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showing 61 - 75 of 173 post(s)


By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
In 1860 the dimensions agreed upon during the yearly convention were changed and the new playing rules stated that the weight of the ball should be between five and three-fourths ounces and between nine and three-fourths to ten inches in circumference. The ball was still to be made of india-rubber, wrapped in yarn and covered in leather. The leather was still brown and the shade varied depending upon what leather was available to the craftsman. John Van Horn, second baseman for the Baltic Club of New York, in the 1850's, was the leading produce of baseballs in the early 1860's. Van Horn, who was a shoemaker, was located at 33 Second Avenue in New York and used rubber from old shoes to comprise the core of his baseballs. He used between 2 and 2½ ounces of rubber in baseball, which translated in to a "lively" ball and used sheepskin for the cover. He supplied the Knickerbocker Club and has been dubbed the "greatest ball maker of the 19th century."


By: ERIC MIKLICH |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
The baseball was a very important part of the development of the early game of baseball. The hand-made baseball allowed their makers to become identified as making a "live," "medium" or "dead" ball and added to the strategy employed by visiting teams. The size and weight of the baseball changed radically in 1857, continued to change in the 1860's and in 1872 became the same as the ball used today.


By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
The Knickerbocker Base Ball Club introduced the first "uniform" on April 24, 1849. The uniforms consisted of long blue woolen trousers, leather belts, white flannel shirts with a full collar and straw hats. At the end of the 1850's, many teams adopted the flannel shirt with the button on shield style, which contained the team's emblem, name or both. The full length "pantaloon" pants were in vogue throughout the 1860s but presented a problem of having players getting their feet caught on the legs of the pants when running. Players used to wrap them tight to their shins and use tape or a small belt to hold them flush. The 1868 Cincinnati Red Stockings became the first team to wear knickers. These "cricket-style" pants were less restrictive, and as a result their stockings or socks were now visible. Their red stockings became their trademark.


By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
When a glove is mentioned in conjunction with 19th century base ball the listener or reader must not think of the glove as it exists today. The glove started out as merely a leather work glove, with or without full fingers, and progressed to a more padded piece of equipment. It is impossible to pinpoint the first player to wear a "glove" but there have been reports as early as 1860 that catchers were wearing them. It is logical that the catcher would be the first position player to wear them as they handled hundreds of pitches per game as well as foul tips. It would seem that the first baseman would be the next position player to don a "glove."

Evolution of Baseball Equipment

By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »

A minimum of equipment was employed in 19th century baseball, and changes in its regulation were infrequent. No batter wore a helmet during the 19th century. "Gloves" did not become common until the late 1880s and the baseball has retained the same dimensions, weight and leather pattern since 1872. Only one attempt to regulate uniforms was made by the National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs in 1882. This was due to the emergence of the American Association of Base Ball Clubs, which began play in 1882 and attempted to differentiate themselves from the six-year old National League.

19th century bats looked and felt different than today's bats. They were generally heavier and considerably thicker in the handle and had more of a gradual taper from the handle to the barrel. They were made with or without knobs on the handle and on various parts of the bat would be painted "rings" that would reflect the team color.


The Past and Future of the Baseball Bat

By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »

All these innovations were developed to aid in hitting. More recently though, the bat was redesigned to aid the hitter.

During the dead-ball era, baseball players used to grip the bat differently, holding it further up the grip. The knob at the end was to keep players' hands from sliding off the bat. But in the modern game, players hold the bat with their hands as low as possible - sometimes even covering the knob. Graphic designer Grady Phelan created the Pro-XR bat in response to the modern grip.

The major innovation on the Pro-XR bat is the new ergonomic knob, slanted to ensures the batter's hand doesn't rub against it. The design reduces injury, as well as the chances that a bat will be thrown by preventing the hand's ulnar nerve from sending a "release" signal to the brain. Limited testing suggests that the bat will reduce pressure on the hand by 20 percent. It has been approved by the MLB and is currently used in play. But despite the major benefits it offers, baseball players are a stubborn and superstitious lot, and it's unlikely that the Pro-XR will become the league's go-to bat - unless someone starts breaking new records with it.


The Past and Future of the Baseball Bat

By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
While the bat hasn't changed dramatically since the late 19th century, there are a few short-lived oddities and attempts to improve on the design, like the "mushroom" bat from Spalding and the Lajoie (above), designed by Ty Cobb rival Napoleon Lajoie and said to offer a better grip and improve bat control. And then there's this incredibly strange design, patented in 1906 by Emile Kinst:

The Past and Future of the Baseball Bat

By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »

By the 1860s, there were almost as many types of baseball bats as there were baseballs. And like early pitchers, who made their own balls, early batters were known to sometimes whittle bats to suit their own hitting style. 

As you might imagine, the results were quite diverse - there were flat bats, round bats, short bats and fat bats. Generally, early bats tended to be much larger and much heavier than today's. 

The thinking was that the bigger the bat, the more mass behind the swing, the bigger the hit. And without any formal rules in place to limit the size and weight of the bat, it wasn't unusual to see bats that were up to 42 inches long (compared to today's professional standards of 32-34) with a weight that topped out at around 50 ounces (compared to today's 30).


Years of Service (21 or more)

By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »


Years Played


Cap Anson



Nolan Ryan



Deacon McGuire



Tommy John




Bat + Ball = Excitement

By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
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.

What's Up With All of The Tommy John Surgeries?

By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
It seems like Tommy John surgery for Major League pitchers has become a rite of passage. What was originally an innovative surgery performed by Dr. Frank Jobe at the Kerlan Jobe Orthopedic Clinic in Los Angeles to save the career of an aging pitcher (Tommy John was 31 when the first surgery was performed in 1974 and had won 124 games, he missed almost two complete seasons and won another 164 games before retiring in 1989 a the age of 46). He went from an aging pitcher to an ageless pitcher. At the time Dr. Jobe gave the surgery's chances of success at 1 in 100. Pitchers now see a success rate of 92%.


By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »

Sunday night brought us a rocking Wrigley Field in the season opener between the Cardinals and Cubs. Monday brings us everything else -- the 28 other teams basking in the pageantry, bunting and, in some cases, chilly early-April weather to begin the 162-game grind that all teams hope will lead to 11 more victories in October (and November?). Fourteen games to continue a week loaded with action on the diamonds of the American and National Leagues and storylines that will start to echo the standings.


After an interminable spring training

By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »

After an interminable spring training, Opening Day at last is right around the corner-perhaps the last one quite like it. Next year, Major League Baseball wants to explore the right to flex to a one-game "series" for the Opening Sunday Night game-this year, for instance, it should have been Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers going up against Madison Bumgarner of the Giants, not Cubs-Cardinals-and to stage most openers on that same Sunday afternoon, rather than getting lost amid the hype of the NCAA men's basketball championship game on that Monday. (There are three opening games actually scheduled for when the title game is in progress. Why?)


Spring Training Stats

By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »

Everyone should know better than to get overly excited or overly worked up about Spring Training statistics. Come April 6, they'll be largely irrelevant (sorry about that, Kris Bryant and Mookie Betts).

But that doesn't mean the numbers are totally useless. Some of them might be providing us a little bit of a window into what's ahead.

Here are 10 examples of exhibition output that might prove meaningful when the 2015 season gets real.