Parents of former Oklahoma high school pitcher win suit against baseball bat maker

Michael and Cathy Yeaman were awarded nearly $1 million in damages Friday by a federal jury, which found baseball bat makers Hillerich & Bradsby liable for the design of the Exogrid Model CB71X, and for failing to warn of the bat's dangers.
BY TIM WILLERT twillert@opubco.com Published: December 13, 2011
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Neither the plaintiffs nor their attorney could be reached for comment Monday.

The bat maker, according to court documents, argued that the Exogrid was in compliance with “rules, requirements and specifications which had been created by the NCAA and adopted by the National Federation of High Schools, the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association and Pure Prairie League,” the summer league Yeamans was playing in when he was injured.

Across the nation, more than a dozen players have been killed by batted balls, according to a recent study. In 1999, an Enid player was hit in the head by a batted ball and suffered brain damage.

The player successfully sued the bat company.

The bat in question in the Yeaman case is banned by Major League Baseball and recently was prohibited for use by the NCAA, which has adopted a new testing standard that requires metal bats to perform more like wood in order to protect pitchers and other players.

A 2002 Brown University study found balls hit by metal bats have a higher velocity, an average of 93.3 miles per hour compared to 86.1 mph by wood bats.