85 ABSTRACT: This invention is a batting practice apparatus U-S. p bl t rotate a i a d i pattern f h i i g of 273/58 the same by a given player with a baseba11 bat or the like.  Int-Cl A631) 69/40 M particularly, this invention is a batting practice Field of Search .1 273/25, 26, pal-mus including a support means, and a ban actuator means 28, 95, 95(1); 272/74 75; 47/77 connected to the support means having a ball assembly with a 6 R r d ball member connected to a cord member whereby the ball [5 1 e I e actuator means is rotatable to achieve the desired momentum UNITED STATES PATENTS to the ball member for hitting the same to achieve batting 1,441,221 1/1923 Fourcher 273/26 practice.
Patented Nov. 17, 1970 3,540,726
IKVEN'IY'JRS 2 RICHARD s. DAVIS m1 OSCAR BRIDGE HWWA ATTORNEY Patented Nov. 17, 1970 3,540,726
lNYL-Nfl IRS RICHARD s. DAVIS By OSCAR BRIDGE ATTORNEY BATTING PRACTICE APPARATUS In the prior art, ball batting practice devices where the ball is tethered to an upstanding post are well known and have been in existence for many years. Additionally, motorized batting practice devices have not received popular acceptance because they are very cumbersome. heavy and awkward to handle, too complicated and costly to make, and, further, such devices have been too susceptible to damage during usage. Also, the prior art devices are not adjustable in operation nor can they be readily varied as to the rotational speed and position of the ball member by the person operating the same and, therefore, are limited in usage.
In one preferred embodiment of this invention, a batting practice apparatus is provided primarily operable to rotate a ball member on the end of a cord member about an upright axis so as to place the same in a desired position for hitting by i means includes a vertical support assembly mounted within the cylindrical support; a horizontal guide assembly secured as by a tee member to the upper end of the vertical support assembly; and a ball assembly connected to the horizontal guide assembly. The vertical support assembly includes a main support rod telescopically mounted within the cylindrical support and having spaced, thereon, an actuator grip assembly and a 1 stabilizer grip assembly. The support rod is formed at a central area with a laterally extended integral, U-shapedgrip section and having the actuator grip assembly secured thereto. The actuator grip assembly includes a cylindrical tube or sleeve member rotatably mounted upon the grip section between spaced stop members so that the same may be rotated about the aligned axis of the upper and lower sections of the main support rodpThe stabilizer grip assembly is positioned upwardly of the actuator grip assembly and is also provided with a cylindrical sleeve member rotatably mounted thereon between spaced stop members in order to stabilize the support rod during its rotation. The horizontal guide assembly includes an elongated tube member having one end mounted within the tee member. The ball assembly includes a core member extended longitudinally of the tube member with its one end secured to a ring member generally in abutting engagement with a bushing member in the tee member and extended through another bushing member in the outer end of. the tube member with the outermost end secured to a ball member.
Also, the cord member is provided with a pair of spaced swivel members to permit the ball member to rotate freely so as to not have an undesirable twist in the cord member.
One object of this invention is to provide a ball practice apparatus overcoming the aforementioned disadvantages of the prior art devices.
One further object of this invention is to provide a ball practice apparatus which will move a ball member through space in a manner similar to a pitched baseball relative a stationary base having suitable means to retain the ball in proximity to the apparatus throwing the ball member.
person, economical to. manufacture, simple to use, and reliable in operation.
Various other objects, advantages, and features of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following discussion, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the batting practice apparatus of this invention illustrated with an operator actuating the same to move a ball member into a predetermined proximity for batting by a baseball player;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the batting practice apparatus of this invention;
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the batting practice apparatus of this invention;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged foreshortened sectional view taken along line 4-4 in FIG. 3; i
FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken along line 5-5 in FIG. 3;
FIG. 6 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken along line 6-6 in FIG. 3;
. FIG. 7 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken 5 along line 7-7 in FIG. 3;
FIG. 8 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken along line 8-8 in FIG. 3; and
FIG. 9 is an enlarged sectional view taken along line 9-9 in FIG. 3.
The following is a discussion and description of preferred specific embodiments of the new batting practice apparatus of this invention, such being made with reference to the drawings, whereupon the same reference numerals are used to indicate the same or similar parts and/or structure. It is to be understood that such discussion and description is not to unduly limit the scope of the invention.
Referring to the drawings in detail and in particular to FIG. I
1, a batting practice apparatus, indicated generally at 12', is shown as being operated by an operator-player 14 to move a ball member 16 into a path adjacent a fellow baseball player 18 for striking the same in a conventional manner by a baseball bat 19 or other similar object. It is seen that the spacing of the batting practice apparatus 12 and the baseball player 18 is such that the latter may reach out and strike at the same so as to improve his skills in batting and hitting the ball member 16 which is required in one of Americas favorite team sports, namely, baseball.
