Crack of the Bat: The Louisville Slugger Storyby Bob Hill
Crack of the Bat is a comprehensive and entertaining look at the most famous icon in the history of baseball, the "Louisville Slugger" bat. It includes the evolution of bats from pioneer wagon tongues to the sleek aluminum models of today. It examines the amazing physics involved in hitting a baseball, where .003 seconds means the difference between a home run and… See more details below
Crack of the Bat is a comprehensive and entertaining look at the most famous icon in the history of baseball, the "Louisville Slugger" bat. It includes the evolution of bats from pioneer wagon tongues to the sleek aluminum models of today. It examines the amazing physics involved in hitting a baseball, where .003 seconds means the difference between a home run and a foul ball. It tells the fascinating history of the still family-owned Hillerich & Bradsby Company, which in just 80 years went from making butter churns to making seven million bats a year. Reinforcing this are dozens of stories about the bats themselves, and the personal idiosyncracies of the most famous hitters in baseball history, including Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Stan Musial, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripken Jr. and Derek Jeter. The book explains why the players picked the bats they did, the amazing lengths they would go to to protect them, and how valuable these bats have now become in the hands of collectors. Illustrated with hundreds of archival photographs, baseball decals, and icons, many in color, this book will become as much a cherished keepsake as some of the bats it describes.
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If you are like me, some of your favorite moments playing baseball came while swinging a Louisville Slugger. What a nice surprise it was to see that a history had been written about baseball bats and the Hillerich & Bradsby Company that makes the Louisville Slugger. This interesting volume also has a brief history of the rules of baseball that fascinated me. Did you know that at one time there were no walks for balls? Eventually a limit was put in, and after nine balls you got a walk. Also, the strike zone has gotten smaller . . . and smaller. It looks like the pitchers have gotten better than the hitters over the years, so the rules had to keep changing to keep the batters in the game. You¿ll learn all about how bats evolved from heavy pieces of timber to light sticks that can be revolved quickly to hit a fast-approaching pitch. The manufacturing process itself is quite interesting, beginning with the selection of old growth, mature ash trees. I was fascinated to know that Hillerich & Bradsby developed patents on baseball bats way back in the 19th century, and that the Louisville Slugger trademark dates to 1894. The company did not reach number one market share until 1923. The company was also a pioneer in the field of getting stars to endorse its products, with Ty Cobb coming on board in 1908. The book contains a number of profiles and interviews with the company¿s endorsers since then such as Pee Wee Reese and Kirby Puckett. The book contains a lot of interesting statistics about the physics and timing involved in hitting a pitch. I knew it was hard to hit a pitch perfectly, but these statistics made me appreciate the best players even more. The economics of making baseball bats are also explained. The company has to sell a lot of amateur bats to make it affordable to create the custom bats for the Big Leaguers. When was the last time you took a good swing at the old apple? Grab your Louisville Slugger and get a game of pepper going! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The 2,000 Percent Solution and The Irresistible Growth Enterprise