What Type of Wood Are MLB Bats Made of?
MLB fans are well aware that the game is about much more than just a showcase of tremendous athleticism. Being a spectator at a big league game is a feast for the eyes, ears, and stomach. You’ll catch a whiff of popcorn and freshly mowed grass. The characteristic crack of a bat will also be heard, which is one of the most well-known noises in baseball. So, what is the source of this phenomenon? Let’s have a look at the materials used to construct Major League Baseball bats.
The history of the MLB bat
According to the Smithsonian Institution, players created their own bats that were tailored to their individual game throughout baseball’s early years. Bats were often larger and heavier back then, weighing an average of 50 ounces. That is far heavier than the current average of 30 ounces. Today’s players want to use lighter bats in order to maximize the speed with which they can get their bat into the strike zone when they are batting. When playing baseball in the past, players would “choke up” on the bat, leaving space between their hands and the grip.
Here’s what MLB bats are not made of
The following attributes are allowed: ” src=” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; picture-in-picture; picture-in-picture;” allowfullscreen=””> Metal is one of the materials that college and little-league baseball teams utilize to create bats, despite the fact that aluminum is not used at the Major League Baseball level. The professional league has a strong prohibition barring the use of aluminum baseball bats. For starters, it’s quite risky.
MLB players are among the world’s greatest athletes, and they represent the best of the best.
College and small league teams mostly employ them since they are significantly less expensive than the alternatives.
What kind of wood are MLB bats made of?
At a team exercise, the New York Mets’ Yoenis Cespedes examines his bat against the wall | Photograph courtesy of Mark Brown/Getty Images Wooden baseball bats are used in Major League Baseball. Maple, ash, and birch are the three most commonly used species of wood for the construction of these bats. Each species of wood has its own set of pros and downsides.
Maple baseball bats
Maple is the densest of the woods, which makes it both hard and durable. Both of these characteristics are desired in a Major League Baseball bat. As a result of the bat’s density, it produces greater pop. Due to the fact that maple is a diffuse-porous wood, it has a tendency to hold together when subjected to high-intensity impact. In other words, it’s less likely to shatter or break during a baseball game, which is especially important if a batter uses the bat on a regular basis.
The places where the ball lands grow more durable with time. The disadvantage of maple is that it may accumulate a significant amount of moisture during its lifetime, making it heavier. This might have a negative impact on the hitter’s bat speed.
Ash baseball bats
Since maple is the densest of all the woods, it is also the most difficult and long-lasting. Baseball bats should have both of these characteristics. As a result of the bat’s density, it has greater pop. When confronted to high-intensity impact, maple’s diffuse-porous nature helps it to hold together. In other words, it’s less likely to shatter or break during a baseball game, which is particularly important if a batter uses the bat on a regular basis. Durability is increased in the areas that the ball lands on.
Bat speed might be affected as a result of this.
Birch baseball bats
Birch is yet another sort of wood that is used to make bat houses. The softness of the material contributes to its flexibility. Despite this, birch bats are known for being quite resilient. They have the hardness of maple bats and the flexibility of ash bats in one package. The primary vulnerability of birch bats stems from their primary strength: their softness. When the bat is used for the first time, it is possible that dents will appear in it. Players often need to break in birch bats before they can be used effectively in a game environment, in order to ensure that the bat hardens before usage in a game setting.
Fans of the iconic “crack” may rejoice, as one of the game’s signature noises will continue to be heard for as long as the game is being actively played.
Which Tree Wood Make the Best Bat?
Even though it was an unusually wet and truncated Opening Day in Washington, D.C. last week, we’re nonetheless excited to have baseball back in town (even if it didn’t go exactly as we had hoped). We initially uploaded this when we won the World Series, and we wanted to share it again in honor of Nationals Opening Day and the start of what will hopefully be a short, but beautiful, season. It was our gritty, homegrown Washington Nationals that won the World Series a few weeks ago! We rejoiced when they won, we celebrated with a parade, and we’re going to continue to celebrate by taking a look at the critical role trees have in the game of baseball in the future.
- Bats, like guitars, may be fashioned from a range of various types of wood, each with its own set of characteristics, just as different trees have distinct attributes.
- Non-wooden bats have the ability to smash the ball more harder and further than wooden bats, and several leagues are now putting limitations on their ability to do so in order to protect the players.
- So, what kinds of trees are responsible for the production of bats?
- The hardness and durability of a material are closely proportional to its density.
- Denser wood is also more expensive to manufacture.
- While you are unlikely to plant it for the purpose of harvesting its wood for bats, you will be able to appreciate its spectacular autumn color, the money you saved, and the goodwill generated by re-treeing D.C.
- Prior to the popularity of maple bats, the majority of conventional wood bats were constructed of ash.
Ash is the lightest type of wood bat available, and it provides an outstanding balance of strength and forgiveness because to its flexible feel.
