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Publication numberUS3589349 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 29, 1971
Filing dateJul 9, 1969
Priority dateJul 9, 1969
Publication numberUS 3589349 A, US 3589349A, US-A-3589349, US3589349 A, US3589349A
InventorsParker Robert J
Original AssigneeParker Robert J
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Ball-gripping and throwing apparatus
US 3589349 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [72] inventor Robert J. Parker [56] References Cited 58 M'osher Ave. Battle Creek. Mich. 49017 UNITED STATES PATENTS gf 538 1 1,535.029 4/1925 Murch 124 5 Patented June 3.428.036 2/l969 Parker 124/41 Primary Examiner-Richard C. Pinklham ArsistanlExaminer-William R. Browne Atlorneys-Roy A. Plant and William W. De Witt ABSTRACT: An improved ball-gripping and throwing ap- [54] BALP'GRIPHNS; P THROWING APPARATUS paratus wherein the ball-holding member is nonadjustably and Chums 3 Drawmg Figs immovably fixed to the spring handle by an integral extension {52] U.S.Cl 124/5, of the ball-gripping arm elements, the ball-holding member 124/41, l24/7 otherwise including a pair of spaced flexible gripping leaves [5] 1 Int. Cl .4 F4lb 3/04 and a pair of pressure arms adjustably forced against the out- [50] Field of Search l24/5, 6, 7, side of the gripping leaves to vary the pressure with which they engage and hold a ball positioned therebetween.


FIG. 1 f/g ?[G. 2


ATTORNEY BALL-GRIPIING AND THROWING APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates broadly to ball-throwing equipment, and more particularly to a device of this nature which is eminently useful in baseball or softball practice sessions. More specifically, in my previous US. Pat. No. 3,428,036, 1 disclosed a ball-gripping and throwing apparatus which is quite successful in throwing a ball with a minimum amount of exer' tion and a maximum amount of accuracy, and by which various types of throws can be accomplished. However, that apparatus is relatively complicated from a structural point of view, and thus involves a relatively high cost of manufacture. In particular, both of the embodiments disclosed in the aforementioned patent, include a means for vertical adjustment of either the entire ball-holding member or the guide arm portion thereof, so that in either case the guide arm can be raised and lowered from the horizontal to vary the grip on the ball and thus vary the flight of the ball when thrown.

SUMMARY OFTHE INVENTION I have discovered that the ball-gripping and throwing apparatus disclosed in the aforesaid patent can be considerably simplified and still achieve the basic purpose of accurately and repeatably throwing a ball to simulate a fly ball, popup, line drive, or a ground ball. Accordingly, I have provided an improvement for a ball-gripping and throwing apparatus of the type comprising an operating handle connected to a ball-holding member by a spring fixed therebetween, wherein such a ball-holding member comprises gripping leaves, a guide arm, and a support arm all fixed to each other. Briefly stated, the improvement comprises a rigid or fixed interconnection between the guide and support arms of the ball-holding member and the spring between the latter component and the handle, by which relative movement therebetween is prohibited, and a novel structure for varying the gripping pressure of the aforesaid gripping leaves, which are preferably integral parts of a unitary spring element.

Therefore, it is an object of the invention to provide an improved ball-throwing apparatus wherein various different types of throws can be accurately obtained by an adjustment mechanism which is structurally uncomplicated and which does not require extensive or tedious manipulation.

It is a further object of the invention to provide an improved ball-gripping and throwing apparatus of the above character which is economical to manufacture.

Other objects and advantages will become apparent upon reference to the following drawings and detailed discussion.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a fragmentary side elevational view of the apparatus constructed in accordance with the invention.

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary front elevational view of the apparatus.

FIG. 3 is a sectional plan view taken through the plane III-III of FIG. ll.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT As in my earlier U.S. Pat. No. 3,428,036, referred to above, this invention concerns a throwing apparatus for projecting a ball in any one of a number of possible trajectories, usually to simulate a ball hit by a bat, for purposes of training, practicing and the like. The invention specifically provides an improvement in such a ball-gripping and throwing apparatus, which basically comprises a handle 12 having a grip portion 14 at one end and a leaf spring 18 secured to the other end, which may be crimped or sweged to form a spring retainer portion 16. A generally flat, sleevelike coupling 20 is secured to the other end of the spring 18, and serves to attach the latter to a ball-holding member 22.

