In the infancy of baseball, batters used bats with one flat side and pitchers threw underhand. The ball was softer, too so fielders could play without gloves. Harry Wright, founder of the first all-pro team –the Cincinnati Red Stockings—invented the basic baseball uniform, which is actually very similar to the uniforms worn today.
The evolution of the equipment didn’t really catch on until the 1870s when catcher’s masks, padded gloves and horsehide covered balls came to fruition.
If you cut open an official baseball today, you would find a core of cork and rubber, more black rubber and then a red rubber coating, followed by 4-ply and 3-ply wool and cotton, under a full-grain alum tanned cowhide leather coating that is sewn with 5-ply waxed cotton thread, hand-stitched. (The alum in the tanning process turns the leather its characteristic white color.)
You might think something this intensely made would last years, but the lifespan of a Major League ball during a game today is about six pitches.
Players wore caps with team logos to keep the sun out of their eyes. During World War II, when many new products were being fabricated, they implemented durable high-quality helmets made of hard plastic.