The Evolution of Baseball Technology: 1884-Present

2676 Words Dec 11th, 2012 11 Pages
The Evolution of Baseball Technology: 1884-Present

I. Introduction
From the United States to Japan, every athlete who has ever played the game of baseball has used the basic “tools of the trade”: a baseball, a bat, a glove, protective equipment, and a uniform. Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Ted Williams, and Sammy Sosa have made a living out of using these tools to play baseball, but there are also a great number of people who play baseball as a source of enjoyment. The crack of the bat connecting with a fastball, the slap of the ball on the mitt, and the roar of the crowd after a homerun are all common sounds of a baseball game. The thing that many people may not realize, however, is that the bat, ball, and glove that make those sounds possible
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Hillerich went into business selling the highly popular bats shortly thereafter (Wanner). Before Hillerich began selling his Falls City Slugger bats, players had their bats handmade by any local carpenter without any specific instructions on the size and weight of the bat. Baseball bats today are constructed using a pattern guide from a template instead of being carved by hand because hand carving was too time consuming and expensive (Oldham).

Although there have been baseball bats of all shapes and sizes throughout the ages, all bats have traditionally been made out of ash (Oldham). Modern players prefer lightweight, thin handled bats, as opposed to the heavy, thick handled bats used by players in the Dead Ball Era
(Good Wood: Premium 76-79). Aiding in making today’s bats as lightweight as possible is the cup, invented in 1972 by Jose Cardinal. A cup in a bat scoops away an area of the bat two inches wide by one inch deep from the end of the bat, resulting in a much lighter weight. Over half of the wooden bats sold by Hillerich and Bradsby, the parent company of Louisville Slugger, are cupped (Wanner).

One of the biggest changes in the making of a wooden baseball bat occurred in 1999 when Sam Holman, a Canadian carpenter, introduced maple bats to Major Leaguers (Cannella
86-87). Maple wood is much harder and more durable than ash, but it does not weigh much more. Many Major Leaguers such as Albert Pujols and Paul Lo Duca insist that the increased
density
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