Bat maker shows it can go home again

July 21, 1996|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

The Louisville Slugger factory is back in its namesake town in Kentucky, after 20 years in Jeffersonville, Ind., across the Ohio River. And last week, a baseball museum was scheduled to open, with tours of the new factory, now at 800 W. Main St., eight blocks from its old home.

A 120-foot Louisville Slugger stands over the entrance to the museum. The bat, made of steel marked to look like wood, weighs 68,000 pounds and appears to lean against the building, a revamped warehouse containing offices and a theater. The attached new building houses the factory and museum.

In Indiana, the factory was drawing 80,000 tourists a year, according to John A. Hillerich 3d, chairman of Hillerich & Bradsby, which makes the bats and is opening the museum. (The company moved there 20 years ago when it needed more space.)

Tours of the factory will take 15 minutes; families should allow an hour and a half for the whole visit. The museum, which can be reached at (502) 588-7228, focuses on the bat as the most remembered brand name in professional baseball and its links to the careers of stars like Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron. The gift shop will sell bats of both wood and aluminum,.

The complex will be open Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission will be $4; people over 60, $3.50; children 6 to 13, $3.

Pub Date: 7/21/96

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