Inside Kentucky's Museum Dedicated to Baseball Bats
As part of a summer series, T+L is highlighting amazing lesser-known attractions found in the United States. Next up: the Louisville Slugger Museum.
It’s impossible to miss the Louisville Slugger Museum. Housed in a former tobacco warehouse on Louisville’s Main Street, it’s the only building downtown with a 129-foot baseball bat, the world’s largest, leaning against it. An exact replica of Babe Ruth’s 34-inch bat, the 68,000-pound sculpture provides a clue as to what visitors will find inside.
The Louisville Slugger Museum is dedicated to baseball’s second-most important piece of equipment and details the process of turning a piece of northern white ash into a Major League-ready bat. But this museum is about more than manufacturing.
In the 132 years since the carving of the first Louisville Slugger, the company’s bats have been a part of some of baseball’s most important moments. Many of the bats that helped create those moments are on display, including the 36-ounce, 36-inch bat Joe DiMaggio swung on his way to his 56-game hitting streak in 1941 and game-used bats from Mickey Mantle, Cal Ripken Jr., and David Ortiz, among others. Visitors can also get a feel for what it’s like to swing a Louisville Slugger against big league pitching by staring down a 90 MPH fastball and stepping into the on-site batting cages.
But the real highlight for baseball fans here is the factory where Louisville Slugger bats are turned out, packaged and shipped to Major League parks. Tours of the factory typically take around 20 minutes and provide an inside look at the tools that allow the best baseball players in the world to hit homers. Like real-life big leaguers, visitors can even personalize bats with their own name. You may never be able to hit a 99 mph heater, but thanks to the Louisville Slugger Museum, anyone can take home a bat just like one of the pros.