As ash trees across North America are being ravaged by the invasive pest known as the Emerald Ash Borer, take advantage of this opportunity while you can.
), which is a low-maintenance shade tree that can withstand just about everything.
A player may produce more whip and generate more bat speed with this wood since it is softer than other woods, and this helps them to play with greater flexibility.
When you plant a River Birchin in your yard, you’ll be reminded of Nats Stadium, which is located near the Anacostia River.
The image is courtesy of John George.
Generally speaking, throughout the course of the previous 20 years, maple bats have risen to become the most preferred type of wood used by players in the top leagues.
Maple bats account for around 75 percent to 80 percent of all bats used at the big league level, according to the American Baseball Association.
Pine tar (which is derived from the stumps and roots of pine trees) is a brownish-black, sticky material that some baseball players choose to apply to the handle of their bats in order to strengthen their grip and prevent the bat from flying out of their hands when they are hitting the ball.
It also helps players to have a more relaxed grip, which might result in greater pop when they make contact with the ball. The image at the top is courtesy of Getty Images.
Play Ball: What Are Baseball Bats Made Of?
The history of the baseball bat is a fascinating story to follow. Today’s baseball players swing gorgeous custom-made baseball bats for several hundred dollars, but in the olden days players had to manufacture their own baseball bats out of wood and trial and error, which took a lot of time and perseverance. But what precisely is used to make baseball bats these days? Check out the facts and background on baseball bat materials provided in the section below.
Wooden Baseball Bats
It wasn’t until the 1850s that baseball had become an established sport, and players were still constructing their own bats from scratch. Because of this, players tried a number of different forms, sizes, and materials, with wood (namely ash and maple) being the most common material. When the famed Louisville Slugger company was founded in 1884, it transformed the world of baseball forever, and by 1923, it had risen to become the nation’s leading maker of baseball bats. The Smithsonian Institution provided the information.
Following the introduction of the Louisville Slugger, the world of baseball experienced a rise in the number of restrictions. Bats were no longer allowed to be flat at the end, and their diameters were all had to be enlarged by a quarter of an inch to accommodate this change.
While the wooden baseball bat remained popular for the most of the nineteenth century, aluminum baseball bats finally took over as the standard. And, despite the fact that the first metal bat was manufactured in 1924, it was not until the 1970s that metal bats were used in baseball. The popularity of aluminum bats increased as a result, with major brand names including as Louisville Slugger, Easton, and Worth all offering titanium bats in the late 1990s.
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What Are Baseball Bats Made of? (Youth, College, MLB)
Baseball equipment is divided into two categories: the bat and the ball. The bat is considered to be the most fundamental piece of equipment since it is the most fundamental part of the game. The obvious requirement for hitting the ball in question is a bat; as the game progressed, the bats that were in charge of putting the ball into play also progressed in sophistication. So, what exactly is the composition of baseball bats? When playing at the highest levels of professional baseball, only bats manufactured from a single piece of solid wood are permitted, although in most types of amateur baseball, aluminum bats are permitted, with the exception of few amateur leagues that exclusively allow wood bats.
As vital as it is for a batter to have the correct bat for the job, there are a number of rules and standards that must be followed in order to maintain a healthy balance between hitters and pitchers. So let’s have a look at what they are in detail.
What Are the Dimensions of a Professional Baseball Bat?
The laws of baseball permit a bat to be of any size and weight, however there are certain restrictions on how long and thick a wood bat may be due to the nature of the game. A smooth, round stick constructed of a single continuous piece of wood that cannot be more than 2 5/8″ in diameter at any point or more than 42″ in length is required by Major League Baseball (MLB) regulations. Additionally, the end of the bat may be hollowed out, or “cupped,” to a length of up to 1 14″. The reason for this is that a thicker baseball bat should theoretically allow a batter to hit more pitches, which is why practically all bats are made to their maximum thickness.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn routinely used bats that were only 32 14″ long, in compared to the standard size, which for most Major League Baseball bats sits between 33 and 34 inches in length.
When it comes to weight, there are no constraints, thus it is not uncommon to find a broad range of weights in Major League Baseball bats.
However, lighter bats have become more popular since then, with the aforementioned 32oz being a popular weight and 33oz MLB bats also becoming more frequent.
How Big Are Amateur Baseball Bats?
All of the bats that we discussed in the last chapter belonged to the greatest of the best: players in the Major League Baseball organization. Naturally, the great majority of baseball players do not require the custom-made 34″ 33oz Louisville Sluggers that the major leaguers use to hit their home runs. In amateur baseball, bats normally range in length from 24 to 34 inches, depending on the age group, and are virtually always several ounces lighter in weight than their length (referred to as a “drop” in the industry).
- We’ll get into the specific laws and regulations that apply to aluminum/metal alloy bats later in this section.
- Baseball bats made entirely of aluminum must not be more than three ounces lighterthan their length (referred to as “drop three” or “-3” in the game’s official rules).
