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The Longest, Shortest, Heaviest and Lightest Bats of the MLB

Updated July 3, 2020

By Brian Duryea | @BatDigest

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Under our Best At-Bats section, we compile data from auction houses on bat sizes of past and present greats. That aggregated data shows some insights worth sharing. In particular, the sheer range of bat size metrics from Major League players is something we always find interesting. From our work so far, we identified the longest, shortest, heaviest and lightest bats used.

The Longest MLB Baseball Bat

What Bat Would You Pay More For?

In the modern era, that is baseball after 1940, both Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio have instances recorded of swinging a 36-inch bat. Those are the longest we could find. There is one outlier in Pete Rose’s bat at 36 inches, and surprisingly, one for Ozzie Smith (but we suspect that is a typo on one of his auction house data entries). Ruth and DiMaggio, on the other hand, used a 36 inch length bat regularly.

MLB regulations allow a bat up to 42 inches, but we’ve yet to record anyone using a bat larger than 36. Even today, big hitters rarely go much over 34, let alone 35 inches. They dwarf in comparison with big hitters of the past.

The Shortest MLB Baseball Bat

Tony Gwynn's Bat

The shortest MLB game-used bat we have yet to find is a Tony Gwynn’s bat measuring just over 32 inches at 32 1/4. Gwynn, maybe the best hitter in the modern era, using a short bat is unexpected considering most players work under the assumption bigger tends to be better. Yet the reality that the best hitter in the modern day game swung a 32-inch bat,  may help a number of high school players recognize those 33 and 34 inch bats are just too big. 32 inches is where it’s at.

The Heaviest MLB Baseball Bat

Longest, Shortest, Heaviest and Lightest Bat

Without surprise, Babe Ruth’s 50+ ounce bats, which he used often, are the heaviest bats we’ve yet to record. Yet, post the Ted Williams revolution, where swing path and bat speed became an art, few used bats more than 35 ounces.

Outside of those old timers who consistently swung 40+ ounce bats, the heaviest bat we have yet to see is from Roberto Clemente. Clemente’s bats were 38 ounces and then some.

Even more recently, Reggie Jackson swung a huge bat. One of his bats at auction was recorded at 37.1 ounces. An absolute monster of a bat for a monster of a man.

In today’s game, no one comes close to these sizes. Big hitters today (like Bryce Harper) sometimes get over 35 ounces, but not by much.

The Lightest MLB Baseball Bat

Longest, Shortest, Heaviest and Lightest Bat

Rod Carew and Ozzie Smith, we found, both used bats in the 29-ounce range. Considering a lot of high school players think 30+ ounce bats are for the big boys, a look at the Oz and Carew would be beneficial. Considering Carew is likely the best hitter of his era, there should be no shame in swinging a 29-ounce bat.

Updated July 3, 2020

July 3, 2020

By Brian Duryea | @BatDigest

Share This | Tag us @batdigest
The Longest, Shortest, Heaviest and Lightest Bats of the MLB


Randall Brown says:

Josh Gibson swung a 40oz bat. Is there one made today?

The Hut says:

I’m not an Altuve fan. Be had minimal help and we don’t know how much it helped. The guy can hit. Every home run looks lucky. But the years he has done it are undeniable. Bat speed creates power. Period. Reminds me of Curry when he came on the scene. Took me two years to realize it wasn’t luck. Spud Webb could dunk. Special athletes…. I hate Tim Tebow, subtract his stubbornness, had he moved to Tight End early he would be a future HOF. The Ohtani of football. Baseball can only be graded in era’s. Period. How do you visualize Babe Ruth physically swinging a 50 ounce bat against a Randy Johnson fastball. He would have better luck making contact by bunting. It can’t be compared. I am the most well rounded sports oracle you will never know.
In order….Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig and Stan Musial lead the early era in regards to being able to transition to todays game. If you were born later than 1968, the best hitter you’ve ever watched play live is Barry Bonds or Albert Pujols depending on your “opinion” of that. Fact, Bonds and everybody else sound an edge. Fair ball. Fact, Pujols didn’t. 2nd to Bonds in MVP three times during juice era, robbed by Votto of one, coin toss on two others and won 3. Wind blows a little different direction for him and he wins 8 mvp’s in 11 years under a STL cap. The Hut

Craig Poore says:

I think you are correct on many aspects. One area of disagreement with you is on old time hitters not being able to catch up with to a Randy Johnson. There were flamethrowers back then. I’m think Walter Johnson or Lefty grove in the dead ball era. Ty Cobb, best hitter ever IMO, said Walter Johnson s pitch hissed as it went by. Bob Feller a few years after Babe retired was throwing , depending on who measured and how, about as fast or faster than the big unit. When Feller played they were transitioning to lighter bats a la Teddy baseball. One other thing to consider is deadball hitters had to deal with pitches like the “Emory ball” or the “Cut Ball” where the ball was intentionally damaged to produce balls that moved, it was the old school spider grip, except it was legal.
They did perform some tests on Ruth and later on Pujols, the results were neat. Ruth swung his tree trunk at 75mph, while Pujols was like 87 mph with a much lighter bat. They tested reactions and they were both in the top 1.5% of people, and Ruth was still able to beat him in other tests. I think Ruth would have been able to make the adjustments. The article indicated Ruth would need a lighter bat and a shorter swing to be able to compete, but he should be able to do so.
“As for bat speed equals power. Period.” That is a half truth. A law of physics says Force= mass x acceleration. This shows that bat speed is indeed needed for more power, but there is a place where a slower heavier bat hits as hard as a lighter faster bat.
I have to say the lighter bat will require less time to get moving and should give better barrel control too. The heavier bat will typically have a larger barrel and a larger sweet spot allowing for balls to be barreled up better. The Bat Bros did a video on long and light and short and heavy. They preferred the short and heavy over the long and light. The bats used were not really much difference and none of them were similar to bats used by Ruth, Cobb, or even Clemente.
I also wanted to say I believe some of the deadball hitters like Tris Speaker or Ty Cobb, especially Cobb would be able to transition well. Walter Johnson was the fastest pitcher of the era, and Grove in the early part of his career just as rapid. Ty Cobb hit .366 against the premier fastball pitcher Johnson. The style of play would be similar to Ichiro. Slapping singles in holes and being a menace on the base paths. Ichiro had a great career and I would expect Cobb to perform in a similar fashion.
Baseball is a great game played by amazing people over an incredibly long period. I tell my son we should watch the legends and learn from them. We can only judge the players from the past based on the competition they faced. The style of play has changed and will continue to evolve. At 10 years old he asks me ,”Dad, why don’t they just drop a bunt to beat the shift, to advance runners, or to squeeze home runs?”

Brian says:

Good thoughts Craig. Thanks for sharing.

Nobody says:

Nats don’t cheat. Probably

Grant hattaway says:

Jose altuve has a 37 inch bat

Brian says:

Uh, We don’t think that’s true.

Max says:

Altuve uses a 33/30.8…check out whatproswear for proof

Ryan says:

who cares he’s a cheater, he knew what was coming! What’s he doing this year! Altuve,Correa, Bregman, Springer! BUMS it ain’t that hard when u know what’s coming. Then they cry when Kelly throws at their heads. It’s called retribution. They better get used to it.
Altuve couldn’t get a 36 inch around against a little leaguer don’t fool yourself. But your probably an astros fan so you get used to lying to yourself!

eric griffin says:

tru dat….when you know you will be given the kind of pitch comming before you even select your bat.then pick one thats alittle too big and wait till you are given the sign that a change up,curve,or even a slider .anything exept a fastball….and you can get that oversized bat around on it.unless your a cheater and could know the pitch before its thrown then you would never get into the batters box with a bat that isneven a smidgon to big.this is a game of smidgons,and the difference in a smidgon and no smidgon is a homerun or a late on the pitch strke out .or a swing under a fastball because yoy were swinging with too much effort by using the oversized bat and your balance is thrown off…its everything….little cheatin turdface im still mad about it,and will always be .dodgers should have gone not them.and whats hisnname fornthe dodgers should have won the title

Yur Momma says:

It’s funny that people think that their team doesn’t cheat but trust me they all do. The Astros were just the first to be investigated. It’s already been reported that the Red Sox and the Yankees have been investigated as well and the reports will be out after this season and they be found guilty of the same tactics. When all clubs have been looked into, they will all see that it is common place. Many ex pros have stated “if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying”. With that being said, even if you know what’s coming you still have to hit it. Have you ever tried to hit a 88-90mph slider or a up and in 99mph heater? Also, that was only at home games, explain how they did more damage on away games than they did at home games. Oh, and btw. They are in the playoffs and winning. What’s your shitty team doing this year…….watching the Astros play. HaHa. Sorry for the butt hurt you chumps are having, get over it.

CTAfG says:

The Astros title will be forever tarnished. Get over it.

Yur Momma says:

It’s OK, they will just win another one this year or the next or the next. No need to get over anything for me, but I suggest you get over it. Enjoy watching them for the next 2 weeks. HaHa.

The Hut says:

No more than the 1985 Royals. Game 6 Dinkinger disaster at 1st base. They were the best team in 2017 and 2019 actually. Maybe this year as well but pitching soft.

The Hut says:

They all look for an edge. Altuve is an elite player. If production continues he could get in. Not a fan but he’s good

Kevin says:

It was definitely cheating. That said, it’s definitely hard to hit even if u know what’s coming.

Anonymous says:

Adrian Gonzalez used a 35-36 inch bat!!

Kerry says:

Compare Kirby Puckett numbers to Gwynn and get back to me.

The Hut says:

Kirby is no Tony. Sympathy vote into the Hall.

Anonymous says:

Bruh 50 ounces

Anonymous says:

Thanks, Ken Romanowski. The announcers would always make note of Dick Allen’s 42oz bat!!!

Dick Allen was known for using 40+ ounce bats during his career.

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