The batting practice apparatus 12 includes a basic support means 20 having a ball actuator means 22 connected thereto. The support means 20 includes a platform member 24 having an anchor assembly 25 connected thereto. The platform member 24 is of a rectangular plate structure preferably constructed of durable wood to be placed upon a supporting surface 27. It is seen that the platform member 24 is of a sufficient width and length so as to readily support the operator 14 having the anchor assembly 25 secured adjacent an edge 29 thereof. The anchor assembly 25 includes a rectangular plate member 31 secured to the upper surface of the platform member 24 as by bolt members 33 and having a cylindrical support 35 welded thereto. Preferably, the cylindrical support 35 extends in a vertical axis and placed centrally of the plate member 31.
As shown in'FIG. 3, the ball actuator means 22 includes a vertical support assembly 37 secured as through a tee member One other object of this invention is to provide a batting practice apparatushaving means for controlling the movement of a ball member to changethe location of the same making it more difficult for the batter striking at the ball member. 7
Still, one further object of this invention is to provide a batting practice apparatus operable to move a ball member through the air without the requirement of external power sources whereupon the same may be readily moved to and usable in any desired location.
Still, one further object of this'invention is to provide a batting practice apparatus which is readily operable by one 39 to a horizontal guide assembly 41 and having a ball as-' sembly 43 operably connected to the horizontal guide assembly 41. The vertical support assembly 37 includes an upright elongated main support rod 45 having a central sec-' tion bent outwardly and laterally into a generally U-shaped grip section 47 with sections of the support rod 45 above and below thegrip section 47 in axial alignment. The lower end of the support rod 45 is telescopically mounted within the cylindrical support 35 and the upper end is secured as by welding to a central leg section 49 of the tee member 39. Additionally, the vertical support assembly 37 includes a first actuator grip assembly 51 secured to the grip section 47 and an upper stabil- The actuator grip assembly 51, as shown in FIG. 6, includes a cylindrical sleeve 55 mounted about a vertical portion 57 of the grip section 47 and having upper and lower ends of the sleeve 55 abutting stop members 58 secured as by welding to the vertical portion 57. The sleeve 55 is mounted so as to be rotatable for reasons to become obvious. The stabilizer grip assembly 53 also includes a rotatable sleeve 60 mounted about the upper section 54 of the support rod 45 and having its upper and lower ends in abutting engagement with stop members 63 secured as by welding to the support rod 45.
As shown in FIG. 4, it is seen that the horizontal guide assembly 41 includes an elongated tube member 64 having one end threadably mounted within an open end of the tee member 39. It is seen that the tube member 64-is of a sufficient length in order to extend one end outwardly and laterally of the support platform 24 at all times of rotation as will be seen.
The ball assembly 43 includes a cord member 66 extended the length of the tube member 64 having one end secured to a ring member 68 in abutting engagement with a resilient bushing 69 mounted within the opposite open end of the tee member 39. The cord member 66 is trained through the center of the tube member 64 and another resilient bushing member 71 in the opposite end. The cord member 66 is successively secured to a swivel member 73; an intermediate section 75 of the cord member 66; a second swivel member 76; and a ball connecting section 78 of the cord member 66 to the ball member 16. It is seen that the swivel members 73 and 76 are of a conventional nature allowing the respective portions of the cord member 66 to rotate relative to each other which prevents a twisting of the cord member 66 throughout its length for obvious reasons. This has proven quite necessary and beneficial in operation of the apparatus 12. The ball member 16 is preferably constructed of a consistency in material and weight to a regulation baseball member having a central hole 81 and upper and lower grommets 83 to receive the cord member 66 therethrough. The outer end of the cord member 66 is preferably tied into a knot 85 engageable with the lower grommet 83 so as to retain the ball member 16 thereon.
In the use and operation of the batting practice apparatus 12 of this invention, it is seen that the support means is mounted upon the support surface 27 in a generally level manner whereupon the support rod 45 of the vertical support assembly 37 is telescopically mounted within the upright cylindrical support 35 of the anchor assembly 25. Thereupon, the baseball player 18 places himselfa sufficient distance from the ball actuator means 12 so that the ball member 16, at its substantially outermost limit of the cord member 66, is in a proper position to be hit with the baseball bat 19. Thereupon, the operator 14 takes a central position upon the support platform 24 so as to provide a reaction load to the centrifugal force of the rotating ball member 16. The operator 14 thereupon places one hand upon the upper stabilizer grip assembly 53 and with the other hand he grasps the actuator grip section 51 and rotates the same in a counterclockwise motion indicated as by an arrow 88 in FIG. 1. On initially starting rotation of the main support rod 45 the operator 14 may grasp the upper ring member 68 and pull the attached cord member 66 downwardly so as to hold the same with his hand upon the stabilizer grip assembly 53. This acts to move the cord member 66 and attached ball member 16 inwardly to the horizontal guide assembly 41 so that the initial or starting rotational movement of the attached cord member 66 and ball member 16 is easier to attain. Without this novel feature of being able to vary the outward position of the ball member 16 relative to the tube member 64, it is obvious that it would be time consuming and tedious in attempting to achieve the initial momentum ofthe ball member 16.
