Why Do MLB Players Use Wooden Bats? (5 Reasons)
If you are an MLB fan, you have probably wondered at some point, “Why do MLB players use wooden bats?”
If you have, you are not the only one. In fact, it is a rather frequently asked question but rarely ever answered.
So, today, I’m going to compile all the information I have gathered and make sure I answer every question that has ever crossed your mind about MLB bats!
All this information will erase your curiosity and be beneficial if you plan to get yourself a baseball bat.
So, if you want to know why MLB players use wooden baseball bats, their benefits, what kind of wood they use, and other relevant information, you will find everything here!
Table of Contents
Why Do MLB Players Use Wooden Bats?
There are many reasons why MLB players are supposed to use only wooden baseball bats (MLB Rule 3.02).
The most significant of these reasons are the following:
1. Wooden Bats Enable Better Safety
Wooden bats have a lesser, more restricted frequency and pace when they hit a ball than metal bats.
It means that the defensive infielders are safer when players use wooden bats instead of metal ones.
2. Wooden Bats Have Lower Manufacturing Costs
Players often break their bats during the game or practice, and they have to be replaced.
This way, such frequent replacements can get very expensive.
However, since wooden bats have lower manufacturing costs than other materials, they are affordable replacements.
3. Wooden Bats Cannot Be Modified
When players used composite or metal bats, they often changed them or manipulated them to improve their performance during the game.
For example, they would shave the inside component of their bat or make other changes to it.
Such changes were unfair and would also pose detrimental dangers to the audiences and other players around the field.
Since Wooden bats cannot be modified, they are strictly implemented on every player in the MLB.
4. Wooden Bats Filter Out Good Players From The Bad Ones
I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but you can judge an athlete by his gaming skills, right?
Even the most average players can make a good shot with a metal bat.
However, it’s the wooden bat that really tests your skills and capabilities as a baseball player.
Hence, it is an excellent way to judge which players are worth being chosen so only the best can participate in the MLB.
5. It’s A Tradition!
MLBs began during the 1800s, and back then, pro players used wooden bats.
As years passed, it has become an unchangeable tradition, and players, whether they like it or not, use a wooden bats out of respect for this ongoing MLB culture.
What Are The Pros Of Using A Wooden Bat For Baseball?
No products found.
Apart from these specific reasons why MLB prefers using wooden bats, there are some other reasons why people around the world prefer this material over others:
They Improve A Player’s Skills
As I said, only the pros can use wooden bats!
And apart from being able to identify good players from bad ones, players can also use wooden bats to become better athletes.
Practicing with wooden bats and opting for them as their “weapon of choice” helps them get better in the field.
It’s like lifting heavier dumbbells to become stronger; you can still pick up the lighter ones, but they will make you stronger and give you an edge over the other players.
They Are Not Hard To Replace.
Wooden bats are not expensive, and they are very accessible.
You can find them everywhere, although the quality and comfort do vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
You can also get them custom-made. So, they are not very hard to replace if you lose or break one.
Wooden Bats Last Long
We all know that wood is a durable material if it’s taken care of, especially if it’s high-quality wood.
Hence, just like wooden furniture and other items, baseball bats also last very long if they are properly used and maintained.
They Are Not Hard To Maintain.
This leads us to our last point: wooden bats are easy to take care of, and they do not demand much time, effort, and money to maintain.
Of course, you have to take care of them, protect them from trauma, heavy impact, moisture, direct exposure to the sun, and other things that can shorten their lives.
However, it’s still very durable.
Let’s Be Honest; It Looks Classy!
Besides all the other practical and realistic reasons why you should go for a wooden bat, let’s face it, it is an aesthetically pleasing choice.
Wooden bats have a beautiful finish and a pleasant exterior, representing style and class.
So, naturally, these are far better than metal bats!
What Type Of Wood Are MLB Bats Made Of?
Now that we know why do MLB players use wooden bats, let’s talk about what type of wood they use?
MLB bats, and baseball bats in general, are mostly made from Maple wood, and this has been the truth for the previous 20 years in the game’s history.
The most significant features of maple wood that make it a priority include its durability, hardness, and the fact that it gives an overall better performance in the game.
Maple is highly dense, and density is directly proportional to the strength and durability of the wood.
The denser the bat, the more durable it is, and the more pop it gives when you play. And so, about 75% to 85% of MLB bats are made of maple wood.
Apart from Maple, other types of wood that are often used to make MLB bats include birch and ash.
These types of wood are also chosen because of their density, quality, and durability. Plus, they also give good performance when players play them on the field.
Ash is dense but lighter compared to Maple, which is relatively healthier.
How Heavy Are MLB Wooden Baseball Bats?
The weight of the MLB bat really depends on what it is made of.
