Atlantic League Celebrates National Pastime Heritage with Reintroduction of Red, White & Blue Baseball at Its 2015 All-Star Game on July 8

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Partnership with Rawlings Recalls Pre-1934 A.L. Baseballs; Team Balls Will Feature Signatures of Club Directors and League President

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When the Atlantic League asked us to revisit our heritage and bring back the red, white, and blue baseballs, it was a request that really resonated.

The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB), the independent league that has come to be thought of as the most innovative league in baseball, is, as a twist, reaching back into history.

Working closely with Rawlings Sporting Goods, the 128-year-old manufacturer, the Atlantic League has adopted baseballs with red and blue stitching as its Official Baseball and will introduce the ball at the ALPB All-Star Game in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on July 8, 2015.

This will be the same stitching used on baseballs when Babe Ruth was pounding home runs for the New York Yankees. Indeed, Ruth's historic 60th home run in 1927 was a red, white and blue baseball. The American League used red and blue stitching until 1934 when it switched to solely red stitches. The National League, meanwhile, used red and black stitching.

"When the Atlantic League asked us to revisit our heritage and bring back the red, white, and blue baseballs, it was a request that really resonated," said Mike Thompson, Executive Vice President of Marketing at Rawlings. "As we are proud of being the League's baseball supplier today, so too are we proud of our history. When the two can meet, it's a win-win, and we are sure this will be a real attention-getter."

The balls will maintain the same standards applied to all baseballs in the professional game, so there will be no influence on play. This is worth noting because the Atlantic League transfers dozens of players to Major League Baseball organizations every year (more than 800 over the ALPB’s 18-year history).

“The red, white and blue baseball is intended to salute baseball’s heritage and draw attention to the Atlantic League,” said Rick White, President of ALPB, whose signature will appear on all the baseballs. “The official baseball represents a development partnership between ALPB and Rawlings, and was developed and tested in high level circumstances, assuring that all professional baseball specifications are met and that no dip in performance will occur.”

In addition to White’s signature, each of the eight teams in the League will have baseballs bearing the signatures of their Club Director or designee - an unprecedented move unique to the Atlantic League. “This gives each club the opportunity to appeal to our communities in a new and grassroots way,” said Steve Kalafer, Owner and Chairman of the Somerset Patriots. Teams in Bridgeport, Camden and Long Island are honoring one of the League's founding fathers, Executive Director Joe Klein. Their baseballs will feature the signature of the longtime baseball executive.

The multi-year deal names Rawlings the Official Ball of the Atlantic League and includes the baseball in ALPB’s “Authentic Team Issue” product collection. The red, white and blue baseballs will be available to fans in team gift shops.

Rawlings has been the official supplier of baseballs to the Major Leagues since 1977, and to the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball since its founding in 1998.

About The Atlantic League
The Atlantic League is considered the most innovative league in professional baseball, offers the highest level of minor league baseball playing skills, and is a player gateway to Major League Baseball. Its players are highly experienced professionals, having progressed through professional baseball’s developmental levels (A, AA, AAA). Over 40% of all Atlantic League players have Major League service time. Like MLB, Atlantic League clubs pay their players to win baseball games, not to apprentice as in baseball’s developmental levels. The following teams play in the Atlantic League: Bridgeport Bluefish, Camden Riversharks, Lancaster Barnstormers, Long Island Ducks, Somerset Patriots, Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, Sugar Land Skeeters, and York Revolution.

About Rawlings
Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc. is a leading manufacturer and marketer of sporting goods in the United States. Since the company’s inception in 1887, Rawlings’ mission has always centered on enabling participation by developing and producing innovative, high-performance equipment and protective apparel for the professional, amateur and entry-level player. With an assortment of baseball, basketball, football and softball game-related product lines, Rawlings is present everywhere team sports are played. Leagues and conferences of all skill levels integrate Rawlings’ unparalleled product portfolio into their sports: as the Official Baseball Supplier and Official Helmet of Major League Baseball®, the official baseball for the NCAA®, the official football for the NAIA®, the official basketball for the NAIA, NJCAA® and AAU®, and the approved baseball, basketball, football and softball of the National High School Federation®. For more information, please visit Rawlings.com or by phone at (314) 819-2800.

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