The modern baseball bat was designed by John "Bud" Hillerich in 1884. Earlier players made their own bats of various forms, with few restrictions on the size and shape.
The 17-year-old Hillerich was watching a major league game of the Louisville Eclipse when the team's star player, Pete Browning, broke his bat. After the game, Hillerich, convinced that he could make the perfect bat for Browning, invited him to his father's woodworking shop. With Browning's guidance, Hillerich worked through the night until he handcrafted a bat to the player's liking. The next day, Browning collected three hits with the new bat, and word of Hillerich's expert craftsmanship spread quickly. Ten years later, the Louisville Slugger name was registered with the U.S. Patent Office.