Lacrosse Ball vs Baseball: Comparing Size, Weight & Texture


Since lacrosse and baseball are both considered spring sports, many athletes inevitably draw comparisons between these two sports. One major comparison that athletes take a particular interest in is the lacrosse ball versus the baseball. They ask questions like, “Which ball is heavier? Which ball is more expensive?”

I wondered about these things myself as a young lacrosse player, so I took the time to set the record straight and formally stack up the lacrosse ball versus the baseball.

Ball AttributeLacrosse BallBaseball
Bigger?
Heavier?– equal –– equal –
Harder?
Pricier?

After thoroughly examining the properties of both lacrosse balls and baseballs, I recorded the findings listed above. Below, you can find the exact numbers that led me to these various conclusions.

SIZE: Is a Lacrosse Ball Bigger than a Baseball?

To compare size, I gathered up a lacrosse ball and a baseball and held them side by side in my hand. From the picture, you can clearly see that a regulation sized baseball has a slightly larger circumference than that of a lacrosse ball.

Since all lacrosse balls and baseballs are manufactured to distinct safety specifications, this phenomenon holds true for all regulation size baseballs and lacrosse balls.

If you want to know the exact numerical size difference between these balls, they’re provided below (source 1 & source 2).

Lacrosse BallBaseball
Circumference7.75 to 8 inches9 to 9.25 inches

Baseballs have a larger circumference than lacrosse balls. A regulation sized baseball must have a circumference that lies between 9 to 9.25 inches whereas a regulation sized lacrosse ball must have a circumference that lies between 7.75 to 8 inches.

WEIGHT: Is a Lacrosse Ball Heavier than a Baseball?

The next attribute of comparison is weight. Although the circumference of each of these balls differs slightly, I was surprised to find that these balls weighed relatively the same weight when I held them in my hands. After performing further analysis online, these suspicions were confirmed.

Again, the ball specifications that govern lacrosse balls and baseballs come into play here.

The weight of every single lacrosse ball and baseball must fall within the range of 5 to 5.25 ounces.

(source 1 & source 2)

Even though a baseball is larger in size, the composition of a lacrosse ball is much denser. This slight discrepancy in density ultimately comes down to the production materials and process used to make these balls.

The Composition of Lacrosse Balls

Lacrosse balls have a rather simple composition in that they’re made of solid vulcanized rubber throughout the entirety of the ball (source). Contrary to popular opinion, they’re not hollow nor do they have cement at their core.

The only other notable ingredients present are trace amounts of oils and plasticizers infused within the rubber. But even these small amounts of accessory ingredients are starting to wither away, as lacrosse companies are starting to move toward a more durable lacrosse ball material called polyurethane (source). This material resembles vulcanized in practically every regard, except that it’s less prone to the negative effects of UV exposure.

If you’re still not convinced that the core of a lacrosse ball is just made out of rubber (or polyurethane), click on the clip below. Someone took the time to saw through a lacrosse ball to prove that there’s nothing special to be found at the core.

The Composition of Baseballs

The manufacturing process of baseballs is a lot more complicated relative to the making of lacrosse balls in that there are way more materials involved.

The core interior of a baseball is commonly called a pill. If you split a baseball in half, you will find that this pill is a cork that is wrapped in two fine layers of rubber. However, it’s important to note that the pill only weighs in at about half an ounce. So what makes up the rest of the weight?

After the pill has been firmly established, it is then thoroughly swaddled with yarn. This yarn bundle is typically made of four different layers, each with different individualized properties. All told, approximately 370 yards of yarn are used to wrap the pill core (source). That’s a lot of yarn.

Following the tight encasing of yarn, rubber cement is applied to the pill and yarn blend. It’s possible that this is where the superstition of lacrosse balls being filled with cement came from. After the application of rubber cement, the whole thing is wrapped in two pieces of cowhide and stitched together.

Fun Fact: Every baseball is made of 108 double stitches, or 216 individual stitches.

source

Once each of these steps has been completed, the baseball is then put on a scale to ensure that it meets the 5 to 5.25 oz weight standard. If it passes, it’s shipped out to baseball retailers across the world!

