Pop quiz: What kind of wood are baseball bats made of? Until about 1999 the correct answer would’ve been ash. But long before pundits noticed Barry Bonds’ head inflating from steroids, players spotted his maple bat. In a sport where adults inject their own buttocks for a chance at glory, switching to a different bat caught on quick.
Why do Wooden Baseball Bats Break? Pat Honan Middle Village, N.Y.
"Remember, a wooden bat is a 100 percent natural product," says Bill Williams of Hillerich & Bradsby, makers of the Louisville Slugger bats used by Major League Baseball. The bat makers evaluate the wood from the exterior, but they cannot look inside the bat for minute structural flaws.