The Making And Evolution Of Softball Bats

By Isaiah Laplant | Softball

Jan 21

Softball is a team sport that many have come to love and play. It may be similar to baseball, however, there are certain aspects that differs them both. It was also known as an indoor baseball, mush ball, playground, softbund ball, kitten ball and ladies’ baseball because women playing the said sport. It was only in 1926 when it was officially called softball.

So How Softball Did Came To Be?

George Hancock, a reporter from the Chicago Board of Trade, discovered Softball in 1887. He was one of those Yale and Harvard graduates who were gathered at Chicago Farragut Boat Club over a football game between Yale and Harvard. The idea of the sport came out when one of the Yale alumni threw an old boxing glove towards a Harvard alumni, who in turn, hit the boxing glove with the handle of the broken broom stick. Upon seeing this, George Hancock called out “Play Ball!”, thus the first softball game was played with the score of 40-41. After that event, Hancock wrote down the official rules of the game and made an oversized ball made and a rubber tip for the wooden bat, thus, making the first softball bat.

In 1970, the first aluminum bat was created by a bat manufacturer named Worth. During this time, aluminum bats were considered the best softball bat because of its famous “ping “sound once the ball hits the surface of the bat. In the late 1970’s, another bat manufacturer, Easton, created a better aluminum bat with greater grade of aluminum used than the ones made by Worth. In 1995, Louisville Slugger and Easton created another aluminum bat. It was made from the strongest aluminum to date.

Single walled softball bats came into action 1993. Single walled bats has thinner barrel compared to aluminum bats. Single walled bats are also one of the best softball bats because it can withstand impact from strong pitches without denting. In the efforts to create high quality bats, bat manufacturers started using aluminum alloys and started experimenting on the designs of the barrels. They were able to create a multi-walled barrel, which is a barrel consisting of two or more composite or metal hybrid.

On the same year, Titanium softball bats were developed. Many softball players preferred titanium softball bats than aluminum bats because titanium bats were stronger compared to the later. Aside from that, it gave the ball extra speed and farther distance during slow pitches.

Although they were created in 1980’s, composite softball bats were not doing well until 2000. They made their major appearance in the history of softball during that time. They became the leading competitor against aluminum softball bats. They were made up of carbon fiber and fiber glass and coated with epoxy resin in order to create a bigger sweet spot.

Like the aluminum bats, all-composite bats are one of the best softball bats because of its sweet spot on its barrel that gives you the best hit. It makes the “ping” sound much audible. Composite bats have a variety of designs that you could choose from. They have bats with composite outer shells over aluminum barrels, barrels with composite handles and aluminum barrels, and some all-composite double wall bats.

The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) regulates the softball bats used in the league named ASA Championship Play. In this tournament, the winner may move up to the next level of the ASA play. ASA had a created a Bat Performance Standard for bats to pass the Bat Certification.

In 2000, they had based the test on the speed of the batted ball. It must not exceed 98mph for the safety purposes of the players. In 2004, the bat performance standard created a new standard due to improvements of the scientific development of bats. The new standard tested the batter’s swing speed. Every bat model must follow the standard in order to get a Bat Certification.

Presently, many are using both composite bats and aluminum bats based on the preference of different people. Many students would prefer the aluminum bats and most people prefer composite bats for slow pitch games. Nonetheless, these bats made softball a fun sport to play.

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