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definitions - Baseball bat

baseball bat (n.)

1.an implement used in baseball by the batter

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synonyms - Baseball bat

baseball bat (n.)

bat, lumber

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Baseball bat

  Four historically significant baseball bats showcased in the National Baseball Hall of Fame's traveling exhibit "Baseball As America." From left to right: bat used by Babe Ruth to hit his 60th home run during the 1927 season, bat used by Roger Maris to hit his 61st home run during the 1961 season, bat used by Mark McGwire to hit his 70th home run during the 1998 season, and the bat used by Sammy Sosa for his 66th home run during the same season.

A baseball bat is a smooth wooden or metal club used in the game of baseball to hit the ball after the ball is thrown by the pitcher. It is no more than 2.75 inches in diameter at the thickest part and no more than 42 inches (1,100 mm) long. It typically weighs no more than 33 ounces (0.94 kg), but it can be different from player to player. The batter swings the bat with two hands to try and hit a pitched ball fair so that he may become a runner, advance bases, and ultimately score a run or help preceding runners to score.



Although using a stick to hit a ball is a somewhat simple concept, the bat is a complex object. It is carved or constructed very carefully to allow for a quick, balanced swing while providing power. The bat is divided into several regions. The barrel is the thick part of the bat, where the bat is meant to hit the ball. The part of the barrel best for hitting the ball, according to construction and swinging style, is often called the sweet spot. The end of the barrel is not part of the sweet spot, and is simply called the tip or end of the bat. The barrel narrows, and becomes the handle. The handle is very thin, so that batters can comfortably set the bat in their fingers. Sometimes, especially on metal bats, the handle is wrapped with a rubber or cloth grip. Finally, next to the handle is the knob of the bat, a wider piece that keeps the bat from sliding out of a batter's hands. Over the centuries, the baseball bat's form has become more refined. During the 19th century, many shapes were experimented with, as well as handle designs. Today, the baseball bat is much more uniform in design.

"Lumber" is a sometimes-used slang term for a bat, especially when wielded by a particularly good batter.

The bat drop of a baseball bat is its weight (in ounces) minus its length (in inches). For example; a 30-ounce, 33 inch long bat has a bat drop of minus 3 (30 - 33 = -3). Larger bat drops help to increase swing speed. Bats with smaller drops create more power.

Baseball bat regulations

  The steps involved in making a Louisville slugger from raw log to finished bat.

In the American major leagues, Rule 1.10(a) states, "The bat shall be a smooth, round stick not more than 2.61 inches in diameter at the thickest part and not more than 42 inches in length. The bat shall be one piece of solid wood."[1] Bats are not allowed to be hollowed or corked—that is, filled with an alien substance such as cork which reduces the weight. This corking is thought to increase bat speed without greatly reducing hitting power; but this idea was "busted" on MythBusters; see Mythbusters, season 5 (Corked Bat).

In amateur baseball, both wooden and metal alloy bats are generally permitted. Recently there have been increasing numbers of "wooden bat leagues" and the trend back to wood seems to be accelerating due to safety concerns regarding the speed of a batted ball hit directly toward the pitcher's head. Metal (generally aluminum) alloy bats are generally regarded as being capable of hitting a ball faster and farther than wooden bats swung with the same power. Some amateur baseball organizations enforce bat manufacturing and testing standards which attempt to limit maximum ball speed for wood and non-wood bats.[2][3][4] Aesthetically, wooden bats are generally agreed to be superior to metal bats, both because of their more traditional appearance and because a ball hit with a wooden bat makes a loud "crack" sound, while metal alloy bats have a "ping" sound.

Most wooden bats are made from ash. Other natural materials used include maple tree wood, hickory wood, and bamboo. Hickory has fallen into disfavor because it is much heavier than other woods, while maple bats have become more popular recently. This ascent in popularity followed the introduction of the first major league sanctioned maple baseball bat in 1997, by craftsman Sam Holman, founder of Sam Bat. The first player to use it was Joe Carter of the Toronto Blue Jays.[5] Barry Bonds used the bats the season that he broke Mark McGwire's single-season home run record in 2001 and Hank Aaron's career home run record in 2007.[5] Recently, Major League Baseball has debated whether maple bats are safe to use, due to the tendency for them to shatter.

Within the standards set by the various leagues, there is ample latitude for individual variation, and many batters settle on an individual bat profile, or occasionally adopt a profile used by another batter. Formerly, bats were hand-carved to a template obtained from a fixed number of calibration points; today, they are machine-turned to a precise metal template: these templates are kept in the bat manufacturers' vaults; for example, Babe Ruth's template, which became understandably popular among major-league players, is R43 in the Louisville Slugger archives. Once the basic bat has been turned, it is then branded by burning, with the manufacturer's name, the serial number, and often the signature of the player for whom it was made: the brand is applied to the hard side of the bat, allowing the batter visual control of the hardness of the surface hitting the ball; the burn residue is then sanded off. (The first player to endorse and sign a bat was Honus Wagner.) The next step is the finishing of the head: bats are more often given a rounded head, but some 30% of players prefer a "cup-balanced" head, in which a cup-shaped recess is made in the head; this lightens the bat and moves its center of gravity toward the handle. Finally, the bat is stained in one of seven standard colors, which include natural white, red stain, black, and a two-tone blue and white stain.