If you want to physically observe what’s inside a baseball, the same guy that made the lacrosse ball video above did a similar episode with a baseball. You’re actually able to get a rare look at the pill and the yarn as it rests on the interior of a baseball.

Lacrosse balls and baseballs weigh the same, despite the fact that baseballs have a slightly larger circumference than lacrosse balls. Lacrosse balls are made of rubber throughout, which is much denser than the cork, yarn, and cowhide used to make baseballs.

TEXTURE: Is a Lacrosse Ball Harder than a Baseball?

The next attribute of interest is texture. After holding both a lacrosse ball and a baseball in my hands, I found that the lacrosse ball was noticeably tougher than the baseball. Again, this has to do with the materials used to produce these two balls.

Lacrosse balls are harder than baseballs. The compact rubber utilized to construct lacrosse balls make them hard to the touch. The cowhide that acts as the superficial foundation of baseballs also feels hard to the touch, but is still softer than that of lacrosse balls.

If you’re wondering whether or not it will hurt if you get pegged with one of these balls, I can assure you that they do both feel painful. Unfortunately, I can speak from experience on the matter.

It’s also worth mentioning that the surface of a lacrosse ball is completely smooth, as it lacks any sort of protrusions from the ball surface. Even the slightest of protrusions would detract from throwing accuracy and precision with a lacrosse stick, which is why all lacrosse balls are smooth.

In contrast, the stitches found on a baseball subtly protrude outwards, granting the ball a unique texture and feel. This provides pitches with added grip when performing their throws, offering them greater control over where the ball ends up over the plate.

Many athletes consider this difference in texture to be negligible, but it carries much more underlying significance than meets the eye.

PRICE: Is a Lacrosse Ball More Expensive than a Baseball?

The final element of comparison we’ll take a look at is price. Price is always an area of interest for lacrosse and baseball athletes considering how many of these balls are needed for practices and games. Unfortunately, purchasing these balls in bulk is not cheap.

After conducting some research online and browsing through retail prices, it was apparent that baseballs are more expensive than lacrosse balls. The difference was rather substantial. I compiled the average prices of both of these balls in the table below.

Lacrosse BallBaseball
Price$2.25$7.08

To find out the price of standard lacrosse balls that are suitable for high school play, I went over to a big name lacrosse retailer, lax.com, to see how much it cost to purchase a dozen lacrosse balls. The total cost for a dozen lacrosse balls (including shipping and handling) was $27 (source).

In order to find out the standard price of a baseball, I headed over to major baseball supplier, rawlings.com, and searched for the price of what a dozen high school baseballs would cost. The total cost for a dozen NFHS baseballs (including shipping & handling) was $85 (source).

Baseballs are more expensive than lacrosse balls. The manufacturing process for baseballs is significantly more intricate than lacrosse balls, involving additional production materials and assembly phases. This extra labor results in a higher overall cost.

Major League Baseball typically purchases baseballs at a discounted price of around $6, but this is only because they buy their balls in extreme bulk. For the average person, purchasing a single baseball could cost upwards of $15 on some occasions!

Fun Fact: The MLB commits 5 to 5.5 million dollars to resupplying the league with baseballs alone.

source

Regardless of this price discrepancy, I would try to be careful with these balls while practicing on your own, whether it be lacrosse or baseball. Having to buy additional practice balls unnecessarily will burn a hole in your wallet rather quickly. Admittedly, I’ve lost my fair share of lacrosse balls to ponds and bushes, and it’s never fun having to pay to refill my bucket of practice balls.

Conclusion

To sum everything up, all of the information listed above has been organized into the table below.

Ball AttributeLacrosse BallBaseball
Circumference7.75 to 8 inches9 to 9.25 inches
Weight5 to 5.25 ounces5 to 5.25 ounces
TextureRubberCowhide
Price$2.25$7.08

All in all, lacrosse balls and baseballs are similar in a lot of ways and different in a lot of ways. They both perform their respective duties with flying colors as their production has continually been refined year after year.

Sources: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Austin Carmody

I am the owner of Lacrosse Pack. I enjoy hitting the local lacrosse fields and honing in on the craft in my free time.

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