Yankees legend Elston Howard invented the baseball doughnut back in the early 1960s. Today it's used by every Major League Baseball team in the on-deck circle.
But it doesn't help hitters.
Batters think lumber becomes lighter after the doughnut is taken off. New research says that's bogus.
The Wall Street Journal reports on research done by the University of Hawaii that reveals the more weight you swing in the on-deck circle, the slower you will swing in the batter's box. Thus it becomes harder to catch up to fastballs.
Coop DeRenne, a physical-education professor at Hawaii, claims an increase or decrease of weight on a player's bat between 10 percent and 13 percent will decrease bat speed from three to five miles per hour.
The research goes back nearly 20 years. DeRenne tells the WSJ baseball is a "dinosaur sport" for its opposition to change.
More than a dozen big league batting coaches and managers were asked about the idea of doughnuts hurting hitters, and all agreed that players are foolishly locked into routine and superstition.
Howard, a 12-time All-Star whose No. 32 was retired by the Yankees in 1984, is credited with inventing the batting "donut." He helped two New Jersey business men market the bat weight and allowed his name to be used in marketing the product.
Before Howard's iron doughnut, hitters would swing multiple bats at the same time while waiting to hit.
Pirates icon Willie Stargell famously warmed up with a sledge hammer to intimidate pitchers, and it didn't seem to hurt his Hall of Fame career.
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