MLB bats have gone from ash to maple

Big leaguers rely heavily on maple wood for their baseball bats, as infestations attack U.S. ash species

Hard maple began to be used in the manufacturing of bats in the mid-1990s.

The traditional raw material of MLB baseball bats has moved from ash to hard maple over the last 15 years just as emerald ash borer dramatically threatened the supply of ash wood in the U.S.

Hard maple began to be used in the manufacturing of bats in the mid-1990s (See deadspin.com story on the history of baseball bat wood). But the use of maple in major league bats really took off as Barry Bonds used a maple bat has he pursued the single season home run record in 2001.

A year later emerald ash borer was discovered killing ash trees in Western Michigan. While there were prominent baseball supporters for bats made of each species, maple now accounts for approximately 75% of the bats used in the major leagues, according to the manufacturer of Louisville Slugger bats quoted in the Deadspin story.

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