Monday, August 24, 2009

Louisville, Kentucky: Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory

As part of my tour of the Cincinnati area, I made a trip to Louisville, Kentucky to visit the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory; aka the place where they make the baseball bats. It was an amazing tour and is something I would recommend for anyone to see. My friend who doesn't enjoy baseball at all actually enjoyed the tour, so it is for those who are into it and also those who have minimal interest in the game of baseball. The only bummer was that they wouldn't allow any pictures to be taken inside of the factory. Regardless, here are some tidbits and pictures from the tour:
  • This is the bat located in front of the museum. It weighs about 68,000 pounds and is made of ASTM A36 carbon steel.
  • Louisville Slugger own forests in New York and Pennsylvania. They do this so that they can control the quality of the trees that are used to make their baseball bats.
  • In Major League Baseball, Louisville Slugger bats are used by over 60 percent of all Major League Players. Former Yankee/Met/Marlin/Blue Jays Al Leiter had a contract with them also. One of the few pitchers from what it looked like.
  • During the tour, the company was working on making a dozen bats for Drew Stubbs of the Cincinnati Reds. He said that the equipment manager will call them up and order the bats for the player.
  • Major League and Minor League bats are made in two separate machines (Minor league bats are made in the same machine that is used as those that are sold to fans).
  • Players in the majors have more models of bats to choose from (about 300 that are currently popular with the players).
  • Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey use the same model bat; C271- made for Jose Cardenal (The letter in the model stands for the first letter of the player's last name).
  • About 1,500 bats are made per day
  • The 125 on the bat stands for the grade of wood that is used (125 is the highest quality).
  • Maple bats have more of a tendency to break when compared to bats that are made of ash.
  • Louisville Slugger has started placing stickers on all of their maples bats as a way to make them more sturdier.
  • The cost of maple bats has risen drastically, now costing baseball teams $95 a bat as opposed to $45 dollars for a bat made of ash. The teams typical order between 9-12 dozen bats for each player a season.
  • On Mother's Days, Louisville Slugger donates two bats to each player that is signed with them. One of the bats is designated for the player to use while the other is for the player to sign and donate to MLB.com to support breast cancer research.
  • Players who sign a contract with Louisville Slugger are given 5,000 dollars from the company for allowing them to use their names (I would assume in selling the bats to the public). The tour guide said that some guys may have the bats, but that they may not have a contract with them. Guy with a contract have their names signed on the bat. Those who do not have a contract have their names printed in block text. The guy told us that David Wright was an example of a guy who used their bat but didn't have a contract with them. Not sure why exactly that is.
All in all, it was a great tour. For 10 dollars you were able to go in and see how baseball bats are made. The guys are working right in front of your eyes and it is an interesting process that the bats go through before they become a finished product.

4 comments:

The Commish! said...

Sounds like a great time Christina!

Great pics! The one of you in the glove is hysterical!

Kyle said...

Looks like you had fun there! That's awesome that you got to see how the baseball bats were made.

Awesome pics! You look terrific!

eyebleaf said...

I like your batting stance, Chris. Left arm and elbow up, as they should be.

Jaquline said...

Great post, as well as the shots. thanks for sharing. You should get in touch with the bizymoms Louisville community to feature these on their page. It’s free and the moms will love it.