What is pine tar?
What is pine tar used for?
Is it illegal in baseball?
Do I need pine tar?
These are all great question! We're going to answer these common questions about pine tar!
So what is pine tar? Well, pine tar is a thick, sticky substance which comes from pine trees. It's been used by people for 100's of years, for many different purposes.
Now that we know what it is, let's talk about some of its uses.
It's been used as a sealant on boats, roofing construction, a wood preservative, an ingredient in some soaps, and many other uses.
But for our purposes, we want to talk about how it's been used in baseball. It's been in the game for a really, really long time. Many players like to use pine tar as a grip enhancer when they are batting.
There are a few places batters like to put the pine tar, sometimes on the taper of their bat, and sometimes on the front of their batting helmet.
Two players that come to mind; Manny Ramirez and George Brett.
If you remember watching Manny Ramirez play baseball, you might remember seeing that black, gunky stuff on the front of his helmet, covering the Boston "B" logo. He would step into the box and go through his routine, grabbing the front of this helmet to get some of that sticky pine tar on his hands.
If you don't remember, just do a google search for Manny Ramirez's pine tar helmet. You'll see it.
The next player who made Pine Tar (in)famous was George Brett. Many people have seen the video of Brett hitting a home run, then umpires checking his bat, calling him out, then Brett sprinting out of the dugout screaming at the top of his lungs.
This incident made a lot of views believe pine tar was illegal in baseball, but it's actually not illegal.
There are just certain rules players have to follow regarding pine tar.
The batter's cannot cover beyond 18" of the handle or it is considered illegal, and pitchers cannot use pine tar on the mound. Pitchers cannot apply any foreign substance to the ball, and they cannot have on their person or in their possession any foreign substance. That simply means, no pine tar for them.
Here are the rules from MLB:
"Rule 3.02(c) 'The bat handle, for not more than 18 inches from its end, may be covered or treated with any material or substance to improve the grip.'"
"Rule 6.02(c)(4) 'The pitcher shall not apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball.'
"Rule 6.02(c)(7) 'The pitcher shall not have on his person, or in his possession, any foreign substance.'"
So, is pine tar illegal in baseball? No, it's not. You just have to use it within the rules of the game.
Lastly, do you need pine tar?
No, you don't necessarily need pine tar, but it is a staple in every clubhouse in the major leagues, and there are a lot of things in life you don't need, but you have.
It's been around and used by baseball players for a really long time. And, when used with rosin, it does a great job providing players with a good grip on the bat.
We offer two products made using real pine tar.
Our Grip Gunk and our Original Bat Tack.
Grip Gunk is our proprietary combination of pine tar and rosin which is a very thick liquidy substance. You can see it in the photo at the top of this article.
Our Original Bat Tack is in the form of a stick, using different waxes and tackifiers, including pine tar, to create a tremendous product for grip on the bat.