Yellow softballs are the most common type of softball that is used in recreational leagues. They are available in both solid and striped designs. The main difference between the two is that yellow softballs have a yellow background and white stitching, whereas white softballs have a white background with white stitching.
Reason #1: Pitching distance and reaction
The first reason why softballs are yellow is because of the lower pitching distance. Baseballs are white and small - because the pitching distance is 60 ft. Softball is played in a field with a 43 ft pitching distance, which is considerably shorter.
This gives players much less time to react or spot the ball. That’s one of the primary reasons why softballs are bigger and yellow.
Yellow is easier to spot. Therefore, reacting to an in-air softball is much better.
And it’s not just about the pitching distance. The whole diamond is smaller in softball vs. in baseball. This means everybody has a smaller timeframe to react and spot the ball once it’s in play.
Reason #2: Safety
Baseball and softball-related injuries in children under 14 amount to 100,000+ per year. To put this in perspective, only two other activities have higher injury statistics: football and bicycling.
Protecting yourself from a fastball coming right at you becomes much easier when it’s a bright yellow (and bigger) than a white (and smaller) ball.
How ball colors impact safety and visual tracking
The reason yellow softballs are yellow is that the color yellow is a darker version of green, which is what most balls are made from. That’s why you see many manufacturers make their balls out of either plastic or rubber for their models. Since these materials do not absorb UV rays, as other colors do, they can remain bright even after being exposed to sunlight for extended periods.
The color of a softball is determined by the pigment it contains. The most popular softball color is yellow, but many other colors can be found in baseball, including white and orange.
What is the difference between a white and a yellow softball?
The pigment in a softball determines its color. The most common colors are yellow and white. The yellow pigment comes from titanium dioxide, which also causes the ball to be harder than average, according to the website Baseball Savant.
The white ball contains no pigments; it is simply made of clay and rubber.
The color of a softball is determined by the type of paint or coating that’s used. The most common yellow softballs are dyed with alizarin, giving them their bright hue.
Alizarin is an intense shade that looks almost white when it’s dry, but when it comes into contact with air or moisture, it turns a vibrant and often-hued yellow. The different shades of yellow are created by adding other pigments to the dye.
Yellow softball manufacturing processes vary by country and manufacturer. Still, they generally involve mixing alizarin with other pigments like titanium dioxide and carbon black to create various hues ranging from gold to orange to red.
The yellow color is due to the presence of a chemical called bromine. The bromine is added to the rubber for better durability and grip.
Safety is critical when playing softball.
Just making the balls yellow isn’t sufficient safety. Always ensure you’re playing softball with the appropriate gear - notably, a helmet, mask, chest protector, shin guards, pelvic protector, and athletic cups.