US20100087279A1 - Baseball bat handguard - Google Patents

Baseball bat handguard Download PDF

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Publication number
US20100087279A1
US20100087279A1 US12286920 US28692008A US2010087279A1 US 20100087279 A1 US20100087279 A1 US 20100087279A1 US 12286920 US12286920 US 12286920 US 28692008 A US28692008 A US 28692008A US 2010087279 A1 US2010087279 A1 US 2010087279A1
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Patent type
Prior art keywords
substratum
molded
protective device
bat
baseball
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US12286920
Inventor
Travis Don Jennings
Reuben Gregory McCowen
Kai Dionne McCowen
Original Assignee
Travis Don Jennings
Mccowen Reuben Gregory
Mccowen Kai Dionne
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B71/00Games or sports accessories not covered in groups A63B1/00 - A63B69/00
    • A63B71/08Body-protectors for players or sportsmen, i.e. body-protecting accessories affording protection of body parts against blows or collisions
    • A63B71/14Body-protectors for players or sportsmen, i.e. body-protecting accessories affording protection of body parts against blows or collisions for the hands, e.g. baseball, boxing or golfing gloves
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B71/00Games or sports accessories not covered in groups A63B1/00 - A63B69/00
    • A63B71/08Body-protectors for players or sportsmen, i.e. body-protecting accessories affording protection of body parts against blows or collisions
    • A63B71/14Body-protectors for players or sportsmen, i.e. body-protecting accessories affording protection of body parts against blows or collisions for the hands, e.g. baseball, boxing or golfing gloves
    • A63B71/141Body-protectors for players or sportsmen, i.e. body-protecting accessories affording protection of body parts against blows or collisions for the hands, e.g. baseball, boxing or golfing gloves in the form of gloves
    • A63B71/143Baseball or hockey gloves