' On reaching sufficient momentum of the rotating vertical support assembly 37 it is obvious that the ball member 16 would continuously rise if being accelerated due to the centrifugal force thereupon, and when the same'reaches a desired height relative to the baseball player 18, he may attempt to hit the same with a vigorous, conventional swinging of the bat member 19 in order to contact the ball member 16. On applying an impact to the ball member 16 by the bat member 19, it is obvious that the ball member 16 would initially move at an opposite direction substantially similar to the conventional hitting of a baseball member being pitched by a baseball pitcher. Upon the baseball player 18 hitting the ball member 16, the operator 14 reverses rotation of the actuator grip assembly 51 a partial turn which causes the ball member 16 to drop and substantially cease its motion. The operator 14 thereupon starts normal rotation of the main support rod 45 through the actuator grip assembly 51 in order to lift and raise the ball member 16 back into its are or circle over a batting plate 89 in front of the baseball player 18 for further hitting practice.
As another feature of this invention, it is seen that the operator 14 could hold the ring member 68 within his hand grasping the stabilizer grip assembly 53 whereupon he can move the same inwardly or release the same outwardly on approaching the baseball player 18 with the rotating ball member 16 in order to achieve. action similar to a curve ball thrown by a baseball pitcher. This would operate to efficiently and effectively give the baseball player 18 additional practice so as to create baseball skill. Also, this would make the baseball player 18 keep his eye upon the ball member 16 at all times which is an important factor in hitting baseballs. Also, the raising and lowering of the ring member 68 and attached cord member 66 would operate to change the vertical and horizontal position of the ball member 16 for additional batting skills.
it is seen that the batting practice apparatus of this invention provides a new and novel structure readily usable by two players without the necessity of external electrical power or the like. Additionally, the batting practice apparatus is readily operable so as to achieve a variety of novel reactions such as vertical spacing, curve balls, and immediate variation of ball speed through the operator. Although this apparatus has been described for baseball batting practice, the same could be used to rotate tether balls, tennis balls, etc. or other such items for hitting or catching to improve ones skills. Additionally, the batting practice apparatus of this invention provides a mechanism which is economical to manufacture, simple to operate, a substantially maintenance free, and of unquestionable value in attaining batting skills in a baseball player.
While the invention has been described in conjunction with preferred specific embodiments thereof, it will be understood that this description is intended to illustrate and not to limit the'scope of the invention which is defined by the following claims.
1. A ball propelling apparatus, comprising:
a. support means adapted to be placed upon a support surface including a'support platform to receive an apparatus operator thereon and an anchor assembly secured to one end of said support platform;
b. ball actuator means including a vertical support assembly secured to said anchor assembly, a guide assembly conneeted to said vertical support assembly, and a ball assembly connected to said guide assembly;
c. said ball assembly having a cord member connected to said guide assembly and a ball member connected to the outer end of said cord member and the apparatus operator rotates a portion of said vertical support assembly to propel said ball member about a vertical axis with the apparatus operator providing the reaction force thereagainst by the operators weight on said support platform;
d. said vertical support assembly including a support rod having a centrally positioned laterally extended grip section movable in a circular motion to rotate said support rod about thealigne d axis of the upper and lower sections of said rod on'opposite sides of said grip section;
said guide assembly having a generally horiiontal tube member secured to the upper end portion of said upper said vertical support assembly having a sleeve member rotatably mounted on a vertical section of said grip section so as to rotate said grip section about the vertical, aligned axis of said upper and lower sections of said supsection of said vertical support assembly by a tee 5 port rod to provide the necessary rotation thereto, said member; vertical section movable about the aligned axis of said f. said cord member extended through said tube member upper and lower sections ofsaid support rod;
having one end secured to a ring member to contact said d. said stabilizer grip assembly provided with a rotatable tee member to limit movement in one direction and the Sleeve m un d upon aid support rod and prevented opposite end of said cord member secured to said ball f 8X18] movem'enl y upper and er p members member whereby the apparatus operator may pull on said In f whereupon the pP 9 ring member to vary the effective length of said cord can maintain said upper and lower sections of said supmember relative to said vertical support assembly which PQ" rod a comm While wmtmg thc same with is desirable in starting initial rotation of said ball member sleelve mmben and to vary the actual height and horizontal position; and Sald Buldc assembly 'PS horizontally afimndeld g. said anchor assembly having a plate member secured to tube member secured f we member having said Said Support l f and an upright li dfl l Support cord member extended axially thcrethrough with one end secured to said plate member, and said support rod secured to a ""8 member "l l f ellgagemem a mounted in said cylindrical support. bushing member mounted within said tee member and 2. A ball propelling apparatus described in claim 1, the opposite end of said cord member secured byaswivel wherein; member to said ball member whereupon the apparatus a. said support rod having a lower end rotatably mounted operator can rotate said support rod and interconnected and an upper end secured by said tee member to said said tube member to propel said ball member abouta verguide assembly. a tical axis so that the same can provide a batting practice b. said upper section of said support rod provided with a stabilizer grip assembly;