The Glove and Battie Caddie

Austin Meggitt's invention, the Glove and Battie Caddy, solves a problem that has plagued young baseball and softball players for decades: how to transport their gear when riding their bikes.

Austin was born in 1988 in Amherst, Ohio, where his parents are both teachers. At age 11, Austin attended Shupe Middle School in the school's program for gifted students. He also had a number of extracurricular interests, including Boy Scouts, the school newspaper, and soccer. But it was his love of playing baseball that led him to his invention.

When Austin was nine, he was given a simple project at school: to find a way to solve an everyday problem. The problem that occurred to Austin was one familiar to most young athletes. Whenever he rode his bike to play baseball at a friend's house or a park, he had trouble carrying his glove, bat, and ball. Trying to wedge the equipment into the frame of the bike was just as frustrating and unsafe as trying to carry it in one hand. Even kids' usual last resort of hanging the glove from the handlebars could disrupt the bike's steering or braking.

What was needed was a carrying device that would secure all the necessary equipment, despite turns and bumps, without interfering with the rider's control or the bike's maneuverability. Austin's idea was to attach a yoke above the handlebars, across which he could clip his bat, and from which he could hang his mitt and ball. With some supervision from his father, Austin gathered his supplies – PVC piping, which is both lightweight and easy to work with, along with various grips, clamps, and bolts – and set to work with the family's tools.

The final product, which Austin named the Glove and Battie Caddie, performs its purpose admirably. The PVC frame features U-shaped spring clips that keep the bat balanced over the handlebars, a hook in front for the glove, and a pouch underneath for the ball. The frame is adjustable in width, so it can fit any size or style of handlebars without running afoul of the hand-brakes.

Austin's invention was not only a success at school. Soon, all of his ball-playing friends wanted a Glove and Battie Caddie for their own bikes. Austin entered his invention in the 1998 national Ultimate Invention contest, sponsored by the Discovery Channel, Media One, and The Learning Channel, and won the Grand Prize. Austin won a check for $200 and a three-day trip to Washington, D.C., where he stopped by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to register his invention – now officially U.S. patent 6,029,874.

The next year, Austin was inducted into the National Gallery for America's Young Inventors at the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Along with his awards, Austin was profiled on TV and in national magazines and various newspapers.