Abstract

The handguard is an improved protection device to be attached to the knob and grip portion of a bat. A molded substratum provides a means to insure maximum protection for a batter's hands during impact by a baseball or softball. The impact absorbing substratum is partially covered by a thin, formed skin utilized to enhance the marketability and individuality of the protection device by providing an obvious location for display of visual designs or team logos. The handguard is provided with flexible attachment straps to promote a quick on/off process while ensuring the device will not rotate during impact by a ball.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • Not Applicable
  • FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH
  • Not Applicable
  • SEQUENCE LISTING OR PROGRAM
  • Not Applicable
  • BACKGROUND
  • 1. Field
  • This device relates generally to protective sports equipment, specifically to an improved device for protecting the hands of a batter from being struck and injured by a baseball or softball.
  • 2. Prior Art
  • For decades baseball has been one of the most popular sports. Along with the increase in popularity, the safety of the players has been a growing concern. As many players have experienced, there is a certain risk of having the hands struck and injured by a baseball or softball. This is especially true when the player is batting.
  • While experienced players can usually rely on quick reflexes to avoid being struck, even the quickest can occasionally be caught off guard. Moreover, younger players who have not developed quick reflexes are struck more frequently. Often these younger players can suffer an injury or a traumatizing experience that seriously hinders their future in the sport.
  • Historically, several devices of various configurations have been designed in an attempt to meet the need for increased batter safety. U.S. Pat. No. 4,423,868 to Younts (1984) discloses a knuckle guard with a shield adapted for attachment to the grip portion of a baseball bat. This knuckle guard used a rigid strap to shield the batter's hand from being struck. Although inexpensive to manufacture, the knuckle guard has multiple inherent weaknesses to providing adequate protection for the hands of a young batter. These weaknesses are as follows:
      • 1. The design of the knuckle guard provides insufficient area over the hands to effectively protect the hands of the young player.
      • 2. The means of attachment of the knuckle guard to the bat is inadequate to prevent the knuckle guard, during impact from a ball, from rotating on the bat and thus minimizing the effectiveness of the protective device. The lack of a means to adjust the connecting force of the knuckle guard to the bat, as the material used for the guard ages and wears, will enhance the rotational problem.
      • 3. The rigid material used for the knuckle guard creates a definite potential to deflect an impacting ball into the batter's head or neck, thus creating the probability of a more serious injury to the young player.
  • Other types of hand protection designs have also been proposed. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,226,795 to Winningham (2001) describes a custom-fitted hand protector to be used only on the back of the hand. This design leaves the fingers totally unprotected for a young batter, while also being an expensive option because of the requirement for custom fitting. Having the fingers unprotected and the expense of custom fitting will cause most young players to opt out of this method of protection. Another type of design is shown by U.S. Pat. No. 5,819,312 to Snyder and Johnson (1998) which comprises a glove and a deformable metal plate to protect the back of the hand and the wrist. This design has the same inherent weaknesses as the Winningham hand protector.
  • SUMMARY
  • In accordance with one embodiment, a baseball bat handguard comprising a molded foundational material serving as the structural member of the protective device and hereinafter denoted as the “substratum”, a thin removable layer attached to the outer surface of the substratum for the purpose of enhancing marketability and hereinafter denoted as the “skin”, and flexible attachment straps for quickly connecting the handguard to the bat.
  • DRAWINGS Figures
  • FIG. 1 shows an upper perspective view of a first embodiment attached to the grip of a bat.
  • FIG. 2 shows a lower perspective view of the first embodiment attached to the grip of a bat.
  • FIG. 3 shows a lower perspective of a first embodiment not attached to the grip of a bat, and with the formed skin removed.
  • FIG. 4 shows a lower perspective of the formed skin removed from the molded substratum
  • FIG. 5 shows a lower perspective of a first embodiment not attached to the grip of a bat, thus providing a better view of recess 20 and recess 24.
  • FIG. 6 shows a top view of a first embodiment not attached to the grip of a bat, and with the formed skin removed, thus providing a better view of the attachment devices.
  • REFERENCE NUMERALS
      • 10 molded substratum
      • 12 A attachment device
      • 12 B attachment device
      • 14 formed skin
      • 16 hole
      • 18 grip of bat
      • 20 recess in substratum for grip of bat
      • 22 knob of bat
      • 24 recess in substratum for knob of bat
      • 26 recess in substratum for clearance for batter's hands
      • 28 retainer to securely hold the position of attachment device 12 A
      • 30 recess in substratum for clearance for retainer 28
      • 32 recess in substratum for proper positioning and clearance of attachment device 12 B
    DETAILED DESCRIPTION First Embodiment—FIGS. 1-6
  • Referring to FIGS. 1 thru 6 of the drawings, the presently preferred embodiment comprises an impact absorbing substratum 10 to provide the integrity and structural strength of the handguard, a formed skin 14 to provide enhanced marketability and to securely hold retainer 28 and attachment devices 12 A and 12 B in their proper positions, a retainer 28 to securely hold attachment device 12 A to substratum 10, and necessary attachment devices 12 A and 12 B to secure the handguard to a baseball bat.
