When I was a kid my dad bought me my first bat. It was made of wood. It was a Louisville Slugger. I remember that day as if it were yesterday. Eventually that bat saw it's end when I hit a ball in on my hands busting it in to pieces.
Last month I was asked if I'd like to make a custom wooden bat made to the highest quality and used in Major League Baseball. I jumped at the opportunity and thirty two years later I'm about to have my second wooden bat. This time I would be designing it as well. If you head over to Louisville Slugger's website you can design a bat (or ten). I played around with their configurator and ended up making about 5 different bats, settling on this gem:
I went far more conservative than I could have. Practically any color combination you can think of is available, but I chose to make a bat that hearkened back to my first Slugger years ago. Even if you don't plan on buying a bat the configurator is a lot of fun and a good way to waste some time.
I went with the C243 because of it's large barrel and it's slightly end loaded. I went with a 32 length and a 4 ounce drop. I'm getting old and I need a light bat that still carries some momentum through the swing. The barrel also has a short taper leaving a larger contact area. The C243 is also the choice of Rod Carew, that can't hurt either.
A couple weeks ago my bat came in the mail. Like a kid on Christmas I unwrapped it immediately. Taking a few swings, I knew I chose the right bat. It's perfectly balanced, with minimal drag. It's also a work of art. I don't have furniture that looks this good.
For the wood species I went with maple. Louisville Slugger Prime bats use only the best 3% of maple. This is a very hard bat that you won't have to bone to prevent chipping. It has a stamp that indicates it satisfies the strict slope of grain requirements by MLB.
I like the little things about this bat as well. The custom knob for one. And the Prime also comes with a cross section of the bat signed by it's maker. It's a real nice touch.
So what does it do to baseballs you ask? Jbox and I searched all over for a vacant field that would provide plenty of space given the Prime's potential power. We found an old baseball field that had been overcome by grass for some sport called soccer. This would do.
I dug in the box and Jbox took the mound. As you can imagine Jbox can throw some serious gas. He can also get real nasty. Preserving his arm he pretty much threw nothing but junk. Jbox was no match for the C243. Crushing pitch after pitch, this Louisville Slugger was just finding it's groove. The ball jumped off the bat. So much more pop than even my last aluminum bat! We spent the better part of the afternoon taking turns until we couldn't pitch anymore.
This has to be the best Maple bat on the market. I highly recommend it, if not for yourself perhaps as a gift. The holidays are just around the corner and if you order by November 18, you'll have it in time for Christmas.