In high school baseball in the United States:

  • The bat is not allowed to be more than 2+58 inches (67 mm) in diameter.
  • Its "drop" (inches of length minus ounces of weight) must be no more than 3: for example, a 34‑inch (863.6‑mm) bat must weigh at least 31 ounces (880 g).[6]
  • The bat may consist of any safe solid uniform material; the National Federation of State High School Associations rules state only "wood or non-wood" material.
  • In order to be legally used in a game, an aluminum bat cannot exceed a BESR (ball exit speed ratio) rating of .728 because it has been determined that a pitcher loses the ability to protect himself when this ratio is exceeded.[7]

In some 12-year-old-and-under youth leagues (such as Little League Baseball), the bat may not be more than 2+14 inches (57 mm) in diameter.[8] However in many other leagues (like PONY League Baseball, and Cal Ripken League Baseball), the bat may not be more than 2+34 inches (70 mm) in diameter.[9]

A baseball player may apply pine tar on the gripping end of the bat in order to improve grip. Too much pine tar, however, is illegal: according to Rule 1.10(c) of the Major League Baseball Rulebook, it is not allowed more than 18 inches up from the bottom handle. An infamous example of the rule in execution is the Pine Tar Incident on July 24, 1983, when Kansas City Royals third baseman George Brett was called out after hitting an apparent home run, because after comparing the length of the pine-tar treated area to the width of home plate (17 inches), the umpire determined too much of the bat was covered with pine tar. At the time, such a hit was defined in the rules as an illegally batted ball, the penalty for which is that the batter is declared out according to Rule 6.06. Nonetheless, at the time, the out call was challenged and overruled, and the game was resumed on August 6, starting after the now-upheld home run. Rules 1.10 and 6.06 were later changed to reflect the intent of Major League Baseball, as exemplified by the Commissioner's ruling. Rule 1.10 now only requires that the bat be removed from the game if discovered after being used in a game; it no longer necessitates any change to the results of any play which may have taken place. Rule 6.06 refers only to bats that are "altered or tampered with in such a way to improve the distance factor or cause an unusual reaction on the baseball. This includes, bats that are filled, flat-surfaced, nailed, hollowed, grooved or covered with a substance such as paraffin, wax, etc." It no longer makes any mention of an "illegally batted ball".

Fungo bat

A fungo bat is a specially designed bat used by baseball and softball coaches for practice. The bat is designed to hit balls tossed up in the air by the batter, not pitched balls. Typical fungo bats are 35 to 37 inches (89 to 94 cm) long and weigh 17 to 22 ounces (480 to 620 g). Coaches hit many balls during fielding practice, and the weight and length allow the coach to hit balls repeatedly with high accuracy. The small diameter also allows coaches to easily hit pop-ups to catchers and infielders along with ground balls due to better control of the barrel of the bat.


The widespread use of maple bats has come under fire recently,[10] because maple bats are more likely than ash bats to shatter into multiple pieces. In 2010, bats of silver maple and red maple were banned for new players in the minor leagues.[11]

As a weapon

A baseball bat may be used as a club-like weapon. During the 2011 England riots, for example, sales of baseball bats for self-defense rose greatly on Amazon.com.[12]

See also


  1. ^ "Official Baseball Rules". Major League Baseball. http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/downloads/y2010/official_rules/2010_OfficialBaseballRules.pdf. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  2. ^ "National Collegiate Athletic Association (USA) Standard for Testing Baseball Bat Performance" (www.ncaa.org/...) Revised October 30, 2006
  3. ^ "Bat-testing regulations modified" (www.ncaa.org/...) October 8, 2008.
  4. ^ "(National Federation of State High School Associations) Baseball Rules Committee Focuses on Clarification of Bat Standards and Sportsmanship During Pre-Game Practice" (www.nfhs.org/...) June 25, 2003.
  5. ^ a b Canadian Sports Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 3, August 2008, p. 8, (Publication Mail Agreement #40993003, Oakville, ON)
  6. ^ NCHSAA Baseball Information
  7. ^ The BESR
  8. ^ Little League Baseball Rule 1.10
  9. ^ Pony Baseball Rules and Regulations
  10. ^ http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/09/20/129985928/-the-well-is-effectively-dead?print=1
  11. ^ "MLB bans use of many maple bats in minor leagues; safety concerns cited". Sporting News. 2010-03-01. http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb/article/2010-03-01/apnewsbreak-many-maple-bats-get-banned-minors. Retrieved 2010-06-12. 
  12. ^ Beaumont, Peter; Coleman, Jasmine; Laville, Sandra (2011-08-09). "London riots: 'People are fighting back. It's their neighbourhoods at stake'". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/09/london-riots-fighting-neighbourhoods. Retrieved April 27, 2012. 

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