Baseball Bat History by primusboy


									Baseball Bat History
When Baseball Bats were first introduced they were available in all
different shapes and sizes and were constructed of wood. In the mid
1800's baseball was a relatively young sport and baseball batters
actually made their own bats and experimented readily with different
options. They were interested in the different lengths, shapes, and
weights. During this particular time in history, players experimented
with different kinds of wood for their bats in order to improve their
hitting ability. They soon realized that Wagon Tongue wood was the best
for making baseball bats. While the transition to Wagon Tongue wood was
taking place, players also realized they could hit a ball much more
solidly with a round bat. While some players continued to make their own
bats, others had their bats made by a wood maker. Within the next four or
five years, the round bat became very popular. All baseball players were
using a round Wagon Tongue bat and the only flat surface bat on any team
was used strictly for bunting. The round-bat had definitely taken over.
Because of all the varied sizes and shapes available, a new regulation
was put in place in 1859 by the Professional National Association of
Baseball Players Governing Committee that voted in favor of the first
limitation on bat size that stated bats could no longer be larger than
2.5 inches in diameter, although they could be of any length. Ten years
later in 1869, another rule was added that stated the baseball bat could
be no longer than 42 inches in length, the same maximum length allowed in
the game today. At this time there was no rule regarding the shape of the
bat. In fact, some players sometimes used bats with flat surfaces when
While the different players had a chance to digest the new rule of bats,
the various woodworkers were trying to manufacture the most popular bat.
In 1879, after considerable experimenting with various styles, it was
said that long and slender is the common style of bats. In addition, the
handle had a carved knob for better control. Times have changed with the
evolution of new baseball bat materials. In fact, wood bats are rare at
most levels other than the pros. The majority of wood baseball bats today
are made from northern white ash harvested from Pennsylvania or New York.
White ash is used because of its hardness, durability, strength, weight
and feel. Trees that provide the lumber for baseball bats are often 50
years old, and of all the lumber harvested, the top 10 per cent is saved
for pro bats. Maple baseball bats have recently become popular largely as
a result of Barry Bond's amazing 73 home runs hit using maple bats in
2001. For years, maple was too heavy to make an effective bat. Recent
technology in drying wood has created bats with lower moisture content,
which are light enough to make effective baseball bats. Rock or Sugar
Maple bats are preferred. Maple bats cost more than white ash, but they
often last longer as a result of their high strength. Several companies
have recently introduced bamboo baseball bats. Since bamboo shoots are
hollow, unlike a standard tree that a wood bat is made of, bamboo bats
are made by pressing bamboo strips into billets, and then turning these
billets into bats. Bamboo is an extremely strong wood, with a tensile
strength greater than that of steel.
The introduction of aluminum baseball bats in the 1970's forever changed
the game of baseball at every level but the professional leagues.
Aluminum bats are lighter, stronger and can hit a baseball significantly
further than wooden bats. This is a result of not only lighter bats, but
also the trampoline effect that occurs when a ball hits an aluminum bat.
As time has progressed, so has the technology put into aluminum bats.
Aluminum in bats today is aircraft grade and as scientists have developed
stronger alloys, they have used them to make bats both stronger and
lighter. Budget aluminum bats can be purchased for a nominal price but
are made of aluminum that is significantly weaker than the high end bats.
In recent years, bat makers have introduced innovations such as the
double-wall bats (containing a wall within a wall), carbon fiber bats,
and bats that use a cryogenic manufacturing process. Some of the super
high end bats are so thin that they only last a few games before they are
literally dented out of shape! Graphite and Titanium lined aluminum bats
are another recent addition to the industry. Graphite and titanium are
both lightweight and strong, allowing for increased swing speed and
larger sweet spots on the bats.
Baseball Bats have a significant and interesting story and these very
tools of the game have made Baseball the very favorite pastime that it is
Bob Spencer

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