New Kind of Baseball Bat Is Tapered for Safety and Comfort

Bats have not changed much since Honus Wagner became the first player to have his name burned onto a Louisville Slugger. True, they are lighter now, with rounded ends, and since Barry Bonds used it, many players have switched to maple from the traditional white ash. But the general shape is unchanged.

Now Grady Phelan, a graphic designer by trade and an inventor by predilection, has created a bat with a different look. The knob is slanted on one side, with the raised edge gradually disappearing so that side of the hand rests on a flat surface rather than grinding against the knob during a swing.

Maybe not a big difference, at least in appearance. But Phelan says it may do two important things: prevent injury and reduce the risk of the bat flying out of the batter’s hand when he swings.

Phelan said he got the idea while playing ball with his son. “I accidentally let the bat go,” he said. “It landed across the yard — went quite a ways — and I had a bruise on my hand. From that moment, I started thinking how to change this, how to fix it.”