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Thread: A rant about broken bats

  1. #1
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    Angry A rant about broken bats

    Ya know..............I remember back in the “good ole days” when a shattered bat was a notch in the pitchers belt. However, nowadays it seems every pitcher is breaking bats. This makes me believe that the bats of today are inferior to the bats of “yester-year”. Are MLB players going to the plate with “firewood?” It makes me think that HDH,527, Skeletor, Racosun, CCN, NoSoupforyou, TigersFanb406, OldenglishD, JohnnyDamon, George&Al, Dalkowski110, 2Chance, etc. could break a MLB bat.

    What's the deal?
    Still a long suffering TIGERS fan

  2. #2
    Most players today use a thinner handle.

  3. #3
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    I agree with 527. And while I also do to a certain degree with monarch, there are still plenty of guys with broken bats that use bats with thick handles (Mets left fielder Moises Alou pops to mind instantly). Now I know we'll have people coming on and saying "but with the advent of sharp-breaking cutters and hard sliders, more bats will get broken!" I don't buy that one. It's not like the cut fastball is a new pitch...Jerry Koosman was throwing one with regularity as far back as 1968 and it wasn't snapping wood left and right. Heck, I even heard Mickey Lolich fooled around with a "sliding fastball" during his last couple years with the Mets and Padres. Not to mention guys with devastating hard sliders like Steve Carlton, Bob Gibson or Ray Narleski* (or even George Blaeholder if you want to go WAAAYYY back) that rode in sharply on batters weren't constantly splintering wood even close to the rate bats are broken today, even though they had a reputation for breaking bats.

    *Narleski, while not incredibly notable, was known to break bats using one of his two money pitches, a hard slider (the other being a 95-100 mph fastball).

    It could be the wood quality. With mass production and bats being churned out quicker than ever, they're not gonna have the time or money to either hire the skilled quality control people they did back in the day or use the same, near-custom quality wood. Gone are the days of Ted Williams walking into Hillerich & Bradsby and inspecting every single Louisville Slugger that bore his name. And the wood quality? Well, consider how many bats are made and I think you have to start using at least SOME wood where the grain is just right so that the bat breaks. Just my .
    "They put me in the Hall of Fame? They must really be scraping the bottom of the barrel!"
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    Motafy (MO-ta-fy) vt. -fied, -fying 1. For a pitcher to melt down in a big game situation; to become like Guillermo Mota. 2. The transformation of a good pitcher into one of Guillermo Mota's caliber.

  4. #4
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  5. #5
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    One thing that should be mentioned is the ball itself has been getting harder. Rather it is the tighter wound core, or the nearly smooth sewed seams. It seems that even if the bats stayed the same, having a narder ball (and its getting tighter wound and overall harder in the last 20 years) would lead to more broken bats.
    Last edited by tigers527; 04-26-2007 at 04:03 PM.

  6. #6
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    Moises Alou I believe uses a Rawlings Big Stick, or at least he did with the Cubs. That handle is nothing compared to the thickness of old time bats.

    You got thinner handled bats and you have hitters generating more speed on their swings. Put the two together and you are more likely to break a bat then before.

    Bats are thinner and lighter then before. They are just not going to take the pounding like they did before.

  7. #7
    I drove through Louisville last week and visited the Lousville Slugger factory. Among others, there's a model of Honus Wagner's, Ty Cobb's and Babe Ruth's bat and some players bats on the tour. Wagner's bat seems a bit heavy but, the bats of today are virtually the same as fungos.

  8. #8
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    I wonder if this could be attributed to the lack of proper "bat wood" used to make them. Back in the day, the country had a far larger amount of hardwoods to select from, whereas nowadays they might be using a younger tree to make the bats, with less-dense rings in it. Just a thought.
    "Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." - Edgar Allan Poe

  9. #9
    The wood is not really the issue. They use the outer part of the tree and the same number of rings per inch. Some batters use maple vs. ash. The difference is the shape. The bats started out with large handles and have gradually been minimized to the point they are today. The first Pete Browning bat was also on display. Honus Wagner and Ty Cobb used similar bats. Honus Wagner's handle was smaller than Pete Browning's, Ty Cobb's handle was slightly smaller yet. I think Cobb perfected that style of bat; I was impressed with the balance and feel. Edd Rousch used the heaviest bat ever. Joe Jackson's was bent, and Eddie Collins buried his for storage. Babe Ruth's bat deviated from that style of bat. His had a much smaller handle with a much longer and fatter hitting surface, the general shape of bats today. (The handle of Browning's is @ twice the size Babe Ruth's bat). Today, the shape removes as much of the weight from the bat as possible; handles are as small as possible, therefore weak in comparison.
    Last edited by HDH; 04-27-2007 at 04:16 PM.

  10. #10
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    Looked up Moises Alou. Whatever he's using, it's no longer a Rawlings Big Stick. Apparently, somebody on the Giants recommended he use a Louisville Slugger, and he's not gone back since.

    "Tom Browning bat"

    I hate to be a pest, but I'm pretty sure you mean Pete Browning. Tom Browning didn't get hits, but he sure got hit around sometimes.
    "They put me in the Hall of Fame? They must really be scraping the bottom of the barrel!"
    -Eppa Rixey, upon learning of his induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

    Motafy (MO-ta-fy) vt. -fied, -fying 1. For a pitcher to melt down in a big game situation; to become like Guillermo Mota. 2. The transformation of a good pitcher into one of Guillermo Mota's caliber.

