by Tim McCarver and Dan Gutman
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For decades, sluggers hammered nails, tacks, and Victrola needles into their bats to make them heavier and hit farther. Then in the 1970s, they realized that bat speed was the biggest factor in hitting the long ball. Everybody switched to light bats, some going so far as to hollow their bats out illegally to lose a few more ounces.
Pitchers understand how precisely a subtle change in the way they grip the ball affects aerodynamics and the trajectory of the pitch. Hitters also tinker with the mechanics of the swing, with some endlessly obsessing over their stances.
Dozens of sports are based on one object striking another object to propel that object forward. But no other sport finds itself so interested in the science behind that collision.
Copyright © 1996 by Byron Preiss/Richard Ballantine, Inc. Excerpted with permission.