Crack of the Bat is a comprehensive and entertaining look at the most famous icon in the history of baseball, the "Louisville Slugger" bat. It includes the evolution of bats from pioneer wagon tongues to the sleek aluminum models of today. It examines the amazing physics involved in hitting a baseball, where .003 seconds means the difference between a home run and a foul ball. It tells the fascinating history of the still family-owned Hillerich & Bradsby Company, which in just 80 years went from making butter churns to making seven million bats a year. Reinforcing this are dozens of stories about the bats themselves, and the personal idiosyncracies of the most famous hitters in baseball history, including Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Stan Musial, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripken Jr. and Derek Jeter. The book explains why the players picked the bats they did, the amazing lengths they would go to to protect them, and how valuable these bats have now become in the hands of collectors. Illustrated with hundreds of archival photographs, baseball decals, and icons, many in color, this book will become as much a cherished keepsake as some of the bats it describes.