Located right off the banks of the Ohio River in Louisville, Kentucky is the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, a must visit destination for any baseball fans. During our visit to the renovated museum, we got to learn the history of the Louisville Slugger and exactly how it’s made. It’s even home to the world’s largest bat standing at 120 feet tall right outside the museum.
I have loved baseball my whole life since I watched Atlanta Braves games with my Dad and with my industrial engineering background, I am always excited for a factory tour, even on vacation. So, I was super excited to see how the magic happened during the manufacturing process to make these famous bats.
The beginning of each section of our tour started with a short video going over some history and interesting facts about Louisville Sluggers since their beginning in 1884. The factory crafts 1.8 million bats per year, gives 12,000 factory tours, and is, without question, the most popular bat brand in history.
It turns out that all of the wood to create a Louisville Slugger comes from the forested areas of the New York and Pennsylvania border. These trees supply enough wood for the factory to craft roughly 3,000 bats a day. To keep up with their production, new trees are planted each year.
Each bat is specially crafted in about 45 seconds in a machine called a lathe. The speed of these machines is great to keep up with the average of 100 bats that a major league player blows through each year. Players who have visited the factory have signed the lathes where their custom bats are made.
Players are told to hold the logo up so the bat hits on the strongest part of the bat, depending on the type of wood, to prevent the bat from breaking.
For pro-players, their names and unique signature are laser engraved into their own bat, but as a visitor you can do this too. You can purchase and design your own custom bat down to the colors and wording, just like a major league player would do. On The Great Wall in the museum, you can view the display of thousands of signatures of current and former players who have had their names burned into a Louisville Slugger.
Aside from the factory and museum, the Louisville Slugger building has a Bat Vault, where more than 3,000 original bat models are kept. The oldest bats on display are about 100 years old with bats belonging to players like Babe Ruth and Ted Williams. With the guidance of a curator, you can even handle the bats yourself in the “Hold a Piece of History” exhibit.
One of the highlights of my day in Louisville was holding and swinging one of the bats that Babe Ruth had used while at the museum.
If you’re feeling up for the challenge, step into their batting cages where you can test out replicas of major league legends’ bats. You can pay $2.00 and get to hit 10 pitches with a bat of your choice. If you’re not up to bat, you can still check out the other featured exhibits in the museum that cover a great deal of baseball history and hold countless artifacts.
The factory tour lasted about 30 minutes and was guided by an insightful tour guide. This is a must see museum and factory for baseball and history lovers. Factory tours are available Monday through Saturday 9am-5pm and Sunday 10am-4pm. You can purchase tickets on the Louisville Slugger Official Website, or in person while you’re visiting the beautiful city of Louisville.