On average, most MLB bats today weigh around 0.94 kgs (33 ounces) and the maximum weight is often 0.96 to 1 kg (34 to 36 ounces).
The interesting fact is that if you look at the history of baseball bats, they once weighed around 1.4 kg (3 pounds).
Over time, manufacturing methods, choice of raw materials, and other aspects of the bat have evolved.
Hence, the weight has significantly reduced and might continue to go further down in the future.
Another fun fact is that Edd Roush was the only MLB player who used a baseball bat heavier than 40 ounces.
To be precise, his behemoth baseball bat weighed around 48 ounces when the player debuted in 1913 with the Chicago White Sox.
Even though modern standards do not consider him a spectacular player, considering that he hit only 68 home runs in his entire career, it is still an amazing fact that he used such a heavy bat throughout his baseball career of 18 years.
Who Should Use A Wood Bat?
Despite all the amazing benefits of using a wooden bat, only certain players should be using them. For example,
Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball participants should practice and play with wooden bats.
However, athletes in High School League, Softball teams, and Little League Baseball Teams should refrain from doing so.
Because young players and amateurs don’t have the timing, power, or skills to use a wooden bat and hit a ball with so much force and accuracy.
In contrast to that, determined and mature players who have somewhat of experience can go ahead to use wooden bats when they play or practice.
If they have the athletic capabilities and physical strength to carry and maneuver a solid, heavy wooden bat, they should.
Also, players trying to get into the Minor or Major Baseball League should definitely use a wooden bat to practice.
It will increase their chances of getting chosen as skilled players.
Who Should Use An Aluminum Bat Or Composite Bat?
No products found.
Again, why do MLB players use wooden bats? Because they are skilled and professional.
While keeping that in mind, let’s think about it: who do you think should use a composite, aluminum, or metal bat?
Needless to say, amateur players should!
Young players who don’t have the physical strength to manipulate a heavy, high-quality wooden bat should start with an aluminum or composite baseball bat.
It is a good way for them to warm up and start their baseball journey before upgrading their tools and equipment.
Composite and aluminum bats are also great for people who cannot afford a wooden bat or replace it frequently.
Aluminum bats have a significantly longer lifespan and durability, as they can last for a couple of years or even more.
Unfortunately, composite bats, as durable as they are, start showing cosmetic flaws as they age.
However, this is not a problem with aluminum bats as they maintain their overall look if used properly.
Lastly, aluminum and composite bats hit the hardest and have the farthest throw. Aluminum bats hit balls much further than wooden ones do.
Hence, it is an excellent way for amateur players to start and build their confidence and self-esteem before upgrading to wooden baseball bats.
How Long Do MLB Wooden Baseball Bats Last?
In case you’re thinking exactly how long a wooden bat will last if you take care of it properly, let me give you some specifics:
Typically, high-quality MLB wooden baseball bats can last around two years, sometimes more.
Depending on the manufacturing company, most bats also have a coverage warranty of around 1 to 2 years.
That being said, when a bat says it will last two years, it does not necessarily mean that it will last exactly two years!
Certain significant things play a significant role in deciding how long your baseball bat will live.
- How often do you use it
- How much force do you apply
- Where do you store it
- What the environmental conditions are like
- How it was manufactured
- When it was manufactured
It means that even the best high-quality wooden bat can break and show cosmetic flaws if you hit the ball too hard, play longer than usual, or if the balls just hit it at a wrong angle.
Unfortunately, no one can guarantee that the bat will not break until the two years are over.
It primarily depends on how you use and maintain it.
Nevertheless, wooden bats, comprising of good quality wood are always durable and a charm to play with.
How To Take Care Of A Wooden Baseball Bat
As I said earlier, wooden baseball bats have a very long life if properly taken care of.
But how do you do that?
Here are some straightforward yet effective tips for maintaining a wooden baseball bat so that it stays in shape for longer:
Keep the bat somewhere dry and cool, away from moisture. Avoid giving it exposure to extreme temperatures and frequent fluctuations in the environment.
Make sure the bat does not come in contact with any damp surfaces.
Keep it clean using soft clothes and linseed oil. You can also use another oil if you want, but linseed is preferred and advised by experts.
Try to keep it somewhere safe, where your pets, children, or visitors cannot touch it unnecessarily.
So, why do MLB players use wooden bats?
Because they are easy to use, far more durable, and have additional benefits that other materials don’t!
Plus, wooden bats have always represented quality and class. And, at this point, is it really authentic baseball if you don’t have a wooden bat in your hand?
Over the years, these wooden bats have become a classic sign of baseball, not just for MLB games but universally!
So, if you have been wondering about these MLB questions or want to get yourself a wooden baseball bat, your decisions will now become much easier!