Title:
BASEBALL EQUIPMENT STORAGE RACK
United States Patent 3698563


Abstract:
A portable storage rack is disclosed including a ball box for storage of baseballs, a plurality of bat retaining members extending from the ball box for storing bats, and a plurality of fingers extending from the ball box and providing hooks for the storage of baseball helmets or gloves. Additional hooks are provided on the rack to permit the entire structure to be readily attached and detached from a chain link fence or similar structure.



Inventors:
Gordon, George E. (Houston, TX)
Landrum, Leon L. (Houston, TX)
Application Number:
05/070264
Publication Date:
10/17/1972
Filing Date:
09/08/1970
Assignee:
GEORGE E. GORDON
LEON L. LANDRUM
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/60.1, 211/70.1
International Classes:
A47F5/08; A47F7/00; A63B71/00; (IPC1-7): A47F7/00
Field of Search:
211/13,99,100,86,88,60,68 206
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3502294MOUNTING ASSEMBLY1970-03-24Kalbow
3499540COSMETICS ORGANIZER1970-03-10Huncovsky
3486630SHAVING IMPLEMENT HOLDER1969-12-30Ellman
3343684Shuffleboard cue hanger1967-09-26Galier
3187902Multiple tool holders1965-06-08Nelson
3021012Tool holder1962-02-13Brown
2459391Knife rack and edger1949-01-18Otis
2028694Eolder for toilet articles1936-01-21Spinks
1544694Toothbrush holder1925-07-07Speidel



Primary Examiner:
Byers Jr., Nile O.
Claims:
The invention having been described, what is claimed is

1. A portable rack for the storage of baseball equipment, comprising, in combination: an elongated ball box of sufficient depth and width to receive and retain a plurality of balls for temporary storage side by side along the length of the box, the width and depth of said box being substantially less than the length thereof, said box including an elongated substantially planar back wall for permitting the rack to be temporarily mounted therefrom substantially flush against an upstanding structure and an elongated front wall spaced from said back wall; bat storage means including a plurality of laterally extending bat retaining members connected to said box, said retaining members spaced along the outside of said box and extending from said front wall away from said back wall of said box to provide storage for a plurality of bats independently of each other and in a substantially upright position, said retaining members arranged in spaced-apart pairs of sufficient spacing from each other to allow insertion of the relatively thin portion of a bat while preventing a relatively thicker portion of such a bat from passing between such a spaced apart pair; said bat supporting means further including means for preventing displacement of said bats laterally from said retaining members while being stored in said rack; and support means connected to said ball box for detachably mounting said portable rack on said upstanding structure.

2. A portable rack for the storage of baseball equipment, comprising in combination: a ball box adapted to receive and retain a plurality of balls for temporary storage; bat storage means including a plurality of bat retaining members connected to an outside of said box, said retaining members spaced along the outside of said box to provide storage for a plurality of bats independently of each other and in a substantially upright position, said bat supporting means further including means for preventing displacement of said bats laterally from said retaining members while being stored in said rack; means connected to said ball box for detachably mounting said portable rack on an upstanding structure, and a plurality of baseball equipment supporting means connected to the ball box, each of said equipment supporting means being spaced along said ball box and providing independent storage of baseball equipment and positioned with respect to said ball box and bat supporting means to provide free access to the area adjacent the rack utilized for the removal and placement of balls in said ball box and bats in said bat supporting means.

3. The rack of claim 1 wherein said last-mentioned means includes a plurality of S-shaped hooks attached at one end to said ball box on a side thereof opposite from said bat supporting means, said hooks having their other end free to be detachably connected to said upstanding structure.

4. The rack of claim 2 wherein said means for preventing lateral displacement of said bats includes a raised edge along the outer edge of each of said bat retaining members.

5. The rack of claim 2 wherein said each of said bat retaining members projects laterally from an outside of said ball box and said members are arranged in spaced-apart pairs to permit lateral insertion of a bat between each of said pairs at a relatively thin portion of the bat, the retaining members of each of said pairs spaced sufficiently close to each other to engage a relatively thicker portion of such a bat to prevent it from vertically passing from between said pairs.

