The Bryce Harper baseball bat and the craftsmen behind the scenes

Bryce Harper knows baseball—and baseball bats— along with everything else from his arm sleeve to his eye black, he has to look good to feel good and he has to feel good about his lumber that he swings which is why you would see Bryce change bats within the game many times in June and July when he didn’t have his favorite Chandler bats and had to rely on other manufacturers.

On May 6th, 2015, Bryce hit 3 HRs in 1 game vs. Tom Koehler all with the same Chandler CU27 bat that he would tally up a total of 7 HRs on that same bat in a short span before he cracked it.  That power surge was part of an amazing run for Bryce Harper when he got on a Ruthian HR pace. Bryce vs Koehler usa-today-8553441.0  You have to wonder if 60 HRs was possible with the way Bryce was swinging the bat in May leading up to that spinal shot by Tony Cingrani in Cincinnati on May 29th that changed Bryce’s swing.  When Cingrani drilled Bryce right on the spinal cord that had an effect to numb him like an epidural in the spine. Bryce was already up to 18 HRs leading into that game which wasn’t even 2 full months into the season.  That game seemed to slow Bryce down as did the HBP to his knee that came later.

With Bryce, almost anything is possible as we’ve seen, and in May he hadn’t even taken advantage of the hot weather where the ball flies in Washington, DC as it was seasonally cool in April and May in DC.

In that May 6th Marlins game, Bryce was swinging a Chandler CU27 bat which is a special model bat hybrid named for Chase Utley. This past week he has been swinging a CC13 which is the Carlos Correia model that Chandler remade for Bryce.  Remember that Stars & Stripes bat that Bryce hit on July 4th, yes it was a custom painted Chandler Bat they made for him last year for that Asian baseball exhibition that never happened.

bryce_july4 2015b


MASN’s Dan Kolko was with Bryce in Philadelphia this month when he told him about his new shipment of Chandler Bats that were handmade, the old craftsman way, on a wood lathe under the eye of David Chandler who is the man behind Chandler Bats of Norristown, PA.  Kolko retold the story:


All Rights Reserved, Topps Baseball Cards

All Rights Reserved, Topps Baseball Cards

Talking with David Chandler of Chandler bats, he explained to us that Bryce is very much a part of the discussion in what  he wants in a bat.  For the Home Run Derby in 2014, Bryce had different Chandler Bats for each round to use in different weights and dimensions. There is a science to the making of baseball bats and even though the wood is maple, the real work comes from the craftsmen that prepare the wood for each Harper bat. In fact much of the wood Chandler uses comes from the same forests of maple where other bat manufacturers get theirs from.  Not all wood is created the same. Different grains, different density, different craftmanship, leads to different results. Chandler keeps their trade secrets—secretive. They have worked hard to have a bat where the results are special and their clients love their bats.

We got an exclusive tour of the Chandler Bat facility and got to swing some Bryce Harper prototype models, and then talk baseball with David Chandler.  It was a wonderful day, and we learned a lot.


They have a Nats cap hanging above one of the lathe machines.


Here is the master sample of the CC13 bat which Bryce was using the last couple of weeks and this master sample has the exact diameter measurements to replicate Bryce’s bat to, and in the background are all the master samples for each pro players bats numbering in the thousands as they have them for Minor League players also.


Next time you watch a Harper at-bat, see which bat he is swinging, and think about the hours of craftsmanship that went into that bat.

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