Frequently Asked Questions
Facts About Sam Bats, Maple, and Finding the Right Bat For You
About Maple – Rock Maple, to be specific
Imagine at the end of the month using a wood bat that was the same as the day you started using it.
Maple (Rock Maple) is one of the hardest woods in the world, far stronger and harder than ash. This is why barrels on the Sam Bat seldom dent, crack or fray. If you can dent a maple bat you have an excellent start to a future in the game.
Compare the wood grain of a maple bat to ash. The lines on an ash bat are thicker and spread father apart, while the lines on a maple bat are tight together and harder to see. This is because the maple tree grows much more slowly than the ash tree, making the wood denser and stronger. Being denser and stronger also makes maple logs much heavier than ash logs. Where an ash log can immediately begin its transformation into a bat, our maple, after being carefully cut and selected for straightness and strength of grain, must be specially dried. Eliminating a portion of the moisture content in the wood brings maple down to the right weight range for a professional grade baseball bat.
Like all natural materials, maple varies. The density of rock maple varies from 63% to 65% specific gravity. This means if we cut to an exact weight our barrels will vary, for example, from 2 3/8” to 2 ½”. Professional hitters who use our wood bats tell us to vary the weight and be more consistent with barrel diameters.
Not All Maples Are Created Equal
The maple all Sam Bats are made from is Rock Maple, also known as Sugar Maple or Hard Maple. Rock Maple is a different species of tree from those classified as “Soft Maple”. Soft Maple varieties include Red Maple, Silver Maple, Bigleaf Maple, Box Elder, and Striped Maple (see The Wood Database). Soft Maples are not suitable to make professional grade baseball bats.
No “Bone Rubbing”! – What it is, and why we don’t do it
At Sam Bat we never “bone rub” our bats. Bone rubbing is a process used by some players and companies to try and compress the wood of the barrel by rubbing it with a large dry bone or porcelain surface. The idea is that the compression resulting from this rubbing will make the surface denser, less likely to flake or splinter, and will result in the ball coming off the bat at a higher speed. While we can’t speak to whether rubbing the surface of an ash bat actually makes it less likely to flake or not, bone rubbing one of our Rock Maple bats is completely unnecessary. Rock Maple is an incredibly dense material to begin with. It is a slow growing wood, with a tight grain and tight cell structure. In order to make a Sam Bat, this extremely tough material is made even tougher by kiln drying. Kiln drying maple actually changes its cell structure, binding it further. The wood is then shaped on a lathe and expertly sanded. Sanding further seals the pores of the wood, and if your Sam Bat is finished with a stain and urethane top coat, the pores have been fully sealed. If bone rubbing is a ritual for you that helps with your mental preparedness for the game, by all means bone rub your bat. The forces of baseball are intense, however, and rubbing your bat won’t change the structure of the product you’re using. A little pressure and friction with a bone is not going to improve your superbly crafted Sam Bat.
Safe Use of Equipment & Planning Ahead
Sam Holman developed the first professional grade maple baseball bat because of how often ash bats were breaking.
We take great pride in the strength and endurance of our product. Our bats have been known to withstand upwards of a month of professional play. Baseball bats do eventually wear out, however, especially when balls are hit at intense speeds. When used for too long ash bats tend to splinter, while maple bats may break in larger pieces. To avoid breakage and keep everyone’s safety in mind, we recommend to professional and non-professional players that you retire your bat when it begins to look the worse for wear. Plan ahead and order your next Sam Bat before you know you’ll need it. Then you can retire your old bat in style, have your team sign it, or sign it with your stats and make it part of your personal memorabilia.
Consciousness of safety is a key sign of professionalism. Treat the game with respect.
About Your Sam Bat
Anatomy of a Baseball Bat
Your Sam Bat is made from a single piece of maple, carefully chosen and sculpted for strength. Different words are used to describe different parts of your bat. Understanding these words will help you determine which bat model works best for you.
Handle & Barrel
Our Sam Bats for retail sale are directly based on contemporary models used in professional baseball. The handle is the heart of your bat, the barrel the muscle. We know maple wood gives you a longer sweet spot so our barrels are designed to enhance this advantage.
