A glowing testimonial
Jim- I just opened the box which housed the 'Crawdad' style bat you crafted for me, and I immediately mouthed the word 'WOW'.... that royal blue paint contrasts BEAUTIFULLY with the natural hickory.

The balance is superb, and that spade handle is just the ticket for me personally. I was not sure how it would feel with an overlay grip (see pic), but believe me, it is extremely comfortable in my left hand; the bat ROCKS...

Fortunately for me, I live only 3 minutes from a batting cage, so I just had to try it out right away. I play in a vintage base ball league, so the slow pitch cage is my choice.

After only one round, I was very comfortable with the bat; Jim, I was LAUNCHING some balls off this piece! I don't know if it is the hickory, or perhaps my swing speed has increased since the bat is an inch shorter than the previous model you made for me, but whatever it is, this bat is a winner...

For me, it is easy to use an overlay grip with the spade handle, therefore the bat is able to whip around a bit, producing better bat speed. Many of the 'big bomber' softball players employ this technique for extra distance, and it works for me.
For the Joy
A woman from Dexter, MI emailed me simply asking for a vintage-style bat for her husband who had recently joined a newly-formed BBC.  She didn't have experience with vintage bats, so left it up to me to design something nice.

The first thing I did was establish a size by asking his height and weight.  She was also able to provide me with a team photo that showed some of the existing bats owned by teammates.  I selected a mushroom knob and beveled end.  I stained the bat with Early American, then painted several stripes in the team color of what I called "Superman blue" for flair.

The bat was an anniversary present and a surprise.  We arranged to deliver the bat in person.  On their anniversary, we agreed to meet half-way, which amounted to about a 45 minute drive for each.  The wife had to perform quite a bit of coaxing to get her husband to drive across town without knowing why.

Eventually we met in a credit union parking lot just as the sun was disappearing behind the tree line.  I pulled in and recognized the vehicle she described and parked nearby.  As I got out of my van and retrieved the bat, in it's box, they emerged and both sported beaming faces.  She had to eventually tell him what the prize would be, and his anticipation was gripping.

We introduced ourselves and I handed him the box, wishing happy anniversary.  Watching him open the box was like watching my children open presents on Christmas morning.  When the entire bat was removed, his reaction was wide-eyed and drop-jawed.  The "racing stripes" made it look very sporty, but the knob was special.  I explained that it could be used 2 ways.  Putting the entire "mushroom" in your had made the bat 35", but using the mushroom as a knob made the bat 33".  It's like choking up, but you still get the knob.

He was impressed with the idea of a multi-use knob and absolutely loved the bat.  He said he couldn't have designed it better himself.  The Mrs. was moved to tears, even though she denied it.  Times like these are not about a few dollars, they are about making the world a better place by spreading joy.

Just what I always wanted
I've used Cass River Bats for 3 years now and have grown increasingly dependent on their consistency.  Jim listens carefully to the identifying traits that make me the most comfortable in my swing and has worked well in exploring those for what I look for in my bats.  I end up with a custom product that is very different from the others.  The quality of my hits has gone way up, my RBI totals have been league leading, and the third-baseman doesn't play as close as he used to! 

Special thanks to Jim, Mike, Mike, and Ian for their efforts.

Ed "Hack" Alberts