This day in baseball: Yellow baseballs

For the first game of a doubleheader played on August 2, 1938, Larry MacPhail had official baseballs dyed dandelion yellow, and the balls were used in the matchup between the Dodgers and Cardinals at Ebbets Field.  The inspiration for this yellow ball came from a New York color engineer named Frederic H. Rahr, who developed it after Mickey Cochrane was severely beaned at the plate the previous year.

“My primary object is to give the hitter more safety and there’s no question that this will be achieved,” said Rahr. “That’s simply because the batter will be striking at a ball he can see instead of at a white object that blurs with the background.”

The Dodgers won that opening game with the yellow baseballs by a score of 6-2.  The Dodgers went on to use up their yellow balls in three more games in 1939, but the yellow balls would not get used again after that season.

1938 Yellow Baseball.jpg

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum



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