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Bryce Harper uses a lot of different guys’ bats. Here’s why.

Aug 25, 2014, 10:33 AM EDT

Bryce Harper AP AP

There was a dustup late last week — maybe less, than a dustup, but that’s the most minor word I can think of to describe “a thing people on those ESPN shout shows felt was worth talking about” — regarding Bryce Harper using one of Yasiel Puig‘s bats in a game. I was in a pizza place Friday night where there was a TV tuned to one of those shoes and, on a split screen featuring two reporters who like to yell about things, were the words “Harper Used Puig’s Bat.” So I suppose that’s a controversy of some kind.

Not much of one, though. As Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports, Harper uses bats from lots of other players. Or at least their models, on a more or less constant try-out basis. If he likes one, he orders them with his name on them. There’s a whole family tree of bat usage, actually. Manny Ramirez had a model he liked named after him, which Ian Desmond adopted and now Harper is trying that one too. Eventually he’ll find one he likes for a while and it will be a Harper.

So it’s just a really inside baseball tech story, not a statement or an instance of guys who are supposed to be competing against one another being too friendly for the tastes of some people or whatever. An inside baseball tech story that would probably be pretty fascinating to known more about, actually. Someone with an attention span: please give us the definitive history of bat models, please. Along with one of those illustrated family trees. I’d buy a print of that.

  1. blacksables - Aug 25, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/baseballs-bat-man-62965504/?no-ist

    • blacksables - Aug 25, 2014 at 10:44 AM

      http://www.stevetheump.com/Bat_History.htm

      • blacksables - Aug 25, 2014 at 10:45 AM

        http://keymancollectibles.com/Louisvilleslugger.htm

  2. davidpom50 - Aug 25, 2014 at 11:31 AM

    This is something ESPN guys got upset about? I just find it interesting.

  3. someguyinva - Aug 25, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    MASN called attention to the fact that Harper was using a Puig model bat during a game last week, with a closeup of the label on the bat. If they don’t do that, there’s no story at all.

  4. recoveringcubsfan - Aug 25, 2014 at 12:36 PM

    Noticed Harper has different bats all the time but actually didn’t think about why until I saw this. I’d also like to know more about how this works. Nice catch, Calcaterra.

  5. tmc602014 - Aug 25, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    OH, come on, Sables! You’ve got three histories of the bat on tap, just in case the rest of us need it? Your boss is over there, better get back to work!
    (checking first listing…hmmm, the bat man! Nice title anyway (furtive glance around wall of cubicle)…

    • tmc602014 - Aug 25, 2014 at 5:33 PM

      First paragraph, Hillerich and Bradsby are in Louisville. Hence the “Louisville slugger” eh? Didn’t ever put that together, if I even knew where they were…

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