In April of this, I was fortunate to visit Louisville and we explored the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, check out the blog post here! As we left town, we had a few hours to kill, and it was drizzling out. As a lifelong baseball fan, I couldn't miss stopping by the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory!
The museum is nicely informal. The admission costs are $14 for adults, $8 for kids (6-12 years) and $13 for seniors. Kids under the age of 6 are free! The admission allows you to experience a handful of the exhibits, and you can go on the factory tour. This was the best part!
The tours run every 10-30 minutes, and they are certainly worth the wait. Unfortunately and understandably, no pictures are allowed in the bat factory. You start off with a little piece of how the wood is selected and how Louisville Slugger helps sustainability by planting trees. I can't remember off hand, but the amount of trees they use every year for their bats is staggering! What's even more amazing though, is that they are planting and growing more trees than they are using! The tour then has a gentleman at a lathe, showing the crowd how the bats used to be made. It was pretty cool to see him turning the bat by hand, measuring with calipers. A true craftsman!
Next, we went through the automated machines that turn the bats within seconds. There are smaller, less precise machines, that turn minor league bats, then as we walked through the factory, we walked through the MLB area. These lathe machines were huge! The machines that turn MLB bats are super precise. Next up, was the logo and paint area. Some of the bats have a branded Louisville Slugger emblem, where others are painted on. But some of the bats are dipped in paint, hung to dry, and that's that!
Throughout the tour they handed out models of various players bats, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds, Chipper Jones! The variety of length, weight and handle amazed me! At the very end of the tour, they hand out a small replica bat for everyone on the tour. The tour was wonderful, something every baseball fan would love!
As we milled around the museum, every where you looked, there were cool little features on the floor, walls and overhead. Like the picture above, this wall is covered in little plaques that have the players' signatures, the same signatures that would have been branded on their bats!
The Museum has a retail area, where you can buy bat blanks and bats that don't meet standards. You can also buy a bat and have it personalized right there and then! Of course, there are the really expensive autographed bats above. I was in awe to be able to hold a bat signed by Mantle and DiMaggio!
Next up was an area where you could stand behind the plate and experience was a 100mph fastball looks like! It gave me chills and made the hair stand up on my arms, I couldn't imagine actually being able to catch up to a ball that fast!
Inside the large room of the museum, there are a handful of mannequins of the most iconic baseball players. I loved this part! I realized that they were so iconic, that their stances gave their identities away. From across the room I could tell it was Jeter, just from his stance. I could tell it was Junior just by the way his follow through looked! Baseball is really special in that fashion, that players truly put their stamp on the game by their stance and swings!
Lastly, there is a batting cage set up, that you can buy tokens for. This was really special. You can select a bat, one that matches the specifications of a certain player, and you can go into the cage and hit with it! For my selection, I chose a Mickey Mantle.
This is the axe that I used when in the cage! It was a blast to let this bat eat! I got ahold of a couple good ones, which felt amazing in this wood bat. It really was like swinging a piece of history!
After the batting cage, we decided to call it a day. As a baseball fan and Little League player, this was a special moment! If you are in the Louisville area, check out the Museum!
Jack of All Trades, Master of None