Who is the Home
Run King of Professional Baseball in the USA? Prior to Barry Bonds' feat in
2001, it was Joe Bauman. In 1954 he hit 72 home runs in just 138 games. This 6
foot 5 inch, 245 pound first baseman played for the Roswell (New Mexico)
Rockets in the Class C Longhorn League.
spoke with Joe, who still lives in Roswell, for the purposes of this
article. He said that he used a Louisville Slugger, 35 inches in length
and weighing 34 ounces, a Model S-2 Vern
Stephens bat. Bauman, often called "Joltin' Joe", was 32 years old
when he hit his record breaking 72 home runs. Until then, the Minor League
record was 69 home runs, set in 1933 by Joe Hauser of the Minneapolis Millers
of the American Association. Hauser's record was tied in 1948 by Bob Crues of
the Amarillo Gold Sox.
Haney, the manager of the St. Louis Browns, said, "Hank Greenberg puts
more thought, effort and conscientiousness into his work than any other player
in the league and, to my mind, he is the best competitor in the league."
These words most accurately express the true spirit of Hank Greenberg.
Greenberg'' overwhelming statistics are the result of the combination of his
talents and his 35 inch, 34 ounce Louisville Slugger. During' overwhelming
statistics are the result of the combination of his talents and his 35 inch, 34
ounce Louisville Slugger. During Greenberg'' abbreviated career that began with
the Detroit Tigers, he had 1,628 hits, 331 home runs and a batting average of .313.
unusual bottle bat was the largest made. The barrel was 2 3/4 inches beyond the
trademark and tapered sharply to the handle. In 1919, Groh was playing for the
Cincinnati Reds. This was the year that he, along with his famous bottle bat,
finished fourth in batting in the National League. His average was .310.
in 1919, the thunder from pitcher Babe Ruth's' bat could be heard when he hit
29 home runs for the Boston Red Sox to lead the
American League. He was purchased by the New York Yankees from Boston before
the 1920 season for $125,000. Ruth, now playing the outfield, used a Louisville
Slugger Model R-43 with a medium barrel, 36 inches
in length and weighing 42 ounces. Babe Ruth, often called "Bambino",
hit 54 home runs in 1920 and 59 in 1921.
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