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FEATURE

Phelan Looks to Transform the Game of Baseball Grady Phelan (Tulsa 1980) created the first-ever baseball bat with an angled knob. His hope is that the bat will reduce injuries and become widely accepted in the game of baseball. By Andrew Talevich (Washington State 2011)

I

t was a near tragedy that prompted Grady Phelan (Tulsa

1980) to create a baseball bat that would end up in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame and that could potentially revolutionize the sport. The incident happened while Phelan was working with his youngest son, Brian, to improve his baseball swing by hitting hickory nuts in their backyard on a summer evening. Phelan ended up taking a few swings and accidently released the bat from his hands, almost hitting his son. “I looked at my hand and I had a big bruise so the curiosity wheel started turning,” said Phelan. “I started doing research into why certain bats are used, what sort of hand injuries occur, and what sort of rules and limitations bats have in baseball.” The epiphany prompted Phelan to create a one-of-a-kind bat; the ProXR. The main feature of the ProXR is an ergonomically designed, angled knob at the base of the bat that defies the traditional flat base. The angled knob gives players a more natural swing, preventing incidents such as the one that almost injured Phelan’s son. “A standard knob acts as a speed bump to a swing,” Phelan said, “but by angling the knob we reduce that pressure dramatically to the point where batters get better plate coverage inside and out.”

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After creating the ProXR, Phelan patented his technology and marketed the bat at baseball shows and tournaments. The ProXR made its debut in Major League Baseball on Sept. 5, 2010, in the hands of New York Mets infielder, Mike Hessman. Shortly after its Major League debut, the bat was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. “There’s no big ceremony or anything like that,” Phelan said. “We found out last year that it got accepted. That was kind of surreal.”

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Cross & Crescent February 2012

February 2012 Cross & Crescent  

February 2012 Cross & Crescent

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