The baseball bat, a sports instrument of baseball, is used as a blunt weapon. The bat deals a decent amount of damage, and its rapid swing rate allows the user to keep his opponent in a stun-lock. The baseball bat is dangerous to use against groups of enemies, or ones with a strong close-range weapon. Nevertheless, it might work well around corners to launch a surprise attack. The weapon is more powerful than its alternative - the lead pipe - as it is longer and inflicts more damage.
The Punchinello Crime Family enforcer Frankie "The Bat" Niagara is known to use a baseball bat to torture his prisoners by brutally clubbing them. His fascination with using the bat most likely stems from the Captain BaseBallBat-Boy franchise, of which he is a big fan.
When Max Payne breaks free of the restraints he was tied with by Niagara in Lupino's Hotel's basement, he only has the hitman's baseball bat stained with his own blood to fight his enemies with during his escape.
Max Payne swings the baseball bat twice in a single "fire" attack.
In Prologue (The American Dream), a Bat can be found and used by the player just before the Bedroom, this is the only melee weapon available in the Prologue but the low amount of enemies means it probably won't see use.
In the chapter The Baseball Bat, Max Payne begins the level armed with only the eponymous weapon; correct positioning and a little bit of luck is required to kill enemies.
The bat shown in the graphic novel is the Karhu 513 Classic Original "pesäpallomaila", or "Finnish baseball bat". 'Pesäpallo' is a national sport of Finland that is similar to American baseball and English cricket. The in-game model seems to reflect the same colors of this bat product as well with a natural wood handle & red-painted taper & barrel, but the dimensions were altered with the barrel of the bat made thicker, perhaps to look more like a normal American-style baseball bat.
The baseball bat sometimes allows Max to hit through walls and doors.