- It’s actually rather straightforward, to be honest.
- Bats used in lower-level baseball are often shorter, but they also have significantly bigger drops, owing to the fact that many young children lack the muscular strength necessary to wield a heavy baseball bat.
- As an added bonus, Louisville Slugger gives an illustration to be used as a general reference for selecting the appropriate length of bat for youth baseball players.
- As a result, you’ll see bats that are quite tiny at the most basic levels of childhood baseball, but bats that are comparable in size to professional models at the highest levels of high school baseball.
With so many possibilities available, though, it’s simple to pick one that’s appropriate for every particular player.
Restrictions for Youth Baseball Bats
In order to have balls fly off aluminum/metal alloy bats at faster rates than they would off wooden bats, producers may readily adjust the composition of these bats. However, in order to guarantee that metal bats are safe to use, a number of limits have been put in place owing to competitive and safety concerns. The NCAA ruled in 2011 that all bats used in college competition must be certified to have passed Bat-Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCR) requirements, while the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) decreed the same thing in 2012 for high school competition.
- The term “BBCOR” refers to the measurement of the so-called “trampoline effect” of the ball right out of the bat.
- In part because most traditional wood bats do not have the same amount of give as pre-BBCOR bats, balls do not fly as quickly or as far off of them as they should.
- As a result, bats that were far less effective than earlier models were produced, resulting in some of the lowest offensive figures in collegiate history.
- BBCOR stamps read “BBCOR.50,” whereas thumb-sized labels on the barrel of USA Baseball-approved bats read either 1.05, 1.10, or 1.15, depending on the model.
Different Types of Baseball Bats
For the most part, bats may be divided into two categories: those made of wood and those made of aluminum. While wood bats are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, there are significant variations between actual aluminum bats and what we refer to as aluminum bats, which these days are primarily composite bats (see below). Typically, wooden bats are constructed of white ash, birch, or maple, with bamboo being a more recent addition. Wood composite bats, which are composed of two distinct kinds of wood, are also available.
When it comes to wood bats, the most significant considerations are whether the wood is strong enough to resist the stress of striking a baseball and whether it is light enough to swing and create power properly.
As a result, the dozens and dozens of different types of wood available are reduced to four feasible options: ash, birch, maple, and bamboo, among others. Hickory was formerly a popular wood for furniture in the early twentieth century, but it fell out of favor because it was too heavy.
It is well-known for having an extremely hard wood, which causes balls to leap off the surface more frequently.
Although ash bats are noted for being more flexible than maple bats, continuous usage will produce a separation of grain, which will result in balls not flying as far as they would with maple bats.
As a general rule, birch bats are the best of both worlds: they are harder than ash bats while still being more flexible than maple bats.
Bamboo Baseball Bats
Bamboo differs from other plants in that the trees are hollow, necessitating the need to be pressed into strips. After that, the strips must be squeezed together to make the shape of a baseball bat. This results in bats that are extremely robust, but they are also not one continuous piece, which is why they are not permitted in Major League Baseball and are only permitted at juvenile levels with a BBCOR label. Additionally, there is a composite wood alternative, which is a more recent addition to the market.
- Occasionally, they are strengthened with plastic as well as metal.
- When it comes to non-wood bats, the term “aluminum” is sometimes used to describe to them altogether, albeit as we previously stated, this is somewhat of a misnomer.
- In order to build a bat that became stronger with repeated usage, the composition of metal bats evolved from fundamental aluminum to carbon fiber and Kevlar, among other materials.
- Nowadays, because of the way bats are manufactured, it is hard to tell which bats include which components since various manufacturers use different formulae to create a bat that is safe, sturdy, doesn’t wear out soon, and is also cost-effective.
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How baseball bat is made
When baseball was initially played, bats were used to hit the ball, and sticks were utilized to hit the ball. Players either whittled their own bats or purchased them from a wood turner by the time the game was formally recognized as a team sport in the early twentieth century. The league’s standards, established in 1863, were broad: any sort of wood was permitted, and the bats had to be spherical, with the thickest section not exceeding 2.5 inches (6.5 cm) in diameter. There were no constraints on the length of the piece.
- Because to the heavy weight, home runs were extremely rare.
- Aaron’s bat was 35 inches (89 cm) in length and 33 ounces (979 g) in weight when he hit the ball.
- There are no limitations on the amount of weight you can carry.
- Several major league players have attempted to employ a strengthened bat during the course of their careers.
- A game between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox in July of 1994 resulted in Belle’s bat being seized.
- It, on the other hand, vanished overnight.
- The temporary suspension of Belle was granted despite the complaints of the community.
Founded in Kentucky in 1886, HillerichSons was the first firm to devote its whole operation to the manufacture of baseball bats.
A baseball game in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1884, during which a player named Pete “Old Gladiator” Browning shattered the bat of John “Bud” Hillerich, the son of the business’s founder, occurred, according to corporate mythology.
