Where It All Started
Today Baseball is considered America's national pastime. American's began playing baseball on informal teams in the early 1800's. At this time they had only local rules that differed from place to place. Also, at this time there were no official baseball bats for the players to use. Many used sticks as bats. That is where stick ball came from which is still played today. Baseball was based on the English game of rounders. Alexander Joy Cartwright of New York invented the modern baseball field in 1845. Also in 1845 Cartwright published the first set of baseball rules which were widely adopted(http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blbaseball.htm).
In the early days of the sport, baseball bats came in all shapes and sizes. In the 1850's, baseball was an extremely young sport and batters made their own bats and experimented with bats of all varieties (long, short, flat, and heavy). It was quickly discovered that bats with rounded barrels seemed to work best. The first rules to restrict bats were made in 1859. The bats could be no larger than 2.5 inches in diameter but they could be any length the players wanted. Ten years later in 1869, another rule was added stating the bats could be no longer than 42 inches in length. This bat length rule is still in effect today in baseball. At the time there were no rules or regulations on the shape of the bat player could use. In the 1890's the rule committee stated that bats could not be sawed off at the end, they must be round(http://www.baseball-bats.net/baseball-bats/baseball-bat-history/). The maximum diameter was also increased to 2.75 inches. A New Era
All the new rules restricting bats soon became too much for the players. This brought about the birth of the most famous name in baseball bats today. In 1884, the Louisville slugger company was born. It all started one day in Louisville, 17 year old John Hillerich watched a player break his favorite bat in a game....
References: The History of Baseball. 09 Mar. 2005
"Baseball bat history." 2003. Baseball-bats.net. 09 Mar. 2005
"The History of Bats." Worth. 9 Mar. 2005
"Bat Buying Guide." Titan-solutions. 9 Mar. 2005
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