US 3877698 A
A baseball bat has a handle with a stem joined to its front end and extending forward from it, the stem extending into a longitudinal bore in a removable barrel that has an outer ballstriking surface. The diameter of the bore is greater than the diameter of the stem, which has annular grooves spaced lengthwise of it and containing elastic rings compressed between the stem and the encircling barrel to hold the barrel in place and space it from the stem.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Volpe Apr. 15, 1975  BASEBALL BAT WITH REPLACEABLE 3,1 16,926 l/l964 Owen et al. 273/72 R BALL STRIKING PORTION 3,246,894 4/1966 Salisbury 273/72 R 3,392,976 7/1968 Hayes 273/72 R  Inventor: Michael A. Volpe, 447 Natchez St., 3,57 01 5 1971 Piazza... 273 72 R Pittsburgh, Pa. 15211 3,652,094 3/1972 Glover 273/171  Flled' 1973 Primary Examiner-Richard J. Apley  App]. No.: 419,483 Attorney, Agent, or FirmBrown, Murray, Flick &
Peckham  US. Cl 273/72 R 51 Int. (:1 A63b 59/06  ABSTRAC T  Field of Search 273/26 B, 67 R, 67 D, 72 R A baseball bat has a handle w1th a stem omed to 1ts 273/72 A, 73 R, 73 C 73 J, 75, 80 R 80;], front end and extending forward from it, the stem ex- 81 R, 812, 171 82 R tending into a longitudinal bore in a removable barrel that has an outer ballstriking surface. The diameter of  References Cited the bore is greater than the diameter of the stem, UNITED STATES PATENTS wh1ch has annular grooves spaced lengthwise of it and containing elastic rings compressed between the stem i 7 3 77; and the encircling barrel to hold the barrel in place e e 2,379,006 6/1945 Johnson 273/72 R and Space fmm the stem 2,607,956 8/1952 Brutus 273/80] UX 8 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures BASEBALL BAT WITH REPLACEABLE BALL-STRIKING PORTION It is not unusual for baseball bats to crack or to break, the break usually occurring near the front end of the handle, which is the end farther from the body of the batter. Of course, it is then necessary to replace the entire bat. To overcome the breakage problem, baseball bats also have been made of metal. In order that such bats will not be too heavy, they are hollow. One objection to metal bats is the metallic sound they produce when they strike baseballs. Also, they often are made of metal tubing that is so thin that it can be dented by the balls.
It is among the objects of this invention to provide a baseball bat which will not break at the handle, which has a replaceable ball-striking portion that can be metal or wood, which can be balanced and weighted to suit the player and, when all metal, will not make a hollow metallic sound when striking baseballs.
The invention is illustrated in the accompanying drawings in which,
FIG. 1 is a side view ofa bat with a wood barrel partly in longitudinal section;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged cross section taken on the line lllI of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary side view partly in section, showing the handle and stem before assembly with the barrel; and
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary longitudinal section of a modification using a metal barrel.
Referring to FIGS. 1 to 3 of the drawings, a baseball bat handle 1 is made from a high impact unbreakable plastic or from a light-weight metal, such as aluminum. Extending forward from the inner or front end of the handle is a stem 2 that is rigidly joined to the handle, preferably by being made integral with it. The major diameter of the stem is less than the diameter of the front end of the handle so that the handle forms a radial shoulder 3 around the stem. This stem extends into a longitudinal bore 4 in the hitting or ball-striking portion of the bat, referred to herein as the barrel 5. The diameter of the bore is somewhat greater than the diameter of the stern. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the barrel is made of wood, which may be treated in such a way as to increase its strength and useful life.
In order to hold the barrel securely on the stem and yet permit them to be separated when necessary, the stem is provided with a plurality of annular grooves 7 that are spaced along it. The exact number of grooves is not critical, but there should be a fairly large number of them. Mounted in these grooves, or in at least most of them, are compressible elastic rings 8 made of rubber or the like. As shown in FIG. 3, they normally project from the grooves far enough to require them to be compressed by the barrel when the stem is inserted in the barrel. The rings also project far enough and resist compression to such an extent as to require considerable pressure to force the stem into the barrel bore as far as it will go. The compressed rings will still project from the grooves a short distance and will therefore space the barrel from the stem as shown in FIG. 1. The frictional engagement of the barrel with the rings inside of it will hold it securely on the stem but permit it to be pulled off when sufficient force is applied.
The sides of grooves 7 preferably flare outwardly to provide areas into which the elastic rings can bulge when they are compressed by the barrel. As shown in FIG. 3, it also is desirable that the sides of each ring be normally inclined outwardly toward each other and terminate in' a substantially flat outer surface. This shape of ring aids in inserting the rings in the barrel by helping to keep the rings from being rolled over when the stem is pushed into the barrel, especially if the end wall of the barrel at its open end is tapered inwardly to give it the same inclination as the sides of the rings it engages during assembly of the bat. To prevent the barrel from directly engaging the handle, a resilient spacing ring 9 is mounted on the stem. This ring has a flat surface en gaging the handle shoulder 3, and a tapered surface engaged by the tapered end wall of the barrel. Consequently, no part of the barrel touches the handle and stem.
The balance of a baseball bat is important to a ball player and this bat can readily be balanced at any de sired point along it by substituting one or more weights for the elastic rings around the stem. The weight is preferably composed of a split lead ring 11 that is opened sufficiently to slip it over the stem in one of the grooves 7 and then is compressed tightly around the stem. Of course, the periphery of this weight is spaced from the encircling wall of the barrel. Such a weight should not be placed in either of the grooves at the front end of the stem because elastic rings are needed at that point to prevent the barrel from possibly canting on the stem and coming in contact with it when the bat strikes a ball.
