For 10 years, Chuck Schupp has been manager of baseball...

Q&A

May 12, 1994

For 10 years, Chuck Schupp has been manager of baseball promotions for Hillerich & Bradsby, the Kentucky company that turns out Louisville Slugger bats. He talked about his customers' swinging habits with The Sun's Mark Hyman.

Q: How many bats does a major-leaguer order for a season?

A: To answer that, you'd have to separate what's ordered from what's used in a game. As far as ordering, the average would be 10 dozen, and probably 50 to 60 percent of those would be used in a game. The ones that aren't -- maybe it doesn't have the right feel or doesn't feel balanced to them -- are used for batting practice or charity donations.

Q: Do players tend to stick with the same bat model throughout their careers or switch when they're slumping?

A: There are players who've used the same model their entire VTC careers. Robin Yount is one. Cal Ripken Jr. is very consistent. An interesting thing is that a guy who keeps the same model might change weights or lengths during the season. A lot depends on how strong he feels.

Q: Which major-leaguer swings the smallest bat?

A: Tony Gwynn uses a 32 1/2 -inch bat, smallest in the majors. That's extremely short compared to the major-league average, which is 34 inches.

Q: And the heaviest?

A: That would be Bobby Bonilla and Kevin Mitchell. They're in the 35- to 36-ounce range.

Q: Are some players pickier than others about their bats?

A: Two of the guys who require a good amount of attention, in a positive way, are Lenny Dykstra and Gregg Jefferies. Of the Baltimore players, Brady Anderson is like that. Brady and I talk a lot during the season.

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