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
Come travel with me many years back
into history and let us study "The Evolution of the Baseball Bat". I
am sure that each of us at one time or another has had the urge to skip a stone
across a lake or to pitch, catch, throw or bat some type of ball. In Europe,
Nicholas Grudich played Lupka with other boys by using a five inch round
pointed stick that was set at an angle on the ground and hit with a flat bat.
From these types of activities came groups of boys playing Rounders, Flyball,
Townball and Caddy.
was a game involving twenty to thirty boys in a field attempting to catch a
ball hit by a tosser. The tosser used a four inch flit bat with a tapered
handle so his hands could grip it firmly for control and leverage. Even though
history is sketchy at this time, I believe that it is safe to say that from
this idea came the modern day baseball bat that is used in every game to thrill
fans all over the world.
The answer to
that question is "both," though past players tend to have used
heavier bats than do today's players. Baseball's "king of swat" Babe
Ruth reportedly began his hitting career using a 54 ounce (1.5 kg) hickory
bat, and is known to have used a 40oz bat in 1927 when he hit his 60 home
runs. Ty Cobb and Joe Di Maggio both played with 42oz bats
and Rogers Hornsby used a 50oz piece of lumber. George Sisler, playing for
the St. Louis Browns in the 1920's, made his bat heavier by hammering
Victrola needles into the barrel of his bat. In the 1950's
Cincinnati Reds' Ted Kluszeski hammered tenpenny nails into his bat to make
Other great hitters including
Ted Williams, Rod Carew and Stan Musial used much lighter bats: 31-33oz. Roger
Maris used a 33oz bat to hit his 61 home runs in 1961. Many players have
tried to make their bats lighter by drilling a hole in the barrel and filling
it with cork. Detroit Tigers' Norm Cash admitted to using a corked bat in
1961 when he won the batting title with a .361 average (though he slumped to
.243 the next year with the same corked bat).