Hitting Baseball Hard Knocks Hide Off

posted: 04/11/12
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As seen in "MythBusters: Baseball Myths."
Jim Cummins/Getty Images

Finding: BUSTED

Explanation: "Benny the Jet" hit the hide off a ball in the 1993 movie The Sandlot, cementing a long-time myth about backyard baseball.

But what exactly would it take to split the stitches? The MythBusters tackled this "mitt-buster" by throwing a few pressurized pitches across the plate into a standstill bat.

A professional pitcher can rocket a fastball more than 90 miles per hour, and batters have been known to crack balls into the outfield at more than 130 miles per hour. But even the official fastest pitch ever recorded — 100.9 mph — isn't enough to send a baseball skin flying.

A ball pitched fast enough to split the laces will actually crack the bat before it can do as much damage to the ball. It wasn't until the MythBusters cranked a full-throttle pitch from a pressurized cannon into a bat that the hide blew off, sending the guts headed for a homer.

Of course, the cannon hurtled that ball at more than 400 mph, which is just not possible with mere human force. Even at top speeds produced by professional players, baseballs don't come unraveled — but this myth sure did. It's a swing and a miss.

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