8 DePaul J. Sports L. & Contemp. Probs. 95 (2011-2012)
Baseball Bats out of Hell: Potential Theories of Liability Arising from Maple Bat Injuries

handle is hein.journals/jspocpd8 and id is 97 raw text is: BASEBALL BATS OUT OF HELL:
POTENTIAL THEORIES OF LIABILITY ARISING
FROM MAPLE BAT INJURIES
INTRODUCTION
The possibility of a wooden baseball bat breaking while being used
by a baseball player during the course of a game is not a novel threat
to the safety of players and spectators., In the last decade, however,
observers of the game and academic scholars noticed a trend: bats
were breaking with greater frequency and in a more dangerous fash-
ion.2 The increased dangerousness posed by the bats seemed to corre-
late with the rise in popularity of baseball bats fashioned from maple
wood. Traditionally, baseball bats were made of white ash, with a few
individual players using models designed from other types of wood.
Maple bats' popularity dramatically increased following the 2001 sea-
son after Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants broke the single-
season home run record by hitting an astounding seventy-three home
runs with his distinctive black maple baseball bat.3 While Bonds was
not the first player to use maple bats, his feat garnered the attention
of both the general public and his baseball-playing peers alike. Fol-
lowing Bonds' example, more and more Major League Baseball
(MLB) players began to use maple bats, believing that the maple
bats were harder than their ash counterparts, which increased the hit-
ter's chances of success during any given at-bat.4
As previously stated, however, a problem soon arose: maple bats
were breaking with both greater frequency and in a fashion that posed
1. See generally James v. Hillerich & Bradsby Co., 299 S.W.2d 92 (Ky. 1957) (boy struck by
piece of wooden baseball bat that broke in half).,
2. Stephen J. Matzura, Comment, Will Maple Bats Splinter Baseball's Antitrust Exemptions?:
The Rule of Reason Steps To The Plate, 18 Widener L.J. 975 (2009); Matthew A. Westover,
Comment, The Breaking Point: Examining The Potential Liability Of Maple Baseball Bat Manu-
facturers For Injuries Caused By Broken Maple Baseball Bats, 115 Penn St. L. Rev. 517 (2010);
Aaron Wakamatsu, Comment, Spectator Injuries: Examining Owner Negligence And The As-
sumption Of Risk Defense, 6 Willamette Sports L.J. 1 (2009).
3. Jim Salisbury, Maple Bats Becoming Big Hit, THi PHI.ADELPHIA INOUIRER (Aug. 19,
2001), http://articles.phiIly.com/2001 -08-19/sports/252980601 -sam-holman-maple-bat-vampire-
bat.
4. Id.

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