The Banana Bat

In the late nineteenth century, Emile Kinst decided that the game of baseball was too easy, so to make it more challenging he invented a curved bat which came to be known as the "banana bat". Obviously his invention never caught on. But Kinst made several hundred of these bats, and the few that are still around are quite valuable. The one shown below sold for $2880.

image source: goldin auctions

From The Boston Globe - Apr 24, 1904:

Bats have been the subject of brain cogitations by ambitious inventors. Some years ago the players became familiar with what was called the flat bat. This was never patented, but it showed the inventive genius of some player. This bat was made by shaving one of the round bats with a knife until a part of the bat near the end was flat. The object of this was to give the player a chance to bunt the ball by catching it a short clip...

There was another bat invented, however, and the man who originated it had such faith in his idea that he had it patented in 1890. This bat had a curve in it and was something like a lacrosse stick. According to the theory of the inventor, Emile Kinst, when the ball was struck by a certain portion of the bat, in addition to the regular flight produced by the blow the ball would receive a rotary motion more or less violent. The result was supposed to be a ball not only difficult to handle by the fielder if it were to come straight at him, but also hard to hold if it were a fly and he got under it, because of the spinning produced by the bat.

It was also designed to produce the effect of a bunt, but in a better way, for the inventor claimed his bat would cause the ball to land near the batter and stay there under certain conditions. With these results Mr. Kinst claimed that it would make the game more difficult to play, and therefore more interesting and exciting. But his hopes were not realized, for the bat never got the official sanction of the league.
     Posted By: Alex - Thu Feb 04, 2021
     Category: Sports | Patents | Nineteenth Century | Bananas

And here I was, thinking it was a kind of fruit bat. (When I looked it up, what do you think? There is a banana bat, but it's a normal one from central America, not a fruit bat.)
Posted by Richard Bos on 02/06/21 at 10:17 AM
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