The Axe Bat has been floating around the baseball world for a few years now. If you’re not familiar, the handle of an Axe Bat is shaped like the handle of an axe.
The idea behind this handle is that it will fit the hitter’s hand better, which thus makes it more ergonomic. The axe handle is more oval-shaped than round, allowing the hitter to get a better and more comfortable grip on the bat. Additionally, the knob of a traditional round-handled baseball bat can sometimes slide into and bang up against the palm of the hitter’s hand, while the shape of the axe handle helps prevent this. Manufacturers of the Axe Bat claim that this feature also helps the barrel of the bat to progress through the strike zone unhindered, thus allowing the batter to generate more bat speed.
The creation of the axe-shaped bat handle came from Bruce Leinert, who filed a patent application for the ‘Axe Bat’ in 2007. But the original inspiration of Leinert’s invention came from a line in a book by one of the game’s greatest hitters, The Science of Hitting by Ted Williams. According to Williams, “Swinging a bat is like swinging an axe.”
Over the years, use of the Axe Bat has spread throughout college and professional baseball, and permission from Major League Baseball for in-game use of axe-shaped handle bats came starting the 2015 season. MLB players who have adopted the new bat handle have included Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia, George Springer, Kurt Suzuki, and Dansby Swanson.
Players who use the Axe bat speak highly of its benefits. It takes a few swings to adjust to the differently-shaped handle, but the adjustment happens quickly. According to Mookie Betts, “I was able to take it out for BP one day, and the next day, I was using it in the game. And from that point on, I’ve used it in every at-bat.” Perhaps the first player to really use the Axe Bat in MLB was Dustin Pedroia, who stated, “It feels good in your hand. And then I read up all the studies they did on injury prevention. Supposedly, the way the grip is set it increases bat speed. Just grabbing it feels comfortable. You don’t feel like you have to turn it before you swing. I like ’em.”
The Pittsburgh Pirates played their final game at Exposition Park against the Chicago Cubs on June 29, 1909. The Pirates won the game 8–1 in front of 5,545 spectators, with George Gibson collecting the final National League hit in the ballpark. The very next day, the Pirates once again played the Cubs, this time with the team opening up Forbes Field.
I really like this map. It depicts the most well-known and notable teams that existed in the Negro Leagues, along with some information about each team. You can find the years each team existed, the name of their home park, and any titles won.
The text in the graphic below is a bit small, so for a larger view, just click on the image.
Jackie Robinson’s first major league steal of home plate came against the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 24, 1947. The Brooklyn Dodgers would go on to win that game 4-2 over the Pirates at Forbes Field. Robinson would steal the dish a total of 19 times over the course of his career.
This piece by Mike Makley was published in 1975. I particularly love the twist at the end, and the fact that this was written so long ago, when girls playing ball was generally frowned upon, makes it all the better.
Our baseball team never did very much, we had me and PeeWee and Earl and Dutch. And the Oak Street Tigers always got beat until the new kid moved in on our street.
The kid moved in with a mitt and a bat and an official New York Yankee hat. The new kid plays shortstop or second base and can outrun us all in any place.
The kid never muffs a grounder or fly no matter how hard it’s hit or how high. And the new kid always acts quite polite, never yelling or spitting or starting a fight.
We were playing the league champs just last week; they were trying to break our winning streak. In the last inning the score was one-one, when the new kid swung and hit a home run.
A few of the kids and their parents say they don’t believe that the new kid should play. But she’s good as me, Dutch, PeeWee or Earl, so we don’t care that the new kid’s a girl.
In the ninth inning of a game played on June 20, 1912, the New York Giants and Boston Braves scored a whopping 17 runs combined. New York scored seven runs in the top of the frame, and the Braves scored ten runs in the bottom of the ninth. Unfortunately for Boston, this wasn’t enough to rally back as they lost the contest, 21-12.