James Carr is an amateur baseball player who lost part of two fingers from a radial arm saw injury. Today, due to its unique design, Axe Bats are all he can swing.
Jimmy Carr has been playing with the Niagara Devils (representing the Buffalo, NY Men’s Senior Baseball League) in the Cooperstown Classic Baseball Tournament every year since 2013. In 2017, he was faced with an injury that could have changed his life forever. Thanks to the unique handle design of Axe Bat, Jimmy still has many days on the diamond ahead of him.
You see, each Axe Bat handle is shaped liked the handle of an axe. While it is designed for the biomechanics of a swing to provide a more natural swing and improved range of motion for better bat speed and control, it happens to also be the only bat a player with two shortened fingers can grip.
This is Jimmy Carr’s story:
By James Carr
On May 14, 2017, a few things would change for me! I was in the garage at home with my 18 year old son. We were doing some work removing some old shelves and making some new ones. I was cutting a piece of wood on a radial arm saw. I just finished the cut and had turned to hand the piece to my son, when I felt a “thud.”
I didn’t think twice about it, thinking that I had bumped the piece of wood against the blade. When I turned and flipped the piece of wood over I noticed a red stream squirt out. I dropped the piece of wood and realized what had happened.
Somehow, I had bumped my hand against the blade and cut off parts of my ring finger and pinky.
I immediately looked down saw a piece of one finger, grabbed it, and a towel to wrap my hand with and off to the hospital within minutes, after going in the house to get my wife.
At the hospital, I was told they couldn’t reattach the pieces of my finger. After cleaning it up and getting stitches, I realized that I lost 1/3 of both ring finger and pinky finger.
Come Father’s day weekend, June 2017, I was in Cooperstown for a tournament. Prior to this I had swung a regular handle/knob bat and found that when I swung, the knob slid up through my hand and when I finished my swing, my pinky and ring finger were off the knob. While I was in Cooperstown, I went into a few local shops looking for a bat. I found a wood AxeBat at one of the local shops and picked it up for the first time. It felt totally different that a regular bat. It formed into my hand much better because of its unique axe handle. I gripped it and pulled on it and my hand had stayed on the bat, on the knob.
Because I was in the store, I could not swing it. I didn’t purchase it at the time because the store did not have the size or model that I would have bought.
Come early February 2018, I was in Sarasota, FL for another tournament. I was taking batting practice with a regular handle/knob bat, and same thing happened. My swing would finish with my pinky and ring finger off the bat.
I tried a few things, from adding tape and plastic to the knob to make it wider to adding the rubber shock/slip pads. Nothing seemed to work. No matter what I did, I got the same results.
In late February, we started up team practices. I tried a few more things, including putting sticky strip on the base of the handle where my pinky and ring finger would grip, and same results. There was a Little League team there practicing in the cages and I noticed that one of the kids had an AxeBat. I spoke to the kid and his father and showed him my hand and asked if he mind that I try it out in the cage a few swings. They agreed.
I got in the cage and was a little hesitant to swing full out. My first swing was a little lazy swing, just to see. I was surprised. It felt so good, so comfortable and didn’t budge.
The next few swings I took were as hard as I could swing. The bat and my hand stayed. My fingers were where they started and were supposed to be. In total, I took about 15-20 swings with the Axe Bat and had different results than the regular bats. I didn’t have to modify the handle at all like I tried to do with the other bats. The handle seems to fit perfectly and felt great.
The season began and I had put together a decent team and decided that I would forgo playing for the year, because I was having some issues with my hand again. And to be honest, the talent level on the team, put me towards the bottom. But I did get a few swings here and there, some with a regular bat, with the same results as before, and some with an Axe Bat that I borrowed – with absolutely no issues.
Until I picked up and swung an Axe Bat, I was ready to just give up swinging a baseball bat. I wouldn’t have given up on the game. I would have continued to coach and play the field occasionally and being DH’d for.
The design of Axe Bat is incredible, and gave me a way to be able to still swing the bat with confidence and without fear of the bat going flying out of my hand! Thank You Axe Bat. Because of you, I am ready to get back on the field and hit another season.
Brett Rudy lives in Boston, Massachusetts where he created Baseball Is My Life, and is co-founder of Charity Hop Sports Marketing, helping athletes raise money for their philanthropic initiatives. Brett helped launch Charity Wines with more than 30 professional athletes, selling more than one million bottles of wine. Brett is also the creator of the Corked Bat Collection, 100 Innings of Baseball for ALS, the Cooperstown Classic at the Baseball Hall of Fame, and Winterball for Toys for Tots. In his spare time, Brett plays outfield in the Boston Men’s Baseball League.