Louisville Slugger Faces Uncertain Future

April 24, 2020
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Credit: Andy Lyons / Getty Images Sport

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The world's oldest bat manufacturer has temporarily closed due to the coronavirus. 90% of the staff at the Lousiville Slugger factory has been furloughed, and the remaining employees took a 25% pay cut.

Each season, professional ballplayers order between 100-120 of the 1.8 million wood bats the factory produces annually, keeping the brand in business since 1884. For decades, just about everyone used these bats. From Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Ted Williams to Hank Aaron, Ken Griffey Jr., and Derek Jeter, those are just a few of the superstars that have swung a Louisville Slugger.

And while they are still the official bat of Major League Baseball, players have a right to choose their own bat-maker; unlike all uniforms being made by Nike, or all balls being made by Rawlings (which is owned by MLB). But since they no longer stand alone at the top of the bat-making industry, the company now faces what is likely its biggest challenge in their 136 years of existence.