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The Progression of Softball and Baseball Bat Technology

The Progression of Softball and Baseball Bat Technology

Arguably the most crucial piece of equipment in baseball and softball is the bat, as this is the vehicle through which runs are scored and games are won. The right bat can make all the difference between a solid hit and a disconnect with the ball, and continued innovations see baseball and softball bats becoming more powerful with each passing year. Softball bats as we know them today were greatly influenced by the centuries of bat evolution. Follow us through the history of bat technology and find out exactly what’s gone into the creation of your softball bat as you know it today.

The Early Days

In the early days of baseball and softball, bats were created following an “unstructured structure.” Players were allowed to select or create their own bats, and this resulted in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, as there were no restrictions regarding length or width. As experimentation occurred, players determined that wagon tongue wood created the most solid round bat, and a trend towards the now traditional round bat picked up steam.

The Changes of the 1860s

The first limitations on bat size came in 1859, when The Professional National Association of Baseball Players Governing Committee voted that bats could be no larger than 2.5 inches in diameter. The 1860s saw players wrapping strings and cords around the handles of their bats to find a better grip on the larger bat handle. By the end of the 1860s, a new rule limiting the length of bats was set at a maximum of 42 inches—a limitation which still stands today for baseball. For softball, regulations require bats not be over 34 inches in length, regardless of association.

Cue John Hillerich…

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