Weight and Length
The weight of a bat (in ounces) is typically expressed relative to the bat length (in inches). For example, if your bat is 34” long and has a weight of -2, your bat will weigh 32 ounces.
Bat weight and length will help the ball jump off the bat. Big hitters usually use big wood bats for example 34.5”, 33 ounces. We encourage that weight increases first then length. Over years the young hitter will increase both, possibly leading to a pro career.
To find out what length of bat to use, see our sizing chart.
Cupping refers to the amount of wood removed from the barrel at the end of the bat. The depth of the cup moves the center of the weight of the bat toward the hitter. A FULL cup is 1″ deep, a HALF cup is 1/2″ deep, and NONE means there is no cup on the bat.
Little League bat models are never cupped, this allows a young player to use the full length of the barrel while learning to hit the sweet spot.
The Sam Bat has a patented straight-edged cup, which leaves greater strength along the full length of the barrel.
Finding the right knob for your baseball bat is about achieving a comfortable, powerful swing.
Sam Bat offers a variety of different knob types. These range from classic rounded knobs to flared knobs that extend from the handle like the bell of a trumpet.
For a full comparison of the knobs available on our stock and custom models, see the chart here.
Your Sam Bat can be ordered from Sam’s Select Stock, available in our most popular MLB approved colors, or you can custom order your bat in a wide range of finishes – from natural wood tones, to vibrant colors. You can also choose from a rainbow of different colors for your Sam Bat decal. Always check your league’s regulations on bat specs before ordering.
A solid color scheme paints the whole bat in one color.
A two-tone color scheme means different colors are used for the handle and barrel. A band of natural finish, and two decal strips that match the label, provide a transition between the two colors.
All personalized Sam Bats intended for game play are laser inscribed with the depth of inscription kept to a minimum in order to maintain the performance integrity of the barrel.
The Process: The wood for your Sam Bat, which has been cut for strength and straightness of grain, is checked and rechecked for any flaws or signs of weakness, as it is carved. Accepted pieces go on to be painstakingly finished, with first stain or paint, then your Sam Bat decal and model, and finally a coating of urethane.
Commemorative Trophy Bats or Sam Bat Desk Top Minis/Stubbies can also be laser inscribed.
Regular Barrel vs. Big Barrel
The difference between a Regular Barrel and Big Barrel bat is mainly in the taper* of the barrel.
Both types of bats may have the same barrel size at the end of the bat. A Regular Barrel bat will have a longer and more gradual taper into the handle, and a Big Barrel bat will have a straighter barrel with a shorter taper into the handle.
For example, a model KB1 (Regular Barrel) and an SG2 (Big Barrel) both have a 2 ½” barrel but the tapering of the handles is very different.
Both Big and Regular Barrels are favored by the pros.
Because there is more wood required to make a Big Barrel bat making them in a light weight is very difficult, but added weight can mean added strength behind your swing.
Big Barrel bats take longer to make in light weights because the right wood is much harder to find.
All of Sam’s Select Stock models are professional grade Regular Barrel bats, offered in a set range of our most popular colors, lengths, and weight ranges.
Under Custom Adult Bats you can choose from the full range of Regular and Big Barrel models we offer, and customize your Sam Bat’s length, weight range, cupping and colors. Additionally, _Custom Adult Bats_ can be personalized with your name and team name!
*Taper – the transitional slope
Sam’s Hitting Tips
Sizing your Sam Bat
Youths transitioning to maple will quickly establish the correct bat length. The lost lesson is that wood bats require more weight to work properly. The length of your wood bat will be the same as metal. Weight increases in almost all cases by two to four ounces if switching from metal to wood bats. Aggressive wood bat hitting will improve your offensive game. We believe young hitters who use wood properly but still break many wood bats are swinging wood bats that are too light. Wood bats gain strength when mass is added to any given model. Strength is added to any wood bat when the diameter is increased in the handle.
See our Sizing Chart to determine length.
Label Up! – At the plate, look your Sam Bat in the eyes
At the plate look your Sam Bat in the eyes. We put our Bat decal on top of the grain to ensure the best possible contact with the sweet spot. This gives any wood bat a better chance to last and help your game.