There are a number of rules and regulations behind the modern baseball bat, and many of the elements have changed over the years. As new technologies created new kinds of bats, new rules were created to compensate for sudden increases in power and speed. Decisions were made for competitive and safety reasons, but the baseball bat continues to evolve today.
While Major League Baseball never allowed the use of metal bats, it has still seen a number of changes to a simple stick of wood. In 1859, the first restrictions on the diameter of the bat were put in place, limiting them to 2.5 inches. It took another ten years for them to limit the length to 42 inches, though. Of course, that didn’t stop all experimentation, and in 1893 there was a rule that actually allowed for a bat with a single flat side.
The metal bat was first patented in 1924, but it wouldn’t see much use until the aluminum bat was introduced into college sports in the 70s. This opened the door to other developments, like the composite bats in the 80s and titanium bats in the 90s. This, of course, led to even more regulations on official bats, and now, because of the BBCOR standards, the newest designs are actually starting to mimic the performance of the traditional wood bats.
History of the Baseball Bat Infographic – RIP-IT Sporting Goods
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