Associated Press reported that Louisville Slugger Bat Factory & Museum, otherwise known as Hillerich & Bradsby Company, officially closed on Sunday April 19, 2020. Due to the economic affects of COVID-19, the company furloughed 90% of its employees or 171 workers.
It’s a primary source of baseball bats for Major League Baseball. The Factory has been in operation for 176 years, about as long as the history of the game itself. It produces an average of 2 million bats a year. Closing it only adds pressure to their mill in Pennsylvania. “If the company doesn’t soon crank up its Pennsylvania mill–and MLB has no timetable to start its season–then some of the set to become bats might spoil,” said CEO John Hillerich IV to “The Louisville Courier Journal.” The situation remains fluid.
The tours started in the actual factory, where no cameras were allowed, a safeguard against spies trying to steal trade secrets. As our tour guide introduced himself, nearby workers were filling actual orders. When we visited, the presence of pink bats served as a clue for the time of year. MLB Players would use these bats for Breast Cancer Awareness on the upcoming Mother’s Day Game. This place has obviously evolved with the game over the years. One giant milling machine was used exclusively for the bats made for all the MLB Players. All the precision cuts per specification were made there. Countless players have personally visited and placed there autographs on this machine.
Among many of the strong connections to the game, Louisville Bat Factory & Museum had the latest Major League Baseball Standings for each division as a testimonial to the hits and runs being produced by players using Louisville Slugger bats. Also on exhibit were recent display additions to celebrate the induction of Ken Griffey Jr. into the National Baseball Hall Of Fame (during the summer 0f 2016) in Cooperstown, New York.