To provide a heavier bat, one or more lead discs 13 can be forced into a cup 14 of rubber or the like in the closed end of the barrel bore. Forcing this weight into the cup, which compresses the cup side wall against the wall of the bore, assures that both will be securely held in place. They will also reinforce the bat at that point. If a lighter bat is desired, a short section of an aluminum tube can be substituted for the lead weight.
In the modification shown in FIG. 4, the barrel 16 is made economically from a shaped metal tube that is open at both its ends. The opening in the front or outer end of the barrel is closed by a plug 17 of rubber or the like bonded to the end of the stem 18 inside the tube. To help in holding the plug in place, the end of the stem can be provided with a reduced diameter extension 19 that fits tightly in a socket in the plug. Although the barrel is made of metal, the bat will not sound like a metal bat when it strikes a ball because the metallic sound will be deadened by the elastic rings 20 that are pressed tightly against the inner surface of the barrel. If the barrel is damaged in use, it will be cheaper to replace than a one-piece metal bat.
It will be understood that with the bat described herein, in which there is no contact between the barrel and the stem or handle, no jarring vibration or sting can be transmitted through the handle to the batter when he strikes a ball. This bat can be made to have the same impact or effect on a ball as do the wooden bats that are in general use today. This is done by the correct choice of elastic ring size and resiliency and the distance the rings project from the grooves in the stem to increase or decrease the compression of the rings and their resultant pressure against the barrel.
Many users of baseball bats, especially professional ball players, require the bats they use to have what they describe as a certain feel. This is determined mostly by three elements of the bat construction; namely, the
handle diameter, the total weight of the bat and its point of balance. The handle of this bat can be made as small in diameter as desired and less than an all wood bat because of the much greater strength of metal or a high impact plastic. The grip can be improved with tape or a suitable coating and also by forming alternate ridges and grooves around the handle. This last procedure could make an all wood bat too weak for use. As explained earlier herein, the weight of the bat can be increased by metal rings 11 and/or discs 13. The loca tion of metal weights 11 and the elastic rings along the stem will determine the balance of the bat. The balance of any given bat can be indicated by a mark on its outer surface.
Even though the bat may have a metal handle, the portion of the bat that strikes a ball can still be wood. It this'portion or barrel is damaged in use, it can be replaced without replacing the handle. Replacing only the barrel is cheaper than replacing an entire bat and it also conserves lumber. Since the barrel is held on the stem solely by frictional engagement with the elastic rings, no fastening members or adhesives are required which would complicate the assembly of the bat and the removal of the barrel. In the case of an individual using the bat, replacement can be made by splitting off the damaged wood barrel and pounding a new barrel down over the stem. On the other hand, sellers of these bats and the ball clubs that buy them can be provided with mechanical means for pulling the barrels off the stems and forcing new barrels onto them. The sellers of the bats can also provide ball clubs with charts indicating the number of weight rings and/or weight discs required to provide a bat of any desired weight. The chart can also show them what has to be done in order to locate the bat's point of balance at any desired point along the length of the bat.
Even though this bat is equipped with a metal barrel, it is cheaper to make than the present one-piece metal bats and it does not produce the objectionable metallic sound that conventional metal bats give off when striking baseballs.
According to the provisions of the patent statutes, I have explained the principle of my invention and have illustrated and described what I now consider to represent its best embodiment. However, I desire to have it understood that, within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically illustrated and described.
l. A composite baseball bat with a replaceable ballstriking portion, comprising a handle having front and rear ends, a stem joined to the front end of the handle and extending. forward therefrom, a removable barrel provided with a longitudinal bore receiving substantially all of said stem, the diameter of said bore being greater than the diameter of the stem to space the barrel from the stem, the barrel having an outer ballstriking surface, said stem being provided with a plurality of annular grooves spaced lengthwise thereof, and elastic rings in at least most of the grooves and projecting therefrom, said rings being compressed between the stem and the encircling barrel to hold the barrel in place and space it from said stem. 1
2. A composite baseball bat according to claim 1, in which at least one of said grooves contains a metal weight ring instead of an elastic ring, said weight ring being spaced from the encircling barrel.
3. A composite baseball bat according to claim 1, in which said elastic rings are in most of said grooves, including the two grooves nearest the front end of the stern, and a metal weight ring is disposed in a groove behind said two grooves and is spaced from the encircling barrel.
4. A composite baseball bat according to claim 1, in which the front end of the handle has a forwardly facing radial shoulder encircling the rear end of the stem, and a resilient spacing ring encircles the stem in engagement with said shoulder and the rear end of the barrel.
5. A composite baseball bat according to claim 1, in which the portions of said elastic rings that project from said grooves before the stem is inserted in the barrel bore have rearwardly inclined front surfaces, and the rear end of the barrel has an inwardly tapered end wall for engaging said inclined surfaces as the bat is assembled.
6. A composite baseball bat according to claim 1, including a metal weight between the front ends of said stem and bore, and compressed resilient means spacing said weight from the barrel.
7. A composite baseball bat according to claim 1, in which said barrel is wood, and said handle and stem are made of another material.
8. A composite baseball bat according to claim 1, in which said barrel is a metal tube, and a rubber plug secured to the front end of said stem closes the front end of said tube.