6. The rack of claim 5 wherein said means for preventing lateral displacement of said bats includes a raised edge along the outer edge of each of said bat retaining members.

7. The rack of claim 2 further including mounting means spaced along at least one wall of said box for detachably mounting said equipment supporting means on said ball box.

8. The rack of claim 7 wherein said mounting means includes a strip member connected to a wall of the ball box and cooperating with said wall to form at least one opening therebetween in which one of said equipment supporting means may be detachably supported.

9. The rack of claim 8 wherein said mounting means includes first and second strip members connected respectively to each end wall of the ball box and a third strip member connected along the inside wall of the ball box to be attached to said upstanding structure such that said walls cooperate with each of said first, second, and third strip members to form a plurality of openings therebetween into which said equipment supporting means may be detachably supported.

10. The rack of claim 2 wherein each of said equipment supporting means extends upwardly at one end from at least one wall of the ball box and are crooked intermediate to their other end to permit storage of said equipment with a minimum of interference from surrounding objects.

11. The rack of claim 10 further including mounting means spaced along at least one wall of said box for detachably mounting said equipment supporting means on said ball box.

12. The rack of claim 11 wherein said mounting means includes a strip member connected to a wall of the ball box and cooperating with said wall to form at least one opening therebetween in which one of said supporting means may be detachably supported.

13. A portable rack for the storage of baseball equipment, comprising in combination: a ball box adapted to receive and retain a plurality of balls for temporary storage; bat storage means including a plurality of bat retaining members connected to an outside of said box, said retaining members spaced along the outside of said box to provide storage for a plurality of bats independently of each other and in a substantially upright position; and baseball equipment storage means including a plurality of equipment supporting members connected to the ball box and providing independent storage of baseball equipment and positioned with respect to said ball box and bat supporting means to provide free access to the area adjacent the rack utilized for the removal and placement of balls in said ball box and bats in said bat supporting means.

14. The rack of claim 13 further including a plurality of means for preventing displacement of said bats laterally from said retaining members while being stored in said rack.

15. The rack of claim 13 further including means connected to said ball box for detachably connecting said rack to an upstanding structure.

16. The rack of claim 1 wherein said means for preventing lateral displacement of said bats includes a raised edge along the outer edge of each of said bat retaining members, and said means connected to said ball box for detachably mounting said portable rack on an upstanding structure is a plurality of S-shaped hooks attached at one end to said back wall, said hooks having their other end free to be detachably connected to said upstanding structure.

Description:
This invention relates to a portable storage rack and in one of its aspects to a rack for the storage of baseball equipment such as bats, balls, gloves, and helmets. In another aspect, this invention relates to such a rack which can be readily attached and detached from an upstanding structure, such as a chain link fence.

Baseball is now organized into hundreds of different amateur, semiprofessional, and professional leagues having players of all age groups. The teams in these leagues may play at many different ball parks, or many different teams will use one ball park as their home field. Each team must have an assortment of equipment including balls, bats, batting helmets and gloves, and this equipment must be carried to each game. During the game this equipment must be stored in a suitable place for use by the players who are batting or taking the field.

Storage racks previously provided for such a purpose have not been satisfactory because they have been bulky and relatively heavy and not suitable for transporting by auto from ball park to ball park. Also, their size and weight made them unfit to be carried by children who are players in many of the leagues.

Also, in many ball parks different storage areas are provided for different baseball equipment, rather than providing storage in one suitable location for all the equipment, and it is relatively easy to lose or misplace some of the equipment.

It is thus an object of this invention to provide a portable, light-weight rack for the storage of assorted baseball equipment in one location at a ball park.

Another object of this invention is to provide such a storage rack which can be readily set up in many different ball parks without the addition of any supporting structure.