Browning blasted three hits in three at-bats with the new bat the next day during the team’s game against the Cardinals.
Bud’s father was persuaded to expand the family business into bat production as a result of the numerous requests for custom-made bats from other players that followed.
Frank Bradsby, a sports goods entrepreneur, joined the company in 1911, and the company became HillerichBradsby.
After he retired from baseball after playing in 50 World Series games for the New York Giants and St.
Ted Williams, the legendary slugger for the Boston Red Sox, soaked his bats in alcohol to keep them cool during his numerous hitting streaks.
Pin knots in the barrels of his bats were a personal preference of the famous Babe Ruth. In the past, ash trees that were forty to fifty years old were utilized to produce baseball bats because of their strength, flexibility, and lightweight characteristics.
Baseball bats have traditionally been made from ash trees harvested in Pennsylvania and upstate New York and shaped into bats. The ash is prized for its strength, flexibility, and light weight, among other characteristics. When trees develop in thick clusters, they are shielded from the wind and compelled to grow straight up towards the sunshine, which is what makes them the greatest. A minimum of forty to fifty years of development is necessary to achieve the desired trunk diameter of 14-16 inches in an ash tree (36-41 cm).
- In order to identify trees that have attained the appropriate height and width, a forester sprays them with paint to identify them.
- The top branches are cut off and left in the forest for future use.
- The logs are examined at the mill for knots and uneven grain distribution.
- The logs that make the cut are rolled to a hydraulic wedge, which slices them into splits of 40 inches (101 cm) in length.
- 1 A mill worker inserts each split on an automated lathe, which spins the wood while shaving the rough edges away. For the second time, the billets, as they are now known, are tested for straightness of grain. Six-sided bundles of billets are formed by stacking and strapping them together. Workers apply a preventive preservative to the ends of the wood to prevent it from fraying or decaying. It is then transported to the lumberyard of a bat maker, where they are packaged together.
Seasoning the billets
- 2 Because they still contain sap and gum when they arrive at the lumberyard, the billets that arrive at the lumberyard are classified as “green” wood. It is necessary to remove the sap and gum from the wood before it can be strengthened through an air-drying process known as “seasoning.” The billets are simply stacked in the yard for a period ranging from six months to two years in order to achieve the proper seasoning.
Bat turners are the factory employees that are responsible for creating the finished product. They are highly talented artisans that have received specialized training in order to do the complex task. When a customer places an order, the bat turner picks a billet from the storage bin and uses it to build a duplicate of the model that was requested.
Shaping and sanding the billets
- 3 After the billets have dried fully, they are weighed and quality-inspected to ensure that they meet specifications. Each billet is placed on an automated lathe, where it is shaped into a crude baseball bat form with a narrower neck by a skilled technician. The bat shapes are sanded, inspected a second time, and then sorted according to their respective weights.
Matching the bat to the model
- 4 The bat maker maintains a model of each bat produced, which is normally recognized by the name of the baseball player who placed the first purchase. An order placed by a player or club may look something like this: six Johnny Bench models, ten Hank Aarons, and four Mickey Mantles. Bat turners are the factory employees that are responsible for creating the finished product. They are highly talented artisans that have received specialized training in order to do the complex task. A billet is selected from the storage bin when an order is placed by the bat turner to meet the weight and length requirements of the order. The billet is mounted on a lathe for turning. The model bat is stored on a rack that is mounted above and behind the lathe. The billet is rotated slowly on the lathe by the bat turner, which sands and shapes it to be an exact reproduction of the original model. Every 1-2 inches (2.54-5 cm), the bat turner measures and weights the billet until it is ideal
- He then repeats the process several times.
Branding, staining, and varnishing the bats
- 5 The bat is embossed with the company’s logo as well as the signature of the player who is linked with the particular model. Approximately one-quarter of a turn away from the sweet point is where the trademark is located (the ideal spot where the ball should strike the bat). If the order specifies that the bat be stained, the bat is immersed in a staining vat. Once this is completed, all of the bats are varnished, put into boxes, and transported to the player or team.
Baseball bats undergo repetitive impact testing in order to ensure that their structural integrity is maintained. In certain manufacturers, compressed-air cannons are used to fire baseballs at specific spots on the baseball bat. Accelerometers detect the velocity of the hit while high-speed cameras film the event. In other plants, robotic arms smack the balls off over-sized golf tees with the force of a baseball bat. Inspectors gather information on the frequency of bending and the trajectory of the balls as they leave the bat.
Although producers have said that the quantity of ash trees is not diminishing, the development of composite and aluminum bats continues. The wood composite bat is normally composed of a plastic foam core that is surrounded by woven layers of synthetic fibers that have been saturated with resin. One of the most recent inventions is a bat constructed of “lanxide,” a ceramic-reinforced material that is lightweight and durable. The resistance to breaking of non-wood bats is cited as a reason for their popularity.
