Records suggest that baseball was first played sometime in the mid-18th century. Since then, this sport has come a long way to become one of the most popular team sport in the world. During this phase, the world also witnessed several changes in various aspects of this sport, most of which made it even better. One such change was the replacement of the traditional wooden bats with new aluminum bats. Not everybody was happy with this development, and this in turn triggered a debate as to which is better among the two – the aluminum baseball bat or its wooden predecessor? Before we move on to the aluminum bats vs wooden bats comparison, in order to find which one is better, let’s have a brief look at these bats in general.
Baseball Bat Information
The baseball bat is a club, made from wood or metal, which is used to strike the ball to score runs in a game of baseball. According to the baseball rules and regulations constituted by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), the baseball bat sizing should not be more than 42 inches in length and 2.75 inches in diameter at the thickest point. Similarly, this bat shouldn’t weigh more than 33 ounces. The baseball bats history can be traced back to the times when crude bats were made by hand, as opposed to the bats made by machines today. As these wooden baseball bats were more prone to breaking, bat manufacturers started manufacturing metal alloy bats which were pitched to be much more durable. As time elapsed, more and more alterations were made to the design of the bat. The manufacturers introduced the aluminum bats in the market as the baseball bats with a wider sweet spot and more power, which in turn resulted in better performance.
Aluminum Baseball Bats vs. Wooden Baseball Bats
Many of the famous baseball players resorted to these bats made from aluminum, while others stayed with the wooden bats. As the manufacturers continue to make bats from wood and metal even today, the end users seem to be in a dilemma as to which of these bats are more efficient. Among the various differences in the aluminum baseball bats and the wooden baseball bats, the two most prominent ones are safety and speed.
Aluminum vs. Wooden Bat: Speed
The sweet spot on the baseball bat determines the maximum force and velocity it can produce. Both aluminum bats as well as wooden bats have a sweet spot, but the sweet spot of the metal alloy bat is larger than that of the its wooden counterpart. Owing to this, the ball comes off the bat with tremendous ease, and the force generated can make the ball go farther than the maximum range of a wooden bat. The balance point and weight play a crucial role in determining the power, and aluminum bat scores high on both of these aspects. Its weight is distributed evenly, and being made from alloy it is lighter, both these aspects, in turn, make it easy for the player to swing it at the ball. If the player is able to swing the wooden bat as swiftly as he swings the aluminum bat, he can hit the ball even more farther. The problem, however, is that it is difficult to swing the wooden bat which is heavier than its aluminum counterpart.
Aluminum Bats vs. Wooden Bats: Safety
Baseball bats made from aluminum have lately come under the scanner for a wide range of safety concerns. The use of aluminum bats has increased the number of injuries on the field, owing to the high velocity at which the ball travels. The standard exit velocity of an aluminum bat far exceeds that of a wooden bat. Studies have revealed that the pitcher is at the most risk, as a result of less reaction time he has. Skull fractures and jaw fractures have become much more common after the introduction of aluminum bats on the field.
Other than these differences, the facts such as the aluminum bat is lighter than the wooden bat and the wooden bat doesn’t vibrate as much as an aluminum bat does also need to be mentioned in the aluminum bats vs wooden bats comparison. Which baseball bat you use is just one of the many underlying factors behind your performance. The are several other crucial factors which determine the performance of the player, the prominent ones among which are the style of the player, the way he swings the bat etc. Thus, we can conclude that the wooden bat has more power, but aluminum bat is easier to use. At the end of the day, the performance depends on the player himself, and not the baseball equipment, such as the bat and the ball.