Just under 70 million people in the United States attend Major League Baseball games every year. If there is one piece of equipment that represents the people’s love for the game it is the Louisville Slugger. This iconic wooden bat had its origins in 1894 when John A. “Bud” Hillerich, the man who was responsible for producing the first versions of the bat copyrighted the name.
Today The Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory celebrates this heritage and the continued popularity of the bat by hosting factory tours where the technology of the latest bats is highlighted, as well as the fascinating history behind the bat and the company that today manufactures them. Highlights include the story of how the first bats were made and a demonstration of how the iconic Louisville Slugger branding has been burned into bats for more than 100 years.
The factory and museum has recently upped their game when it comes to the factory tour with a documentary of just how the journey to greatness begins – in the forests where the wood to produce the bats is harvested. As an added incentive – at the end of the factory tour each visitor is presented with one of the popular mini bats.
The museum itself is a treat for those who are avid baseball fans – in fact, Forbes magazine called it one of the greatest sports museums in the world. It features fascinating interactive exhibits and incredible memorabilia that bring the history of the game to vivid life. The latest of the exhibits features items on loan from legendary Cincinnati Reds player Johnny Bench. These include a commemorative bat from the 1968 All-Star Game and the bat he wielded to hit the last of his 389 career home runs on September 17, 1983.
The bat vault is another popular exhibit. Here fans can view in excess of 3,000 original bat models that have been used by some of the most legendary players ever to grace a baseball diamond. It also delves deeper into the personal stories of these great ballplayers. However, one of the highlights must be babe ruth’s bat with notches cut into it by the great man himself – one for every home run.
The Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory offers a unique insight into this iconic bat – and the men who made it one of the most famous pieces of sporting equipment in the world. It should be on the bucket list of every baseball fan.
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