Another object of this invention is to provide a rack which has storage facilities for different items of baseball equipment in such a manner that the individual items stored therein may be removed without disturbing the other items stored.

Another object of this invention is to provide such a rack in which quick and easy insertion and removal of equipment therefrom is permitted and in which inadvertent displacement of equipment stored therein is prevented.

It is another object of this invention to provide such a rack which is relatively inexpensive and easy to construct as compared to prior storage racks.

These and other objects, advantages, and features of the invention are accomplished according to this invention by providing a baseball equipment storage rack including a ball box to receive a plurality of balls, a bat storage rack including a plurality of bat retaining members extending from the outside of the ball box for the placement of bats therein, and a plurality of equipment supporting means extending upwardly from the back and sides of the ball box to support equipment such as gloves or batting helmets. The ball box and bat rack assembly may be detachably connected to an upstanding structure at the ball park by suitable hooks connected to the ball box. The storage rack is preferably made of light-weight material, such as sheet aluminum, and the separate storage members are connected together to form an integral, portable rack. The ball box, bat racks, and equipment storage means are disposed on the rack so that storage and removal of equipment from each of them does not interfere with storage of other equipment.

Additional advantages will be apparent to one skilled in the art upon a consideration of this specification, claims, and the appended drawings, wherein a preferred embodiment of this invention is illustrated and like numbers are used throughout to designate like parts.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of the ball box, bat rack, and baseball equipment supports;

FIG. 2 shows a cross sectional view of the ball box and baseball equipment supports taken at 2--2' of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 shows a cross sectional view through the bat rack at 3--3' showing a lipped edge on the bat rack supporting member and the front wall of the ball box.

Referring now to the drawings, as shown in FIG. 1, the support rack of this invention is preferably a unitary structure which includes a ball box 10, a bat rack 11 including a plurality of bat retaining members 11a, a plurality of baseball equipment supporting members 12, and a plurality of hooks 13 for detachably attaching the rack to an upstanding structure, such as a chain link fence (not shown).

As illustrated in FIG. 1, ball box 10 is a rectangular box structure that is open at the top to receive a plurality of balls. The size of ball box 10 is dependent upon the number and size of the balls desired to be stored. For example, ball box 10 must be wider to accommodate softballs than it is to accommodate hard baseballs. Ball box 10 in its preferred embodiment is formed with a bottom plate 14 which has its rear portion bent upward at a right angle to the remaining portion of bottom plate 14 to form a back wall 15 of ball box 10. To complete the other three sides of ball box 10, an elongated strip of sheet metal 16 is bent at right angles near its ends to form ends 17 and 18 of ball box 10. Ends 17 and 18 are also bent at right angles to form a stub portion 19 and a stub portion 20 on opposite sides of strip 16. Stub portions 19 and 20 are attached to back wall 15 by bolts or other suitable means in such a position so that strip 16 sits on bottom plate 14 and bottom plate 14 forms the bottom of ball box 10. The elongated wall of strip 16 thus forms the front wall 16a of ball box 10. Of course, ball box 10 can be formed in many other different ways so long as a suitable storage facility is provided for the balls to be stored. Also, a greater number of balls can be stored by increasing the length of ball box 10.

It is preferred that bottom plate 14 extend well beyond the front of ball box 10 and that a bat rack 11 including a plurality of bat retaining members 11a be formed in the portion of bottom plate 14 extending beyond front wall 16a. Retaining members 11a are made by cutting a plurality of U-shaped recessions into the front edge of bottom plate 14 so that retaining members 11a are formed into spaced-apart pairs of retaining members from the metal remaining in bottom plate 14. The spaced, adjacent pairs of retaining members 11a cooperate with each other to hold bats separate and apart from other bats stored therein. The spacing between adjacent pairs of members 11a is such as to allow the bats to slip laterally in between adjacent pairs of retaining members at a relatively thin portion of the bat, such as adjacent their butt ends. However, adjacent members 11a are sufficiently close to each other to engage a relatively thicker portion of the bat such as its butt end to prevent the bat from vertically passing from between adjacent members 11a. To prevent the bats from being laterally displaced from their stored position in adjacent pairs of retaining members 11a, the front-most portions of retaining members 11a are turned up to form a raised edge or lip 25, as best shown in FIG. 3. Thus, as a stored bat is moved laterally toward lip 25, the butt of the bat will engage lip 25 and prevent the bat from being displaced from retaining members 11a. In order to remove the bat, it is only necessary to lift it so that the butt portion clears lip 25.

