There’s a keystone in every great invention.
For many people spring begins with the first crack of a bat. Whether it’s watching your kids in little league or rooting for Trevor Story
of the Colorado Rockies, who had a record breaking start to this season, baseball just means warmer weather. But what do all these baseball players, from little league to MLB, have in common? Batting cages. When it comes to practicing what you love, there’s no better way than stepping into the cage to hit ball after ball. But who is the brains behind this arm saving piece of machinery?
A Man With a Vision
The year was 1896 and a mathematics professor by the name of Charles Howard Hinton was teaching at Princeton University. He noticed that baseball games would regularly finish when the pitcher’s arm gave out or the pitcher was just too tired to continue. In an effort to help the game play on, Hinton devised the first mechanical pitching machine
. Although his idea was to replace the pitcher, it didn’t work out that way.
The balls from Hinton’s machine were pitched unpredictably and many batters were unnerved at the black powder that was used to fire the ball off. Soon after the dismal reaction of ballplayers and the staff, Hinton was fired. However, his idea eventually caught on and the modern pitching machine, as we know it today, was designed over 50 years later. Although he didn’t live to see it, Hinton’s legacy lives on throughout batting cages and baseball fields around the world.
The Mechanics of a Pitching Machine
A pitching machine is able to get a ball to move at speeds of up to 140 mph in just a short span of about four inches. To the experts at Keystone, that in itself is pretty impressive. The machine works by loading balls, either manually - one at a time, or by putting a set number into the contraption. The pitching machine can be set to deliver a variety of pitches
, such as fastballs, sliders, and curve balls. Most can work for baseball and softballs.
When the balls are ready, an arm rotates to pick up the ball from its cradle. Depending on the machine, two or three wheels turn independent of one another and operate by motors driving the wheels. The wheels are thick and rotate anywhere from 300 to 3,000 rotations per minute (rpm). This creates the velocity needed to propel the ball to the batter. Different settings on the pitching machine can alter the pitch. Read our earlier post on radar guns
to see how they measure the speed of a pitch.
Although pitching machines vary in design, most all use a motor, a speed control dial, a fender, a feed chute, compression plates, and rubber wheels. Although the majority of pitching machines use electricity, some can be run off of generators if electricity isn’t nearby. Battery operated pitching machines exist, but appear less often .
The Perfect Pitching Machine
It’s the time of year to take advantage of your baseball interests! Whether you’re the engineering type who wants to design your own perfect pitching machine or you just need to fix the electronics on the model you already have, Keystone Electronics has just what you need
. With stellar customer service and an unparalleled product line, Keystone is your teammate that hits a home run with electronics every time! Contact us today
for the products you need.