As in my earlier invention, the ball-holding member 22 comprises generally a pair of spaced lateral gripping leaves 24 and 26, an upper guide arm 28, and a lower support arm 30, all of which are interconnected at a common point 32, in a manner set forth hereinafter. The gripping leaves 24 and 26 are preferably formed from an integral C-shaped member made of relatively thin spring steel or the like, and the guide arm 28 and the support arm 30 are preferably integral extensions of a common element, emanating from a common generally C-shaped rib 34, to the midpoint 32 of which the gripping leaves 24 and 26 are attached.

In accordance with the invention, l have modified and simplified my earlier ball-gripping and throwing apparatus as follows. Firstly, the ball-holding member 22 is fixed to the spring 18 in a rigid manner precluding relative motion therebetween, by means of an integral part of the bracket or rib 34, i.e., an offset end extension 40 of the lower support arm 30, which extends into and is fixed within the sleevelike connector 20. I have found that such a construction provides very good throwing performance with excellent repeatability, and that it is not strictly necessary to be able to vertically adjust the angle of the guide arm 28 or the ball-holding member 22. It is because of the omission of such vertical adjusting structure, and the inclusion of the rigid attachment of the ball-holding member to the spring, that the cost of the apparatus has been substantially reduced.

Also of great importance to the concept of the invention is the presence of a rigid pressure bracket 35 having offset end extremities 36 and 38 which form a pair of spaced pressure arms. Pressure bracket 35 is attached to the ballholding member 22 by a flatheaded screw 50 countersunk into the rear of the spring member forming the gripping leaves 24 and 26 and passing through both the latter and the upright rib 34, as well as through the pressure bracket. To tighten the pressure arms 36 and 38 down onto the gripping leaves 24 and 26, a wingnut 60 is threaded onto the protruding end of screw 50 and bears against the central portion of bracket 35, thus allowing the pressure of the leaves 24 and 26 on the ball 10 to be varied. In this connection, it is to be noted that the arcuate band forming the gripping leaves 24 and 26 has a curved circumference greater than that of half the ball 10, such that the ball can be gripped by the outermost tips of the leaves while a space is created at the base of the latter, behind the ball, by increased pressure applied to the leaves by tightening the wingnut 60 against the pressure bracket 35. Such adjustment will change the trajectory ofa ball thrown with a uniform motion, and it is the only such adjustment which need be done to the device to accomplish this end. Thus, a very considerable simplification in structure is attained by the invention, without sacrificing versatility and variable performance.

It is entirely conceivable that those skilled in the art may well devise certain variations and modifications of the preferred embodiments disclosed and described hereinabove. Consequently, the specific structures which are illustrated and described should be regarded as being for purposes of illustration, and not as determinative of the only practical or desirable way of implementing the concept on which the invention is based.

I therefore particularly point out and distinctly claim as my invention:

ll. In a ball-gripping and throwing apparatus, of the type having an operating handle, a ball-holding member, and means including a spring resiliently connecting said handle and said member, and wherein said ball-holding member includes a pair of spaced ball-gripping elements and means mounting said elements for resiliently biased movement toward or away from each other, means for adjustably varying the resilient bias on said ball-gripping elements to change the trajectory characteristics of a thrown ball; said means consisting essentially of an integral bracket having a base and two spaced arms, each extending toward and contacting one of said gripping elements, and threaded shaft means engaging said base for providing reciprocational movement of said arms with respect to said ball-gripping elements, thereby causing said elements to move toward each other for gripping engagement and permit said elements to move away from each other when the bracket moves away from the elements.

2. The improved apparatus defined in claim 1, wherein said spaced ball-gripping elements comprise resiliently flexible finger portions.

3. The improved apparatus defined in claim 2, wherein said finger portions are structurally interconnected.

4. The improved apparatus defined in claim 3, wherein said finger portions comprise an integral arcuate member.

5. The improved apparatus defined in claim 1, and wherein

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1535029 *May 9, 1924Apr 21, 1925William W MurchToy
US3428036 *Sep 1, 1965Feb 18, 1969Parker Robert JBall gripping and throwing apparatus
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U.S. Classification124/5, D21/723, 124/7, 124/41.1
International ClassificationA63B59/02, A63B59/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B59/02
European ClassificationA63B59/02