Wood baseball bats are making a comeback. And Louisville Slugger bats in white ash and maple are almost synonymous with professional baseball. The baseball bats that the Hillerich family first manufactured were called Fall City Slugger. It was officially named the Louisville Slugger in 1894 when Bud Hillerich succeeded his father, J. F. Hillerich. The company changed its name to Hillerich & Bradsby Co., the name that is still carried until today when Frank Bradsby became full partner in 1916.
During the course of its 125-year history, famous baseball heroes like Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Ty Williams, Lou Gehrig and Hank Aaron all swung Louisville Sluggers.
Getting a Louisville Slugger may not make you as famous as those baseball heroes, but owning a piece of baseball history sure will make up for it. Here are the things you need to consider when you want to get a wood Louisville Slugger bat:
Look for an authorized dealer. Louisville Slugger bats have authorized dealers across the USA. Go to their website and locate a dealer near you so you can visit their store.
Right Size. A simple rule to follow here is to hold a bat in one hand and stretch out your arm. Remember that a Louisville Slugger bat made of wood is heavier than bats made of aluminum and alloys. Maintain that position for at least ten seconds. You should not feel too much strain on your extended arm. It this is the case then the bat is the right size for you.
Right Weight. Since the bat is almost an extension of your arm, you should consider how much the bat weighs. Stronger players prefer heavier bats because these can provide them with utmost power. Lighter bats give them more bat speed so smaller players prefer these. Check which weight is ideal for you by holding a bat and making a few practice swings. The bat should feel right and you should be comfortable when you make the swings. For 8 to 10 years old, the ideal weight is from 16 to 20 ounces. High school and college players can get a bat weighing from 27 to 31 ounces.
Right Length. Weight and length work together to give you a top performance factor. While a longer bat may accord you a longer reach, the length will add more weight to the bat. Practice swinging bats of different lengths to see which one is the right length for you. Little leaguers can use bats with lengths of 28 to 32 inches and 30 to 34 inches for high school and college players.
Right Material. Choose a Louisville Slugger bat made from Northern White Ash. These come from the Pennsylvania and Upstate New York areas. These are grown slower so the wood is denser and has straight grain. This makes for sturdier bats. The grain should also be wider which indicates that the wood used is mature.
Another wood you can consider is maple. Louisville Slugger bats made from maple are more expensive than bats made from white ash. This wood is heavier and stronger than white ash so it will last longer.
One other thing to consider is that bats made from white ash tends to flake and splinter when they break while those made from maple break cleanly.
Barrel Size. There is a standard barrel diameter for Little League and Dixie Youth baseball. For players under twelve years old and under, the barrel should be 2 ¼ inches. A maximum diameter of 2 and 5/8 inches is for high school and college players. The bats intended for high school players should have a Bat Exit Speed Rating or BESR stamp.
If you live in the Kentucky area, then you have the option to visit the Louisville Slugger Museum, enjoy the display and memorabilia and check out their store. There are even activities that you can join inside the museum.