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The Evolution of the Baseball Bat

  • Louisville Slugger is still the most popular bat
  • Rules for bat design started as early as 1859
  • Today there is a new hamdle design for bettewr grip.
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Resting bat in its natural habitat

The evolution of the baseball bat has seen a number of changes. Whether hitting a home run over the bleachers. Or attacking a mafia victim’s kneecaps, the baseball bat is a symbol of the US along with apple pie and napalm. Today the bat has a regulated size and length.

Introduction: The Evolution of the Baseball Bat

In the mid-eighteen hundreds it was normal for the batter to make their own bats. To that end there were probably any number of different styles of bat. On the whole ash was the favorite wood, though maple, willow and pine were also common. In 1859, new rules said that the bat should be no larger than two and a half inches in diameter, and no more than 42 inches in length. But the actual shape and weight were not covered. Many players carved their own bats or sometimes hired carpenters. But improvisation was the key. In 1865, after Philadelphia Athletics managed to break all their bats, so they used shovel handles to finish the match. As the game grew in popularity, sports goods makers started to take an interest, leading us into the age of the massed produced bat.

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The Louisville Slugger

The Louisville Slugger

To this day, the most popular name in baseball bats is the Louisville Slugger. In 1884, star player, Pete Browning broke a series of bats. Watching the game was a certain John Hillerich, who, along with his father, was a carpenter. Well, John invited Pete back to his fathers workshop after the match. The father made a bat there and then. And the very next day, Pete hit three for three with his new bat and the rest is history. Sounds like a person who you would have bet on with Bovada. News of this bat spread quickly and the Hillerich’s were swamped with business. At first the father was reluctant to start making bats, seeing this as just a passing fad. Luckily his youthful son was very persistent. They soon trademarked the bat with the famous logo, “Louisville Slugger”. By 1923, they were the country’s top manufacturer of baseball bats.

Evolution of the Baseball Bat: New Rules

By the late 1800’s, baseball was becoming a serious game. A newly formed baseball committee set about formulating a formal set of rules. These included that the bats could no longer have a flat end. Instead they increased the diameter by a quarter of an inch. They also made the maximum diameter two and three quarter inches. Thanks to online sports book news in the US, we know that the evolution of the baseball bat continued  over the next 100 years. There have been some oddities, like the “mushroom” bat from Spalding which was similar to Emile Kinst’s “banana bat”. Each features a curved batting area. The major difference between the bats of yore and those of today is that today’s are lighter and have thinner handles.

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 Resting baseball bats

The Standard Baseball Bat

Professional baseball rule-makers have deemed a standardized bat, with the following:

  • Round
  • Not over 2 3/4 inches (6.9 centimeters) in diameter
  • Not more than 42 inches (1 meter) in length
  • Made entirely from hardwood, except for an 18-inch-long (45.7-centimeter) section at the handle. This could have a covering of twine or a coat of granulated substance.

Aluminum Bats

In 1924, a certain William Shroyer produced and patented the first bat made from aluminum. In the 1970’s the company, Worth, made the first aluminum one-piece bat and one smaller one for the little league players. Later, Easton produced a much stronger bat. These became an instant hit and the metal bat was very popular. According to online sports book news in the US, in 1993, Easton manufactured the first titanium bat, and then in 1995, both Easton and Louisville Slugger introduced the lightest metal bats ever produced. During what’s known as the “dead ball era”, between 1900 and 1919, when the game revolved more around tactics than hitting, players held the bat higher up. But that was soon to change.

Baseball Bat Handle Design

The knob on the bat’s end was to stop the hand slipping off. But today’s game is about heavy hitting, with the grip as low as possible in order to gain as much leverage as possible. Recently, a new knob was invented. It sits at an angle and is on a slant so the batter’s hand doesn’t rub against it. This design reduces the possibility of injury. It also reduces the chances that a bat will be thrown by preventing the hand’s ulnar nerve from sending a “release” signal to the brain. It’s inventor is Grady Phelan. Since then the bat has been approved by the MLB. Mike Hessman of the New York Mets was the first player to use it in a big-league game.

Now that’s outta the way, lets make an online bet with Bovada, and then let’s all head down to the ball park.

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