Baseball Research Center
 

 

Baseball Research Center

James A. Sherwood, Director
Patrick Drane, Assistant Director

History

The Center was founded with a $400K grant from Major League Baseball and Rawlings Sporting Goods in October 1998.  Before that time, the baseball research was completed within the Advanced Composite Materials and Textiles Research Lab at UMass-Lowell, of which Dr. Sherwood is the Co-Director.  However, as the research grew from doing high-speed impact computer models of bat/ball collisions and field studies of bats using players to robotic testing of bats and balls, the research tasks and space requirements dictated that the baseball research needed to have an identity and lab of its own.  Fortunately at the same time, Bill Murray, Director of Operations for Major League Baseball, was interested in establishing an independent lab for completing science and engineering research as it applies to MLB.  

Since September 1999, the Center has become the official certification center for all bats approved for use in NCAA baseball.  The lab has worked in cooperation with the NCAA, the NCAA Baseball Research Panel, ASTM and the various bat companies in developing standards for bat performance and the enforcement of those standards.  The lab is home to a state-of-the-art hitting machine.

In 2000, the Baseball Research Center helped MLB resolve the “juiced-ball controversy.”  A record number of home runs were being hit and the media and fans were poised to blame changes in the baseball.  The Baseball Research Center performed a number of tests for MLB and proved that the 2000 baseball was within MLB specifications.

In 2005, the Baseball Research Center moved to a new lab space on campus. The new location provides 1600 square feet of research space, an increase from the previous 1000 sq. ft. The new lab has three state-of-the-art bat and ball testing systems which utilize high-speed air cannons. One system is for durability testing, another is for performance testing, and another is for baseball dynamic stiffness testing.

 

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