THE PLAYER CHOICE
For over a
century baseball fans have debated the question of whether a "curve ball
does in fact curve". Only rarely has there been objective scientific
testing in order to verify what is so obviously the appearance of a curve.
interest had stemmed from a phone call he received from United Aircraft's
Lauren (Deac) Lyman who over lunch with Walter Neff of United Airlines, had
discussed the question of the trajectory of a baseball.
who has a wind tunnel, called his engineers together presenting the problem as
follows: "Here we have a solid sphere, moving
rapidly in space and rotating on a vertical axis. You see? ... the object is to
elude the man with the stick". It should be noted that baseball
was a rather foreign endeavor to Mr. Sikorsky.
To hit a ball the maximum possible distance, the
trajectory off the bat should have a 35-degree angle.
A line drive travels 100 yards in 4 seconds. A fly to the
outfield travels 98 yards in 4.3 seconds.
An average head wind (10 mph) can turn a 400-foot home
run into a 370-foot routine out.
Ever since the
first recorded game, June 19, 1846 at Elysian Field in Hoboken, New Jersey, the
spirit of baseball has swept America off its feet. Although changes have
altered the sport throughout the years, the foundation upon which baseball was
built still remains the same. That foundation is the classic conflict between
the pitcher and batter. It is this conflict that continues to amaze the older
fans and attract the new ones.
George Brett of
the Kansas City Royals caused quite a stir with his Hillerich and Bradsby pine
tar bat in 1983. On July 24th, Brett hit a home run off Yankee reliever Goose
Gossage in the ninth inning to give the Royals a 5-4 lead. Because the bat had
pine tar beyond the legal limit of 18 inches, measuring from the bat handle,
the home plate umpire disallowed the round-tripper. As a matter of fact, I
recall that Brett had pine tar halfway into the Louisville Slugger trademark.
However, this decision was later reversed and the pine tar home run did count.
Kansas City ultimately defeated the Yankees, 5-4.
Weighted on deck
warm-up bats and other devices should be used with extreme caution. The five
foot on-deck circle gives the next batter an opportunity to prepare for his
turn at bat. It is located 13 feet behind home plate and 37 feet to the right
on-deck bat is shaped like a regular bottle bat. It has a red plastic coating
from the trademark to the end of the 2 5/8 barrel. This bat weighs 4 pounds 1
ounce, and is 34 inches long. It is manufactured in Lynn, Massachusetts.
In order to play
well in the game of baseball, relentless hours of practice are of the utmost
importance. To properly practice, teams should have two Fungo bats. X Bats
manufactures three models. These models are made of maple wood and used mostly
The wood Infield
Fungo is 33 or 34 inches in length with a thin handle and scaled down barrel.
This bat is designed for control, accuracy and the ability to place the ball in
all directions. Using this bat to simulate regular game conditions will give
infielders the necessary practice to react properly during games. Resembling
this Infield Fungo is X Bat's all-purpose Fungo.
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.
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