Lawrence: National Archives shares Hall of Famers’ baseball-related patents

From Kerri Lawrence at on March 29, 2018:

As Major League Baseball gets a new season under way, fans around the country are looking forward to rooting for their favorite teams in the months ahead. Lovers of baseball can also look back on some interesting National Archives records related to the all-American pastime, including patents held by former players, some of whom are members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The agency has quite a few patent records related to baseball, according to archivist Bob Beebe from the National Archives in Kansas City. In the records of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (Record Group 241) there are several invention patents relating to the game, such as patents for the baseball bat, batting glove, catcher’s mask, and the actual baseball itself.

“While searching through our patent holdings, I looked for a theme other than just the more popular drawings related to baseball,” Beebe said. “While doing so, I discovered that several Hall-of-Famers have actually been issued patents.”

In fact, eight Major League Baseball Hall-of-Fame inductees hold patents or have an application in with the patent office.

Six Hall of Fame members—five players/managers and one umpire—have patents in the National Archives collection, ranging from bases to sliding pads, sunglasses to cleats. Hall-of-Famers Fred Clarke, Tommy McCarthy, Bill Klem, Kid Nichols, Elmer Flick, and Max Carey were all issued patents related to the game of baseball. Clarke and Carey are the only two to have more than one patent—Clarke has four and Carey has two, according to Beebe.

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Originally published: March 30, 2018. Last Updated: March 30, 2018.