Maple Bats: Why Barry Bonds hit 73 home runs
In 2001 Barry Bonds set a Major League Baseball single season home run record by hitting 73 home runs. One of the remarkable aspects of that record setting season was that Bond’s broke with accepted baseball tradition of using an ash bat and used a maple bat instead. Thus began a significant shift in baseball from ash to maple bats in an effort to mimic Barry Bond’s success. Maple wood is ideal for baseball bats because it has a specific gravity of 0.63 which means that it is dense and hard ensuring a solid hit. Maple bats allows hitters to develop the proper swing and hitting skill because it demands, as most wood bats do, that a hitter have the proper stance, rhythm and swing. Maple used in the production of maple bats results in light, strong bats with a pronounced sweet spot which hitters must learn to focus on in order to improve bat quickness. In teaching the mechanics of properly hitting a baseball, maple bats allow trainers to focus on better development of both bat quickness and bat velocity. Bat quickness is the time necessary to move the bat head from the ready position to the contact with the baseball while bat velocity is the actual speed that the bat head attains at the prices moment in which the baseball is struck. Because of a maple bat’s innate qualities related its unique balance of weight and strength, higher bat velocity can be attained during the swing while bat quickness related to decision times can be extended because less effort is required to maintain the swing position prior to the pitch. Finally, as Bonds discovered and a host of hitters after him, maple bats produce a consistent ball velocity off the bat within a more forgiving sweet spot.