US 3698712 A
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United States Patent Pero [541 BASEBALL PITCHING PRACTICE DEVICE  Inventor: Vincent C. Pero, 18011 Greenfield,
Detroit, Mich. 48235  Filed: Aug. 25, 1971  Appl.No.: 174,656
 US. Cl ..273/26 A, 273/26 B  Int. Cl. ..A63b 69/40  Field of Search ..273/26 R, 26 A, 26 B  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,652,062 12/1927 Stauffer ..273/26A Primary Examiner-Richard C. Pinkham Assistant Examiner-Theatrice Brown Attorney-Everett G. Wright [5 7] ABSTRACT A readily portable easily erected and dismantled [451 Oct. 17,1972
baseball pitching practice device or game including a backstop frame and net, the said frame being supported vertically on a pair of laterally spaced transverse base elements, one said base element supporting a vertically disposed stanchion spaced forwardly from said net frame onto which it is braced. A light weight hollow plastic bat is removably spring-mounted on said stanchion extending laterally therefrom parallel to but spaced forwardly of said backstop net holding said bat resiliently lateral from said stanchion at the height of the normal swing of a baseball player when at bat. The said bat normally carries in the outer ball hitting portion thereof one or more noise making devices which become audible responsive to the bat being hit by a pitched ball. The more direct the outer ball hitting portion of the bat is hit by a pitched ball, the more loud and distinct the audible response whereby the pitcher readily determines audibly when the bat is hit squarely at its ball hitting end portion, or near its handle, or merely ticked by a near miss. The extent to which the bat swings or oscillates after being hit by a pitched ball also is visually indicative of the accuracy of the pitch.
4 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures PATENTEDHBI 1 1 m2 3,698,712
SHEET 1 BF 2 INVENTOR. VINCENT C. PERO FIG. 4
ATTORNEY PATENTEDnm 17 m2 SHEET 2 0F 2 FIG. 7*
[N VENTOR. VINCENT C. PERO ATT NEY BASEBALL PITCI-IING PRACTICE DEVICE BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The primary object of the invention is to provide a portable readily assembled and dismantled novel baseball practice device that may be used for early age pitching training which presents a horizontally disposed preferably hollow target bat spring supported at its hand grip end and is located forwardly of and parallel to a backstop, the said bat incorporating telltale means audibly responsive to the bat being hit by a pitched ball which indicates by the sound intensity how squarely the pitched ball hits the bat at its normal ball batting end, if the bat was hit near its hand grip end, or if the bat were merely ticked by a near miss. The hitting of the bat by a pitched ball also causes it to swing or oscillate, providing a visual indication of the accuracy of the pitch. The audible telltale device may be omitted, and the said visual indication of how the bat was hit by a pitched ball will advise the practice pitcher of the accuracy of his pitch.
Other objects of the invention will become apparent by reference to the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Reference is now made to the drawings wherein like reference characters refer to like and corresponding parts throughout the several views, in which:
FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a portable baseball practice pitching device embodying the invention;
FIG. 2 is a front elevational view;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken on the line 3-3 of FIG. 1 showing a preferred means for anchoring the base of the baseball practice pitching device in its vertical in-use position;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of the outer ball-hitting end portion of the hollow baseball bat preferably employed indicating therein a preferred audible means that may be employed;
FIG. 5 is a side elevational view taken on the line 5- 5 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 6 is an enlarged vertical sectional view taken on the line 66 of FIG. 5 showing the upper portion of the bat supporting stanchion and the bat spring supporting means preferably employed;
FIG. 7 is an enlarged corner view taken on the line 77 of FIG. 5 showing a preferred construction of the backstop frame and net; and
FIG. 8 is an enlarged detailed sectional view taken on the line 88 of FIG. 5.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The particular portable baseball pitching practice device 10 illustrating the invention disclosed in the drawings preferably consists of a backstop ll comprising an inverted U-shaped pipe frame 12 having an upper transverse member 120 and laterally spaced depending legs 121 supporting a relatively heavy ball stopping cord net 13 removably secured on the said inverted U-shaped pipe frame 12 by a plurality of canvas loops or shoes 130 fixed at intervals along the top and sides of the net 13 and removably telescoped over said pipe frame 12. The lower free ends of the U-shaped pipe frame 12 are supported on a pair of base elements 14 disposed normal thereto which may be pinned to the ground G by means of suitable anchorage pins 15. Each base element 14 is provided with a vertically disposed pipe sleeve 16 having a base 160 fixed thereto by such means as bolts 17 to receive and into which is removably vertically secured a lower end of the U- shaped pipe frame 12 by such means as a cotter pin 18 or the like. The said base elements 14 are maintained in their required lateral spacing by a suitable preferably wooden spacer member 19 fixed thereto.
