By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
Charlie LaDuca is a member of the MSBL National Hall of Fame, inducted in 2018. Charlie is also the owner and resident bat expert of Pro Bats, headquartered in Fredonia, New York. Charlie has an article displayed on his website at www.probats.net examining why bats break. With the implementation of wood over metal bats in most nationwide leagues and tournaments, this discussion becomes very prevalent. Below is the an excerpt from the article, as outlined by Charlie.
The Grading of Wood for Baseball Bats
“Most bat manufacturers rely on sawmills to process their wood. Processing involves harvesting logs, sawing logs to produce billets, and kiln drying billets to an appropriate moisture content level. Most sawmills do a very good job of processing billets according to “lumber” standards (no knots, checks, splits, etc.). However, bat manufacturers always request baseball bat billets that have exceptionally straight grain, which is stricter than most “lumber” standards.
The importance of straight grain is critical, because the wood property that has an overwhelming effect on the strength of the final baseball bat is slope-of-grain. Slope-of-grain is how close to parallel a piece of wood is cut with respect to the longitudinal axis of wood cells in the tree. When a piece of wood is cut perfectly parallel to the grain direction of the tree, it will have the highest strength. When wood is cut at an angle to the grain direction of the tree, the strength quickly diminishes.”
To read the remainder of ‘Why Bats Break’ please click on the lead picture. Good luck!