  11. #11
    Another mistake on my part. The first Louisville Slugger was made for Pete "The Gladiator" Browning. I edited my post.

  12. #12
    I guess all mentioned should respond huh? Thanks buddy, I'll take that as a compliment.
    "The base paths belonged to me, the runner. The rules gave me the right. I always went into a bag full speed, feet first. I had sharp spikes on my shoes. If the baseman stood where he had no business to be and got hurt, that was his fault. -Ty Cobb

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by nosoupforyou View Post
    I guess all mentioned should respond huh? Thanks buddy, I'll take that as a compliment.
    NAH, No obligation to respond.
    I just regurgitated the screen names of the most active posters that I have seen on the BBF as they popped into my mind during my rant.

    If none of us post, then the “Beloved Good Guys” look under-represented, and that would be unscrupulously appalling.
    Still a long suffering TIGERS fan

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by HDH View Post
    The wood is not really the issue. They use the outer part of the tree and the same number of rings per inch. Some batters use maple vs. ash. The difference is the shape. The bats started out with large handles and have gradually been minimized to the point they are today. The first Pete Browning bat was also on display. Honus Wagner and Ty Cobb used similar bats. Honus Wagner's handle was smaller than Pete Browning's, Ty Cobb's handle was slightly smaller yet. I think Cobb perfected that style of bat; I was impressed with the balance and feel. Edd Rousch used the heaviest bat ever. Joe Jackson's was bent, and Eddie Collins buried his for storage. Babe Ruth's bat deviated from that style of bat. His had a much smaller handle with a much longer and fatter hitting surface, the general shape of bats today. (The handle of Browning's is @ twice the size Babe Ruth's bat). Today, the shape removes as much of the weight from the bat as possible; handles are as small as possible, therefore weak in comparison.
    Nice info HDH!
    Still a long suffering TIGERS fan

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Dalkowski110 View Post
    I agree with 527. And while I also do to a certain degree with monarch, there are still plenty of guys with broken bats that use bats with thick handles (Mets left fielder Moises Alou pops to mind instantly). Now I know we'll have people coming on and saying "but with the advent of sharp-breaking cutters and hard sliders, more bats will get broken!" I don't buy that one. It's not like the cut fastball is a new pitch...Jerry Koosman was throwing one with regularity as far back as 1968 and it wasn't snapping wood left and right. Heck, I even heard Mickey Lolich fooled around with a "sliding fastball" during his last couple years with the Mets and Padres. Not to mention guys with devastating hard sliders like Steve Carlton, Bob Gibson or Ray Narleski* (or even George Blaeholder if you want to go WAAAYYY back) that rode in sharply on batters weren't constantly splintering wood even close to the rate bats are broken today, even though they had a reputation for breaking bats.

    *Narleski, while not incredibly notable, was known to break bats using one of his two money pitches, a hard slider (the other being a 95-100 mph fastball).

    It could be the wood quality. With mass production and bats being churned out quicker than ever, they're not gonna have the time or money to either hire the skilled quality control people they did back in the day or use the same, near-custom quality wood. Gone are the days of Ted Williams walking into Hillerich & Bradsby and inspecting every single Louisville Slugger that bore his name. And the wood quality? Well, consider how many bats are made and I think you have to start using at least SOME wood where the grain is just right so that the bat breaks. Just my .
    Quote Originally Posted by Ubiquitous View Post
    Moises Alou I believe uses a Rawlings Big Stick, or at least he did with the Cubs. That handle is nothing compared to the thickness of old time bats.

    You got thinner handled bats and you have hitters generating more speed on their swings. Put the two together and you are more likely to break a bat then before.

    Bats are thinner and lighter then before. They are just not going to take the pounding like they did before.
    Great points. Today's ballplayer swings a thin handle -2 bat. Works out 12 months out of the year and is bigger, stronger, and generates more bat speed.

    Yesterday's ballplayers swung tree trunks that weighed 38 ounces with big thick handles. Once the season ended, they went home and found an offseason job doing whatever their skills were and didn't pick up a baseball until Srping Training.

    One thing that might play a small percentage in to the bats breaking is that players today don't "bone" their bats. No perverse comments please. The act of "boning" wood bats is a lost art. Years ago ballplayers would take a bone, usually from a ham, and rub it on the barrel of the bat. Thus compressing the bat and making it a harder and more solid hitting surface.

    Let's also look at the fact that some ballplayers haven't received their shipment of bats for the '07 season and are swinging their '06 bats that sat around all winter.

    I'm not sure wood quality is a factor here. With all the new, smaller companies, selling wood bats these days. I'm not sure when maple first entered into the Major Leagues, but Babe Ruth used a hickory bat. Which, by today's standards, would be too heavy for players to swing.

    All in all, I think it is a combination of a lot of factors. Not to mention the weather. It has been unusually cold for the start of the season.

  16. #16
    Most bats today are made of maple, which is a hardwood that fractures and splinters more easily than ash, which most bats were made of 30 or 40 years ago. They also tend to have much thinner handles. The reason players started making the switch was for bat speed: lighter wood and thinner handles make for better whipping action in the swing, and people started to get the idea that a faster bat was better than a thicker, heavier one.

  17. #17
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    Some players can break a bat over their knee. I am not surprised by the number of broken bats.

  18. #18
    Well today, Thames broke his bat... and got a Home run.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhosYourTiger? View Post
    Well today, Thames broke his bat... and got a Home run.
    That was probably one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. Imagine if the bat wouldn't have broke...

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