When it comes to amateur and college base-ball players, composite and aluminum bats are common choices; but, if they want to play in the top leagues, they must utilize all-wood bats.
It seems unlikely that Major League Baseball will ever allow anything other than pure wood bats to be used in the league. The sport is entrenched in history, and the adoption of aluminum or composite materials would have a significant impact on the records now on the books.
Where To Learn More
Jan Arnow is the author of this work. The Making of a Baseball Bat with the Louisville Slugger Company. Pantheon Books published the book in 1984.
The article, “High Tech Up at Bat,” appeared in the May 1992 issue of Popular Science, on pages 108-11 and 122-24. “Romance of the Bat,” by Joe Curreri, appeared in Antiques and Collecting Hobbies, May 1992, p. 26. Greg Pesky’s article “Expanded Coverage” appeared in the June 1993 issue of Sporting News. A new material from Lanxide demonstrates the company’s tenacity, according to Sports Goods Business, which published the article on page 36. —MaryF.McNulty
What Type of Wood Are MLB Bats Made Of?
The crack of a baseball bat hitting a baseball is one of the most identifiable noises in all of major league sports, and it is especially noticeable in baseball. In the ears of baseball fans, the crack is like listening to music. It has been referred to as the “signature sound” of professional baseball. But what is the source of that sound? Let’s have a look at the materials used to construct Major League Baseball bats.
History of the MLB Baseball Bat
Baseball players used to make their own bats back in the 1800s, according to legend. Bats may be constructed in whatever way the players desired. Thus, bats were frequently constructed from scrap wood that happened to be lying about the house. Bats were frequently fashioned from wagon tongues and included distinctive patterns and materials that were customized to the player’s personal preference. Baseball players began seeking the assistance of skilled woodworkers in the mid-1800s to assist them in the design and shaping of baseball bats around this time.
Several different types of wood, including hickory, ash, and maple, were used in the experiment.
Type of Wood in MLB Bats
A variety of various types of wood are used to construct the wooden baseball bats used in current Major League Baseball. The following are the most popular varieties of wood used in Major League Baseball bats, as well as the advantages of each:
Ash Wood Baseball Bats
Ash was one of the earliest species of wood to be utilized in the manufacture of conventional baseball bats, and it was one of the most popular. Many Major League Baseball players continue to use Ash bats because they have greater flexibility, which boosts bat speed. The disadvantage of Ash baseball bats is that they are ring-porous, which means that they dry up with time, which might result in breaking.
Maple Wood Baseball Bats
When a ball is struck with a maple bat, the bat is rigid and does not provide much flexibility. Given the fact that maple wood is robust and dense, it can withstand greater power when struck. It should come as no surprise that sluggers frequently chose maple bats for their arsenal.
The density of maple wood means that bats made of maple are less likely to crack or shatter than other types of wood. The disadvantage of maple bats is that they can absorb moisture over time, which causes the bat to get heavier and the swing speed to diminish.
Birch Wood Baseball Bats
Birch is another another prevalent wood that is utilized in the production of bats. Birch is a soft wood that is nevertheless inherently resilient; it falls between between ash and maple in terms of hardness. Birch bats are commonly used to blend the toughness of maple bats with the flexibility of ash bats to create a more versatile bat. The disadvantage of birch is that it is soft. The shaft of the bat is frequently dented as a result of hitting it.
Other types of Bat Materials
Bats constructed of materials other than wood are permitted to be used at the high school and college levels of baseball if they meet the requirements of the Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR). Because they will always carry a BBCOR certification mark, it is easy to identify bats that are BBCOR-compliant. When playing at a level below high school, the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) and the United States Baseball Federation (USBF) are the official bat certifications.
The following are examples of materials that are permitted:
Bamboo Baseball Bats
Bamboo bats were initially brought into the world in Asia, where bamboo grows in abundance. Although bamboo might be considered a kind of wood, bamboo bats are not currently authorized in Major League Baseball. Bats made of bamboo are more durable and lighter than bats made of other types of wood. When compared to other types of wood, bamboo is also more effective in stress absorption.
Wood Composite Baseball Bats
Composite wood bats are not permitted in Major League Baseball due to the fact that they are not constructed entirely of wood. Composite wood bats may offer an edge over typical wood bats due to the fact that they can be manufactured to have certain characteristics. The reduced weight of composite wood bats enables younger players to gain an advantage over their opponents in a game of baseball.
Aluminum/Metal Alloy Baseball Bats
Aluminum bats are made of aluminum and are used in baseball. Steel bats, also known as metal alloy bats or aluminum alloy bats, are made from a combination of aluminum and other components to form a metal alloy. Bats made of aluminum are lighter in weight than wood bats and are easier to swing than wooden bats. Aluminum bats are extensively used in several sports, including minor league, high school, and college baseball. Aluminum bats, due to their light weight, allow younger players to compensate for their lack of strength by increasing the speed with which they swing the bat.
