About Sam Bat
Sam Holman founded The Original Maple Bat Corporation in 1997, the year that he introduced maple to professional baseball. The company is often referred to by the name of its record setting product, “Sam Bat”.
Setting the Standard:
Prior to Sam’s introduction of the original maple bat, the vast majority of wooden baseball bats were made of ash. In 2015, over 75% of bats sold to professional leagues are maple. Success brings imitation but Sam Bat, building on the research, knowledge and experience of 20 years of producing the bats relied on by legendary hitters, remains the standard that others aspire to. Our mission is to craft the highest quality wood baseball bats available anywhere.
Sam Bat grew out of a simple challenge. During an evening at Ottawa’s Mayflower Pub, Bill Mackenzie, a professional league scout and friend of Sam Holman said, “We’re just breaking too many (ash) bats. Do you think you could come up with an answer to that?” After researching tree species, reading hundreds of patents, and studying the physics and rules of baseball, Sam, whose creativity, craftsmanship and eye for detail had been honed through years of work as a stagehand at the National Arts Centre, believed he had an answer: Maple.
“I knew I wasn’t going to make a better ash tree.” Maple is harder and denser and doesn’t flake from use. Not any maple tree will do. Only rock maple with straight grain and minimal flaws can withstand the forces created when bat meets ball. From day one Sam has insisted on using the best wood.
In 1996 Sam crafted his first bat in the garage of his Ottawa home from a maple stair banister. He took the bat down to the Ottawa Lynx Stadium where it was used to launch a ball out of the park. Sam was told, “If you want to keep that bat, you had better put your name on it.” Thus the name “Sam Bat” was born.
Now, confident that he was on to something, Sam travelled to Toronto and through mutual contacts met Joe Carter, Ed Sprague and Carlos Delgado. They all sent balls over the fence in the Sky Dome. Joe said to Sam, “You really have something here. Stick with it.” A month later Joe took the first Sam Bat in to the game where he was asked by the umpire; "What is that bat you have there Joe? It’s the Sam Bat." Joe hit the ball out of the park.
Joe sang its praises to many others. “I like it a lot… the bat doesn’t split like regular ash does… when you use an ash bat for practice, after one day, really, it starts to splinter and split on you and become soft. Maple is a much harder wood. It doesn’t dent and it doesn’t splinter. They’re going to be around for a long time.”
It was Joe who introduced Barry Bonds to Sam. Barry became a loyal customer, setting records with his Sam Bat, and a friend of Sam’s. When Barry told Sam that his hand would cramp when he palmed his original Sam Bat, the custom B1, Sam designed a new bat with an extra-large knob – which was based on the diameter of a baseball which Bonds could hold comfortably – and the 2K1 was born. The name of the well-balanced and popular 2K1, also known as “73”, reflects the year, 2001, in which Barry Bonds hit a single season record 73 home runs with a Sam Bat. A couple of hundred later, in 2007 Bonds would establish a new career home run record as he hit number 756, then 757 through 762 with a Sam Bat.
Barry Bonds, “Confidence is everything at the plate. And Sam Bat is confidence.”
For the first six years, Sam Bats continued to be crafted in Sam’s garage. This was the home of other innovations including the patented cup you see on a Sam Bat. As demand grew, production spilled into Sam’s home. Painting and finishing took over the basement; labeling and shipping, the dining room. Paul Gauvin, who continues to label the bats, recalls, “At any given time there would be 100 or more bats about the dining room waiting to be boxed and shipped.”
Production has since shifted to a larger facility but the essence of craftsmanship and invention remains. We are proud to have a strong core of staff, including Paul and others who have been crafting Sam Bats at The Original Maple Bat Corporation since those early days in Sam’s Garage. The experience of our staff is part of what makes a Sam Bat the standard to which all other bats are measured.
We are also proud of the many professionals and amateur ball players who have made Sam Bat their choice at the plate as they set home run records, earned MVP, Rookie of the Year, or earned the illustrious Triple Crown.
We look forward to continuing to earn your confidence with every Sam Bat we make.
Set Your Own Records with a Sam Bat:
Sam Bat is proud to have been the bat of choice for:
- Barry Bonds 73 home run season
- Barry Bonds 762 career home runs
- Miguel Cabrera Triple Crown season
- 4 Rookies of the Year
- 12 MVPs
Give Sam Bat a try and Set Your Own Records
As Sam tells it, “My brother, the artist Nathan Holman, came up with the bat design over the phone one evening when I asked, ‘I need something TV recognizable, 2 inches by 4 inches.’ Nathan’s bat was clean and simple and alluded to a natural sense of sonar. If the name was to be Sam Bat, there seemed only one conclusion: the symbol had to be a picture of the ‘little devil’ itself (with eyes cut out by Nathan’s daughter, Laura). The logo is a strong and unique design that is visible from the furthest bleachers or the smallest screen.”