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Pay for an Autograph

02-25-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
As the years progressed, J.F. Hillerich and Son introduced still another innovative idea involving their bats and Honus Wagner. In 1905, Wagner, the shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates, became the first player ever to sign a contract with Hillerich to have his autograph burned into the wood of the barrel of his Louisville Slugger. Tyrus Cobb, centerfielder for the Detroit Tigers, was another player who also began his illustrious reign in baseball with a Louisville Slugger in his hand. Often called "The Georgia Peach", Cobb was one of baseballs' greatest players. He was a fierce competitor with a lifetime batting average of .367. Honus Wagner, one of the greatest all-around players, broke into the Majors hitting .344. Called "The Flying Dutchman" , Wagner was considered the best shortstop ever to play that position. Did you know that these two great players used the same style bat? Both bats had a large barrel with tapered, thick handle. Cobb was one of the last players to use the once popular split-handed grip. He also taught this special technique to Tris Speaker and to Heinie Manush of the Detroit Tigers..
 

Harvest the Field Or Hit the Ball

02-21-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
Now, let us focus on a rather unique bat that resembled a hand-held sickle. The inventor, Emile Kinst, applied for and had his bat patented in 1906. His bat featured useful improvements that enabled the batter to strike the ball in various directions. The handle resembled that of a regular bat up to the trademark. However, beyond the trade mark, there were small longitudinal grooves as well as a somewhat flat concave curve that continued along the hitting surface to the end of the bat.
 
The longitudinal grooves on the handle continued along both sides of the hitting surface. The face or concave part of the hitting surface had three larger grooves. The center groove was straight and the two outer grooves bowed outward. These aided in preventing a fly or foul tip by engaging the surface of the ball when hit. By hitting the ball at certain points of the bat, the ball could be driven to left, center or right field. 
 

Spalding's Mushroom

02-16-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
Spalding stamped the word Mushroom above their small trademark. They emphasized quality, balance and the knob arrangement at the end of the bat. This combination enabled the batter to get a better distribution of weight over the entire length of the bat. This advantage was not possible to achieve under the old construction. Spalding felt as though the Mushroom bat with the round knob was the perfect bat. The Mushroom Model M, plain or special finish, and Model MT, taped handle, each sold for $1.

The Spalding Gold Medal Bat, according to their advertisements, was made of the best quality white ash. When purchased, this bat was inspected and registered with the model, weight, length and timber. It was available with gold or plain finish, taped and carried a diamond-shaped guarantee card. If any part of the bat proved defective during the season in which it was purchased, it could be returned with the guarantee card to any retailer or dealer that carried Spalding bats.
 

Whose Bat Do You Use?

02-10-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »

The Louisville Slugger trademark on each bat led to the branding of player signatures on the barrel of the bats. Until then, players carved their initials or in some other way marked the knob or barrel of their bats. Baseball players using Louisville slugger bats before the turn of the century included Willie Keeler, Hugh Duffy, Pete Browning, John McGraw, Hugh Jennings, Honus Wagner and the Delaney brothers, just to name a few.

"Bud" Hillerich earned a partnership in his father's business in 1897 and the name of the company was then changed to "J.F. Hillerich and Son". At the turn of the century, A.G. Spalding and brothers, being in the sporting goods business, were advertising and selling their very popular Mushroom and Gold Seal bats. Wright and Ditson were also selling their Nap Lajole bats, featuring the new and unique double ring handle. A.J. Reach baseball bats also added to the highly competitive business of manufacturing bats.

 

Hillerich to the Rescue

02-07-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »

An important event happened in 1884, which is now frozen in history. This event involved a broken bat and a young woodworker. During the 1884 baseball season, John Hillerich, a woodworker for his father and a good amateur ballplayer, was in the stands watching 'The Louisville Eclipse' of The Professional American Association play. During this game, Pete "The Gladiator" Browning, star outfielder, broke his favorite bat and became very frustrated. After the game, young Hillerich invited Pete to his Dads' woodworking shop. He claimed that he could create a new bat for Pete.
 

The Early Restrictions

02-03-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »

In 1859, The Professional National Association of Baseball Players Governing Committee voted in favor of the first limitation on bat size. The limitation specified that bats may be no larger than 2 1/2 inches in diameter and that they may be of any length. As we shall see, several more changes evolved from this limitation in the forthcoming years.
 

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