  • In a preferred embodiment, the impact absorbing substratum 10 is anticipated to be made from molded, semi-rigid closed cell foam of varying thickness to insure adequate hand protection from an impacting baseball or softball, and to insure a snug fit of the handguard to the bat. The impact absorbing substratum 10 has a plurality of holes 16 molded into the device to minimize wind resistance during the batter's swing and to facilitate the locating of the attachment devices 12 A and 12 B.
  • FIG. 2 shows three recessed areas molded into the foam substratum 10. Recess 20 is necessary to secure the handguard to the grip of the bat 18. Recess 24 insures the proper location and secure attachment of the knob of the bat 22 to the handguard. Recess 26 provides clearance for the batter's hands while holding and swinging the bat. FIG. 5 provides a different perspective of recesses 20, 24 and 26 with the bat removed.
  • The formed skin 14 in the preferred embodiment will be shaped to overlay and attach to the top portion of the impact absorbing substratum 10. Attachment of the skin 14 to the substratum 10 is expected to be by a temporary method allowing removal of the skin 14 if the skin 14 becomes damaged, if a new team logo is to be installed on the skin 14, or if another color or visual design is to be installed on the skin 14. It is anticipated that future variations of this skin 14 will have various colors and visual designs incorporated into the fabrication of the skin 14. The formed skin 14 will be too thin to contribute to the structural qualities of the handguard. The visual design and colors of the skin 14 are expected to enhance the marketability of the handguard by promoting individuality and team spirit.
  • Attachment devices 12 A and 12 B are utilized to insure a firm attachment of the handguard to the baseball bat. In the preferred embodiment, the use of ‘hook and loop’ straps is anticipated as the most satisfactory design for the attachment devices 12A and 12B. Future embodiments may reveal that other materials and strap designs will be used in this device. Attachment devices 12 A and 12 B are designed to enhance a quick on/off process of attaching the handguard to the bat, and to minimize any possibility of the handguard rotating on the bat during impact by a baseball or softball.
  • OPERATION First Embodiment—FIGS. 1 and 2
  • The manner of using the preferred embodiment begins with positioning the knob of the bat 22 into recess 24 of the handguard, and the grip of the bat 18 into recess 20 of the handguard. The batter should then rotate the bat or the handguard until the handguard is in the position desired by the batter. Typically, this desired position will result in the brand stamp of the bat facing upward and the formed skin 14 of the handguard facing the pitcher's mound. This orientation of the handguard should provide the optimum surface protection area for the batter's hands. The ‘hook and loop’ straps of attachment device 12 A should now be tightly wrapped around the bat with the ‘hook’ portion of strap 12 A being connected to the ‘loop’ portion of strap 12 A. An identical procedure will be used to properly attach device 12 B to a baseball or softball bat. The ‘hook and loop’ straps of attachment devices 12 A and 12 B enable the handguard to be quickly attached and tightly held to the bat. The quick method of attachment of the handguard to the bat should minimize any delay of the ball game. With the handguard tightly attached to the bat, there should be no rotation of the handguard during impact by a baseball or softball. Therefore, the prevention of handguard rotation with this design solves a potentially serious problem with certain prior art, and provides a means to insure maximum protection for the hands of a young batter. With this preferred embodiment, the formed skin 14 can be easily changed to another skin if the player or team desires an individualized color or team logo on the handguard. This unique feature has not been found on prior art, and should be a strong enhancement for the marketability of this handguard design.
  • CONCLUSIONS, RAMIFICATIONS, AND SCOPE
  • Accordingly, the reader will see that at least the preferred embodiment of the handguard described herein provides a more effective, yet economical, protection device as shown by the following advantages.
      • 1. The surface area of this handguard is optimized to insure adequate hand protection for the player.
      • 2. The means of attachment of the handguard to the bat provides a quick on/off feature, thus minimizing any delay of the ball game.
      • 3. The anticipated use of ‘hook and loop’ straps provides a means to tightly attach the handguard to the bat, thus minimizing any rotation of the handguard during impact by a baseball or softball. The prevention of handguard rotation with this design solves a potentially serious problem with certain prior art, and provides a means for maximum protection for the batter's hands.
      • 4. As described in the preferred embodiment, the use of semi-rigid closed cell foam for the molded protective substratum should prevent any potential for the handguard to deflect an impacting ball into the batter's head or neck, thereby preventing the possibility of a more serious injury to the player.
      • 5. The easily removed/replaced formed skin promotes the use of various colors, logos, or visual designs on the handguard, thus providing individuality, and enhancing the marketability of the device.
      • 6. The above described advantages will be most beneficial to younger inexperienced ball players.
  • While the above description contains many specifics, these should not be construed as limitations of the scope, but rather as an example of one preferred embodiment thereof. Many other applications and embodiments are possible, such as the following:
      • 1. small construction tools, such as wood axes or pick axes, which use handles with a similar configuration as a baseball bat, and there is a need for maximum hand protection
      • 2. other sports devices requiring handles with a similar configuration as a baseball bat, and a need exists for maximum hand protection
      • 3. motorized and non-motorized cycles, such as bicycles or motorcycles, requiring hand protection which could be attached to the handlebars
      • 4. variations of the first preferred embodiment with changes in color, size, or materials used
  • Accordingly, the scope should be determined not by the embodiment illustrated, but by the appended claims and their legal equivalents.

