September 17, 2021

The Rabbit Ball: The story of baseball’s first juiced ball controversy (The Athletic)

NEW YORK — On Dec. 9, 1930, a man named Julian W. Curtiss walked into the Commodore Hotel on 42nd Street in midtown Manhattan. Armed with a suitcase full of statistics, he had come to discuss the most contentious topic at baseball’s annual Winter Meetings: the ball itself. Curtiss was 72 and a luminary in American sports. Introduced to golf during a trip to England in 1892, he came to evangelize the sport in the United States. As the long-time president of the A.G. Spalding Company, he helped its founder, Albert Spalding, design the first basketball for James Naismith. 

Curtiss worked with the Amateur Athletic Union and the American Olympic Committee. He donned a dark suit and sported a thick mustache. He prepared to answer a simple question for a room of National League owners: Why was the Spalding baseball flying out of parks at a record pace?

The question of the baseball had hung over the sport for years, but the issue had come to a head in 1930. Offensive…

Click here to read the whole article at The Athletic