Pre-1872, the baseball was considered the original dead ball design. The core was rubber and string wrapped, while the cover was made of horsehide. It's size ranged from anywhere from golf ball size to softball size and played like it was stuffed with feathers.
In 1872, standards came about. 9.25 inches in circumference was to be the size, and the weight had to be between 5 and 5.25 oz. Needless to say, that there were very few home runs in baseball at this time.
1910, baseballs begin using a cork as the core. The baseball became much more alive when this happened and players begin to hit .300 or better, and homeruns began to rule. In 1911, the cork became the standard in Major League Baseball, and has been since.
In 1931, the baseball became more balance, as thin rubber was wrapped around the cork core. The seems were raised, and this allowed for pitchers to now throw "curveballs".
Flash forward to 1974, cowhide replaces horsehide for economic reasons.
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