Claims (2)

  1. 1. A protective device for the hands and fingers to be attached to the knob and grip portion of a baseball or softball bat, comprising:
    a. a molded substratum having a predetermined cross-sectional shape, thereby being the sole means of structural support for said protective device
    a. 1. said substratum of claim 1.a. being molded from closed cell foam, thereby being effective to absorb impact energy and prevent dangerous deflection of an impacting ball
    a.2. said substratum of claim 1.a. being molded with a plurality of holes to minimize wind resistance during a batter's swing and to facilitate the locating of hereafter to be described attachment devices
    b. a thin flexible skin to subsequently overlay a portion of said molded substratum for the purpose of enhancing marketability and individuality of said protective device while not adding to the structural strength of said molded substratum
    b.1. said thin flexible skin of claim 1.b. being formed of, but not limited to, plastic, foam, metal or a combination thereof
    b.2. said thin flexible skin of claim 1.b. being formed with one color, but subsequently to be overlaid with other colors, visual designs, and logos
    c. a plurality of attachment devices being a means to quickly and securely attach the said protective device to the said knob and grip portion of a baseball or softball bat, thereby minimizing the possibility of said protective device to rotate on the bat during impact by a baseball or softball
    c.1. said plurality of attachment devices of claim 1.c. being straps of ‘hook and loop’ or comparable flexible material
    c.2. said plurality of attachment devices of claim 1.c., comprising ‘hook and loop’ material or comparable flexible material, and a retainer device to insure a secure attachment of said ‘hook and loop’ material to the molded substratum of the protective device.
  2. 2. A protective device for the hands and fingers to be attached to, but not limited to, the knob and grip portion of a baseball or softball bat, comprising:
    a. a molded substratum having a predetermined cross-sectional shape, thereby being the sole means of structural support for said protective device
    a.1. said substratum of claim 2.a. being molded from, but not limited to, soft plastic, closed cell foam, metal, or a combination thereof; thereby being effective to absorb impact energy and prevent dangerous deflection of an impacting ball
    a.2. said substratum of claim 2.a. being molded with a plurality of holes to minimize wind resistance during a batter's swing and to facilitate the locating of hereafter to be described attachment devices
    b. a thin flexible skin to subsequently overlay a portion of said molded substratum for the purpose of enhancing marketability and individuality of said protective device while not adding to the structural strength of said molded substratum
    b.1. said thin flexible skin of claim 2.b. being formed of, but not limited to, plastic, foam, metal, or a combination thereof
    b.2. said thin flexible skin of claim 2.b. being formed with one color, but subsequently to be overlaid with other colors, visual designs, and logos
    c. a plurality of attachment devices being a means to quickly and securely attach the said protective device to the said knob and grip portion of a baseball or softball bat, thereby minimizing the possibility of said protective device to rotate on the bat during impact by a baseball or softball
    c.1. said plurality of attachment devices of claim 2.c. being straps of ‘hook and loop’ or comparable flexible material
    c.2. said plurality of attachment devices of claim 2.c., comprising ‘hook and loop’ material or comparable flexible material, and a retainer device to insure a secure attachment of said ‘hook and loop’ material to the molded substratum of the protective device
US12286920 2008-10-03 2008-10-03 Baseball bat handguard Abandoned US20100087279A1 (en)

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Cited By (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20130130844A1 (en) * 2011-11-21 2013-05-23 Bullpen Products, Llc Apparatus and method for bunt training
US20140274488A1 (en) * 2013-03-12 2014-09-18 Jay W. Garthwaite Baseball Swing Trainer
US20150306454A1 (en) * 2014-04-28 2015-10-29 James Robert Winbush Method of increasing lung capacity for enhanced oxygen exchange using upper appendage during positioning
US9364734B1 (en) * 2013-10-21 2016-06-14 Nicholas E. Dixon, Jr. Training bat apparatus for practicing bat handling skills

