SAM BAT: Founders of the Maple Baseball Bat
Who is SAM BAT?
The Original Maple Bat Corporation – most often referred to as SAM BAT, after the company’s founder Sam Holman – began in 1997 when Bill Mackenzie, then-scout for the Colorado Rockies, needed help. Bill told Sam that the baseball team was breaking an awful lot of ash bats, and he wondered if Sam, a carpenter with the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, could create a sturdier bat.
After conducting extensive research, he’d noticed that no one had yet tried to make one out of maple wood, which is harder than most other woods because of its tighter grain structure. With this knowledge, he created the original maple “Sam Bat” in his garage out of a stair banister.
Local Ottawa baseball players liked Sam’s maple bat so much that they convinced him to make his way to Toronto’s Rogers Centre. Kevin Rathwell, SAM BAT’s General Sales Manager, says Sam has “always been really good at getting into places, so he got himself into batting practice with the Toronto Blue Jays. Just like that he got Joe Carter and Carlos Delgado to try out his bat.” Joe Carter loved the feel and sound of it so much that he ordered a few and started taking them into games before they were officially approved by Major League Baseball (MLB).
Sam’s maple bats were approved by the MLB for professional use in February 1998, to which Kevin says, “It really flipped the industry on its head.” Sam started the ball rolling on maple baseball bats. Today, over 75% of bats used by professional players are made from maple.
What’s SAM BAT’s Connection to Fuji Spray®?
SAM BAT uses a Mini-Mite 4 PLATINUM™ and a T70™ Spray Gun to apply the finishing clear coat to over 90% of its bats. Any time they use a water-based clear coat, as opposed to an oil-based finish, it is applied with a Fuji Spray® system. According to Kevin, “There’s nothing quite like hand-spraying each bat for quality control. The quality of our end product is generally better because we don’t have dripping issues, inconsistent finishes, or brush marks when we spray it.”
As to why SAM BAT chooses Fuji Spray® for their finishing needs, Kevin explains, “When our previous turbine system died, we needed a quick solution. I did some quick research, and Fuji came to the top of most of my research. I went to one of their retailers and picked up a system the same day, which was really important for us so we could keep our production going. What has kept us with Fuji since then has been the quality of their customer service. It’s awesome. Every time I call, they’re always excited to hear about what we’re doing and always able to answer every question we have. It’s just been really easy to deal with Fuji Spray.”
What’s next for SAM BAT?
With many professional MLB records set using their bats, including Barry Bonds’ 73 home runs in a single season and 762 home runs in his career, it may be surprising to know that SAM BAT doesn’t only sell to professionals but also to the public. SAM BAT sells to baseball enthusiasts worldwide, including Taiwan and South Africa. “We have reached a production level where we can keep up with demand, so we’d like to extend our brand as far as possible,” Kevin says, as they are currently look into untapped markets in Asia and South America.
As for their future use of Fuji Spray® products, “It’s working fantastically for us,” says Kevin.
For more information on SAM BAT, click here.