Bat Man

A Chatham resident tries to revolutionize the way bats are created and manufactured to ensure optimal safety.

Photo by Edward Tsang.

Ward Dill thinks he has the answer to those broken bats that are so scary to baseball fans. The Chatham resident has created the Radial Bat, a shatterproof bat made from twelve wedges of wood held together by 36 tons of pressure.

Dill, 56, began making the bat three years ago. So far, Major League Baseball isn’t buying.

The M.I.T.-educated Dill has had meetings with MLB officials, but they are sticking with their policy of only approving one-piece bats. “The only reason I can think of that they’ll change that rule is if there’s some horrific problem in terms of somebody being injured,” Dill says, “and I don’t want that to happen.” MLB officials would not comment for this story.

Still, Dill thinks the Radial Bat deserves a shot at the big leagues. “Wood will break along the grain lines,” he explains. “When the grain of a piece of wood travels all the way through a bat, a fracture will find that pathway and separate the bat into two pieces or more. In our twelve-wedge radial design, the grain never goes more than one wedge before the next wedge stops it.”

The Radial Bat has made inroads among Little League, high school, college, and minor-league teams. Several big-league teams, including the Yankees and Mets, use a smaller training version of the bat.
Dill expects to sell 25,000 bats this year. For information, go to radialbat.com.

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