Citations (13)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US2591523A (en) * 1950-06-06 1952-04-01 Carl W Dick Hand protector grip
US4214751A (en) * 1978-05-01 1980-07-29 Simpson John P Adjustable bunting bat with protective shield
US4423868A (en) * 1981-12-02 1984-01-03 Younts Richard B Protective device for use on a baseball bat
US4572545A (en) * 1983-06-17 1986-02-25 Dooley Jr John C Ski-pole hand shield
US5056158A (en) * 1991-04-17 1991-10-15 Liberty Bell Sports Equipment, Inc. Baseball catcher's hand protector
US5127871A (en) * 1991-02-22 1992-07-07 Miller Ronald C Soft sword with interchangeable guards
US5168576A (en) * 1990-10-03 1992-12-08 Krent Edward D Body protective device
US5405312A (en) * 1992-06-22 1995-04-11 Safe-T-Gard Corporation Custom fit body guards
US5447308A (en) * 1994-03-23 1995-09-05 Girard; Edward W. Defensive police baton
US5819312A (en) * 1996-07-30 1998-10-13 Snyder; Randy Bruce Hand protection device
US6186909B1 (en) * 1999-04-20 2001-02-13 Paul Kenneth Swanson, Jr. Bunt guard
US6226795B1 (en) * 2000-04-27 2001-05-08 Parker Athletic Products, Llc Custom-molded hand protector and method
US6482113B1 (en) * 1997-07-23 2002-11-19 Daniel E. Finn Baseball batting system for abating accidental release of a bat from a player's hand following a swing

Patent Citations (13)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US2591523A (en) * 1950-06-06 1952-04-01 Carl W Dick Hand protector grip
US4214751A (en) * 1978-05-01 1980-07-29 Simpson John P Adjustable bunting bat with protective shield
US4423868A (en) * 1981-12-02 1984-01-03 Younts Richard B Protective device for use on a baseball bat
US4572545A (en) * 1983-06-17 1986-02-25 Dooley Jr John C Ski-pole hand shield
US5168576A (en) * 1990-10-03 1992-12-08 Krent Edward D Body protective device
US5127871A (en) * 1991-02-22 1992-07-07 Miller Ronald C Soft sword with interchangeable guards
US5056158A (en) * 1991-04-17 1991-10-15 Liberty Bell Sports Equipment, Inc. Baseball catcher's hand protector
US5405312A (en) * 1992-06-22 1995-04-11 Safe-T-Gard Corporation Custom fit body guards
US5447308A (en) * 1994-03-23 1995-09-05 Girard; Edward W. Defensive police baton
US5819312A (en) * 1996-07-30 1998-10-13 Snyder; Randy Bruce Hand protection device
US6482113B1 (en) * 1997-07-23 2002-11-19 Daniel E. Finn Baseball batting system for abating accidental release of a bat from a player's hand following a swing
US6186909B1 (en) * 1999-04-20 2001-02-13 Paul Kenneth Swanson, Jr. Bunt guard
US6226795B1 (en) * 2000-04-27 2001-05-08 Parker Athletic Products, Llc Custom-molded hand protector and method

Cited By (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20130130844A1 (en) * 2011-11-21 2013-05-23 Bullpen Products, Llc Apparatus and method for bunt training
US8905871B2 (en) * 2011-11-21 2014-12-09 Bullpen Products, Llc Apparatus and method for bunt training
US20140274488A1 (en) * 2013-03-12 2014-09-18 Jay W. Garthwaite Baseball Swing Trainer
US9364734B1 (en) * 2013-10-21 2016-06-14 Nicholas E. Dixon, Jr. Training bat apparatus for practicing bat handling skills
US20150306454A1 (en) * 2014-04-28 2015-10-29 James Robert Winbush Method of increasing lung capacity for enhanced oxygen exchange using upper appendage during positioning

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