Composite Baseball Bats
Composite bats are made out of a variety of different materials used together. Their lightweight and easy-to-swing design is intended to make them as convenient as possible. Specifically designed for young players who are still establishing their strength and swing mechanics, composite bats are an excellent choice. The fact that they are lightweight allows them to have a larger barrel length. A bigger “sweet area” is created, which benefits the bats.
Hybrid Baseball Bats
Designed to combine the advantages of aluminum and composite baseball bats, hybrid baseball bats are becoming increasingly popular.
Hybrid bats combine the best characteristics of both materials while removing the majority of their disadvantages. Look at some of our top-rated BBCOR drop 3 high school and college baseball bats below. View our top-rated kid baseball bats for boys and girls.
Baseball Bat Material Comparison and Consideration
All bat materials have their own set of benefits and limitations that distinguish them from one another. Purchasing sports equipment is a significant financial commitment, and the choice should be approached with caution and deliberation. Quality baseball equipment should be sturdy and last for a long period of time in order for the investment to be worthwhile. Take into consideration working with a coach to choose the most appropriate sort of bat material for your own personal play style. If one batter finds a solution that works, it may not be the greatest answer for another.
What kind of wood are baseball bats made from?
Unquestionably the most recognizable piece of athletic equipment on the globe, a wooden baseball bat is made of wood. But, what sort of wood is used to make baseball bats, and which type is the best to utilize, remains a mystery. The most often utilized woods in baseball bats are ash, maple, birch, bamboo, and a composite type approach, with the latter being the most popular. In this post, we will take a look at the many types of wood that can be used to make baseball bats, as well as some recommendations on which bats are the most appropriate for you to use.
Maple versus Ash, the two most popular type of wooden Baseball bat?
It is unquestionably the case that the two most common varieties of wooden baseball bats are Ash and Maple.
Maple is a wood that is exceedingly durable and dense. The hardness of the surface of a Maple Baseball bat is approximately 20% more than that of an Ash Baseball bat. What exactly does this mean? To put it simply, the harder the surface, the quicker the ball will bounce out of the bat. One of the reasons maple has become so widely regarded as a go-to bat is because of its versatility. It also didn’t hurt that major leaguers like Barry Bonds used to use Maple, which was a nice touch. On the technical side, according to Hitting World, Maple has a finer grain than Ash and is hence more durable.
As a result of the grain of the wood being intact and the hardness of maple wood, a bat with less flex is produced.
As hard as maple wood is, ash wood is a pliable material. When a baseball is struck with an Ash bat, the ball virtually trampolines off the bat and into the stands. One advantage of using an Ash bat is that the sweet spot appears to be larger because of the additional flex. Although ash is known to shatter more easily over time, it is also known to split when struck unevenly, as seen in the accompanying video. However, while Ash bats splinter more quickly than Maple bats, they do not divide in the same way as Maple bats do.
A second point made by Doug Bernier, the founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com, is that ash granules begin to flake at an alarmingly early stage, and your bat will ultimately lose all solidity in the barrel.
That implies that even if your bat is still in good condition, the barrel may be rendered virtually ineffective by the impact.
The best of the rest
When it comes to baseball bats, Birch takes a little bit of the best of both worlds and makes it his own. It possesses the flexibility of Ash and the durability of Maple in its wood, making it a good choice for furniture. In other words, it is a tough wood that will not break in two when struck. When it comes to picking your new bat, having a flexible bat that won’t break down like Ash is a major plus point. You should keep in mind that if you acquire a Birch bat fresh new, it will need to be broken in before you can use it properly.
Bamboo bats are a relatively new addition to the marketplace. Their construction begins with the cutting of Bamboo wood into strips, followed by the joining of the strips to form billets, and finally the construction of a bat. Because the bats are not made of a single piece of wood, they do not hit as hard as a traditional wood bat. In comparison to other woods such as ash, maple, and birch, several baseball players have observed that a bamboo bat has a notable lack of pop.
Consequently, as you can see, the three most common types of wood utilized are ash, maple, and birch. In addition, if you really want to pick nits, Bamboo is a grass, not a bat, which makes it a better choice.
How Baseball Bats Work
When it came to making bats, early amateur baseball players cut or whittled their own, or paid carpenters to create them from slabs of various hardwoods, but they were also known to improvise when the going got tough. During a high-scoring 1865 game, the Philadelphia Athletics were forced to use a shovel handle to finish their at-bats after breaking all of their bats in the process. It wasn’t until the late 1800s that sports goods manufacturers, seeing the growing popularity of the game, began to mass-produce bats in large quantities.
“Bud” Hillerich attended a game against his hometown team, the Louisville Eclipse, in the year 1884.
The legendaryLouisville Sluggerbrand was established the next day after he used it to get three hits.
