From the uniforms worn by the Continental Army to the inside of today’s MLB baseballs, wool has been literally woven into the history of our great country.
Fighting for our liberty and freedom, the brave men of The Revolution appreciated the wool uniforms and blankets that helped keep the warm at Valley Forge. Thanks in part to those men and countless others since; we can celebrate today an American tradition like no other…Opening Day.
100% wool flannel uniforms were the norm in the Majors for over 40 years. The weight of these wool flannels was gradually reduced in half by the 1940’s with the making of a wool/orlon blend. This uniform gave way to the lighter and more colorful nylon and polyester uniforms of the 70’s. The classic wool hats donned by the likes of Cobb, Ruth, Gehrig and later Aaron, Mantle and Kaline were sadly retired for polyester hats in 2007.
While baseball pants have lowered and risen like the stock market and abandoned wool entirely, the most important part of the game continues to embrace wool…the baseball.
Each and every Major League Baseball starts with a compressed cork, surrounded by three layers of rubber. Then, four layers of wool yarn — 316 yards worth — are compressed around the core. The ball is sealed with tanned cowhide and double stitched in bright red string 108 times.
A minimum of 120 balls are used during a game in the Majors. That requires almost 38,000 yards of wool.
So when you stand up today during the 7th inning stretch and “root, root, root for the home team” don’t forget to tip your cap to the ranchers, farmers and mills that continue to produce amazing wool products and the beautiful animals that grow it.