Also as shown in FIG. 1, a plurality of equipment supporting members 12 are preferably attached at spaced-apart locations along the back and side edges of ball box 10. Equipment supporting members 12 may be made from sheet metal in the form of elongated strips which are bent or crooked intermediate to their outer ends 26. The crooks in equipment supporting members 12 permit ends 26 to project out toward the front or side of the rack for easy access and also to make the elongated strips more adaptable for supporting baseball gloves or helmets which are placed over ends 26. The length of members 12 and the point where they are bent is determined by how high above ball box 10 it is desired to store the gloves or helmets in order to prevent interference with the removal and placement of balls in ball box 10.

It is preferred that equipment supporting means 12 be detachably connected to ball box 10 so that a different size or configuration of support members can be used for supporting different equipment, and so that they can be removed for easier rack storage. For this purpose a plurality of members 12 are mounted on the inside of back wall 15 of ball box 10 by a mounting strip member 27 which is connected by screws or other suitable fasteners to wall 15. Mounting strip member 27 cooperates with wall 15 to form a plurality of openings therebetween in which ends 28 of equipment supporting means 12 may be inserted. Also, similar mounting strips 27a and 27b are connected by screws or other suitable fasteners to end walls 17 and 18, respectively, to form openings with these end walls into which additional supporting members 12a and 12b may be inserted. The two end equipment supporting members 12a and 12b should be inserted so that their ends 26 are turned to the outside of ball box 10, thus preventing interference with equipment supporting members 12 inserted along back wall 15 of ball box 10 and the removal and placement of balls in ball box 10. The equipment supporting members 12 along back wall 15 are inserted so that ends 26 project away from the chain link fence (not shown) or other support structure, but are long enough to permit removal or placement of balls in ball box 10, without any substantial interference from the equipment supported on members 12.

Many baseball parks used for amateur and semi-professional baseball are surrounded by chain link and other types of fences. An important feature of this invention is that the support rack of this invention can be detachably suspended from such an upstanding structure for easy removal and transportation from one location to another. In the preferred embodiment, a plurality of S-shaped hooks 13 are provided, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, for this purpose. One end 29 of each of hooks 13 is adapted to be hooked over the wire of a chain link fence which generally encloses a baseball park or is used as a batting screen, and the other end 30 of each of hooks 13 is inserted into one of a plurality of holes 31 spaced along back wall 15 of ball box 10. Of course, hooks 13 may take other forms which permit the desired detachable connection to an upstanding support structure for the rack and, if desired, the hooks can be permanently fixed to ball box 10.

It is preferred that the rack described be made of light sheet metal such as aluminum. However, plastic or other light material can be used without detracting from the portability of the rack. If plastic is used, it may be desired that the ball box/bat rack combination of this invention be formed as a unitary molded structure. In such a case, ball box 10 can be molded so that openings are formed into which the baseball equipment support members 12 can be inserted. Also, as used herein, the term baseball refers to both hard ball and softball, as the term is generally used.

From the foregoing, it will be seen that this invention is one well adapted to attain all of the ends and objects hereinabove set forth, together with other advantages which are obvious and which are inherent to the apparatus and structure.

It will be understood that certain features and subcombinations are of utility and may be employed without reference to other features and subcombinations. This is contemplated by and is within the scope of the claims.

As many possible embodiments may be made of the invention without departing from the scope thereof, it is to be understood that all matter herein set forth and shown in the accompanying drawings is to be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.