- With a diameter of little more than 2 3/4 inches (6.9 cm)
- Its whole length cannot exceed 42 inches (1 meter)
- A piece at the handle that is 18 inches long (45.7 centimeters) and might be wrapped with string or coated with a granular material is the only part that is not totally made of hardwood.
No maximum weight was specified by the authors of the article. As a result, some early would-be power hitters used bats that looked like tree trunks to smash the ball hard. In addition, the sort of wood utilized in bats has changed over the centuries. In the beginning, bat producers occasionally used hickory, but they ultimately switched to white ash, which was lighter and more durable than hickory. After the San Francisco Giants’ Barry Bonds used a maple bat to set a single-season home run record with 73 home runs in 2001, maple became extremely popular among baseball players.
However, maple bats have a greater tendency to fracture than ash bats, resulting in a whipping action that propels the ball farther.
For example, although Shoeless Joe Jackson used a single bat for 13 seasons in the early 1900s, today’s professionals seldom get more than a month of usage out of a bat.
Three types of woods used for custom pro wood bats
Maple Advantages: Maple is a highly thick wood, which makes it one of the ideal species to use for wood bats because of its density. The hardness and durability of a material are closely proportional to its density. The denser the wood used in the construction of a bat, the more durable the bat will be and the more pop it will have in its performance. Furthermore, maple is a wood with a dispersed porosity (close-grain). The qualities of diffuse-porous wood are such that it will remain intact even when subjected to high-intensity impact.
- As a result, the more you hit with a maple bat, the more the grains will compact and push together, increasing the density of the grain.
- Maple has the toughest surface of the three principal species of wood generally used in the production of wood bats, and it is also the most expensive.
- The weight of the bat increases as it absorbs more liquid.
- When it comes to striking the baseball off the end of the bat or close to the tip, maple is a hard, solid wood that is less forgiving than ash and birch, which are both more forgiving.
- Many players claim that ash is more flexible than maple, and that this lets them to “whip” the barrel through the striking zone, resulting in increased bat speed.
- Cons: In order to be used for wood bats, ash must also be dried to a very low moisture level before it can be utilized.
- Because of the qualities of ash, the bat’s skin will continue to dry out during its whole life span.
It is also possible to cause the bat to peel and splinter by hitting off the face grain (the grain where the logo is put).
This will result in flaking and splintering, as well as a decrease in the durability of the bat.
This adaptability may allow a player to generate more whip and bat speed as a result of his or her abilities.
Similarly to Maple, Birch has a curly grain, which makes it more durable when the bat comes into repeated contact with the baseball in the same location of the bat.
Birch bats are not susceptible to fracturing like ash bats.
This is normal.
The surface hardness of a new birch bat is not nearly as hard as the surface hardness of a new maple bat, which may result in somewhat slower exit speeds than with a new maple bat.
This is owing to the wood’s hardness, durability, and general performance, all of which contribute to its popularity.
Maple bats account for around 75 percent to 80 percent of all bats used at the big league level, according to the American Baseball Association. Despite the fact that ash and birch bats have some advantages, most players prefer the performance of a maple bat over that of any other type.
Which Material Produces the Best Baseball Bat?
Which item of baseball equipment is the most important to a baseball player? Do you think it’s his fielding glove? His batting glove, perhaps? Should he wear his baseball turf shoes or his cleats? What about his sunglasses? Is it the baseball bat that’s the problem? Is it even possible to provide a response to such a question? There’s no denying that it’s a highly subjective matter. There is seldom a single correct response to a question like this in athletics, just as there is rarely a single correct solution in most disputes.
So let us narrow our focus to a more particular question: What kind of material is used to make the greatest baseball bat?
Again, this is most likely not the case; thus, we will examine the advantages and disadvantages of bats made of wood, metal, and composite materials, which are the three groups of materials from which bats are most usually constructed.
For a long time, wood was the only material used to construct baseball bats.
Many of them even prefer the performance of wood bats, despite the fact that the material is temperamental and that wood bats have a limited “lifespan.” Traditionally, wooden bats have been produced from maple, ash, or birch, but today, some bats are created from bamboo, hickory, or even composite woods, which are light and sturdy, but are not permitted for use in all jurisdictions.
- This makes controlling and using a maple bat difficult, and as a result, it needs a great deal of power to do it.
- Some players choose ash because wood is lighter and more flexible than maple, and these characteristics make it a popular choice.
- Despite the fact that ash does not generate bats that hit as hard as maple, it is still a popular choice.
- A excellent balance between the hard-hitting nature of maple and the suppleness and responsiveness of ash is achieved by using birch bats in baseball.
- For starters, using a wood bat forces you to pay special attention to your swing speed and your control over the bat, which may be quite beneficial.
- The fact that composite and metal bats may be manufactured extremely sensitive is true, but hardwood bats take sensitivity to an entirely different level.