One base element 14, preferably the right hand one as viewed from the front of the backstop 1 1 is provided with a vertically disposed pipe sleeve 20 having a base 200 fixed to the said base element 14 by such means as bolts 21. The said pipe sleeve 20 and its base 200 are located forwardly of the pipe sleeve 16 and its base 160 as best shown in FIG. 5, and support a stanchion 22 having its lower end telescopingly disposed within the said pipe sleeve 20. The said stanchion 22 is secured in such position by means of a cotter pin 23 or the like. The said base 200 and stanchion 22 are located a short distance forwardly of the backstop l1, and the stanchion 22 is braced at 220 vertically parallel to and in front of the vertically disposed right hand depending leg 121 of the inverted U-shaped pipe frame 12 of the backstop 11.
The upper end of the vertical stanchion 22 has a sleeve 24 preferably welded thereon to accommodate neatly a bat supporting elbow 25 having its upper horizontal arm portion 250 disposed at a right angle with respect to its lower vertical end 251 telescoped within the said sleeve 24 on the stanchion 22 where it is fixed against turning by such means as a cotter pin 26 or the like. The outer end portion of the horizontal arm 250 of the bat supporting elbow 25 is upset at 26 at or near its outer end to accommodate a relatively heavy bat supporting coil spring 27 suitably wound for threading tightly onto the free horizontal arm 250 of the bat supporting elbow 25 until a lug 270 formed on the inner end of the said coil spring 27 becomes disposed through a suitably located aperture provided therefor in the horizontal end portion 250 of said bat supporting elbow 25.
A hollow light weight preferably plastic bat 30 having the usual anti-slip stop 300 formed at the extreme hand grip end thereof is threaded into that portion of the coil spring 27 that extends outwardly from the upset outer end 26 of the horizontal arm 250 of the elbow 25. Because of the weight of the plastic bat 30 and the resistance to deflection of the coil spring 27, it may be desirable to form the 90 bat supporting elbow 25 at an angle several degrees greater than 90, all according to an actual test by the manufacturer of the components employed so that the bat will always return to horizontal or several degrees thereabove after having been hit by a pitched ball. The tilting of the bat 30 up to 4 or 5 above horizontal would not adversely affect the use of the invention either as a pitching practice device for young ball players or as a game.
Light metal noise makers such as slotted hollow balls 25 having a loose ball bearing 36 therein or like noise producing elements may be employed in the light weight hollow plastic bat 30 to provide an audible sound when the bat 30 is hit by a pitched ball whereby to indicate audibly when the bat is hit squarely at its normal ball hitting end portion, or near its handle, or merely ticked by a near miss. Also, because of the cantilever spring end suspension of the bat 30 at the bat supporting elbow 25 on the stanchion 22, the bat 30 swings and oscillates responsive to being hit by a pitched ball, and, the extent of the oscillation of the bat 30 provides a visual indication of the accuracy of the pitch.
The backstop, base, stanchion, and bat sub-assemblies A, B, C and D respectively are preferably made as shown in the drawings so that the portable baseball Eitching practice device or game may be readily assemled for use or disassembled for storage or transportation.
Although but a single embodiment of the invention has been disclosed and described herein, it is obvious that many changes may be made in the size, shape, arrangement and detail of the several elements thereof, all without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
l. A portable baseball pitching practice device or game comprising i a backstop including an inverted U-shaped frame supporting a ball stopping net,
base means supporting each leg of said U-shaped frame of the backstop,
a vertical stanchion mounted on one of said backstop supporting base means disposed forwardly in spaced relationship from a leg of said U-shaped frame and braced thereto,
a hollow plastic bat, and
spring means mounting said bat on said stanchion extending substantially horizontally therefrom and parallel to said backstop net at the average normal height of a batters swing.
2. A portable baseball pitching practice device as claimed in claim 1 wherein means for producing an audible sound is carried within said hollow plastic bat providing an audible signal of a loudness proportionate to the directness that the bat is hit by a pitched ball.
3. A portable baseball pitching practice device as claimed in claim 1 wherein each said U-shaped leg supporting base is apertured to accommodate a pair of longitudinally spaced anchorage means therethrough.
4. A portable baseball pitching practice device as claimed in claim 1 including means for readily assembling and removably anchoring the major elements thereof into a unitary whole and to the ground subject to being readily dismantled after use.