Glossary of Bat Terms

Ball/Hit Marks
The indentations or marks on a bat caused by the bat making contact with a baseball. These are usually evidenced by the stitching of the ball leaving "track" or "teeth" marks, or transfer marks wherein the ink lettering imprinted on a ball, or mud marks, transfers onto a bat.

Barrel Brand
The markings stamped or burned onto the barrel by the manufacturer, usually identifying the player's name, and registered trademark(s) of the manufacturer. The player's name may appear in block letters, indicating that the manufacturer has no right to produce bats for anyone other than the player whose name appears on the bat. The player's name may appear in a scripted or facsimile signature version, referred to as signature model, which indicates that the manufacturer has the right to produce bats for the public, minor league teams, and college teams, bearing the player's name. Such an arrangement is referred to as an endorsement contract.

Burned in Markings
Refers to markings found on the face of a bat, usually consisting of a centerbrand and barrel brand. These markings are usually burned onto a bat by heating metal dies and deeply pressing them into the wood surface. This is not to be confused with the foil stamping process, which presses heated foil onto a bat surface, leaving a much shallower inscription, which tends to flake, when a bat is heavily used. Professional player bats may have burned in and/or foil stamped markings, depending on the manufacturer and the era of the bat.

The markings stamped or burned onto the center face of a bat by the bat manufacturer, usually identifying the name, location, and registered trademark(s) of the manufacturer. Name changes of the manufacturer, and other changes reflected in the centerbrand, are useful in determining whether a bat was produced during a specific player's pro playing career.

Bats usually crack in the handle area, and cracks may be evidence of player use. A crack may detract or enhance the appeal of a bat, depending upon the severity of the crack, location, and the method of repair.

Checking (deadwood)
Raising or separation of the wood grain of a bat, frequently caused by repeated contact with a baseball on the hitting surface.

Cleat Marks
Indentations or cuts usually located on the barrel and/or knob, created by the player striking his cleats with the bat to remove dirt and/or grass embedded in his spikes. Other evidence of cleat marks could be the color transfer of the leather surface of the cleat onto the bat, usually seen as black blotches.

Often refer to the circumference of the barrel and handle as being large, medium or small, relative to other player bats of the era.

Factory Record
Refers to the player record log kept by the manufacturer, in logging professional player or team orders. These records indicate the date of shipment, the model number (where applicable), the length(s), the weight(s), and quantity of bats shipped. These records are not available for all manufacturers, players and years. Even when available, these records are not always complete; however, they do provide an excellent insight as to the bats made specifically for professional players.

Professional Model Bat
A generic term denoting a bat that has evidence of player use.

Refers to the patterns formed by the way wood fibers are arranged on the bat. Tight, medium, and wide grain refers to the size of these patterns in relation to other professional player bats of the era.

Grooving Or Scoring
Denotes the scratching of the bat surface by a player with an object harder than wood, usually a knife or bottle cap, for added grip in the handle. A barrel may be grooved to counteract the ball rotation when coming in contact with the barrel.

Knob Style
Refers to the shape of the knob as it meets with the handle of a bat. A regular knob, refers to a classic "Ruth knob," which has a well defined lip and is clearly larger than the circumference of the handle area which connects with the knob. A flared knob refers to a classic "Hornsby knob" which has a slight lip that cleanly transitions into the handle. No knob or knobless, refers to a classic "Clemente knobless bat" which has no lip and cleanly transitions into the handle.

Labeling Period
Refers to the authenticator's conclusion, by studying the Centerbrand and Barrel labels, or combination thereof, in determining the time period that a bat was manufactured. Some label periods may be as short as a few months, whereas others may extend for many years.

Refers to the overall length of a bat, in inches, as measured from the end of the knob to the end of the barrel.

Model Number
Refers to a series of numbers and letters stamped onto either the knob or face of the barrel, identifying the style, dimension, and other specifications used in producing a bat. Bats made prior to the mid-1940s do not have model numbers and are referred to as made in the pre
model number era.

Pine Tar
A sticky substance added by a player to the handle area of a bat for added grip. The tar will typically get darker with age. Some players are fairly consistent with the areas of a bat that are tarred, and it may be identified as a Specific Player Use Trait.

Player Use Attributes
Denotes that a bat has evidence of player use.

Professional Model Game Bat
A bat made for a professional baseball player's use, during his professional player career.

Rack Marks
Usually colored streaks or colored blotches caused by contact with the inner and/or outer surface of the bat rack, transferring onto a bat.

Restoration/ Repairs
Refers to modifications or repairs performed on a bat by someone other than the player, either to preserve or improve its displayability. Restorations and repairs can enhance the overall appeal of a bat without affecting its authenticity. Whereas other restorations and repairs can detract from the appeal, and in some instances, make authentication impossible.

Side Writing
Refers to the writing, usually in grease pencil, on the barrel of a bat, written by a manufacturer employee, to document the receipt of a bat by a player, in making future player bats in the same or similar specification. When legible, the writing will indicate the player who shipped the bat back to the manufacturer, the city/and or team name, the league of the team, and the date the bat was received at the factory. Side written bats are usually found on bats of the pre
model number era.

Specific Player Use Attributes
Denotes use attributes, or a combination of use attributes, that identify use by a specific player.

Usually placed on the handle area of a bat by a player for added grip. Some players are fairly consistent with the pattern, the area, and the materials used in taping a bat, and it may be identified as a Specific Player Use Trait. This is not to be confused with tape that is added after a bat has been cracked to prevent further splitting, or taping of the barrel to dampen ball travel during batting practice.

Written document(s) which provide a history of a bat. These documents may be signed by anyone involved with a bat's history, which may include the player, the person who first obtained the bat, and/or subsequent owner(s). The totality of these documents is often referred to as "provenance."

Vault Marks
Denotes a series of letter(s) and number(s) stamped onto the knob and/or barrel end of a bat, used by the manufacturer as a reference for future bats to be patterned. These bats were stored by the manufacturer in a vault, and retrieved as a pattern bat when called upon by a player. Bats stamped with vault marks are usually found in the pre model era, before the mid 1940s, and may have been made specifically as a pattern bat, or a bat returned by a player, as a reference for future bat production.

Measured in ounces and is the overall weight of the bat when authenticated. Bat weights may vary due to production variances, storage conditions, loss of wood, and added attributes, such as nails, tape and/or leading.

Wood Finish
The surface applied to a bat by the manufacturer after a bat has been finish sanded, referred to as an original finish. Bat finishes range from no finish to dark painted finishes, with the primary goal to harden the hitting surface for added durability and "pop."

Wood Type
Professional bats are usually made from white ash, maple, or hickory. While white ash has been the wood predominantly used in producing 20th Century professional player bats, there has been a growing popularity in maple bats.