- Their merciless nature can also be seen in their response to mishits, which may be read by the player in the form of unpleasant, stinging feedback – or when the bat shatters.
- Because wood will crack if it is used aggressively, it is necessary to improve your bat speed and control under regulated circumstances.
Wood bats are not inexpensive, and shattering one is more than just a source of embarrassment. Furthermore, wood is used by the professionals, which is an added advantage. Getting started with your training today is highly recommended if you have serious professional objectives.
In fact, the disadvantages of wooden bats should be more or less obvious based on what we’ve described as their advantages, but there are a few more to consider in this context. Before we go any further, let’s get the obvious one out of the way. Wood is a hard material to work with, and wood bats will ultimately shatter if they have been abused or mistreated in any way. Another disadvantage of wooden bats, according to some players, is that they do not provide the same level of batting performance as high-tech composite and alloy bats.
- It is absolutely inferior, which is essentially the reason why professionals utilize it in the first place.
- It goes without saying that anyone whose league requires him to utilize a wood bat should do so as well.
- There is a great deal of material available that supports this point of view.
- Additionally, there are aluminum baseball bats available in addition to wooden baseball bats.
- They are durable, trustworthy, and reasonably priced, and some newer alloy bats deliver exceptional performance.
- Taken together, let’s take a look at some of the advantages, or strengths to use a better term, of aluminum and other alloy bats, starting with their light weight.
- If you have a metal bat in your possession, there is little, if anything, that you can do to force it to give up or inflict major damage to it.
- You can still play or at least practice with an alloy bat even if you manage to imprint a dent or ding into the surface of its alloy construction.
- As a result, they are reasonably priced entry-level bats that players can learn and practice with without having to deal with the annoying finicky nature of wood bats.
- You may buy a brand new alloy bat and receive almost exactly the performance that the manufacturer claims it will provide straight out of the box.
This results in bats with a diverse variety of characteristics. Additionally, because alloy bats can be created with greater compressibility than wood bats, they can be designed to perform better and deliver faster batted balls than wood bats.
However, despite the fact that alloy bats may be designed to perform at a greater level than wood bats while also being more inexpensive and requiring no break-in time, there is not all good news when it comes to them. The fact that alloy bats with longer barrels are difficult to manufacture is due to the fact that they would rapidly become too heavy to be utilized in a practical manner. The result is that they often have smaller sweet spots than comparable composite or carbon fiber bats, however this is not always the case.
- This will vary according on the bat, with wood being the most noticeable, but it is often noticeable nonetheless.
- There are some quite helpful alloy bats that make use of some incredible technologies; it is possible that there will be more composite bats that do the same.
- Additionally, due of their virtually indestructible nature, alloy bats are a wonderful choice for some beginners to utilize for their first few practices.
- Aside from that, players who want immediate performance and are not interested in investing the time necessary to break in a composite bat may choose for metal bats instead.
- Thus, they are ideal (at least in theory) for new players who want to get the most out of their bats while spending the least amount of money.
- In particular, we’re going to exclude composite wood bats from this list since they’re extremely unusual and do not meet the normal description of what it means to be a composite bat under the current definition.
- Originally intended for use as softball bats, they have now been adapted for use as baseball bats as well.
- It is possible that their performance may be severely damaged throughout the production process because of the nature of their construction.
- It is true that the initial composite bats produced results that were superior to the acceptable BESR (Bat Exit Speed Ratio) testing results.
- To put it another way, composite bats are capable of such high levels of performance and batted ball speeds that they have prompted the establishment of a new standard for bat design.
Composite bats can exhibit a wide range of weight, weight drop, responsiveness, the size of the sweet spot, the durability of the barrel, the width of the barrel, and a variety of other characteristics because they are manufactured and the weight distribution and composition of the bat can be easily manipulated.
They may be customized to include a wide variety of technologically sophisticated features. Additionally, due of the way in which the fibers may be organized and drawn, composite bats have the potential to generate a very noticeable trampoline effect, which has previously been shown.
Everything that has been said so far has made composite bats sound rather appealing, so what could possible be the disadvantages? In the first place, composite bats include fibers that need to be broken in, which means that you will need to practice with the bat for a few weeks before you can expect it to perform at its peak level. These bats require more than simply acclimatization. In addition, some may assert that they have a limited shelf life, which means that after a specific period of time, they will no longer be nearly as effective as they previously were.
Composite bats are also significantly more expensive than the majority of wood and aluminum bats on the market.
Anyone whose league permits composite bats should use one, as should any younger player who wants to gain confidence at the plate without being discouraged by the considerably more challenging performance of wood bats.
As a result, a large number of young bats are composite models.
Another thing that all players should bear in mind is that the governing body of the league or the organization in charge of the tournaments in which they participate will determine which bats can and cannot be used in play.
Everything else will be able to follow.
After learning more about your talents, natural aptitudes, and desired outcomes, we’ll assist you in selecting a bat that will match your requirements and budget.
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