It wasn’t the first maple bat used in major league baseball, but it is the most important. Barry Bonds’ 2K1 from Sam Bat, for better or worse, ushered in the most radical change to the game of baseball since the introduction of the aluminum bat.
In hitting, business and life, timing is everything, and in 2001, Barry Bonds decision to use the 2K1 (originally called the B1), eschewing the ash bats that dominated the game at the time in favor of sugar maple bats, produced by Sam Holman in his small workshop, opened the door to new wood species and a large number of new manufacturers producing approved bats for MLB (28 in 2013, and the number is increasing in 2014)
Bonds’ bat, at 34 inches, and weighing around 32 ounces was based loosely on the C331 Louisville Slugger model that was originally turned for Carl Crawford. While Bonds was willing to pay up to $500 each to make sure he could continue to use his Rideau Crusher in 2007, similar models are now offered by dozens of companies around the world.
Aside from its obvious impact(s), the 2K1, because of what is now known as the 73 knob, caused an entire generation of hitters to learn about, and discuss the hamate bone, a tiny bone in the wrist that has caused more pound-for-pound DL trips than any other bone. The innovation of the 73 knob is leading other bat makers in new directions as they attempt to reach new customers and prevent costly injuries, although it is still to be seen if these will ever catch on with major league players.